Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Play WSOP for Less Than a Tenner

An Easter egg, a ticket to see Alice in Wonderland, a tube journey to the Vic: there are plenty of things in this world you can get for less than a tenner, but this April, Black Belt Poker are giving you the chance to put a Spring in your step and play the WSOP Main Event for less than ten bucks!

Quad Aces is a brand, spanking new promotion that gives you the opportunity to join the thousands of others at the Rio Casino in Vegas to battle it out for the decorated World Series of Poker bracelet. To qualify, you need to collect all four Aces in our special tournaments which will take place to coincide with some of the country’s biggest events: The Grand National, London Marathon, General Election and FA Cup Final.

Ace of Diamonds (A1) = Grand National –Saturday, April 10
Ace of Clubs (A2) = London Marathon –Sunday, April 25
Ace of Hearts (A3) = General Election – Thursday, May 6
Ace of Spades (A4) = FA Cup Final –Saturday, May 15

Each Aces tournament will be a $2+0.20 No Limit Hold’em freezeout tournament and will commence at 7pm. If you win a tournament, you will receive an Ace. Collect all four and you’ll be off to Vegas to play in the WSOP Main Event!

One Ace: 500 Belt Points
Pair of Aces: Vegas Holiday – flights and accommodation for a week in LV
Set of Aces: $1,500 WSOP buy-in plus flights and week’s accommodation
Quad Aces: $10k WSOP Main Event package, including flights and accommodation

Each night of a Quad Aces tournament, Neil Channing will open up his ‘NeilChanning’ cash table from 8.30pm onwards, so you can indeed ‘Challenge Channing’ and stack the 2008 Irish Open Champ and recent GUKPT London runner-up. At 9pm, you can also play the Quad Aces Bonus Tourney, a $3+0.30 rebuy with bonus prizes linked to the days’ events! First off, the Grand National, 10th April, 9pm: Pick a horse, post it on the boards, and if both you and your horse win, we’ll add a Monthly Million ticket ($535) to the top spot.

To participate in the Quad Aces promotion, simply open up the lobby and find the relevant tournament in ‘scheduled’ > ‘Black Belt tournaments’. There is also a Bundle Package token available in the Black Belt Poker store for just 175 Belt Points! If you don’t currently have an account, then signing up is easy: just download the poker client the software and follow the simple steps provided.

Good luck, and see you in Vegas!

See here for more details.

Bad Beat for Second

The GUKPT London is always a popular affair, and this year was no different. Given that the buy-in fee had crept up to £1,500, 318 runners was an impressive feat, and it was of no surprise to see many of the UK’s biggest and best circuit players fish into their wallet for a piece of the action.

Eager to dip his finger into the £477,000 pie was local hero Neil Channing, the Vic stalwart taking his seat on Day 1B along with the likes of James Mitchell, Ali Mallu, Keith Hawkins, Stuart Fox, Jake Cody, John Tabatabai and the entire Hit Squad who bought in as alternates. But despite the ferocious competition, Neil enjoyed a fruitful day, ending the session third in chips with 99,400.

Day Two was perhaps a more turbulent affair, Channing forced to dodge a few beats and win a couple of flips to storm his way into the final. Nevertheless, storm he did, and at 1.15am he texted: “Somehow, I luckboxed my way into the final with an average stack. Just have to win it tomorrow. Fingers crossed.”

Rumit Somaiya - 1,286,000
Leon Bui - 873,000
Neil Channing - 546,500
Cuong Tran - 440,500
Stephen Ducharme - 410,000
Salman Behbehani - 408,500
Mick McCool - 302,000
Darren Annis - 181,000
Laurence Houghton - 167,500
Vicky Coren - 134,000


Early action suggested he’d tied them up in granny knots, as within the opening level he was able to eliminate danger man Laurence Houghton in ninth place with K-T versus 8-8. Perhaps the most entertaining moment, however, came in the form of Shoegate, when Roland De Wolfe, who was watching the live feed, bet Neil £3,000 that he couldn’t put his shoes on the table for one orbit. Scents were released, stacks were knocked, and bloggers were duped, but I’ll let Neil explain the rest.


Post Shoegate Scandal, Neil enjoyed both highs and lows, doubling up with Q-5 versus A-7, and A-A holding up against J-9 on a Q-T-x flop (both courtesy of Somaiya), but also running K-Q into A-K on two separate occasions. Ultimately, though, he managed to squeeze into the final three with 1.5 million in chips and in with a great shot at giving his Irish Open trophy a new neighbour.

