As always a great day was had by all at the Circus Casino, Star City, Birmingham with ten players battling out the final table for a share of the £1,000 prize money and, more importantly the seats for the National Final.

When Chris Dawber and John Carroll bust out in tenth and ninth respectively we waited for the dreaded bubble and boy what a bubble it was. Six foot ten inch Jack Costello sadly does NOT play poker half as cool as his name suggests. His pals from The Bell Inn, Coventry had told me how amazed they were at him making the final table given he would think nothing of calling an all in with 72 off suit. The gentle giant pushed all in and left all of us completely baffled given that Aaron Wood, the player immediately to his right had only ONE CHIP LEFT and was facing both blinds in the next two hands. So, Mr Costello decided his A9 off suit would be worthy of an early position all in, it got called, and off he went. Myself, his pub mates, and everyone else left at the casino suggested his move was completely bonkers, Mr Costello however was far too excited about the twenty quid he had won to deal with such trivial matters!!!! The Bell Inn trio could console themselves with winning the trophy for Best Pub Team.

Aaron promptly lost his one chip but there then followed a lengthy battle before we lost Phil Hart and Richard Williams. Chip lead passed back and forth between the remaining four players with Chris Baker eventually out in fourth. Brian Tackaberry, having been chip leader on numerous occasions eventually bust out in third, collecting a hundred quid for his troubles which left Slovakian giant Dusan Porubsky to battle with eighties throwback Ross Brummell and his Spandau Ballet haircut. An almighty heads up tussle ensued which saw Ross suck out more times than the kitchen sink and eventually win the tournament when his K7 off suit again defeated Dusans far more respectable AT suited. It’s a funny old game.

Cash Prize Winners
1. Ross Brummell – Hilly House, Dudley
2. Dusan Porubsky – Wyggeston, Burton upon Trent
3. Bryan Tackaberry – Castle, Droitwich
4. Chris Baker – Woodmans Rest, Birmingham
5. Richard Williams – Bear & Staff, Birmingham
6. Phil Hart – Mount Pleasant, Coventry
7. Aaron Wood – Farmer Johns, Streetly
8. Jack Costello – Bell Inn, Coventry

National Final Qualifiers
Ross Brummell
Dusan Porubsky
Bryan Tackaberry
Chris Baker
Richard Williams
Phil Hart
Aaron Wood

Team Winners
Bell Inn, Coventry