A smaller field turned out for Event #3 in the National Poker League UK Open, but the man alone at the top of the chip stacks was a familiar face to poker fans - Mel Judah. Judah started the final table among the shortest stacks, looking to double up against one of his opponents, like chip leader Nick Persaud, Hermenegildas "Hermes" Zilys, Chris Andreas, Jody Vernon or Sonny Osman.
His chance came early, as he moved all-in on hand #12 after Jody Vernon open-raised with . Vernon called, and was behind not only in chips but in the hand as Judah revealed . Neither player connected with the board, and Judah's Ace-high was good enough to nearly double up, and send Vernon to the rail in 6th place. Play slowed down for a couple of hours, but it was again Mel Judah forcing the next elimination, sending Chris Andreas home in 5th when he made a set of fives on the flop against Andreas' .
The bubble burst shortly after when Hermenegildas Zilys was eliminated in 4th place. Zilys raised preflop with , and Sonny Osman came over the top all-in with pocket 3s. Zilys thought for a moment before making the call, and the board improved neither hand, sending Zilys home one out of the money, as Osman's pocket 3s held up.
Initial chip leader Nick Persaud was the next victim, as it became once again the Mel Judah show. Persaud picked a bad time to make a move with the Hammer, when he re-raised Judah with . Judah came back over the top all-in, and Persaud was pot committed and way behind Judah's , when he caught a piece of the flop to take the lead with a pair of twos. Judah came back from behind to eliminate Persaud when he picked up the on the river to fill his Broadway straight. Persuad went from penthouse to outhouse all in the course of the same hand, but still picked up £3,000 for his 3rd-place finish.
It only took Judah 28 hands to finish off Sonny Osman, as he took a 20K chip lead into heads-up play. Judah and Osman showed true survivors' instincts at the final table, as they started the day as the two shortest stacks, and finished the day as the last two standing. On the final hand, Osman shoved with , and Judah called with . The flop brought a pair of Queens for each player, and left Judah drawing thin to finish off Osman. A spade on the flop along with one on the turn gave Judah a flush draw to give him nine more outs, and when the came on the river, Judah claimed the trophy and the victory, leaving Osman to come from the back of the pack to finish in second place, worth £4,500. Judah picked up the UK Open trophy and £7,500 for his victory.