PokerStars Festival London: Big stacks, big field, big city
The largest event played in London on the United Kingdom and Ireland Poker Tour (UKIPT) took place in the Connaught Rooms in Covent Garden as part of the European Poker Tour festival in 2014. It was Season 4 of the UKIPT, Season 11 of the EPT and drew 1,089 players paying £770 apiece.
This week at PokerStars LIVE at the Hippodrome, we watched 778 players come through the door, with the turbo re-entry Day 1D adding a further 166 re-entries. And although that still doesn't quite break into four figures in terms of players, this time the buy-in was £990.
That additional £200, multiplied by 944, means that this week's prize pool of £824,112 is a city record for PokerStars tours at this level. Furthermore, 183 players are going to enjoy a payday this week, which is up from the 159 who were paid when Brett Angell won in 2014.
Conclusion: the PokerStars Festival era has taken off with a bang.
At time of writing, there are two or three players skirting around the 1 million chips mark, with around 95 still left in contention.
They are Guillem Cusco Bach, Mihaita Croitoru and Ludovic Geilich, the last of whom is the best known. The man who called himself "Gr4vyBo4t" is a former champion on the UKIPT and has more than $1.3 million in live tournament earnings. But he's nothing if not volatile: he could easily have double or nothing by the time you're reading this.
Mixed blessings for Team PokerStars Pro. Both Luca Pagano and Felipe Ramos are now out, although they did both make the money. Liv Boeree, meanwhile, has about 445,000 chips, which is about 100,000 more than the average. Having cashed in the High Roller already, Boeree is set to go deep again.
Follow live updates of Day 2 of the PokerStars Festival London Main Event via our friends at PokerNews.