UKIPT5 London Day 1C: Level 1-6 updates (200/400 ante 50)

3:30pm: Level 6 terminated; break begins
Another three in the bag, it's that smoke em if you got 'em time again for the players. Well the smokers at least. The more healthy sorts will be off for fresh air, tofu and clean living. See you in 15 minutes. You can now follow level 7 updates here. -- RS

3:28pm: Matti flying the flag
Team PokerStars Pro Matti De Meulder was a late arrival on Day 1C but he's already gone to work and is up to 31,000. He, like Team PokerStars SportStars member Fatima Moreira de Melo, is up on the poker deck. At the moment he's fairing better than the Olympic gold medallist as De Melo is down to 13,600. -- NW

3:25pm: Huge draws collide:
Poker is an aggressive game these days and when two players flop huge draws, chances are fireworks are in the offing.

That is just the situation we encountered moments ago as Ruizi Lin (7♦8♦) and Diego Gomez (K♦J♦) went to war on what looked like a juicy flop for both of them : T♦9♦8♣

Equity wise, Lin's pair and open ended straight flush draw was a small dog to Gomez' overcards flush and straight draws and a king on the turn and brick river saw him lose this crucial virtual coin flip.

Gomez rises to 45,000 and Lin is left very short with around 6,000. After the hand there was a lot of joking and guessing as to the exact percentages as to who was the favourite when they got their hands in.

We've run it through an equity calculator for those curious as to the results:

8d 7d 0.482
Kd Jd 0.518 -- RS

3:20pm: Count Chipula
Some other stacks of interest from around the casino as we move toward the end of level 6:

Pablo Rojas - Resigned to a short stacked existence, alternating between smiling and yawning - 8,000
Fatima Moreira de Melo - gobbling energy bar with glee- 17,000
Asaf Turgeman - 34,000
Peter Jaksland - 43,000
Neil Bernardout - 55,000 -- RS

3:10pm: The Will to win
Will Kassouf has a number of impressive scores to his name, the pinnacle of his poker career thusfar coming at the 2009 Irish open where his 6th place finish yielded a €100,8000 score.

He has taken some important steps toward being a title contender today, his stack a chiplead worthy 105,000. Most recently he sent not one but two opponents to the rail after flopping quads - Hicham Anbry and Atilla Efeturk
his two victims. The much shorter-stacked Rojas pointed out he'd had some pretty good luck today.

"I've still got to find someone to pay me off," countered Kassouf with a smile as he tidied up his enormous stacks of chips. -- RS

3:05pm: Hemming puts hurt on Cowen
"Clock on table one please," said the dealer and the floor staff was quickly on the scene to tell Robert Cowen that he had 60 seconds to make a decision and this is what he was faced with.

There was 19,900 in the pot and Thomas Hemming had shoved for 16,600 on the river with the board showing: K♦K♣7♥[10s][10c].As time ticked down Cowen looked no closer to making a decision and his time eventually ran out. He showed the [10d] as he folded but he won't know if it was the right decision or not as Hemming remained tight lipped about his holding. -- NW

2:55pm: An alternate universe
Late registration is now closed, but new players are still coming into this tournament. That's because there were 83 alternates in total, they can only get a seat when a player busts out and we're some way shy of that number of bust outs currently.

All the alternates will get a seat today, but they also have the option to unregister should they wish to. The board is currently showing that 280 of 289 players remain. -- NW

LEVEL UP: BLINDS 200/400 ante 50

2:45pm: Exits
A few more exits to tell you about now as: Stipe Krivic, Ignacio Garcia, Tom Simm, Cesar Santos, John Duthie and Steve Miller are all out. -- NW

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Short day for Duthie

2:40pm: Gavin needles Boatman
Be it in person or on the internet Fintan Gavin is a bit of a joker and got a friendly dig in at Ross Boatman in a recent tweet.

2:30pm: Counts from the secondary room
A quick walk around Tournament Room B unearthed the following chip counts:

Daragh Davey - 26,000
Kelly Saxby - 13,000
Brett Angell - 15,000
John Duthie - 7,700
Vicente Delgado - 27,000
Chris Straghalis - 23,000
Lee Taylor - 39,000
Leo McClean - 23,000
Simon Hemsworth - 15,000
Fintan Gavin - 21,000

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Team Pro Online's Vicente Delgado

2:20pm: Ferguson bullied out
Karin Boquist Bruteig is still finding her live feet with just a smattering of scores, but no doubt the Norwegian will have gained a great deal of confidence from a deep run at the Barcelona EPT last summer.

She's going along slowly but surely here, winning a pot most recently by three-betting Andrew Ferguson's initial raise to 500 to 1,500 before firing out at the K♥J♠8♥ board, Ferguson folding and Bruteig picking up the chips.

She moves to 28,000 whilst Ferguson drops to a still manageable 21,000. --RS

2:10pm: Dempsey rises through pack
With a WSOP bracelet, WPT title and a wealth of experience garnered from around the world, James Dempsey is a dangerous opponent and his skills are showing so far as he has leapt to the probable chip lead with 68,000.

