Russian Ruslan Vlasov has taken down the first leg of the Genting Poker Series (GPS) in Birmingham’s Star City for £16,600 and a £1,600 seat for the Grand Final in December.
Vlasov overcame Englishman Neil Ryder in their heads-up battle of the £430 buy-in main event to emerge victorious after a 365-strong field – which included re-entries – created a prize pool of £146,000 that ensured 46 players were paid.
Ryder collected £13,700 for his runner-up spot, while fellow Englishman David L’Honore left with £17,500 in third place after the last six players agreed on a stepped deal based on their chip counts on the fourth and finals day’s lunch break.
The deal also guaranteed extra cash depending on a player’s final position, but it was Vlasov who grabbed the £1,500+£100 Grand Final seat for the December 6 No-Limit Hold’em main event at London’s Palm Beach Casino with his victory.
Yucel Eminoglu Entertains Before Exiting in Fourth
Fourth place went to thoroughly entertaining Turkish pro Yucel ‘Mad Turk’ Eminoglu for £10,750, while places five to 10 were filled by English players, including eighth-placed Hendon Mobster Barny Boatman for a pay day of £2,190.
The other top 10 finishers were fifth-placed Don Jones (£13,000), Martin Donohue (sixth for £16,955), George Clyde-Smith (seventh for £3,285), Kate Langshaw (ninth for £2,045) and Jamie Fraser (10th for £1,825). Vlasov – a former dealer with Dusk Till Dawn in Nottingham – eventually saw off Ryder’s challenge when the Englishman moved all-in with his Jc-5c for about two million chips during level 30. The Russian snap-called to show A-7 ahead of a flop of 8♠ A♦ 4♦ that gave him a pair of aces. The turn of 6♣ and river of 3♣ changed nothing and that was it for the opening event of the series as Vlasov took home the trophy, the Grand Final seat and £16,600.
Neil Ryder Battles Hard With Eminoglu
Level 29, with the blinds at 60,000 and 120,000 and an ante of 10,000, saw some impressive and exciting play as six players fought it out for glory – and cash, of course. There was something of a battle going on between Ryder and Eminoglu that saw the Englishman back down from what would most likely have seen the Turk eliminated in sixth place. Initially, Ryder moved all-in for his last 700,000 chips with A-K and was called by Eminoglu, who showed K-Q to be well behind the Englishman. Ryder stayed ahead through the flop and turn and was then rewarded with a river ace to double up. Then, soon after, Eminoglu shoved against big blind Ryder with K-3, only for his opponent to inexplicably fold A-10.
Martin Donohue Hits Rail in Sixth
Sixth place – and £16,955 – went to Donoghue when his pocket twos met the A-K of Eminoglu. Only slightly ahead, the Englishman – who was second in chips at the time of the six-player deal and guaranteed at least £16,450 – was very unlucky to see the board come down 7-6-5-5-7 to hand Eminoglu two pair with the higher kicker. Short stack Jones exited a short while later in fifth place when he moved all-in with just five big blinds. However, his A-4 came up against Eminoglu’s kings and Jones was gone as no ace was forthcoming.
Turkish Delight’s Exit Reduces Level of Fun
The gathered railbirds’ enjoyment must have dropped down a level or two when Eminoglu was eliminated in fourth place, though, when the Turk’s A-4 lost out to Ryder’s A-Q. On the button, Ryder raised to 250,000, only for Eminoglu to shove all of his one million stack into the middle. The Englishman thought about this massive decision for a couple of minutes, but this time made the call. The 7-9-6 flop changed very little, although a second nine on the turn provided some hope of a split pot for Eminoglu – only for a jack to arrive on the river that sent the Turkish pro out for £10,750. Eminoglu’s exit left us three-handed with £6,000 still available, as well as the trophy and a place at the Grand Final.
Champion Takes Control when Three-Handed
Vlasov appeared to move up a gear at this point and zoomed into a big chip lead when seeing off Ryder’s raise by moving all-in. The Russian showed A-K to dominate Ryder’s A-7. Vlasov’s hand held when the board ran out 3-5-9-J-8 to take him above the four million mark. Vlasov eliminated another Englishman in L’Honore – who still collected £17,550 – in third place not long after taking that huge chip lead. Ryder, on the button, raised, but was met by a quick all-in from Vlasov and a swift call from L’Honore. The original raiser folded without a second thought, while Vlasov showed K-Q to be way behind the queens of L’Honore.
Russian in Commanding Position
However, with a king-high flop – and no help for the Englishman on the turn or river cards – that left us heads-up between Vlasov and Ryder, with the Russian holding a hugely dominating stack of approximately eight million to one million. Ryder fought back for a while, but couldn’t find the cards to take down this opening series event, so giving Vlasov the title.
Other notable in-the-money finishers included Hendon Mobster Joe Beevers, who took home £1,605 for finishing in 17th place, while another member, Ross Boatman – Barney’s brother – picked up £1,315 for his 27th-place exit.
Leg two of the Genting Poker Series pulls into the world-famous Fox Club in London from March 28 to April 1 and will feature a £400+£30 No-Limit Hold’em main event that runs from the 29th to the first.
Top 10 payouts from the Genting Poker Series Birmingham leg:
1. Ruslan Vlasov (Russia) – £16,600 + £1,600 Grand Final Seat
2. Neil Ryder (UK) – £13,700
3. David L’Honore (UK) – £17,550
4. Yucel ‘Mad Turk’ Eminoglu (Turkey) – £10,750
5. Don Jones (UK) – £13,000
6. Martin Donohue (UK) – £16,955
7. George Clyde-Smith (UK) – £3,285
8. Barny Boatman (UK) – £2,190
9. Kate Langshaw (UK) – £2,045
10. Jamie Fraser (UK) – £1,825