Almost 260 students descended on St. Andrews in early April to take part in the biggest poker tournament ever held in the UK — the inaugural UK Student Poker Championships in association with Betfred.com. The tournament, held in the Students Union of St. Andrews University, was the brainchild of Christian Harris, a fourth-year French student, who approached Betfred for financial investment and logistical help in order to get the tournament off the ground.
Competitors were playing no-limit Texas hold’em, the popular poker game that is taking the online world by storm, and tickets to the event were worth £30 each, making a total cash prize pool of £7,770. On top of this cash pool, the winner would also receive an all-expenses-paid trip to the World Series of Poker — to be held in Las Vegas in July— courtesy of Betfred.com. A ticket for this event alone is worth $10,000!
Held over two days, the starting field of 259 was whittled down to just 30 by the end of day one, with Nikolas Spathis from Aberdeen University ahead in the chip count.
All qualifiers for the second, and final, day were guaranteed a prize, but play was understandably cagey as all players wanted to make it to the prestigious top table of 10 and into the big money.
By late afternoon on Sunday, there were just three left battling for the trophy: Darius Nikbin, who’d travelled up from Imperial College in London; Dhruv Doshi, from Warwick; and Calum MacNicol from St. Andrews. With a huge proportion of the chips sitting with Calum, the others dug deep and won a few hands, but it was to no avail. Calum claimed the title and prize money.
UK Snooker Champion, and keen poker player, Stephen Maguire presented the UK Student Poker champion …