UKIPT4 Edinburgh: Leon "Flippetyflop" Louis leads after Day 1A
If the PCA is the traditional start to the year on the EPT then Edinburgh is the traditional* start to the year on the UKIPT. Whilst the PCA might have cleared up once and for all that which starting day you choose matters for little and that it's really a matter of personal preference, 116 players plumped for Day 1A here in Edinburgh. After eight levels of play that number had been reduced to just 55 and its Leon Louis who leads with 122,700.
*yes we know it's only the second season in a row but how else do traditions start?
The long-time grinder, who has live results dating back to 2007, shot to prominence in 2013 when he final tabled the $10,000 WCOOP Main Event. That score earned him $159,975 but it's a far cry from his usual game online. "I play hyper-turbo heads-up sit and gos on PokerStars," he told PokerStars Blog. And he's one of the best as Louis is a regular at the $100-$300 level.
He won his biggest pot of his day against Ian LeBruce, with kings against ace-jack on a jack high board, LeBruce finished with chips, but with just 3,800 is bottom of the pile.
Another familiar face was just pipped at the post by Louis as Thomas Ward finished on 119,000. The UKIPT4 London runner-up and UKIPT2 Edinburgh fourth place finisher found that irresistible combination to enjoy a braw day at the felt. "I ran really good and played well too," he told PokerStars Blog. "I won a 100k pot with aces against kings which helped." And Ward was honest about the opportunities he's been afforded since cashing for £118,000 in London back in March. "It's allowed me to travel and play more events, which is something I wanted to do."
Other players who enjoyed a decent day included: Patrick Weifels (98,500), Brian Tannerhill (95,900) and Ben Jenkins (88,500). "I god moded the last level," the Full Tilt Poker Ambassador told me. "I won a flip and a big pot with aces against a pair and a draw."
Flying the Red Spade with pride today was Team PokerStars Pro Jake Cody, the Englishman was even early (perhaps in preparation for impending fatherhood?) doing a series of interviews for local and national press. Sadly for Cody, his night ended early too. Though at least he dispelled the myth that he 'always gets there' as he lost with pocket aces against the jack-ten of Daniiar Bakchiev. The chips went in on a 10-7-3 flop and Cody looked likely to take the pot of over 50,000. A jack on the turn sent the pot Bakchiev's way and kicked Cody to the rail.
Although Cody was the only representative of Team PokerStars in the field today, he wasn't the only EPT Champion but he should've been. At the WSOP in 2012 former EPT San Remo winner Rupert Elder broke a leg and had to have screws inserted into his leg. "I thought I had a hospital appointment at 7:30am to have the screws taken out of my leg but it turned out I was due in three days ago to have a pre-op assessment. I misread the letter though and they had actually rescheduled it. I went to the hospital and they told me my operation had been cancelled and they booked me in for a new one."
That misread was a lucky break (sorry) for Elder as he navigated his way through the day to finish on 41,300. Other notables who'll be back for Day 2 include Nicholas Newport (33,100), Andrew Teng (27,100) and Chris Derrick (51,500).
Of course simply having a reputation or being in form isn't enough to carry you through eight hours of poker. You'd be hard pressed to find a player from the UK in better form than Max Silver. Just this week he finished ninth in the PCA Main Event, in December he placed sixth at the mammoth EPT Prague, in November he took down the £2,000 High Roller at UKIPT4 Isle of Man and perhaps the biggest achievement of the four he somehow managed to get Vanessa Selbst to deal when they chopped the £2,000 UKIPT4 London High Roller in October.
Those scores total around $480,000 but today they counted for zero as Silver was bounced less than halfway through the day. We caught up with him prior to that and he was in good spirits, especially about his near miss at the PCA. "I don't feel too disappointed with my result and am not angry about anything I did. It was a really good result and a lot of money, so yeah, I feel good!"
The last of Silver's stack went to Jack Salter, who finished third at UKIPT4 London, however Salter wouldn't be long for this tournament either. Other big names to fall during the opening flight included: Jamie Sykes, Paul McTaggart, Niall Farrell, Morten Mortensen, Jack Ellwood and Phil Baker.
You can see a complete list of Day 1A survivors here and relive today's action by clicking on the links below.
That's it from Day 1A, we'll be back for Day 1B from noon, when the B will undoubtedly stand for 'bigger' as we expect a bumper Day 1B field here at the Assembly Rooms in Central Edinburgh.
All photos are copyright of Rene Velli