UKIPT4 Isle of Man 2: Day 1A Level 1-4 updates (100/200/ante 25)

4:15pm: Level ends - four is no more
That's a whole four levels that have been crammed into the day so far. The players have become intimately acquainted with each other's poker idiosyncracies and will now take fifteen minutes off to chat, smoke, drink some caffeine and generally relax before they return for level five.

We'll be opening a new blog page for level 5 shortly. See you there in fifteen minutes for the resumption. -- RS

4:10pm: Vanquished warriors
Every poker tournament produces its heroes and villains, its winners and losers.

These unfortunate souls fell the wrong side of moves, coin flips and variance, though if their spirits and bankrolls remain strong, they always have the opportunity to run the gauntlet once more tomorrow.

Well played ladies and gents. Enjoy your day.

Kelly Saxby,
Carla Sabini,
Gary Jeeves,
Robert Schulz,
William Mcclure,
Matthew Hilger and
Hassan Khalil. -- RS

4:02pm: Silver's mercurial fortunes
Max Silver had been experiencing an unperturbed rise up the leaderboard, his stack rising to 40,000, but his tranquil ascent ran into turbulence just moments ago.

Facing off against Jesse O'Shea, Silver's [Q][T] hit the [Q][T][4][5] board hard - all his chips flying in on the turn with top two pair.

Unfortunately for him O'Shea had coolered him with pocket fours for bottom set.

Unable to spike his required queen or ten on the river, Silver was left handing over half his stack to the Irishman - though with 20,000 his day is far from done and dusted.

O'Shea up over 40,000... --RS

3:50pm: Chip counts
As we approach the end of the fourth level it's Yury Gulyy who leads the way, the Russian who has over $450,000 in lifetime winnings is up to 81,000. Here are the counts of some of the other names and notables:

Chris Straghalis - 41,000
Christophe De Meulder - 19,300
Dara O'Kearney - 26,000
David Lappin - 23,050
Dermot Blain - 14,025
Diego Gomez - 16,000
Fatima Moreira de Melo - 18,000
Joe Grech - 5,500
Jon Spinks - 29,000
Katja Spillum Svendsen - 23,000
Kelly Saxby - 9,800
Lee Jones - 23,500
Luca Pagano - 36,000
Ludovic Geilich - 26,800
Matti De Meulder - 30,500

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The shy and retiring Chris Straghalis

Max Silver - 39,000
Mickey Petersen - 18,900
Nick Newport - 27,000
Paul Febers - 26,000
Richard Evans - 9,000
Sam Grafton - 36,000
Sam Razavi - 21,000
Shola Akindele - 22,000
Vicente Delgado - 27,000
Willie Tann - 56,000
Terry Jordan - 47,000
Kevin Killeen - 19,100
Jamie O'Connor - 21,600
Fraser Macintyre - 4,000
Steve O'Dwyer - 23,000
Jennifer Shahade - 14,700

128 of the 141 entrants remain. -- NW

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Vicente Delgado

3:45pm: Stragglers
EPT champion Steve O'Dwyer, Neil Raine, Fraser Macintyre and PokerStars' Mind Sport Ambassador, Jennifer Shahade and a clean shaven Kevin Killeen are five more players we've spotted at the tables during level four. -- NW

3.36pm: Jenkins barrels out
The well-heeled Full Tilt Poker Ambassador Ben Jenkins finds himself on the rail just prior to level four. His Exit hand saw him raise under-the-gun and fire three barrels of 1,500, 3,100 and finally an all-in shove for his remaining stack over the board of T♠3♣3♦Q♥4♣.

His opponent, German Marvin Weiland, looked rather uncomfortable on the river but made a relative quick call with 3♣6♣ for trips - which was more than adequate as Jenkins had been semi-bluffing on the turn with K♠J♣.

Weiland rises to 42,500.

