UKIPT5 Series 2 London: Day 1A Level 5-8(Blinds 400/800/100)
6:22pm: Break Time
Wow, those four levels just flew by. With another set of four in the can, once more the players have been liberated to go walkabout the beautiful interior of the PokerStars Hippodrome Casino for a relaxing coffee, a mollifying cigarette or they could even pop out for a breath of fresh air.
They have twenty minutes to do as they see fit. We'll be back after the break to play through the final four levels of the day.
See you shortly!
6:17pm: It's a jungle sometimes
No quarter is being given nor sought as these players go toe-to-toe in all-out poker warfare.
Naturally there are casualties of this aggressive action - most recently these players have fallen foul of variance:
Ivon Asquith, Simon Hemsworth, Adam Kossew, Javier Guzman, Jack Germaine, James Ball, Edi Paul Neacsu, Shanmugavel Gajamugarubar, Andrey Veselov, Simon Trowse and Karl Parrish
Just 75 remain with these latest eliminations - 40% of the field already gone with less than 2/3 of the day played.
6:08pm: Cool hand Lok busts Spalding
Luke Spalding was once of those to whom the recent levels had not been kind, but he went for a double-through in a blind versus blind confrontation with Lok Yin Justin Tsui.
The pair took the most aggressive line preflop, both of them moving their stacks into the middle and when the dust settled they tabled pocket threes (Spalding) and K♣Q♣ (Tsui).
The board of 9♣2♠5♠K♥4♠ saw Tsui win the flip and move to 31,000 whilst Spalding shook some hands, wished the table good luck and joined the ranks of the also-rans.
6:00pm: Expect fireworks
We've been banging the whole fast-paced, superspeed drum for some time now, but this latest level increase could prove the one to seperate the men from the boys and the ladies from the girls.
That increase of the blinds from 300/600 to 400/800 and antes from 75 to 100 may not seem like a lot, but it will be a reasonable fraction of many players' stacks.
It is likely that they will begin to fight tooth and nail to protect and collect those increased blinds - the fur will fly. Hold tight - war's about to breakout.
LEVEL UP: BLINDS 400-800-100
5:50pm: Final numbers in
So, an impressive 119 players in total turned up to play today, of whom just 90 remain, nearly 25% of the field shorn from the roster in this fiery opening 7 levels.
Can this incredible pace continue throughout? Will anyone at all make it through the day?
5:40pm: Relentless pace continues
It really is tough to avoid elimination right now. The blind pressure is increasing all the time and a steady stream of hopefuls are leaving the arena, victims of the whims of the poker gods.
The latest players to have supped from the sour chalice of defeat include:
George Evans, James Rann, Adnan Abdulhusein, Mark Norman, Davide De Simone and Yiannis Liperis.
5:25pm: All's well that ends, Wells
Dominic Wells, proud sporter of his "PokerStars Live! at The Hippodrome Casino" badge, was put to a tough decision a few moments ago.
Having led out of 3,500 on an A♣T♦6♣ board, he saw his neighbour Sandra Reid move allin for her remaining stack of 11,100.
A long period of vacillation, head-scratching and mental angst culminated in a call from Wells who showed his relief as he tabled A♠K♣ to Reid's likely chop-worth A♦K♠.
In fact, Wells had a very small backdoor flush redraw, but the non-club brick on the turn kiboshed any thoughts of an outdraw and the pair were left to divide the pot between them.
"That was a great bet," Wells offered generously - his stack remaining around the 30,000 mark. Reid meanwhile has somewhat less with 14,000.
LEVEL UP: BLINDS 300-600-50
5:08pm: Gone but not forgotten
The dream may be over for some but their names remain memorialised for eternity on the PokerStars Blog. Admittedly memorialised in this instance as losing parties on this occasion but we're sure they will rise like Pheonixes from the ashes come their next event. Probably.
Anyway here they are. Good game guys.
Julius Adeyemi, Mohammedhossein Sharifkazemi, Oscar Skehel, David Phelan, James Topping
and Raymond Persaud.
4:56pm: Neil down, but rises
Neil Van Der Merwe has seen his chip stack depleted over the opening levels but he may just have got the boost he needed to get his tournament back on track.
Having bet the A♥6♣T♥ flop, he picked up one caller - the bricky 2♥ appearing on the turn.
His opponent squirmed unconfortably as Van Der Merwe shoved his last 4,000 and change into the middle.
He did make the call however, only to table T♥J♠, well behind the A♠Q♥ in Van Der Merwe's hands.
A K♦ on the river kept the status quo - Van Der Merwe getting his tournament at least somewhat back on track as he jumps to 14,000.
LEVEL UP: BLINDS 250-500-50
4:41pm: Out of the running
The whirlwind pace that has been in effect ever since those incendiary antes were dropped like bombs into the mix seems unlikely to abate.
In recent times the following players have succumbed to the dynamic action taking place at the tables:
and Spyros Mouzoura.
Good game fellas.
4:30pm: Jones rides waves of variance to survive
Timothy Jones was fairly short but just made a play to get himself somewhat back in contention. Holding 6♥7♥ he jammed his stack into the middle, looking to double or bust and when he was looked up by A♠Q♠ it looked more likely to be the latter.
A board of 9♠T♣J♥ looked fairly disastrous but a spiked 6♣ on the turn saw him take the lead and maintain his advantage on the 5♦ river.
He breathed a sigh of relief - his tournament stack freshly invigorated.
4:20pm: Break Over - Back for Level 5
A well-earned twenty minute break is in the bag. Following close of registration, the numbers are up to 114, of whom 104 remain. We'll have official confirmation of the day's entries shortly.
For now though, the players are reseated and hungry to begin level 5. Dealers shuffle up and deal!
To read updates from levels 1-4, click here.
PokerStars Blog reporting team at PokerStars UKIPT5 Series 2:
Rod Stirzaker. Photos courtesy of Mickey May.