UKIPT Galway, Day 1A: Levels 1-2 updates (50-100)
2pm: Two down, six to go
That's the end of the first couple of levels, and players are being sent away for their first 20-minute break of the day. There's a new initiative in place to persuade the players to depart the tournament room as quickly as possible: "Free T-shirts available at the Welcome Desk!"
There's nothing quite like free stuff to get poker players scurrying in a certain direction. That and a nicotine addiction, of course.
Join us in a new post for the continuation of the action. -- HS
1.55pm: A start to the action
Things are gradually coming to the boil, especially on table 10 where at least two players have departed. The main person to profit has been Claus Stoob, who is sitting with something like 38,000 and change, significantly more than double his starting stack.
Also on that table is Andrew Bradshaw, who is playing his characteristically action-packed game. Annette O'Carroll just made a standard opening raise from mid-position and Bradshaw moved all in - for about 8,000 - from the small blind. O'Carroll didn't fancy risking that much at this stage. The blinds are 50-100 in level two, remember. -- HS
Thanks to the hard working team behind the scenes we've got our hands on a provisional seat draw which means we can put names to numbers. Not only does that enable us to more accurately report on hands but we can also tell you who's been eliminated so far. As well as Joeri Zandvliet, Derek Murray, Xue Yun Wu, Mark Spellman and Tim Davie have all been sent to the rail. -- NW
1.35pm: Zandvliet first out
Earlier we reported that 3103 was the first player out, we can now put a name to that face thanks to UKIPT Nottingham champion Gareth Walker. I wandered past his table and he told me: "It was Joeri who was first out," that'd be Joeri Zandvliet, two-time UKIPT champion. Somewhere Nick Abou Risk is smiling. As for Walker he's down to about 13,800. -- NW
1.25pm: New buy in, new approach
It should be mentioned that the buy in for this tournament is €700 (+€70), which represents an increase from previous years, where a seat cost €500 (+€50). The hike in buy in might be one explanation for the slow start to proceedings here in Galway, where only two players have bust in the first 90 minutes of play.
It's doubtful that the extra €220 has really contributed that much, as anyone who has ever attended an EPT will attest to lunacy in the opening levels, where everyone is parting with more than €5,000. But something has to be to blame. -- HS
1.15pm: Chip counts
There's been little movement in the first hour (just the one player gone) but here's how some of the names and notables stack up: Alfie Baldwin (14,925), Dara O'Kearney (15,800), Ian LeBruce (17,500), Jamie Dale (17,000), Jude Ainsworth (6,700) Julian Thew (13,000), Liam Flood (16,375), Mick McClosky (14,700), Nicky Power (14,000) Phil Baker (15,200) Piotr Majewski (16,700) and Thomas Ward (14,800). We'll be updating the chip counts page throughout the day. -- NW
LEVEL UP: BLINDS 50-100
1pm: Ainsworth takes a hit
Team PokerStars Pro Jude Ainsworth doesn't seem to have much luck on home soil in UKIPT events. He's down to around 6,700 after losing a hefty pot. I didn't see the hand, just the showdown, but his opponent held 8♣7♥ and the board included four clubs. Ainsworth had a face that looked like he was ahead to the river.
Edit: A tweet from Jude (@Jainsworthpoker) reveals that he had pocket queens in the above hand. -- NW
12.55pm: Dream flop
What kind of flop do you want to see when you call a raise, in position, with Q♠3♠? A queen and not too much action? A couple of spades, perhaps, and play it strong?
Even Wiejie Zheng probably couldn't have dreamed for what he did end up seeing: 3♥3♦3♣ and an opponent betting into him.
In the event, his adversary smelled a rat and lost the minimum with his 6♥6♦. Zheng called the flop bet, they both checked the turn and then Zheng raised the 1,025 bet on the river to 3,050 and got a crying call.
That call was especially disciplined. The river was the 6♣, so it was quads against a boat for a pot of less than 10,000. Wild? Not so.-- HS
12.50pm: From EPT to UKIPT
The last UKIPT event (excluding EPT London) was way back in September and took place about two and a half hours east of here in Dublin. Since then a number of UKIPT regulars have had sizable scores at EPT events.
Mick 'BigMickG' Graydon, who was Ireland's first ever Supernova Elite, came eighth at EPT Deauville at the beginning of February. The Irishman will be hoping for at least a repeat of his performance at this tournament in 2009 when he finished fourth.
And Team PokerStars Pro Jude Ainsworth had a deep run at EPT Prague before ultimately busting in 14th place. Both are in the field today. -- NW
12.45pm: And now they start
And no sooner was that last post written than the first player was sent to the rail. At the moment all we know about him/her is that they carried the player ID 3103. Hard luck if you had that number in the sweepstake, your man is down. We'll endeavour to fit a name to the number as soon as possible. -- HS
12.40pm: Shock horror
This is Ireland, land of the black stuff, four-leaf clover and some notoriously wild poker players. But after a perfectly punctual start, at 12 noon on the dot, we made it all the way to 12.30pm - a full 30 minutes - without a single elimination. -- HS
12.30pm: Chip leader?
Tour regular Ian LeBruce is situated at the 'feature table', so called because it's the one that's closest to media row. He just wandered over did a little fist pump and mouthed 'Seventeen thousand five hundred,' at me. Early chip leader? Probably. You can check out all the chip counts here. -- NW
12.20pm: Spotter's badge
A few players I've spotted on my first lap of the room/with the help of the players list: Two time UKIPT winner Joeri Zandvliet, one time UKIPT winner Gareth Walker, Irish legends Liam Flood, Phil Baker, Padraig Parkinson, Mick Graydon and Mick McCloskey. And International bright young things Piotr Majewski, Nicholas Newport, Jamie Dale and Thomas Ward. Stacked. -- NW
12 noon: Away we go
Morning all. There's a "first day back at school" feeling on the west coast of Ireland today as the UKIPT reconvenes for its first event of season three.
Here were are back in Galway, one of a handful of stops that has featured on every season so far. The first event here was won by the local legend Padraig Parkinson, and last year the UKIPT-legend-in-the-making Nick Abou Risk won his second title.
Were expecting similar excitement today as at least 250 players gather for day 1A. Talk is that we may make it all the way to 750-800 over the two starting flights.
We'll play eight one-hour levels, no dinner break, which means the well-stocked bars should spend the rest of the day filling up with black stuff.
And on we go.
Reporting team in Galway: Howard Swains and Nick Wright.