Sunday, 27th November 2022 05:45
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9:45pm: Back to back wins for Sow, our new PokerStars Festival London Main Event Champion
Level 31: Blinds 100,000/200,000 (ante 25,000)


Kalidou Sow must be loving life right now. He has secured his second victory in two consecutive events, with this win following on from his PokerStars Championship Prague Main Event win, just last month.

Let’s back up a bit first and tell you exactly what happened…

Sow and Paul Dando had been playing heads up for around half an hour, when Sow raised his button to 500,000. Dando three-bet to 1.6 million and Sow peeled, taking them to the flop.


Dando continued for a smaller sizing of 950,000 and Sow came along. On the 5 turn, Dando shoved the lot and it was 6.195 million. If Sow called and he was wrong, he’d be left with 8 million. He went into the tank for 5 minutes, wanting to make sure his decision was right.

And it was. He had AJ for top pair versus Dando’s pair of fives and a gutshot with 57. The Q river sealed the deal for our new champion.

Congratulations to Sow for another fantastic run, winning the PokerStars Festival London Main Event title, £121,803, the trophy and last but not least, the Platinum Pass to next year’s PokerStars Players Championship.

Congratulations also go to Paul Dando for finishing in second place and taking home £103,197. –LY

Paul Dando and Kalidou Sow earlier on today

9:20pm: Heads up heats up from the off
Level 30: Blinds 60,000/120,000 (ante 20,000)

The first two hands of the heads up match between Kalidou Sow and Paul Dando saw some strong betting.

In the first, Sow got the upperhand, taking the pot down pre after making a five-bet, which pushed Dando off.

In the second, both players checked the 85A flop. The betting got started on the 3 turn though. Dando check-called Sow’s bet of 250,000. The river brought the A and this time the price was 700,000. “Pocket 9s?” he asked before making the call. Sow showed 106 for a missed flush draw on the turn and Dando wins one back with a pair of fives with K5. –LY

9:10pm: The deal is done!
Level 30: Blinds: 60,000/120,000 (ante 20,000)

The two players have agreed to a deal. They’ve decided to chop all of the prize money, and just play for the Platinum Pass (worth $30,000) and the trophy. The money breaks down like this. –JS

Kalidou Sow – £121,803
Paul Dando – £103,197

8:55pm: Deal talk
Level 30: Blinds: 60,000/120,000 (ante 20,000)

The players are discussing a deal. Kalidou Sow has 17.04 million, whilst Paul Dando is playing 8.425 million. The curent payout structure has £140,000 for first and £85,000 for second. –NW

8:55pm: David Mander eliminated in third place (£60,000)
Level 30: Blinds: 60,000/120,000 (ante 20,000)

We’re heads-up in the Main Event and this is the hand that took us there. David Mander opened to 250,000 on the button and Kalidou Sow called in the big blind. On the 10K5 flop Sow led for 280,000 and Mander made the call. The 6 fell on the turn and Sow bet again. This time he fired out 1.25 million. Mander thought for a while and then moved all-in, Sow all but snap called.

Mander: A10
Sow: 65

Sow was well ahead with two-pair, Mander need to hit a non heart ace or any of the remaining tens to double up. The J river meant Sow took the pot and increased his chip lead. It’s the end of the road for Mander, but what a journey. He’s turned $11 into £60,000 here in London. –NW

David Mander

8:40pm: We have a showdown
Level 30: Blinds 60,000/120,000 (ante 20,000)

There is a quiet atmosphere around the final table at the moment. The players have barely spoken a word in the last twenty minutes. With £140,000 up top, the title and a Platinum Pass to the PokerStars Player’s Championship all going to the winner, there is a lot at stake and that is reflected in the quietly concentrated play we’ve been seeing.

We saw a showdown in the last hand and it was the first for some time.

Paul Dando limped in the small blind and Kalidou Sow checked in the big. The betting went check-call, check-call on the first two streets but Sow decided to back the river.

Sow 88
Dando 59

Though Dando had paired his five, Sow’s pocket pair was good for the pot. –LY

8:30pm: Mander gaining ground
Level 30: Blinds: 60,000/120,000 (ante 20,000)

Despite being the clear short stack of the final three David Mander isn’t letting himself get pushed around. He’s in there fighting for every pot. In a recent hand he opened for 250,000 on the button and Kalidou Sow called from the big blind.

The 3J5 flop checked through and the 9 fell on the turn. Sow checked, Mander bet 250,000, Sow check-raised to 750,000 and Mander stuck around. The K completed the board and both players checked it down. Sow showed 97 for a pair of nines but Mander had him outkicked with Q9. –NW

8:22pm: First sign of action
Level 30: Blinds 60,000/120,000 (ante 10,000)

The first hand of note since players have returned went a little something like this.

On a 47Q flop, Paul Dando checked to Kalidou Sow who led for 250,000. Dando then check-raised to 675,000, and the Frenchman stayed put to see the turn.

