UKIPT6 Birmingham: Nathan Webb weaves his way to the top on Day 1B

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What a day for Webb

UKIPT Birmingham moved through the gears today as 158 players entered the fray during the second of three starting flights. The last two to take their seats were Igor Kurganov and Griffin Benger. Unfortunately for Kurganov he was also one of the last out, busting a few hands from the end, but the November Niner made it through with 70,100.

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Benger got busy

Leading the way at the end of eight quick fire 45-minute levels was Nathan Webb who bagged up an impressive 159,200. The 35-year-old finance director from Worcester got his books in the black thanks to a flush over flush hand halfway through the day. Another big pot at the death meant the Worcester based Dad of one pipped Caicai Huang to the chip lead. Huang finished seventh in the UKIPT4 London Main Event and will return with 134,900 tomorrow. She's handily placed as are: Colin Gillon (114,600), Claudio Cambianica (100,500) Mian Wei (97,700), David Gallagher (97,400) and Louis Salter (90,900).

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Half day for Boeree

Liv Boeree was another player who took advantage of late registration, she took her seat during level five. The Team PokerStars Pro was almost out in the very same level. She got her starting stack in with A♠7♠ on a 5♠3♠4♦ flop and needed to hit against the pocket kings of Simon McGechie. She was a 60-40 favourite and the Poker gods smiled on her as a turned straight gave her a lock on the hand. She finished the day on 57,100 and completes a triumvirate of Red Spades who'll be in business on Day 2 as Chris Moneymaker and Jake Cody both advanced on Day 1A.

Other big names still in the mix for the final UKIPT Main Event trophy are: Dom Kay (80,400), Eleanor Gudger (76,200), Neil Raine (63,400), Timothy Chung (59,000), David Docherty (49,500), Deborah Worley-Roberts (45,900), Mark McCluskey (45,600), Richie Lawlor (36,700), Kelly Saxby (26,600) and Richard Jones (25,100). You can view full end of day chip counts here.

Notable for their absence on that list are Dara O'Kearney, Brett Angell and Ludovic Geilich but they may yet join the 84 players who made it through to Day 2. We say may, as a turbo Day 1C flight - for anyone who's bust Day 1A or 1B - starts at 10pm. Same structure but 20 minute levels instead of 45 minutes. Thanks to a tweet we know that O'Kearney will be firing a second bullet and he may well be joined by the two UKIPT champions.

They'll be no live coverage of that flight, but keep an eye on the widget on the right hand side of the page (the bottom of the page if using a mobile device) and the @PokerStarsBlog and @UKIPT twitter accounts and we'll post the Day 2 seat draw and complete Day 1 chip counts before play begins tomorrow at noon.

You can scroll down to catch up on all today's action. See you tomorrow for moving day and the bubble. --NW

6:18pm: Final four hands
Level 8 - Blinds 400/800 (100 ante)

The clock has been paused and they'll be four more hands before play is done for the day. --NW

6:08pm: Gillon's got a gallon now
Level 8 - Blinds 400/800 (100 ante)

Colin Gillon's stack had dropped back a bit, but he just secured a double after a battle of blinds versus Tomasz Wrobel.

The action folded around to Gillon in the small blind and he completed. Wrobel raised to 2,500 in the big blind and then called after Gillon came back with a raise to 6,500. The flop fanned 3♥2♣T♠ and Gillon continued for 5,800. Call. Wrobel called another 10,200 on the K♠ turn and then faced an all-in bet worth 26,950 on the 9♠ river.

He called with A♣T♣ but Gillon had got there on the turn with K♦6♥ and scooped in the big pot to get back close to the chip leaders. -- MC

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King Gillon

5:55pm: PokerStars memories, with Daragh Davey
Level 8 - Blinds 400/800 (100 ante)

Daragh Davey told the blog he's very sad to miss the last ever UKIPT before it's rebranded, but his partner is expecting a baby, so his priorities lie elsewhere for now.

There was a time when the Irishman never missed a stop. Not even that, there was a time where he never missed a tournament at a stop. That dedication to playing all the events helped secure him back-to-back Player of the Year titles in Season 4 and 5, for arguably the greatest achievement in the tour's history. Dara was kind enough to talk about this in his UKIPT memory:

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Mr consistency

"My favourite memory is from EPT/UKIPT London 2014, the final stop of Season 4. Entering it am neck and neck with Max Silver and Tomaz Raniszewski for the player of the season leaderboard with a passport to all of the next season as the prize.

