Day two has begun in a hurry and Stephen Bartley and I have been scooting round the room to pick up the stories from the PokerStars qualifiers, Team PokerStars members and other big names alike. Here's what's happened in the opening hours:
By Stephen Bartley
PokerStars qualifier Vijayan Nagarayan, he of day 1a success is one of the more relaxed players at a table featuring Frenchman Anthony Lellouche and Australian Jeff Lisandro. Vijayan is looking forward to the day with 59,800.
Also at this table is PokerStars qualifier Yevgeniy Timoshenko. The ear to ear smile on his face is laced thick with irony though as he clutches his blue bag of chips. It’s a small bag.
Yevgeniy Timoshenko: facing the inevitable with a smile
“Put your chips on the table and check them please," said the dealer.
“This should be easy," replied Yevgeniy.
Harbouring only the slightest of optimism, the American youngster plonked his handful on the table. There are worse things than having just 3,800 at the start of the second day but he seemed under no illusion as to the Herculean challenge ahead of him, with blinds starting today at 400-800 with a 100 ante.
“I’ll talk to you when I bust out!” he smiled. Surely he means at the first break?
One table along was Phidias Georgiou. The Cypriot and former Vic regular was floating around the average mark yesterday, spending the last hour next to Daniel Negreanu as he demonstrated how to fight back from the brink. A lesson in the fine art of poker for sure, but right now Phidias was putting his own stack to good use.
With a flop dealt Q-T-2 Sweden’s Ola Brandborn had on his war face betting 4k with just Phidias to act. A pause for thought and gum chewing and Phidias re-raised, doubling Ola’s bet. This was interesting enough but more so was Ola’s insta-re-re-raise, a reflex flick of the wrist throwing in a random pile of chips –no clue as to how much he’d committed knowing only that he’d see it safely returned shortly.
Left with a decision for his tournament life Phidias moved all-in. After a slight administrative delay to count chips (Ola had Phidias covered) the cards were on their backs. K-Tc for Ola, A-Qd for Phidias – the Queen putting the PokerStars qualifier ahead.
Blanks on the turn and river. A hand slap of joy from Phidias, or was that relief? Either way Phidias has doubled up.
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By Stephen Bartley
“Show me the way to Harrods.”
That was Joey Lovelady heading out of the EPT London on an all-in push with his last 8,500.
His story started a few weeks ago, though. The 22 year old from Liverpool turned $215 into $173,451 when he won the weekly million dollar tournament on PokerStars.com. Outlasting 6,030 players, the economics graduate from Leeds University banked the biggest pay-cheque of his short poker career after nearly ten hours of intense competition. It was a sweet moment for the consistent Lovelady, who finished 17th in the same event two weeks earlier.
“Last time I made mistakes when we got near the final table,” he said, “but this time I played well and got lucky. Everyone needs a bit of luck to win a big event like that, but you don't do it by accident.”
Cut to today and a slightly more sour experience. After starting with 28,900 he was down to 8,500 approaching the first break. Raising pre-flop he left himself with a single 1k chip. Insurance perhaps or good economics? Ben Grundy moved in to find out and Joey flipped in his last grand. K-4 against Ben’s A-J. An ace on the flop, a king on the turn, but nothing on the river to slow down the prospect of a consolation shopping trip.
“I play short-handed hold’em cash games because I need more hands. I only play the big live events because I get bored too easily,” said Joey.
Patience is a virtue perhaps but Joey was taking defeat in his stride. Now though it was time to hit the shops hard and exploit his own private economic boom.
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A long way from home
Another PokerStars qualifier returning for day two is Josh Egan, known as Tycoon_Kid on PokerStars. He wins the prize as the qualifier with the longest journey home, to Auckland, New Zealand. It'll no doubt fly by if he can edge his way into the money.
A regular cash-game player on PokerStars, he transferred his experience to the tournament tables of the World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) and took third spot in event 13, good for $43,600.
Josh "Tycoon_Kid" Egan
And this was hardly surprising. Egan also made headlines in the online poker world when he won back-to-back double shootout satellites on PokerStars to earn his seat at the Barcelona and London EPTs. That means four sit n goes in a row, a total return of $27,400 in satellite package from a $430 investment.
He missed the money in Barcelona. But he's still in the mix in London.
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On the charge
There are some big names acquiring some big stacks early on day two, none more so (in both senses) than these three:
Pascal Perrault: the Frenchman aiming to be the first player to win two EPT titles
Surinder Sunar: WPT champion and much-feared British tournament professional
Chris Moneymaker: Team PokerStars' lone remaining representative
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Yes, the caption above is correct, meaning we have lost Daniel Negreanu. He had ace-queen and his opponent found kings during the first level of the day. He's gone.
Daniel Negreanu's last-minute swotting was in vain
Also out is Rafael Camos, who prospered early on day 1A, but found his stack dwindling towards the end of the day, and got the last of it in this afternoon behind an ace-five. It ran into ace-king and there was no miracle.
The hand that did the damage to Rafael Camos