Brits Battle For Main Event Glory

Roland De Wolfe
De Wolfe suggests British poker is in good shape.

With the 2009 WSOP Main Event field sliced and diced to a lean 407 hopefuls, a number of top Brits remain in contention to secure themselves the glory and prestige that comes with being part of the fabled November Nine.

It's already been a great World Series for the Brits with a haul of three bracelets and myriad other final table spots, totalling close to $4 million in winnings.

Roland de Wolfe hinted that he saw some of these successes as potentially significant for British poker.

"Anyone who takes a bracelet home is going to help with the growth of the game in the UK," de Wolfe said, and it appears this growth may be happening faster than expected.

The Brits are riding this wave of euphoria with plenty of British talent packed into the latter stages of the Main Event following Day 4, the Brit charge being headed by James Akenhead and BlackBeltPoker's Adam Latimer.

"There's a long way to go," said Latimer. "But it would be a dream come true to reach the November Nine."

James Akenhead, a member of the well-respected Hit Squad team, sits near the top of the chip counts with 1,140,000 chips and is hunting down his first WSOP title.

Fellow Hit Squad member Praz Bansi set the bar for his teammates by picking up a bracelet in 2006, and Akenhead himself came agonisingly close to replicating this feat last year, finishing runner-up in one of the early 2008 WSOP events.

James Akenhead
James is Aken to pick up his first WSOP bracelet.

He'll be looking to banish any ghosts that may haunt him from that occasion, and he is joined in the last 400 or so by another Hit-Squadder, Karl Mahrenholz, himself in great form having already won a $500 Deep Stack tournament here in Vegas this summer.

Former World Heads-Up Champion, Jeff Kimber can relate to Akenhead's woes in narrowly missing on a bracelet as he was pipped to the post by J.C. Tran in this year's $2.5k Omaha bracelet.

Kimber has shown no signs of a hangover from that near-miss though, negotiating his stack through to the latter stages here.

Kara Scott thrilled her hordes of British fans by blazing through to the last one hundred of the Main Event last year, and built on that success with an incredible run in this year's Irish Open that almost saw her to the title.

Once again, she narrowly missed out there, finishing in second place for $413,612 but her star is burning brightly right now and she will return for Day 5 with a workable stack and a great shot at adding to her poker riches with another Main Event deep run.

Finally Neil Channing's BlackBeltPoker group have built on their earlier results in the series - three of them making it into Day 5.

Of these, Adam Latimer is the man in prime position, having maintained a big stack all through the day and his one million plus in chips sees him close to the top of the leaderboard.

The two other BlackBelts in contention are James Keys and Jamie Roberts.

"It's great having the whole team behind you," Latimer said. "We can bounce ideas off each other and their support really helps out there at the tables."


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