Jenkins took his elimination well though, shaking hands with his opponent before departing to lament the loss of his chips with friend Jon Spinks. -- RS

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Smartly attired but smartly retired

3:20pm: Comeback kid
"This is the real story," said Lee Jones pointing to his left as I eyed up the chip stack of PokerStars Head of Communications. Jones was referring to Gary Whipp, who at one stage was down to 3,500 but has staged a remarkable recovery to climb back to 30,000 -- NW

LEVEL UP: BLINDS 100/200/25

3.07pm: Fun Isle of Man Factoid
Queen Elizabeth II is the head of state of the Isle of Man, perhaps unsurprisingly, although the un-ladylike-sounding title of Lord of Mann which bestows this privilege might raise a few more eyebrows. --RS

3:05pm: Butcher's stack cleaved
Kevin Butcher is still well in contention with 13,000, though his stack and chances just took a slight blow in a pot versus Daniel Fargher.

The hand in question saw four players reach the flop of a K♥5♦5♣ board, all four checking it through.

The turned 3♦ was checked to Fargha, who led out for 1,000 - Butcher the sole caller.

Finally the 7♣ hit the river and Butcher check-called Fargha's 2,000 bet, only for Fargha to showdown a sneakily-played A♣K♠ - which trumped Butcher's pocket nines.

Fargher rises to 25,000... -- RS

2:52pm: McLellan hits the skids
Duncan McLellan's first shot at defending his title has ended in inglorious defeat. We were unable to discern the details at first inspection, although it looked very likely that local Ross Marshall was the felicitous recipient of the last of McLellan's stack.

An unsurprisingly joyous Marshall has risen to 34,000.

You can't count McLellan out just yet though; he has the option to buy in again tomorrow to take shot number two - so we may still have a triple UKIPT champion by the time this event is completed. -- RS

2:45pm: If at first you don't succeed...
The Main Event in the Isle of Man allows a single re-entry on Day 1B for any player who's busted Day 1A. So whilst Yaniv Peretz, Matthew Davenport, Michael Zauner, Foyzul Hussein and Paul Murphy are all out, they may well be back tomorrow. -- NW

2:40pm: Champions club
The number of UKIPT Main Event winners in the field continues to climb as Sam Razavi has just rocked up. He's found a seat at the same table as champions club alumni Max Silver whilst elsewhere Ludovic Geilich is sharing a table with Sam Grafton.

That has the potential to get tasty and the sparks are already there. Grafton raised to 300 from middle position but folded when Geilich made it 900 from the small blind, Geilich turned over one card as he took the pot. "He shows the ace," said a grinning Grafton. -- NW

2:25pm: Golden Tann
We caught up with Willie Tann during the break and it seems his fortunes have turned round somewhat as he is now up to 40,000.

"I've been losing the small pots and winning the big ones!" he told us, a broad smile across his face.

"What a lovely day," he continued happily, motioning at the warm sunshine pouring down on the Villa Marina before diving back into the playing arena. -- RS

2:20pm: Once more unto the breach
The players are re-seated now, ready to cross swords across the felt once more. -- RS


2:20pm: Cooler things have happened
Our thanks to the fast fingers of Dan Wilson who managed to snap this hand that went down at his table. Straight flush against flopped full house, ouch!

Blinds up: 75/150

2pm: End of level two - Break Time
That's two levels in the bag and having fenced for two hours, the players can now take a short breather to reassess their strategy and adapt to the opposition.

We are about to adapt our trajectories toward the coffee facilities. See you in 15 minutes!

1:54pm: Stuttering start as Tann Fades
Not the best of openings for Willie Tann, whose stack has dropped over the opening two levels to 13,000 or so, following several unsuccessful attempts to chip up.

