UKIPT Champion of Champions: Season 2, Levels 1-4: (blinds 100-200)

ukiptthumb.JPG2.50pm: Break time
That's four levels in the books and a 10 minute break. Join me in a new post for level 5 updates.

2.45pm: McDerra continues to hold Hex on Abou Risk
Matthew McDerra is seemingly winning every pot he plays, mostly at the expense of Nick Abou Risk. After Sam Razavi limped he and four other players saw a flop of 8♣7♣2♥ it checked round to Abou Risk on the button who bet 625, McDerra was the only caller.

The 8♥ turn checked through before McDerra fired a bet of 1,625 on the 3♣ river and Abou Risk folded.

2.40pm: Fintan first out
The first player to be eliminated is Fintan Gavin, he was all-in pre-flop for his last 6,000 with [A][K] and was up against Nick Abou Risk's pocket sevens. The pair held to send the Irishman to the rail.

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Gavin, out in ninth


2.32pm: "I'll tell you after"
I picked up the action with the board reading 3♠3♦5♦ and with two checks to him, Fintan Gavin fired out a bet of 750, Nick Abou Risk then three-bet to 1,625 only for Matthew McDerra to then four-bet to 4,000.

This forced out both Gavin and Abou Risk and after the Canadian mucked he asked McDerra what he had. "I'll tell you later," said the Manchester champion.

2.23pm: Chip counts
Here's approximate chip counts:

Seat One: Richard Sinclair, 17,500
Seat Two: Chris O'Donnell, 17,000
Seat Three: Nick Abou Risk, 19,000
Seat Four: Joeri Zandvliet, 15,000
Seat Five: Matthew McDerra, 17,000
Seat Six: Gareth Walker, 18,800
Seat Seven: Sam Razavi, 9,300
Seat Eight: Fintan Gavin, 9,500

2.16pm: McDerra takes one from Risk
Matthew McDerra just won a pot worth 4,000 from Nick Abou Risk. His stack is going in the right direction, up to 17,500 or so, Risk down to 22,000. Both Gavin and Razavi still have just under 10,000, whilst the other four players are hovering around starting stack.

There's a break at the end of level four (30 minutes time) where I'll get 100% accurate chip counts.


2.09pm: Sam Razavi doubles through Fintan Gavin
I joined the action to see a flop of 5♥[10s]4♦ and Sam Razavi leading out with a bet of 650, call from Fintan Gavin, fold from Matthew McDerra.

The turn came the [10d] Razavi checked, Gavin set him in for his remaining 3,300 and after a brief dwell Razavi made the call.

Gavin: 8♣6♣
Razavi: 6♥6♠

"Good call," said Gavin, the 3♠ completed the board, Razavi up to about 9,500, Gavin down to a similar amount.

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Sam Razavi

2.03pm: Risk rewarded with full-house
Nick Abou Risk is up to 25,000 whilst Sam Razavi is now down to around 5,000. The two of them clashed on a [3][2][2] flop, Abou Risk with pocket threes, Razavi with what he said was A♥2♥, the latter mucking his hand at showdown.

1.55pm: No fireworks just yet
There's been no huge confrontations in the opening level although Sam Razavi said: "Fintan is bullying the table, he's been raising every hand."

"Yeah but with what?" shot back the Irishman." Transpires Gavin has shown down aces and kings so far. "He keeps on flashing deuces," as well added Razavi. It might be up to the UKIPT Cork winner to keep him honest.


1.45pm: Gavin gabbing
Fintan Gavin, who is noticeably the only player on the hard stuff so far today, just talked Joeri Zandvliet into a call. No shame in that it's not the first time the Irishaman's done that and it won't be the last.

Pre-flop Gavin made it 125 to play from the cut-off and the two blinds - Nick Abou Risk and Zandvliet came along. All three checked the 3♦3♠A♠ flop, before Gavin fired out 300 on the K♦ turn, only Zandvliet made the call.

The 5♦ completed the board and after Zandvliet checked, Gavin bet 700. As Zandvliet was contemplating his action, Gavin said: "Here comes the slowroll," before adding. "Good fold next hand," after a few more seconds Zandvliet flicked in the call but mucked when Gavin showed K♠K♣. "The third nuts," said the Irishman.

1.35pm: And we're go
Cards are in the air, rumours of a one hand flip did not come to fruition. Here's how the players are seated:

Seat One: Richard Sinclair
Seat Two: Chris O'Donnell
Seat Three: Nick Abou Risk
Seat Four: Joeri Zandvliet
Seat Five: Matthew McDerra
Seat Six: Gareth Walker
Seat Seven: Sam Razavi
Seat Eight: Fintan Gavin

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The elite eight were out late

1.30pm: Almost there
The players are now in the vicinity of the final table and being called to their seats. After a few preliminary photographs we should be good to go. A reminder that the levels are just 20 minutes long with the usual UKIPT main event structure. I'll bring you a seat draw just as soon as I've got one.

