ISPT Wembley

ISPT Wembley

Friday, 21 June 2013

Jakub Michalak's historic win.

One of the most ambitious tournaments ever attempted came to a conclusion last month on the hallowed turf of Wembley Stadium. The ISPT Wembley’s overlay might have given the organisers a moment of concern, but for the players it meant the chance to make their way into the money and unlock some serious value. Indeed, while the minimum payouts of €540 might not have piqued the interests of the pros left in the field, the €285,000 runner-up prize, on top of the €1,000,000 winner’s booty, certainly gave them something to shoot for. Drawn by the delicious overlay, there were some big names going deep in this one, including Ole Schemion, Sam Trickett, Toby Lewis, Matt Frankland and Dave “Devilfish” Ulliott.

Starting the live tournament with 761 players in contention, a swift start to the session saw the 381st place bubble reached relatively quickly, but it was a further four days before we had our final six.


The finalists approached the final table with a fresh perspective on the top-heavy prize pool, having failed to make a deal with nine players left on Day 5. After crunching the numbers, chip leader Pete Linton was gifted €375,000 for his efforts, while the remaining players each secured just over €200,000. That split left €200,000 aside for the winner, meaning the action was much more relaxed affair than many expected.

However, despite much of the tension being lifted, each player was still doing their best to take the top spot and become the inaugural ISPT champion. After the negotiations were complete it was the finale’s lone female, Gwendoline Janot, who busted first. Having battled hard to avoid elimination, she eventually hit the rail after her all-in with pocket nines was met by a call from Xavier El Fassey with pocket kings. That left her with just five big blinds and the very next hand she was all-in again with Td7h but unable to overcome Jakub Michalak.

Now down to five the eliminations began to come thick and fast as Alban Juen, Pete Linton and Nick Hicks all headed for the sidelines. That left El Fassey and Michalak vying for the ISPT title and extra €200,000 on offer.

While their ambitions were the same when the final battle began, their chip stacks certainly weren’t. Having precipitated the demise of those around him, Michalak had an 8:1 chip lead and, despite a mini-comeback from El Fassey, the match was won in just a few hands.

Michalak’s final coup occurred when he 3-bet jammed As7c into the pocket kings of El Fassey. An AhJh3c4dAc board ensured that the final pot was pushed his way and that he became the first ever ISPT champion.

Dusk Till Dawn owner Rob Yong might have been liable for the €600,000 overlay but that hasn’t tainted his opinion of the event – indeed, soon after the final he took to his blog and seemed like a man happy with its outcome.

One of the most pleasing things for Rob and the team behind the ISPT was the demographics of the event. Listing the stats for the tournament, Rob explained that out of the 708 unique runners, 428 were from the UK and the rest came from Europe and the rest of the world.

While the overall number of runners may have fallen short of expectations, the breadth of the event’s appeal was certainly impressive, with players coming from as far afield as Canada to help fulfil the ISPT’s promise of an international event.

Rob was pleased with the reaction to the tournament, saying that “players were full of praise for the set-up”. Moreover, while Dusk Till Dawn aren’t scheduled to be involved in any more ISPT events, Rob hinted at upcoming ISPT events in the O2 Arena in Prague as well as “one of Brazil’s stadiums” in the lead up to the World Cup. Whatever the future holds for the ISPT, the players loved this event at Wembley.

"It is the best tournament that i played in my life." Tony G

"This tournament will be bigger every year." Devilfish

"The organisation was wonderful." - Sam Trickett


Tags: ISPT Wembley, Jakub Michalak, Rob Yong, Pete Linton