Valner Storms to MPNPT London Birthday Celebration, winning the trophy and £50,000!

MPNPT London has played to a winner and it is Estonian Paf qualifier Uku Valner who has won this special 5th Anniversary Birthday leg of the tour – defeating Terry Simpson heads up to claim the trophy on this unique occasion. It was especially impressive from Valner, given at one point in the tournament he had been reduced to 2 big blinds. An epic turnaround by any definition.

“It’s my first cash in the Main Event!” enthused Valner following his victory for £50,000 after a long but ultimately rewarding final table battle. He was very complimentary of the MPNPT tournament environment. “The atmosphere is very friendly – it’s competitive but always fun at the tables; it’s not like work – we always have a good time!”

The MPNPT family celebrate with Valner

The Microgaming poker tour returned to Aspers Casino, London for its fifth anniversary – going full circle as this was the locale for the very first venue the tour ever visited. It proved a popular decision as the number of entrants eclipsed all previous legs bar MPNPT @ Battle of Malta, the £200,000 guarantee well and truly smashed as a huge prizepool was created to play for – £280,368 in total.

After three days of poker, the 649 entries that were made during the three opening flights had been whittled down to 28 players. They all returned at the start of the day and it took some time before the elimination of Tai Hoang in 10th place saw our final nine players line up to contend the trophy as follows:

Seat 1 David Rudling 1,880,000

Seat 2 James Williams 3,120,000

Seat 3 Chris Da-Silva 685,000

Seat 4 John Magnusson 3,470,000

Seat 5 Nikolay Ponomarev 4,640,000

Seat 6 George Achillea 885,000

Seat 7 Gary Miller 1,945,000

Seat 8 Uku Valner 1,450,000

Seat 9 Terence Simpson 1,440,000

A creditable 9th place for Chris De-Silva – unable to get traction on the final table.

The final started with some drama – Chris Da-Silva threatening a comeback with his shortstack as his A-Q spiked a winner versus Nikolay Ponomarev’s A-K to give him hope – though his next foray into dominated territory spelled his demise as his pocket deuces failed to overturn their underdog status against Williams’ nines, seeing him finish in 9th place for £5,200.

The next elimination surprisingly saw James Williams crash out. He had been in the leading pack for all of the final but played out a huge hand against fellow big-stack John Magnusson – his top pair losing out to Magnusson’s flopped set. Down to a bowl of rice, he was threatening to turn it into an entire paddy field as his 25,000 was transformed to over 700,000 in a series of coups. Finally though the fairytale comeback was curtailed as he lost a coin-flip to Gary Miller – his day done in 8th for £6,900.

The blinds were now rising and Miller was feeling the pressure – going for the blinds with J-Q, David Rudling picked him off with A-T suited and a turned ace left Miller drawing dead. 7th place for last year’s WPT500 winner added £8,700 to the 34 year old poker pro’s growing poker war chest.

What a character – what a guy!

George Achillea was a bundle of fun throughout the final, cracking jokes and taking good and bad fortune with good humour but his hopes of the title were crippled as his jacks ran into Simpson’s kings and despite flopping a jack, a king on the river left him with just a few chips. Like Williams before him – he almost turned this round, dramatically winning pot after pot to reach 7 figures once again but finally his dream renaissance dissolved in similar fashion as he shoved a random king only to run into a dominating big slick to send him out in 6th place for £10,600. Thanks for the entertaining poker you’ve provided George and well played. We’d love to see you again on the tour.

Former chip leader Ponomarev had little go right for him on the final and his exit was a microcosm of his general misfortune – his A-K losing out to A-Q after the latter hit a runner-runner straight. £13,000 was his reward for the hard work that saw him into 5th spot and he can look forward to a profitable future in poker if he keeps up this standard of play.

“My most dangerous opponent” Valner told us of Ponomarev.

David Rudling played a smart and canny game – switching gears at the right times and keeping himself well in contention until near the end. He eventually succumbed as a blind steal with suited connectors ran into Magnusson’s ace-queen and that was it for Rudling and his boisterous, “well-oiled” rail – 4th place and £18,000 awaiting him at the cash desk.

With the tournament approaching its denouement, it was John Magnusson who blinked three-handed – his Q-9 suited shove running headfirst into Terry Simpson’s big slick. No outdraw – much to the disappointment of John’s loyal Norwegian rail and suddenly we were heads-up for the title!

Excellent staying power from Simpson saw him through to the runner-up spot.

Valner took around a 2-1 chip lead into the heads-up but Simpson battled his way to parity and even the chip lead at certain points with some unorthodox bet sizing that looked like it was confusing Valner at times.

