UKIPT4 London: Day 1A, level 1-4 updates (100/200, ante 25)

Follow updates from level five onwards in this shiny new post.

4.25pm: Exits
There's no easy way to say this, but whilst the majority of players are playing level five, the following players tournament hope are not alive: Kenneth Broad, Chris Ralston, Bret Seldon, Daniel Merrilees, Tobias Garp, James McLean, Peter Loddy, Nicholas Hennessy, Ludek Majer and UKIPT4 Marbella champion Ludovic Geilich are all out. -- NW

4.15pm: Dinh Tuan Nguyen wins
Just three days ago Dinh Tuan Nguyen was crowned UKIPT Series 3 champion after defeating a field of 464 players at The Hippodrome. He just showcased some of the skills that made him a worthy winner.
There was a raise to 425 from the cut off, Nguyen clicked it to 775 and the cut off made it 2,300. Back on Nguyen he thought for a while and then made it 5,300 total to go and the cut off swiftly folded. As he took the pot Nugyen showed 9♦8♠. After that hand Nguyen is up to 23,600. -- NW

4.05pm: Chip counts
I've just updated the chip count page, notables whose stacks are now more accurate are: Jake Cody (15,000) he's sat to the direct right of Jon Spinks (12,600). One table over Paul McTaggart has 17,000, whilst UKIPT3 London runner-up Thomas Ward is down to 6,600. -- NW

3.50pm: Panyi, Blackwood and Chidwick chipped up
Three of the early pacesetters are Elliot Panyi, Richard Blackwood and Stephen Chidwick. The first two are sharing a table and were kind enough to tell me how they got their chips.There was a raise to 400 from under-the-gun and two or three callers before it got to me in the big blind," said Panyi. "I've got ace-king with the ace of hearts and make it 1,450 to go. The under-the-gun player goes all-in for about 8,500 with [10s]7♠ and I called. He hit a seven but it came four hearts." That's left Panyi flush with chips, 54,000 to be exact.

As for Blackwood, he's up to 40,000 and told me, "My hand was much more interesting. I had aces against aces and flushed him. Two spades on the flop, spade turn, spade river."

As for Chidwick he was focused on his phone but Deborah Worley-Roberts, who's down to 6,100, was keen to point out that his chip stack had come from 'good cards, not good play!' -- NW

3.35pm: Dempsey done for
James Dempsey is out. He was last seen wandering the room inviting friends out for drinks tonight. He'll have a couple of days to get over a hangover and will probably return for the EPT. -- HS

3.25pm: Triple Crown and Hall of Fame
Every regular reader of PokerStars Blog will know all about Jake Cody. He's a Triple Crown Winner, a PokerStars Series event winner and a Team PokerStars Pro. One day, when he's close to double his age now, he may be inducted into the poker Hall of Fame as one of the greats.

Sitting at the other end of the table today in London is Chris Bjorin, who probably won't be as familiar to many as Cody. But Bjorin is currently on the shortlist of ten candidates for potential 2013 Hall of Fame inductees, and is so significantly closer even than the boy from Rochdale to the ultimate recognition.


Chris Bjorin, who has seen it all before, wearing the expression of a man who has seen it all before

Bjorin has been doing this a long, long, long time and has recorded cashes dating from 1989. He has two World Series bracelets, is fifth on the list of all time World Series cashers and is Sweden's most successful ever live player. London has been home for quite some time, and Bjorin is a regular in the big cash games still. He is deserving of all the respect he gets from people in the know. -- HS

Blinds up: 100/200, ante 25

3.15pm: Pinho takes one; Watts tank folds
Two different hands to tell you about now, I didn't catch them from the start, but I did see them finish.

On a 7♥K♣9♥ board there was a bet of 2,100, in front of Team PokerStars Pro Henrique Pinho and a bet of 4,500 in front of Florian-Dimitrie Duta. The Team PokerStars Pro didn't look like he wanted to fold and indeed he didn't. Instead he slid out a re-raise of 9,100 total, when Duta folded Pinho showed A♦6♠ for a complete bluff.

Elsewhere Steve Watts was being put through the wringer by Adam Hughes. The latter had bet 4,000 into a pot of 6,000 on a 4♥3♣2♠7♥ board. The ex-footballer only had 9,000 back and began trying to get a read on Hughes. "You got a better hand than jacks?" he enquired, no response. "You don't look as strong as when you had a set," no response. "You might have ace-king of hearts," no response. "Will you show if I fold," no response.

