UKIPT4 Nottingham six-max: Level 1-4 updates (100/200 ante 25)
4.17pm: Break time
We've reached the halfway point of today's play and the participants are now on a 15 minute break. It's time to give this blog page a well earned rest too, you'll find level five updates in a new post. -- NW
4.15pm: Don't hit the road Jack
I joined the action to see Kyriacos 'Greek Jack' Dionysiou all-in for 11,350 on the turn of a [10c]6♥5♥K♦ board. There was around 6,000 in the pot and Huseyin Houssein was weighing up the odds. "Will you show if I fold," he asked before pulling a bit of a pump fake with his chips to try and get a read. Eventually he called and showed A♥[10d]. He was behind as Greek Jack had 6♠5♠ which held up on the Q♠ river. "Nice hand," said Houssein who turned to the masseuse who was working on his back and said: "Twenty minutes more please." -- NW
4.05pm: From Billy Joel to 50 Cent, something to talk about
The main talking point among players as we approach the end of level 4 is not the poker, but the music. Dusk Till Dawn is a venue designed with the poker player in mind, with every need catered to in a relaxed, comfortable environment. That includes background music.
Somehow staff at Dusk Till Dawn have assembled a catalogue of tracks that seems to cover every piece of music released during the high school years of each player. Given the broad age range of the playing field that includes everyone from Neil Diamond and Billy Joel, through to Arrested Development and Snow Patrol. While waiting for Brahms, 50 Cent used his talents just now to tell us he was a m*****f**** P.I.M.P., bringing us up to date.
Regardless of the quality, it gives players something to talk about every three and a half minutes. Well most players. Others have their game faces on, including Ben Vinson, intent on rebuilding his stack, and doing so against Philip Hepburn.
The same goes for Renee Xie. Struck earlier in a pot against Tamara King, Xie just sent Scott Murdoch-Aitchison to the rail, flopping a set of eights to easily undo Murdoch-Aitchison's pocket queens. Understandably he didn't look too happy about it. -- SB
3.45pm: Phan down
We've lost another play as Van Tuan Phan is the latest player to bust. He was down to just 1,275 when he moved all-in from under-the-gun. He picked up two callers, they checked it down on a K♥4♦6♠5♦6♣ board, Phan was already out of his seat by the time Micheal Hawkins showed pocket threes to claim the pot. -- NW
3.40pm: Two more exits
A couple more exits to tell you about, my thanks to Rich Prew of BlondePoker for providing the details on both.
The first involved Team PokerStars Pro Liv Boeree, On a A♣9♦7♦6♥ board she bet 1,500 holding 9♠7♠, Simon Brooks moved all-in for 9,250 with K♦6♦ and Boeree who was a 68% favourite to win the hand did just that as the river bricked.
Then Abdul Valimahomed who had already doubled up once against Iqbal Ahmed couldn't repeat the trick when he shoved with 7♦2♦ on a K♦T♦6♥ flop only to run into Ahmed's K♣Q♥. The 3♠ turn and 2♥ river keeping last year's runner-up in the lead. -- NW
3.35pm: O'Connor wins battle of Leeds
Jamie O'Connor and Richard Hawes are both part of the burgeoning Leeds poker scene. The city which is home to players such as Jake Cody, Matt Perrins, JP Kelly, Dave Nicholson and Tom Middleton to name a few, can justifiably lay claim to being home to the best group of poker players in the UK outside of London and perhaps including London.
I only caught the river action but with 5,300 in the pot O'Connor - who final tabled UKIPT4 Isle of Man - bet 3,100 leaving himself around 5,000 behind. Hawes eyed up O'Connor and then fixated on the 6♥3♣8♦J♣A♥ board, he eventually made the call but grimaced when O'Connor showed A♣3♠ for a rivered two-pair. He's up to around 16,500 whilst Hawes drops to 10,200. -- NW
3.30pm: Burghardt into the lead
With three and a half levels played it looks like it is David Burghardt who holds the chip lead. He just moved up to around 60,000 in a hand against UKIPT regular David Rawnsley.
There was betting and calling all the way on a board of 6♥7♣J♥2♣Q♠, each time Rawnsley letting Burghardt lead before putting his own chips into the middle. Rawnsley had something but not enough to beat Burghardt's two pairs with Q♦J♠. Rawnsley mucked with a flash of irritation. Burghardt meanwhile has a large stack of gold chips in front of him. - SB
Blinds up: 100/200, ante 25
3.10pm: Souped up
Liv Boeree and Adam Reynolds are winning pots on Table 25. It might be something to do with the soup. Boeree ordered some earlier and is up to more than 25,000. Reynolds is trying the same, spooning it down between hands, the most recent strong of which were raised by him and taken uncontested.
