UKIPT Nottingham: Atwal is first into six figures and leads after day 1A
Whenever a poker tour rolls into a new destination, there's always a slight shiver of apprehension; these things are only natural.
Yet by all accounts circling the poker world, there should never have been any fear about arriving to Dusk Till Dawn in Nottingham, which was installed as one of the top poker venues in the country from the very minute it opened its doors.
Similarly, the PokerStars.eu UKIPT was always going to be a success from the word go, and terrific turn outs in Galway, Manchester and Coventry only confirmed what we already knew. All things considered, the Nottingham leg of the newest tour around the British Isles could never have been anything less than wonderful. UKIPT + Dusk Till Dawn is a marriage made in heaven.
Day 1A has just wrapped in this £500 buy-in main event, and yes, it was a good one. We welcomed 268 players and at the end of eight hours, 120 remain. Those most happy with their day include, but are not limited, to the following, who seem to be among the early pacesetters.
Aman Atwal (117,600 chips), Goran Dalum (93,100), Tom Middleton (81,800), Nishar Hassam (78,200), Piotr Majewski (77,500) and Keith Johnson (73,800).
Atwal, a 24-year-old company director from Birmingham, is predominantly a cash game player, but is enjoying his day in the tournament spotlight. In one notable hand today, he flopped two pair with his ten-six and bust two opponents, one chasing a flush draw and another whose aces had been cracked. He also flopped a set of queens to crack some more aces, and summarised his day: "I played well and got cards at the right time."
The starting stack was 15,000, so anyone with more than about 40,000 is going to be happy. However, that little line up were the biggest handful, cutting effortlessly through a stacked field. They will return with high hopes for day two on Thursday.
It wasn't so merry for some of poker's biggest names. Bambos Xanthos was out in the first level, and the Team PokerStars Pro Jude Ainsworth didn't last much longer. Ainsworth flopped the nut flush but smacked into a flopped straight flush. That's what's known as a cooler. (Ainsworth departed soon after that coup.)
Dave Colclough also perished late on, but Marty Wilson, Mickey Wernick et al remain. Full counts will appear on the chip count page very soon.
Tomorrow is day 1B, when we're expecting, among others, the Team PokerStars Pro trio of Julian Thew, JP Kelly and Vicky Coren. They'll be joined by Michael Greco, Tony Cascarino, Jerome Bradpiece, Liv Boeree, Natasha Ellis, Michelle Orpe, Rory Liffey and many more. We'll be right here with all the action.
In the meantime, take a look back at today's coverage with any of the following links:
And head on over to PokerStars.tv for video blogs, like the one below which talks about the UKIPT Poker Camp.
See you all tomorrow - and hopefully for the rest of the week. I strongly advise tuning in on Sunday, for instance, when a side event at this festival will be broadcast on the UKIPT website live but with spanking new hole cam technology. This is super exciting and represents a new vanguard in poker broadcast technology. Stay tuned for a full explanation later this week.