Brighton was bustling with anticipation as the UKIPT made its triumphant return to “London-by-the-sea” after a 12-year hiatus. And what a spectacle it was! PokerStars Team Pro and Twitch streamer Benjamin “Spraggy” Spragg took center stage, winning his first major live title for £69,120. In the final moments, he outdueled poker superstar Dominik Nitsche in a quick heads-up match.
The £1,100 Main Event, which spanned from September 7-10, attracted 352 entries. This impressive turnout generated a prize pool of £337,920.
The final table was a tapestry of talent and diverse backgrounds: two qualifiers in Sebastian Gohr, who secured his ticket through Power Path online, and Oliver Hutchins, a local casino satellite winner. Among the finalists was also Alessandro Spina, the ex-professional rugby player-turned-poker enthusiast. Football YouTuber and podcaster Adam McKola brought his unique flair to the mix. However, it was Spraggy who was met with the most applause and cheers when announced.
McKola’s departure in third place set the stage for an electrifying heads-up between Nitsche and Spraggy. Spraggy entered the HU battle with a nice chip lead, rapidly expanding it to a more than 3:1 advantage. Just when victory seemed certain for the Brit, Nitsche hit a straight on the river, causing a reset in the head-to-head battle dynamics.
However, momentum swung back Spraggy’s way when he successfully called an all-but-one-chip all-in bluff by Nitsche. The next automatic all-in hand sealed Nitsche’s fate, concluding the event with him in second place, taking home £42,150, while Spraggy celebrated his first UKIPT trophy and £69,120.
“It’s unbelievable,” an emotional Spraggy remarked post-win. “I’m genuinely really emotional. I didn’t think I would be because there was such a good atmosphere at the final table, it didn’t feel like a final table. Having Adam [McKola] there and other players I know, it didn’t feel that intense.”
Reflecting on the nuances of live tournaments, Spraggy added, “There’s something to be said for winning titles in the live environment, where you have friends with you and onlookers watching, and the whole event. The first thing I was able to play was a UKIPT, so for this to be my first major tournament win, it’s really nice to come full circle. I’ve had so many near misses, I was determined to put my best foot forward today.”
“I no longer feel like an online guy who plays a bit of live. I’m just a poker pro.”
On the heads-up against Nitsche, he continued, “My adrenaline really kicked in, and I was really feeling it. I had such a big chip lead that it actually put pressure on me. But you’re not playing against just any poker player. Dom is one of the best in our industry. He’s been there and done it, so I didn’t want to give him any room.”
With this achievement, Spraggy has now etched his name in PokerStars history. He becomes the first Team Pro member to win a PokerStars Main Event since Victoria Coren-Mitchell’s illustrious EPT victory in 2014.
2023 UKIPT Brighton Final Table Results