Eventually though Valner won the key pot – taking the last of Simpson’s chips with Ace-jack versus king-jack and he was crowned champion, winning the trophy, £50,000 cash, plaudits and even a last longer Paf package that will see him return for MPNPT @ Battle of Malta.

Simpson can also be very proud of his efforts in finishing runner-up to collect £37,538 having entered the final table as one of the shorter stacks. His rise through the counts to the cusp of victory was just one of the many twists this final table threw up. Rumour is M. Night Shyamalan is planning a film adaptation – working title, “The Shippening…”

Webbe was both the Birthday Boy Last Longer winner and cashed the Main Event.

Aside from the Main Event, there were a multitude of stories and other news on the side. The fiercely contested Birthday Boy competition was taken down by Oskar Webbe, outlasting the other four finalists to secure a delicious  €1,500 package for MPNPT @ Battle of Malta. Well done Oskar!

It’s been a truly enjoyable tournament, packed to the rafters with incident and action. We’ve had a wonderful time with our players and hosts here at Aspers casino and we can’t wait to come back again some time. For now though – that’s it for us. The next stop on the MPNPT will be MPNPT @ Battle of Malta which promises to be another memorable event – you won’t want to miss out on this when it takes place 15th to 22nd October. There will be numerous satellites and other ways to qualify for Malta – start planning now!

Thanks for following us on our journey to crown the MPNPT London champion. It’s been a fantastic journey – join us next time to be a part of the tour. We’d love to see you.



Place Player Qualifier Prize
1 Uku Valner Paf £50,000
2 Terry Simpson £37,538
3 John Magnusson Guts £24,000
4 David Rudling £18,000
5 Nikolay Ponomarev £13,000
6 George Achillea £10,600
7 Gary Miller £8,700
8 James Williams £6,900
9 Chris Da-Silva £5,200
10 Tai Hoang £3,810
11 Gudmundur Gunnarson £3,810
12 Caglar Genc £3,810
13 Robin Davis £3,080
14 Alexander Clark Grosvenor Poker £3,080
15 Andreas Johannessen £3,080
16 Andreas Thorvaldsen Guts £2,660
17 Giorgos Onisiforou £2,660
18 Sang Leung £2,660
19 David Gee Grosvenor Poker £2,320
20 David Clark £2,320
21 Tuomas Urtti Guts £2,320
22 Birajay Paul Singh £2,070
23 Glen Gaines Grosvenor Poker £2,070
24 Blair Charlwood £2,070
25 Gonzalo Gonzalez Guy £1,820
26 Kuljinder Sidhu £1,820
27 Charles Akadiri £1,820
28 Niko Nyman Guts £1,590
29 Antonino Esposito £1,590
30 Piotr Kmieciak £1,590
31 Fabio Sperling £1,590
32 Richard Hasnip £1,590
33 Paul McTaggart Grosvenor Poker £1,590
34 Jan Adriaanse Betsson £1,590
35 Attila Erdei Redbet £1,590
36 Zhongming Liao £1,590
37 Matthew Page £1,370
38 Kevin Dean Grosvenor Poker £1,370
39 Jari Karkkainen Paf £1,370
40 Martynas Klastaitis 32Red £1,370
41 Zhivko Todorov £1,370
42 Jari Hurri Paf £1,370
43 Keith Hoang £1,370
44 Andrew Macleod Grosvenor Poker £1,370
45 Simon Green £1,370
46 Priit Brikker £1,170
47 Jan Severa £1,170
48 Annette Julia O’Carroll 32Red £1,170
49 Oskar Wedde Guts £1,170
50 Mats Elofsson Paf £1,170
51 Nicholas Trattou £1,170
52 Dmitrijs Golovanovs Grosvenor Poker £1,170
53 Matthew Cheetham Palace Casino £1,170
54 Kevin Hall £1,170
55 Masoud Etemadiherisi £980
56 Ronnie Ballantyne Betsson £980
57 Jose Alonso Alarcon £980
58 Jari-Pekka Rattya Paf £980
59 Robert Szegedi £980
60 Jonathan Klingenberg 32Red £980
61 Kerryjane Craigie £980
62 Lewis Cheetham £980
63 Constantin Baraitaru £980
64 Marco Herman £840
65 Craig McGregor £840
66 Tsvetelin Goranov £840
67 Richard Kellett £840
68 Mohammed Sohel £840
69 Michael Vornanen Paf £840
70 Fabio Miranda £840
71 Paul Askamp Betsson £840
72 Dinarte De Sousa £840
73 Benjamin Ohana £700
74 Chaofan Lei £700
75 Andrey Dimitrov £700
76 Glen Davage £700
77 Max Deveson £700
78 Atanas Pavlov £700
79 Mons Berg Coolbet £700
80 Stephen Draper £700

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