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| @howardswains | In UKIPT

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2.05pm: Level over
Those first two levels of absolute carnage are over. We'll begin again in another post after a 20-minute break. -- HS

Luca franchi poker player

1.55pm: Downs up
Nik Downs went to dinner last night still proudly wearing his 'lucky' poker hat, but wondering if he should downgrade it to just his 'poker hat'. He had 20 big blinds left at the end of day 1B and didn't seem too confident about his chances.

However after doubling up within five hands early on day two, and then pulling off another such manouevre soon after, he is much more chipper as we approach the end of level 10.

Nik Downs, during difficult times yesterday. He's faring much better today

Downs - and hat, of course - has 55,600. -- HS

1.50pm: Big Stacks
Most of the players who were in the upper echelons of the chip counts before Day 2 started are still there - perhaps not that surprising considering we're less than two levels in. Here's how they stack up: Clas Stoob (84,000), Craig Burke (75,000), Emmet Mullin (53,000), George Stoddart (60,000), James Estrop (122,000), John Willoughby (93,000) and Tim Slater (74,000). -- NW


Tim Slater

1.40pm: An hour's silence?
Still no one has turned off the spigot. Laurence Ryan, Maurice Whelan, Mark Goodchild, Cahal Heapes, Simon Randall, Artur Olczyk, Daniel King, Michael Kane, Pat O'Callaghan, Sean Davey, Renat Byeglov, Michael Hill, Nadir Jorephani, Brendan Slevin, Marcos Rodríguez, Reinier Slabbekoorn, James Walsh, Paul Taylor, Keith McFadden, Stephen Devlin, Wes Farrell, Seamus Devlin, Andrew Gilligan, Dean Gavin and Robert Jones are all now out. -- HS

1.30pm: Chip counts
Remember the dead but don't forget the living. With that sentiment here's a batch of chip counts: Nick Abou Risk (91,500), Kevin MacPhee (98,000), Filip Hanusek (105,000), Steve O'Dwyer (35,000), Richard Sinclair (31,000), Joris Ruijs (115,000), Mickey Petersen (31,000), Phil Baker (55,000) and Nicholas Newport (45,000). -- NW

1.25pm: Petersen staying alive
Many of the big online players tend to find the pace of live poker far to sluggish and tend not to be able to focus for the time it takes to go all the way in one of these things. They don't come much bigger in the online tournament world than Team Online's Mickey 'mement_mori' Petersen, but he has shown some admirable discipline here in Galway and remains in the hunt.

Mickey 'mement_mori' Petersen

That said, his tournament life was hanging by a thread moments ago, when he needed an outdraw to stay alive. After Koray Suler opened to 2,100 from under the gun, Arnoud van der Werf called in mid position. It was folded to Petersen in the big blind, who moved all in for 14,500.

Blair seemed to be pondering a shove or a call (it seemed obvious that folding wasn't an option) and in the end he opted just to flat. Van der Werf folded anyway, leaving the two of them for it.

Petersen was well behind with his A♦Q♣ to Blair's A♥K♦. But the board soon helped out the Team Online man. It came [10c]9♣Q♥4♥8♣ and he doubles to more than 30,000. -- HS

1.15pm: Yet more exits
Graham Parkin, Daniel Morgan, Mateusz Warowiec, Ollie Schaffmann and Ross Jarvis are amongst the latest wave of exits. Almost 80 players have been eliminated so far today and Jarvis told me about his demise.

End of the road for Ross Jarvis

He lost the majority of his stack three-betting all-in from the small blind with [Q][J] over the top of a button min-raise from Ben Jackson, the latter tank calling with [A][8] and holding. The last of his chips went in with pocket tens but he couldn't hold against [K][J]. -- NW

1.10pm: Whose one time is it really?
Jonathan Crute has just doubled up, winning a flip with his A♦[10h]. He was up against Arkadiusz Liszewski's 9♣9♠ and although the Polish player declared that he was using his one time, the board of A♣8♥2♦Q♣8♠ gave it to Crute.

'That's how you do it,' said Ross Jarvis, who had wandered over following his elimination to chat with Crute.

'Yes,' said Crute. 'You just wither away to 12 bigs and then win a flip.'

It is, without question, a simple game. -- HS

1.05pm: American and Canadian relations still civil
'Hey I'm a Canadian too now, just a citizen of the USA,' said Kevin MacPhee to me after I asked Nick Abou Risk and him who was winning the America versus Canadian card war. The former has now moved to Canada as a result of Black Friday.

