UKIPT Brighton: O'Donnell dominance holds to the close of Day 1A

Chris O'Donnell holds the UKIPT Brighton Day 1A chip lead after winning a monster pot when there were still two full levels left to play. Despite the best efforts of the chasing pack O'Donnell closed the day with 180,500 and the chip lead. The Englishman has scored a few minor live cashes and while a deep run here would easily exceed any of them he carried his stack naturally, as if it were his birth right, not something to be foolishly squandered.

At the 300-600 level he won a huge 150,000 pot, all the chips going in on the turn with O'Donnell holding a set of tens against a naked top pair. O'Donnell still looked incredulous about it at the end of the day, a good couple of hours after it took place. If he can continue to extract value like that through Sunday then the engraver should start work on the UKIPT trophy silverware immediately.

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Chris O'Donnell, Day 1A chip leader

Some 248 players entered this first flight of the £500 main event but after ten one-hour levels just 63 were left with chips at their tables. O'Donnell may well have needed the largest bag but he certainly does not stand alone in dragging a big stack through to Day 2. Jen Mason, a well-known member of the British poker fraternity, had held the chip lead early on after playing aces against kings with 'finesse' - her word, not ours - and spent the latter levels of the days inexorably closing the gap on O'Donnell. She finished the day on 149,000.

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Jen Mason chipped up steadily throughout the day

Mason may be better known for her reporting exploits but $141,979 in live tournament winnings proves she can walk the walk as well. She started flinging chips from the whistle and rarely seemed out of the action at both tables she played, her stack testimony to the fact that she came out best in most cases.

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Michael Piper bust out at the action table

Her second table contained Michael Piper (fourth place finisher at EPT San Remo), Rudi Johnsen and Jan Mueller, all of whom had played a solid game. Even before Mason's arrival Piper had told us to keep an eye on the action table. Astute call. Chips were sucked to the table, players were spat out; Piper one of them (although he did go on to win the £50 turbo). Mueller, a player who had bust two opponents in one fell swoop earlier in the day, bust out in the penultimate hand of the day losing a coin flip with tens to Mason's A♣Q♣. Johnsen calmly ground his way through the day in typical Norwegian style; little show of emotion but plenty of well-timed aggression to neatly stack up to 173,000, just behind O'Donnell.

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Rudi Johnsen: try to make him blink, just try it

As well as hosting fantastic slow structure tournaments, the UKIPT has set itself as a great springboard for players wanting to take that next step up. Winners at the UKIPT have successfully taken their talents onto the European Poker Tour and the World Series of Poker. At the time of writing this wrap last year's UKIPT Brighton winner, Jamie Burland, was still in the WSOP Main Event as was last year's tournament leaderboard champ, Chris Brammer (a drinking buddy of O'Donnell if recent Vegas pics are to be believed). Team PokerStars Pro JP Kelly and David Vamplew, EPT London title holder and UKIPT Champion of Champions, were also well stacked. The next few days could prove to be genuinely life changing for any of these players.

Day 1B will start at 2pm sharp Friday afternoon. Join us then.

To catch up with the day's action click on the links below and you can see all of today's finishing stacks by clicking here (as soon as the information has been passed onto us).

Level 1 & 2
Level 3 & 4
Level 5 & 6
Level 7 & 8
Level 9 &10

All images are copyright of Mickey May and must be credited as such. She can juggle knives with her eyes closed. You have been warned.

Rick Dacey
@PokerStars in UKIPT