UKIPT Series 4 at The Hippodrome Casino Day 1C - levels 1-4(100/200/25)
To read updates from levels five onward, click here.
Level four has come to a close and that means the players are free to fan out through the casino and take a 15 minute break. They have streamed out to exchange stories and order coffees and we'll be back shortly for level five. See you there!
3.34pm: All going Hemming's way
We joined Adam Hemmings contesting a flop of 9♥6♦5♠ with Kyunghwan Lee moments ago. It all seemed so serene, though little did we know the conflict about to unfold.
It started with an innocent check from Hemmings, a bet of 325 from Lee, which Hemmings now suddenly check-raised to 750. Undeterred, Lee now made it 2,475 and after a few moments thought, Hemmings called.
The big pot was brewing and come the dangerous-looking 9♣ on the turn, Hemmings checked and Lee fired out a chunky 3,450.
Once more though, he was stunned by Hemmings check-raise - this time to a more committing amount of 9,975...
Lee shook his head considered his options for a few moments but ultimately elected to muck his hand, shakiing his head the whole time. Hemmings was in no mood to put him out of his misery and didn't show him his holding.
Hemmings up to 30,000, Lee down to 12,000...
LEVEL UP: BLINDS 100-200-25
3.14pm: Early casualties
20,000 chips is a pretty good stack, but coolers, over-exuberance and perhaps the odd spot of bad play can see that stack dissipate in quicksmart fashion - as the following eliminated players have discovered:
Man Hei Lam
LEVEL UP: BLINDS 75-150
2.57pm: Double for Sapiano
We joined Albert Sapiano's table with a board of K♠Q♠ 7♦3♦8♠ revealed - all Sapiano's chips in the middle, his holding T♠2♠ whilst his opponent was showing down a beaten pair of aces.
"Bad luck," commiserated Sapiano. "That's what I need to win, **** cards."
Sapiano is up to 35,000 now...
2.42pm: Sapiano spreads honey at his table
Albert Sapiano made his fortune through honey it is said and he needed a little sweetness at his table moments ago. Poker is secondary to the banter at the moment - two players in particular seem to be doing their best to wind each other up.
An unconnected player in seat 9 had had enough and mentioned the non-stop talk.
"Would you like to borrow my earphones?" one of the participants offered. "Seriously."
Sapiano jumped in as peacemaker before another verbal confrontation broke out.
"You look very smart, very well dressed and for that I congratulate you. I wish I could be as smart as you but unfortunately, the years have overtaken me..."
LEVEL UP: BLINDS 50-100
2.24pm: Clock call causes friction
Already the patrons of table two have begun to rub each other the wrong way. Well, they have been playing for a whole 25 minutes!
One player was facing a bet of 400 after checking the river of a A♦3♣4♠8♥7♠ board and tanked for a minute or two to the annoyance of his neighbour. "It's only 400," he said irritably.
"Are you in the hand?" his opponent countered brusquely. "What if I raise and he folds? Are you a genius then?" Another 10 seconds of tanking.
"I call the clock."
"You call the clock in a 250 event in level one. What are you doing?"
Eventually the active player did raise and his opponent quickly folded. "Are you a genius now? You know it all right, poker expert..." - there was an aggressive tone of sarcasm running through his delivery.
Calm down fellas!
2.12pm: The magic numbers
It will be some time before we can give you the official numbers for the day, but there are anticipated to be 150+ by the time the final numbers are tallied.
The poker room is packed close to capacity and there is an expectant hum coursing through the room.
One of the more recognisable faces bantering chirpily is that of Albert Sapiano, who has accumulated over $300,000 in tournament winnings, though he has lost a chunk of his stack in the early stages.
1.56pm: Welcome back to the Hippodrome for Day 1C of the UKIPT Series 4!
If you need a judicious prod to register (there are four levels of late registration so plenty of time) consider yesterday there were 173 entrants in total over the two flights, creating an already very attractive prizepool.
Today's numbers are expected to exceed 100 so there will be a further welcome financial boon coming up meaning Sunday's playdown to the winner should prove an exciting, tense and riveting affair.
But first we have to negotiate Day 1C. Once again there will be twelve half hour levels played out between 2.00pm and 8.00pm.
If you happen to be eliminated you are in the heart of Leicester Square with plenty of nightclubs, pubs, restaurants and other attractions. If your itch to gamble has not yet been sated, the casino has a range of cocktails and other beverages.to keep you entertained whilst scratching that itch.
But if you run well in the tournament, well that juicy prizepool starts to come tantalisingly into view. Imagine the cameras snapping, pretty girls holding your arms and the applause of all the rail ringing in your ears as you collect the trophy. Magical moments like this are few and far between, but start by registering, run well and it becomes a real possibility.
We're moments away from the start, good luck everyone.