Meanwhile over on table 32 Ben Vinson is badly in need of the soup. He could only shake his head as Matthew Gray bet on the river, with the board reading J♥8♠9♥K♥3♣. There was about 15,000 in the middle and Vinson wanted it. But he couldn't have it. With regret he folded his hand as the colour returned to Gray's face. A stack of 26,000 in level three will do that.
Vinson right now can only dream of such amounts, sitting with 14,000. - SB
3pm: Propping up the bar
There are many ways to dull the pain of an early exit from a poker tournament. Alex Martin, second out today, has chosen to prop up the bar. I should be clear that he's prescribed himself a hot beef injection not a cold beer injection. In between eating his burger he was kind enough to tell me what had happened in the run up to his exit, given that his stack had been cut in half by this point.
It was essentially a tale of ace-king suited gone wrong. In the first significant hand that he played he'd raised with A♥K♥, picked up two callers only for David Burghardt to squeeze. "I four-bet because I didn't want it to go four ways," said Martin. "He then five bet and I called. I bricked the flop and folded."
Then a few hands later he raised with A♠K♠ and got three callers to a [X] two spade flop, Martin bet, only to get raised again by David Burghardt. He smooth called and they then checked through the  turn and 8♠ river and Burghardt showed pocket fives for a full house.
Still Martin seems in good spirits and will be sticking around for the festival. -- NW
2.40pm: Queen Tamara King
There are three women in the field today, two sitting side by side on table 34. Renee Xie and Tamara King just faced off against each other. Xie can claim the mantle of being the only player in the field wearing earrings, but her fortunes are on the wane at the expense of King.
As the board was dealt 5♠K♥3♣Q♦4♠ Xia tried betting to shake off King, but there was no sign of any abdication. King held on, calling Xie's river bet of 1,200. Xie showed pocket sevens and hoped it would be enough. But King had that beat, chasing Xie's sevens to the middle of the table with pocket tens.
King is on something of a tear right now, up several thousand on her starting stack. Xie meanwhile grins, but is down to less than 10,000. - SB
2.35pm:Triple up for Valimahomed
The talk on table number 33 has been jovial throughout, even when a big pot has just taken place. Such was the case when, whilst eavesdropping on their chatter, it became apparent that Abdul Valimahomed had recently tripled up through Iqbal Ahmed and Oliver Cooper.
The victor was kind enough to connect the dots for me on what had happened to boost his stack to around 12,000. He opened to 400, Ahmed made it 800, Cooper four-bet to 3,300, Valimahomed moved in for 3,875, Ahmed re-raised to 8,000 and Cooper folded ace-king. Ahmed had the same hand, whilst Valimahomed had pocket tens. The pair held up and Valimahomed is now in a much healthier position, Cooper is down to around 10,000 whilst Ahmed is back to starting stack. - NW
2.16pm: Chip counts
As the players sit down for level three here's how some of the names and notables stack up:
Julian Thew - 20,125
Liv Boeree - 26,000
Andrew Wayman - 21,000
Marcin Milde - 17,800
Kyriacos Dionysiou - 17,700
Iqbal Ahmed - 24,000
Neil Rawnsley - 30,000
Mitch Johnson - 24,000
Dave Jones - 17,000
Richard Hawes 23,000
Ben Vinson - 22,000
Blinds up: 75/150
2.01pm: Break time
That's the end of the first two levels of play, the number of entrants has trickled upwards to 51 over the first two levels. The remaining players will be back in 15 minutes. -- NW
2pm: Martin's life ended by 999
Alex Martin has just become the second player to exit Day 1A of UKIPT Nottingham six-max.
Pre-flop David Burghardt opened to 300, Martin 3-bet to 850 and Burghardt made the call. The flop fell 9♦3♠5♣ it was checked to Martin, he bet 1.150, Burghardt made it 2,550, Martin moved in for 9,950 and Burghardt made the call.
Martin was drawing thin and he didn't connect with the 4♠ turn or 5♥ river, he wished the table good luck as he left. -- NW
1.55pm: Boeree up
Liv Boeree is up to around 25,000 after a level and a half of play, enjoying a buoyant first spell. In the space of a few minutes she lost a pot, then won another worth more than what she'd lost. Her head nods occasionally to the music pulsing through her headphones.
Were she not wearing them she would have heard the conversation on the next table, fleeting snippets about a 'free bar in Ireland'.
