UKIPT5 Series 2 London: Day 2 Level 13-16(2500/5000/500)
14:12pm: Break Time Well, that breathless period of poker has ended with the end of level 16. The players are now going on a break to get some brief respite before they return to determine who will be the bubble boy. We'll be back in twenty minutes for the resumption. See you shortly!
14:05pm: Chan busts 33rd, hand for hand engaged... Wilson Chan has been battling with a shortstack for some time and when he found A♥J♠ and a limping cut-off, he happily jammed his stack into the middle. The limper however had some strength with pocket sixes and made the call - duly winning the flip over the Q♣9♣Q♦Q♠6♥ board to send Chan to the rail. Good game sir, with 32 left we are officially on the bubble, the tournament clock is being paused for any allins and we are playing hand for hand. It's tense out there...
14:03pm: Bridges comes crashing down
A huge hand just played out between Jonathan Bridges and Jerome O'Shea. The pair went to war preflop for their monster stacks and when the cards were turned over - Bridges was in dire shape - his A♣K♠ a huge dog to O'Shea's serendipitously-timed pocket aces. No redemption on a bricky flop meant O'Shea rises to over 600,000 - clear chip leader of the tournament - whilst Bridges is left now short and in trouble with around ten big blinds. "Hand of the year," commented a railbird as the chips were handed over to O'Shea.
14:00pm: West goes North
Tense moment for Marcus West as he found himself all-in, reshoving on Joseph Roberts' opening raise to 11,000 for his 40k ish stack holding A♥K♠. When Roberts called with A♠9♦, West was dominating, though that is no guarantee in poker. However a helpful board of 5♥Q♥7♠3♣2♦ saw him home to a double through to 95,000 whilst Roberts suffers a corresponding dip, dropping to 80,000. Just 33 are left now, we are two places off the money...
13:51pm: Casualties grow as bubble approaches
Variance is a difficult beast to tame and few are completely safe out there as the bubble looms into view. For evidence of this, look no further in the following llist of bustouts than the name of Darren Murphy, who came into the day third in chips but now finds himself on the rail. NO ONE IS SAFE! Bad luck guys: Darren Murphy, Rafael Henderson, Eldad Korn, Leah Reeman, Paul Damian, Garry Sleet Cristian Iuga.
13:45pm: El Annaoui bows out
Erik El Annaoui was in possession of a very short stack which he decided to move allin versus the preflop raise from Cypriot Alexis Savvides. His 8♠6♠ was live but unsurprisingly behind Savvides A♣K♥ and although he remained live till the river a board of J♦9♠9♥Q♥A♦ saw his tournament life extinguished. Savvides meanwhile moves to 170,000. Also going great guns at that table is Hannah Tomlinson, who has worked her starting stack from the day with great aplomb - now up to a potentially chip-leading 295,000.
LEVEL UP: BLINDS 2,500-5,000-500
13:30pm: Moneyspots approach Nails will be bitten to the quick, pulses will race and dreams will be dashed. Joy and tears lie in wait for these intrepid players.
13:18pm: O'Shea takes scalp to further title ambition
Jerome O'Shea has had a sturdy start to the day, bolstered by his recent dismissal of Jonathan Rozema. Rozema had shoved for around 50,000 from early position and O'Shea tanked for some time before calling with pocket nines. The board ran out K♥7♦2♠J♠8♠ to leave Rozema on the rail and O'Shea proudly organising his new 225,000 stack.
13:10pm: Wilson punctured Wilson Chan and Patrick Murray just went to war - a preflop battle seeing the pair get to a 6♠5♠4♣ board. Murray moved his last 28,000 or so into the middle and Chan probably felt quite happy, calling with pokcet jacks on this seemingly safe-ish board. When the cards were flipped - Chan was indeed ahead as Murray tabled A♠K♠ - although Chan recognised the potential of his opponent's strong draw with a whispered, "Wow!" He survived the 9♦ on the turn but the Q♠ on the river saw Murray win what had become a huge pot - the Irishman moving to over 120,000 whilst Chan has been knocked back to 30,000 or so.
13:08pm: Rampant opening We started with 61 but in just over one hour the field has lost 16 of those and we are down to 45 already. Can this incredible rate of attrition continue?
LEVEL UP: BLINDS 2,000-4,000-500
13:04pm: Gone, gone, gone The pace hasn't relented in these early levels. We're seeing aggressive play, pushing of edges and all-round brutality at the felt. The latest players to feel the brunt of this maelstrom of fiery chaos are: Ricky Davies, Dalius Balciunas, Bojan Zekic, Chihao Tsang, Timothy Jone and Ben Mensa-Bonsu. Well played all - enjoy your sunday.