After a gruelling back and forth battle in which many all-ins went uncalled, Channing took the chip lead for the first time, his A-T dominating, and subsequently beating, Bui’s A-7. Moments later and Channing finished off his man with A-J versus Q-3 to leave himself heads-up with Tran and just inches away from his first GUKPT title. But sadly, it wasn’t to be, and after doubling his foe up with a set versus a turned straight, Tran took the title soon after, T-7 spiking a dramatic ten on the turn against pocket nines to send Neil out in a disappointing, but financially rewarding second place.

Whilst 30-year old Londoner Tran clapped the air and celebrated with his friend and third place finisher Bui (who, incidentally, had percentages with one another), Neil slipped off to confront the rail of salivating nippers before collecting his £84,700 prize. Neil was understandably devastated to see the title slip through his fingers, but it was still a remarkable performance and one that will hopefully put him in good stead heading into next week’s Irish Open.


As always, Neil Channing will be playing on his ‘NeilChanning’ cash table next Tuesday in our weekly Challenge Channing promotion. If you would like to try your hand at some $0.25/0.50 cash and tackle the GUKPT London runner-up, then be sure to grab your seat from 7.30 onwards.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

BBP Player Qualifies for WSOP

In the early hours of yesterday morning, Mandy ‘Wondrwman’ Card triumphed in the latest WSOP super satellite to win a trip to Vegas and become the first player to qualify for the WSOP Main Event via Black Belt Poker.

Incredibly, Mandy qualified for a mere $8 after earning her spot in a Stage 2 qualifier, and later spun that paltry figure into a whopping $13,000 package, which includes buy-in to the $10,000 Main Event and $2,750 in flight, accommodation and spending money.

As a popular member of the Black Belt Poker community (gender may also have been a factor), Mandy was well supported throughout and boasted a rail that would have made even Phil Ivey jealous. With the forum following her progress in a now 100 plus post thread, Mandy burst out of the blocks and never looked back, eventually toppling established online pro Peter Murphy heads-up to capture the seat.

Elated by the news, Black Belt Poker co-founder Neil Channing was quick to offer his congratulations: “So pleased for you Mandy. Well done. Everyone should know that this Pete Murphy is some player. Excellent work.”

But whilst the BBP community were celebrating, Mandy was enjoying her own style of celebration/shock therapy, adding, “OK… hmmmm on the third vodka already lol - why my nerves need calming now though I'll never know.”

“The messages from you guys are endless,” she added, “but more than welcome! Thank you all so much for your support. Now you guys gotta get there. Vegas won't know what hit them if the BBP Massive take it by storm.”

If ever a skin had a chance of taking a ‘posse’ to Vegas, then it’s Black Belt Poker, as a number of players have already shown prowess in iPoker satellites. Also enjoying the fruits of their satelliting labour will be Gerard Harraghy and Toby Lewis, the Irishman earning entry into both the Deep Stack France and the upcoming Irish Open, whilst former Grader Lewis is braced to tackle the ECPT Barcelona in Spain.

Black Belt Poker have a number of satellites on offer, and you too could join the likes of Mandy, Gerard and Toby in their respective events. To play a satellite on BBP, simply download the poker client and follow the simple steps provided. See you in Vegas!

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Grading II Winners Announced

We’ve deliberated, cogitated and digested, and following several hours of rigorous analysis and debate at Black Belt Poker HQ, we’ve finally decided upon our Grading II winners, all of whom will be heading to Dublin this April to play in the 2010 Irish Open Main Event.

It was far from easy, however, and due to being unable to separate two players, we’ve decided to add another Irish Open Package, meaning four players will now be awarded Blue Belt status and the €3,500 seat (plus flight and accommodation). As a result, our Dublin 3 has morphed into the Dublin 4.

Without further ado, our congratulations go out to the following players who will be representing Black Belt Poker in next week’s Irish Open:

Gavin Hall
Owen Robinson
Robert Jarrett-Smith
Simon Mairs

Not only have we added an extra package, but we’ve also decided to loosen the purse strings once more and award bubble prizes to Kevin Williams and Jamie Burland, both of whom missed out by a whisker. They will both be promoted to Blue Belt status with added Belt Points to boot.

“These guys worked so hard that I decided I wanted to gamble more money on them,” commented Black Belt Poker co-founder Neil Channing. “I know how much fun winning the Irish Open can be. Our thanks go out to each of them for making the process such a rewarding one and we sincerely hope that everyone involved was able to take something positive away from the six weeks.”

