David Vamplew's 320,000 stack is casting a large shadow from the corner of the tournament room. The young Brit isn't the kind of player you'd want to have sat on your left, let alone when he's one of the tournament chip leaders. Despite that Liv Boeree has successfully managed to rally from an anaemic 8,000 stack back up to 85,000.
While that sounds like a great comeback Boeree actually headed into the last break on a considerable downswing having lost two pots - one to Vamplew, one to Fabrizio Baldassari - to drop her from a peak of around 137,000.
"I was down to 8,000 but David let me off," said Boeree smiling.
Vamplew looked slightly sheepish.
Hold on, are you admitting soft play in front of everyone? That's not on.
Both players quickly realised how it had sounded and were quick to refute that before embarking on a very British excursion of trying to outdo each other in how badly they'd played the hand: Boeree getting mixed up with it in the first case, Vamplew not betting it on the river. Both could afford the manners at this point: Vamplew stacked up with 300,000, Boeree sitting pretty with 137,000.
Two hands later and Boeree's smile wasn't quite so wide having passed to a 15,700 bet from Vamplew on a 3♣T♣6♠6♠ board (Boeree had bet 7,100 into it four-way and check-folded the turn) and then paying off Fabrizio Baldassari's flopped set of queens on a 3♠Q♥8♦T♠ board. That hand had knocked her down to 85,000, not far from average.
At the break Vamplew, now on 320,000 and close to the chip lead, was wandering past the press room and we asked him what he felt his tournament expectations were now? Was a place in the final 24 a realistic expectation?
"I was a 100,000 chip leader of day one at Madrid and that all went," said Vamplew.
But surely it's better to be one of the big stacks at this point of the tournament than Day 1?
"Well, yes, but it's better to be chip leader at the final table," said Vamplew more than a little sardonically.
It is a fair point. Like Jake Cody before him Vamplew has had to come to terms with the fact that you don't win every tournament you play just because you've managed to get a stack of sorts (just most of them). Vamplew announced himself to the poker world with a heads-up victory over John Juanda his EPT London victory, a title worth £900,000, before claiming the UKIPT Champion of Champions title just a couple of days later and then finishing 3rd at WPT Venice for €147,970 shortly after. That was followed by two good results at the WSOP with a 268th place finish in the main event for $40,654 and a 4th place in a $1,500 six-max event for $141,030.
Since that prodigious start Vamplew's live results may have slowed but his online scores just keep on coming. A $62,144 first place in the PokerStars Sunday 500 in August of last year was large bankroll booster and this year appears to be going well too. Just last Friday the Scotsman took down the $109 for $18,000 and the $109 rebuy for $13,545. Nice.
Both players look comfortable at their table, both likely to make it to Day 3 - just so long as Boeree can ride the swings.
NEWS JUST IN: Vamplew has increased to 348,000, while Boeree has rocketed up to 160,000. The swings continue.
Level 12: blinds 800-1,600, ante 100
Players: 200 of 570
Average stack: 85,500
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