EPT11 London: Red-hot Leo 'ISILDRooN' Nordin heads Day 1B at half-way stage

Getting to the half-way stage of the opening day on the EPT is not as easy as you might think - especially not if you find yourself on the same table as a man on a heater.

Indeed, it's sometimes not even all that easy to make it through the first hour in those circumstances, as Robert Black will attest. His EPT London lasted about seven minutes before he ran his straight flush draw into Leo Nordin's nut flush. Black missed and Nordin started chipping up.

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Leo Nordin: As hot as the colour of his jacket

Nordin's rush didn't end there, however. He knocked out another two players through the next couple of levels and as the vast majority of the field headed off for their second break of the day, Nordin was still involved in a hand against Alexandre Sako.

Sako got all of his chips in the middle on the turn, when they were looking at a board of 9♠[10h]Q♦8♠. Nordin called. Sako tabled A♠J♣, which had a good chance of at least a split. But Nordin had K♠J♦ for the better straight, and that sent Sako for a very, very long break indeed.

Nordin, a Swede who plays online as ISILDRooN, is the chip leader of this tournament at the half-way point of the first day. He has about 135,000.

Speaking of heaters, Pablo "Gordiju" Gordillo has been on fire of late. On one Sunday at the beginning of this month, he managed to win the Sunday Kick Off, the Sunday Storm and then the Bigger $55 on PokerStars. Let's repeat: On. The. Same. Day. Gordillo made the final table at EPT Vienna last season and has transitioned back to the live arena very comfortably. He is another player with about 100,000 in chips.

Davidi Kitai, who turned up late but got straight into the groove, has also broken through the 100,000 mark. Steven Watts, the former professional footballer, is not far behind with about 90,000.

EPT London is proving to be something of a reunion for a lot of old friends and we were happy to see John Gale back in the field of a major live tournament. Gale has had a long association with PokerStars, dating from his triumph at the second ever PCA. He has been through a few rough times since then but is building a decent stack here.

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John Gale back in action

He had about 70,000 even before he managed to turn pocket queens into a straight on a J-8-9-10 board and get paid off by a seven.

There's a very strong British contingent in the room, as you might expect for a tournament in London, and one of the most famous players in these lands is having a blast on home soil so far. Liv Boeree is also up to about 90,000 already.

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EPT London is not the same without a beaming Boeree

Her fellow Team PokerStars Pro, and fellow EPT Sanremo champion, Vicky Coren Mitchell is also in today's field, but has about a third of Boeree's stack. Coren Mitchell is also £5 lighter after folding to a bet from Ole Schemion on a pretty well connected board, then telling the German phenom that she would give him five pounds if he could show her a better hand than ace-high.

Schemion flipped over K♣5♣ which had connected rather well with the three clubs on the board. Coren Mitchell dipped into her handbag to pay the man. She is good to her word.

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Vicky Coren Mitchell, with Ole Schemion (foreground)

PokerStars' Mind Sports Ambassador Jennifer Shahade also found herself with something of an unenviable table draw today, playing into both Ludovic Geilich and David Ulliot. But both of the latter have already been sent packing, while Shahade remains.

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Jennifer Shahade, David Ulliot and Ludovic Geilich

We are now up to 414 players for Day 1B, added to the 224 of yesterday. That gives us a combined field of 638 and counting, which marks an increase on last year's 602. It means there will be a bigger first prize than Robin Ylitalo's £560,980.

Other selected counts:

Jennifer Shahade - 46,000
Talal Shakerchi - 35,000
Marc-Andre Ladouceur - 35,000
Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier - 50,000
Max Greenwood - 80,000
Mickey Petersen - 28,000
Luca Pagano - 22,000
Joao Nunes - 37,000
Theo Jorgensen - 32,000
Gaetano Dell'Aera - 61,000
Patryk Slusarek - 75,000
Ole Schemion - 11,000

Follow our coverage of the EPT London festival via the main EPT London page, where there are hand-by-hand updates and chip counts in the panel at the top and feature pieces below.

Howard Swains
@howardswains in European Poker Tour