UKIPT5 Series 1 Day 1A - Levels 1-12 (1,000/2,000/300)
9:15pm: Pateman Heads Day 1A field
What a day it has been and with the players finished for the day, it is Joseph Pateman who heads the field- his stack a fulsome 165,000.
Pateman finishes the day clear of the pack but he had time for some regrets. "I had more earlier," he said with a touch of unbecoming glumness. By the time he reflects on his day later, we're sure he'll find plenty to smile about.
Gabriel Gusetoiu from Romania has also had a successful day - his 154,500 good for second place.
We'll be posting up the final chip counts shortly for your enjoyment and perusal. Just 21 players were left from the opening 78 that began their journey in the early afternoon.
They will return on Sunday, looking to turn their efforts today into something profitable, but before then another group of hopefuls will take to the felt looking to emulate the more successful denizens of Day 1A.
We expect a larger field tomorrow when we take up arms at 2:00pm and the poker should prove as compulsive as that we have witnessed today.
A quick reminder to the players that the clocks go forward an hour on Saturday night so don't have an accidental lie-in and miss one hour of blinds. That could prove very costly. For now thanks for following the coverage, well done to Joseph Pateman and have a lovely Friday night one and all.
We'll be back tomorrow at 2:00pm sharp for Day 1B. See you there!
8:43pm: Brave Pateman rises to chiplead
Two of the chipleaders just contended an interesting pot. We joined the hand on the turn of a 2♣6♥T♦Q♣ board, Richard Paul betting out 6,500, only for Pateman to make a slow, deliberate check-call.
The river saw Paul quickly check and Pateman reach for chips before firing out 12,500.
This was a tough decision for Pateman and he mulled it over before making the call. "Nothing," said Paul ruefully whilst Pateman showed a nice call with just A♥6♠.
Pateman rises to over 150,000, which looks like the leading stack at this time, whilst the previously rampant Paul drops to 120,000.
Gabriel Gusetoiu is also going well with 130,000.
We are playing the last few hands now...
8:14pm: Pace slows a touch
The remaining 24 players are closely huddled on three tables right now. There is a sense no one is keen to bust having battled through virtually the entire day and things have tightened up a little barring the odd shove from the shorter stacks.
Despite the drop in pace, these players have been unable to stave off the grim reaper.
It's been fun Ross Mannion, Carlos Citara, Mark McCluskey
and Lydia Cugudda.
We are especially sad to see Lydia bust given that she was the sole female remaining, keeping the clouds of testosterone from converging.
LEVEL UP: BLINDS 50-100
7:58pm: The state of play
It's been a day replete with quick, dynamic play. No one has been able to shy away from the action, meaning we have seen nearly 2/3 of the field shorn away under avalanches of blind and player pressure.
Just 29 remain now as we head into the last few levels and we can expect the relentless jaws of variance to chew up and spit out more than a few of those still left in as these last few contend the final hour of poker.
LEVEL UP: BLINDS 800-1,600-200
7:44pm: Sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel...
...is an oncoming train.
The following have seen their chances bulldozed by one of the rampant locomotives left chuntering through the field. Bad luck guys.
Struan Whiteley, Shaun Williams, Michael Tollervey, Wilson Chan, Timothy Lee-Davis, Yonatan Sagis are all gone-zo.
7:30pm: Dean of mean remains keen
David Dean is starting to amass a decent stack here, given a minor boost recently as he sent the short-stacked Christos Kyprianou to the rail.
Raising from early position, Dean saw Kyprianou move his small stack into the middle and the pair turned over their cards.
Pocket fours for Dean, A♣T♦ for Kyprianou, a board of K♠4♣7♥ saw Kyprianou's chances hanging by a sliver and finally they dropped into the pit of oblivion as the 7♣ arrived to complete an impregnable full house for Dean.
Kyprianou made a swift exit whilst Dean has risen to over 40,000 now.