"I was playing a £300 side event with a few days left in the two-week festival, have 2 cashes already and I know if I make ninth place or better it will be nearly impossible for the other two to catch me. We get down to 10 handed and it feels like its taking forever! Finally someone busts and I get out of my seat and celebrate with my friends. I very rarely celebrate in poker but that felt like 16 months of work completed. That stop ended with Kevin Killeen coming 3rd in the EPT main event as well, which was another brilliant moment!"

5:45pm: Bish bash bosh
Level 7 - Blinds 300/600 (75 ante)

A premium hand versus premium hand encounter where one player has fewer than 20 big blinds is usually going to end in a pre-flop all-in. That's what happened when Ali Zihni found ace-king and Mudasser Hussain woke up with aces.

The T♠2♠8♠6♦9♣ board kepy Hussain in front, he was all-in for just under 12,000. Zihni is down to 35,000. --NW

5:35pm: Chip daddies
Level 7 - Blinds 300/600 (75 ante)

With just over a level left to play, here are some of the big stacks in the room:

David Gallagher - 105,000
Mian Wei - 91,000
Louis Salter - 90,000
Dominic Kay - 90,000
Colin Gillon - 86,000
Eleanor Gudger - 78,000
Claudio Renzo Cambianica - 75,000
Deivis Rinkevicius - 71,000
--MC

5:25pm: Benger getting busy
Level 7 - Blinds 300/600 (75 ante)

It hasn't taken Griffin Benger long to get into the groove of this tournament. He opened to 1,300 from under-the-gun+1 and called after Neil Ryder had three-bet to 3,100 from the cutoff. The 2♣T♠K♥ flop checked through and the J♥ fell on the turn. Benger checked again and then called Ryder's bet of 4,000.

The A♦ fell on fifth street, both players checked and Benger showed down Q♥9♥ to win the hand. "That's what you get for slowplaying," said Ryder. After that hand Benger is up to 41,000. --NW

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Benger's building a stack

5:18pm: Easy game for Gudger
Level 7 - Blinds 300/600 (75 ante)

In an ideal world, we'd win every pot without having to show down, unless we have the nuts. We're not sure if Eleanor Gudger had the nuts in a hand that got her up to around 90,000, but it's unlikely.

Pablo Lamas raised from the button and Gudger (small blind) and the big blind called to see an A♦6♠7♥ flop appear. Lamas continued for 2,200 and only Gudger check-called to the A♠ turn where she called another 3,000. The board completed with the 3♠ and Gudger checked for a third time. Lamas didn't bet, or check behind as far as we could see; he just mucked his hand and gave up the pot to his opponent. --MC

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Gudger having a great day so far

5:02pm: Doh for Doke
Level 7 - Blinds 300/600 (75 ante)

Dara O'Kearney's had some good times and some bad times on the UKIPT. Unfortunately for him his latest memory will be filed in the latter category.

Joining him on the rail are: Brett Angell, Paul Dando, Joshua Wooldridge, Ryan Plant, Dominic Burn, Michael Jones, Ludovic Geilich and Ishfaq Mohammed. --NW

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Ludovic Geilich

4:46pm: Get out of here
Level 6 - Blinds 250/500 (50 ante)

The remaining players are now on their second and final 15 minute break of the day. Late registration will close at the start of level seven. --NW

4:45pm: Exit Daw
Level 6 - Blinds 250/500 (50 ante)

Daniel Daw wished the table good luck and was on his way. A quick post-mortem of the hand revealed that he'd got the last of his chips in with K♣Q♣ on a 8♣K♠T♠ flop. A good hand for sure, but it was up against a better one as Noel Broadbent had pocket eights for a flopped set. The 2♠ turn left Daw drawing dead and the 4♦ completed the board.

After that hand Broadbent is up to 70,000. --NW

4:40pm: Boeree lets one go on the river
Level 6 - Blinds 250/500 (50 ante)

"You got a set of fours or fives?" Live Boeree asks David Wilkes after he moved all-in for 14,725 on the river. He shook his head.

