PokerStars Festival London: Fleur blooms late to lead heading into final day
It was advertised this morning as "moving day" and that was a stone-cold true fact.
By the time the PokerStars Festival London Main Event had played through the 11 levels that constituted Day 2 today, all but 24 of the 347 players returning overnight were out.
That was a particular shame for them because we also learned today that there was £824,112 in the prize pool, with £112,720 for the winner. What were they all thinking getting knocked out like that?
It was particularly hard on Marc Hunter, who burst the bubble when he went out in 184th. But there was no shame in it. "Box Office" William Kassouf was also toasted today. Richard Evans was swimming with the fishes too. Even Jose Ruben Rubio Garnito, who knocked out Hunter to put them all in the money, will not be coming back tomorrow.
However, moving in the other direction as the fallen were straggling home were a clutch of others. Some of them we know, some of them we have just met. Alexis Fleur, for example, is one of France's poker nomads, travelling the world to play the game having grown up in Paris. The 24-year-old is predominantly a cash-game player but is our chip leader, with 6.365 million.
Smit Trivedi, who is second with 2.5 million, went deep in the PokerStars Championship Main Event in the Bahamas a couple of weeks ago. He is playing well again. Lam Van Trinh, third with 2.420 million, picked up the only recorded cash of his career so far at a UKIPT event in Marbella.
Daniel Harwood (1.87 million) was on the final table in London during the same UKIPT season. Yuriy Boyko (1.275 million), fresh from third in the High Roller this week, will still think he has something to say in the Main Event. And James Mitchell (1.41 million), last night's leader, is also still sitting with chips. They'll all be worth watching tomorrow. The full counts are on the chip-count page.
And then there's Ludovic Geilich.
Geilich, a former champion on the UKIPT, and multi-event winning online player, seemed at one point as though he was going to knock out everyone and lead this thing overnight. For instance, he sent Masafumi Saito and then Alexandre Poulain out in back-to-back hands, cracking aces then finding a bigger ace, respectively. He took some late hits but is still a force with 1.5 million.
Tomorrow they have to play all the way to a winner, so it's going to be another late night at the Hippodrome.
All the payouts to date are on the payouts page.
For now it is goodnight and Happy New Year. We're in Chinatown here after all.