Van Der Merwe is clear leader heading into Day 2 of UKIPT Bristol
If B stands for Big then Day 1"B" of UKIPT 5 delivered on that front. A total of 306 players rocked up to the Rainbow Casino today, more than double the 140 that entered yesterday. By the end of 12 levels of play 89 remained and one player - Neil Van Der Merwe (351,200) - stood tallest and will take the overall lead heading into Day 2, where 128 will return.
His remarkable day gathered traction just before the dinner break when, holding pocket aces, he eliminated two players in one fell swoop. A lot of that was thanks to flopping a full house but, even though that was a big pot that helped him pass 100k, it will not be remembered as the hand that defined his day.
Fast-forward two-and-a-half hours and bring Chun Man into the fray. He called Van Der Merwe's preflop four-bet to see a 7♣7♠2♠ flop where he called a 12,000 c-bet. The turn was the 4♥ and Van Der Merwe bet another 25,500 before calling when Man shoved for 63,000. Both had big pairs but the kings of Van Der Merwe had Man's jacks dominated and it stayed that way on the T♥ river.
Other players who'll head into Day 2 with positive vibes after good days include: Dan Williams (224,800), Chi Zhang (207,000), Jen-Yue Chiang (195,400), Pierrick Tallon (191,200), Jiye Zhang (178,300), Kelly Saxby (164,100) and Deborah Worley-Roberts (147,900).
Notables who'll be joining them are: Team PokerStars Pro Jake Cody (19,900), Nik Persaud (91,400), Dan Stacey (90,600), Brett Angell (56,600), Dara Davey (49,200), Tomaz Raniszewski (108,800) and 77p online qualifier Marcell Gottshalk (69,300).
Registration for the event closed today and the 446 players created a £302,834 prize pool. The players coming back tomorrow will, first of all, have their eyes on making the top 63 and securing a minimum £1,350 payday, but who would blame any one of them thinking about getting their hands on the £58,500 top prize on offer.
Those players who will have to find their fortune elsewhere, like in the many side events on offer this week, include: Kevin Killeen, Niall Farrell, Dean Hutchison, James Noonan, Team Pro Online's Alex Millar, Paul Zimbler, Antoine Saout, Mick Graydon, Sin Melin, Richard Hawes, Alex Lindop, Rhys Jones and Tom Hall. Some talent on that list and all Day 2 players will be pleased to know they can't be drawn at their table tomorrow.
That Day 2 starts tomorrow at noon BST. The plan for the day is to get down to the final table of eight players or ten levels of play, whichever comes first. If we were betting men, which we obviously are, buckle in for the full ten levels.
Until then though, click on the links below to relive some of today's main talking points:
All photos are copyright of Mickey May. She's been practising ninja yoga this week, so steal her photos and she'll bend you in ways you won't recover from