PokerStars Festival London: Cortese profits as ten bust in first two levels

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Francesco Cortese takes over chip lead

The PokerStars Festival London is closing in on its final table after a fast, slow, really-really-fast, start to Day 3 at the Hippodrome. Ten players were knocked out in the opening two hours, including a flurry of four in a matter of five minutes. Our lone Italian representative, Francesco Cortese, assumed the overall chip lead.

The action took us down to the last two tables: 14 players left from a starting field of 778 (and 944 entries in total). Today they'll carve up the lion's share of the £824,112 total prize pool and identify the winner of the title and the £112,720 first prize.

Here's how they stand at the first break in play:

TableSeatNameCountryChips
11Empty  
12Smit TrivediUnited Kingdom2,975,000
13Clement TripodiFrance1,505,000
14Peter BergmanSweden875,000
15Ludovic GeilichUnited Kingdom2,760,000
16James MitchellUnited Kingdom2,690,000
17Yuriy BoykoIreland1,710,000
18Lam Van TrinhUnited Kingdom1,860,000
     
21Eric CechAustralia 1,675,000
22Francesco CorteseItaly3,300,000
23David KahanBelgium970,000
24Rehman KassamUnited Kingdom725,000
25Alexis FleurFrance1,800,000
26Guillem Cusco BachSpain2,600,000
27Daniel HarwoodUnited Kingdom2,800,000
28Empty 

Today's early skirmishes

On the face of it, last night's action seemed slow: tournament supervisors looked at the number of players still left and decided to add a level on to the day. But in reality, the steady traipse out the door never abated, and the pace continued in the first two levels this afternoon.

First up, Edgar Drozdov, one of two very short stacks overnight, did what he had to do when action folded to him in late position. Non poker players may consider it suicide to get all your chips in with three-high (3♣2♣ to be precise) but it was only because Guillem Cusco Bach found A♥Q♣ behind him and called the 10 big-blind jam that it looked so silly. Drozdov was out in 24th, while Bach began a move that took him near the top of the tree.

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Guillem Cusco Bach: Moving on up

Perhaps Drozdov's one error was not to pay special attention to the payout schedule. He received £4,250, the same as the last seven out last night, who were free to do what they wanted today. When Marko Simic went out not long after, losing a flip to Daniel Harwood, Simic earned £5,460.

Ludovic Geilich began his climb back into contention with a huge pot against Kevin Steward, which left the latter with only three big blinds. However, Steward was able to double up twice and watched from afar as Chun Law, Jose Astima and Bappie De Haas beat him to the payouts table.

De Haas's elimination was the most spectacular of this phase in play. He open-shoved from the small blind with 5♠4♥ and Clement Tripoldi called from the big blind with 7♦6♥. Seven high like a boss!

Bopinder Sohal and Jonathan Somekh were also swept away in the flash-flood, while the most experienced players left in the field--the likes of Geilich, James Mitchell, Daniel Harwood and Smit Trivedi moved in the right direction. Somekh's assassin, Francesco Cortese, ended up consolidating his newly acquired fortune and assumed the tournament chip lead with 3.3 million.

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Jonathan Somekh, swept away in the flood

The final player eliminated before the first break in play, Paul Skipper, can rightly claim to have been the most unlucky. He got into a raising battle with James Mitchell and they were quickly all-in pre-flop.

Mitchell had Q♠Q♣. Skipper had Q♥Q♦. Then the dealer had the unfortunate task of peeling out four clubs on the board. "Nothing we can do there, is there," Skipper said as his tournament came to a grim end.

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Paul Skipper: Grim way to bust

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 .

Howard Swains
@howardswains in Live Poker