Although he won't be best pleased with this inauspicious opening, the mountain of experience and guile Tann can call on mean it would be folly to write off this wily campaigner just yet. -- RS

1:45pm: Bad start for Evans
Richard Evans gave me a wry look as his stack has been chopped in half over the opening 90 minutes. The UKIPT Champion of Champions is down to around 10,000 and the main recipient appears to have been Terry Jordan as he's up to around 27,000. -- NW

1:30pm: Stuart MacDonald raises the stakes
A regular on the UKIPT circuit, Australian Stuart MacDonald always comes to the table with a bright, breezy and amiable attitude, and he may need all his positivity after landing at table de Melo/ McLellan.

The potentially diffcult day ahead of him hasn't put a dent in his chirpy banter reserves however. Most recently he was overheard bantering with McLellan about his UKIPT success.

"You can't win 3 out of six tournaments. That just doesn't happen!"

"I don't use the word "can't", replied McLellan ominously. -- RS

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McLellan ready to tear up the record books again

1:15pm: Short day for Adeniya
The first exit of the day is none other than Full Tilt Poker Ambassador Martins Adeniya. The UKIPT Seires pot-limit Omaha champion lost the majority of his chips with pocket kings against Darren Delahunty, who flopped a set of eights.

The Main Event is a single re-entry event so I'm sure he'll be back tomorrow for a second shot. -- NW

1.05pm: Contenders Ready! Gladiators Ready!
The venue here at the Villa Marina has a unique feel to it.

An overlooking panoramic balcony and an encircling set of chairs throw the whole focus of the room squarely at its centre. With an already stacked arena replete with talent, this piles even more pressure on the combatants battling in its midst - it could almost be the colosseum in Rome or the set of the show Gladiators at least.

Rumours that the final table will consist of an assault course, travelator and rope swing through a wall of blocks have yet to be confirmed, although we did see Willie Tann stretching his calves moments ago, perhaps in anticipation of this. -- RS

Blinds up: 50/100

12:45pm: More faces
The fashionably late continue to trickle in and swell the numbers in this nascent Day 1A field. Katja Spillum Svendsen, who finished runner-up at the last UKIPT event in Marbella, is playing today, as is Dara Davey. The Irishman is currently top of the UKIPT4 Leader board and if it stays that way he'll be freerolling Season 5 of the UKIPT. He's at the same table as Simon Deadman, he finally broke his 2014 runner-up hoodoo by winning a big event in Las Vegas for $350,000 this summer.

Elsewhere Full Tilt Poker Ambassador Dermot Blain is sharing a table with David Lappin and UKIPT Champion of Champions Richard Evans, whilst EPT regular Yury Gulyy is sat to the right of UKIPT Galway runner-up Paul Febers, which is a sentence I never thought I'd write.

Team PokerStars Online's Mickey Petersen is looking fresh despite the exertions of the WCOOP grind and he's got position on Kelly Saxby, whilst a few seats further round is fellow Team Online member Vicente Delgado.

Team PokerStars Pro Luca Pagano is flying the Red Spade whilst Rational Group Staff are once again allowed to play the UKIPT here in Isle of Man and Chris Straghalis, who finished 19th last year is trying to go deep once more, whilst Head of Poker Communications Lee Jones, obviously got a taste for the UKIPT in Dublin back in February as he's trying his luck again.

The familiar faces will continue to roll in no doubt so keep an eye on the chip counts page where we'll be updating the names, notables and big stacks throughout the day. -- NW

12:35pm: Tables of Death
With the deep stacks affording the players plenty of wiggle-room, it may be some time before we see players do mortal combat at the felt but that shouldn't prevent some tough, unrelenting poker from playing out.

The table draw has thrown up some interesting combinations we'll be keeping a close eye on.

Firstly there is PokerStars SportStar and ex-Olympic hockey champion Fatima Moreira de Melo matched up once more, against the Isle of Man defending champion Duncan Mclellan who denied her victory almost 12 months ago. But anyone who might have put McLellan's first UKIPT victory down to the vagaries of fortune was put firmly in their place as Mclellan swooped to pick up a second title at UKIPT Nottingham.