7:15pm: Germaine stack remains relevant
We referenced Jack Germaine as a potential threat early on in the tournament and he hasn't let us down, efficiently rising up the chip rankings, his stack now north of 80,000.
His latest coup saw him take on Jeffrey Baron, his pocket kings duly dusting off the Baron's sizes and sending his foe to the rail.
Germaine has quietly slipped into the top few chips spots.
LEVEL UP: BLINDS 600-1,200-200
7:05pm: JJ lets JJ down
With a name like JJ Hazan, you would have thought jacks would be the one hand you could rely on. Not so, it turns out, Hazan succumbing moments ago in a flip versus ace-king.
"Knocked out with jack-jack. The irony," Hazan muttered as he departed the tables, his hopes of a deep run curtailed in level 9.
6:58pm: Dark side of the moon
Sometimes it runs for you, sometimes it doesn't. These players haven't had the rub of the green and will not end the tournament rubbing greens.
Good game to the following. Friday night beckons.
Hilary Hin Cheung
Rikky Ben Wingate
Hok Wan Henry Zhang
6:52pm: Gunning for glory
So far so good for these players who together form the top 10 remaining players. All smiles and sunshine so far. Will it continue?
110100 Gabriel Gusetoiu Romania
90000 Jack Germaine United Kingdom
70800 Joseph Pateman United Kingdom
63600 Sam Miller Ireland
63600 Cheok Fan Lao China
63000 John Law United Kingdom
61500 Mark Hitchens United Kingdom
60500 Richard Paul United Kingdom
47100 John Dimitris Nikas Greece
47000 Richard Tongue United Kingdom
LEVEL UP: BLINDS 500-1,000-100
6:45pm: House of pain back in effect
20 much needed minutes of refreshment enjoyed, the players have retaken their positions and continue their assault on the title, just 42 remaining in what has been a brutal day of poker so far.
The men who lead the charge to follow shortly.
6:25pm:Break it, shake it
The end of level 8 signals another 20 minute break for the players, during which time they could squeeze in a quick boogie if they should so wish. The card room has gone strangely silent, but will be revitalised shortly as we play out the final frantic 4 levels of the day.
We'll see you shortly!
6:21pm: Latest fallers
Much like the grand national early fences, players continue to fall thick and fast. Fortunately so far, none have broken their legs and been taken behind the shed to be sent to the giant golden haystack in the sky.
Hok Wan Henry Zhang, Rikky Ben Wingate, Hilary Hin Cheung, Stephen Howell will be thankful they are poker players, not horses, despite the fact their chips and chances have all evaporated.
6:10pm: Feiskanov builds recovery on house of ladies
Quiet Russian Evgenii Feiskanov has seen his stack take several hits in the early stages, but is threatening a recovery after winning a useful double-through.
The hand in question saw an early position raise called by JJ Hazan, before Feiskanov shoved for his sub- 10k stack. There was a quick call from the initial raiser, Hazan electing to throw his hand away.
Pocket eights for his foe, pocket queens for Feiskanov.
"I either had a queen or an eight, I'd rather not say," offered Hazan by way of contribution.
A decisive flop of Q♦3♠3♥ saw the Russian seize control of the pot. "Probably an 8 then," someone muttered, doing their best impression of Inspector Poirot.
The board ran out a redundant 4♦J♣ and Feiskanov rises back to close to 20,0000 once more.
6:00pm: Final Tally
With registration closed, the numbers are in and we have had 78 entrants today.
Of those just 2/3 remain - 55 players still in the running - the average stack 28,363 as we speak.
LEVEL UP: BLINDS 400-800-100
5:47pm: More vanquished warriors
This blind level has been a real watershed moment, players disappearing faster than we can monitor their exits.
The latest men to fell the cold hand of variance gently escorting them toward the exit include Shaun Debenham, Robert Brabin, Simon Nebesnuick, Martin Comitti and Ganapathy Samiappan.
It's carnage out here!
