PokerStars Festival London: Late night/early morning expected for High Rollers

At about 9.15pm on Wednesday night, a member of the PokerStars LIVE tournament staff gave an estimation as to what time the £2,200 High Roller event might finish.

"By my calculations, 9.30am."

This was a gloomy prognosis (albeit slightly tongue-in-cheek). This tournament started yesterday at 3pm with 166 players. After 12 re-entries, the prize pool was a bumper £345,320 but, even so, tournament organisers expected it to be done within two days.

However, then there was an epic bubble this afternoon and the two-day assessment looked a little optimistic. That 9.30pm discussion took place with 12 players still left and they hadn't even had a dinner break.

As the clock ticked down towards the end of Level 19, Valentin Frunze was knocked out. Joe Johnson has been running exceptionally hot since the bubble burst and here was another example. Action folded to the chip-leading Johnson in the small blind and with only Frunze's 180,000 still potentially in the pot, he open-jammed.

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Valentin Frunze: Out in 12th

Frunze took a look at his hand and it was good enough for a call. His A♣Q♥ was smashing Johnson's K♦3♣. But this is poker, ladies and gentlemen. After four blank cards on flop and turn, the river was the 3♥ and Frunze was out in 12th, winning £5,200. Always the river.

That meant that 11 were left, but they were famished. They opted to go for a one-hour break in order to get the sustenance for a late night. The same member of tournament staff confided that if they were still playing at 2.30 am, which is a distinct possibility, they would make a decision as to whether to send the tournament into a third day.

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Joe Johnson: Chip-leader

At this stage, they are playing on two tables in the "Lounge" section of the Hippodrome Casino, just one more side annex of this wonderful building.

By far and away the best-known player still involved is Team PokerStars Pro Liv Boeree, a former EPT champion and all round superstar. But Boeree is the short stack, with 116,000. Blinds will be 6,000/12,000 in Level 20, so she has just less than 10 big blinds.

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The short-stacked Liv Boeree hoping for the final table

But this is not yet a shallow tournament. The average stack is almost exactly 40 big blinds going into the next level. Here's how the rest of the field stack up:

Table 1

1: Enzo Del Piero - 696,000
2: Yuriy Boyko - 602,000
3: Nicolas Cardyn - 324,000
4: Jonathan Clark - 244,000
5: Liv Boeree - 116,000
6: Nicolas Beker - 324,000

Table 2

1: Javier Zarco - 259,000
2: Neophytos Neophytou - 519,000
3: Joe Johnson - 1,285,000
4: Nathan Manuel - 445,000
5: Harry Lodge - 539,000

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Enzo Del Piero: Big stack on Table 1

We are going to leave them to it, and pick up with either a tournament recap or, more likely, a race to the winner tomorrow as the Main Event plays Day 1B. You can see the list of players who have cashed so far on the payouts page. Meanwhile stick it out with the stoic's stoic Christian Zetzsche on Poker News.

Howard Swains
@howardswains in Live Poker