Ludovich Geilich Wins Blackpool GUKPT Main Event

18 Mar 2024
Jonathan Raab 18 Mar 2024
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  • Ludovic Geilich wins GUKPT Blackpool Main Event
  • The Grosvenor Poker sponsored pro wins his second main event title on the tour
  • Grosvenor Casinos put last minute £250,000 guarantee on the tournament
  • Overlays by £22,300
GUKPT Blackpool Champion Ludovic Geilich, Pictures courtesy of Grosvenor Casinos
Ludovich Geilich Wins Blackpool GUKPT Main Event, to claim his second GUKPT Main Event title.

Ludovic Geilich has won his second GUKPT title within 12 months, romping to victory in the main event of the Blackpool leg of the Grosvenor UK Poker Tour. He topped a field of 207 players in the £1,250 buy-in tournament at the Grosvenor Casino in Blackpool to take the trophy and the first place prize money of £56,150. It comes just eleven months after he won his maiden GUKPT title in Edinburgh, where he cashed for £79,590, defeating 365 other players along the way. 

The Grosvenor Poker sponsored pro will now go into next month’s GUKPT main event in the Scottish capital in a unique position of being both the reigning Blackpool GUKPT champion as well as the defending GUKPT Edinburgh champion. He’s also more than likely to be priced up as the favourite to win the event as well, by the tour’s sponsor Grosvenor’s sports betting site.

Big Chip Lead

The mercurial Scottish player had led the way on day two, with a massive chip lead over the other remaining 15 players who made it through Saturday’s second day of play. Not content with having almost double the stack of his nearest challengers, he continued the final day in the same vein that he had conducted himself throughout the tournament and began to pull away further, his stack growing to 850,000 fairly quickly after the restart of play. 
GUKPT Blackpool Final Table Chip Counts
By the time they had reached the final table of nine players, Geilich had breached the 1m chip barrier, with a stack of 1,175,000, still almost double the stack of his closest challenger Andrew ‘Stato’ Hulme on 641,000. Keith Johnson, who had gone into the day as the shortest of the remaining players, also went on an early tear on day two, surviving all-ins and then eliminating other short stacks as he climbed his way into fifth place on the leaderboard by the time the final started.

The Final Nine

GUKPT Blackpool Main Event Final Table
The first three exits on the final table came in relatively quick succession, but after Paul Rigg was sent to the rail in 7th (busted by Ludo), the pace of eliminations slowed down and it was almost two hours before Andrew Hulme took the 6th place scalp of Peter Visnyovszki. 

Five Become Two

The game then sped up again and after a spate of quick-fire eliminations, the tournament was down to the final two players. Kevin Houghton took 5th place while Keith Johnson’s 4th place will have been much higher a finish than he might have expected at the beginning of the day. Andrew Hulme was the third place finisher, succumbing to Ludo, with pocket sevens versus the Scot’s AJ. All this happened in the space of five hands.
Throughout the final, especially during the lengthy six-handed phase of play, Geilich had been pulling further and further away from the rest of the field. He had 2m chips when his nearest challenger had just over 500,000 and this grew to almost 2.5m by the time they were down to five. However in the quick-fire phase of play that saw the tournament reduce from five to two, Callum Gordon, who had been responsible for the exits of both Houghton and Johnson, managed to close the gap. When the heads-up battle started, Ludo had 2.6m chips to Callum’s 1.3m.

Callum Loves Blackpool

Callum Gordon heads up at GUKPT Blackpool
Callum Gordon is another one of the tour’s over-achievers and he seems to excel in Blackpool. He was runner up at the last GUKPT Blackpool main event in 2023, however that tournament ended in a three-way deal (in which he got the most cash but not the official 1st place) meaning that by the time he got to face Ludo heads up, he had gone through almost two entire Blackpool main events without hitting the rail. He now moves into second place on the National Poker League leaderboard but it still some way adrift of 1st place Calogero Morreale, who was unable to play the Blackpool main event, as his wife went into labour during the festival. He reportedly had to abandon a stack in a satellite tournament before heading to the hospital.

Heads Up

After a period of cautious play at the start of the heads-up stage, Callum managed to close the gap on Ludovic, pulling to within 300,000 chips of the pre-final day favourite. But the Scot soon re-asserted his dominance and by the time the final hand took place, he had nearly a 3-1 chip advantage. Holding 55 on a 786310 board, Callum raised all in for his remaining 950,000, going over the top of Ludovic’s 185,000 river bet. After a minute or so of contemplation, Ludovic made the call with K9 for a rivered straight, to bring the tournament to an end.

The Result

GUKPT Blackpool Main Event Result

£22,300 Overlay!

It was however a difficult event for operator Grosvenor Casinos, as the first starting day of the event had drawn just 31 entrants, sparking a last-minute decision to put a £250,000 guarantee on the main event. While this certainly attracted more players, who may otherwise have chosen not to attend, it resulted in a £22,300 overlay, turning the event into an almost rake free affair. Commentator Phil 'The Tower' Heald seemed stumped as to the reason for the low attendance, passing if off as “just one of those things” on the event’s live stream.

One possible reason for the lower than expected attendance is the start of the WSOPC festival at Dusk Till Dawn in Nottingham, which began on Friday with a £340 buy-in Colossus tournament boasting a £100,000 guarantee. 

However, the increase in scheduling on the tour in 2024 may also be a factor in the decline. The tour had a great 2023, with record numbers at many venues and hopes were high that this growth would carry on into 2024. However the previous GUKPT event in Manchester, won by Vincent Meli saw a small year-on-year decline in participation, despite there being very high hopes that it would actually be another record breaker.

The GUKPT calendar this year looks more or less what it has looked like throughout its nearly two-decade existence, with one GUKPT event per month, give or take, with the Goliath at the centre as the jewel on the crown, but this year there are two key factors contributing to the schedule being very busy.

Firstly, the number of events on the 25/50 Series has almost doubled from 31 to 58. These additonal €250 buy-in tournaments with £50,000 guarantees may have put an increased burden on Grosvenor to find the additional liquidity to support them. Something has to give and if you provide twice as many great value tournaments, maybe some players travel less for the bigger festivals. Secondly, even more liquidity draining is the addition of the 888 UKPL, a £560 buy-in tour with 8 stops, all taking place within the Grosvenor estate. There have already been three 888 UKPL events this year and there are five more to come throughout 2024. 

Next Stop Edinburgh!

The tour now moves north to Scotland, where the GUKPT Edinburgh takes place from 4th-14th April. As already mentioned, man of the moment Ludovic Geilich will be both the defending Edinburgh champion and the reigning Blackpool champion when he takes his seat in the £1,000 main event. 

Qualification takes place online at Grosvenor Poker, where ‘live credit’ satellites run every day, at a variety of buy-in price points.

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