Englishman Leslie Kerrigan has made a storming return tournament poker with victory in the Fox Poker Club’s February Championship to pick up a cheque for £12,615 after taking down the monthly £330 buy-In No-Limit Hold’em event in London.
The two-day tournament attracted a healthy 141-player field to create a prize pool of £42,300 ($66,778), with Kerrigan taking the biggest slice after defeating fellow Englishman Morgan Sorfleet in their heads-up encounter. Sorfleet received £8,035 for his runner-up spot, while home players Mario Lazarou (£5,075) and Chris Gordon (£4,095) followed in third and fourth respectively as the top five placings were completed by Spaniard Rafael Fernandes (£2,960).
Thereafter, five more English players filled out places six to 10, with Leon Louis (sixth for £2,115) being joined by Tina Abery (seventh for £1,690), Tai Tran (eighth for £1,270), Steve Vigor (ninth for £845) and Graziano Pirovano (10th for £635).
Champion Makes Spectacular Tournament Comeback
This was Kerrigan’s big tournament poker return – and could not have gone any better after the pro had decided to make a comeback following his venture into cash-only games back in 2008. Kerrigan – whose last tournament cash came in March of 2008 when he picked up £4,800 ($9,663) for finishing fifth in the £1,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em main event at the Empire Poker Festival in London – faced some stiff opposition at the nine-handed final table, with the likes of last February’s FPC champion Louis aiming to supply a repeat performance from 2011, when he picked up £13,450 ($21,747) for outlasting a field of 149 players.
Then there was Gordon – who won the £500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em main event from November’s London Calling Festival at the Fox Poker Club for £17,000 ($27,375). But it all came down to Kerrigan against chip leader Sorfleet once Lazarou it the rail in third place after his A♥ Q♦ lost out to the eventual runner-up’s 8♦ 8♠.
Mario Lazarou Exits in Third Place
Lazarou moved all-In pre-flop and Sorfleet made the call. The hole cards were revealed to show Sorfleet ahead but not by a long way, while the two combatants showed great civility by shaking hands before the dealer laid down the flop. The 10♦ 5♥ 10♠ flop changed little to leave Sorfleet in front, but the 10♥ on the turn gave him a full house to send Lazarou out, even before the 5♣ arrived on the river. Now down to heads-up play, Sorfleet held a strong chip lead of 1,820,000 to 1,350,000 over Kerrigan. But all that changed when the latter chopped his opponent down to about 382,000 to leave Kerrigan with approximately 2,788,000 just over 10 minutes into their battle. Sorfleet showed king-queen on a board of 3♣ K♣ J♣ Q♥ 5♠, but his two pair lost out to Kerrigan’s king-high club flush as he showed Q♣ 4♣. Although sorely disappointed to lose that hand, Sorfleet wasn’t willing to wait around and got the remainder of his chips into the middle on the next hand – only for Kerrigan to pass.
But it didn’t take long for the end to come for Sorfleet – about seven minutes, in fact – as, with the blinds at 15,000 and 30,000, as well as a 2,000 ante, he needed to act quickly to be in with a chance of glory. So the last hand of the tournament saw Sorfleet, with K♦ 7♣, move all-in for 280,000 and Kerrigan make the call to dominate his opponent with K♥ 10♦. The flop came 10♣ 8♥ 5♠ to hand Kerrigan top pair, leaving Sorfleet need a miracle or two to stay alive. The 6♣ gave Sorfleet a few more outs with his open-ended straight draw, but the 8♣ on the river only served to improve Kerrigan’s hand to two pair. That meant Kerrigan was the champion, which will no doubt have pleased him very much after his time away from tournament poker.
A total of 15 places were paid, with David Barnes the unfortunate bubble boy down in 16th. Places 11 to 15 were filled by John Burberry (11th), Andrew Bush (12th), Marco Vasconcelos (13th), Peter Vu (14th) – all for £635 ($1,002) – and 15th-placed Aaron Woodcock (£425 or $671).
The next Fox Poker Club main event will be held on Saturday, March 3, at 14:00 GMT.
Top 10 payouts from the Fox Poker Club £330 buy-In February Championship:
1. Les Kerrigan (England) – £12,615 ($19,915)
2. Morgan Sorfleet (England) – £8,035 ($12,685)
3. Mario Lazarou (England) – £5,075 ($8,012)
4. Chris Gordon (England) – £4,095 ($6,465)
5. Rafael Fernandes (Spain) – £2,960 ($4,673)
6. Leon Louis (England) – £2,115 ($3,339)
7. Tina Abery (England) – £1,690 ($2,668)
8. Tai Tran (England) – £1,270 ($2,005)
9. Steven Vigor (England) – £845 ($1,334)
10. Graziano Pirovano (England) – £635 ($1,002)