The board read A♦5♥4♠7♥6♦ and there had been a fair amount of action that led up to the point Wilkes made his final move.

He had opened to 1,200 from mid position and was called in one spot before Boeree squeezed to 3,700 off the button. Both players called but only Wilkes hung around after Boeree c-bet the flop. The Team PokerStars Pro bet another 6,300 on the turn before she was check-raised up to 15,000. She called and it's back to her deliberation on the river.

"Set of threes? Top set of aces?" Boeree continued to half ask. Wilkes kept shaking his head.

"I don't understand how you can have an ace in you hand," she declared before admitting defeat and folding. That dropped the Brit down to around 40,000. --MC

4:30pm: Gudger going great guns
Level 6 - Blinds 250/500 (50 ante)

"Seat open table 13" was the cry, it was Eleanor Gudger who was stacking chips. She's had a great couple of levels and is now up to 85,000.

It's not gone quite as well for Jack Sambrook or Tom Hall as they're both out. --NW

4:25pm: Cold deck for Craigie
Level 6 - Blinds 250/500 (50 ante)

Kerryjane Craigie, looks after all things poker at The Hippodrome Casino by day, but she's a mean player in her own right and was playing today. I say was, because she's now perched in a seat on the sidelines due to a brutal bustout hand.

She had around 9,000 to start the hand and raised it up from the small blind with pocket jacks. Robert Shiell was in the big blind, with king-queen, he moved all-in and Craigie snap called.

The 2-7-9 flop was safe, the jack turn even better as it reduced Shiell's outs to just the four remaining tens. But it's always the river and a ten popped out on fifth street to send Craigie to the rail. --NW

4:20pm: He takes from the right and gives to the left
Level 5 - Blinds 300/600 (100 ante)

David Phelan managed a double up on one hand, then handed a lot of the gained chips over to David Docherty the very next hand.

He and Craig Wallace took to a 3♣Q♥Q♣ flop where the former bet 6,000. He had around seven thousand back and was asked a question for them all. He called and opened A♦A♠, ahead of Wallace's J♣J♦. The board ran out 5♦4♥.

The very next hand saw David Docherty open to 900 and our two friends from the hand above call. The board rolled out Q♦6♣9♥8♠T♦ with no chips going in until the river where Phelan led for 1,500 from the big blind. Docherty raised to 7,500 and opened K♦J♦ for the nut straight when called. Phlean flashed a jack and mucked. Docherty's stack grew to around 38,000. -- MC

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DD looking good for an eighth place finish

4pm: Chip counts
Level 5 - Blinds 200/400 (50 ante)

Here's how some of the names and notables are fairing on Day 1B:

NameChips
Steve Jelinek57,500
Gary Clarke55,400
Ben Morrison54,000
Eleanor Gudger53,000
Liv Boeree50,000
Joseph Lalor49,050
Timothy Chung47,000
Dominic Kay44,000
Ludovic Geilich43,000
Neil Raine38,000
Richie Lawlor34,900
Caicai Huang34,000
Luke Perrott33,000
Kelly Saxby30,325
Ronit Chamani26,000
Tom Hall25,800
Richard Jones24,600
Carl Harris24,300
David Clarkson24,000
Ali Zihni23,600
Louis Salter23,500
Jeremy Wray22,500
Michael Kane20,075
Mark McCluskey18,325
Deborah Worley-Roberts18,000
Mark Wagstaff17,000
David Docherty14,975
Dara O'Kearney14,325
Jack Sambrook14,000
Kerryjane Craigie9,875
Brett Angell7,300

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Chung's chipped up

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Angell has work to do

3:55pm: Any two for McCluskey
Level 5 - Blinds 200/400 (50 ante)

Mark McCluskey has cashed three times in UKIPT Main Events (including one final table) and several side events. You don't do that by waiting for aces. He just won a pot off Michael Jones with the mighty four-three.

The latter raised to 1,100 from the hijack and the former tank called in the big blind. The flop fanned 7♣2♣6♠ and Jones continued for 1,300. McCluskey check-called before both went on to check the 4♥6♥ turn and river down.