But for now, it’s onto the Irish Open as the Dublin 4 look to emulate the success of the 2008 Champ and bring back gold to Blighty. If the talent and dedication displayed in the Grading is anything to go by, they’ll certainly be in with a shot

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

League IV: Cracking Value

The Black Belt Poker League is back, and this time with more added value than ever! In association with highly acclaimed tutorial site DeucesCracked, the top 10 finishers will now be rewarded with a one month subscription to DeucesCracked, as well as the usual Belt Points.

Recognised as one of the original, and best, training sites on the Internet, DeucesCracked boasts a host of videos from some of the online world’s most successful players such as Dani ‘Ansky’ Stern, Vanessa ‘fslexcduck’ Selbst, and Jay ‘pr1nnyraid’ Rosenkrantz. Suitable for beginners and pros alike, DeucesCracked is the perfect opportunity for players to fine-tune their game.

In addition, Black Belt Poker are throwing in a free ticket to the inaugural Black Belt Poker Boot Camp worth £600! Not only will the winner of League IV earn a DeucesCracked token, but they’ll also get to join Neil Channing and Nik Persaud for a two-day session of intensive poker tuition from two of the UK’s finest players.

The full prizes for League IV are as follows:

1st £600 Boot Camp seat & DeucesCracked token
2nd 1,000 Belt Points & DeucesCracked token
3rd 850 Belt Points & DeucesCracked token
4th 750 Belt Points & DeucesCracked token
5th 600 Belt Points & DeucesCracked token
6th 500 Belt Points & DeucesCracked token
7th 400 Belt Points & DeucesCracked token
8th 300 Belt Points & DeucesCracked token
9th 200 Belt Points & DeucesCracked token
10th 100 Belt Points & DeucesCracked token

League IV will kick off on Tuesday, March 23 at 7.30pm and run over seven legs up to Tuesday, May 4. Each leg will be a $5+0.50 No Limit Hold’em freezeout and players are free to join at any point. The League is open to all Yellow Belts and above. To become a Yellow Belt and be eligible for entry into League matches, simply download the cardroom software, link your account (verification can take up to 48 hours) and make a minimum deposit.

League III winner was David ‘dididavidBEL09’ Meunier whose 40 points on the final leg (which was, incidentally, won by 2008 Irish Open Champion Neil Channing) were enough to cement gold and win a free seat into the Black Belt London Live. David travelled all the way from Belgium to play the event, and although he didn’t quite make the cash, he got to meet a number of pros including Neil, Nik and bracelet winner Roland De Wolfe.

This is yet another example of Black Belt Poker not just offering great value to our players, but also value that will help them improve their game. If you would like to emulate the success of David Meunier and take advantage of all the added value on offer, then make sure you give League IV a crack this Tuesday, March 23.

For more details on League IV, please check out our ‘Promotions’ page.

Wham, Pham, Thank You Ma’am

In the early hours of this morning, London based Frenchman Paul Pham triumphed over a tough final table to become the 2010 Black Belt London Live Champion taking home $15,000 and the coveted title.

A 27-year old VIP Manager of an online cardroom, Pham headed into the final with more than twice the chips of his nearest competitor before proceeding to eliminate four of his fellow finalists.

Second place went to Karim Louis who earned himself $10,000. The final hand saw Louis check-raise a 7d-Td-Jc flop with Js-6c before calling an all-in from Pham. Pham tabled Kc-Jd and cemented his win with a Kd turn. The Ts river was therefore academic.

Pham, who has been playing poker since 2005, commented: “I play pretty much all of my poker online and am mainly a cash game player. I don't play live very often and have only played three tournaments so far. I only played this one because the structure was deep and it suited my game.”

“There were a lot of strong players in the tournament,” he continued. “Daniel Laming was very good and gave me a bit of a hard time on Day One. So was Jack [McDermott] on my left. He’s a decent player and I managed to get lucky against him on the final table with A-J versus A-K.”

The Black Belt London Live took place between Friday, Mar 12 and Sunday, Mar 14 at the Grosvenor Victoria Casino in London. The event sold out four days in advance and boasted familiar names such as Ian Frazer, Ross Boatman, Karl Mahrenholz, Laurence Houghton and Liam Flood, all of whom stumped up the $200+20 buy-in fee.