It came the 2, and Dando chose not to continue with his aggression. He slowed down and checked, letting Sow in to make it 725,000. Dando had had enough and let it go. –JS

8:15pm: Three into one doesn’t go
Level 30: Blinds 60,000/120,000 (ante 20,000)

The final three are back in their seats. Will the champion be the start of final table chip leader, a guy who qualified online for $11 or the PSC Prague Main Event champion? We’ll find out soon enough. Stay right here for exclusive live updates. –NW

7:35pm: Dinner break chip counts

Name Country Status Chips
Kalidou Sow France   11,500,000
Paul Dando United Kingdom   9,690,000
David Mander United Kingdom PokerStars Qualifier 4,295,000

7:30pm: It’s that time of the day
Level 29: Blinds 50,000/100,000 (ante 10,000)

The last three players standing are actually all standing (and making their way towards the door). That’s because it’s time for a 40 minute dinner break. Whilst they eat, we’ll give you an update on the chip counts shortly. –LY

7:20pm: Thomas Winstone eliminated in fourth place (£45,000)
Level 28: Blinds: 50,000/100,000 (ante 10,000)

Could this be the pot that changes the direction of the PokerStars Festival London Main Event final table. It was a huge pot, with huge hands and when the dust had settled just three players remained.

The action was started by Paul Dando, he raised to 225,000 from the cutoff and Kalidou Sow then three-bet to 650,000 from the button. The pre-flop raising wasn’t over though as Thomas cold four-bet to 2,050,000. There followed a fold from Dando and a call from Sow. Whoa! Collars were getting hot, this was a big pot and you could sense the tension as the dealer fanned a 73A flop. Winstone announced that he was all-in and Sow snap called.

Winstone: AQ
Sow: AA

Sow had laid the trap with aces and had received the perfect flop to get paid. The QK turn and river didn’t change anything and the pot went to Sow. The stacks were quite close so the floor staff cut them down to determine if Winstone was covered. He had 2.35 million which was around 650,000 less than Sow. After that pot Sow is up to around 9.5 million. –NW

Thomas Winstone

7:10pm: Even more for Sow
Level 29: Blinds 50,000/100,000 (ante 10,000)

“Red hot. Red hot!” said Thomas Winstone of Kalidou Sow, as not only has the Frenchman just doubled up, he’s also immediately taken down a nice pot from the chip leader Paul Dando.

Dando limped the small blind and Sow checked his big blind option to take them to the 63A flop. Dando led for 110,000 which got a call, and then led again for 255,000 on the 4 turn. Sow had other ideas and raised it up to 600,000, yet Dando didn’t budge.

The river was the 8 and Dando checked it to the last aggressor. Sow began piling up black 100K chips and slid in thirteen of them for 1.3 million. Dando didn’t look happy but would ultimately make the call.

Sow showed him some bad news; he had the 52 for a straight, while Dando had the A2 for a pair of aces. He’s down to 10.28 million after that, while Sow increases further to 6.95 million. –JS

7:05pm: Double up for Sow
Level 29: Blinds 50,000/100,000 (ante 10,000)

Kalidou Sow is no longer our short stack having just doubled up through Thomas Winstone.

Sow made it 225,000 from the small blind when it folded to him and Winstone defended his big blind to see the 596 flop. Sow then check-called a 175,000 bet from Winstone, taking them to the J turn.

Both players opted to get to the river for free, and the dealer laid the K. Sow now took the betting lead for 450,000, only for Winstone to put him all in. Sow went into the tank, telling Winstone: “I have a big hand.”

Eventually he made the call, and Winstone announced: “Pair of kings.”

That was no good though as Sow wasn’t lying; he’d flopped the nuts with his 78 for a straight, and doubled up to 4.75 million while Winstone dips to 5 million. –JS

7pm: Mander takes a stand
Level 29: Blinds 50,000/100,000 (ante 10,000)

Paul Dando was considering what to do on the turn with 63K10 already out. He had bet 425,000 on the flop, which David Mander check-called. Then following another check from Mander on the turn, Dando asked for a count and on finding out Mander had 1.7 million behind, he bet 460,000. Mander didn’t want to give up the pot though and he moved all in.

Dando clearly didn’t like the spot, which Kalidou Sow seemed to find amusing. “I’m not sure if you’re super-levelling me…” Dando said whilst pondering what to do, before eventually choosing to pass.

Mander showed a K as the dealer passed him 4.1 million chips. –LY

6:55pm: Winstone takes some back
Level 29: Blinds 50,000/100,000 (ante 10,000)

Following on from the previous post, Thomas Winstone got an opportunity to take some chips back and that’s exactly what he did in a hand against David Mander.

Winstone limped the small blind and Mander checked his option and they went to the flop.


Winstone lead for 75,000 which Mander called. The turn was a 7 and Winstone made it 170,000 with Mander going nowhere just yet.

On the 2 river, Winstone slowed down, opting to check. Mander took his opportunity to bet 550,000 but his bluff didn’t work as Winstone found the correct call with 107. The pair of sevens beat Mander’s Q10 and Winstone has 7.4 million now. –LY

6:50pm: Dando takes from Winstone
Level 29: Blinds 50,000/100,000 (ante 10,000)

It was a button open from Thomas Winstone, who raised to 180,000. David Mander moved out the way and Paul Dando peeled from the big blind.

223 flop saw a check from Dando and a continuation from Winstone. Dando paid 150,000 to see the turn.The 7 turn saw another check from the chipleader and Winstone barrelled 275,000. We saw another call from Dando.

There was no betting on the J river, with Winstone opting to check behind. Good thing too as Dando had picked up a backdoor flush with A5 and Winstone couldn’t beat it. He mucked but said he had a pocket pair. –LY

6:45pm: Cup final
Level 29: Blinds: 50,000/100,000 (ante 10,000)

The £330 PokerStars Festival Cup has reached the final table of eight. This is how they stack up, with blinds at 12,000/24,000 ante 4,000.