As more players arrive the tournament staff have more work to keep them busy, except for one, who boldly introduced himself to one of the waitresses in hot-pants and leg warmers and then tried out his patter. No self-consciousness, just the brass of an off-duty poker player. - SB
1.35pm: More bums on seats and some bums lucky to still have a seat
Turning up late for a poker tournament is nothing new and some would say not a bad tactic. Three of those to employ that tactic today are Ben Vinson, John Bousfield and Mitch Johnson. The latter is a regular in the club and has taken the seat vacated by Andrew Gillett.
One player lucky to still be in the tournament is Renee Xie, "Did you write about the set over set hand?" she inquired of me. I had not. "I had a set of eights on a k-10-8 rainbow board," she told me. "Seat one (Scott Murdoch-Aitchison) had a set of tens."
Looking at her stack Xie still has around half of it and you'd imagine she did well not to lose more of it in that nasty cooler. -- NW
1.20pm:Manning up while Kitchen sinks
There are now eight tables in play thanks to a few late arrivals turning off the A52 Clifton Boulevard. The latest has been pressed into action at the far end of the room. It looks like a standard table, with players in caps, headphones and watching iPads propped up on a table. They all seem to be wearing coats too, the memory of the November weather all too recent.
On a flop of J♣6♥T♠ Liam Kitchen made the first of three check-calls against David Manning in seat 6. On the flop Manning made it 475, chewing gum vigorously. Then he bet 1,200 on the 2♠ turn and another 1,100 on the 8♥ river.
Kitchen, still wearing a woolly hat, called, but immediately conceded when Manning turned over his A♠J♠. He's up to around 22,000 while Kitchen drops to 16,500. - SB
Blinds up: 50/100
1.05pm: A couple of hands from table 33
I wandered over to table 33 to check on the progress of Iqbal Ahmed, who was runner-up here in Season 3. He's going incognito today, wearing a beanie hat and he was a mere bystander as a couple of pots played out around him.
In the first Neil Rawnsley opened to 150 from the hijack and Oliver Cooper flat called from the big blind. On the [10d]J♦6♦ flop Rawnsley c-bet full pot, firing out a bet of 325, Cooper made the call. Both players checked the 6♥ turn and the 5♠ completed the board. Once more Cooper checked, Rawnsley took the opportunity to bet, 400 was the price and it was one Cooper liked as he made the call. Rawnsley rolled over A♦J♣ and it was good.
On the next hand Rawnsley raised it up to 150 again, it would cost him more to see a flop on this occasion though as Abdul Valimahomed (who was back from his cigarette break) made it 500 to play and Cooper then cold four-bet to 850. That was enough to force out Rawnsley but Valimahomed decided to stick around to take a 3♣3♦7♠ flop. First to act Cooper c-bet 750 and Valimahomed showed A♦[10d] as he folded. -- NW
1pm: Affordable fag breaks as others go eyeball to eyeball
With the blinds at 25/50 and starting stacks of 20,000, the structure at this stage accommodates the poker-playing nicotine addict. Taking advantage was Abdul Valimahomed on table 33, who got up, to the delight of Iqbal Ahmed who drummed the table in anticipation of taking his big blind.
Valimahomed laughed as he patted his pockets. Then he became annoyed. "S**t," he said. "I've left my fags in the car."
As he dashed off to the car park the others took part in that kind of early event conversation. Nobody has done anything to harm anyone else so everyone is friendly and confessional. One player even admitted to having once folded his small blind while the big blind was absent.
But serious faces soon returned, starting with that of Daniel Scothorne, who raised on the button for 150. Both the blinds called, as did an early limper Ahmed in the hijack, who had been the drummer boy earlier.
The flop came 4♠9♥2♦ which was checked to Ahmed in the hijack who bet 450. Scothorne folded on the button and David Rawnsley in the small blind did the same. Matthew Gray was in the big blind though and called for a J♠ turn. Both remaining players eyeballed each other as the 7♠ hit the river. Gray checked before Ahmed, in an elaborate high arm chip drop bet 2,200.
There came a pause. If Valimahomed had found his fags he was now not missing as much as he may have feared. Ahmed was still staring and Gray knew the game was up, at least this time. - SB
12.45pm: Ace start for Smith; Gillett first exit
We suspected six-max might lead to greater action in the early levels. We were right - the first player has just busted. Andrew Gillett is the man to fall, Kev Smith his executioner.
It was Smith who started the action, making it 150 to go from under-the-gun. Two seats along, Gillett bumped it up to 500 the action passed to Micheal Hawkins in the small blind. The big blind was absent from the table, so Hawkins was closing the action - or so he thought, as he put out a call of 150, not realising that Gillett had raised. When told of his error his decided to call the 500 and the action was then back on Smith.
