• Comeback Kid Chaz Chattha Scoops GUKPT Luton Title and £59,360

    Chaz Chattha took down the Grosvenor UK Poker Tour’s £1,000 main event in Luton recently, but it was no cakewalk. He started the final table last in chips but battled his way through the field to pocket just shy of £60,000. 

    The UK’s best-known poker fraternity, the Hit Squad, have hoisted GUKPT trophies an astonishing four times before, with wins by Praz Bansi, Karl Mahrenholz and Chattha’s brother Sunny.  Now snaring yet another title for the group, Chaz Chattha adds to his already impressive personal record on the Grosvenor UK Poker Tour.

    His third place in the Grand Final in 2010 netted him a similar prize, and way back in 2007 he finished runner-up in the Plymouth leg; however, his fourth final table turned out to be the charm.

    When the final ten players condensed into a single table, it was EPT Vilamoura Champion Toby Lewis out in front (620,000 chips), followed closely by London pro Andrew Feldman (609,000) – Chattha with 105,000 had just ten big blinds and was the shortest stack.  Also relatively close to the felt were George Hassabis and Jonathan Weekes, the latter soon doubling up with aces and the latter busting in tenth for £3,710.

    Ergun Macit was the next to hit the rail in ninth, failing to achieve the expected split with his A-4 vs. the A-5 of Feldman, all-in preflop for his last remaining chips.  Feldman continued to build his stack throughout the first levels of Day 3, taking some from leader Lewis and all from Weekes, whose comeback ended in eighth place with a prize of £5,830.

    Chattha, meanwhile, was still on track.  He noted in his winner’s interview (only a couple of hours later) that, “I just ran good – got my shoves through early, then when I did get called, I had it!”

    He built on a fearless start and ended up knocking out Austrian Michael Huber in seventh (£7,420).

    Toby Lewis knocked out Dan Furnival in sixth (£9,540) when his pocket sevens held against the experienced live player’s A-J.  A much larger pair – kings – appeared at just the right time for Albert Keegan next, as a big move from footballer Antonio German backfired and saw him all in preflop with Q-10.

    This gave Keegan a boost, but not enough to put him in front of either start-of-day leader Lewis, or start-of-day last place Chattha, who’d now changed gears and shot his stack up over 800,000 four-handed. In fact, Keegan fell in fourth spot, having dropped into last place stack-wise, finally finding Chattha with a dominating ace and winning £15,370 for his efforts over the three days.

    Three-way the action was between the top two and the underdog, and in style it was to be the underdog who took the title. To say Chattha was an underdog is only a reflection of his starting stack; all three left at the end were tricky professionals, unfazed by the pressure or the money at stake. Andrew Feldman was unlucky to find pocket queens at this stage, only because Chattha had picked up kings and just covered him, ruining Feldman’s chances in one huge hand.

    The heads-up lasted just seven hands; Chattha with a 2-1 chip lead waited as Lewis took down five pots in a row with preflop raises, before picking up A-K at the same time as his opponent found A-10.  A swift, decisive king on the flop finished Lewis off and handed the trophy to the young Londoner.

    He may have won over half a million dollars in live tournament cashes over the years, but Chattha appeared delighted with his new title, having been so close so often before.  He ended his post-match reminiscences with the odd anecdote that a friend had posted on Facebook a very specific prediction before the final – that, “I would double up off Andrew Feldman, then beat Toby Lewis heads-up.”

    With such extraordinary predictive powers, he’d surely do well at the next leg of the GUKPT, running 9th-16th October.

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