Name Chips
Marc Jefferies 2,137,000
Guiseppe Caridi 1,221,000
Elias Christopoulous 747,000
Glenn Kiddle 684,000
Alex Bounsall 642,000
Gabriel Butkus 424,000
James Edwards 397,000
Scott Katetan 269,000

They’ve all locked up £2,400 and there’s £18,000 and a $30,000 Platinum Pass for the winner. This is what they’re playing for.

1     £18,000.00  
2     £11,630.00  
3     £8,909.00  
4     £7,200.00  
5     £5,600.00  
6     £4,300.00  
7     £3,200.00  
8     £2,400.00

The elite eight

6:20pm: Waheed Ashraf unlucky to bust in fifth (£35,500)
Level 28: Blinds 40,000/80,000 (ante 10,000)

An unlucky turn of events for Waheed Ashraf has seen him eliminated in fifth place by Thomas Winstone. Paul Dando had opened the cutoff to 175,000 and Ashraf jammed for 2.25 million in the small blind. Winstone woke up in the big blind with something he liked and made the call, and Dando was happy to get out of the way and let these two duke it out.

Ashraf – AQ
Winstone – AJ

Ashraf had by far the best of it, but poker can be cruel. The board ran out with a jack in the window (J8597), and he said his goodbyes and wished everyone good luck.

Ashraf collects £35,500, while Winstone closes the gap with Dando and increases to 6.8 million. –JS

Waheed Ashraf

6:10pm: Sow makes a tough fold
Level 28: Blinds 40,000/80,000 (ante 10,000)

Play folded to the button of Paul Dando and he opened to 175,000. Over to Kalidou Sow in the small blind, the Frenchman came in for a three-bet to 375,000, and when it got back to Dando he quickly announced all-in.

Sow went through his thinking motions – leaning back, then taking off his sunglasses, then talking to his opponent – before folding pocket eights face up. Dando didn’t show, and Sow dropped to 1.25 million. –JS

6pm: Dando flexing his muscles
Level 28: Blinds: 40,000/80,000 (ante 10,000)

Paul Dando has really turned up the heat in the last orbit and his putting his chip leading stack to good use. In the first of a trio of hands David Mander opened to 160,000 and Dando three-bet to 405,000. If he thought he was going to have it his own way though he was in for a shock as Waheed Ashraf four-bet all-in for around 1.5 million. Both players folded.

In the next hand Dando was at it again though. He opened to 175,000, Mander three-bet to 360,000 and Dando then four-bet to 925,000. Mander thought for less than 20 seconds before folding. Then on the next shuffle Kalidou Sow joined the action. He raised to 180,000 from under-the-gun and Dando called from the big blind. On the 6A9 flop Sow c-bet 130,000 but he folded when Dando check-raised to 285,000 total. Dando has about 13 million now, that’s more than half the chips in play. –NW

5:50pm: A brief summary…
Level 28: Blinds 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

First Thomas Winstone won a pot against Paul Dando. He took it down with a 575,000 bet on the river with JAQQ8 out. Dando folded but showed an ace.

Then Dando Q10 won a bigger pot versus Kalidou Sow on a 331022 board, netting him over 1.2 million chips.

The most recent hand belonged to Kalidou Sow who opened 500,000 blind v blind into Waheed Ashraf’s stack of about 2.4 million and scooped the blinds. –LY

5:40pm: A couple for Sow
Level 28: Blinds 40,000/80,000 (ante 10,000)

No big pots yet this level, but Kalidou Sow has taken down a couple of small ones. He couldn’t win back-to-back live PokerStars events could he?

5:30pm: Back to it
Level 28: Blinds 40,000/80,000 (ante 10,000)

Five-handed play has begun. Here’s a look at the counts. –JS

Name Country Status Chips
Paul Dando United Kingdom   12,075,000
David Mander United Kingdom PokerStars Qualifier 4,795,000
Thomas Winstone United Kingdom   3,740,000
Waheed Ashraf United Kingdom   2,505,000
Kalidou Sow France   2,370,000

5:05pm: Break time
Level 27: Blinds 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

Join us here in twenty minutes when our final five return from their break. –LY

5pm: Farkas out in 6th (£26,600)
Level 27: Blinds 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

In the last hand before the break, what started as a multi-way hand preflop, quickly narrowed to two players. They were Paul Dando and Attila Farkas.

Kalidou Sow opened from under-the-gun to 125,000 and got two calls from Farkas and Thomas Winstone who were both in late position. Before they could see a flop though, Dando pumped it up to 525,000.

This pushed off Sow but not Farkas who declared his all in (2.5 million). Dando has been aggressive from the off at this final table and he showed a big bluff in the previous hand (against Winstone). Perhaps Farkas was thinking about that when he made his move but it turned out that Dando had him dominated.

