The Grand Prix KO Series Main Events take place on August 2, and whoever wins them will hit the headlines, and rightly so. However, one partypoker player, Gareth Gardner, has his own incredible story; he reached the final table of both the High Roller 6-Max and 6-Max events at the start of the series.

Gareth is a 27-year-old British Army Officer from Leicestershire, who has served Queen and country for four years to date. He loves playing poker when not on exercise and does quite well for himself. It is only since joining the army that Gareth has taken poker more seriously.

“I played the occasional home games as a teenager, enjoying the competition but without any real strategy. I picked the game up years later as a university student in Newcastle and developed a keen interest, playing small stakes regularly online and in local casinos. Arguably, I should have been spending that time studying!”

“Them after a period of no poker, while attending the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, I again played online and studied more seriously, having some success and growing my bankroll to where I am now comfortable playing mid and some higher stakes MTT online, alongside my career.”

A Double Final Table Appearance

All the poker study paid off when Gareth finished seventh in the 6-Max for $3,816 and third in the High Roller 6-Max for an additional $37,232. Incredible results, but why did Gareth select these tournaments to play?

“First of all, the structures looked really well designed; this is not always the case with PKOs, but partypoker did a great job with the series. Blind levels were long enough to allow you to pick your spots carefully and this made the overall experience of going deep in the tournaments very rewarding. Playing a separate Day 1 and Day 2 gives you the opportunity to fully refresh your mind and body in between, which is great also. This, combined with the large prize pools, made the Grand Prix KO series very attractive to play.”

Reaching two major final tables I no mean feat in its own right. Managing it requires solid play with a healthy dose of luck.

“It is almost needless to say that I ran well to go deep in these tournaments. A lot of my big hands held consistently in key spots, which was a big contributor to making it deep. I remember playing a couple of interesting hands against Jonathan Proudfoot on Day 2, and I also knocked out Matthew Staples early on in a nice hand where I check-shoved the river with trips after allowing him to bet top pair for thin value; I think this was on his stream. Overall, I was really happy with how I played throughout, although it would have been nice t have won one of them!”

The $40,000 Gareth won is staying in his bankroll, so expect to see Gareth playing in plenty more of our action-packed tournaments.

PKO Tips From a PKO Grinder

Gareth, obviously, knows his way around a PKO table, so it would be unfair to our readers not to ask him for some tips.

“It may seem obvious to some but you really do have to widen your opening/rejamming ranges in PKOs, particularly as a larger stack, to chase bounties aggressively. This principle remains the same even as you get deep in the tournaments where ICM is more prevalent. It creates some really interesting and unique dynamics in the game.”

There are some players who are considering joining partypoker, and getting involved in our tournaments. Gareth has a few words for those of you who are on the fence about playing in our MTTs.

“partypoker are and have been for a while, in my opinion, committed to delivering value for players and investing in the future of poker. For this reason, I would encourage players to show their support to their games with the knowledge that their interests have been considered in terms of security and player experience. However, first and foremost, they have some great value tournament series available to players at all buy-in ranges which you would be foolish to miss. There are always plenty of opportunities to satellite into the bigger events also.”

Before Gareth headed back to camp, he let us know about some of the humanitarian work he and his colleagues have been part of recently.

“It may be of interest that I recently returned from serving on the UN peacekeeping operation in Mali, not long before playing these tournaments. There are some related news articles around the search queries “British Army Mali”. There is some great and really important humanitarian work being done out there.”


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