McCluskey opened 4♣3♠ to beat out Jones' A♣T♣. "What's he got?" asked Jones.

"A pair of fours.....with a three kicker!" answered a kinda helpful Joseph Lalor.

McCluskey moved up to 22,000, whereas Jones dropped to 14,000. --MC

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McCluskey massaging his stack

3:35pm: Nice turn of events for Boeree
Level 5 - Blinds 200/400 (50 ante)

Liv Boeree had barely had time to get her feet under the table before she was playing for all her chips. David Wilkes opened to 950 from middle position, Boeree smooth called from the button, only for Simon McGechie to three-bet to 2,600. Both Wilkes and Boeree called to create a chunky pot of over 8,000.

On the 5♠3♠4♦ flop McGechie fired out a bet of 5,000. Wilkes folded and stood up from the table where he informed the PokerStars Blog of the pre-flop action and whispered. "I folded jacks, I put him [McGechie] on a big pair."

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Boeree bouncing

Boeree was debating what to do with her ~22,000 chip stack and settled on raising all-in. There was no insta call from McGechie but after around 20 seconds on deliberation he did call and showed K♠K♥.

He was ahead in the hand but Boeree had a monster draw with A♠7♠ and was actually a near 60-40 favourite to win the hand. The 6♥ turn made the EPT Sanremo winner a straight and the A♦ was an unnecessary river card. She doubles up then to around 50,000 while McGechie slips back to starting stack. --NW

3:23pm: Second half underway without...
Level 5 - Blinds 200/400 (50 ante)

Four levels down and four more to go. The following never made it out of the changing room at half time:

Thales Salomao, Baljit Singh, Victor V. Ilyukhin, Krishna Nagaraju, Romaine Morin, Chris Gordon, Frederick Evans, Samy Salah, Khaneshkan Sriravindrah, Matthew Pierre and Victor Ilyukhin. -- MC

3:15pm: Webb flush with chips
Level 4 - Blinds 150/300 (25 ante)

I joined the action to see a bet of up to 1,000 in front of Luke Haward. It was a single 1k chip so he'd raised it up to anywhere between 600 and 1,000. I'd never find out the exact amount as Nathan Webb three-bet to 2,100 on the button and Haward smooth called.

The flop fell a monotone 3♠7♠2♠, it didn't kill the action though as Webb bet 2,625 and Haward called. The 6♠ turn saw the pattern of the hand continue, Webb bet 5,000 and Haward smooth called again.

The river was checked through, Webb opened A♣K♠ for a king high flush, while Haward held Q♠T♠ for a flopped flush which had then been outdrawn on the turn. Big hands, big pot. Webb up to 36,000 and Haward down to 11,800 as a result. --NW

3:05pm: UKIPT memories, with floor person Kate Badurek
Level 4 - Blinds 150/300 (25 ante)

We've heard from quite a few players so it was time to go behind the scenes with a key staff member, namely Kate Badurek who's one of the people working floor this week here in Birmingham.

"I used to deal on the EPT many years ago before my services weren't required by an older regime. Then PokerStars restructured how they directed and managed events, including a fresh approach to hiring dealers and floor people. Toby Stone was given the job of Tournament Director for the UKIPT and gave me the chance to get back working with the company.

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Formerly known as Kate the dealer

"I'll be forever grateful for that opportunity as working on the UKIPT, and then on the EPT again, has enabled me to broaden my skillset and gain the experience I needed to progress up the ranks to the role I have today.

"It's been an absolute pleasure working on this tour with all my amazing and talented colleagues, but this isn't the end. We'll all still be around as we move into a new era with the PokerStars Festival and Championship events.

"So I don't really have a specific memory to tell you I'm afraid, the memory of the entire journey is what's important to me, and I look forward to it continuing."

2:45pm: Power poker from Gillon
Level 4 - Blinds 150/300 (25 ante)

It's rare in the early stages of a poker tournament that we get lucky enough to follow a big hand from start to finish but I found a haystack and a needle at table 13 and settled in to watch a hand between Colin Gillon and Thomas Simm.

It was actually John Kitchen who got the action started, he raised to 725 from middle position, Simm three-bet to 1,900 on the button and action folded to Gillon, who was in the big blind. Think, dwell, then cold four-bet to 5,000 was how it went, Kitchen couldn't stand the heat and got out of there but Simm stuck around.

