Chris Swinden soars to the summit on Day 1B of UKIPT5 Isle of Man
There aren't many hard and fast rules in poker tournaments, but along with the blinds steadily rising and someone ending the tournament with all the chips, it seems to be the law that the second of two starting flights will always attract more runners than the first.
With late registration and late risers it's often a case of a mini-game of the tortoise and the hare as the Day 1B numbers slowly creep towards Day 1A's total before inevitably overtaking it and speeding on ahead. But, there was no chase here at the Villa Marina as before a card had been pitched 141 players were in their seats ready for 12 levels of no-limit Hold'em, eclipsing the 111 Day 1A entries from the off. By the time late registration closed that number had risen to 238, courtesy of 218 unique players and 20 re-entries and took the total number of entries in this £400+£40 tournament to 349.
A short time later the tournament staff had crunched the numbers and it was announced to the players that the winner of the UKIPT5 Isle of Man Main Event will take home £26,400, the player who loses the final hand will have £16,770 reasons to be cheerful, whilst 47 players in all will have at least £770 to show for their efforts this week. You can feast your eyes on the entire payout structure here.
Whilst the curse of the chip leader is a well worn poker maxim, Chris Swinden has laid firm foundations for a deep run in this tournament. Thanks to a last level surge when time was called on Day 1B it was the Isle of Man native who had made most headway, bagging up a chip leading stack of 245,200. Others who laid the groundwork for a tilt at a UKIPT title today include: Shane Henry (211,500), Daniel Best (177,700), Johan Bakketeig (177,500) and David Clarkson (177,100). They'll all be back at noon tomorrow for Day 2 with a spring in their step.
Sadly the same can't be said of those representing Team PokerStars Pro today who one by one were ceremoniously despatched from proceedings. First to go was Luca Pagano. The Italian holds the record for most cashes and most final tables on the European Poker Tour but his second shot at this tournament went the same way as the first. He flopped top two pair against Deborah Worley-Roberts on a 3♥5♦4♦ board when the American had A♦3♦ for 'everything' as Pagano put it. Whilst Worley-Roberts might have feared an attack of 'too many outs' syndrome a third three on the river saw Pagano tripped out of the tournament.
Whilst it was a rare appearance on this tour for him at least Liv Boeree and Jake Cody, who were both playing for the first time today, know they won't have too long to wait for another shot at a UKIPT title having both come close in the past to winning a UKIPT Main Event.
For Cody his demise was a case of the best hand failing to hold...twice. His first stack disappeared at the end of level three when he moved all-in with Q♦T♦ on the turn of a 3♦Q♠T♣2♣ board and got a call from Jeanne David who held A♣Q♣. The K♣ river meant it was off the the registration desk for Cody as he quickly re-bought.
The second bullet was far more of a grind as around seven levels later he still had his starting stack of 25,000 when he got in a flip with tens against ace-jack which he lost. That left him on fumes and another lost race with pocket sixes against Q♦J♦ (queen on the flop) meant Cody was not only left potless but also out of pocket to the tune of $100 thanks to a last longer bet with Chris Moneymaker.
In comparison to Cody's day, Boeree's Main Event experience was far more benign until her exit hand when a failed river bluff shove with ace high, on a seven-high board, was picked off by an opponent who held pocket queens.
It was much the same story for a couple of famous Isle of Man athletes who were both playing with a PokerStars patch today. Conor Cummins is a Manx motorcycle road racer who suffered a huge crash on his home roads in 2010 but made a full recovery and is back competing at the top. Whilst Zoe Gillings-Brier is a professional British snowboarder and a veteran of three Olympic games. Both of their tournaments came crashing down today though with Gillings-Brier now the proud owner of the 'aces cracked to bust a tournament' poker badge as her pocket rockets were cracked by kings, all in pre-flop.
Her exit is far from the end of her association with PokerStars though as it was announced today that PokerStars is going to be sponsoring her by playing a significant part in her Olympic programme by supporting her to train and compete towards the biggest competition of her career to date - the 2018 Winter Olympic Games, which is being held in Pyeongchang; South Korea.
They were in good company on the rail though as the likes of: Paul Newey, Fintan Gavin, Simon Trumper, Alli Mallu and Katja Spillum Svendsen were all eliminated and bragging rights in the PokerStars Isle of Man office will not belong to Chris Straghalis, Rick Dacey, Rebecca McAdam, Matthew Hilger or Eoin Kennedy.
A total of 65 players did advance to Day 2 though and will join the 32 who made it through from 1A. The Day 1B survivors include those listed below who are notable for the size of their stack, the reputation behind it or both:
Paul Moran, 176,100
Joe Grech, 174,100
Pierrick Tallon, 170,000
Dan Stacey, 159,300
Kelly Saxby, 145,900
Luke Fern, 145,400
Adam Owen, 116,700
Deborah Worley-Roberts, 114,300
David Hill, 113,100
Michael Panteli, 110,400
James Walsh, 84,000
Luke Staudenmaier, 55,400
Diego Gomez, 49,800
Dylan Coady, 43,200
To catch up on today's action and to see the overnight chip counts and seat draw click on the links below. The PokerStars Blog will be back from noon tomorrow for what, if history is anything to go by, will be a hectic day of poker.
Photos copyright of Mickey 'mayo' May and Danny 'cucumber' Maxwell