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Record-Breaking Tournaments Prove Poker is Alive and Well

Any fears that COVID-19 lockdowns had caused irreparable damage to live poker tournaments have been blown out of the water in recent months. The latest event to prove live poker is healthier than ever is a record-breaking main event at UKIPT London. 

The mid-stakes tournament came to a conclusion this week, but not before 1,458 entrants had fallen. That’s more players than have ever anted up in a UKIPT event before, proving beyond all doubt that live poker is in a strong place right now. 

But, as impressive as it is that UKIPT London broke all previous records, the fact it was won by a former World Champion is, perhaps, more significant. When the chips had fallen and all others had been sent to the rail, 2014 Word Series of Poker Main Event champion, Martin Jacobson, stood victorious. 

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Martin Jacobson Rolls Back the Years

The Swedish pro might have enjoyed his best days in 2013 and 2014, but he hasn’t stopped cashing in live events since his big win. Beating a record-breaking field in London added another title and £232,300 ($263,202) to Jacobson’s bankroll but getting to the winner’s podium wasn’t easy.

It took seven days of action inside London’s Hilton Hotel on Park Lane to whittle down the field. As expected, a gang of Brits was in the mix during the October 22 final table, including Conor Beresford. The Englishman has been cashing since 2012, but his biggest wins have all come in the last three years. 

In fact, Beresford scooped the largest payout of his career in March this year when he finished third in the $10,150 High Roller at EPT Prague. The $279,782 payday certainly gave the man from York some confidence heading into the finale of UKIPT London. 

Unfortunately for Beresford, Jacobson summoned up the same form that won him the WSOP main event eight years ago. Despite starting Day 3 as one of the shortest stacks, Jacobson fought his way into contention through a combination of skill, good fortune, and a timely triple up. 

Winners All Round at EPT London

Day 4 saw Jacobson continue where he left off. However, he needed to come from behind again to beat Beresford heads-up. Fortunately for Jacobson, the stacks were deep enough that it wasn’t an all-in shove fest. This allowed him to chip up and move into the lead. 

Eventually, a final rush of good fortune landed Jacobson the title. Beresford flopped two-pair with 9♦️ 2♦️, but Jacobson’s pocket aces found redemption on the turn. With the board showing 2 3 9 A, Beresford was all-in but all out of luck. The Q on the river brought the event to an end and, with that, Jacobson lifted the winner’s trophy.

Main Event champ…UKIPT Main Event champ that is.

Congrats to @Martin_Jacobson on taking down the 1,458 runner tournament, he collects £232,300 for the win. 🇸🇪🏆 #EPTLondon pic.twitter.com/599D84J971

UKIPT has set the stage for more success in London. PokerStars is hosting a full roster of events in London and the record turnout has carried over to the EPT main event. 

A total of 532 unique entrants, plus 217 re-entries, took the total number of buy-ins to 749 this week. That makes 2022’s tournament the second-biggest EPT London main event in history. Players from 52 countries are now playing down to a winner and a top prize worth £664,400 ($751,869).

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