1.10pm: Delay
There's a slight delay in starting, the players are just filtering in now. Let's just say a few of them are feeling a little tender after a night out in Nottingham. Coffee's and aspirin all round. Sample tweet from one of the champions: "Oops...the restaurant has no jaegermeister left! I wonder why ...."

Word has reached me that Benny Spindler is a non-runner, not down to jagerneister, he's just been unable to make it to Nottingham today.

12.25pm: Champions in a league of their own

Whilst four stops of Season 3 of the UKIPT may have been announced and over 70 players have already won seats to the first event in Galway (Feb 16th - 20th), today is all about bringing down the curtain on Season 2.

To that end the nine champions from Season 2 have gathered at Dusk Till Dawn in Nottingham to battle it out for the right to be crowned the UKIPT Champion of Champions for Season 2. But it's not just about the glory, as the winner will receive buy-ins plus hotel for all UKIPT Season 3 events (except EPT London) and probably a shiny trophy too. Not to be scoffed at and David Vamplew who won the corresponding event last year cashed twice during Season 2 of the UKIPT.

Two of the nine players - Nick Abou Risk and Joeri Zandvliet - know what it's like to be in this position having been among the players Vamplew defeated at this stage last year. The format is simple, usual UKIPT structure but with a turbo twist as levels are just 20 minutes long, play is set to start at 1pm.

Let's take a look at the runners and riders.

Nick Abou Risk, Canada, winner of UKIPT Galway and €67,100

The Irish based Canadian won the opening event of Season 2 of the UKIPT and with it became the first person to claim two main event titles, having won in Edinburgh in Season 1. Despite seemingly always running up a stack, Abou Risk's only other cash in Season 2 was a 37th place finish in Newcastle.

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Two-time winner Nick Abou Risk

Gareth Walker, UK, winner of UKIPT Nottingham and £68,700

Geordie Gareth took down the mammoth Nottingham leg right here at Dusk Till Dawn. He beat a field of 1,058 players, which at the time was a record field for a UK poker tournament and is still a record turn out for a UKIPT Main Event. He also made the final table of UKIPT Nottingham in Season 1, clearly he likes this venue.

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Walker - hoping to win another final table in Nottingham

Matthew McDerra, UK, winner of UKIPT Manchester and £74,000

If anyone in today's field will feel they've earned the right to be here it will be Matthew McDerra. He defeated Mateusz Warowiec in an epic heads-up battle that went on for over six hours, easily the longest such contest we can remember from UKIPT main events.

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Manchester winner Matthew McDerra

Sam Razavi, UK, winner of UKIPT Cork and €71,000

The ever-entertaining Sam Razavi is actually free rolling this event in more ways than one. Thanks to racking up four cashes during Season 2 of the UKIPT, Razavi topped the UKIPT Leaderboard and has already won buy-ins and accommodation for all Season 2 stops except for EPT London. As he might say, 'Shamone.'

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Razavi certainly had the luck of the Irish

Richard Sinclair, UK, winner of UKIPT Newcastle and £67,000

Whilst the eyes of the poker world were fixated on Las Vegas during June, Richard Sinclair was quietly besting a field of 554 players to claim a UKIPT title. In Newcastle he seized the chip lead with a dozen players remaining and steamrolled his way to the title.

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It was a Geordie score for Sinclair

Chris O'Donnell, UK, winner of UKIPT Brighton and £71,100

Bobby Big Head as Chris O'Donnell is affectionately know to his friends, seized the chip lead halfway through Day 1 in Brighton and always looked set to make the final table. He had a large chip lead going into heads-up play, but showed great character after relinquishing it to win a three and a half hour heads-up battle against Richard Hasancebi.

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Chris O'Donnell did like to be beside the seaside

Fintan Gavin, Ireland, winner of UKIPT Edinburgh and £61,500

One of the true characters of the Irish poker scene, Fintan Gavin craiced the UKIPT conundrum with victory in Edinburgh. The popular and never knowingly quiet Irishman was cheered on by a large number of supporters as he took victory in the Scottish capital.

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Gift of the Gavin

Joeri Zandvliet, Netherlands, winner of UKIPT Dublin and €83,500

It was a double for Dutchman Joeri Zandvliet as he became the second player to win two UKIPT main event titles having also tasted victory in Manchester in Season 1. But the smiling Zandvliet was only one half of the story of the final table in Dublin as Max Silver was chasing not only a second title but was also defending the Dublin title he'd won a year previously. It was fitting then that Zandvliet eliminated Silver in a huge pot and never looked back to claim his second title.

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The Dutchman was at the double in Dublin

Benny Spindler, Germany, winner of UKIPT London and £750,000

The German superstar won his seat at this table by winning the UKIPT Grand Final, also known as EPT London. That win at the beginning of October vaulted Spindler to second on the UKIPT all-time money list, behind David Vamplew.

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Spindler was the last to win his seat for this event

PokerStars Blog reporting team in Nottingham: Nick Wright

Photos by Neil Stoddart & Mickey May.

Nick Wright
@PokerStars in UKIPT