Eventually Watts laid it down, Hughes took the pot without showing. -- NW

3.05pm: Ryan vs Dineen
A sizeable pot just played out between Laurence Ryan and David Dineen on table five. The former raised it up to 350 from early position and called after Dineen three-bet to 850 from the button. On the K♦5♣4♦ flop Dineen c-bet 750 and Ryan made the call.
The 6♠ fell on the turn, again Ryan checked, again Dineen bet, this time the price was 950. After a bit of thought Ryan decided t check-raise, making it 2,200 total to play. It didn't take Dineen long to call the bet and the two of them saw the T♦ complete the board. It went check, check, Ryan showed 6♥5♠ for a two pair that had got there on the turn against Dineen's pocket queens. -- NW

3pm: Pioneers
There's no easy way to say this, but Sam Grafton, Henryk Nowakowski, Jeffmark De Castro, Tony Vu, Simon Brooks, Mathias Siljander and Redouane Bougheraba can count themselves among the first poker players ever to do a walk of shame from the Grand Connaught Rooms. This venue hasn't been used for poker before, and they are the first players out of the first tournament of the week. -- HS

2.55pm: Chip counts
A smattering of counts from around the tournament room: two-time WSOP bracelet winner Praz Bansi has (22,500), Team PokerStars Pro Vicky Coren is on 18,000, Scott Shelley, who is at the same table as Steve Watts (9,000) and Philippe Souki (23,000) has 19,800. A table along sit Karl Mahrenholz. He's boosted his stack to 35,600 whilst Richard Trigg has dropped to 15,000. Elswehere the legendary Willie Tann is going well on 27,000, defending champion Sergio Aido is up to 25,600, Paul Zimbler is on 27,000, Tim Davie is up to 28,000 and sharing a table with EPT10 Barcelona winner Tom Middleton, who's dropped to 17,200. And right at the back of the room Team PokerStars Pro Henrique Pinho is up to 31,000 and at the same table as PokerStars Team Online's Mickey Petersen who's going well on 27,200 as is Leon Louis who's on 31,000.

We'll be updating the chip count page throughout the day, you can find it here. -- NW

2.45pm: Faces
Our job at this stage tends to be little more than just naming a few people in the crowd and saying they have round about their starting stacks. But to mix it up a little, here's a few pictures of them instead, courtesy Rene Velli, our photographer for the week.


Deborah Worley-Roberts, UKIPT regular


Ludovic Geilich, winner in Marbella


Team Online's Mickey Petersen, back on the live grind after cashing the WCOOP main event


Praz Bansi: two-time WSOP bracelet winner


Team Pro's Vicky Coren, alongside Adrian Mateos, who won ESPT Madrid

2.30pm: Back again
Off we go again, with the tournament board showing 213 players of a starting field of 220. We will endeavour to find the identities of the early casualties very soon.

Blinds up: 75/150

2pm: Boatman the elder statesman
It's been a annus mirabilis for Barny Boatman, now Barny Boatman bracelet winner. Seems like he's by far the elder statesman at his table here on Day 1A.

He, like the other players are now on a 15 minute break, let's hope he can make it in and out of the room in time! -- NW

1.55pm: Who wants to be a Middy-onaire?
If you're going to be remorselessly mocked at the poker table, it helps if the subject is something you can't really complain too much about. And one suspects Tom Middleton, who is facing some serious motor-mouthing from James Dempsey and Sam Grafton, isn't all that flustered by what he's hearing.

"So how much money has he actually got?" asked Grafton, shouting across a couple of tables.
"I was trying to figure that out," said Dempsey, later adding that he believed Middleton hadn't called a bet because, "he's thinking about all his money. One hundred thousand...two hundred thousand."

Grafton and Dempsey were making reference to Middleton's recent sensational successes on the real and virtual felt. He won EPT Barcelona for €942,000 and then made the final table at a WCOOP event, and won a Sunday $500 buy in tournament, all in the same couple of weeks.


Tom Middleton, champion

Middleton kept quiet - he couldn't do much else - although allowed a grin to spread across his face as his cheeks reddened. The buy in here is "only" £1,000, well within all of these three players' budgets, but there's also bragging rights at stake.

