Vincent Meli Wins GUKPT Manchester

07 Mar 2024
Jonathan Raab 07 Mar 2024
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  • Vincent Meli's incredible run continues
  • Frenchman Meli wins GUKPT Manchester for £83,895
  • 426 players contested GUKPT Main Event
  • Ludovic Geilich shines in commentary booth
Photos Courtesy of Grosvenor Casinos
Vincent Meli has won the 2nd leg of the 2024 Grosvenor UK Poker Tour, (GUKPT) claiming the top prize of £83,895 and the trophy at the Grosvenor Casino, Bury New Rd, Manchester. Frenchman Meli defeated fellow countryman Tom Jarry Laghzaoui after a brief heads-up encounter in the £1,250 event to continue the fine form he has been in over the last few months. 

Meli’s hot run began in November 2023 scooping a career best £159,235 when emerging victorious in the £1,100 main event of the UK & Ireland Poker Tour at Dusk Till Dawn in Nottingham. He followed that up less than a month later with a 9th place finish in the main event at EPT Prague for a further €95,000. He continued his run last month when he took 3rd place in GUKPT main event in London. This victory confirms he is still in the form of his life and who would bet against him securing further success in 2024?
GUKPT Manchester 2024 Winner
The event had 426 entries creating a final prizepool of £454,000, which was less than a bullish Phil Heald expected. At the beginning of day 1b he was quietly confident that the 526 player field from 2022's GUKPT Manchester main event would be beaten, but it ended up falling exactly 100 entries short of the record for the leg.

Nineteen players returned for the final day of the tournament, to fight it out for the big money. Grosvenor’s sports betting site even had a betting market up prior to the final day’s play. Eventual winner Meli was priced up at 14/1, but the value bet (according to Jay Harwood) was the 50/1 price offered for the runner-up. 

Meli was in mid-division in the chip counts as the day started but he soon built a bigger stack, which he maintained and then took into the final table, as the chip leader. 

First to exit the final was Rob Douras, followed by overnight leader James Parker, who will have been disappointed with his 8th place result. His stack dwindled and he was already short stacked on the final table when his 2Afailed to improve against Vince Meli's 99. Scotsman Dean Hutchinson went in 7th and Bin Fu in 6th. 

Lee Tatters saw his tilt at the title end up in, well, tatters, when he was eliminated in 5th after running A3 into Tom's AT.  After Paul Trotter trotted off in 4th place, the remaining three did a deal and then played on for the trophy. 

Third place went to Jamie Brown, who collected £64,240 for the third GUKPT final table of his poker career. His first two appearances were way back in the second and third seasons of the tour, when he finished runner up in the Thanet leg in 2008 and 4th in the London Grand Final in 2009. In the time in between these and his most recent GUKPT final table he has also notched up three WSOP Main Event cashes.

In the final hand, both players flopped top pair on a 2Q5 flop, with Vince's JQ dominating Tom's 3Q.  The 4increased Tom's outs but the 10on the river did not improve his hand. Tom moved all-in on the river and after a couple of minutes of thinking time, Vince made the call and brough the contest to a close.

Runner Up Tom Jarry Laghzaoui is also no stranger to success, with this also being his third appearance on a GUKPT final table. His previous best on the tour was another runner-up spot, at GUKPT Leeds in 2022, while his first final was in his adopted hometown at GUKPT Edinburgh a year earlier.

Several players with significant GUKPT history had a profitable main event. Yucel 'MadTurk' Eminoglu followed up his GUKPT London 10th place, exiting in 14th place. One place higher in 13th was Stuart Rutter, who won last year's GUKPT Luton main event. Michael Howard in 15th also made his second main event cash of 2024, having taken 23rd in London.

Full Result of GUKPT Manchester Main Event

GUKPT Manchester Result

Geilich Shines in Commentary Booth

Tour sponsor Grosvenor Poker's  latest signing Ludovic Geilich made to to day two but did not make it into the money. Katie Swift, another Grosvenor Poker sponsored pro did manage to cash, but fell just short of the final table, exiting in 11th. With both team pros hitting the rail, this cleared the way for an epic stint in the commentary booth by both players. Geilich and Swift ably assisted live stream hosts Phil ‘The Tower” Heald and Jay ‘Almost as tall as the Tower, but you’d never know it cos he slouches” Harwood in calling the action on the final table. 

Great insights from both players, including a masterclass from Ludo on bet sizing. Geilich also revealed that wherever he goes, people always ask him if he knows legendary poker player Ali Mallu. I'm sure he does, but it would be a shame to nip that tradition in the bud and if I ever interview him, it will be my first question. 

The next stop of the tour is leg three, which takes place at the Grosvenor Casino in Blackpool from 10-17 March. But before that is staged, the tour’s £1,500 UK Open runs in Coventry from 22 February - 3 March. Qualification for both events 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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