Farkas A2
Dando AK

The runout didn’t feature a deuce and Farkas is out. Meanwhile, Dando has rocketed up to 12.075 million. –LY

Attila Farkas

4:55pm: Dando applies some pressure
Level 27: Blinds: 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

The two biggest stacks at the table just played three-bet pot against each other. Paul Dando opened to 135,000 from under-the-gun, Thomas Winstone three-bet to 360,000 from the small blind and Dando smooth called. On the A78 flop Winstone c-bet 325,000 and Dando smooth called. On the 5 turn Winstone slowed down, and check-called a bet of 750,000. The 2 fell on the river and Winstone checked again. Dando pushed out a bet of 2.2 million, Winstone folded and said. “Show the bluff.”

“It’s free information,” replied Dando which suggested that he wasn’t going to show, however he relented and flipped over 97 for what you suspect, was the second best hand. -NW

4:52pm: Harbrecht-Parker busts in seventh (£18,500)
Level 27: Blinds 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

Thomas Harbrecht-Parker was down to just 335,000, so when he jammed his five-and-a-half big blind stack it wasn’t surprising to see two callers: Kalidou Sow (small blind) and Waheed Ashraf (big blind).

The three of them saw a 5Q1065 board run out, but there would be no side pot as Sow and Ashraf checked it down the whole way.

Harbrecht-Parker turned over his K6 with some hope, as at least he’d hit a pair. Sadly for him, Ahsraf had a better one (99) in the hole, and that was best as Sow had the 44.

The pot shipped to Ashraf who now has roughly 3 million, while Harbrecht-Parker collects £18,500. –JS

Thomas Harbrecht-Parker

4:40pm: Sow shows the bluff
Level 27: Blinds 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

Kalidou Sow started things off from under-the-gun, by raising to 135,000. It folded round to Paul Dando in the big blind and and he peeled.


It was a 110,00 bet from Sow in position on the ace high flop and a check-raise from Dando to 275,000. Sow then stacked the lot and Dando snap folded only to see Sow show the bluff with J10. –LY

4:30pm: Double paired board
Level 27: Blinds 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)


Paul Dando had opened preflop and got two callers: Waheed Ashraf on the button and Thomas Winstone in the big blind.

The flop and turn were checked around and Winstone lead 185,000 on the river. Dando called and Ashraf passed but showed KQ whilst doing so. Dando mucked when he saw Winstone’s full house 106. Winstone has has 4.4 million in chips. –LY

4:25pm: Farkas and Sow do battle
Level 27: Blinds 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

Kalidou Sow opened to 125,000 on the button and Attila Farkas isn’t one to fold his big blind to a min-open. He defended, and the dealer spread an AK7 flop, which checked to the PokerStars Championship Prague winner. He made a c-bet for 100,000, which Farkas pretty quickly min-raised to 200,000. Back to Sow, he clicked it back for 450,000, and Farkas instantly moved all in.

Sow had a decision, and first he asked for a count. Farkas had just shy of 2.1 million, meaning he had Sow covered. The Frenchman took of his shades to get a better look, before asking his opponent if he’d show his cards. He said he would, and Sow quickly announced a fold.

Farkas was true to his word, but only with one card: the A. He’s up to 2.8 million while Sow dips to 1.21 million. –JS

4:15pm: Tsz Chung Ho eliminated in eighth place (£13,000)
Level 26: Blinds: 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

If you thought that reaching the final table might slow down the pace of action then think again. Within the first orbit we lost a player and it’s Tsz Chung Ho who’s out in eighth. He raised from the button, he put in all his large denomination chips so it was an effective all-in, David Mander moved all-in from the big blind and Ho called off the extra.

Ho: A3
Mander: 1010

The K65 was clean for Mander and although the 4 turn gave Ho and up and down straight draw, he didn’t hit on the 10 river. He’s out in eighth winning £13,000. As for Mander, his incredible Main Event journey continues, he qualified online for just $11 and is now guaranteed £18,500. –NW

Tsz Chung Ho says goodbye

4:05pm: Mander doesn’t back down
Level 27: Blinds 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

Our final 8 have taken their seats and the cards are in the air again. Not only that but we have seen some action on the very first hand of play.

David Mander began with an open of 125,000 chipleader Paul Dando upped the price on his direct left. Everyone else passed and Mander called the 290,000 three-bet.

On the A4Q flop, Mander checked and Dando continued for 165,000. This wasn’t enough for Mander who made it 390,000. Dando thought about it and decided to peel.

The turn was the 8 and Mander barrelled for 500,000. Dando grudgingly folded saying “I had an ace”. Ashraf and Farkas both thought a set was very possible but with Mander mucking, we’ll never know for sure. –LY

3:54pm: Final eight chip counts
Level 26: Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

Final Table line up

Name Country Status Chips
Paul Dando United Kingdom   9,485,000
Thomas Winstone United Kingdom   4,975,000
David Mander United Kingdom PokerStars Qualifier 3,555,000
Waheed Ashraf United Kingdom   2,085,000
Attila Farkas United Kingdom   2,070,000
Kalidou Sow France   1,715,000
Thomas Harbrecht-Parker United Kingdom   805,000
Tsz Chung Ho United Kingdom   795,000

3:44pm: Last woman standing Macesovic falls in ninth (£10,496)
Level 26: Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

We’ve reached our official final table as Irena Macesovic has just busted to online qualifier David Mander.

She open-shoved from middle position with the 99, when Mander just called and everyone else folded she saw she was flipping against Mander’s AK. The 534 flop gave Mander more outs, as any deuce would make him a wheel. But the A gave Mander the lead, whilst also creating chop pot opportunities should another spade land.

