UKIPT Manchester: Day 1a level 2 (blinds 50-100)
4.35pm: Two levels down and it's breaktime
The first two hours of play has come to an end and all the players are off on a well-earned break. It's only fifteen minutes so they didn't have to work too hard for it, right?
Spotting online player Richard Hawes with a 20,000 stack we needed to find out how he picked up his additional 5,000 chips. It wasn't big hands but just some stone cold nerves. 'There was one pot where I called with pocket sixes in the big blind to a hijack raise and then check-called every street,' he explained. Despite there being four over cards to his hand by the river but he felt he was good and he was right. If you didn't know him you'd call him a calling station.
4.21pm: Straight out of London
Well known London player Jerome Bradpiece is starting to makes waves at his table and is back up to 14,000 as a result of the last hand he played. Three players were still involved in the pot as the turn was dealt giving a A♠5♠T♣K♠ board. Action checked to Bradpiece in the cut-off who bet 250 and was only called by Wilbert Deursen in the big blind. The river came 8♣ and Bradpiece over-bet to the amount of 1,000 when checked to and received a quick call for his troubles. Bradpiece turned over Q♦J♣ for the pot as his opponent mucked. Bradpiece obviously knowing better than to try and steal a pot with an overbet at this point in the game.
4.12pm: Got to know when to Holden and know when to fold 'em
Tournament director Dena Hussain has informed the PokerStars Blog of the demise of Steve Holden. Apparently he held a full house but an opponent rivered a bigger boat to send him for an early bath - so to speak. The bar is probably a more likely destination. Or the cash tables...
4.01pm: The cursed black flops
Paul Kristoffersson is not having much luck with the pots that he's involved which carry black flops. He raised from the cut-off to 300 and was called by Wayne Bentley (who made a name for himself at the recent PCA) on the button. The flop came 8♣5♣Q♣ and Kristoffersson's 300 continuation bet was quickly called by Bentley. Both checked through the 5♠ turn before Kristoffersson led for 700 on the 8♠ river. Bentley obviously didn't like this card as he was verbally venting his frustration. He made the call anyway and declared a flush and revealed K♣7♣. It was good though as Kristoffersson mucked. Bentley up to 18,000, Kristoffersson on 9,025.
3.52pm: The storm has passed
It must be said that it was a little frantic on the casino floor a while ago. This is to be expected with such a large field descending on a modestly sized casino. Thankfully we're into level two now and a calmness (of sorts) is descending as all the players focus more on why they're here in the first place: to play poker and win some big cash prizes. The prize pool payments are still being worked on but first prize has to be in the upwards region of £60,000.