On the 5♠7♣5♣ flop Gillon bet 6,300 and then watched on as Simm went into the tank. Apart from a couple of hard swallows Gillon wasn't giving much away and Simm elected to fold. He drops to 27,000 while Gillon rises to 38,000. --NW

2:40pm: Rees shows he's Jack the lad
Level 3 - Blinds 150/300 (25 ante)

Jonathan Rees' stack has grown to around 57,000 after he made a good call in a hand versus Mian Wei.

The Welshman was in the cutoff and facing a 3,500 bet on the turn with a board reading 2♦3♠8♦4♦. He made a quick call and then faced another 6,000 bet on the K♣ river. He took his time on that street but eventually called with J♥J♠, beating out Wei's 4♠6♥ for a lowly pair of fours. --MC

2:15pm: Break time
Level 3 - Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

Three levels down and that means the players have been sent on a 15 minute break. --NW

2:05pm: One chance down, one to go
Level 3 - Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

Not that many exits so far, but Chris Straghalis, John Ventre, Danish Ghandi and Tomasz Maciorowski are all out. They have the option to enter the Day 1C turbo that gets underway at 10pm tonight though. --NW

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Straghalis may be back

1:55pm: It's a bit flash to three-bet Gordon
Level 3 - Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

PokerStars Live at the Hippodrome ambassador Chris Gordon has just dipped below starting stack after he played two three-bet pots in a row. He was the one being three-bet, and he ended up winning one and losing one.

Ben Morrison, who came 11th at the UKIPT6 Super Series last month, was the first player he tangled with. Gordon opened from the cutoff and called after Morrison three-bet from the big blind. The flop came 2♦7♥6♠ and Morrison continued for 2,100. Gordon called and then bet 3,100 on the 4♦ turn after he was checked to. Morrison folded and said, "Shouldn't mess with the pros, I know that!"

"That's the first hand he's lost!" said Gordon to the blog. Morrison dropped to 50,000, so he's probably right on that front.

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Gordon in the action

Gordon raised to 525 the very next hand and was called by Samy Salah before Graham Parkin squeezed to 1,800 from the big blind. Only Gordon called to the 5♦6♥8♥ flop where both players checked. The board ran out 3♣Q♦ and Parkin checked to face bets of 1,800 and 3,700. He called both times and opened A♣Q♥ to beat out Gordon's A♦K♥. --MC

1:40pm: Bad call, good fold
Level 3 - Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

Poker, a game of making decisions under intense pressure with incomplete information. Sometimes you make the right ones, sometimes the wrong ones.

I picked up the action on table seven on the turn of a 3♦2♣6♦T♥ board to see Craig Wallace betting 500 into a pot of around 1,600, Tim Chung called, as did Richard Jones. The 9♦ completed the board and Wallace checked it to Chung. He bet 2,200, enough to get rid of Jones but not Wallace, who tanked for a minute or so before calling. Chung showed J♠T♠ and Wallace wore an exasperated expression which screamed "I knew it," and he showed pocket eights as Chung took the pot.

A short time later, on a different table, a big pot had developed between Jonathan Rees and Zoltan Havacs. A complete board of 6♦3♣4♣Q♠J♦ was on the felt and Rees bet 4,500. Havacs weighed up his decision before folding A♣Q♣ face-up. Rees tapped the table and was kind enough to show 3♥3♠ as he took the pot. --NW

1:25pm: The poker chaos
Level 2 - Blinds 75/150

Small seemingly insignificant actions can dramatically alter the outcome of a poker hand. A card flipping face-up say, meaning a player gets a different second card. Or, in the case of table three, the button being in the wrong position.

Ronit Chamani had raised it up to 450 from under-the-gun+1 and been flat called by Joshua Wooldridge by the time Brett Angell realised he was in the cut-off and should've been on the button. The floor was called and as significant action had already occurred it was ruled the hand would play out, rather than being a misdeal.

Action was on the UKIPT4 London champion and he three-bet to 1,500 and then tongue in cheek said to the player on his left. "Look what you've done now!". It folded back to Chamani and both she and Wooldridge smooth called.