Instead the river was the 6, meaning Mander’s bigger pair was best. He’s up to 3.5 million now, while Macesovic collects £10,496 for her finish. If we’re not mistaken, this is online qualifier Mander’s first ever live tournament. He’s making quite a debut run.

Players are now on a ten-minute break before the official finale begins. –JS

Irena Macesovic

3:40pm: Final table redraw
Level 26: Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

This is how the final nine line-up, Paul Dando has a huge chip lead over the rest of the field.

Table Seat Name Country Chips
1 1 Attila Farkas United Kingdom 2,100,000
1 2 Thomas Winstone United Kingdom 5,500,000
1 3 Tsz Chung Ho United Kingdom 720,000
1 4 Thomas Harbrecht-Parker United Kingdom 810,000
1 5 Irena Macesovic Lithuania 900,000
1 6 David Mander United Kingdom 2,750,000
1 7 Paul Dando United Kingdom 9,200,000
1 8 Kalidou Sow France 1,750,000
1 9 Waheed Ashraf United Kingdom 2,100,000

3:30pm: An all in and a call
Level 26: Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

Play has only just resumed after players took their new seats at the ‘unofficial final table’ but that hasn’t stopped David Mander and Attila Farkas getting tangled up in an all in situation.

Farkas kicked things off with an open to 150,000 and it folded round to Mander in the big blind. The only remaining online qualifier clicked to 250,000 and Attila didn’t hang about and set him all in. It was a snap from Mander and no wonder as he could only be behind to one hand.

Mander KK
Farkas A9

Farkas did have one live though, giving Mander something to sweat over. The 65J9Q board held though and he now has just over 2.5 million, which is almost exactly what Farkas has dropped to. –LY

3:22pm: Dando’s on a tear, eliminates Routier (11th) and Anderson (10th)
Level 26: Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

In back to back hands Paul Dando has eliminated two players and extended his chip lead.

In the first hand, there was a 5105 flop and both Dando and Kalidou Sow checked to the button of Jeremy Routier. He led for 130,000, only for Dando to raise it to 375,000. Sow folded, and when it got back to Routier he jammed for around 850,000. Dando snap-called.

Dando – J5
Routier- A10

Top pair against trips, only a ten could save Routier sp the 8 3 turn and river didn’t help.

In the next hand Ed Anderson jammed the big blind for 770,000 over a Dando button raise and was called. He had the 44 up against Dando’s A6, and an ace hit on the 827AQ board.

Both Routier and Anderson win £8,500, while Dando is up to a 9.2 million now. –JS

Jeremy Routier

Ed Anderson

3:15pm: Arron Woodcock eliminated in 12th place (£7,700)
Level 26: Blinds: 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

And then there were eleven. Thomas Winstone raised from early position, Arron Woodcock shoved for 1.3 million and Winstone snap called.

Winstone: AA
Woodcock: 1010

Woodcock was in a world of hurt and the Q62K7 board kept Winstone in front and boosted him to 5.5 million. –NW

Arron Woodcock

3:10pm: John Duggan eliminated in 13th place (£7,700)
Level 26: Blinds: 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

A rollercoaster of an El Clasico has done for John Duggan in 13th place. Paul Dando opened to 100,000 from under-the-gun and Duggan then three-bet to 330,000 from the big blind. Dando shoved and Duggan called all-in for around 1.4 million.

Duggan: AK
Dando: QQ

Duggan had a few mates on the rail and they crowded round the table to watch his fate be dealt. The 10A3 flop gave their man the lead. “Hold,” they willed in unison, but the Q turn put Dando back in the lead and the 8 river was a brick. The two players shook hands and Duggan was on his way. -NW

John Duggan

3:05pm: Onoufriou out in 14th (£6,900)
Level 26: Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

We are now down to 13 players in the Main Event. Antonios Onoufriou squeezed the button over an open by David Mander and a flat by Waheed Ashraf. When the blinds moved aside and Mander did the same, it was back to Ashraf and after asking for a count, (it was 985 total), he made the call.

Ashraf JJ
Onoufriou AK

They were off to the races but before any cards came out, Mander said he’d folded A-Q, which would mean one less out for Onoufriou’s.


Once all the cards were down and Onoufrio was making his way to the payouts desk, Ashraf and Mander continued to talk about the hand. It would have been Mander’s pot had he made the call but Ashraf said he wouldn’t have overcalled in that spot. In an alternate universe Mander is adding 1 million to his stack right now. But right here, the chips are Ashraf’s and has pushed up to 2.5 million. –LY

Antonios Onoufriou

2:55pm: Duggan indestructible
Level 26: Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

Yet another double up for John Duggan!

Action folded to him in the small blind and he jammed for roughly 850,000, which was called by chip leader Paul Dando in the big blind. Dando had the QJ, and saw his diamonds weren’t working for him as Duggan had the K3.

The board ran A67104 meaning Duggan’s king-high was best, and he’s up to around 1.7 million now. Dando is still chip boss despite that loss with 4.8 million. –JS

2:45pm: Winstone takes a hit
Level 26: Blinds: 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

Not much action so far in level 26, but Thomas Winstone and David Mander just played a decent sized pot. Pre-flop Winstone raised from the cutoff and Mander called from the small blind. The J7A flop checked through and the 6 landed on the turn. Mander led for 110,000 and Winstone called.

