UKIPT London Day 1C: Another remarkable chapter in Wojtek Barzantny's heaven-sent season
There was a lot that was familiar about Day 1C at UKIPT London, similar to the two days gone before, and similar to the entire season. There was a huge field -- 491 players to be precise -- and they tried to play 11 one-hour levels. But only about 20 per cent of them would make it through the day.
When they bagged up at the end, the leader had a commanding lead: 275,900 chips, which was about 18 times what he started with. And perhaps the most familiar aspect about the whole shebang was that man's identity. It was Wojtek Barzantny, the German player who has already won two events on this season's tour.
This, though, is the big one. It's the UKIPT Grand Final, the curtain raiser for the EPT London festival. And if Barzantny were to win this event, he would have beaten 1,098 others (the total field was only one player shy of eleven hundred) and earned himself £156,800. That's the biggest share of a £746,221 prize-pool, announced when all the bean-counters had done their counting tonight.
He said he got lucky with eights, when he beat pocket tens. (That was an 80 big blind pot.) And then an ace-king held against an aggressively-played Q♠J♦. That put him into the lead, and he'll be overall leader tomorrow, when day two will begin after three attempts to get through day one.
Although only a combined field of fewer than 250 players remain, there is some awesome strength in their midst. Just looking at the players who survived today -- Liv Boeree (33,000), Marvin Rettenmeier (129,900), Olivier Busquet (45,900), Ben Vinson (125,500), Joao Nunes (23,700), Rupinder Bedi (43,000) and Juan Manuel Pastor (65,400) for example -- you can see that the big stars have flocked to London for this one. (Michael Tureniec led for almost all of the day, but dusted off a 200,000 stack in the final few levels.)
Also some of the lesser-known lights, such as Wei Deng Wang (213,400), David Urban (162,400), Chris Dowling (131,300) also put themselves in a good position to make a run for the money tomorrow. With 144 players due to be paid, the bubble should burst before dinner.
The mighty have, of course, also fallen. We said hello then waved goodbye to Jake Cody, Charlotte Van Brabander, Matthias and Christophe De Meulder, Anton Wigg, Pierre Neuville, Russell Carson, JP Kelly, Jude Ainsworth, Sam Holden, James Akenhead, Paul Berende, Toby Lewis and plenty of others.
Be back tomorrow at noon. Sharp.