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Festive Poker At Manchester235

Sam Kalubowila wears his Christmas Sweat(er)

Published on December 11th 2013.

Festive Poker At Manchester235

MANCHESTER235 played host to a seasonal edition of Poker Confidential on Wednesday 4 December. The Christmas Sweat(er) offered prizes for the best and worst Christmas jumpers, whilst turkey sandwiches and mince pies were served at the break.

The £25+5 re-entry tournament was in a slightly modified format to the regular freezeouts – the re-entry meant that players who had busted could re-enter, but only after joining the back of the queue, instead of getting chips at their seat.This meant the style of game was pretty conservative early on, as players had no guarantee of staying in the tournament if they lost their stack.


As well as the Christmas jumper prize, there were ‘Secret Santa’ bounties playing, one of whom was Doug (although he wasn’t playing in secret). Knocking one of these players out could win you anything from free entries to 235 tournaments to a voucher for the new James Martin restaurant upstairs. Whilst I ran card-dead for much of the first two hours, Doug (playing for the Christie Hospital) did get himself into a few pots of interest.

After nearly 2 hours of play, there were 110 players in the game, with a 146 entries. Whilst there were a few big stacks, most people had played relatively conservatively, hoping to last at least until the break.

On the final hand before the break, I found myself playing K10 from a late position against a short stack in the big blind. I hit top pair on the flop, and by the looks of it, so had my opponent as he shoved for almost half my stack. I didn’t have to even think before calling, and my opponent had 8-10 meaning my kicker was good. It held up and knocked out my opponent.

At the break the tasty turkey sandwiches in brioche buns with cranberry jelly and warm mince pies really set us up for the second half.. On returning to our seats, we found lower value chips had been consolidated meaning our stacks all looked a bit smaller. I hoped for a change in luck in the next session as the prize pool was over £4500, paying out 18 places with £1155 to the winner.

A few hands in, my table was broken up. I never like moving table, all the information you’ve built up has to be figured out again from scratch; you’re fitting into a new table’s dynamic and everyone is trying to figure you out.

My third hand in, I was dealt AK suited in the big blind. There was one raiser, and a re-raiser, perfect timing to shove my stack. The first raiser, whom I had covered, folded instantly but the other player called after a moment of examining my eyes. He had me covered but I was pretty pleased to see I had his AQ suited dominated, meaning I was roughly 70/30 favourite to win.


The flop came 3J6, meaning I was looking good to double up so far. The turn came a 10, and my first thought was: “Great, not a queen.”

The river was a king. Initially I was relieved, before it dawned on me that the king made a straight for my opponent, and I was out. With 90 runners remaining, I was gutted to have gone out so early, but I got my chips in ahead, and was unlucky.

By the time the 90 had whittled down to just 10 players, there was a clear chip leader. James Merrit started the final table with over 570,000 chips, over double his nearest rival, Daniel Fogg.

Wendy Leung was first to leave, taking £85 for her trouble. Next to go was Kostas Pranauskas who had been holding on for the jump in the money as short stack. As the players dwindled, it seemed the chips were moving one way, towards massive chip leader and eventual winner, James Merrit, who beat Turki Alotaishan heads-up to take the 1st place winnings, and the title of Christmas Sweat(er) Winner 2013.

Incidentally, Val Bennett and Angela Houghton were joint winners of the actual Christmas Sweater competition.

To see the full payout list click here

Full payout list

  1. £1155 (James Merrit)
  2. £810 (Turki Alotaishan)
  3. £520 (Daniel Fogg)
  4. £385 (Chris Smith)
  5. £290 (Mary Darcy)
  6. £230 (David Raferty)
  7. £195 (Rick Gater)
  8. £155 (Phil Olbison)
  9. £115 (Kostas Pranauskas)
  10. £85 (Wendy Leung)
  11. £85 (Cody Wagner)
  12. £85 (Alfred Cattell)
  13. £70 (Ben Duxbury)
  14. £70 (Umar Latif)
  15. £70 (Gavin Mellalieu)
  16. £60 (Chris Gatley)
  17. £60 (Michael Fisher)
  18. £60 (Paul Browne)

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Latest Rants

Vera Wright

really enjoyed the game , would have liked to be in longer but did manage over 2 hours , And happy…

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Beverley Monks

I really enjoyed the tournament and was a bit gutted to go out 13th, so close yet so far, heres to…

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great turn out and immensely enjoyed the day,well done to all organisers and the dealers!!!!

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june 5th is my tourney watch out the dukes about!!!!

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