Day 2 of Event 1, the £1,500 No-Limit Hold'em event, began at 1 p.m. local time on the tournament floor at the Empire Casino in Leicester Square, London, with 88 survivors from Days 1a and 1b returning to the tables with a potential TV appearance at the fore of everyone's thoughts.
Forty-five of those returnees would be paid for their time but only nine would clinch a berth under the mood lighting for Monday's playdown to a champion, complete with a minimum £13,222 payout and the possibility of some extra sponsorship coin also at stake.
Leading the charge into Sunday's action was overall chip leader Adam "AJunglen7" Junglen, a 21-year-old Ohioan already well-known online for his fearsome tournament play. Junglen racked up $84,200 on Day 1b of the struggle, putting him $9,300 ahead of Team Michael Binger and Erik Seidel, but despite the murderer's row of competition it would be Junglen, whose biggest live score to date is a fourth-place finish at EPT4 Barcelona for €196,500, who made the most noise. The kid was mean.
Action kicked off with a ferocious barrage of beats, with 18 eliminations in the first hour and almost as many in the second. All told, 30 players bowed out before the first break, among them Marc Goodwin, Phil Laak and Michael Binger, who found his aces cracked by pocket threes when the flop dropped 3-3-x. Tough beat.
By the end of the day's third level, hand-for-hand play was under way with just 46 players still in contention. Just missing out on that £3,078 entry-level payout were the likes of Full Tilt pros Erik Seidel and John Juanda, the former of whom fell in a race situation with Linda Lee and the latter who dropped after shoving with top pair on a nine-high flop and running into jacks.
Whatever misery the two American pros may have felt at missing the money, however, was nothing compared to what Peter Linton must have gone through. The Brit ended a rather speedy bubble in rather painful fashion after his A-9 was rivered by an opponent's A-4, guaranteeing the rest of the field their money and guaranteeing Linton nothing.
Post-bubble play continued the trend of eliminations with a quickness, and among the earliest to hit the bricks was Brandon Cantu, who more or less imploded after doubling up John Kabbaj with pocket fours to Kabbaj's pocket kings.
Cantu would be crippled on the play and would hit the road shortly thereafter, out in 27th after his Q-T failed to improve against Junglen's A-9.
Cantu would be followed into the void by none other than Kid Poker himself. Negreanu, by far the most popular player in the room not named "Daniel Nutt," would go broke in 24th place after losing a race to the explosive Christoph Bommes, nines versus A-K . A king on the flop turned the tide and the Canadian was bacon, earning £4,305 for his sizzling performance.
Then the Adam Junglen Show started in earnest. Up and down all day, Junglen rocketed to the top of the leaderboard after winning a $350,000 pot against Warren Woodall, who decided to play chicken with Junglen in an all-in confrontation while holding A-Q. The kid held A-K, however, and the king held, giving Junglen the pot and sending Woodall on a downward spiral from which he would not recover.
A raising machine, Junglen built his stack up to nearly double that of his closest competitor and would not look back, busting Tim Pennington in 13th and Costas Artemis in 11th on the way to amassing an end-of-day stack worth $795,000 or roughly one-third of the chips in play.
While Junglen was trending upward, his opponents were doing their best Lehman Brothers' impressions, watching their stocks drop precipitously on the way to bankruptcies galore. Andy Bloch and John Kabbaj would be among the most notable departures, tapping out in 15th (K-J against Jesper Hougaard's queens) and 14th (K-9 against Fuad Serhan's pocket fours), respectively.
It would take until late in the tournament's 17th level to determine the final nine, with Joseph El-Shatar, Artemis and Bommes barely missing out on a ticket to the Big Show on Monday, Bommes busting the final-table bubble with a 10th-place finish after losing a race with pocket nines to Yevgeniy Timoshenko's big slick.
Thus play concluded at 1:45 a.m. on Monday morning, with the surviving nine players scheduled to return in just over 11 hours to play down to the bracelet. Junglen is chip leader and John Dwyer is runner-up, with Neil Channing and Jesper Hougaard the most notable amongst the remainder.
Also commencing tomorrow is the £2,500 H.O.R.S.E. tournament, a three-day affair with action starting at 2 p.m. London time. Tune in to PokerListings.com for the thrilling conclusion to one event and the thrilling commencement to another. It will be, in a word, thrilling.
And here are the seating positions and chip counts for the final nine:
|Seat 1||Fuad Serhan||$61,000|
|Seat 2||Daniel Nutt||$207,000|
|Seat 3||Yevgeniy Timoshenko||$345,000|
|Seat 4||John Dwyer||$511,000|
|Seat 5||Ian Woodley||$153,000|
|Seat 6||Jesper Hougaard||$89,000|
|Seat 7||Linda Lee||$121,000|
|Seat 8||Neil Channing||$199,000|
|Seat 9||Adam Junglen||$795,000|