From fringe to the big show: Nicholas Abou Risk leads Day 1B of UKIPT Edinburgh

ukiptthumb.JPGUnlike the more conventional Edinburgh International Festival the Edinburgh Fringe Festival is a huge open-to-all party that welcomes any and all performers to its many stages. Comedy, theatre, dance or song? Whatever your fancy, it is here. From big names trying out new material to bizarre sideline performances from the likes of Late Night Gimp Fight! and Bangkok Lady Boys.

While we're obviously not directly relating any of the players here at the UKIPT Ediburgh main event to acts like that we think there is a valid comparison (come on, work with us on this, people). The key to the fringe is that it is unjuried so that anyone can contribute. If you want to stand on a corner flicking a balloon back and forth between your legs while shouting: "Negreanu! Duthie! Coren! Raymer! MONEYMAKER!" then you can. It is much like the collective Day 1's of the UKIPT here at the Corn Exchange.

If you've qualified, been backed in or have fronted the cash yourself you can play however you want. There's a 15,000 starting stack and a one-hour clock so if you want to ship every hand blind, you can. Obviously what this also means is that the cream rises to the top. Come the end of Day 1B's performances that was very much the case as we finished with players such as Team PokerStars Pros Jude Ainsworth (49,300), Julian Thew (69,500) and JP Kelly (63,800) making it through in fine shape, as did EPT winner Jake Cody (73,400), UKIPT Leaderboard stalwart Mike Hill (40,000). In typical fringe fashion things couldn't run in a normal manner so we finished the day with joint chip leaders in Nicholas Abou Risk (126,900) and Michael Leedham (126,500).

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Michael Leedham: just 500 off the chip lead of Day 1B

Leedham, a 19-year old student from London, got his chips in a succession of busting short stacks and getting it in with a set and holding against a flush draw. He nonchalantly called it: "nothing spectacular, just running good." Ahhh, to have the blissful ignorance of youth.

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Nicholas Abou Risk: a terror and a destroyer apparently

Although they're only 500 chips apart the chip lead has to officially be given to Abourisk, a 25-year old computer programmer from Canada, who was sat to the left of EPT San Remo winner Liv Boeree and Jesse May all day. Did Abou Risk get his chips simply by getting it in during set-ups such as when Boeree four-bet shoved into his aces with K♣J♣ or when she gave him action with the jack-high flush when he had the nuts? According to May, who has made it through with 30,000, that wasn't the case: "He's a terror. He's a destroyer." Big words from May but given the size of his stack, quite accurate.

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Liv Boeree: the face says it all

There aren't that many players that people would like to see do well more than Jesse May. If you don't recognise his face (most understandable given the atrocious wraparound shades) then you'd certainly recognise his expressions. Dubbed the voice of poker Jesse May has commentated on, well, pretty much everything poker related that has been on British TV in the last ten years. Legend isn't a word that should be used lightly...

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Jesse May: the voice, not shades, of poker

Although there have been some great shows here today everyone has been left a little in the limelight courtesy of Owen Robinson whose electric Day 1A performance pushed him into a staggering chip lead with a stage filling 181,900. For a full summary of Day 1A then click here.

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Robinson carries through an enormous chip lead into Day 2

Closely pursuing Robinson and doing their best to drag him down out of the limelight tomorrow will be, among others, the Team PokerStars Pro trio of Ainsworth, Thew and Kelly. All three had up and down days as they tried to build up decent chip stacks to take into Day 2. All three finished the day above average so mission accomplished can be stamped on all of their chip bags.

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Julian Thew enjoyed a late rush to finish on 69,500

Not all Team PokerStars Pros made it through though with Vicky Coren's exit a standard kings versus aces coup which according to Coren was "the universe wanting me to enjoy the festival." Or so said her twitter account anyway. Coren has been a long term fan of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and if you don't believe us then you can take click on the video below and find out for yourself.

The 128 survivors from Days 1A and 1B return for play tomorrow at 12pm. Join us tomorrow then and we'll guide you through all the action as it happens.

To catch up with all the day's action please click on the links below:

Levels 1 & 2
Levels 3 & 4
Levels 5 & 6
Levels 7, 8 & 9

PokerStars Blog reporting team at UKIPT Edinburgh: Rick Dacey and Nick Wright. Photos by and copyright of Mickey May.

Rick Dacey
@PokerStars in UKIPT