Monday, 27th May 2024 05:26
Home / News / David Docherty: UKIPT Leader Board Champion

Form may fluctuate, class is permanent.

Cabinet makers of Glasgow stand by, it’s possible that David Docherty is going to be in touch.

The 36-year-old has just been presented with his UKIPT Player of the Year trophy. If there was any doubt the Irish Poker Open champion was going to win the leader board, it was put to bed on Thursday night when he took down the Super High Roller at UKIPT Nottingham, winning a little over £46,000, and stretching an unassailable lead that little bit further into the distance.

Docherty will have to make room in his suitcase for the trophy and room in a cabinet already containing seven trophies, accumulated from victories on the FPS, WCOOP, various live stops and the aforementioned Irish Open.

A remarkable year

It’s been a remarkable year on the tour for the Scotsman, he’s cashed every Main Event, apart from Blackpool and along the way won the Irish Open for €365,000, finished 4th in the Summer Festival Malta Main Event and then put the icing on the cake by taking down the Super High Roller here, just to name a few highlights.

Docherty showed amazing consistency in 2023, cashing in every UKIPT Main Event bar one

However, but for a twist of fate, Docherty would not even have been playing poker for a living anymore. The road has not always been without bumps.

Doubts that nearly forced him out of the game

To give you an idea of how long Docherty has been around, his first cash on the UKIPT came some 4,655 days ago and he made a UKIPT Main Event final table in Dublin in September of 2011, finishing eighth as Joeri Zandvliet went on to win his second Main Event title. Only three other players at that final table have a cash this year.  

By 2019 he felt somewhat disillusioned with the game and applied for a couple of jobs within the poker industry. Then came the pandemic, a break to the norm which would save Docherty’s career.

“Longevity in poker is underappreciated. I did nearly drop out the game a couple of times and the pandemic probably saved me from doing that. It came at the perfect time for me.”

The pandemic boosted online poker fields and gave Docherty a chance to rebuild a depleted bankroll.

“By 2019 I was at my wits end. I’d kinda made the decision to drop out. I’d had a long period of time with no scores, playing everything. I couldn’t get the breakthrough, couldn’t win the important hand at the important time and that had been happening for a large part of my career, both online and live.

“I’d had so many eighth place finishes, 12th place finishes, with six figures up top. Very much crossbar after crossbar. I didn’t let it get me down for the most part until 2019 where the bankroll had been damaged almost beyond repair, my mental health was starting to struggle with it, how long can I really do this?

“I’ve seen every single one of my peers who I hang out with on tour had had a significant score over the years, apart from me. Everyone kept telling me that you just need to keep doing it, it’s going to come through eventually. I did do that, I did it for ten years. But 2019 was the point where I just kinda called it. I don’t think I can keep doing this forever.”

The moment that changed everything

Then, as Docherty puts it, two or three really weird things happened during the pandemic that all went in his favour.

“One is obviously that it happened in the first place. Suddenly everyone got locked in their house and the online games boomed again. I had a chance to rebuild the bankroll online and Jack [Hardcastle] won a WPT during that period for over $400,000.

Docherty and Hardcastle had been best mates for four or five years before Hardcastle’s win and when they came out the other side of the pandemic, Jack now had the means to start backing Docherty.

“He said, why don’t I start backing you into £1k and £2ks in the UK. I was paying my own expenses, but Jack was taking my action. That gave me the opportunity to fire bullets at every stop. I was at every stop, playing every £250, every £500, every £1k, every £2k. Getting the volume in.”

The breakthrough

In October 2021 Docherty finally had his breakthrough moment, taking down a £1k event in Luton for £138,000. As the saying goes, it’s never easy with Dominik Nitsche the player he had to defeat heads-up.

Since then he’s gone on to have more breakthrough moments, in October 2022 he first won the FPS High Roller in Divonne and then final tabled the EPT London Main Event, for a combined $170,000.

Then came the Irish Open in April of this year where he exploded with emotion once he’d sealed the win. “I’m still emotional thinking about it now. The moment the river card came down and I knew I’d won it was really overwhelming. I knew my whole family was watching at home and I had a really cool rail with 15-20 people.”

David Docherty Irish Poker Open

An emotional David Docherty celebrates his Irish Poker Open Win

That win vaulted Docherty to the top of the UKIPT Leader Board and it’s a position he’s never relinquished, showing amazing consistency as he picked up points at every stop along the way to pick up the first prize of £15,000 package for the 2024 season.

As for next year, one well known player is gunning for Docherty’s title. “Benny Glaser messaged me after I won the High Roller here and said “I’m coming for it next season, I don’t want anyone else winning a leader board!”

UKIPT players, you have been warned.

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