UKIPT Series 3: Haresh Thaker leads after Day 1A

Another UKIPT Series and another sell out as 216 hopefuls rolled up to The Hippodrome hoping to follow in the footsteps of Jake Cody and Gabriel Dragomir, who won the first and second UKIPT Series events respectively.

By the end of a dozen 30 minute levels 148 of them had unceremoniously had their dreams dashed and been asked to exit stage left from The Hippodrome card room, which when it's not hosting poker events is a theatre. Of the 68 players who made it through to the final scene of Act 1 Haresh Thaker is playing the starring role. He bagged up 244,100 to lead the way, although the supporting cast of Neil Bernadout (160,000), Peter Hegedus (131,000), Ashley Wilson (125,400) and Lorenzo Biundo (121,300) are lurking in the wings.

The poker world is littered with ex poker dealers turned professionals, think Scotty Nguyen and Mike Matusow and Thaker is looking to follow in their footsteps. The 34-year-old Londoner has worked at a couple of poker clubs in the capital and has dealt to the likes of Praz Bansi, Roland De Wolfe and Sam Grafton. Bun since his last place of employment closed he's been playing poker. "I'll play to the money runs out and then I'll apply for a job at The Hippodrome," he quipped. If he keeps this up that might be a long way off.


Haresh Thaker is the chip leader

Top of the bill today was undoubtedly Team PokerStars Pro Jake Cody and, at the start at least, he didn't fluff his lines. Within the opening hour Cody had turned his starting stack of 20,000 into 75,000, on both occasions he got lucky. In the first he cracked aces with queens and in the second he suffered a different kind of positive variance as he found aces at the same time an opponent found kings. So an hour in Cody had a stack that'd be good for an average stack going into Day 2. He was sat two to the left of Thaker and the end of day chip leader said: "He's troublesome he is," but Cody's day took a turn for the worse in the final four levels and he lost three big pots in a row to bust.


Easy come, easy go for Cody

Some of the other big players that were limited to cameo roles, or cut from the production altogether included defending champion Dragomir and Paul Zimbler. Whilst, Deborah Worley-Roberts and Sam Macdonald suffered the same fate as the day progressed.


Zimbler was eliminated early on

Th likes of EPT commentator James Hartigan and UKIPT host Nick Wealthall will be in the field tomorrow and I'll be back from 2pm to bring you all the coverage of what promises to be an exciting Day 1B. If you want to catch up with all the action from today you can click here or here and overnight chip counts can be found here. For now, until tomorrow it's good night from London.


All photos are copyright of Neil Stoddart

Nick Wright
@PokerStars in UKIPT