Nick Abou Risk, left, and Kevin MacPhee

It seems the newest Canuck has been getting the upper hand thus far, Abou Risk saying that MacPhee had squeezed once and flopped the nuts. Despite that there's been no fireworks just yet between those two. -- NW

LEVEL UP: BLINDS 500-1,000 100 ante

1pm: Flushed
There aren't many nice ways to lose big pots in poker tournaments but losing one when you and your opponent have the same hand is particularly galling.

Cathal Shine held A♠Q♦ and UKIPT Cork runner-up David O'Connor had A♥Q♥ they got it in pre-flop with O'Connor at risk and all-in for around 21,500. The flop of 5♥8♦K♥ meant O'Connor was freerolling and it duly came in on the J♥ turn. O'Connor didn't make a royal flush though as the 2♦ completed the board. -- NW

12.55pm: Plain sailing for Boatman
At about this time yesterday, Barny Boatman's stack was already down to about 7,000, approximately half of what he started with. But by the end of yesterday, he had more than 75,000 and already today he is up to more than 140,000 after a spectacular surge forward.

Luca Franchi Poker

He accounted for his progress yesterday by saying he just 'got his (rude word) together' and although we haven't been offered such insight this morning, we have got word that he spent the early period of the day taking a brisk hike down the beach. These early morning perambulations are clearly just what the doctor ordered. Boatman is looking bright, keen and well-chipped for what could turn into a very profitable weekend. -- HS

12.50pm: Two double ups and an elimination
First the elimination...

Gerard O'Callaghan lost his last 25,000 with pocket tens against John Ward's pocket sixes. The money going in on the 3♣2♠6♣ flop and no ten appearing on the turn or river. Ward up to 72,000.

Now the double ups to prove that it's not all about exits...

Anthony Rafter was down to 10,000 and shoved all-in with 7♦6♦. Jaye Reneghan called with A♦K♣ but the connectors got there on the 6♥9♥[10d]9♦Q♣ board.

And Coilin Conroy is also celebrating a double up, he three-bet all-in with pocket aces for 22,900 and original raiser Luca Franchi made the call with K♥J♥. The [10d]Q♥7♠ flop gave the Italian some outs as did the J♦ turn, but the 8♥ kept the bullets in front. -- NW

12.45pm: Is there something we haven't been told?
Peter Barrable, Gerard O'Callaghan, Morgan Kan, Marcos Paton Bao, Damian Mularczyk, Oluwashola Akindele, Robertus Dezentje, Dean Hutchison, Brian Mallon, Nadeem Riaz, David Sommerfield, Pat McFadden and Brian McCafferty have now also perished. We have lost at least 53 players already today, which is more than one per minute. Is there a free bar somewhere in Galway we haven't heard about?-- HS

12.40pm: More exits
A total of 41 players have been eliminated in the opening 30 minutes of play. Martin Hubner, David Allen, Peter Burnett and Padraig Parkinson amongst the latest batch to be sent to the rail. -- NW

12.35pm: Doubling up
What with all these players getting their short stacks in and getting knocked out, it must stand to reason that some of the short stacks are getting them in and doubling up. Here are a few moments of such prosperity:

On table 29, Steve O'Dwyer was down to 3,000 and clearly looking to get them in. But he had to wait a while as Valerie McGrath shoved her 9,500 all in from early position and Peter Burnett over-shoved for about 11,500 from the cut off. O'Dwyer folded his small blind as the two of them battled it out.

Burnett: A♦9♣
McGrath: [10c][10d]

The board helped only McGrath, coming 4♠[10h]Q♣. The turn gave her a sweat: J♠. But the river completed the double up: 4♥.

O'Dwyer had to wait again on the next hand because this time Burnett open shoved his 1,800 remaining chips and Emmett Mullin counted out a raise to 3,600 from one seat to his left. Although Mullin's 6♥4♥ earned some chuckles when it was exposed, particularly against Burnett's J♣J♦, it was only Mullin who was laughing after a flop of Q♥8♥3♥. The Q♠ gave a sweat again. The 9♠ ended it and Burnett was out.

Finally the next hand offered O'Dwyer his chance. It was folded to him and he shoved for 2,800. JP Whyte called from the small blind, McGrath folded her big, and so it was two of them. O'Dwyer's any two turned out to be the K♥4♠. Whyte had J♦8♦ and the board bricked all the way. O'Dwyer's king took it, and he fights on.

