Linda Blundell ended her long wait for a victory on the Betfred Ladies Poker Tour by winning the penultimate heat of this year's series at the Broadway Casino in Birmingham.
The Liverpudlian is one of the event's most loyal supporters and had been top of the leaderboard for the most consistent non-winner going into the October leg.
However, Blundell put the record straight by stepping up on her second and third-placed efforts of earlier in the year by securing her place at the Grand Final, becoming the seventh player to book a seat at London's Western Club on November 22.
She overcame tough opposition to do so, finding herself up against 2007 overall champion Lynne Beaumont in an epic heads-up which lasted more than an hour and a half and finally ended at 4.15am.
A pair of queens was enough to seal the success after Beaumont had pushed all in, resulting in a scream of delight from Blundell as she captured the first prize of £2,480.
"The feeling of winning at last was indescribable," said Blundell, who works two days a week teaching IT at a prison. "I'd seen lots of other people do it but I'd always been the bridesmaid. I jumped for joy at the end."
Although Beaumont is still without a victory in a regular heat of the tour – her Grand Final triumph was her sole success – she boosted her chances of a return trip to the Western Club by climbing up the non-winner's leaderboard to third position, just three points behind Kim Jagger who occupies top spot.
Elizabeth Costa, second in the table, also has excellent claims of clinching a Grand Final place by moving to the head of the standings following the final heat which is also at the Western Club on November 1.
Seven of the 10 seats for the Grand Final have now been filled with Blundell joining Michelle Bennett, Karen Dennett, Gina Short, Sue Adams, Emma Strutt and Anne Scambler.
The line-up will be completed by whoever takes first place in the London leg on November 1, the lady that finishes top of the leaderboard after that event and the winner of an online satellite tournament.
Final table finishing order in Birmingham:
1 Linda Blundell
2 Lynne Beaumont
3 Raine Hilson
4 Kate Langshaw
5 Catriona McKay
6 Andrea Turner
7 Anne Scambler
8 Tracey Hawkes
9 Debbie Fox
10 Caroline Salvatore
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