Also on offer were eight high profile bounties with the winner receiving a black belt and a photo with their victim. On Day One, Rory Liffey earned the scalp of James Akenhead, whilst Praz Bansi was eliminated by recent EPT winner Jake Cody. On Day Two, it was eventual winner Pham that took out 2008 Irish Open Champion Neil Channing.

Black Belt Poker were also offering various Belt bonuses including four $500 Orange Belt last-longers. These were won by Tom Drew, Giovanni Pennetta, Toby Lewis, and Craig Wakeham. The highest placing Purple/Green Belt was Warren Wooldridge who finished sixth for $2,500. If Wooldridge had won the event, he would have earned himself an additional $15,000 on top of first prize.

The general vibe at the event was a positive one with the tournament played in a friendly, good spirited manner. One highlight was Black Belt Poker co-founder Neil Channing who arrived in full karate garb which remained on for the entire tournament. Former EPT winner Vicky Coren also made a surprise appearance, adding a touch of wit and amusement to the final table with her running commentary.

Black Belt Poker would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the 50 players who cashed in the tournament, and thank everyone who supported the event from the players themselves to the Vic staff. If early feedback is any indication, the event was a roaring success, and we look forward to returning next year.

For more information, check out the following links:

Black Belt Poker Blog
AWOP Live Updates
Full Results (including bounties and last-longers)
Event Photographs
Interview with Paul Pham

London Live Results

Main Event Results:

1st Paul Pham -- $15,000
2nd Karim Louis -- $10,000
3rd Hugo Martin -- $6,000
4th Jack McDermott -- $4,500
5th Dean Aldred -- $3,500
6th Warren Wooldridge -- $2,500
7th Nicholas Aly -- $2,000
8th Daniel Laming -- $1,500
9th Roy Farranat -- $1,000
10th Giovanni Pennetta -- $700
11th Pratik Ghatge -- $500
12th Jeremy Bakes -- $500
13th Michael Hyam -- $500
14th Steve Dickson -- $500
15th Peter Wigglesworth -- $500
16th Neil Suarez -- $500
17th Toby Lewis -- $500
18th Chun Law -- $500
19th Douglas Hogan -- $500
20th Robert Stain -- $350
21st Joe Laming -- $350
22nd Craig Wakeham -- $350
23rd Stephen Draper -- $350
24th Scott McGovern -- $350
25th Tim Magnus -- $350
26th Jerome Bradpiece -- $350
27th Nicholas Stinson -- $350
28th Priyan de Mel -- $350
29th Jamie Roberts -- $350
30th Jon Neale -- $350
31st Adam Reid -- $300
32nd Richard Willoughby -- $300
33rd Glenn Laming -- $300
34th David Sparks -- $300
35th Paul Zimbler -- $300
36th Tomasz Jedlecki -- $300
37th Shane Dewsbury -- $250
38th Neil Channing -- $250
39th Gregory Bert -- $250
40th Daniel Williams -- $250
41st Diane Ambler -- $250
42nd Ermyas Birru -- $250
43rd Lesley Kumar -- $250
44th Hassan Uddin -- $200
45th Wilson Chan -- $200
46th Lewis Higham -- $200
47th Tom Drew -- $200
48th Antonis Poulengeris -- $200
49th Mark Norman -- $200
50th Darren White -- $200

Orange Belt Last-Longer Winners:

Giovanni Pennetta -- $500
Craig Wakeman -- $500
Toby Lewis -- $500
Tom Drew -- $500

Bounty Winners:

Jake Cody eliminated Praz Bansi
Philip Conneller eliminated Jesse May
Rory Liffey eliminated James Akenhead
Nicholas Ekkesies eliminated Julian Thew
Warren Wooldridge eliminated Nik Persaud
Stephen Dickson eliminated Marty Smyth
Joe Laming eliminated Dave Colclough
Paul Pham eliminated Neil Channing

Media Event Results:

1st Eliza Burnett


Highest Purple Belt -- Warren Wooldridge
Highest Green Belt -- Tomasz Jedlecki
Highest Blue Belt -- Chaz Chattha
Highest Brown Belt -- Jerome Bradpiece
Highest Grader -- Ermyas Birru
Bubble -- Henry Stafford
Orange Belt Bubble -- Simon Morris

For more information, check out the following links:

Black Belt Poker Blog
AWOP Live Updates
Wham, Pham, Thank You, Ma'am
Event Photographs
Interview with Paul Pham

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Paul Pham is the Black Belt London Live Champion ($15,000)

Congratulations to Paul Pham who becomes the inaugural Black Belt London Live Champion taking home $15,000.