Niall Smyth has also doubled up early today. His J♣J♦ bettered Neividas Biriukovas's A♥K♦ on a dry board. Needless to say, that all went in pre-flop too. -- HS

12.30pm: Better late than never
I just saw Marty Smyth take his seat around 25 minutes after kick off. That's one way to avoid being part of the early flurry of exits. The WSOP bracelet holder started today with 25,200 so isn't in the danger zone just yet. -- NW

12.25pm: Boost for Barny
Barny Boatman is up to 110,000 after eliminating Niall Smyth. Boatman held A♣K♠, Smyth A♥[10d], an ace on the flop causing the action. -- NW

Barny Boatman, with brother Ross in a supervisory capacity

12.20pm: Interesting matchups
With 35 tables still in play at the start of the play there was bound to be some tasty tables. Nick Abou Risk and Kevin MacPhee are sat side by side just in front of us, the American having position on the Canadian. Filip Hanusek (eighth in chips in also on that table).

Elsewhere Barny Boatman and Dan Morgan are tablemates as are Andrew Teng, Phil Baker and Nicholas Newport. And UKIPT Champion of Champions Richard Sinclair has two of the overnight chip leaders for company in the shape of John Willoughby and George Stoddart. If any of those players had wished for an easy table draw they certainly didn't get it. -- NW

12.10pm: Other departures
It's not only Ross Boatman who has set sail already today. The short stacks of Mark Wagstaff, Donovan Kool, Martin Silke, Alexander Rhys Davies, Jason Barton, Padraig O'Neill, Stephen Forde, Mark Hutchison, Michael Sheridan, Manus Burke and Frank Callaghan have already also been jettisoned. Oh, and in the time it took to type that, we also lost Dominique Palan, Sandro Rovella, Joe Grech, Ken Murray, David Gant, Dara O'Kearney, Derek McMahon and Dan Rankin. Keep this up and we'll be done by teatime. -- HS

12.05pm: Boatman overboard
First man out today is Ross Boatman, he only had seven big blinds coming back today and lost them on the first hand. - NW

11.55am: Sunny Ireland
Morning all, and welcome for the first time this week to a genuinely sunny Galway. Of course, we won't be basking in any of those soothing rays because it's day two of the UKIPT event here in the Radisson Blu Hotel, and the survivors of both opening flights will now merge for the first time.

What we're set for is a full day of poker - at least eight levels, according to tournament officials. That will takes us through to 9 o'clock again, when one suspects the sun will have vanished once more.

No matter. The action promises to be fast, furious and, of course, fascinating. The previous two days were merely opening jousts; today the real battle commences. There were 311 players who made it through their respective day ones, and expect that to have been trimmed to fewer than 80 by the end of the day.

Check out the day start chip-count page for details of how they all line up at the moment, and then click through to the live chip-count page for updated stacks of some of the main players throughout the day. (That won't be exhaustive, but we'll do our best.)

Get your comments in to the box below and stick with us. It should be fun. Ain't that right, Thomas Finneran, day 1A leader:

| @PokerStars | In UKIPT

4.30pm: Break time
Time for bad beat stories to be shared at the urinals and the smoking areas, for the next 20 minutes at least. Level five will be housed in a brand new shiny post which you'll find here. -- NW

4.25pm: (Meanwhile) Big pot alert part two
As Nick Bemmel was stacking chips a big hand was progressing on a table nearby, thanks to the floorstaff for pointing me in its direction.

The action was started by Thomas Ryan who raised to 500 from the cut off, next to act Thomas Finneran raised to 1,250 then Luca Franchi four-bet to 2,475 from the small blind. Original raiser Ryan folded and Finneran then re-raised to 7,250. But that was not the end of it, Franchi then six-bet to 13,000, Finneran then moved all-in for around 33,000 and Franchi folded. After that hand Finneran has 46,000 whilst Franchi is down to 30,000.

4.05pm: Big pot alert part one
You wait all day to see a big pot and then two come back to back. To the first...

The pre-flop action saw Nick Bemmel and John Mackey each put in 2,900 and they saw a flop of T♥T♦6♥, Bemmel c-bet 2,200 and Mackey made the call. The turn was the 3♣ and after eyeing up Mackey's remaining chips, Bemmel checked. After about 10 seconds though Mackey moved all-in for his last 8,050, Bemmel cut out the calling chips from his stack and did just that, on their backs:

Bemmel: 5♣5♦
Mackey: A♣Q♥

The river was the 9♠ sending the pot to Bemell, Mackey took his exit graciously congratulating the Dutchman on a nice call. -- NW

3.50pm: More fallers
The pile of player ID cards on our table continues to grow, each one representing an elimination. Much like earlier, when a handful of players departed whose names had apparently been decided by a cat pacing across a keyboard, we are far from unhappy that Zilvinas Smatavicius, Lukasz Robert Roczniak, Slabbekoorn Raijmond Leon, Rodrigo Zimmermann, Ondrej Goetz and Yigit Isilsoy have been knocked out. (Nothing personal.)