So three to a flop then, which fell 8♠A♠7♦, a bet of 2,000 from Angell was enough to get the job done and he cheekily said to the dealer: "So I get the button twice in a row next orbit right?". Nice try Brett, you shouldn't have even had the cards that won you the pot in the first place. --NW

1:15pm: UKIPT Memories, with Jamie Burland
Level 2 - Blinds 75/150

UKIPT1 Brighton champion Jamie Burland was a central cog in the early days of the UKIPT. Yes, that was partly due to him becoming a Season 1 champion, but also a lot to do with the way he (and his crew) embraced the tour and everything it stood for. Thanks to Jamie for sharing these nice memories and a little video of his winning moment:

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Jamie and the boys (and girls)

"The UKIPT was a tour that was built on friendship. I have met some of my dearest friends in poker over the felt and at the bars of the various stops over the years on this tour. The comradery between the players, the bloggers, the event organisers, the dealing and floor staff was tangible. For a long time every stop felt as if it was a huge group of like-minded people pulling in the same direction, trying to muddle their way through the weekend before returning home and starting work on plans to make it to the next one!

"I have to go back to the days of Season 1 for some of my favourite UKIPT memories. My poker travelling buddies, Kevin Williams and Owen Robinson caught the UKIPT bug in the very first event. Owen got 4th place in the Main Event for £21k and it was the shared experience of that deep run that I think spurred us on to continue attending every stop where possible for several years after that.

"We travelled to Vegas that summer and immediately on returning from America, potless of course, we three travelled to UKIPT Brighton, a tournament I ended up winning and a town I ended up starting a family in. The comradery I described earlier can be felt in this short clip of my winning moment, Kevin and Owen rushing to embrace me as the winning river card fell. Special times."



UKIPT - Brighton, Jamie Burland's winning moment

1pm: Tough to fold sets
Level 2 - Blinds 75/150

One wonders whether Ross Jarvis reads this blog. If he does, he'll be interested to see that an old TV nemesis of his, Timothy Slater, was very unfortunate to become the first player to bust to today after a set over set cooler.

He, Dominic Kay and one other player all took to a 9-T-5 flop where the fireworks went off. The third player in the hand had aces but managed not to get all his chips and that was a good job too as Slater had pocket nines for middle set and Kay had pocket tens for top set!

The board ran out blank and Kay shook Slater's hand who then wandered off in a daze. That put Kay into an early chip lead with 70,000. -- MC

2016_UKIPT_Birm_Dominic_Kay_MickeyMay_105042.jpg

Kay will settle for that

12:40pm: Roll up, roll up
Level 1 - Blinds 50/100

New tables are opening up as players continue to arrive to take their seats on Day 1B, plenty of whom have history on the UKIPT. Like Jack Sambrook, he had the chip lead going into the final table of UKIPT3 Newcastle but nothing went right on the day and he finished seventh.

Another recent arrival is Dara O'Kearney. He's the most successful online qualifier in UKIPT history, mopping up seats as his bread and butter. It hasn't always been as smooth in the live arena though as a series of near misses from two tables out have peppered his UKIPT Main Event results sheet. He put that right last month when he finished second in the UKIPT Super Series.
Another player who cashed in that event is Victor Ilyukhin, he's sharing a table with former Swindon Town chairman Jeremy Wray. We've also spotted Richard Jones, Joseph Lalor, Mark McCluskey, Mark Wagstaff, David Clarkson, Chris Gordon, Ben Morrison, Jonathan Rees, Chris Straghalis and Michael Kane. --NW

12:30pm: Poker circa 2007?
Level 1 - Blinds 50/100

It's great to see that some old faces have come out of the poker woodwork to help us see off the tour in style. We've already mentioned old friends such as David Docherty but we've also seen Dominic Kay, Steve Jelinek and Gary Clarke - three central figures when poker started to boom in the UK and Ireland around nine-ten years ago.

Richie Lawlor had results going back eight years but he's more current after winning his first major title in Kerry a couple of weeks ago, along with a tidy €65,000.

He won a small pot off the blinds giving himself a gentle nudge in the right direction. He raised preflop and bet 250 on a T♠2♠8♥ flop. Both opponents players folded. -- MC

12:15pm: A few familiar faces
Level 1 - Blinds 50/100

A stroll around the tournament floor has unearthed a few UKIPT stalwarts among the 70 or so players who've arrived for the opening level.

