UKIPT4 Marbella 2: Svendsen leads final table; Cody looking to complete UKIPT Triple Crown
When the eight players sit down to contest the PokerStars Marbella Festival final table tomorrow at noon Katja Svendsen will have the chip lead but the focus of attention will be on Team PokerStars Pro Jake Cody.
PokerStars Marbella Festival Final Table:
Katja Svendsen, Norway, PokerStars Qualifier, 3,910,000
Gareth Hamilton, Ireland, 590,000
Marcin Barwinski, Poland, PokerStars Player, 1,055,000
Rodrigo Espinosa, Spain, PokerStars Qualifier, 3,705,000
Jake Cody, United Kingdom, Team PokerStars Pro, 1,600,000
Daniel Rodriguez, Spain, PokerStars Player, 720,000
Christian Bauer, Germany, 2,425,000
Javier Elorza, Spain, PokerStars Qualifier, 880,000
The Triple Crown winner will start fourth in chips tomorrow with 1,600,000 which is just below average but still 40 big blinds, in his quest to complete a personal UKIPT Triple Crown. In February 2011 he won the UKIPT High Roller event in Nottingham, whilst in April 2013 he won the inaugural UKIPT Series event, so he just needs the Main Event title to complete his collection. His day was full of peaks and troughs but every time he dipped he was soon on the rise again and has a great chance of taking the title tomorrow. "It could've gone better as I had 1,500,000 with 30 left and ended with 1,600,000, but I'm happy," he said.
A chat with an Estrellas Poker Tour colleague earlier revealed the fact that no woman has ever won an Estrellas Main Event title. Whilst Liv Boeree, Trish Mallin and Fatima Moreira de Melo have all won silver on the UKIPT no one has yet struck gold. Norway's Katja Svendsen is, therefore, in with a chance of breaking both ducks in one foul swoop tomorrow. She played a patient yet aggressive game today to instil a mixture of fear and respect about her game from her opponents. She was never the chip leader though, not until the final hand that is where she eliminated Sam Grafton with aces against jacks to seize the lead at the last.
What with this being a UKIPT/Estrellas production it's no surprise that there's a number Spanish players amongst the final eight. What is though is that the triumvirate of Spaniards who've reached the final table are all relatively inexperienced in the live arena. Between them, Javier Elorza, Daniel Rodriguez and Rodrigo Espinosa's combined winnings total just $26,182, each of them is guaranteed their biggest live cash ever regardless of where they finish tomorrow.
Espinosa, with 3,705,000 in chips, is Spain's most likely shot at a champion tomorrow as both Elorza (880,000) and Rodriguez (720,000) are short stacked. Although only relatively so as they they have 22 and 18 big blinds respectively.
Leading the way at the start of play today was Marcin Barwinski and the Pole had a huge lead of 40 big blinds from his nearest challenger. At that start of the day it looked like he was simply going to run over the field. He was the first to breach the million chip mark, he had 12% of the chips in play with over 50 players left and had an average stack for the final table with four tables left. But, and you sensed a but, then it all went a bit wrong. His downfall started when he lost a huge 2,000,000 chip pot to Emilio Navarro with 17 players left.
To the Pole's credit he never panicked and such was his stack he still had 50 big blinds to work with. He regrouped, rebuilt, knuckled down and it was only a tail off at the end that means he'll start in fifth place tomorrow with 1,055,000.
There's more than enough clichés on this page already but Christian Bauer's day was, very German. He simply and efficiently went about his business and, for the most part, flew under the radar. In fact we saw him play very few big pots of note throughout the entire day. To his credit then he must've won a heck of a lot of small pots as he's in third place heading to the final table with a stack of 2,425,000. He's got a fair bit of experience to back up the guile as he finished ninth at Eureka Vienna in March of this year and has an eighth place finish in a €2,000 High Roller from EPT Barcelona in August 2013 too. And as you know at this time of year you can never write off the Germans.
At this point we were hoping to be able to write about UKIPT regular Sam Grafton's first final table on the UKIPT because for all his success on the tour he's yet to make that elusive final table. Twice he's fallen two tables out but today looked like the day he was going to get the monkey off his back.
The colourful Londoner was chip leader with 13 left as a result of winning a bit pot against Emilio Navarro to oust the Spaniard as chip leader. At that point he was closing in on a fifth of the chips in play, then a series of unfortunate events, including doubling up Navarro when he was a 70% favourite, saw him slip back into the pack and then ultimately out of the tournament.
When the clock ticked noon there were 71 players still in with a shot at the main event title, so what of the 63 we lost along the way? Some like Patxi Salinas (70th, €2,270), and Jose Mestre (65th, €2,270) died trying to spin their short stacks into something more significant.
Whilst others like Paul McTaggart (33rd, €2,950) Neil Raine (27th, €3,890) and Vicente Delgado (20th, €5,320) simply couldn't win the big pots when it mattered. For the full list of payouts click here.
To catch up on all today's play click on the links below:
The final table is a cards up live stream so we'll be subject to a one hour delay, that means coverage will begin at 1pm CET. You can follow the action here or at pokerstars.tv, remembering that commentary is in Spanish. But for now goodnight, we're off to watch Roy's boys.
All pictures are copyright of Danny Maxwell and Rene Velli.