He didn't call; instead Smith made it 1,700 to go. Gillett then moved in for around 9,000 (he'd earlier lost around 7,000 to Hawkins then bled some away), Hawkins folded and Smith made the call.
The Q♣K♦Q♦A♣[10s] board gave Gillett a straight but also gave Smith a full-house. He's up to 29,500 after that hand and an early candidate for chip leader. -- NW
12.30pm: A look around the room
Dotted amongst the seven tables currently in use are a number of familiar faces from the UK poker scene. On table 22 sits Alex Martin who final tabled a WSOP event back in 2011 finishing fifth for $114,414. Sitting two to his left is a player with some success closer to home; this home in fact. Kyriacos Dionysiou, affectionately known as Greek Jack, is local to Dusk Till Dawn and his largest lifetime score of £28,519 came here when he won the £300 monthly deepstack in May 2011.
One table to their left you'll find Ben Dobson, who's got some history with the UKIPT. Back in Season 1 he finished eighth at UKIPT Coventry and more recently took down two side events in three days at EPT/UKIPT London in October this year. Both of those victories came in turbo events so he'll surely have no problem adapting to the need to play more hands in a six-max tournament.
He's sharing a table with Jamie O'Connor: the Leeds-based player finished seventh at UKIPT Isle of Man and showed himself to be a very competent and aggressive player.
Accounting for 33% of table 33 are last year's runner-up Iqbal Ahmed and Neil Rawnsley. The latter is somewhat of a satellite beast on PokerStars and qualifies for tournaments near and far online.
Over on table 34 sits Marcin Milde; he led after Day 1A of this event last year and will be hoping to repeat the trick today.
One player who we had on the player list today but will not be playing is Team PokerStars Online's Mickey Petersen. He will instead be playing the High Roller and playing the Main Event on Friday.-- NW
12.10pm: A closer look at the field
A player approached with a question. "35?"
"No", I said. "I'm 37, but you're close." Then I realised it was the table number he was looking for and he strode past to find his seat.
At first that would suggest there were at least 35 tables in action. But the reality is a little different.
There's a boutique feel to Day 1A, consisting as it does of just five tables of six so far, clumped in the middle of the tournament room that arcs beautifully around a central feature table which at any moment could be cleared away to allow Frank Sinatra to sing and introduce the day's action.
That said, with registration open for several hours, more players are expected, not to mention those jetting into Robin Hood International Airport/Nottingham's Broadmarsh Bus Station tomorrow, and the day after that.
By far and away the standout table is that featuring local boy Julian Thew and Team PokerStars Pro Liv Boeree.
Thew was involved in a few pots early, losing both. The first against Adam Reynolds on the button with trip threes and the next backing out on the re-raised river against Oliver Price and Simon Brooks. But both pots were small and of no real concern. - SB
12pm: Cards are in the air
Action is underway. -- NW
Hello and welcome to Nottingham's Dusk Till Dawn, Europe's premier poker venue. There have been many firsts over the four seasons of the UKIPT, a PokerStars tournament in the Isle of Man for instance. This event though is the first time ever that a UKIPT has gone short-handed for its Main Event.
Not that much of a big deal you may think, six-max tournaments are common online of course where dealer and space resources are of less concern. They're also frequent parts of Dusk Till Dawn, EPT and WSOP festivals, but never before has PokerStars run a six-max Main Event. One of the most noticeable shifts of six-max play is that every position at the table has an established name: under-the-gun, hijack, cut-off, button, small blind and big blind. Expect action and lots of it.
It's not all about the Main Event though; another UKIPT first sees the High Roller start today - a £2,200 single re-entry six-max tournament. Team PokerStars Pros Vicky Coren and Jake Cody are both playing, they'll still be able to take a seat on Day 1C of the Main Event as the High Roller will be wrapped up in two days.
Key UKIPT Nottingham facts
- 20,000 starting stack
- Blinds starting at 25/50 for 400 big blinds
- One hour levels, we'll play eight today with no dinner break meaning play will end around 8.45pm
- Late registration is open until the end of level four.
- Three starting days, then Days 2, 3 and 4 will be a combined field to a UKIPT champion (cue winner's photo, trophy swinging around, celebrations in the bar).
- There's still time to win your way to the event either live at the club or online. Full live tournament schedule here.There are three more online satellites tonight on the client.
Cards should be in the air at midday and we'll bring you all the action from the floor.
PokerStars Blog reporting team at PokerStars UKIPT Nottingham six-max: Stephen Bartley and Nick Wright. Photos by Danny Maxwell.