UKIPT5 Series 2 London: Day 1A Level 1-4(Blinds 150/300/25)
4:00pm: Break it up!
Four breathless levels of poker are in the bag and the players can now escape from the cardroom and take a short sabbatical to let their pulses return to resting rates once more.
We'll be back in twenty minutes to play through another four machine gun levels. See you shortly.
3:55pm: Two heavyweights don their gloves
Of all the late entries that have jumped into the throng, the names of James Mitchell (former Irish Open winner) and Kevin Williams (multiple UKIPT casher and UKIPT Galway winner) are perhaps the two buggest hitters.
With 20,000 stacks even joining in level four provides plenty of latitude for these players to showcase their accomplished poker skills and deliver some knockout blows.
3:45pm: Still rising...
There's a keen interest in thus event - registrations having already risen to 107 players.
With another 50 minutes or so of time remaining, we expect one of two more to join the fray before the final numbers are in.
LEVEL UP: BLINDS 150-300-25
3:30pm: Ante's matter
The introduction of the antes has really served to stimulate action and we've had a number of eliminations over the last level.
Nicolas Torossian, Henry Wride, Alex Bounsall, Marc Foggin have all paid the ultimate price for this increased aggression. Not death, but poker elimination.
Perhaps not the ultimate price then.
3:10pm: Taranovas makes brave call with 2nd nuts
Tomas Taranovas just had the pleasant experience of finding himself making an easy call to an opponent's all-in river shove.
Holding pocket kings, Taranovas three-bet preflop to 3,000 following a raise and a call and picked up one caller.
A board of 8♥ 7♠ 7♦ saw his opponent lead for 3,000 - Taranovas making the call. The turned 2♦ saw his opponent check-call 6,000 before a beautiful K♦ appeared on the river.
Taranovas had little time to decide how he was going to extract value as his opponent moved all-in for his final 7,000 or so and he snap-called, showing down the second nuts.
His rueful opponent tabled pocket queens before shooting out of the arena.
"You've had harder calls," laughed one of his tablemates. Taranovas up to 38,000.
LEVEL UP: BLINDS 100-200-25
2:50pm: Wu hits the rail
Still early days but Thien Chung Wu won't be contesting the tournament any longer - the first casualty of the day dropping out in level 2. Good game sir!
The 20,000 chips the players have been given might appear to give them plenty of leeway but with 30 minute levels, those won't last too long and a sleepy introduction to the day could prove costly.
Grab an espresso, sharpen up and get involved! Don't miss opportunities to get some early chips.
LEVEL UP: BLINDS 75-150
2:20pm: 86 is the magic number
Entries to the tournament are still being tallied and registration is open till 4:20pm (the end of level four) but right now there are 86 players officially in the running for this event.
Of those all 86 have survived the bulk of level 1 - congratulations!
2:00pm: Welcome to The Hippodrome Casino for Day 1A of the UKIPT Series This is an exciting phase of the poker year with the World Series just round the corner and a number of players nursing incipient dreams of winning one of those coveted gold bracelets in Las Vegas.
Before booking your flights, planning your summer schedule and dreaming of what you're going to spend your Main Event 1st place money on, it's a good idea to make sure your poker chops are in good order and what better way to limber up for the summer than this £250+£25 buy-in event.
A few notes on the structure for those unfamiliar with the UKIPT Series.
- A healthy 20,000 in chips for every player.
- Twelve 30 minute levels every day, starting at 2:00pm with a likely finish time of 8:45pm.
- Two starting days today (Friday 29th and Saturday 30th.)
- The Final day (start time 12:00pm - set those alarm clocks!) plays out Sunday 31st.
It's a lovely typical English summer's day - wet, windy and a little cold - which really makes for perfect poker weather as you don't need to worry about missing out on any fun outside - all the fun's going to take place here inside The Hippodrome Casino - mark our words.
We're expecting the usual influx of poker talent pouring through the doors to contest the tournament - seasoned locals, hopeful youngsters and veteran grinders looking to emulate Chris Yong's achievement in winning UKIPT5 Series 2.
We're moments away from the start and the players are taking their seats so good luck one and all, let's get this tournament underway!
PokerStars Blog reporting team at PokerStars UKIPT5 Series 2: Rod Stirzaker. Photos courtesy of Mickey May.