/ Bookmaker Hardy takes out UK TV’s first ₤1 Million Quiz Show winner to triumph at PartyPoker World Open.
Anthony “The Booky” Hardy has seen many ups and downs in his professional poker career but is celebrating after dramatically winning the PartyPoker World Open III at 3 Mills Studios, Bow, London, last week.The 45-year-old former betting shop owner from Sidcup, Kent, UK, defied the odds throughout to scoop $200,000, the biggest prize of his life. This was despite a very strong 72 runner field that included the likes of Roland De Wolfe, Juha Helppi, Dave “The Devilfish” Ulliott, Liz Lieu, Ian Frazer, Thomas Wahlroos and the Hendon Mob. All were rated more highly in the betting at the start of the event by PartyBets. Hardy himself was what he would call “double carpet,” a 33/1 chance. The event was produced by Matchroom Sport and will be televised on Channel 5 in the UK and distributed internationally later this year.
“It is a dream to win the tournament, I’m so chuffed,” said Anthony, whose nickname “The Booky” is influenced by the spelling on his car registration plate. “I didn’t hit many cards in the semi-finals or finals but I just continued to hang in there.” Hang in there is what he had to do as Ian Woodley, a fellow London poker pro, looked the most likely winner from the first hand of the final table. At one point, when the action was three way – Woodley had 859,000 of the 1.2 million chips on the table and that was after entering the final six seater as the overwhelming chip leader. Woodley was playing with great skill and like a man who expected good fortune, not surprising really considering he was the UK’s first ever £1 million television quiz winner on TFI Friday on Christmas Eve in 1999.
Anthony, who has been pro for eight years, has some history with Woodley, however, and felt that he could psyche his opponent out if he got him heads-up. “When it was just Ian and I kept telling him I would win,” said Hardy, “it is sweet revenge for when he beat me in the Poker Den a couple of years ago.” Back in the summer of 2005, Hardy won two Poker Den shows in one season, collecting £50,000 each time. He was on course for an astounding third win only to lose a crucial pot to Woodley. Since then, however, he has had some notable success, one of the biggest highlights being knocking Phil Ivey out of a $10,000 Pot Limit Omaha event at last year’s WSOP.
Hardy barely registered a look in the early rounds as attention was focused on the early eliminations of the big names involved, with Devilfish and Roland De Wolfe out first in their heats. The limelight at this stage really belonged to snooker star Jimmy White, who proved he was a “whirlwind” on the felt by winning both the special celebrity table and a heat involving pros only.
“The Booky” went on to the final table in third position but admits that the path to the showcase was rocky. “My initial heat was very strong, including the likes of Arshad Hussain and Barny Boatman. Then in the semis, I was down to just 37,000 chips but managed to double-up twice. Before that, I thought I may be history.”
CHIP COUNTS AT START OF FINAL TABLE
On the final table the first eliminated was a short stacked David Rudling, whose pair of aces lost to Woodley’s straight. Next went Ian Frazer, whose record in this format and weight of money meant he entered the final table as the favourite according to bookmakers PartyBets. Frazer made his pair of fives a set on the flop, only for Woodley to hit a club flush on the river. All this time, Ram Vaswani had sat patiently and kept himself out of Woodley’s way building his stack up to the region of 300,000. That was until Woodley, with queen-two trapped him after hitting two pair on the flop, eventually making a full house when a queen came on the river.It was all over for Ram and his pair of Kings.
Next to go was Ian Cox, whose stack had been going up and down like a yo-yo all day but crucially for Anthony Hardy it was not at the expense of Woodley this time, the chips went to “The Booky.” Hardy’s pair of jacks held up as by holding king-jack he had the better kicker. As co-commentator Roland De Wolfe said at the time “Hardy had sneaked through the back door,” and Woodley had positively “steamrollered” the field.
When the action went heads-up Woodley was 756,000 to Hardy’s 444,000 and after frequent swings Hardy got the advantage. The final hand saw Woodley go all-in with king-five unsuited from the small blind, only to run into Hardy’s pair of queens that held up after no help for either player on the board. All Woodley could say at the end was, “that’s poker.” The last word therefore went to Hardy, who said, “that’s the booky ladies and gentlemen!”
A PartyPoker spokesman said: “Anthony’s patience and never say die approach made him a deserved winner. “The Booky” is the kind of player you don’t find as often these days, he is an old school live cash game player but got involved in tournaments when internet poker took off. You won’t find him with an iPod or headphones on but you might need both if he is trying to talk you off a hand!”
PARTYPOKER WORLD OPEN III (ALL UK)
Dieser Artikel erschien auf PokerOlymp am 09.05.2007.