PokerStars Marbella Festival: Day 1A, level 9 updates (500-1,000, ante 100)

Shubin heads field on Day 1a at the PokerStars Marbella Festival
The ground-breaking conjunction of the UKIPT and ESPT tours was always likely to prove seismic and so it proved as a sell-out field of 352 converged at the nexus point of Casino Marbella to do battle.

With sun, sand and sangria beckoning those who were eliminated early, one might have expected the players to play with gay abandon, safe in the knowledge that a wonderful holidaying location lay at their fingertips. Instead the opposite seemed to be the case with careful play the hallmark of the early levels.

However with talent such as Team PokerStars Pro Juan Manuel Pastor, EPT runner-ups Soren Jensen and Fintan Gavin and stalwarts of the UKIPT scene including Season 3's leaderboard winner Tom Hall and Alex Ferguson in the mix, that was unlikely to last long and so it proved - a trickle of eliminations escalating into a cascade toward the end of the day.

Pastor looked to be likely to make it through with a decent stack at one point, though his fortunes suffered late in the day and he was eliminated. Tom Hall did better - making it through with a 19,800 shortstack and keeping his admirable run of UKIPT performances going.whilst Ferguson did even better a 70,000 plus stack giving him a realistic shot at a deep run here.

Even more impressive were the UK's Robert Wybrew and Pole Pawel Keller who both staked healthy claims for the chip lead at various junctures toward the finale but it was the quiet Russian Andrey Vladimirovich Shubin who bested all and sundry to finish the day on top with 202,500, Wybrew close behind with 181,000 and Keller further back in 3rd place with 152,700.


Cut through the field like a hot knife through butter

In total 113 players made it through the day and they get a day's rest before returning for day 2 on Friday. The full chip counts can be found here.

With another sell-out day on the cards tomorrow the fur will fly once more as 350 plus further players descend on the Casino to vie for the title.

It is bound to be fascinating so join us there for the 12.00pm start and we'll be glad to detail all the activity of the day.

See you there!

To see updates from levels 5-8, click here.

To see updates from levels 1-4, click here.

11.54pm: The game is up!

The final card has been played and the day is done.

Andrey Vladimirovich Shubin managed to ascend to the top of the pack come the close of play, the silent RUssian with the combed-back hair slipping past the rest of the pack having quietly and effectively accumulated 202,500 in chips.

The 113 players remaining have played 10 hard levels of poker and once they have finished bagging and tagging their chips, they will slope off to bed, ready to get a good night's sleep and return following their day's break on Thursday to resume their challenge for the title.

We'll have a wrap-up post for the day to follow shortly but for now, thanks very much for following - it's been an interesting day full of drama.

11.46pm: Keller's a fan of sobriety
Pawel Keller is going to be bringing 152,700 to play with Friday. One late scoop came at the expense of fellow big stack Jan Brandejs. Facing a 9.900 bet on a 9♠ 3♥ 8♥ 4♠ board Pawel decided to play for stacks, moving out 43,000.
"Why so much?" Brandejs muttered wryly before letting it go.
"Chilling at the swimming pool, maybe going to the spa," Keller says of his day off tomorrow.
"I don't want to get drunk!" he adds. -- GC

11.37pm: Four hands to go...
The end of level ten and thus the end of the day approaches. WIth 11 minutes left on the clock, the TD announced there would be four more hands of play.

There are 3 or 4 stacks currently vying for the chip lead in what could prove a grandstand finish...

11.25pm: Hegarty Shaun of his stack
Shaun Hegarty was backed into a corner with his shortstack, and he came out swinging, moving all his chips into the middle with sixes, only to run into the ominous presence of Jose David Amilleta Borao, who delivered a knockout blow with pocket queens.

The bar gains one more patron and the roster of potential champions is reduced by one...137 remain... -- RS

11.08pm: Monton Walks Away
Miguel Gurrea Monton seems to have gotten off lightly with a one orbit penalty, having taken fifteen minutes to move from table 19 to 11. The tables in question are adjacent, and with chips in hand, it is unclear exactly where Monton wandered. The tournament director must have felt the meandering was not ill-intended, having granted a slap on the wrist. Monton however was not exactly ameliorated by the development, needing to take another ambulation to prevent further haranguing of the tournament suits. -- GC


Never a dull moment for Miguel

10.46pm: Wybrew joins the 100 club
It's an elite group, though the number of players topping the 100k mark is starting to creep upward as the end of day sees a slew of unfortunates falling foul of coin flips and well-meaning but ill-fated desperation shoves.

Robert Wybrew might just be besting them all now however, having just sent Josef Gulas to the rail to reach 125,000. -- RS


The patient man Gary Clarke

10.35pm Clarke melts the snowmen

We visited the plight of Gary Clarke earlier - a poor start seeing his stack fall to half its starting value. Every time we have passed him by his stack has seemed to be roughly the same - in that 10k -12k region.

He is still struggling somewhat - though his chances and demeanour have both been give a welcome boon - a double through with pocket nines versus his hapless tablemate's eights seeing him rise up the rankings somewhat.

"It's been a rollercoaster ride!" he told us merrily. -- RS

10.24pm: Duped and Doubling
Hector Vazquez must have been practicing the hollywooding he put on for our former front-runner Andoni Exposito. Both players saw an A♥ A♠ T♦ flop which instantly checked through. Next up came the 7♥, and Vazquez's small bet of 2,600 was met with a raise to 7,600 by Exposito. The 6♥ river brought many of the backdoor draws to completion. After much consternation, forehead rubbing, and eyebrow arching, Vazquez produced a Razzie-worthy bet of 5,100, which was snapped off by Exposito, who claimed a flush. Nothing could beat flopped gin, with Vazquez holding the A♣ T♠.

Not too long after Exposito's tournament life was at risk in a big coinflip. His two red nines facing the ace-king offsuit of Joseph Gulas. When the board ran out T♣ T♠ Q♠ 4♠ 2♠ Exposito gave us the loudest battle cry of the tournament so far. Any attempt to keep an even keel ended abruptly as his stack has passed the 100,000 chip mark after near elimination. -- GC


Sammy Farha never hollered so loud

10.01pm: Muhtaseb setting the pace
Nayef Ghazi Muhtaseb hasn't been amongst the chip leaders up till now, but that has all changed, a burst of adrenaline-fuelled run-good propelling him to the apex of the chip standings with a fine 115,000.

This can all change of course over the next few levels but for now at least he can claim to hold dominion over some of europe's finest.


Muhtaseb leads the chasing pack

The rest of the major chip leaders have been entered into the database and can be viewed by clicking the link to the right of this post.

LEVEL UP: BLINDS 500-1000 ante 100

To view updates from levels 5-8, click here.

PokerStars Blog reporting team at PokerStars Marbella Festival brought to you by UKIPT and ESPT: Rod Stirzaker and Gareth Chantler. Photos by Eric Vogel.

Rod Stirzaker
@PokerStars in UKIPT