UKIPT Series 1, London: Day 1A, Level 1-6 updates (Blinds 200-400 ante 50)

5.45pm: Halfway there
That's six of the 12 levels done and dusted. You'll find the second half of today's entertainment in a new post.

5.35pm: Someone's going to hit a set
So said Robert Panayi as the dealer prepared to deal the fate of a three-way all-in. This is how it stood:

Panyani: K♥K♦ - stack of roughly 30,000
Tariq Ahmad: A♥A♣ - stack of roughly 15,000
Lincoln Walshe: J♣J♦ - stack of exactly 12,325

The 4♦J♠3♠ flop brought blessed relief to Walshe who looked to be heading out of this tournament, the 9♣ turn and T♦ river kept him in front. He trebled up, whilst Ahmed was out soon after and Panyani was left to try and get above starting stack once more.

5.20pm: 147
The official number of runners for Day 1A has been confirmed as 147, we're now into level six and here's a list of all those who've been snookered so far: Gergely Penzes, Sinem Melin, Barry Earnshaw, Jacqueline Maneuska-Hamilton, Ashley Taylor, Muctarr Jalloh, Lewis Higham, Bob Barber, Patrick Murray, Korn Faustus, Simon Brooks. Nathan Lee, D. Capon, John Black, Sam Hoskyn, Nicholas Ronase, Benjamin Fergus Woolf, Omar Omar, Neil Leicester, Simon Skinner, Thomas Townley, Ben Spraggons, Philippe Souki and Ben Price.

ukipt series 1_day 1a_philippe_souki.jpg

It's back to the cash games for Souki

LEVEL UP: BLINDS 200-400 ante 50

5pm: Chop chop
A very intriguing hand just played out on Deborah Worley-Roberts table, one that saw her sigh call her stack off.

The flop on the felt was 7♣Q♣7♦ there was a bet of 5,025 in front of Worley-Roberts (small blind), an identical bet in front of Craig Sweden (mid postion) and an all-in bet in front of the button, the button had clearly also been the first to bet this flop as there was clearly a bet of 2,000 to the side of the chips that he'd slid over the line when he moved all-in.

"What you doing," said Sweden to Worley-Roberts as she pondered her decision. "Shut up," said Worley-Roberts to her friend in a playful manner. "You want a corona?" asked Marius Lietuvninkas to Worley-Roberts. "Yes please, I'm going to need it," she said before committing her stack.

Now the action was on Sweden, he too took his time. "What you doing," sniped Worley-Roberts, playfully ribbing her mate as he now took as long as she had, if not longer. "I think I'm folding the best hand," said Sweden as he slid his cards face-down into the muck.

The two active players both flipped their cards and both had ace-queen, no club so no re-draw. "We got your money, we got your money," said Worley-Roberts to Sweden, pausing only to sip on her cold beverage that had by now arrived.

4.40pm: Too late will be the cry...
Level five is now underway meaning that late registration for Day 1A of the first ever UKIPT Series event has stopped. I'll confirm total number of runners when I get that information, but I can tell you that 15 players were eliminated during the opening two levels. A player list is on its way, at which point I'll be able to put names to the numbers on the I.D cards that I receive when a player is eliminated.

LEVEL UP: BLINDS 150-300 ante 25

4.20pm: Break time
That's four levels done and dusted and the players are now on a 20 minute break. The board is showing that 135 of the 144 entrants remain. One of those is PokerStars Team Online's Mickey Petersen. He appears to have taken a couple of hits early on and is down to around 14,150.

4.05pm: Once button, twice blind
A bit of a kerfuffle broke out at Tim Slater's table, but it all sorted itself out amicably enough in the end.

The hand started as all do, the dealer tossing out everyone's two hole cards. The players under-the-gun and under-the-gun+1 folded, so far so standard. It was at this point that the big blind spoke up about how he had been big blind on the previous hand, a fact that was confirmed by the small blind as she realised she was paying the small blind for a second hand in succession.

The action was paused and the floor called. It was ruled that as two actions had taken place - the two players folding - that the hand would have to be played out. And play out it did, Slater raising to 500 and everyone else folding. The big blind was a little reluctant to put in the 100 that he didn't owe to the pot, but eventually he did and it was on to the next hand.

3.50pm: Structural changes
Keen follower(s) of the blog (hi Mum!) might have noticed a couple of structural tweaks, new for Season 4 of the UKIPT. If you're not a structure geek, you might as well just gloss over this post though.

Usually level four would be 100-200 with no ante, but this season they've made the decision to bring the ante in from level four. In seasons gone by the ante didn't kick in until level six at the 150-300 level. There's a couple of other tweaks such as the 600-1,200 level now having a 200 ante instead of 100, it's now 1,000 - 2,000 (300) instead of 1,000 - 2,000 (200), 1,500 - 3,000 (400) instead of 1,500 - 3,000 (300). In short the antes, like a annoyed wasp, have got a bit more aggressive.

ukipt series 1_day 1a_chips.jpg

LEVEL UP: BLINDS 100-200 ante 25

3.40pm: Don't let him in
Those were the cheeky words from a player who will remain anonymous when he saw that PokerStars Team Online's Mickey Peterson - who lives in London - had turned up to play.

He has a point though, Petersen has over $1,000,000 in lifetime earnings in live tournaments (and more online), has an EPT title to his name and a fearsome reputation both live and online.