Can he make it a unique triple whilst defending his title here?

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De Melo is facing off against McLellan yet again

Another man who has UKIPT success etched all over his fulsome CV is Max Silver. Silver was the 2010 UKIPT Dublin champion, and amongst his myriad other UKIPT cashes, he was the 2013 UKIPT Isle of Man High Roller Champion.

Silver has the pedigree to be a real contender then, though he'll face stiff opposition from Nick Newport, who already has a six figure score and five UKIPT cashes to his name. Sparks should fly if the pair go to war.

The final table to initially catch the eye sees Jon Spinks, whose live career tournament earnings are pushing toward the $1 million mark face off against Mark Wagstaff, fresh from a deep run at EPT Barcelona (21st for €40,200) and perennial poker personality Willie Tann, who can boast a WSOP bracelet and $1.8 million in winnings amongst his many notable poker achievements. -- RS

12:20pm: No tea for you Sir!
If you were betting if an Englishman likes tea or not, the odds would be heavily odds on that he did. Joe Grech's face when he was told the Villa Marina didn't serve tea was a picture. "You can go to the café nearby," said the waitress hopefully. "Well I can't, I'm playing cards," replied Grech. Despite having played cards for many years, this might be the first time Grech has encountered this issue! -- NW

12.00pm: Cards in the air!
The wait is over, the dam has broken and we are off! Good luck everyone. The journey to crown the Isle of Man UKIPT Champ has begun. -- RS

The UKIPT has returned to the Isle of Man again for another giant home game and you're all invited. Whilst Barcelona might be home to the first flop, the Isle of Man isn't just the home of PokerStars, it can justifiably lay claim to being the home of poker too.

Some 50 million hands a day are shuffled up from the PokerStars HQ here on the Isle of Man and whilst there won't be anywhere near that number dealt at the Villa Marina this week, there will be just as much action.

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The Villa Marina - a home from home for poker this week

A packed schedule featuring 14 events got under way yesterday but really gets into gear today with the start of the £350,000 Guaranteed Main Event. The buy-in has dropped to £770 this year but, with a single re-entry option, many might end up spending more.

Among those many will be a certain Chris Moneymaker, if you're lucky you might even get to share a beer, get a photo taken and have a chat with the World Champ.

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If you can't beat him, join him

And if you miss out on Moneymaker they'll be plenty of other star names in attendance. Last year's runner-up Fatima Moreira de Melo will be looking to go one better, that grey haired fella in the baseball cap, well that'll be Theo Jorgensen, Vicky Coren and Jake Cody will be trying to add UKIPT titles to their EPT bling and Team Online will be well represented by the likes of Ike Haxton and Mickey Petersen.

If that wasn't enough there's plenty off the felt to keep the poker players sated. Tours of PokerStars HQ are available and there's even a chess and poker tournament. For those looking to let their hair down there's not one but two parties, with an exclusive VIP Club Live event tonight and the UKIPT player party later in the week.

For now though the partying can wait, it's time to play some poker.

Key UKIPT4 Isle of Man 2 facts:

- 20,000 starting stack
- Blinds starting at 25/50 for 400 big blinds
- One hour levels and we'll play ten today.
- Two Day 1s then the Day 1 survivors will merge for Days 2, 3 and 4 until a winner is crowned (cue winner's photo, trophy swinging around, celebrations by the sea front).
- There's a live satellite here at the Villa Marina tonight. It's a £50 + £5 unlimited re-buy + addon satellite and it starts at 6pm.
- There's a live stream for the final two days (Sunday + Monday). On Sunday it's cards down but the final table on Monday will be cards up and broadcast on a one hour delay.
- The full festival schedule can be seen here.

PokerStars Blog reporting team at PokerStars UKIPT Isle of Man 2: Rod Stirzaker and Nick Wright. Photos by Danny Maxwell.

Nick Wright
@PokerStars in Isle of Man 2