Nic Persaud has had a slow start, all his small denomination chips disappearing into a black hole of variance. The good news is he has the majority of his larger chips so is only a few thousand down at present. -- RS

LEVEL UP: BLINDS 150/300/25

2:05pm: Emergency for Simmons
Marius-Adi Cracuin just doubled through Paul Simmons and he was very fortunate to do so. All the money went in pre-flop with Cracuin at risk and all-in for 8,800.

Craucin: 9♠9♣
Simmons: Q♦Q♠

The 8♣J♦A♥9♦6♠ board favoured Craucin and he doubled up to around 18,000. -- NW

1:55pm: One in one out
Alternates are getting seated with Nik Persaud one of those who's just got a seat. There's been very few eliminations so far though with only four exits. Daniel Waters, Elena Banas and Charles Denton three of those to fall. -- NW

1:52pm: Black Friday
Apologies if that made you break out in nervous shivers, don't worry, we're merely referencing the fact that Andy Black has arrived - and it's Friday. Looking warm and cosy in woolly hat and hoody, he's been floating around like a social butterfly, engaging James Dempsey, Dave Curtis and others in animated conversations.

As of yet, he hasn't played a hand of poker, but should he get a chance to play as an alternate, he'll surely seize it with the same relish with which he approaches his social interactions. -- RS

1:45pm: Chip counts
Here's how some of the great and the good in Tournament Room A stack up:

Emmett Mullin - 27,000
Andrew Ferguson - 33,500
Jonathan Weekes - 32,000
Ciaran Heaney - 9,500
Andrew Sweeney - 35,000
Julian Thew - 23,500
James Dempsey - 48,000
Gary Clarke - 21,600
Steve Watts - 11,500
Kevin Williams - 19,500 -- NW

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Kevin Williams

1:35pm: Dorey doing well
Will Dorey is one of those players who you just know is going to bink a really big score at some point is his poker career. He's accumulated almost $250,000 in live tournament earnings thus far with his biggest cash weighing in at $50,769. He's one of those players who seeks out the 'value' tournaments and that's seen him rack up cashes in Cyprus and The Ukraine.

He's off to a good start here in London, even if he can't remember what stack he started with, it was 25,000 Will!

1:30pm: Back in the game
The break is done and dusted, the tables have been repopulated and we are back in action for level four. -- RS

LEVEL UP: BLINDS 100/200/25

1:10pm: End of Level 3; Break it up
The end of the third level of the day means the players are now taking a 15 minute break to collect their thoughts and assess their damages/ successes so far.

We'll be back shortly.

1:02pm: Rojas stunned by bluff
Pablo Rojas has produced some fantastic poker displays in his poker career, including a UKIPT near-miss when Ludovic Geilich pipped him to the post at UKIPT Marbella 2013.

Hitcham Anbry just got the better of the Spaniard however, raising to 600 preflop with one caller in position and Rojas also making the call from the big blind.

The board fell 9♦5♥4♣ - Rojas leading for 600, which both players called.

The turn was the 3♦ and when Rojas led again for 700, Anbry popped it up to 2,100. A thoughtful Rojas eventually made the call.

The rivered A♠ saw Rojas check to the aggressor and face a 4,500 bet. Facing this tough decision, he tried to eke out some information from his foe. "That's a total bluff or set of fours fives maybe?" he asked but a stony-faced Anbry was revealing nothing.

Eventually Rojas folded, leaving Anbry to collect the pot, brandishing the airball 7♦8♦ as he did so.

"I knew it!" said Rojas. "I folded a 9!"

Rojas has had a bad start then down to 15,000 whilst Anbry's star is shining right now as he moves to 30,000... --RS

12:40pm: Up on the Poker Deck
The Poker Deck is the permanent poker presence here at The Hippodrome Casino and usually it's a hive of cash game activity but today, like the other areas of The Hippodrome Casino it's been taken over by this tournament. There are seven tables in use up there and this is a snapshot of what's happening up in the gods.

Team PokerStars SportStar Fatima Moreira de Melo is to the direct left of UKIPT5 London High Roller champion Owain Carey, although they're separated by a dealer. Carey was busy winning a pot where he check-raised the turn of a A♥4♠7♥6♣ board and then bombed the K♠ river. His opponent folded what he claimed was K♥J♥ and Carey said: "Lucky for me the river wasn't a heart then," as he stacked his chips. As for De Melo, who was runner up at UKIPT4 Isle of Man, this is her fifth UKIPT Main Event and she's cashed in the previous four.

Also plying their trade up on The Poker Deck are: Will Kassouf, Fraser Macintyre and John Bousfield. -- NW

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Can De Melo go five from five?

Blinds up: 100/200

12:30pm: Who'd be an alternate?
It's a full house here at The Hippodrome Casino with not a seat to be had. But the tournament staff are doing a grand job of seating the alternates. We're told 25 alternates have already been seated, but there's another 60 or so playing the waiting game. -- NW

12:20pm: Structural Integrity
A quick reminder for those who weren't aware that the structure and format of this UKIPT has been tweaked slightly from that of last season.

