UKIPT Dublin: Kamal nicks the chip lead at the end of Day 1A
Dublin is the Las Vegas of Europe. There, we said it. Okay, it might not have the bright flashing lights and Nevada sunsets but when it comes to partying and risking it all on the turn of a card the Irish are a hard act to top. It's a highly suitable and much loved destination for the final event of the regular UKIPT season. Some 285 players opted to pitch in their €500 main event chip to play Day 1A but after ten one-hour levels only 80 remained and leading, by the narrowest of margins, was Nik Kamal (122,500) who finished just ahead of Patrik Kaltrud (121,800).
At the beginning of the day PokerStars Blog asked a couple of players how deep they think they would go and the responses were finely reasoned, if not optimistic. Jon Spinks finished fourth in two WSOP events this year and his proposed 32nd place seemed a likely cashing point. Owen Robinson, a leaderboard challenger of last season, aimed even higher with 13th, just shy of the final table. Again, on previous form it seemed a reasonable supposition. Neither made the dinner break.
It just goes to prove that in poker the best laid plans almost never work out. Not even ours.
When Chris O'Connor's stack chipped up to over 150,000 just minutes after the dinner break not only was the Irishman likely thinking about how he'd be spending the thousands of Euros he was a shoe-in to win, but we were left thinking what a straightforward wrap of the day's action we would have.
O'Connor had some five times the average stack after calling a semi-bluff relatively light and then getting it in with a set against an over pair. His hot streak was not to last, his kings were cracked by Brendan Byrne's pocket tens for a pot that would have taken him to 200,000 and way beyond any Day 1A opposition. That flopped set of tens stymied his dreams of a runaway chip lead and his stack slowly dwindled. And with it so did our simple paint by numbers wrap, as a swathe of chunky stacks emerged to jostle for position over the final two levels. Callum Smith (96,400), Damian Porebski (100,600) and, of course, Kamal were among those that started to elbow their way through. O'Connor no slouch managed a comeback to finish on 107,600.
UKIPT Cork winner Sam Razavi and two-time final tablist Chris Dowling both played today. They currently sit second and third on the UKIPT Leaderboard but neither will be adding points from their performance here. Both busted. Razavi knocked himself out with a bluff but can at least be happy with the €40 he hustled out of George Clyde-Smith in a semi-loaded bet about eights appearing on the flop (see 3.10pm: Betting on lucky eights). The current chip leader in this season long competition is Rupinder Bedi, he plays tomorrow as does Nick Abou Risk who sits in fourth. It's tight at the top and with just one scoring event left to play after this, EPT London, it looks like it could go to the wire.
Tomorrow is going to be a packed field - could be as many as 400 runners - with Team PokerStars Pros Liv Boeree, Jude Ainsworth and JP Kelly* already booked in, as well as hordes of other great players such as Kevin MacPhee, defending champ Max Silver and UKIPT Champion of Champions David Vamplew. There will also be plenty of soft spots too, ripe for the plundering of chips. It would be rude to name names... but just to prove our point PokerStars blogger Marc 'The Conv' Convey is playing. That's €500 of dead money right there. It's not too late to register for the 2pm start.
*Kelly was down to the last 27 players in the WCOOP-14: $265 6-max knockout when we sent this wrap to bed.
To catch up with all the action from the day simply click on the links below and for a .
All images are copyright of Mickey May and must be credited as such. Her sense of humour doesn't translate very well from the Danish.