The 5 completed the board and Mander bet again. This time it was 315,000 for Winstone to call and he really didn’t want to let his hand go. A couple of minutes passed and then he called. Mander showed A7 for two pair and Winstone showed QQ as he mucked. Mander is up to 1.85 million and Winstone is down to 3.5m–NW

2:37pm: And then there were 14
Level 26: Blinds: 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

Name Country Chips
Paul Dando United Kingdom 5,690,000
Attila Farkas United Kingdom 4,070,000
Thomas Winstone United Kingdom 3,675,000
Irena Macesovic Lithuania 1,375,000
David Mander United Kingdom 1,370,000
Ed Anderson United Kingdom 1,230,000
John Duggan United Kingdom 1,115,000
Kalidou Sow France 1,080,000
Arron Woodcock United Kingdom 1,045,000
Tsz Chung Ho United Kingdom 1,035,000
Antonios Onoufriou Cyprus 1,015,000
Thomas Harbrecht-Parker United Kingdom 1,015,000
Jeremy Routier France 905,000
Waheed Ashraf United Kingdom 885,000

2:07pm: Break time
Level 25: Blinds: 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

The players are now on a 20 minute break. –NW

2:05pm: Woodcock doubles
Level 25: Blinds: 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

On the last hand before the break Arron Woodcock got a much needed double up. He shoved with pocket twos and was up against Thomas Winstone’s A-10. The latter didn’t spike on the 9J5K5 board and Woodcock doubled to 1.035 million.

2:02pm: Jimmy Kebe eliminated in 15th place (£6,900)
Level 25: Blinds: 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

Down to just 650,000 Jimmy Kebe moved all-in from the cutoff, Paul Dando re-shoved from the button and it was now the blinds turn to act. As we waited Kebe took off his sunglasses and put them away in their case. This suggested to me that he didn’t think he had the best hand, and when the blinds had folded, we saw that this was the case.

Kebe showed A6 and needed help against Dando’s AK. None arrived on the K25103 board and Kebe headed to the payout desk. –NW

Jimmy Kebe

2pm: Snowmen provide comfort for Harbrecht-Parker
Level 25: Blinds: 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

The actin folded to Thomas Harbrecht-Parker on the button and he moved all-in for 760,000 with pocket eights. Arron Woodcock was in the big blind and he called with AQ. The 99242 board kept the pair in front and Harbrecht-Parker doubled up to around 1.6 million. Woodcock is down to 550,000. –NW

1:57pm: Duggan trebles up
Level 25: Blinds: 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

What’s better than a double up? A treble up, that’s what. Waheed Ashraf opened to 85,000 and Antonios Onoufriou then three-bet to 220,000. The action passed to John Duggan and he announced all-in. His shove was for 345,000 in total. It was clarified that it was an under-raise, so whilst Ashraf had all options open to him, if Ashfraf flat called then Onoufriou could only call. Ashraf did flat call and Onoufriou also called the extra required.

Both active players checked down the 935KJ board and it was time for showdown. Onoufriou opened AQ, Ashraf had him beat with pocket tens but Duggan had them both licked with AK. He trebles up to around 1,100,000. “Every hand, it’s a joke,” said Ashraf as he got up from the table. “I’ve lost five flips in two hours.” It’s been a rough start for him and he’s down to 780,000 now. -NW

1:55pm: Anderson shoves
Level 25: Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

Action folded round to Ed Anderson on the button and he shoved into Kalidou Sow and Irena Macesovic’s respective small and big blinds. It was a call from Sow and a pass from Macesovic and when players revealed their holdings, it was two lots of bad news for Anderson – he needed to hit and it was his tournament life was on the line.

Anderson A2
Sow JJ

On to the 4310 flop and Anderson had picked up four more outs with a gutshot. The 5 turn locked it up and Sow was drawing dead on the K river. He passed over 1.005 million to Anderson and the Brit is the latest player to exceed the 2 million mark. –LY

1:48pm: Allain busts first hand
Level 25: Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

Adrien Allain’s new seat didn’t prove very lucky for him as he’s busted in the first hand of two-table play.

He open-jammed for around 300,000 with the J and got a call from Paul Dando with the AJ. The board ran out KK26A to send Allain home in 16th (with £6,100) and bring Dando up to 3.2 million. –JS

Adrien Allain

1:40pm: Chips and seats
Level 25: Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

Here’s how our final two tables look. –JS

Seat Table 1 Chips Table 2 Chips
1 Arron Woodcock 950,000 Tsz Chung Ho 1,450,000
2 Waheed Ashraf 1,300,000 Ed Anderson 1,000,000
3 Antonios Onoufriou 1,500,000 Kalidou Sow 2,020,000
4 Thomas Winstone 3,600,000 “Irena Macesovic 1,550,000
5 John Duggan 330,000 Jeremy Routier 730,000
6 Attila Farkas 3,620,000 Jimmy Kebe 620,000
7 Thomas Harbrecht-Parker 900,000 Adrien Allain 300,000
8 David Mander 1,580,000 Paul Dando 2,900,000

1:35pm: Macesovic and Kane battle
Level 25: Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

Michael Kane was down to 230,000 and he got it in under-the-gun. Irena Macesovic paused for some time and called. No one else wanted to play so the cards were turned on their backs.

Kane had found QQ just when he needed it most and he was crushing Macesovic’s QJ. The board held for Kane but with just under 3 big blinds coming into the hand, he wasn’t out of the woods just yet.

