UKIPT Galway: Joris Ruijs rules Galway (well, day 1B at least)
The second flight of a major poker tournament will always attract more players than the first. But given the fact that yesterday's turnout of 298 was already more than played the entire corresponding event in Galway last year, we wondered whether today might buck a trend.
But of course it didn't.
Today the Inis Mór ballroom at the Radisson Blu Hotel welcomed 400 more players, each exchanging €770 for a shot at a first prize of €114,900. Just like every tour that carries the familiar PokerStars red spade, the UKIPT continues to get bigger and bigger at every outing.
There's a prize pool here of close to half a million euros, which was enough to tempt some huge names to the west coast of the Emerald Isle. We had November Niners, bracelet winners, online phenoms, former champions and the game's golden girl.
But none of them could today get near Joris Ruijs, a PokerStars qualifier from Holland, who will lead the combined field into day two tomorrow.
Ruijs finished today with 108,100 chips, which edges him ahead of the day 1A leader Thomas Finneran. Ruijs is the only player from either flight to finish with a six-figure sum.
However when they all get together tomorrow, there will also be some venomous snakes in the grass waiting to seize their chance. The two-time former champion Nick Abou Risk prospered again, for example. He finished with 65,500.
Kevin "ImaLuckSac" MacPhee bagged 78,800, which would put him in the top 10. Andrew "tufat" Teng has 52,600. And the two Boatman brothers both made it through. Barny has 75,600, a total that makes Ross's 5,900 seem especially paltry.
The aforementioned November Niner is Sam Holden. Or should that be "was". Holden perished late in the day, but a WSOP bracelet winner, Marty Smyth, made it through with 28,700. Team Online's Mickey "mement_mori" Petersen also remains, with 68,300, but Grzegorz "DaWarsaw" Mikielewicz was another late faller.
As for that golden girl? It wasn't to be for Liv Boeree. She busted early on, but remains a constant presence on posters around the room.
Other big stacks overnight include:
John Willoughby (95,300), Craig Burke (91,200), Gareth-Lee Smith (76,800), Paul Allen (73,900), David Cleary (71,300).
And we should save special mention for Brendan Mcdermott, who managed to survive a hand in which he was a 99 per cent underdog. He pulled off a miraculous Houdini act to stay afloat. Read all about it at 8.40pm in the levels 7-8 post.
Our other level-by-level updates tell more of the story. They're all here:
Meanwhile the full counts are on the chip-count page, or at least they will be as soon as all the counting is done. Check back in the next couple of hours.
Play resumes at noon on Saturday, when the survivors from both opening flights merge and we almost certainly play into the money. Join us then.
Goodnight for now!
All photos on PokerStars Blog from Galway are (C) Mickey May.