Storm clouds with a silver lining: Tom Kitt leads UKIPT Dublin into final table
At 11.30pm on this Saturday night a clap of thunder pealed across Dublin city. It was the first sound of a coming storm, that of the inaugural UKIPT Dublin final table, which rang out as Tom Kitt eliminated Phil Costello in 9th for €4,800. That knockout has left us with an exciting tempestuous bunch with Kitt leading the action with a huge 1,936,000 stack. Tucked just behind him is Kevin Allen (1,527,000) and Ciaran Taggart (1,386,000). Kitt made a late dash for the chip lead after crippling Costello for half of his 500,000 stack and then taking the rest shortly after. The one-two sucker punch ended with Costello's queens getting cracked by Kitt's pocket tens after it all went in preflop. It was sweet relief to all but Costello as a long day's play came to an end.
There are few clouds that don't have a silver lining and for the players that don't manage to bag the €72,000 first place prize - that lining is that all are now guaranteed at least €4,800. Max Silver, however, has his a lining all of his own and that's being the first player to pick up back-to-back UKIPT final tables and that's no mean feat. Silver finished sixth at the UKIPT Edinburgh for £8,200 and making a second final table here is a solid achievement, especially when you consider that with just 12 players he was chip leader alongside Allen. An ill-timed bluff near the end of the day saw him drop a chunk of chips but with 1,234,000 to his name Silver sits fourth. He stands a great chance of going at least one step further than last time.
Kevin Allen went on an absolute tear a few levels into the day taking his stack from 200,000 to well over a million in what seemed like a matter of minutes.* Allen took out Gavin Joyce in 28th and Chris Brammer in 18th among others as he inexorably built his chip stack higher and higher - until right at the death of the day where he lost a 400,000 pot to Gilligan. Pro player Allen has had some big scores before; $100,000 in the live arena and $53,000 online. He'll certainly be a threat.
*It was more like two hours but in live poker terms that is a matter of minutes.
Storm clouds are a dangerous thing. They can look exciting from a distance but when the cold, hard reality hits home it can be too much for some to take. Seventy-two players returned to the Burlington Hotel this morning to play down to the final eight and along the way many were left holding their heads, and not just because it was the Saturday morning to the Friday night before. Today was a chance for many to shine, pocket some cash and claim a PokerStars title along the way. Among the players that were washed out were James Keys, Chris Brammer, Connie O'Sullivan and Cat O'Neill (alongside a further 60 players to be precise). Keys, who started the day second in chips, looked particularly gutted when he was knocked out after losing big pots to Jaroslaw Lipien with ace-jack to queens and with top two-pair on a 7♣6♥3♥ flop to pocket nines.
Chris Brammer will be disappointed to have come so close yet again. He lost a flip against Mick Graydon at UKIPT Galway back in December to go out in 11th ( €7,000), had his kings cracked by Mike Hill in Manchester for a monster pot that led to a 6th place finish (£9,100) and here in Dublin he lost a 700,000 pot to Kevin Allen with top pair to a flush draw that got there.
I'm certainly - and thankfully - not in charge of unravelling the labyrinthine system of UKIPT Leaderboard points but I can safely say that Brammer's performance here has pushed him to the top of the heap above Mike Hill and Owen Robinson who were ahead of him before this event. The UKIPT Leaderboard winner bags buy-ins and accommodation to all of Season 2's main events. Second and third place get free entry into four and two main events respectively (not EPT London).
Max Silver's second final table has awarded him a lot of points and he's confirmed with us that he's already 'booked the flight' to London and, should he make the money in the £5,000 event there, he stands a very real chance of achieving an incredible late burst onto the UKIPT Leaderboard podium (he's only played the last two events). Find out how all the players fare from 1pm tomorrow where we'll play down to see who becomes the UKIPT Dublin champ.
You can check the final chip counts here and you can click on the link if you'd like to see who won dollar-dollar-bills-yo here today and if you want to catch up with the day's action click on the links below:
Watch the UKIPT Dublin videos here.
Photos (c) of Mickey May.