12:49pm: Borza meets Italian Resistance Antonio Borza looked like he might just blind steal his way to the chip lead. He got 3 or 4 shoves through, before finally shoving from the button and running into his earlier nemesis, Carmine Belvedere, once more. Borza had made a legitimate shove with A♠3♥ from the button and it turned out he was marginally ahead - the Italian having called the 25,000 shove with K♦J♣. Borza's slim equity edge dissolved however on the K♥Q♣T♠ and any slim hopes a gutshot jack would dig him out of his predicament disappeared as the board ran out 4♦T♦. "It's frustrating," Borza said sadly to his loyal railfan as he left after shaking hands with his conquerer. Belvedere meanwhile now has 190,000 and is in prime position to battle for the title.
LEVEL UP: BLINDS 1,500-3,000-400
12:40pm: Fours is with Reeman James Rann just made a button shove for his 41,000 stack, Leah Reeman snap-calling from the small blind and the big blind dropping out. "Seat four, table four" said Reeman with a shrug, turning up 4♣4♠. "I like your thinking," laughed Raan, who was flipping with A♠6♦. The laughter ended however as the board ran out 8♣3♦2♣7♥3♥ - Raan losing the flip and hitting the rail as Reeman's stack increases to 93,500.
12:30pm: Dropping like flies A host of small and medium stacks have bitten the dust in the early going. Good game the following: Catalin Dumitrascu, Mike Lee, Naith Hanchard, Nicholas Craxton,Ian King, Benjamin Fergus-Woolf, Kieran Plater and Ben Mensa-Bonsu
12:22pm: Borza Italia
Antonio Borza has come unstuck in the early levels - holding A♥Q♦ on a J♦A♣8♣ board - he and Italian tablemate Carmine Belvedere backed their holdings with their stacks - Borza getting the bad news that he was marginally but crucially outkicked by Belvedere's A♠K♥. A non-helpful runout of 3♦7♣ saw the Italian's advantage remain and Borza was left with just a sprinkling of chips - around 11,000 - with which to mount a comeback. Hope springs eternal however - Borza got two blind steal shoves through to move to around 25,000 - he's still got skin in the game.
12:20pm: Mitchell-(not)in Man
Former Irish open winner James Mitchell is a big name casualty from the early levels. Another BVB confrontation saw Mitchell and Jitesh Mistry reach a 6♠5♦4♣ board - Mitchell shoving over Mistry's initial bet with the pair and straight drawing 7♥[5c.] Mistry shrugged and called with A♠6♦ for top, top and his hand held as the board ran out 9♠ T♦. Mistry up to 140,000 - Mitchell's gone.
12:10pm: Davis finds little sixes
As expected, it's been a quickfire start to the day, Martin David one of the early victims when he went ot war in the blinds for his 40,000 stack versus James Tiltscher. David held 6♠6♣, Tiltscher K♥Q♠ and the latter won the flip over the K♣7♦5♦J♣8♣ board. Tiltscher moves into top ten chip contention with 150,000 whilst David's Sunday has been freed up to go and jump in some of the gathering puddles in Leicester Square - or pursure more mature, productive pursuits as seems likely.
12:00pm: Shuffle Up and Deal! We're underway. Good luck all!
11:55pm: Welcome back to the final day of UKIPT5 Series 2 London We're back at The Hippodrome Casino for the final day - players are buzzing with anticipation, there's a standard and strangely comforting drizzle dampening the streets of London - everything is as it should be and we're primed and ready to go. We've had two dense and hotly contested days of poker leading up to this point - 12 superquick 30 minute levels each day have seen the 250 strong field shorn to less than 25% of its initial size - 61 players left still holding onto dreams of a financial return for their investment. Day 1B's larger field produced the lion's share of chip heroes - Jonathan Bridges the biggest hero of all - his 251,300 seeing him clear by over 50,000 from his nearest challengers - Dahe Liu and Darren Murphy. Murphy has shown his skills here at The Hippodrome before - a final table berth at the UKIPT Series in September 2014 evidence of this. That day his tilt at the title ended in 6th place for £3,900 and he'll be looking to better that achievement here if the winds of fortune favour him, Liu will also be a threat for the title with three previous UKIPT cashes and nearly $120,000 in live tournament cashes to his name. He went about his business with inscrutable efficiency yesterday - watch out for this player. You can view the full chip counts from the start of the day here.
Today will see the remaining 61 players play to a winner. That seems like a lot of poker to get through but the earlier start of 12:00pm and the sharply-increasing blinds mean we'll see that bulky number whittled down to a single champion in next to no time. Before that, there's some crucial poker to be played out though. We'll be kicking things off momentarily so good luck one and all - let's get this underway!
PokerStars Blog reporting team at UKIPT5 Series 2 - London: Rod Stirzaker. Photos by Micky May.