UKIPT Nottingham: Mike Hill leading the climb to the final table

ukiptthumb.JPGAfter 12 levels and 203 knockouts, the record-breaking UKIPT Nottingham saw 12 players left standing, all with one hand stretched out on the £109,000 first prize. Like those Touch the Truck contestants in America, today was a feat of endurance just as much as it was a test of skill. Those that would stay the course were those that could stay focussed, centred and, just as importantly, had the temerity to slam an elbow into a rib to topple a weary opponent. Come the end of play it was Mike Hill that had the firmest grasp on the UKIPT Nottingham crown; an immovable object that refused to bow down to anyone. He finished the day with 2,424,000, but not that far ahead of the chasing pack.

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It's another deep UKIPT run for Mike Hill

We said at the beginning of the day, some 16 hours ago, that this tournament was wide open and there for taking; all seven EPT winners and five UKIPT winners that had entered this record-breaking tournament had failed to make it into the 215 players that started Day 2. A succession of players attempted to fill that void and drive away with a massive chip lead.

Sam Macdonald had started out the day out in front but it didn't take long before that mantle had been swiped by Luke Fields, who for some time looked like he was going to steamroll the field like Chris Oliver had at the PCA last month. He proved himself to be quite a nuisance, flopping straights with 4♠2♣ and constantly asking questions. Unfortunately for him a couple of big flips, both times with him holding and losing with pocket sixes, slowed his momentum and he finally lost his grip in 36th for £2,120.

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Luke Fields was running rampant in the earlier levels

Others picked up the flag and ran with it, most notably Chris Dowling and Romano Pizzo, but neither could halt the battering ram that was UKIPT regular Mike Hill. Big Mike, who made two UKIPT final tables last year, came third in the Season 1 UKIPT Leaderboard just behind Chris Brammer and Owen Robinson. This season Hill is already well on his way to another strong finish after cashing in 25th at UKIPT Galway the first leg of this season. Nottingham is the second event and he's got the chip lead going into the final 12. It's an impressive showing.

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Chris Dowling built, lost and re-built a big stack

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Romano Pizzo wasn't scared to mix it up or give a bit of verbal

Hill had battled with Pizzo all day and forced him to pass ace-jack to his pocket tens pre-flop before shortly after getting kings in against Paul Nash's queens. That took him over 1.5 million and into the chip lead. From there he never looked back sealing his dominance after flopping a set of fives to bust out Dutchman Nick Bemmel in 15th. Hill, a bookmaker by trade, is a man that knows how to spot an edge. He's unlikely to relinquish his grip on the UKIPT Nottingham trophy without one hell of a fight.

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Paul Nash: a bad time to pick up queens

Dave Colclough was obviously a popular candidate to make the final table having finished as chip leader of Day 1A and it came as little surprise that he was immediately whisked off to the TV table for the first six hours of play. It was a frustrating day for El Blondie who eventually busted out in 17th near the big money, just not quite near enough. The Welshman will have to pick another event to announce his tournament comeback.

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Colclough will have to wait for another big score

The final twelve
Mike Hill, UK, 2,422,000
Tim Bettingen, Germany, PokerStars qualifier, 1,908,000
David Heaton, UK, 1,893,000
Khoa Nguyen, UK, 1,708,000
Romano Pizzo, Italy, 1,673,000
Gareth Walker, UK, 1,320,000
Chris Dowling, Ireland 1,172,000
Sean Fitzpatrick, UK, 1,103,000
Thomas Rolfe, UK, 888,000
Ian Gilchrist, UK, PokerStars qualifier, 580,000
Brett Angell, UK, PokerStars qualifier, 555,000
Nick Slade, 500,000

Play is due to start at 3pm or 4pm tomorrow depending on who you speak to. I'm shoving my bankroll on 4pm but do check in with us from 3pm, just in case. I'm a terrible sports bettor after all.

If you want to check the action from today, click on the links below and if you'd like to see who cashed where and for how much then click this red bit right here.

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All images are copyright of Neil Stoddart and use must be credited to him. He has trained chimps to scour the internet to spot his snaps. He will find you.

Rick Dacey
@PokerStars in UKIPT