Luke Porter Defies the Odds to Become the 2024 GUKPT London Champion
Those who follow darts will have heard about the tremendous story of Luke Littler, a 16-year-old who navigated his way to the final of the 2024 PDC World Darts Championship. Unfortunately for Littler, he lost in the final against another Luke, Luke Humphries, although his second-place finish is a remarkable achievement. Over the weekend, another Luke defied the odds on his way to becoming the champion of the 2024 Grosvenor UK Poker Tour (GUKPT) London Main Event.
Luke Porter had a handful of modest results, combined worth $17,830, displayed on his Hendon Mob profile until January 14. Now, Porter has one result showing he raked in 116,710 and the title of GUKPT London champion.
Porter was one of 529 entrants in the 1,250 buy-in Main Event, which awarded 552,625 to the top 62 finishers. Top poker talent, including Antoine Saout, Jamie Nixon, Harry Lodge, John Duthie, Kenny Hallaert, Jack Hardcastle, recent addition to the Team Grosvenor stable Ludovic Geilich, and final table bubble boy Yucel Eminoglu, saw a return on their investments.
The nine-handed final table was awash with instantly recognizable names, plus that of Porter. The relatively unknown Porter entered the fray with 21 big blinds at his disposal, placing him seventh, and prompting Grosvenor Casinos to assign him odds of 66/1 (67.0 or +6600) to become the Main Event's champion. Those odds reflect an implied probability of 1.5%, less likely beating AA with KQ on a AA105 board!
Long odds are there to be upset, and upsetting them is precisely what Porter did.
2024 GUKPT London Main Event Final Table Results
Thomas Clack was the first finalist to bow out. He missed a plethora of outs with a straight and flush draw against Reet Raniwala's set, and had to make do with a 10,500 payday.
Joe Hindry, the 2022 GUKPT Coventry Main Event champion, crashed out at the hands of Tom Hall. Hall opened with ace-king, Hindry three-bet all-in for 24 big blinds with ace-queen, and Hall calld. Ace-king remained the best hand, and Hindry headed to the cashier's desk to bank eighth-place money, or 12,435 to you and I.
A short-stacked Mingrui Chen was put out of his misery when he open-shoved with ace-jack only to run into the dominating ace-queen in the hand of Vince Meli. The five community cards failed to come to Chen's rescue, and the Main Event was left with only six players.
Those six became five when seasoned pro Martins Adeniya was sent packing by Meli. Adeniya was down to a mere three big blinds when he pushed all-in with jack-eight. Meli looked him up with ace-jack, which held to resign Adeniya to an early bath.
Porter was second in chips at the start of five-handed play, and closed the gap on hall after helping himself to Kully Sidhu's ten big blind stack. Sidhu committed his ten big blinds with ace-five, but Porter woke up with pocket kings for one of the easiest calls of his career. The kings held, and Sidhu exited in fifth.
Meli claimed another scalp when he sent Raniwala packing. Raniwala check-raised all-in with queen-nine on a nine-high flop, only to run into Meli's superior pocket tens. Despite winning those chips, Meli was the next player out of the door. After the action folded to him in the small blind, Meli jammed 16 big blinds with king-seven. Unfortunately for him, Hall looked down at ace-seven, and opted to call. Hall's ace-kicker played, and heads-up was reached.
Porter entered the heads-up battle against Hall with a commanding 7,300,000 to 3,300,000 chip lead at the 50,000/100,000/100,000a level. Hall, who was the 5/1 favorite at the start of the final table, made a play during the 60,000/120,000/120,000a level that cost him his tournament life.
Hall min-raised to 240,000, Porter responded with an all-in three-bet, sending Hall into the tank. Hall remained submerged for a short while before putting his 3,800,000 stack on the line with ace-seven. Porter flipped over ace-eight. An eight on the turn locked the hand up for Porter, sending Hall home in second for 86,595 less than two months after he finished fourth in the 2023 GUKPT Grand Final for 39,440.
An elated Porter captured the title of champion, the GUKPT London Main Event trophy, and a career-best 116,710 in prize money.
Live Action Comes Thick and Fast
Players do not have long to wait to delve back into some live poker tournament action in the United Kingdom. The inaugural 888poker UK Poker League Coventry festival, held in conjunction with Grosvenor Casinos, runs from January 16-21 at the Grosvenor G Casino in Coventry.
A few days later, from February 1-11, the GUKPT stops off at Manchester Bury New Road for the GUKPT Manchester stop, which includes another 1,250 buy-in Main Event. Calogero Morreale took down last year's GUKPT Manchester Main Event, outlasting 444 opponents on his way to banking 106,700.
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