UKIPT Galway, Day 1A: Levels 3 - 4 updates (100-200)
4.30pm: Break time
Time for bad beat stories to be shared at the urinals and the smoking areas, for the next 20 minutes at least. Level five will be housed in a brand new shiny post which you'll find here. -- NW
4.25pm: (Meanwhile) Big pot alert part two
As Nick Bemmel was stacking chips a big hand was progressing on a table nearby, thanks to the floorstaff for pointing me in its direction.
The action was started by Thomas Ryan who raised to 500 from the cut off, next to act Thomas Finneran raised to 1,250 then Luca Franchi four-bet to 2,475 from the small blind. Original raiser Ryan folded and Finneran then re-raised to 7,250. But that was not the end of it, Franchi then six-bet to 13,000, Finneran then moved all-in for around 33,000 and Franchi folded. After that hand Finneran has 46,000 whilst Franchi is down to 30,000.
4.05pm: Big pot alert part one
You wait all day to see a big pot and then two come back to back. To the first...
The pre-flop action saw Nick Bemmel and John Mackey each put in 2,900 and they saw a flop of T♥T♦6♥, Bemmel c-bet 2,200 and Mackey made the call. The turn was the 3♣ and after eyeing up Mackey's remaining chips, Bemmel checked. After about 10 seconds though Mackey moved all-in for his last 8,050, Bemmel cut out the calling chips from his stack and did just that, on their backs:
Bemmel: 5♣ 5♦
Mackey: A♣ Q♥
The river was the 9♠ sending the pot to Bemell, Mackey took his exit graciously congratulating the Dutchman on a nice call. -- NW
3.50pm: More fallers
The pile of player ID cards on our table continues to grow, each one representing an elimination. Much like earlier, when a handful of players departed whose names had apparently been decided by a cat pacing across a keyboard, we are far from unhappy that Zilvinas Smatavicius, Lukasz Robert Roczniak, Slabbekoorn Raijmond Leon, Rodrigo Zimmermann, Ondrej Goetz and Yigit Isilsoy have been knocked out. (Nothing personal.)
Andrew Earle, Terry Prunty, Peter Finnerty, Niall Fitzgerald, Seamus Rabbitte, Martin Burke, Pat Kennedy, John Law, Asam Shan and Shane Mossop have also departed. -- HS
3.45pm: No such thing as a free lunch
Jamie Daly open shoved for his last 3,000-odd and must have fancied he was in trouble when Michael Huber re-shoved from a few seats to his left. "You're ahead," Daly said when Huber turned over his J♣J♠. Daly showed 2♠2♦.
The board was dry - 6♣[10d]3♠K♠A♥ - and that sent Daly to the rail. But only then did the real intrigue begin. "Who wants a buffet ticket?" Daly said as he began his journey away from the table, pointing to the slip of paper in front of him that entitles every player to 1 x entry to dining room on completion of the day's play.
There were several interested Pavlov's dogs, all immediately salivating at the prospect of two visits to the basket of stale rolls and hot-plate of lukewarm unidentifiable pasta item. And although Daly tossed the ticket in the direction of one lucky adversary, it was quickly swept up by a member of the tournament staff, insisting: "One ticket per person only."
So Daly heads off, his food untouched, and presumably one wife/girlfriend will be forced to pay for her entry to the back of the buffet line. No such thing as a free lunch, etc.
3.35pm: Bakers doozy
The ever shy and retiring Phil Baker is up to 26,000, after I inquired to the nature of his near double up he replied: 'Oh you know the usual way, outplaying everyone at the table.' -- NW
With the start of level four that means late registration for Day 1A of UKIPT Galway has ended. So I can confirm that there's a total of 298 runners on Day 1A which is 32 more than played this event last season. Although last seasons event had the slightly higher buy-in of €1,000, if there are more than 82 runners tomorrow (which there will be) then the prize pool will surpass last seasons €266,000. -- NW
LEVEL UP: BLINDS 100-200
There's been a steady stream of exits during level three with another 10 players being eliminated. Amongst those unlucky few were: Micahel Leen, Piotr Majewski and UKIPT Edinburgh third place finisher Jamie Dale. -- NW
3.10pm: Battle of the blinds 2012 style
Back in the olden days of poker - you know, like 10 years ago - a battle of the blinds usually meant little more than a speculative raise from the small blind and then a hurried fold if there was any resistance, perhaps with a ticking off for having been caught with ones fingers in the cookie jar. (If anything else happened, it was clear the players were packing two big hands and then it would likely result in a big old shove and a couple of sets of rolled eyes about how lucky/unlucky they had been.)
These days things aren't quite so cut and dried, and pots tend to swell much more slowly. There's also no guarantee that anyone has anything approaching "a hand".
Such may well have been the case just now, when Mick Graydon and his neighbour Nicholas Newport got involved. Folded to Graydon in the small blind, he raised to 425. Newport, in the big, defended with a three bet to 1,050.
Graydon four bet to 2,650 and Newport five bet to 4,150. Only then did Graydon whip his cards from under his trademark Alsation dog protector and toss them in the muck.
