Vincent Meli Continues His Hot Form and Becomes a GUKPT Champion

Vincent Meli has added the 2024 Grosvenor UK Poker Tour (GUKPT) Manchester Main Event title to his many poker accomplishments, as his rich vein of form shows no signs of slowing down.

In November 2023, Meli came out on top in the £1,100 PokerStars UKIPT Nottingham Grand Final, helping himself to a career-best score worth £159,325 ($197,323). Less than a month later, Meli took his boosted bankroll to the Czech Republic, where he finished ninth in the €5,300 PokerStars EPT Prague Main Event for €95,000 ($102,275).

Meli got off to a flying start in 2024, finishing third in the £1,250 GUKPT London Main Event for £58,690. Now he can call himself the 2024 GUKPT Manchester Main champion, and brag about an £83,897 ($105,908) payday.

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Big Names in Attendance for the GUKPT Manchester Main Event

The 2024 edition of the GUKPT Manchester Main Event attracted 426 entrants, including re-entries, slightly down on the 445 buy-ins in 2023. Those entrants created a £454,000 prize pool, with the top 56 finishers receiving a slice of the pie; a min-cash tipped the scales at £2,250.

Waheed “Wadey” Ashraf was among the first players to bust inside the money places. Other cashers included Daniel Laidlaw, Christopher Johnson, Timothy Chung, Brandon Sheils, Alex Montgomery, Calogero Morreale, Yucel “Mad Turk” Eminoglu, Stuart Rutter, and Team Grosvenor’s Katie Swift, the latter falling in 11th place.

2024 GUKPT Manchester Main Event Final Table Results

Rank Player Prize
1 Vincent Meli £83,897*
2 Tom Laghzaoui £72,710*
3 Jamie Brown £64,243*
4 Paul Trotter £31,300
5 Lee Tatters £21,300
6 Bin Fu £15,000
7 Dean Hutchison £12,000
8 James Parker £10,400
9 Robert Douras £8,800

*reflects a three-way deal

Robert Douras was the final table’s first casualty. He called a raise with five-four of diamonds in the big blind after Lee Tatters had opened the betting. Douras flopped an open-ended straight draw and a flush draw, and ultimately got the rest of his stack into the middle. Tatters held pocket kings, which faded the myriad of outs to send Douras home in ninth.

The surviving eight players were now guaranteed a five-figure payout, and James Parker was the first finalist to capture such a sum. The short-stacked Parker got his stack in with ace-deuce only for Meli to call with pocket nines. The community cards didn’t even flirt with coming to Parker’s rescue, and he crashed out in eighth.

There were sighs of relief when Dean Hutchison bowed out in seventh. You may recall Hutchison was the sixth-place finisher in the2023 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event, and knows his way around a poker table. Hutchison’s final act of this latest final table was to get his chips in with ace-five after Tom Laghzaoui had opened from early position. Laghzaoui looked up Hutchison with the dominating ace-king, and Hutchison was gone a few moments later.

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Bin Fu was eliminated in sixth and collected £15,000, the second-largest haul of his live poker career. Fu got the last of his chips into the middle with queen-jack, and Meli called with ace-six. Neither a jack, nor a queen made an appearance on the community cards, and Fu headed to the cashier’s desk.

The final five became four after the untimely demise of Paul Tatters. Tatters called all-in with ace-three from the big blind, only to discover Laghzaoui had him crushed with ace-ten. The board provided no assistance to Tatters, and he made his way to collect the largest live score of his career, £21,300.

Paul Trotter, winner of the £3,500 Super High Roller a the 2023 Goliath, had to make do with a fourth-place finish in this event. Trotter’s tournament life was pinned to a pair of deuces in the hole, and they needed to connect with the board to crack Meli’s pocket tens. The tens held, and the 2024 GUKPT Manchester Main Event was down to a trio of potential champions.

The final three players made an ICM-based deal that left the trophy and £3,000 to play for.

Jamie Brown was the biggest beneficiary of the deal because he bowed out in third and collected over £16,000 more than he would have done without a deal in place. Brown’s exit came at the hands of Laghzaoui, with Brown’s nine-seven of hearts proving no match for the ace-eight of Laghzaoui.

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Meli went into the heads-up battle with a decent chip lead, but victory was far from guaranteed. Approximately 40 minutes into the one-on-one section of the Main Event, the final hand played out.

Laghzaoui min-raised to 200,000 with queen-three, and Meli called with queen-jack. Both players connected with the five-queen-deuce fop, which contained two spades, although neither player held a spade. Meli checked, Laghzaoui bet 150,000, and Meli check-raised to 500,000. Laghzaoui called. The turn was the four of diamonds, and Meli led for 800,000, which Laghzaoui called. Meli used a time bank card on the ten of spade river before moving all-in for 3.4 million into the 3 million pot. Laghzaoui only had 2.3 million behind. After pondering his options while using all of his available time bank cards, Laghzaoui called, only to be shown the bad news that he was well beaten.

Laghzaoui, who finished second in the 2022 GUKPT Leeds Main Event, had to settle for another runner-up finish, while Meli became a GUKPT Main Event champion for the first time.

Upcoming 2024 GUKPT Festivals

Players do not have long to wait before the next GUKPT festival takes place because the eagerly-anticipated GUKPT Open runs in Coventry from February 22 through March 3. That stop features a £1,500 Main Event plus a whole host of side events. PokerNews will bring you the GUKPT Open schedule shortly, so watch this space.

Dates Festival Main Event Buy-in
Feb 22-Mar 3 GUKPT Open £1,500
Mar 10-17 GUKPT Blackpool £1,250
Apr 4-14 GUKPT Edinburgh £1,000
Apr 25-May 5 GUKPT Luton £1,000
May 16-26 GUKPT London £1,250
May 30-Jun 9 GUKPT Leeds £1,000
Jul 25-Aug 4 GUKPT Goliath £200
Sep 12-22 GUKPT Luton £1,250
Oct 30-Nov 10 GUKPT Blackpool £1,250
Nov 21-Dec 1 GUKPT Grand Final £2,000

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