Jamie O'Connor leads UKIPT Isle of Man, Moreira de Melo final tables
Tomorrow is going to be a great day of poker. Not only have we got a fantastic mix of players fighting it out for the £94,090 first place prize and the first ever UKIPT Isle of Man title, but there's some incredibly playable stacks. Jamie O'Connor may carry through the chip leader mantle into the final table but four other players are close behind. Even the shortest stack, PokerStars SportStar Fatima Moreira de Melo, has more than 20 big blinds.
Few could argue that O'Connor didn't play well. He laid down ace-king pre-flop to a five-bet shove from Chris Jonat who showed pocket kings and was a constant threat throughout. Sure, he got bluffed by McLellan (see below) and Jonat, who four-bet showed 4♣3♣, but O'Connor had the last laugh: he doubled through McLellan's top pair, top kicker for a 1.2m pot with pocket kings.
Daniel Stacey looked likely to take the chip lead when he was dominating with a 1.7m chip stack but the last level wasn't kind. He lost a million chip pot to McLellan late on with ace-queen to ace-king. Any result will be a good one as he's here on a freeroll. He won his seat into this tournament by finishing 11th in the UKIPT London Main Event (£8,480) which also won him a Full Tilt Poker last longer bet. It's certainly not been a wasted gift.
Stacey was a terror at the TV feature table for most of the day which strongly indicated that his deep run in London was no fluke. If his plan was to raze his opponents to the ground then he can rest soundly tonight on a job well done. He finished up with 1,087,000.
There was no warming into the day. Players fell from the off with a flurry of exits taking play down to three tables in 30 minutes. It took a further three hours to get down to two tables and the last table was set a good couple of hours after that. In all, it took six levels and two hands of the seventh to get down to our final eight players. They'll play down to a winner tomorrow live on the UKIPT webcast.
The UKIPT Isle of Man final table
1. Adam Topping, United Kingdom PokerStars Qualifier, 676,000
2. Chris Jonat, United Kingdom Rational Group Staff, 952,000
3. Duncan McLellan, United Kingdom, PokerStars Qualifier,1,161,000
4. Harry Lodge, United Kingdom, PokerStars Qualifier, 569,000
5. Daniel Stacey, United Kingdom, 1,087,000
6. Jamie O'Connor, United Kingdom, PokerStars Qualifier, 1,243,000
7. Richard Milne, United Kingdom, 956,000
8. Fatima Moreira De Melo, Netherlands, Team PokerStars SportsStar, 524,000
Fatima Moreira de Melo had a tough day thanks to a starting seat draw that placed Stacey on her left and a re-draw that... placed Stacey on her left. Moreira de Melo is an Olympic gold medal winner, a competitive spirit who smile sweetly as she batters your stack. Team PokerStars Pro Lex Veldhuis, a player not known for his passive nature, once told us that when coaching Moreira de Melo he'd had to get her to rein in rampant aggression. Moreira de Melo isn't the only PokerStars patched player on the final table.
Chris Jonat wears a 'PokerStars Staff' patch showing him to be, well, someone who works for PokerStars. The Isle of Man is the home of PokerStars HQ and the decision was made to allow staff members to play if they wanted to buy into the £1,100 event. Jonat was one of those to take that opportunity. He's proved to be no slouch, as you'd expect from someone who's in charge of managing Team PokerStars Online and had been a SuperNova Elite cash game grinder before joining PokerStars on the other side of the table. Jonat popped the bubble yesterday and he did the same to close the action tonight eliminating Alexander Schilt in 9th place with tens holding up to a short-stacked shove with a baby pair.
Last night's monster chip leader McLellan continued to display that here was a man that wasn't afraid of playing some poker. He check-raised with air in one three-bet, three-way pot then again, with just nine players left, in a big pot when he called a four-bet from Jamie O'Connor, floated the flop then jammed the turn for half-a-million on a T♠5♥A♣6♠ board. O'Connor passed and McLellan showed 2♥3♥. It's not exactly abc poker but McLellan's been well chipped throughout and you can't fault someone for making a great read and having the courage to follow through with it. EPT Grand Final champion Steve O'Dwyer seemed to agree.
Players that we lost today playing from 30 down to eight included Team PokerStars Pro Barry Greenstein (11th, £7,670), James Browning (14th, £5,870), UKIPT Cork winner Sam Razavi (17th, £5,285) and Jack "jackellwood" Ellwood (21st, £4,315). You can check out all the UKIPT Isle of Man payouts here.
Tomorrow's final table should be a fascinating one, but if you're looking for a little more UKIPT flavour then check out some of the article below.
Brad Willis investigates....
PokerStars Head of Blogging Brad Willis has been peeking behind the PokerStars curtain here on the Isle of Man, the home of PokerStars HQ. Willis caught up with Sue Hammett, Head of Corporate Giving as well as poker evangelist Lee Jones.
PokerStars Blog reporting team at PokerStars UKIPT Isle of Man: Rick Dacey and Nick Wright. Photos by Rene Velli.