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WPT First Female Champion

A bumper month for poker in February saw millions made, attendance records smashed and a Russian femme fatale become the World Poker Tour’s first woman champion. Gambling brings you the play-by-play

While we may have talked about the PCA and Poker After Dark raising the stakes in January, in true clichéd “you call that a knife?” Australian fashion, this year’s Aussie Millions turned up a few weeks later to smash those piffling buy-ins out of the park.

This year’s series in Melbourne was a truly bumper affair, with England by-and-large doing to Australia what they did in the Ashes by notching two morale-boosting victories on foreign soil as Richard Ashby and Sam Trickett won big down under.

First up was Ashby, who won a $1,000 buy-in 8-Game Mix event for $23,539, but his efforts were soon blown out of the water by compatriot Trickett who went on the heater of a lifetime by pocketing two colossal scores in the space of only a few days.

First Trickett took down the $100k NLHE event for a vast $1.5 million after defeating London’s Tony Bloom heads-up and then he followed up the win with a runner-up finish to Erik Seidel in the $250k Super High Roller event for another $1.4 million.

In doing so, in the space of less than a week, Trickett earned more than double his previous career earnings prior to his trip down under, while Seidel also made a little piece of history by becoming the winner of the most expensive tournament ever held.

Of course, with all that action going on in Australia it would be easy to forget that other events were taking place in the rest of the world and – wouldn’t you just know it – Trickett was once again back among the thick of the action as the WPT hit Paris.

The tour visited the French capital as part of its new regional series, with the EFOP Diamond Championship seeing Trickett gain yet another score this year as he finished sixth to earn €43,545 on a final table that rewrote the WPT history books.

The reason for the event’s significance was that Russia’s Nadia Nikitina became the first person in the tour’s nine-year history to win an open event as she defeated Frenchman Alexandre Brivot heads-up to earn her first major score of €243,830.

Before that, however, the tour proper visited Italy for WPT Venice, a gala event that saw Alessio Isaia take home the title. The Italian captured €380,000 by beating Szalbocs Mayer on a final table that also included former EPT winners David Vamplew and Max Lykov.

Back in the UK meanwhile, shove was in the air on Valentines Day as a colossal 1,058 entrants all managed to shake off the attentions of their significant others to play UKIPT Nottingham, creating the biggest tournament ever to be held in the UK.

However, despite the all-star cast of UK rounders and PokerStars pros, it came down to a humble web developer from Newcastle to wield his tournament axe as Gareth Walker emerged as the last man standing from the record-breaking field.

The affable Geordie pocketed £109,000 for defeating Brett Angel heads-up, though he was indebted to a huge slice of good fortune after his 9c 6c successfully turned a flush to crack Angel’s pocket tens, with the runner-up receiving £68,700 for second.

With so much going on in the live arena, you’d be forgiven for thinking that February was a relatively quiet month online, but not so. Full Tilt returned once again with a brand new FTOPS, with over $22 million in prizes guaranteed across its 45 events.

In terms of big-name winners, it took the latest series a little while to explode into life, but when it did it was down to Scott Clements to score one for the pros as he won $290,500 against the recently-crowned WPT champ Alessio Isaia in the $10,000 Heads-Up.

Alongside Clements, other online stars to take down events included Mike ‘SirWatts’ Watson, who took down the £200 7-Stud Hi/Low event and ‘AndyMcloed’, who won the $240 NLHE 6-Max tournament for a handy $163,365.

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