There are times when winning a poker tournament has to do with mostly luck and Ben Mayhew admitted as much on Monday night. He won the UK and Ireland Poker Tour (UKIPT) Nottingham 6-max Main Event after a thrilling final table and lots of twists and turns.
“You get tournaments where you’re at the final table and you look at one guy and you think, God, he’s really bad, how did he get there? I think today that was me,” Mayhew said after the big win, according to PokerStars Blog.
Nobody could predict that Mayhew would be the last man standing at the Dusk Till Dawn Poker Club in Nottingham. He started the day fourth in chips, lacking confidence after an exhausting third day. Mayhew felt the pressure right from the start with David Clifton-Burraway and Tony Salmon playing him aggressively and taking from Mayhew half of his final table starting stack. With 15 big blinds left, Mayhew took a chance and called an all-in with Ace-Four. His opponent, Salmon, had pocket sixes and a 70% chance of winning the showdown. The flop and the turn, however, spoiled Salmon’s plans and Mayhew survived to play another hand.
After the elimination of Sergio Aido (sixth place and £20,700) and Tim Wong (fifth place and £26,750), Ben Vinson declined the deal possibility and was punished by the poker gods. He busted out in fourth place after being a 76% favorite to win the hand on the flop. He made two pair on a 9-7-7 board and called Mayhew’s all-in bet, which was made with only Ace high. The eight turn set up the disastrous ten river for Vinson with the future champ making an improbable straight.
With Vinson gone, the three left, Mayhew, Clifton-Burraway and Salmon, made a deal and only £15,000 was up for grabs after the negotiations. The rest of the remaining prize pool was split according to stack sizes.
After losing half of his stack, Mayhew was once again lucky and split an all-in pot although he was severely dominated: Ace-Six against Ace-Seven. And his run continued: he crippled Clifton-Burraway’s stack as a 25% underdog. The unlucky player eventually got eliminated in third place winning just his guaranteed-deal prize of £66,514.
The heads-up battle lasted 45 minutes and Mayhew came back strong after starting with a 2-to-1 chip disadvantage. In the last hand, he made an all-in three-bet from the big blind with Ace-King and Salmon called with his pocket sixes. Unfortunately for Salmon, his sixes didn’t hold. Besides his guaranteed prize of £59,296, the runner-up won £5,000 more left out of the deal for whoever finished second.
Mayhew won a total of £72,840 in cash prizes. He knew that somebody was protecting him during the tournament. “I swear it’s my old man. He passed away in March so I think he’s certainly up there. Every time I needed a card it was there, bink! I survived five or six all-ins as an underdog and somehow I got there,” the winner said.