Graydon's action, of course, suggested he was quite packing the premium hand his four bet had intimated. And although we never saw Newport's cards, it's far from certain he was holding aces or kings either. Yep, the game has changed. -- HS
3pm: Chip counts
Here's a few more chip counts: Mike Hill (16,175), the Englishman saying: 'I think I might have left the tournament in the bar last night,' Mick Graydon (16,000), the Irishman deep in conversation with Nicholas Newport who's two to his left. Ben Martin has 19,000 and is, as usual, looking composed and focused. At the other end of the scales Jon Kalmar (11,000) and Padraig Parkinson (24,000) both are definitely the captains of their respective tables when it comes to banter. -- NW
2.55pm: Up and down with Jude Ainsworth
Jude Ainsworth is pretty much impossible to read. We've seen him play tournaments both online and off, for buy ins of €500 to €10,000, and yet we're no closer to knowing the formula he uses to put together his glittering list of cashes.
What we have learned, however, is that no one else can read him either. Putting him on a hand is a fool's errand. The confusion he manages to instill in all opponents often means that he stands a much higher chance of being called than most, even when he is packing the goods.
We saw earlier that he had queens cracked by 7-8 in a four-bet pre-flop bet. Bu the better news for the Team PokerStars Pro is that he has just managed to double up to about 8,500 with big slick.
Raymond Daly opened to 475 from early position and Paweł Brzeski called from mid. Ainsworth, sitting on the button, shoved for 4,150 and Daly called. (Brzeski didn't.)
Ainsworth tabled his A♦K♣ and Daly showed A♣Q♣. Any fears of an outdraw were reduced on a K♦K♠4♣ flop, and the 2♠ turn finished it in Ainsworth's favour.
He is still only just north of half his starting stack, while Daly could afford the hit. He has in the region of 19,000 even after that coup. -- HS
2.50pm: Keeping up with the kidz
Whisper it quietly but Julian Thew is now one of the elder statesmen of the UK poker scene. (Does this apply to anyone who has a Hendon Mob database entry pre Chris Moneymaker?). Regardless he's keeping up with the kids in more ways than one today as he's sporting a rather natty padded coat complete with furry hood. 'It's to keep warm,' he protested.
He's a little below starting stack, he recently tweeted: 'plodsville central; 14k...technical adjustments necessary; have changed footwear," rumours that his new footwear is a crocs n' socks combo are as yet just that, rumours. -- NW
Filip Hanusek opened the button to 425 and David Sommerfield three bet, to what looked like 1,700, from the small blind. Hanusek called and it was the two of them to the flop.
The dealer exposed A♦7♥8♣, which Sommerfield checked. Hanusek bet 1,250 and Sommerfield called. The pattern repeated almost precisely on the Q♣ turn, ie, Sommerfield checked, Hanusek bet 1,700 and Sommerfield called.
The river was 2♠ and we went through it, with a bit of tinkering, again. Check from Sommerfield, Hanusek bet 2,1250 and then pause. Sommerfield counted out the call, which would leave him with 6,325 if he was wrong.
After a couple of minutes pondering, eventually Sommerfield decided to throw the call into the middle. Hanusek tabled A♠Q♥ and Sommerfield looked to the sky and mucked. -- HS
2.35pm: Gift of the Gav
In another hand that took place at the very end of level two, I saw Fintan Gavin scoop a nice pot of around 7,000.
There was betting on the flop and turn of a J♥J♦J♣6♦ board before both Michael Leen and Gavin checked the K♦ river: 'I hope you've got nines and not jacks," said Gavin as he showed T♥T♣, 'I was chasing,' said Leen as he showed A♠Q♠. Gavin up to 22,000. -- NW
2.30pm: Hey Presto
I only caught the river action but just before the break Nicholas Newport got max value from a flopped set. With the board showing A♥8♠5♣9♥4♦ and around 11,000 in the middle, Newport had set his opponent (Anibal De Campos Sanchez) all-in for around 9,500. After tanking for about two minutes Sanchez announced call, Newport showed 5♠5♥ and Sanchez mucked.
"Nice hand, you went for max value" said a table mate. 'Yeah I had him on A-K, A-Q or A-J," replied Newport. -- NW
2.25pm: Spelling salvation
At the end of the last level, we got news that both Vladislav Saveliev and Anibal De Campos Sanchez had been knocked out. Nothing personal, but that's a weight off the mind of us weary typists.
Noel Hayes is also out. His name is much more agreeable to the tournament reporter, but it wasn't to be for the Irishman either. -- HS
2.20pm:Usually you win the pot
During the break I found Joeri Zandvliet and he talked me through his exit hand: 'A guy opened to 125 there were two callers and I called with pocket sixes. Then another player made it 600 to go and there was three callers including me.
'The flop was  and we checked to the raiser who bet 1,200 and I was the only caller. The turn was an eight and he bet 1,800 into a pot of 5,000, I raised to 4,800 and after some thought he called. The river was a jack and I shoved 9,000 into 13,000 and he called with a set of fours. I'm 100% certain he would have folded aces, kings or queens in that spot. Usually I win that pot but pocket fours is a weird hand to have there!' -- NW
Reporting team in Galway: Howard Swains and Nick Wright. Photos by Mickey May.