PokerStars Festival London: From the penthouse to the outhouse

The king is dead, long live the king!

The headline news is that the chip leader of two levels ago is out and the exit of Francesco Cortese was dripped in drama. Daniel Harwood was already top of the pile by the time the two players clashed in a huge pot, but Cortese still had a top five stack. The pot was still small by the time the two players reached the turn of a Q♥T♦7♠4♥ board. At this point it exploded. Harwood bet, Cortese check-raised, Harwood shoved all-in, Cortese nodded and then called all-in for just over 2,200,000.

In the blink of an eye there was a five and a half million chip pot. Whoever took it would have a huge chip lead and Harwood did not look happy about being called. It soon became clear why. He had 8♥5♥, while Cortese had turned a set with pocket fours. There were 10 outs for Harwood to hit on the river and the 6♦ was one of them.

"Boom! Come on," said an elated Harwood, who was out of his chair and jumping around at this point. "Sorry bro, but why you call the flop man, then you don't hit your set," said Harwood to Cortese. He then composed himself and offered more condolences. "Sorry bro, you played well. Sorry bro."


Harwood chilling with the chip lead

Harwood was still in a state of shock and began to stack chips with his hands still trembling. As for Cortese he took the beat about as well as you can at this stage in a tournament.

We're in London, which is appropriate as like London buses another, potentially tournament defining pot was upon us as two sizeable stacks merged to become a big one. This hand was more straightforward with Smit Trevidi four-bet shoving with pocket queens and Yuriy Boyko snap calling with pocket aces. Bucking the trend of conventional wisdom the aces held up and Trevidi was eliminated in 11th place.


Trivedi - unlucky to run queens into aces

Do London buses come in threes?

On the final hand before the break James Mitchell and Ludovic Geilich clashed in yet another big pot. Mitchell was at risk for 1,400,000 with pocket kings and Geilich had big-slick. An ace on the flop sent the pot to Geilich and Mitchell to the rail.


Mitchell - kings cracked

It's no surprise then that the victors of those three huge pots are the three biggest stacks in the room. This is how the final nine stack up:

1Guillem Cusco BachSpain1,900,000
2Alexis FleurFrance1,950,000
3Clement TripodiFrance2,650,000
4Yuriy BoykoIreland5,200,000
5Lam Van TrinhUnited Kingdom2,120,000
6Daniel HarwoodUnited Kingdom6,700,000
7Rehman KassamUnited Kingdom1,700,000
8Eric CechAustralia 2,070,000
9Ludovic GeilichUnited Kingdom4,200,000

Crowds gather inside and outside

The Hippodrome Casino is located in London's West End and more pertinently, for today, in London's China Town district. Chinese New Year was yesterday and it's now the Year of the Rooster. Celebrations have been going on all weekend and large crowds have gathered outside to watch the celebrations.

It's not the only that streets of London that are packed, there are five concurrent events going on inside The Hippodrome Casino and quite the crowd has gathered to follow the progress of the main attraction. Joe Johnson, Will Davies, Scott Kateian and Ilana Belsky are just four of the interested railbirds keen to watch the action in the Main Event.


The final two tables

Aside from the three huge hands reported above there's been precious little to keep the crowd entertained. It's not that surprising though. After an opening two levels, in which 10 players were sent tumbling, it was always likely the pace of play would slow down a touch. The average stack at the start of the level 26 was a smidgen over 40 big blinds, which is par for an event of this nature.

Barely a pot of note happened until David Kahan moved in for a handful of big blinds and was put at risk by Harwood. The Belgian held T♣9♦ to Harwood's A♣6♠ and couldn't connect with the community cards. He exited in 14th place, winning £7,070.


Kahan cut down in 14th

That was the only elimination of level 26 but level 27 was barely 10 minutes old by the time 13 became 12. Peter Bergman had been towards the bottom of the chip counts throughout play today and found a spot to try and turn his short stack into something more comfortable. Unfortunately for the Swede, at the same time he found J♣T♠, Ludovic Geilich woke up with pocket jacks. Bergman's 12.5% shot didn't get there and he was out in 13th.


Bergman - busto in 13th

Read full details of all today's action, and follow live updates from the PokerStars Festival London Main Event via our friends at PokerNews.

All the PokerStars Festival London schedule information is available on the PokerStars LIVE App, which is available on both Android or IOS. Also make sure to follow us on Twitter: @PokerStarsBlog .

Nick Wright
@PokerStars in Live Poker