UKIPT Series 3: Day 1A, level 1-6 updates (blinds 200/400, ante 50)

5.30pm: Halfway there
That's the end of level six, you'll find the second half of today's updates in a new post.

5.15pm: Zimbler has zilch
It's not been a good day for those players who made the final table of this event last time out. Defending champion Gabriel Dragomir is out (see 4.50pm) and the man he defeated heads-up has also bitten the dust. Paul Zimbler got his chips in with pocket queens but ran into the aces of Fahd Bennani-Smires and unlike Jake Cody in level one he couldn't spike the two outer.

As that was going on, one table over Lucky Nguyen was living up to his name as he got Andrew McBean to commit his chips with pocket tens on a seven high flop, only to see the bad news when Nguyen revealed pocket kings.

5pm: Chip counts
I just did a sweep of the tournament rooms and here are the counts of some of the names and notables still in: Romano Pizzo (45,000), Philippe Souki (13,300), Charles Chattha (14,000), Pat Simcoe (12,000), Rumit Somaiya (43,000) and Jake Cody (67,000). And I just saw James Greenwood buying in so he's got starting stack of 20,000.

Blinds up: 200/400, ante 50

4.50pm: Defending champion departs
Whilst one former UKIPT Series champion is doing remarkably well - Jake Cody has around 67,000 - another is already out. Defending champion Gabriel Dragomir was not in his allotted seat when I went to get his chip count and after a quick chat to his table they confirmed he had been eliminated.

His exit came at the hands of Sameer Singh and he was kind enough to tell me how it happened, although he wasn't that keen to tell me his hand in case he makes Day 2, the reason became clear when he said: "I raised under-the-gun with 3♣2♣ and got four callers including him from the small blind. The flop was king-two-X with two diamonds, it checked to me, I bet 1,100 and he was the only caller. The turn was the 3♦, I bet 2,000 he moved all-in for 8,000 and I called. He had king-queen with no diamond. The river was the 6♣."

The table also told me that Dragomir was lucky to still be in as he'd got it in with pocket tens against pocket jacks, but the board made both players a straight.

4.40pm: Exits
Thanks to tournament staff beavering away behind the scenes I've been furnished with a complete player list and can tell you the following players are out: Attila Havacs, Fadil Isufi, Craig Sweden, Jack Smith, Emran Hussain, Jason Glenister, Arvin Ravindran, Stephen Pilgrim, Will Messenger, Ashley Alterman, Adam Ostrowski, Tamas Kovacs, Daniele Giulivo, Se Jin Hwang, Richard John Steele, Paul Allen and Nemanja Cvjetinovic have all kindly given their seat up to an alternate.

4.30pm: Back in their seats
The players are now back in their seats and playing level five. A reminder that late registration is open until the end of level six.

Blinds up: 150/300, ante 25

4.05pm: Break time
The klaxon signals the end of level four and the players are now on a 20 minute break.

3.50pm: Chip counts
A smattering of chip counts from around the two rooms: Chihao Tsang (14,250), Deborah Worley-Roberts (21,500), Jake Cody (73,000), Sam Macdonald (14,200), and Tim Wong (5,200).

Blinds up: 100/200, ante 25

3.30pm: The tournament of many levels
This tournament is being played on many levels, I'm not talking, he knows, that I know, but he knows that I know he knows kind of levels. More levels separated by stairs - or a lift for those adverse to exercise.

In the main room - called the Matcham Room, which is usually a theatre - sit the main throng of players. They're spread between 13 tables, whilst up, a lot of stairs, is the actual PokerStars Live card room. In there you'd find seven tables crammed full of yet more poker players including: Paul ZImbler, Chihao Tsang and Philippe Souki.

As players are eliminated they'll be collapsing the tables upstairs and moving players down to the main room.


The view from the poker deck

3.15pm: Cody not the only one with a hot hand
There's been a few eliminations in the first three levels - three to be exact - and Kirit Patel was responsible for one of them. He cracked aces with pocket threes, the majority of the money going in on the flop of a 3♠Q♣9♣K♠T♠ board. He had exactly 19,950 and now has right around 40,000 making him one of the chip leaders.