Firstly the levels are now 40 minutes long, allowing 12 of them to be packed into the day. Compensating somewhat for the faster blinds, the stack sizes are 25,000, allowing the players plenty of deepstacked wiggle room early on.

Come Day 2, the clock will be extended to 50 minutes whilst the final will be played out with one hour levels. Anyone with designs on the title will have to adapt and evolve as the tournament progresses. --RS

12:10pm: News from Tournament Room B
Way back on the first day of the festival, well Tuesday to be precise, the High Roller got this festival started. That tournament took place in what we now call Tournament Room B. Today there are seven tables in there and they're all packed.

Fintan Gavin is going to liven up table 14, he arrived a short time ago and immediately raised the decibel level at his table. One table over you'll find tour regulars Kelly Saxby and Dean Clay sat side by side. Saxby was runner-up in a tournament here at The Hippodrome Casino in November of last year and won the woman's event at EPT London in 2013. She'll be hoping she's too busy in the main event to be playing the UKIPT ladies event which takes place Sunday at 3pm.

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Saxby - hoping for more success at The Hippodrome Casino

As for Clay, most of his $111,000 of live earning have come on tours other than the UKIPT where his best finish to date is 67th at UKIPT3 Galway, he'll be hoping to put that right this week.

Sat in adjoining seats at another table in the room are John Duthie and Brett Angell. Duthie of course was a driving force behind the EPT for many years but we're fairly certain this is his first time playing a UKIPT main event. That of course is not the case for Angell, he's looking for back to back victories on the UKIPT having won UKIPT4 London back in October.

A little further into the room you'll find Chris Straghalis and Vicente Delgado sharing the same felt. It's harder not to spot Straghalis than it is to spot him, although he's toned it down today as he's decked out in a black shirt adorned with poker cards and a hat to match. Whilst Team Pro Online's Delgado has come dressed for dinner as he's wearing a smart button down shirt. -- NW

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It's UKIPT debut time for Duthie

12:00pm: Flush with success
James "RoyalFlush" Dempsey has had an auspicious start to the day, chipping up to 35,000. He was reticent about the details of the hand that sprung him up the leaderboard, though the words "backdoor draw" were heard in mumbled whispers suggesting fortune had smiled upon him.

Tablemate Julian Thew is also on the up, his stack also above the 35,000 mark.

"I join the table and there's Julian Thew with top set versus two pair. Nothing's changed in poker over the last 10 years!" Dempsey commented. -- RS

Blinds up: 75/150

11:40am: In the main room
Play is spread over three separate areas here at The Hippodrome Casino and there's 12 tables in the main room, known as the Matcham Room. There's plenty of familiar faces around those dozen tables including: WSOP bracelet winner James Dempsey, EPT winner Julian Thew, UKIPT champion Emmett Mullin, UKIPT runner-up Ciaran Heaney, Jonathan Weekes, Gary Clarke, Chihao Tsang and Andrew Ferguson.

Thew and Dempsey are actually at the same table in the six and nine seats respectively. -- NW

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James 'flushy' Dempsey

11:30am: Capped!
The field cap is around the 280 number, although alternates will likely boost this through to the 320 mark perhaps even beyond. It's a slight struggle cramming all these keen players into the facilities but the organisers have done a good job of allocating table space to fulfill the almost insatiable demand for UKIPT poker.

Despite this there is a little bit of elbowing going on right now as everyone fights for their bit of space. Our talented photographer Mickey May was on the receiving end of one of these elbows moments ago, but her resilient Scandinavian roots shone through and she laughed it off and continued getting a good shot. --RS

11:20am: De Meulder on his way
Team PokerStars Pro Matti De Meulder is one of many poker players who've relocated to London and he's taking advantage of this to play his local friendly neighbourhood tour. -- NW

Welcome back to the Hippodrome Casino for London UKIPT Part three.

It's the third of the starting days and the first two have proved compulsive affairs. Day three could be the most explosive of the trilogy however. The starting numbers will be at max capacity with a full complement of players champing at the bit at the gates of the card room.

There will be alternates waiting to boost these numbers so the final tally should be impressive.


Amongst the throngs of hopefuls taking their place at the felt will be a host of familiar faces. Fatima Moreira de Melo has that elusive combination of brains and beauty and will be looking to go one pip better than her 2nd place finish at the Isle of Man UKIPT in 2013.

John Duthie is a man who made a huge contribution to the poker boom with his work on the EPT. As well as helping the future of poker out, he has found time to notch up nearly $3 million worth of tournament results. He'll likely be a force to be reckoned with,

We could spend all day pointing out the celebrated players in the field, but the players are about to begin following a short delay to iron out a few logistical gremlins, but they have been dealt with and we are now ready to begin.

Good luck one and all!

Rod Stirzaker
@PokerStars in UKIPT