Andrew Earle, Terry Prunty, Peter Finnerty, Niall Fitzgerald, Seamus Rabbitte, Martin Burke, Pat Kennedy, John Law, Asam Shan and Shane Mossop have also departed. -- HS

3.45pm: No such thing as a free lunch
Jamie Daly open shoved for his last 3,000-odd and must have fancied he was in trouble when Michael Huber re-shoved from a few seats to his left. 'You're ahead,' Daly said when Huber turned over his J♣J♠. Daly showed 2♠2♦.

The board was dry - 6♣[10d]3♠K♠A♥ - and that sent Daly to the rail. But only then did the real intrigue begin. 'Who wants a buffet ticket?' Daly said as he began his journey away from the table, pointing to the slip of paper in front of him that entitles every player to 1 x entry to dining room on completion of the day's play.

There were several interested Pavlov's dogs, all immediately salivating at the prospect of two visits to the basket of stale rolls and hot-plate of lukewarm unidentifiable pasta item. And although Daly tossed the ticket in the direction of one lucky adversary, it was quickly swept up by a member of the tournament staff, insisting: 'One ticket per person only.'

So Daly heads off, his food untouched, and presumably one wife/girlfriend will be forced to pay for her entry to the back of the buffet line. No such thing as a free lunch, etc.

3.35pm: Bakers doozy
The ever shy and retiring Phil Baker is up to 26,000, after I inquired to the nature of his near double up he replied: 'Oh you know the usual way, outplaying everyone at the table.' -- NW

3.30pm: Numbers
With the start of level four that means late registration for Day 1A of UKIPT Galway has ended. So I can confirm that there's a total of 298 runners on Day 1A which is 32 more than played this event last season. Although last seasons event had the slightly higher buy-in of €1,000, if there are more than 82 runners tomorrow (which there will be) then the prize pool will surpass last seasons €266,000. -- NW


3.20pm: Exits
There's been a steady stream of exits during level three with another 10 players being eliminated. Amongst those unlucky few were: Micahel Leen, Piotr Majewski and UKIPT Edinburgh third place finisher Jamie Dale. -- NW

3.10pm: Battle of the blinds 2012 style
Back in the olden days of poker - you know, like 10 years ago - a battle of the blinds usually meant little more than a speculative raise from the small blind and then a hurried fold if there was any resistance, perhaps with a ticking off for having been caught with ones fingers in the cookie jar. (If anything else happened, it was clear the players were packing two big hands and then it would likely result in a big old shove and a couple of sets of rolled eyes about how lucky/unlucky they had been.)

These days things aren't quite so cut and dried, and pots tend to swell much more slowly. There's also no guarantee that anyone has anything approaching 'a hand'.

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Such may well have been the case just now, when Mick Graydon and his neighbour Nicholas Newport got involved. Folded to Graydon in the small blind, he raised to 425. Newport, in the big, defended with a three bet to 1,050.

Michael Graydon, UKIPT Galway day 1A

Graydon four bet to 2,650 and Newport five bet to 4,150. Only then did Graydon whip his cards from under his trademark Alsation dog protector and toss them in the muck.

Graydon's action, of course, suggested he was quite packing the premium hand his four bet had intimated. And although we never saw Newport's cards, it's far from certain he was holding aces or kings either. Yep, the game has changed. -- HS

3pm: Chip counts
Here's a few more chip counts: Mike Hill (16,175), the Englishman saying: 'I think I might have left the tournament in the bar last night,' Mick Graydon (16,000), the Irishman deep in conversation with Nicholas Newport who's two to his left. Ben Martin has 19,000 and is, as usual, looking composed and focused. At the other end of the scales Jon Kalmar (11,000) and Padraig Parkinson (24,000) both are definitely the captains of their respective tables when it comes to banter. -- NW

Luca Franchi Poker

Irish poker legend Padraig Parkinson

2.55pm: Up and down with Jude Ainsworth
Jude Ainsworth is pretty much impossible to read. We've seen him play tournaments both online and off, for buy ins of €500 to €10,000, and yet we're no closer to knowing the formula he uses to put together his glittering list of cashes.