We only had to wait to the next hand for Kane to get it in again. Once more it was Macesovic who had called but this time she had the monster with KK and Kane was trailing a very long way behind with 910. The kings held for Macesovic and she boosts up to around 1.55 million, whilst we say farewell to Kane.

Play has paused for a new seat draw as we are down to the last 16 players. –LY

1:30pm: Onoufriou doubles through Allain
Level 25: Blinds: 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

Easy come, easy go for Adrian Allain as his comeback has just been derailed by Antonios Onoufriou. Allain opened from under-the-gun, Onoufriou three-bet shoved for 790,000 and Allain called. Showdown!

Allain: JJ
Onoufriou: QQ

Both had found premium pairs and the ladies held up on a 102A23 run out, knocking Allain back down to 325,000. –NW

1:25pm: Ace face off
Level 25: Blinds: 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

Down to just 520,000 Adrian Allain shoved all-in and John Duggan called from the small blind. Allain showed AQ and was ahead of Duggan’s AJ. The all-in player flopped two pair on Q5A and he needed two as Duggan made an aces up of his own on the J turn. There was no runner-runner rubdown for Allain as the 7 completed the board. Allain’s up to 1,050,000 and Duggan is down to 450,000. –NW

1:20pm: Mutti’s gone, Winstone’s new chip leader
Level 25: Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

We’ve just lost the last remaining Italian in the Main Event, Matteo Mutti.

Action folded to him in the small blind and he made it 110,000, which Thomas Winstone called from the big to see the 3K4 flop. Mutti continued for 115,000, only for Winstone to then put him all in for around 600,000. Mutti snap-called.

Mutti: K3
Winstone: Q9

Flush draw versus two pair, Winstone would hit his hand on the 6 turn, while the Q river didn’t fill up Mutti (£5,300). His chips slid to Winstone who is now chip leader with 4.07 million. –JS

Matteo Mutti

1:10pm: Bardon busts as Farkas heads to the top
Level 25: Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

Man down! A blind on blind battle escalated into all out war and it’s cost Manuel Bardon his tournament life.

Attila Farkas was in the small blind and he came in for a raise, call from Bardon, who was the big blind. This pattern repeated itself on the 68Q flop and the 3 turn. Farkas bet again, Bardon shoved for a little under 300,000 and Farkas called. Bardon showed J5 and he was behind to the Q8 of Farkas. The J river wasn’t enough to save him and he headed to the exit. As he did so he discovered that he’d left a single 5K chip in his overnight chip bag. There was no chip and a chair story though as the chip was simply taken out of play. Jack Strauss’s legacy is safe! Bardon collects £5,300 whilst Farkas is up to 3.5 million. –NW

1:02pm: Winstone wins some
Level 24: Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

Thomas Winstone has ascended over the 2 million mark but it came at the expense of Thomas Harbrecht-Parker.

Both players hit big by the turn with 1024A showing and it’s no coincidence that is when all the money went in.

Winstone A10
Harbrecht-Parker A4

The J river river sealed the deal for Winstone but it dropped Harbrecht-Parker down to 600,000, or 20 big blinds.

Meanwhile Kalidou Sow has also just nipped over the 2 million mark again. He won a hand with AJ on a 1043J2 board. –LY

Thomas Winstone

12:58pm: Duggan doubles
Level 24: Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

John Duggan has just found a double courtesy of Waheed Ashraf and some lady luck. He was all in with the Q10 and in bad shape against Ashraf’s pocket tens, but a queen on the board secured him the pot. He’s up to 1 million now, while Ashraf falls to 1.25 million. –JS

12:55pm: Nice call from Mander
Level 24: Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

David Mander is the last remaining online qualifier left in this Main Event, and he’s just won a nice pot that’ll see him stick around a while longer.

He opened the cutoff to 65,000 and got calls from both Jeremy Routier (small blind) and Matteo Mutti (big blind). They saw a 4J4 flop hit the felt, which checked to Mander. He continued for 80,000, and only Routier stuck around to see the 2 turn. Check check.

On the 3 river, Routier led out for 130,000, and after some deliberation Mander made the call. Routier turned over the A8 for ace-high, but Mander had that beat with his A10 for a better-kicker ace-high. That got table taps from all of his opponents.

Mander is up to 2.05 million now, while Routier dips to 1.12 million. –JS

12:50pm: Down to 19 as Del Peso-Mancebo busts
Level 24: Blinds: 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

It was a case of one shove too many for Francois Del Peso-Mancebo as he’s just busted out of the Main Event in 20th spot. It folded to hom in the small blind and he shoved for around 400,000 with A4. Paul Dando was in the big blind and he elected to call with KQ. The two had played an all-in pot the previous orbit and there were at it again. “I’ve got a good feeling about this one,” said Dando and he was right as a 7K297 board favoured the big stack. Dando is up to 2.5 million. -NW

Francois Del Peso Mancebo

12:40pm: Double for Del Peso-Mancebo
Level 24: Blinds: 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

With just 220,000 to his name Francois Del Peso-Mancebo was in position of what’s known as a ‘one move stack’ that move is all-in and that’s what he did. He shoved from the small blind for 220,000 with KJ and Paul Dando gave him a spin with K7. A 53A flop gave Dando plenty of outs, but he missed them all on the 32 turn and river.