5:32pm: Pateman's aces hold for big double
Joseph Pateman just saw off Terence Jordan , Jordan making a big move which unfortunately ran into Pateman's bullets.
We caught the hands just as they were swept into the muck, it looked as though Jordan had 9♥6♥ on the Q♦5♥3♥ board and went to war with Pateman, whose bullets held as the board ran out 5♦9♣.
Jordan quietly grabbed his things and departed whilst Pateman was left smiling as he scooped in the pot and began the enjoyable job of organising his newly-won 40,000+ stack.
LEVEL UP: BLINDS 300-600-75
5:24pm: Done and dusted
Terence Jordan, Dean Perry, Matteo Vincenzi, Robert Drummond. Drummond was particularly unfortunate to run pocket queens into pocket aces. Bad luck - enjoy your Friday sir!
5:10pm: JJ Hazan finds juicy spot to double
It's not been an auspicious early few levels for JJ Hazan but he just made somewhat of a recovery moments ago, warring with a tablemate preflop and eventually getting his chips in with A♣T♣ - a small favourite over his opponent's K♣J♦.
A flop of 7♥6♣4♣ gave Hazan a sizeable advantage with a flush draw and the run out of 8♠9♠ saw his ace-high remain the best hand.
His opponent got up to leave the table, only to be called swiftly back as Hazan pointed out he only had 10,000 or so left at the start of the hand.
A double up sees him return to his starting stack of 20,000. As you were, troops.
LEVEL UP: BLINDS 200-400-50
4:55pm: Rail huggers
Not everyone can be crushing. Zero sum games mean winners are inevitably accompanied by losers. Here are those whose time has been liberated as have their chips.
OUT - David Ball(never recovered from that KK/AA collision earlier)
OUT - Colin Good (only the Good die young they say)
OUT - Niall Murray (A late entrant who saw his chips spend little time in his stack)
4:40pm: Early Heroes
There's a long way to go but here are the players who have handled the slings and arrows of the early stages most comfortably - Mark McCluskey leading the way.
Mark McCluskey United Kingdom 46275
Epameinondas Sintos Greece 43000
Daniel Smallman United Kingdom 42000
Mark Hitchens United Kingdom 37925
Joseph Pateman United Kingdom 37375
David Wellings United Kingdom 35650
Ettore Mezzone Italy 32200
Jack Germaine United Kingdom 43000
Ganapathy Samiappan India 34000
Cheok Fan Lao China 33525.
4:25pm: Break it up
The players have had a break and are ready to take to the felt once more for another swiftly-played out set of four levels.
With antes in play and one or two stacks who have been on the wrong side of variance, we could well see some desperation shoving over the next level or two.
4:20pm: Chip Crushers
The wonderful staff here at the Hippodrome have whizzed round the tables in the break and collected chip counts meaning we will have a full list up shortly.
LEVEL UP: BLINDS 150-300-25
4:00pm: Break Time
That's four fast levels done and dusted. We're already had some huge pots and eliminations, drama and confrontation stalking these players as they have traversed the opening levels of the day.
The break will feel well-merited and the players can now take a breather for 20 minutes while they tweak their strategies based on what they have learned over the initial stages.
3:44pm:Bullets flatten Ball
Brrrr, the chilly breeze that accompanies a cold deck leaves many a poker player hunching their shoulders and shivering in empathetic sympathy.
David Ball, holding pocket kings, was the man at the center of the maelstrom of action that ensued from this latest cooler - his 475 raise, flatted in one spot before Epameinondas Sintos made it 1,200 to go. Ball now made it 3,000, looking to punish what looked like a squeezy-looking move. Again, he was flat-called, before Sintos now jammed for 21,000.
Ball was not folding the second nuts and made the call (the flat-caller eventually persuaded to lay down) only for the players to turn their cards over and Sintos to reveal an exquisitely-timed pair of aces.
A board of baby cards failed to change the status quo, Ball left with shrapnel remaining in his stack whilst Sintos rises to 45,000 to put him amongst the chip leaders.
