UKIPT4 London: Jack Salter takes lead into Main Event final
It was business as usual on Day 3 of the UKIPT4 London Main Event today, and that meant no let-up on the pace that had stunned everyone yesterday.
Some 24 hours ago a field of more than 200 was reduced to 35 inside of eight levels. Today, we slashed that 35 down to eight in a little more than seven. It was in many ways the perfect day of poker, without downtime or slow spells - simply eye-catching stuff all the way.
The feature table in action today
Looking at the field, and then at the clock, something didn't seem to fit. The standard benchmark for a tournament's progress is an average stack equalling roughly 40 big blinds. At times today the average stack was more than 60.
But while that often means the pace will slow up, it didn't. Instead the eliminations kept coming, from Mohammed Suhail out in 35th place, to Jessie McKenzie, a former Sunday Million winner, out in ninth, whose departure brought an end to the day's play.
Leading that last eight is Jack Salter. Here's how they'll line up.
Seat 1. Lasse Frost (Denmark) - 1,700,000
Seat 2. Jack Salter (United Kingdom), PokerStars Qualifier - 3,645,000
Seat 3. Dario Sammartino (Italy) - 1,475,000
Seat 4. Robert Bull (United Kingdom), PokerStars Qualifier - 1,335,000
Seat 5. Karl Mahrenholz (United Kingdom), PokerStars Qualifier - 850,000
Seat 6. Ian Simpson (United Kingdom) - 3,525,000
Seat 7. Paul Zimbler (United Kingdom) - 505,000
Seat 8. Patryk Slusarek (United Kingdom) - 1,710,000
Each had a different day on the route to the last eight, starting with Salter
Chip leader Jack Salter
With his trousers slung low, and a waiter on full time duty fetching him tea and water, Salter did at one stage have a stack of chips that completely blocked his view of anyone to his left. That was gradually whittled away but not enough to leave him on the brink. Instead he played solidly, regrouped and thrived to close as the leader.
Ian Simpson, whose grin bears strong resemblance to actor Matthew Lillard, put on a brave face when crushed in a hand against Slusarek at the midway stage, one that left him precariously short.
Joking that this merely made his options simple, the Englishman went on a roll, quickly regaining full strength before going on to finish second in chips tonight. His toy stuffed octopus will also make an appearance tomorrow.
Patryk Slusarek got hands when he needed them, and made the best of things when he didn't.
The Pole, who now lives in the UK, took chips from big stacks all day, including those of Vladimir Geshkenbein and Simpson, and saw to it that Wayne Yap would go no further in the main event. He sent him to the rail, ensuring his stack will be good for third place tomorrow.
Lassa Frost seemed to cling to his headphones like a security blanket, occasionally brave enough to unhook one of them from his ear.
The dashing Dane, who finished third at EPT Berlin, was immovable in seat two on the outer table. A constant threat and ready to take on the big stacks of Simpson and Sammartino at his table, it proved a tactic that served him well - good for fourth place, just 10,000 behind Slusarek.
Dario Sammartino showed flashes of skill, as well as balls today.
Always calm and still when under pressure, the Italian took on the likes of Robert Bull repeatedly, and held his own to return tomorrow in fifth place. Had a hand against Ian Simpson held just before the close the Italian could well have bagged up the lead tonight.
Robert Bull used his prerogative as the big stack to cause trouble, and did so regularly, applying pressure on his opponents. Occasionally he was scuppered.
One hand in which he folded aces to Sammartino's weaker top pair risked tilting him off course. But he recovered well to earn a place in the last eight, his second UKIPT final table.
Karl Mahrenholz is used to the business end of a British poker tournament. The Londoner had to nurse a short stack more than once today, but was never rash in his decisions, doubling up multiple times to stay alive.
Even with the short stack he rarely looked at risk, and will hope for more of the same tomorrow.
If there was an all-in to be called today Paul Zimbler seemed ready to do the calling. That he was able to regularly find funds to do so, given the number of these hands he lost, is testimony to his ability to build a stack, one that he will hope continues tomorrow. While others are on the rail he returns, albeit as the short stack.
Among those rail bound today was chip leader at the start of the day Daniel Stacey. He would depart in 11th place. On a curious note, his starting stack at noon today was 1.4 million. The average stack going into tomorrow will be a little more than 1.8 million.
Falling short of the final day were several notable players, including David Lappin, who departed in 34th place. Former EPT winner Vladimir Geshkenbein started in good shape but was hit hard in the first level of play and was soon out in 31st place.
Former UKIPT winner Nicolau Villa-Lobos followed in 29th place, while British pros Charlie Combes and Sunny Chattha fell in 18th and tenth place respectively.
Out in ninth place went McKenzie. He'd hardly put a foot wrong all day, constantly sheathed in baseball cap, wraparound sunglasses and headphones. But the lengthy last stage of the day, from nine to eight, took its toll. A hard fought run for the Australian.
Their departures, and all of those in between, can be read about in more detail in our live coverage of the day.
The Houses of Parliament
That brings UKIPT coverage to an end for another day. If you're looking for more you can catch up on all the action from the Super High Roller event on the relevant coverage page, as well as on PokerStars.tv.
Goodnight from London.
Stephen Bartley is a PokerStars Blog reporter.