A 27-year old VIP manager of an online cardroom, Pham is originally from Lyon, France, but moved to London three years ago where he now resides. Pham has been playing poker for several years now, but predominantly plays online with only occasional ventures live when the structure is deep.

A dominant performance throughout, Pham took over two million chips into the final, more than double his nearest competitor. Armed with an unrelenting aggressive style, he proceeded to eliminate four of the finalists.

At the conclusion of the event, Neil Channing awarded Pham the trophy and announced him as the first ever Black Belt London Live Champion. Pham was also the player who eliminated Channing, collecting a Black Belt Poker belt and photo as a bounty prize.

On behalf of Black Belt Poker, I'd like to commend Paul Pham on his win, and also thank everyone who attended the event. The event was played in good spirits with a friendly atmosphere throughout, and we're delighted to hear that so many people left with a smile on their face.

We look forward to seeing you next year in what will hopefully be the second Black Belt London Live. Until then, look after yourself, and each other.

Karim Louis Eliminated in 2nd ($10,000)

Before I'd barely had chance to write up Hugo Martin's exit, the crowd were on their feet and closing in on the rail to witness the final moments of the event. I raced over like a jet-propelled whippet to find the decision resting on Karim Louis, his check-raise to 500,000 of Paul Pham's bet on a 7d-Td-Jc flop leading to a swift all in.

To the shock of the crowd, Neil's commentary was interrupted as Louis announced call, rising from his chair and tabling Js-6c in the process. Pham showed Kc-Jd. By the Kd turn it was all over, and as the Ts river was being dealt, hands were being shaken and applause was already rippling its way through the room.

"He'd been playing very aggressive," Louis later said, "and the flop had a lot of potential draws, so I thought there was a good chance I was ahead."

Hugo Martin Eliminated in 3rd ($6,000)

I'm looking forward to reading the next offering from Black Belt Poker blogger Hugo Martin, but sadly it won't have the glorious ending that many hoped it would. A hometown hero of sorts, the Vic stalwart put in a fine performance, but fell inches short of the finishing line. But, still, he's squeezed onto the podium, and takes home $6,000 for third, as well as the comforting knowledge that he lasted longer than his fellow bloggers.

Martin made his final steps with Ac-9s, pushing all in from the button before being snapped off by Karim Louis's Qd-Qh in the small blind. The Ah-7h-8d flop brought cheers aplenty and magnetised Vicky Coren towards the table, but a Tc turn followed by a crowd-gasping Qc river left onlookers slightly stunned, and reminded everyone of the unpredictable workings of an oft cruel game.

Jack McDermott Eliminated in 4th ($4,500)

On the very first hand after the break, Paul Pham raised to 125,000 from a 3.3 million stack and Jack McDermott moved all in for 750,000. Pham made the call.

Pham = Ac-Jd
McDermott = Ad-Ks

Board = Jd-9h-4c-5c-8c

And after a cruel first card, Jack McDermott exits in fourth for $4,500.

"At least when we pay you online," said Channing. "You can't get nipped on your way out of the casino."

Dean Aldred Eliminated in 5th ($3,500)

After a plucky performance that would have made Karate Kid look lazy, Dean Aldred has finally succumbed to the hands of the Poker Gods to depart in fifth. His swan song came at the hands of Karim Louis, all in on a Js-6c-7h flop with Aldred's Ac-Ah looking good against 9s-7c. But, of course, poker's a 'funny old game', and after a raggy 3h arrived on the turn, a 9d duly hit the river to give Louis two pair, and Aldred the door.

Warren Wooldridge Eliminated in 6th ($2,500)

Paul Pham might have enough chips to fill the Harry Ramsden's factory, but he remains in peckish mood after eliminating yet another player. The victim this time was Warren Wooldridge, Black Belt Poker CEO and the last remaining Purple Belt in the tournament.

It was Wooldridge who kicked things off, raising to 120,000 preflop. Pham, meanwhile, dipped into his enormous stacked, and slid 290,000 across the line, a mere drop in his ocean of chips.

Wooldridge paused momentarily and made the call, before open-shoving a 7d-Td-Th flop. Pham called in equally hasty fashion.

But the speed of his call was justified on this occasion, as he had his foe dominated with Ah-Kh versus As-Jd. The 4c turn and Qh river was close, but no cigar, and Wooldrige joined the ever-increasing list of soldiers to have fallen at the hands of Pham.