LEVEL UP: BLINDS 100-200
3:25pm: Hedges trimmed
Another player to have seen his early riches evaporate is Peter Hedges, who has lost the last of his chips and thus becomes our third official elimination of the day.
3:15pm: Big draw sees Tuna canned
David Dean just gave Gabriel Tuna his marching orders.
We joined the hand on the turn of a Q♣5♣3♥6♠ board, Tuna committing the last of his chipswith A♦Q♥, only to get the bad news that he was drawing dead to Dean's drawtastic 2♣4♣ which had connected with the turn.
"What a flop" gushed Dean after a respectful pause to let Tuna gather his belongings and depart quietly. "And he had the queen!"
Dean is up to 35,000+ now after a fast start.
3:04pm: Perry winkled-out
Eliminations have been few and far between in the early stages, but we can report that Dean Perry is one of those who have succumbed. The downside is obviously clear, but the silver lining to this bustout cloud is that he is free to step into the bright sunshine and visit some of the many attractions on offer in the heart of London.
LEVEL UP: BLINDS 75-150
2:50pm: Juicy Wing with chips
We're not just reading off the tasty Hippodrome menu (though the title is one of the options)
No instead we can report that Wing Yeung has chipped up in the early stages, Nicholas Craze his slightly unfortunate victim. Both players made strong hands over the Q♥9♠8♣3♦T♦ board, though Craze's pocket tens had hit their nut worst card on the river, Wing's pocket jacks improving to a straight simultaneous to his spiking a set.
Craze felt obliged to pay off Wing's river bet, getting the bad news with some consolatory observations from a beaming Yueng. "That was the worst card you could have hit."
Despite this early fillip, Yueng admitted he was still a little bleary eyed. "It's too early, i'm still asleep!" he told the table.
2:31pm: Blinding Speed
20,000 stacks and 25/50 sounds like a lot, and to be fair it is. 400 BBs deep gives ample play in the early stages.
However the blinds will be shooting up every 30 minutes, and relative stack sizes can change pretty swiftly for anyone sitting back too long. The latest level up means we are a paltry 200 BBs deep now!
LEVEL UP: BLINDS 50-100
2:24pm: Is it Miller Time?
Another man who has shown local excellence is Sam Miller, winner of the Winter Classic event here, just a couple of months ago. He defeated Tim Wong heads up to pick up the £11,620 for 1st place and will be looking to emulate that performance here to cement his reputation as a skilled poker practitioner.
2:12pm: Leaderboard Legends
Two players present who have already established formidable reputations for themselves at these events are Jack Germaine and Paul Romain.
Jack has shown he loves this venue having finished runner up on the 2014 Hippodrome Live leaderboard whilst Paul also made the Top 10 on the leaderboard. Both picked up UKIPT series entries for their consistent excellence and both have chosen to cash those entries in today. Two men who could well cause some damage if the poker gods see fit to give them the rub of the green.
2:05pm: Chipping Up
Everyone has taken their seats, chips are being clicked, shuffled and gradually redistributed amongst the current circa 53 runners. In short, we are off!
1:55pm: UKIPT5 Series1 is in effect
Welcome to the heart of London for the first UKIPT Series Event on the Season 5 schedule. Over the last season, the Hippodrome Casino bore witness to some epic confrontations as we crowned 6 previous UKIPT Series champions. There's no reason to think we won't see an equally exciting season play out this year and we have this £250+£25 event to kick things off.
20,000 starting chips and 30 minute levels mean the players have some healthy wiggle room and should have enough time to put their A-game on the tables and let variance do its job of thinning the field.
We're moments away from the start, we'll have news of runners, big names, early confrontations and anything that catches our interest in the early stages shortly. For now though good luck one and all, cards are (almost) in the air!
PokerStars Blog reporting team at PokerStars UKIPT Series 7: Rod Stirzaker; Photos courtesy of Mickey May