Grassroots Poker Is Alive and Well as Kyle Jeffrey Wins The Goliath

  • Jeffrey outlasted a record 10,583 entrants to win The Goliath, securing £200,000 ($230,236)
  • Speaking with VSO News, Katie Swift described the Goliath as the “most fun festival of the year”
  • Emily Glancy beat 219 entrants to win the Ladies event, Jack Hardcastle won the GUKPT Main
  • Georgescu, Tarimo, Reed, Cheslin, and Jeffrey played it out for the ultimate prize on the final table
  • Breaking the record for entrants to a non-Vegas comp indicates grassroots poker is alive and well
Kyle Jeffrey
Kyle Jeffrey (pictured left) won the Grosvenor Goliath tournament, which broke the record for the most entrants for a live poker competition outside of Las Vegas. [Image: Grosvenor Poker Twitter]

Jeffrey is the last person standing

Last month, the Estrellas Barcelona shattered the record for the largest live €1,100 ($1,092) buy-in in the history of European poker. Last week, the tenth edition of the Grosvenor Goliath broke the record for the biggest live poker tournament held outside of Las Vegas. 

outlasted an extraordinary 10,583 entrants

When the dust settled, Kyle Jeffrey was the last person standing, having outlasted an extraordinary 10,583 entrants in this colossal £150 ($173) buy-in to win £200,000 ($230,236). Cheered on by a good-natured rowdy rail, he defeated fellow-countryman Luke Cheslin in a short heads-up battle after a surprisingly long final table. 

While there was certainly big money at stake, Grosvenor pro Andy Hills put the emphasis on the fun aspect of this festival, telling VegasSlotsOnline News:

“The Goliath is always huge but this year has been the best yet – record breaking attendance across all events, and as good an atmosphere as I can remember, with every player Ive spoken to having had a whale of a time, win or lose.”

Glancy and Hardcastle in the winner’s enclosure 

10,584 players across eight starting flights were whittled down to just 1,075 for Day 2 on Saturday, four of whom were Grosvenor-sponsored pros Katie Swift, Euan McNicholas, Andy Hills, and Jamie Nixon. Swift, who finished runner-up in this event in 2015, also spoke to VSO News:

“Goliath is the most fun festival of the year. Apart from finishing second, I have cashed it every year, including when it played out online during the COVID lockdown years. That’s a record of which I am very proud. With incredible satellites in the big build-up to the event, along with a brilliant festival schedule that offers events to suit every poker player’s budget, it attracts the masses.

I’m already looking forward to it returning bigger and better next summer!”

Part of that build-up was the Goliath Ladies event, hosted by Swift and won by popular Unibet Poker twitch streamer Emily Glancy. A talented, studious, and hard-working player, she beat the 219-entry field to win £5,865 ($6,751) and a Main Event seat for a career-best live score. 

Also in the winner’s enclosure was rising poker star Jack Hardcastle who took down the £1,000 ($1,151) buy-in Grosvenor UK Poker Tour (GUKPT) Main Event. Thought by many to be one of the best tournament players in the UK, he defeated a field of 549 to record his second GUKPT Main Event title, adding to an impressive resume that includes a couple of World Poker Tour titles and an 888 title. 

An engrossing denouement to an epic festival

Just 42 players survived to Day 3 on Sunday, all gunning for first place in what was a top-heavy payout structure. Chip-leading at the start of the day was Saied Yolmeh who went on the mother of all spin-ups on a Day 2, going from 19,800 (2.5 big blinds and the shortest stack in the room) to 15,350,000.

Yolmeh would convert that lead to a final table appearance, ultimately bowing out in sixth place. With 27 players left, the mercurial and seemingly un-bustable David Reed was in pole position. He was still in the box seat come final table time as Phil ‘The Tower’ Heald and Jay Harwood commentated on the engrossing denouement to an epic festival. 

the quintet of Georgian Georgescu, Charlie Tarimo, Reed, Cheslin, and Jeffrey played it out

With five remaining, there was talk of a deal, but no business could be agreed upon and the quintet of Georgian Georgescu, Charlie Tarimo, Reed, Cheslin, and Jeffrey played it out. As soon as negotiations fell apart, Cheslin scored a double-up, holding with Kings versus Nines to take the lead. Georgescu fell in fifth, followed by Reed who cockroached his way back into contention with a series of unlikely double-ups but would ultimately bust in fourth. 

When Tarimo was eliminated in third, the scene was set for Jeffrey and Cheslin who got it in almost immediately.

The Final Table Finishing Positions

1. Kyle Jeffrey £200,000 ($230,244)

2. Luke Cheslin £134,000 ($154,263)

3. Charlie Tarimo £89,120 ($102,596)

4. David Reed £60,960 ($70,178)

5. Georgian Georgescu £39,020 ($44,920)

6. Saied Yolmeh £26,820 ($30,875)

7. Young Seo Yoon £20,730 (23,865)

8. Gareth Cresswell £17,070 ($19,651)

9. Peter Norton £14,630 ($16,844)

Poker is alive and well 

The title, the trophy, but more importantly the £200,000 ($230,244) went to Jeffrey who spoke to Heald (who doubles as Goliath MC) at the end:

“The money is life-altering. I can do so much with it. I cant wait. But Im going to be doing a lot more poker, thats what Im looking to do going forward.

The Goliath premiered in 2011 – its name promising a giant field. It did not disappoint as 1,765 players showed up for what was, at the time, a massive tournament. Since then, it has grown year on year, proving the health of the poker ecosystem at a grassroots level. 

During the penultimate Day 1 this year, a huge cheer rang out in the poker room as it was announced that the prizepool had swollen to £1m ($1.2m) for the first time at the festival. There was another round of applause at the start of the final Day 1 when the number of entrants ticked past 9,300 to break the record for a poker tournament held outside of Las Vegas. A third ovation took place later that day when the number surpassed 10,000 – an extraordinary milestone in European poker history. 

Grassroots poker is alive and well.