What we have learned, however, is that no one else can read him either. Putting him on a hand is a fool's errand. The confusion he manages to instill in all opponents often means that he stands a much higher chance of being called than most, even when he is packing the goods.

We saw earlier that he had queens cracked by 7-8 in a four-bet pre-flop bet. Bu the better news for the Team PokerStars Pro is that he has just managed to double up to about 8,500 with big slick.

Raymond Daly opened to 475 from early position and Paweł Brzeski called from mid. Ainsworth, sitting on the button, shoved for 4,150 and Daly called. (Brzeski didn't.)

Ainsworth tabled his A♦K♣ and Daly showed A♣Q♣. Any fears of an outdraw were reduced on a K♦K♠4♣ flop, and the 2♠ turn finished it in Ainsworth's favour.

He is still only just north of half his starting stack, while Daly could afford the hit. He has in the region of 19,000 even after that coup. -- HS

2.50pm: Keeping up with the kidz
Whisper it quietly but Julian Thew is now one of the elder statesmen of the UK poker scene. (Does this apply to anyone who has a Hendon Mob database entry pre Chris Moneymaker?). Regardless he's keeping up with the kids in more ways than one today as he's sporting a rather natty padded coat complete with furry hood. 'It's to keep warm,' he protested.

He's a little below starting stack, he recently tweeted: 'plodsville central; 14k...technical adjustments necessary; have changed footwear,' rumours that his new footwear is a crocs n' socks combo are as yet just that, rumours. -- NW

Luca Franchi Poker Players

Julian Thew

Luca Franchi Poker Player

2.40pm: Ace-king?
Filip Hanusek opened the button to 425 and David Sommerfield three bet, to what looked like 1,700, from the small blind. Hanusek called and it was the two of them to the flop.

The dealer exposed A♦7♥8♣, which Sommerfield checked. Hanusek bet 1,250 and Sommerfield called. The pattern repeated almost precisely on the Q♣ turn, ie, Sommerfield checked, Hanusek bet 1,700 and Sommerfield called.

The river was 2♠ and we went through it, with a bit of tinkering, again. Check from Sommerfield, Hanusek bet 2,1250 and then pause. Sommerfield counted out the call, which would leave him with 6,325 if he was wrong.

After a couple of minutes pondering, eventually Sommerfield decided to throw the call into the middle. Hanusek tabled A♠Q♥ and Sommerfield looked to the sky and mucked. -- HS

2.35pm: Gift of the Gav
In another hand that took place at the very end of level two, I saw Fintan Gavin scoop a nice pot of around 7,000.

There was betting on the flop and turn of a J♥J♦J♣6♦ board before both Michael Leen and Gavin checked the K♦ river: 'I hope you've got nines and not jacks,' said Gavin as he showed T♥T♣, 'I was chasing,' said Leen as he showed A♠Q♠. Gavin up to 22,000. -- NW

2.30pm: Hey Presto
I only caught the river action but just before the break Nicholas Newport got max value from a flopped set. With the board showing A♥8♠5♣9♥4♦ and around 11,000 in the middle, Newport had set his opponent (Anibal De Campos Sanchez) all-in for around 9,500. After tanking for about two minutes Sanchez announced call, Newport showed 5♠5♥ and Sanchez mucked.

'Nice hand, you went for max value' said a table mate. 'Yeah I had him on A-K, A-Q or A-J,' replied Newport. -- NW

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2.25pm: Spelling salvation
At the end of the last level, we got news that both Vladislav Saveliev and Anibal De Campos Sanchez had been knocked out. Nothing personal, but that's a weight off the mind of us weary typists.

Noel Hayes is also out. His name is much more agreeable to the tournament reporter, but it wasn't to be for the Irishman either. -- HS

2.20pm:Usually you win the pot
During the break I found Joeri Zandvliet and he talked me through his exit hand: 'A guy opened to 125 there were two callers and I called with pocket sixes. Then another player made it 600 to go and there was three callers including me.

'The flop was [3][4][5] and we checked to the raiser who bet 1,200 and I was the only caller. The turn was an eight and he bet 1,800 into a pot of 5,000, I raised to 4,800 and after some thought he called. The river was a jack and I shoved 9,000 into 13,000 and he called with a set of fours. I'm 100% certain he would have folded aces, kings or queens in that spot. Usually I win that pot but pocket fours is a weird hand to have there!' -- NW

Joeri Zandvliet - still smiling

Reporting team in Galway: Howard Swains and Nick Wright. Photos by Mickey May.