As yet, none has deviated too far from their starting stack of 20,000. --HS

1.25pm: Man down
Just one exit so far with Redouane Bougheraba the main to lose his stack, Leon Louis who finished eighth in the WCOOP Main Event was the beneficiary. I didn't see the action live but PokerStars Team Online's Mickey Petersen filled me in.
It seems that by the river there were four diamonds on the board including the K♦, Louis had aces with the ace of diamonds for the nuts and Bougherabe Q-10 with the queen of diamonds for the second nuts and couldn't get away from it.

Blinds up: 50/100

1.05pm: Corroborating Wright
Further to Nick Wright's post below (NW), I can confirm that Kimmo Kurko and Vicky Coren are now seated in today's tournament field. The latter is two seats away from Jake Cody. Steve Watts is sitting alongside Scott Shelley and Philippe Souki, who finished fourth in the last renewal of this tournament, is one seat further round.

Speaking of top performances on the UKIPT, last year's leader board champion Tom Hall is also playing, as is the man he pipped to that accolade, Neil Raine. -- HS

12.45pm: Serene superstars
Its oh so quiet in the poker tournament room at the moment, you can only here the riffling of chips, the players are for the most past silent. There's a number of well known players amongst the silent masses though. With my own eyes I've spotted Jon Spinks, Karl Mahrenholz (they're sharing a table), Steve Watts, Team PokerStars Pro Jake Cody, Jonathan Weekes, Willie Tann, Elliot Panyi, UKIPT Series 2 runner-up Paul Zimbler, UKIPT3 Bristol third place finisher Robbie Bull, PokerStars Team Online's Mickey Petersen, WSOP bracelet winner Barny Boatman, UKIPT Series 3 winner Dinh Tuan Nguyen, Deborah Worley-Roberts and Paul McTaggart.

But that's not all according to the player list there are a number of EPT regulars making playing the UKIPT today (although we suspect some may actually play tomorrow). EPT Barcelona winner Tom Middleton is slated to play, as is runner-up Kimmo Kurko. Fellow EPT winners Toby Lewis and Kent Lundmark are both on the player list as are Team PokerStar Pros Nacho Barbero and Henrique Pinho. And completing a, quite frankly frightening Day 1A field are Team PokerStars Pro Vicky Coren and James Dempsey, last time they played a UKIPT together they were seated at the same table and Coren made quads on the same hand as Dempsey made a straight flush.

It's shaping up to be a cracking Day 1A. -- NW

12.30pm: Got ourselves connected
We are all now in place and ready to go. They shuffled up and dealt a good while ago, but here's how they looked in preparation.


Preparing for day 1A

12.20pm: Play has begun, the Internet has not
Hello poker fans! The UKIPT London Main Event began approximately 10 minutes ago but the PokerStars Blog live reporting team is currently facing Internet connection problems. It should be resolved shortl. Hold tight. -- RD

12pm: Welcome
Hello everybody and welcome to London for the third stop on Season 4 of the United Kingdom and Ireland Poker Tour (UKIPT). The most exciting element about this stop is that we're finally putting the UK in the UKIPT. After visiting Marbella, Spain, and Galway, Ireland, we've now decamped to where it all started: London.

As ever, we're expecting huge numbers this week at the Connaught Rooms in Covent Garden, a new venue for poker and the location for the EPT festival that starts this weekend. Speaking of which, you should immediately take a look at some important information concerning this venue and how you go about registering to play here.

Today is the first of a two-flight opening day, what we like to call Day 1A. Tomorrow (Thursday) is Day 1B and then we play all the way to a winner on Sunday.

By that point all kinds of other events will be running simultaneously, but the focus for the first part of this coverage at least will be the £1,000+£100 UKIPT Main Event. You can follow this event exclusively by clicking on the widget on the right, where it says UKIPT London. Everything else you need, including latest approximate chip counts, etc., can also be reached via that menu.

Last year, the Spanish star Sergio Aido triumphed, beginning what for him would be a remarkable week. But there will likely be close to 1,000 players trying to wrestle the crown away from Aido, and any one of them might prevail.


Sergio Aido: defending champion

Play begins at noon so please bookmark this page and come back for updates throughout the day.

Reporting team in London: Howard Swains and Nick Wright. Photos by Rene Velli.

Howard Swains
@howardswains in UKIPT