3.30pm: Upper deck
Anyone who's played poker here at the Hippodrome will know that the poker room is right at the top of the building and is called 'The Poker Deck'. But today, the majority of tables are actually in what is usually a theatre a few floors below.

There are just two tables in use in the regular poker room and sharing the same table are Sinem Melin and Sunny Nagi. I saw the latter scoop a useful pot when he value bet 2,875 on the river of a K♠Q♣J♠5♣2♥ board, his opponent made the call, Nagi showed K♣J♦ to take the pot.

3.20pm: Numbers climbing
We're now into level three of the first UKIPT Series event, when play started just 110 players were seated, that number has now climbed to 135. Late registration is open to the start of level five.

One player who's taken advantage of that is UKIPT3 Bristol runner-up James Greenwood, although we've just been told Team PokerStars Pro Jake Cody will actually be playing tomorrow now instead of today.


3.10pm: Sweden by name, Sweden by nature
Scandinavian players have a reputation for being very, let's say creative. Another player who's fast out the traps is Craig Sweden, who's very much from the UK, but he told me about a hand that has got him up to about 39,000 and he played it like a Scandinavian that's for sure.

He told me that he'd been running over the table a bit when the following hand ocured. He made it 600 to go with [Q][8] and a woman who complained that he'd been raising her blind all the time three-bet out and he smooth called. The [Q][8][3] flop connected rather nicely with his hand, she led and he called. Another eight fell on the turn, putting three hearts on board. It was checked to Sweden, he bet 3,500 and his opponent called. The river was a blank and when it once more checked to Sweden he bet a chunky 9,000, call from the lady, who mucked her hand after Sweden showed his full house.

3pm: More names arrive
A lap of the tournament room has unearthed a couple more familiar faces. I've spotted J.J. Hazan, who I'm sure would rather be known for his successful run in the 2006 Amsterdam Masters Classic, than his unsuccessful appearance on Dragon's Den.

And Paul Zimbler is in the house, seated in the middle seat in one of the tables right in the middle of the room. One of his poker nicknames is the Marbella Kid, which just so happens to be where the first UKIPT event of Season 4 takes place


2.45pm: Sen flush with chips and straight to the top of the leader board
One level done, one man out...

I can't tell you the name (yet) of the unfortunate bustee (and he was unfortunate), but I can tell you that Subin Sen now has his hands on a stack of over 40,000.

The dealer and Sen recounted the hand to me and this is what happened. Both Sen and the player who busted turned the nut straight on a [A]Q♣[6][10c] board, Sen with K♣J♣ and his opponent with K♦J♦. On the turn Sen led, raise to 1,900, Sen made it 6,000., shove for 20,000, call from Sen.

The 9♣ river completed Sen's re-draw and gave him a straight flush to boot. He's the early chip leader here in London.

2.30pm: Spotted
There's, thus far, been 24 UKIPT main events (not counting UKIPT/EPT London) so it's inevitable that a few players who final tabled - or even won a UKIPT - will pop up at this first UKIPT Series event.

Thus far I've spotted Jamie Burland (UKIPT1 Brighton winner), Deborah Worley-Roberts (5th, UKIPT3 Cork), Philippe Souki (4th, UKIPT3 London) and Tim Slater (5th UKIPT2 Newcastle).

2.20pm: Cards are in the air
The dealers have shuffled and they've begun dealing. Yep we're underway, 110 players is the number of runners currently according to the tournament board.

The plan for today is to play 12 levels, with a 20 minute break at the end of levels four and eight. With each level being 30 minutes in length that's an approximate finish time of 9.05pm for those who survive to Day 2.

2.10pm: Welcome to the first ever UKIPT Series main event

Good afternoon, this blog is coming to you live from the Hippodrome Casino in the heart of London's West End, where the first ever UKIPT Series event is just minutes away. Action will take place in the stunning new state-of-the-art PokerStars LIVE poker room.

ukipt series 1_day 1a_card_room.jpg

All the world's a stage

The UK and Ireland Poker Tour (UKIPT) has been an unmitigated success since its first event back in December 2009. Three seasons later and with a fourth forthcoming, starting with UKIPT, er Marbella 12-16 June, then the powers that be decided there was room for a tour offshoot, enter the UKIPT Series.

So what's it all about then? The buy-in to all UKIPT Series events will be £250 + £25, for that you'll get a 20,000 starting stack with an identical structure to the UKIPT Main Events whilst all UKIPT Series events will have a 30 minute clock throughout. There's three currently on the schedule so if you can't make this one don't fret.

Those that do partake though will be eligible for UKIPT side event leader board points. In addition, winners of each UKIPT Series event will also be invited to the UKIPT Champion of Champions event at the end of Season 4 to battle it out for a UKIPT Season 5 passport.

The field is capped at 400 and two of those spots have been taken by Team PokerStars Pros Liv Boeree and Jake Cody, the latter will play today and Boeree is slated to play Saturday. Whilst 79 players have won their way here through online qualifiers. Why not come on down and join them? If you can't play today there's another starting day tomorrow. As is the custom both starting days will follow the same format, which will be 12 levels, meaning a finish time of approximately 9.30pm, cards should be in the air shortly.

ukipt series 1_day 1a_jake_cody.jpg

Jake Cody - pictured at UKIPT Edinburgh in January

Reporting team in London: Nick Wright. Photos by Neil Stoddart (except the UKIPT Edinburgh shot of Jake Cody, which has got Mickey May's name all over it).

Nick Wright
@PokerStars in UKIPT