UKIPT Dublin: Mullin the main man as bubble bursts, 56 remain
A poker tournament is like a hit thriller, you don't know exactly how it's going to end but you can sit back safe in the knowledge that it's going to be one hell of ride. Explosions, double crossings and fatal mistakes will abound but one thing is for certain, there will be one hero, probably battered and bloodied, stood atop the rubble come the end of the picture.
The player pushing hardest for that winning role when play finished with 56 remaining was Emmit Mullin. The Irishman bagged up 539,000 with Dominick Hever (395,500), Rhys Jones (392,500), Callum Smith (384,000) and Dermot Blain (352,000) all in close attendance, but a lot of key scenes and characters are yet to be fully revealed.
The day started with the 225 players that had made it through the combined Day 1 field of 718 with Max Silver featuring as the likely lead in UKIPT Dublin, the movie. The reigning champion had enjoyed a late rally at the end of Day 1B to emerge as a dominating chip leader and there was more drama today; Silver made a large bluff in the dying minutes of the day with K♦6♦ on a [a]Q♦7♦[t][t] board that left him with 12,000, just over two big blinds, and his tournament life hanging by its fingertips.
Over the next four hands he span his stack back up to 113,500. Silver could yet successfully defend his title but as we all know sequels are never usually as good as the first episode.
Unfortunately fan favourite and Team PokerStars Pro Liv Boeree was knocked out early on, having successfully made the second act (Day 2) for the first time in her UKIPT career. It rid the thriller of a key heroine whose damsel in distress role never even got a chance to develop into that of a femme fatale, more's the pity. She stood a great chance of trebling with nines versus eights and ace-king. The over cards got there.
While Silver led from the front he wasn't the only character with proven UKIPT credentials behind him. Two-time UKIPT champ Nick Abou Risk took on a Bruce Willis role: all high octane pots, gun blasts and hero calls. Unfortunately for the cropped Canadian it was one of those big calls that all but sent him to the rail, calling a top set shove with second pair on the river. He didn't recover and hobbled to the rail with glass splinters in his feet.
Joeri Zandvliet, the mysterious smiling Dutchman, has been away for much of the year after making two final tables in the inaugural UKIPT season. Where's he been? Can he be trusted? Only time will tell. Zandvliet claimed to have got lucky in a couple of spots but in blockbuster movies these continental types are never quite what they seem. Zandvliet, along with Silver, is chasing his UKIPT double and with 344,000 is in better position to do so.
Among these last 56 there are plenty of players that deserve their place in that last big scene, but only eight roles are up for grabs. Among those today that stamped their authority on the action were Callum Smith, Jason Tompkins, Rhys Jones, Thomas Nolan and Dominick Hever. All of whom could make for an exciting finale.
David Docherty should also be added to that list but things just don't seem to go right for the young Scotsman at UKIPTs. Here in Dublin he'd managed to get up to over 300,000 before losing half his stack set over set in the final level before receiving the ultimate rub, a walk in the big blind when he held pocket aces. Humphrey Bogart had to go through worse and still (sometimes) came out on top. Docherty wears a similar embattled look under his wide brimmed hat at the table, even if his own headgear is a little more modern.
And, of course, a final mention for the bubble boy Dave O'Reilly who shoved pocket tens only to find out that Keith Maguire had the temerity to pick up kings at the same time. The payouts and prize pool info is up to date and can be found by clicking here.
Play starts for Day 3 tomorrow at 2pm and will push through until just eight players remain, one of whom will pocket €83,500. To catch up all on all the day's action click on the links below and click here to see the overnight chip counts.
All images are courtesy of Mickey May and must be credited as such. It's a legal requirement. There you go.