Poker Centrals’ British baptism was more of a lit match than a fully stoked fire. The British Poker Open (BPO) began in fine fettle with the opening events gathering not too shabby headcounts. But then, in the end, as PokerStars unleashed the World Championships of Online Poker (WCOOP), numbers dwindled towards the dust.
Event #8: £26,000 No-Limit Hold’em – 13 entrants.
Event #9: £52,000 No-Limit Hold’em – 18 entrants.
Event #10: £103,000 No-Limit Hold’em – 12 entrants.
Undoubtedly, the Super High Roller Bowl (SRHB) London would help turn the dwindle into a dynamo.
It didn’t, but that doesn’t mean the BPO and SHRB London concept is about to wither and die like a bug-infested Tommy at the end of a hungry vine.
Sam Greenwood thinks the numbers will grow.
<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>There were some scheduling/payment processing issues with BPO this year. Next year it will get better fields.</p>— Sam Greenwood (@SamGreenwoodRIO) <a href=”https://twitter.com/SamGreenwoodRIO/status/1171821080153153536?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw“>September 11, 2019</a></blockquote> <script async src=”https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8″></script>
And the surest fire way to ensure the event returns for a second stab is to create a storyline that sees the founder forge a declarative memory that will stick in his craw until the day he dies.
And that’s what we got.
The SHRB London attracted 12-entrants, and £3m in prize money, and that left two in the money (ITM) positions with the runner-up receiving £900,000, and the winner collecting £2,100,000.
Day 2, the final day, the only day that matters, was about one man. The purse-string holders say that these things are all about winning your all-ins – well Cary Katz could have played until a beard formed, and he would still be winning them.
Katz defeated Ali Imsirovic, heads-up, to claim his 22nd victory and his most significant win to date. Katz has now earned $24.3m playing live tournaments, ranking 18th in the world – not bad for a ‘part-timer.’
It’s Katz’s third win of the year for the man with the PokerGO cap winning the AUD 100,000 Challenge at the Aussie Millions for $1,074.908, and a $26,000 High Roller at ARIA where he still holds the record for most ITM finishes in ARIA events (62).
Katz has been in Europe since flying to compete in the Triton Million London. Things didn’t go too well for Katz in that series ‘on the felt’, but off it, things were much better, with his named pro, Bryn Kenney winning the elephant share of the money £16m+.
Katz then went on to make the final table of the €25,500 and €100,000 at the partypoker MILLIONS Europe in Rozvadov and finished runner-up in a €25,000 during the European Poker (EPT) in Barcelona. He then made three final tables at the British Poker Open (BPO), including a runner-up finish in the £100,000 for close to half a million bucks.
Now he has a win.
Let’s see how he took it down to Cary Katz’ Town.
Day 2 Seat Draw
Seven players made it through to Day 2 with all of their consonants and vowels intact.
Previous SHRB winner, Christoph Vogelsang, had the chip lead, and Katz began second in chips.
Seat 1: Christoph Vogelsang – 889,000
Seat 2: Cary Katz – 631,000
Seat 3: Stephen Chidwick – 508,000
Seat 4: Mikita Badziakouski – 238,000
Seat 5: Ali Imsirovic – 546,000
Seat 6: David Peters – 104,000
Seat 7: Sam Greenwood – 84,000
He may look demure, but when it comes to poker, Ali Imsirovic is a pure demon, taking his fork to anyone who sits in his way, including men as talented at David Peters and Sam Greenwood.
Imsirovic made it 12,000 to play holding two black aces, Peters moved all-in with pocket fives for 146,000, and Greenwood moved all-in with pocket eights and 96,000. Imsirovic made one of the easiest calls of his life.
The flop gave both Peters and Greenwood catch-up potential with back-door straight opportunities, but they never materialised. The fleet sailed taking Peters and Greenwood back across the Atlantic.
Imsirovic made it scalp #3 when Mikita Badziakouski limped into the hand holding AdJh and then moved all-in after Imsirovic had raised to 24,000 holding pocket kings. There was no drama on the flop, turn or the river, and the winner of the £50,000 No-Limit Hold’em at the BPO fell a few spots shy of the money.
Imsirovic surged to the top of the counts after that hand. The other bookend was Cary Katz, and the Poker Central founder’s stack was so low, his position remained unchanged when he doubled through Imsirovic 99>A2o.
Then Katz doubled through Christoph Vogelsang twice, once when ace rag beat queen rag, and a second time when pocket sevens out flipped A9o. Katz began moving up the leaderboard, and it was Imsirovic that stepped dangerously close to the faultlines.
It quickly became the ‘Cary Katz Double or Nothing’ show, when the Poker Central founder doubled through Vogelsang for the third time. Chidwick opened with a raise holding KJo, Vogelsang called with pocket sevens, and then called Katz’s jam with AK; Chidwick folded, and Katz hit his ace in the window.
Then Katz doubled through Chidwick for the second time to take the chip lead when pocket sixes out flipped the AK, and the Global Poker Index (GPI) #1 fell in the fourth place not long after when his 75o failed to beat the KQo of Katz in a threeway pot that also involved Imsirovic.
Chidwick’s elimination took us to the bubble, and it was the former SHRB winner, Vogelsang, who would leave without the need to hire a painter to dab him holding his second SHRB trophy. Vogelsang moved all-in with pocket sixes, Imsirovic called with Ks7h, and two more sevens on the flop brought the competition to its heads-up phase.
Ali Imsirovic – 1,810,000
Cary Katz – 1,190,000
Chip stacks didn’t separate the pair.
Styles and experience did.
Katz was the first to land a sock to the jaw when Imsirovic made it 85,000 to play holding pocket sevens, Katz raised to 250,000 holding AK, and Imsirovic called. Imsirovic maintained his lead in a Jc9h5c flop, and he called a 200,000 Katz bet. The turn was the 3c, giving Katz extra flush outs, and he moved all-in. Imsirovic burned through a time extension chip before folding, and the bluff gave Katz the 2:1 chip lead.
Imsirovic then won a series of pots to take a more than 3:1 chip lead.
Katz pulled it back.
Then Katz won.
Katz called with Qs3s, Imsirovic raised to 150,000 holding pocket tens, and Katz called. The AsKc6s flop gave Katz a flush draw, and he called a 35,000 Insirovic bet. The turn was the Tc to provide Imsirovic with a set, and he bet 250,000, and Katz made the call. The 5s on the river gave Katz his flush. Imsirovic moved all-in, and Katz called quickly to win the SHRB London and £2.1m first prize.
1. Cary Katz – £2,100,000
2. Ali Imsirovic – £900,000
Until next year?
One can hope.