Blinds up: 75/150

3pm: Jake Cody, running like Jake Cody
Ladies and gentleman I think most poker players would agree that when they grow up they want to be Jake Cody.

The Team PokerStars Pro is already up to 75,000, starting stack is just 20,000! Let me rephrase that, after less than an hour of play he's almost quadrupled his stack. To put that in context the average stack at the start of Day 2 in the last UKIPT Series event was 73,000. They might as well hand him the trophy now and have done with it.

For those wanting details Cody was kind enough to provide some: "I've been running unbelievably," he told me. "I got queens in against aces and won and then had aces against king."


2.40pm: You might recognise me from such poker events as...
A number of players in the field today are what I'd term 'notables' either they've had some success in PokerStars events in the past or in other poker events near and far. They include: Charles Chattha, Chihao Tsang, Deborah Worley-Robets and serial PokerStars Qualifier Dean Clay (this man qualifies for events from the ANZPT to the WCOOP). There's also two players who've made a UKIPT Series final table in the shape of Tim Wong (UKIPT Series 1 - 4th) and Mark McCluskey (8th - UKIPT Series 2).

Blinds up: 50/100

2.30pm: Always the bridesmaid?
Whilst Sam Macdonald and Paul Zimbler have both tasted success in poker events the big 'W' has just eluded them both in events sponsored by PokerStars. And they've both been close, oh so close to taking home a novelty cheque and shiny PokerStars trophy.

Their near misses share some similarities, Both started heads-up play with a slim chip lead against opponent's less vaunted - but not necessarily less talented than themselves. And both played out protracted heads-up battles only to taste defeat.

For Zimbler his pain is fresher, he was runner-up in this very event at the end of June to Gabriel Dragomir. "Aiming to go one better," he told me just prior to the start of play. As for Macdonald he finished runner-up to Lauri Merikallio in Eureka2 Latvia in October 2012. Their heads-up battle swung back and forth for four hours before Merikallio landed the knock out blow. Four hours!

Can they get their maiden PokerStars victory here? Only time will tell.


Can Macdonald get the farm?

2.20pm: Plan for the day
For those of you unfamiliar with how the UKIPT Series events work here's how it's going to play out this weekend. The event uses the exact same structure as its big brother - the UKIPT Main Event - but with a turbo twist. Given that this event has to get done in three days, rather than the five days that each UKIPT Main Event lasts for, the levels are 30 minutes long as opposed to one hour.

They'll be 12 of them today and tomorrow for Day 1B, then the remaining players will all combine at noon Sunday and play down to a winner, that's likely to be sometime around midnight.

As for today, late registration is open to the end of level 6 - around 5.20pm - and there are currently 200 players in the field.

2.10pm: Cards are in the air
Day 1A of the UKIPT Series 3 is underway.

1.45pm: Catch Cody if you can
Hello and welcome to the live coverage of UKIPT Series 3. As is the custom, the action in this £275 event is taking place at the PokerStars LIVE poker room at The Hippodrome Casino in London's West End. Back in June, Gabriel Dragomir defeated 478 players to claim a chop-adjusted first-place prize of £16,480.


Dragomir dominated the last event

He joined an exclusive club of two people who've won a UKIPT Series event. As for the other fellow, you just might have heard of him, some guy called Jake Cody. Yes, the Team PokerStars Pro won the inaugural UKIPT Series event in April for £19,400 and after missing the second UKIPT Series event, he's playing today.

Cards will be in the air from 2pm, well, -ish, this is a poker tournament after all. The players will have to negotiate a dozen 30-minute levels to make Day 2 and although Day 1A hasn't yet sold out, Day 1B almost certainly will so if you haven't locked up your seat yet get yourself down to The Hippodrome Casino and get involved.

Can Cody make it two from two?

All photos are copyright of Neil Stoddart.

Nick Wright
@PokerStars in UKIPT