UKIPT4 Nottingham2: Willie Elliot heads record-breaking final table
Dusk Till Dawn opened its opulent doors once more to host UKIPT Nottingham - Day 3 seeing the remaining 49 players returning to fight their way down to the final table. With the record £1,223,000 prize pool looming ever closer, the battles at the felt were unrelenting and brutal. Bad beats, classic play and key coin flips all combined to carve the field down to just eight brave souls who will return to contend the title tomorrow.
Juan Benito was the chip leader coming into the day and during a full day's coverage at the live feature table, he kept his momentum going with more than a few inspired plays to reach the final second in chips with 4,385,000.
It was Willie Elliot however who finished the day atop the counts with 5,625,000. Some dazzling play from the humble Scot saw him best his competition and he'll return as favourite when the remaining combatants resume tomorrow..
Before those plucky eight could claim their final table berths however, there was a feast of poker to be played out.
Joeri Zandvliet came into the final straight as one of the top dogs - his pedigree as double UKIPT champion unquestionable. The Dutchman did manage to squeeze into the last two tables but couldn't quite leap the final hurdle - the rampaging Willie Elliot dusting Zandvliet's kings off with ace-jack on his way to securing the chip lead.
Ben Vinson has long been recognised as a real talent of the UK poker scene though he too was to feel the wince of cracked cowboys before the day was out - Duncan McLellan the man to deal the pain this time.
UKIPT Isle of Man winner McLellan was a thorn in the side of his tablemates all day. Unpredictable and fearless, he attacked his table with abandon, an approach that was eventually rewarded as he made the final table with a very handy 3,320,000 in chips.
This week's High Roller runner-up Richard Kellett was ready to add to his bulging mantelpiece, though he had to make do with his second cash of the week when his campaign hit the skids midway through the day.
Tim Blake has been on the poker scene since pterodactyls thronged the skies but he turned back the clock to show the kids this senior player had game. His skills took him as far as 11th spot and although he fell tantalisingly short of the final table, his infectious sense of humour never left him even following defeat.
Ryan Spittles was the man who finally brought proceedings to a close, an incendiary hand seeing his pocket aces face off against Terry Carter's kings. The flop brought a king, then an ace to amazed whoops and shouts from the enthusaistic rail as the drama unfolded - Spittles winning the hand to reach the final with 3,305,000.
If that was not enough excitement, it later transpired Anthony Flynn folded queens during the same hand - a judicious move that kept his dream alive.
For the full list of payouts through the day, click here.
Here's how the final eight will line up when they return tomorrow:
Seat 1: Trevor Pearson, United Kingdom, 965,000
Seat 2: Anthony Flynn, United Kingdom , 2,495,000
Seat 3: Duncan McLellan, United Kingdom, 3,320,000
Seat 4: Ramey Shaio, United Kingdom, PokerStars Player, 1,770,000
Seat 5: Juan Benito, Spain, PokerStars Qualifier, 4,385,000
Seat 6: Angelo Milioto, United Kingdom, PokerStars Qualifier, 2,455,000
Seat 7: Ryan Spittles, United Kingdom , 3,305,000
Seat 8: William Elliot, United Kingdom, PokerStars Qualifier, 5,625,000
Play will start at 2:00pm and there'll be a stream on a one-hour delay running from 3:00pm. You can watch the show on the below links and you can interact with the commentary team of Marc Convey, Nick Wealthall and special guests(including Chris Moneymaker) on twitter using #UKIPTLive. There might even be prizes!
Here's the links for tomorrow's live streams:
Here's a video recap of the day's play, hosted by Nick Wealthall.
Tomorrow, one man will become a UKIPT legend when they collect the £218,300 first place prize for winning UKIPT Nottingham. History is in the offing and this is your chance to watch it unfold live.
We'll see you tomorrow as the race for glory plays out.
To read updates from levels 24-28, click here.
For updates from levels 20-23, click here.
Photos courtesy of Danny Maxwell.