Del Peso-Mancebo doubles to 470,000 and Dando – who looks to have won a big pot earlier this level – is down to 2.1 million. –NW

12:30pm: Bardon doubles through Farkas
Level 24: Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

Our Day 2 chipleader, Attila Farkas has just taken a hit from Manuel Bardon. All the money went in preflop and it was pair versus overcards…

Bardon AQ
Farkas 88

It was a 950,000 pot on the line as the dealer laid out the board QK5JJ.

Bardon paired his queen and it netted him the pot. Farkas has dropped to 2.1 million but that is still a very healthy stack at this point. –LY

Manuel Bardon

12:25pm: Ho makes up for lost time (and blinds)
Level 24: Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

Tsz Chung Ho’s chair was empty for the first five or ten minutes of play today, and when he finally arrived he found he’d just missed his big blind. Perhaps that didn’t sit well, or perhaps he just came to play; whatever it was, Ho seemed determined in the next hand.

It folded to Matteo Mutti in the cutoff who opened to 65,000 and when it got to Ho – now in the small blind – he three-bet it up to 155,000. Mutti made the call, and the two went to a 9KJ flop, on which Ho continued for 130,000. The Italian went nowhere.

The dealer laid the 8 on the turn, and here’s where Ho’s aggression amped up. He jammed, and when Mutti got a count he was a bit surprised to see how much it was: 860,000. The overbet shove would work though, as Mutti eventually laid it down.

“That’s for my big blind!” Ho said laughing, which got chuckles from the table. “I bet 860,000 into 600,000!”

Ho is up to 1.46 million now, while Mutti dips to 1.3 million. –JS

12:15pm: That’s just not cricket. Wickert loses El Clasico to bust
Level 24: Blinds: 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

We’ve had the first elimination of the day and it was down to that most classic of flips. After Michael Kane opened to 60,000, Antony Wickert shoved for 615,000 and Ed Anderson the re-shoved one seat behind. He had slightly more. Kane folded and the cards were turned over.

Wickert: AK
Anderson: QQ

The race didn’t stay even for long as a QK7 flop left Wickert needing snookers. The 92 turn and river were bricks and Wickert wished the table good luck as he left. –NW

12:05pm: Allez Adrian Allain
Level 24: Blinds: 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

When you’re the shortest stack of the remaining players getting a double up on the very first hand is a pretty sweet feeling. Adrian Allain, who finished second in the EPT Grand Final in 2016, shoved for 240,000 from late position with K8 and Francois Del Peso-Mancebo called with A9. The 55486 board connected with Allain’s hand and he doubled up to over 500,000. As for Del Peso-Mancebo that loss cost him just over half his stack. On the very next hand he shoved and picked up no callers. –NW

11:30am: Time to find a Main Event/Platinum Pass winner

Yesterday was a lonnnnnnnnng day of poker at London’s Hippodrome Casino, as 11 60-minute levels stretched play from 12pm to around 1:40am (with breaks). In that time, the 295 remaining hopefuls were whittled down to just 21.

It’s all ending today

Attila Farkas of the UK is the chip leader (2.7 million) at the start of play, but his lead is closely contested from fellow Brit Waheed Ashraf (2.565 million). The biggest story right now might be that Prague’s Main Event champ Kalidou Sow (who took down €675,000) is still alive with a decent stack (1.5 million); seeing as we haven’t seen Sow since the PokerStars Championship in December, that could mean that Sow has played around 60 hours of tournament poker without being eliminated.

Kalidou Sow

They’re deep into the money at this point (see all the payouts here), and here’s how they’re seated:

Name Country Status Chips Table Seat
Francois Del Peso-Mancebo Belgium   450000 1 1
Paul Dando United Kingdom   1500000 1 2
Jimmy Kebe France   1060000 1 3
John Duggan United Kingdom   510000 1 4
Waheed Ashraf United Kingdom   2565000 1 5
Antonios Onoufriou Cyprus   1160000 1 6
Adrien Allain France   245000 1 7
Matteo Mutti Italy   1690000 2 1
Thomas Winstone United Kingdom   1485000 2 2
Tsz Chung Ho United Kingdom   1200000 2 4
Arron Woodcock United Kingdom   760000 2 5
David Mander United Kingdom PokerStars Qualifier 1445000 2 6
Thomas Harbrecht-Parker United Kingdom   1875000 2 7
Antony Wickert United Kingdom   625000 3 1
Ed Anderson United Kingdom   715000 3 2
Irena Macesovic Lithuania   895000 3 3
Kalidou Sow France   1500000 3 4
Attila Farkas United Kingdom   2700000 3 5
Manuel Bardon Spain   600000 3 6
Michael Kane United Kingdom   945000 3 7

There’s £140,000 up top for the champ, who will also receive a $30,000 Platinum Pass to the PCA 2019 in the Bahamas, at which they’ll be freerolling in the $25,000 buy-in, $8 million guaranteed PokerStars Players Championship event.

That’s not the only platinum Pass to be handed out today; the winner of the £330 London Cup will also be awarded one. We’ll bring you the details of that one when that gets down to a winner.

Main Event play today kicks off shortly at 12pm. Let’s find ourselves a champ! –JS

PokerStars Blog reporting team on the £990 Main Event: Jack Stanton, Nick Wright and Lisa Yiasemides. Photography by Mickey May.

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