Kerryjane Craigie - who's Head of PokerStars Live at the Hippodrome - is here. She had a deep run in the WSOP Employees event, getting all the way to heads-up before just failing to win a bracelet. She's sharing a table with Kelly Saxby, who's a PS Live at the Hippodrome sponsored player. That could be awkward if she stacks the boss!

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KJ's got her game face on

Elsewhere David Docherty, who's made two UKIPT Main Event final tables, is at the same table as Tim Chung. That table is currently playing five handed. We spotted Ludovic Geilich getting a drink from the bar, he'll probably be joining the fray shortly.

Neil Raine has 22 cashes on the UKIPT, including three side event wins. His deepest run in a Main Event is 24th place at Cork in Season 3, how he'd love to win the final UKIPT. A sentiment shared by everyone involved of course so it won't be easy. --NW

12pm: Shuffle up and deal
Level 1 - Blinds 50/100

Card are in the air. Just a reminder that eight 45-minute levels are scheduled for today, so play will end around 6:30pm.

11:50am: UKIPT Memories, featuring Vicky Coren-Mitchell
Level 1 - Blinds 50/100

I remember the first UKIPT event in England - it was in 2010, in Manchester. There was a great atmosphere; on the Saturday night the casino was buzzing, there was a live band, and half the Manchester United football team were playing a cash game in a corner of the card room. I became determined to get into that game. I went to join the crowd watching them, and weirdly, a couple of the footballers seemed interested to meet me (I think they must have known more about poker than I know about football.)

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Twice an EPT champion

Now, you must understand that we were already in the money in the tournament. I can't remember how many of us were left, 40 maybe. But I'm a pro! This was my bread and butter! The kind of money available in a game full of footballers paid thirty grand a week... and think about the long game if we got a regular school going... well, naturally I left my tournament chips on the table and went in to make friends. What the hell - I let my tournament stack dwindle down as I chatted and flirted with the sportsmen. Took me maybe an hour but eventually one of them (I'd love to tell you his name but, as I say, they knew more about poker than I know about football) said "Come on, it would be fun to tell people we've played with you, take a seat and join in."

"Sure!" I said. "Let me just get some cash chips. How much are we in for?"

The answer: it was a Saturday night, they didn't want to look like mugs, they were playing a fiver a head.

Meanwhile, the guy who won the UKIPT got £60k. Marvellous."

11:30am: Welcome back to Birmingham for Day 1B
Level 1 - Blinds 50/100

Welcome back to the Genting Casino Star City for Day 1B of UKIPT6 Birmingham. After a relatively quiet Day 1A, swarms of players are expected to descend on the cars room today. Players we know for sure that will here here include Team PokerStars Pro Liv Boeree, Igor Kurganov, Dara O'Kearney, Kelly Saxby, Richard Lawlor, Ali Zhini and Ludovic Geilich.

It promises to be a fun day, and a fun rest of the weekend. Most are very aware that this is the last UKIPT before it's rebranded and are keen to see it off in style. As part of the celebrations we're looking back at favourite memories of the tour. Stay tuned for a great memory from Vicky Coren-Mitchell before cards go in the air at midday. --MC

Key UKIPT6 Birmingham information:

- 25,000 starting stack
- Blinds starting at 50/100 for 250 big blinds
- Levels are 45 minutes on Day 1 and they'll be 8 of them. From Level 13 onwards levels increase to 60 minutes.
- Day 1B is today and there's also a turbo Day 1C at 10pm that is only open to players who've busted on Day 1A or Day 1B.
- The field will then combine for the first time on Saturday. We'll reach the money and hopefully the final table too. Sunday is where the magic happens and we play to a winner. Cue mad celebrations and swigging of champagne from the trophy (possibly).
- Full UKIPT6 Birmingham schedule here.

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PokerStars Blog Reporting Team at UKIPT6 Birmingham: Marc Convey and Nick Wright. Photos by Mickey May. Follow the PokerStars Blog on Twitter: @PokerStarsBlog

Marc Convey
@The_Conv in UKIPT