PokerStars Festival London: Mid-day update: Pagano leads Main Event

The plan today in the Main Event is to play a dozen levels. Each level lasts 45 minutes and we're currently in the sixth of the day. The blinds are 250/500 ante 75. Let's take a look at the key action so far.

Mid-day update

It seems that 11am is the cutoff point for what's deemed an unacceptable start time for a poker tournament. Midday seems absoultely acceptable but push it back and hour and it's like you've told players they'll have to pay the big blind twice an orbit and sacrifice the button to boot. Still, plenty of players showed up for the shuffle up and deal.

As the late-registrants continued to flood in Michael Koren had already doubled his stack. The 33-year-old from Zurich eliminated a player after just 20 minutes and gave us a rundown of how he all but doubled his stack. When asked if poker was what he did for a living, Koren shook his head and said. "I aspire to, but not at the moment."


Michael Koren

But that was then and this is now. By the time level, five turned into level six, there was a familiar name at the top of the chip counts and he was very much a pro. Team PokerStars Pro Luca Pagano occupied that lofty spot with a stack of 95,000. He climbed to top spot courtesy of eliminating Leon Louis in a huge pot when both players made big hands.

On a [A][Q][4][J][J] board the Italian held pocket queens for a full-house, while Louis had [Kx][10x] for a turned straight. Pagano informed us that most of the chips went in on the river with Louis check-raising all-in. Pagano has 21 EPT Main Event cashes to his name, but never managed to book a cash on the UKIPT. Perhaps his luck in London will change in the Festival era.


Powerful start from Pagano

While Pagano has been there, done that and got the hip flask, not everyone is as experienced as the Italian pro and it's everyone's first PokerStars event at some point. If you're heading here this week to play an event or thinking about trying to qualify for an event in the future, then my colleague Howard Swains wrote about what to expect at a live PokerStars event.

Chip counts and eliminations

Other players who've turned their stack of 30,000 into something more substantial include: Hubert Attali (91,000), Vojtech Paxian (70,000), Allera Florence (62,000) and Alexis Fleur (52,000). Notables in today's field of 157 (and counting, late-reg is open until 4:10pm) include Aditya Agarwal, Morten Mortensen, Alex Goulder and Joe Grech.

Unfortunately for Steve Watts, Albert Sapiano, Hitesh Asani, Noel Broadbent, Sergio Cortese, Peter Jaksland they're among the early eliminations today. They may yet make Day 2 though as they've got the option of entering the turbo Day 1D at 10pm on Friday.

Key coverage links

All PSF London feature pieces can be perused here.

Live updates of the High Roller and the Main Event can be accessed via Poker News

The PokerStars Festival London schedule, featuring structures, start times and more information on all 22 events can be accessed here.

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 the @PokerStarsLive Twitter account of event information and announcements.

Nick Wright
@PokerStars in Live Poker