Phil Laak won the William Hill Tournament Grand Prix in 2005 to record his biggest ever tournament cash at the time of £150,000 ($265,000).

The tournament buy-in was £6,000 and it was a No Limit Hold’em shootout tournament.  The shootout format had 56 entries producing seven heats with 8 players at each table.  William Hill added £114,000 to the prize pool to create a £450,000 event.

In order to move on to the final table, the player needed to win his heat.  If the player finished 2nd in his heat, he was then entered in Semi-Final whose winner would also advance to the final table.

Famous Players

The William Hill Tournament Grand Prix had a lot of big named contenders, mostly from the U.K. and Europe, due to its location in Cardiff.

He was one of the few Americans taking part in this tournament along with Antonio Esfandiari, Scotty Nguyen and Brian Wilson.

Other well-known players included members of the Hendon Mob – Ram Vaswani, Barny Boatman and Joe Beevers.  Other big names from England included Roland de Wolfe, Peter Costa and Neil Channing.  Finnish superstars Patrik Antonius and Juha Helppi also took part as well as Ireland’s Andy Black.

There were also 8 online qualifiers who won their seats to the event ahead of thousands of other hopefuls via for less than £7 each.

Heat 1

He was drawn in Heat 1 along with other big names in poker such as Juha Helppi, Welsh pro Joe Colclough, John Falconer, Steve Jelinek, Joe Grech and Nick Gibson.  The Unabomber was in the midst of a tough field and had his work cut out for him.

He finished 1st in heat, guaranteeing himself a place at the Final Table.

Here are the results of Heat 1:

1stPhil Laak
2ndJohn Falconer
3rdSteve Jelinek
4thJuha Helppi
5thJoe Grech
6thDave Colclough
7thGeorge Harle
8thNick Gibson

The Final Table

In this shootout format, all players at the final table start off with equal sized stacks with no one having a chip lead when the 1st card is dealt.

The Final Table consisted of other heat winners as well as the semi-final heat winner.  The Final Table included: Roy Brindley, Liam Flood, Greg Hill, Ken Lennaard, Sean Murphy, Pascal Perrault and Ram Vaswani.

With several top poker pros at the table, this would be a tough competition.

When the dust settled, it was the Unabomber in heads up play against the most established player at the table – Hendon Mob member – Ram Vaswani.

He pulled through to win the William Hill Tournament Grand Prix title and £150,000 for his efforts!

Here are the final places and cashes at the Final Table:

1stPhil Laak£150,000
2ndRam Vaswani£95,000
3rdRoy Brindley£65,000
4thPascal Perrault£45,000
5thKen Lennaard£35,000
6thSean Murphy£25,000
7thLiam Flood£20,000
8thGreg Hill£15,000

He was able to record a big win against a tough line up to prove once again that he is one of the best tournament players out there.

About Rigoberto Hight

I'm Rigoberto Hight, a dedicated poker writer passionate about the game. Inspired by Phill Laak's innovative style, I share strategies and insights at His innovative approach to the game continues to influence players like myself, pushing us to think outside the box and challenge the status quo. All players, beginners or experienced players are welcome to follow my updates and elevate their poker game. Instagram / Email