Approximate Chip Counts

Seat 2: Paul Pham -- 2,500,000
Seat 3: Jack McDermott -- 1,050,000
Seat 5: Dean Aldred -- 300,000
Seat 6: Hugo Martin -- 800,000
Seat 7: Karim Louis -- 750,000
Seat 9: Warren Wooldridge -- 600,000

Nicholas Aly Eliminated in 7th ($2,000)

It's a tired old phrase, but the term 'classic coin flip' is constantly required in poker reporting, and the last elimination was no different. On this occasion, it was Nicholas Aly who had his nose in front, but only by a single nostril hair with 9c-9h versus the Ah-Kc of Paul Pham.

"Nine!" commanding Aly's friends on the sidelines, and although their demands were heard for the first four cards, the board ultimately came 3h-Jd-Ts-6s... Ac to send the youngster home.

Daniel Laming Eliminated in 8th ($1,500)

"I never win these," grimaced Dean Aldred negatively as his Ad-Jd came up against 5s-4d. Perhaps his cynicism was a result of his opponent, Paul Pham and his gargantuan stack seemingly instilling fear in the very being of anyone who steps in his way. Aldred rose from his chair, perhaps in anticipation of a bad beat, and although the turn of a Kd-3h-Qh-5s board had him shaking his head, the mysterious-ways of the Poker Gods came into play on the Jh river to deliver him a much-needed doubled up. "Yes!" exclaimed Aldred as he brought his hands together.

But Aldren wasn't prepared to rest on his laurels and spend the next orbit stacking chips, as within just a few seconds he was back in the thick of it, calling the all-in of Daniel Laming with 7c-7d. Laming had Ad-3d, and with both players holding their breath, the board ran out Kd-3h-Qh-5s-Jh to send Laming home.

Double-Up, Then Level Up

With the action folding around to the button, Nicholas Aly looked down at his cards (although I suspect he may have had his eyes closed) and pushed all in with 7c-4c, only for chip leader Paul Pham to wake up with As-Ts in the small blind and make a speedy call.

The Jd-3s-8s flop dodged everyone, but a 7c turn hit the underdog square in the face to edge him into the lead. A ragtastic 2c river cemented Aly's survival, whilst Pham was forced to endure a rare chink in his otherwise unblemished armour.

A hand or two later, the blinds went up to 15,000/30,000. "The blinds have no gone up and the next person to raise will be get to decide what figure will become the standard raise for this level." Karim Louis was that man, making it 75,000 to go. "Is that a good sized raise?" he inquired. "I can't possibly comment," replied Vicky. "It's not a blind level I'm particularly familiar with."

Odds & Sods

At the start of the event, the odds for the finalists were as follows (Note: I think they may have changed now):

Nicholas Aly -- 200/1
Paul Pham -- 200/1
Jack McDermott -- 200/1
Daniel Laming -- 200/1
Dean Aldred -- 200/1
Hugo Martin -- 100/1
Karim Louis -- 100/1
Roy Farranat -- 200/1
Warren Wooldridge -- 100/1

Channing: "Who did those odds? They can't possibly think Warren is twice as good as the others."

Roy Farranat Eliminated in 9th ($1,000)

After a slow start which saw more 'walkies' than Crufts, we suddenly lost a short-stacked Roy Farranat in rather gut-wrenching fashion. All in with T-T versus the 6-6 of Jack McDermott, Farranat was looking good for a double through, but the 4-7-5 flop opened up numerous possibilities, one of which came in on the 8 turn. A harmless five on the river later, and McDermott picked up the pot with his straight.

Farranat, meanwhile, was forced to exit stage left, but he was gracious in defeat, adding, "I had a great time overall and I'm really pleased to have got so far. I've only been playing a couple of years, but it's still hard work. It's OK for you kids."

On that note, Channing has handed the microphone over to the fine-wine-maturing Vicky Coren, who I must confess boasts a slightly more soothing vocal tone than her predecessor.

Pre-Final Rubdowns

After a well deserved dinner break, the players have returned for tonight's final table and Neil Channing has been introducing them to the crowd with his usual supply of dry wit and unflinching sarcasm.

On Warren Wooldridge: "I have no idea how he got this far. I was hanging around the cashier and player after player would come up shaking their head asking, 'Who's the guy that knocked me out that looks like you?'

On Hugo Martin: "Despite his looks, Hugo is a grizzled veteran who's been playing in the Vic for almost as long as Pedro. He's never had this many chips. In fact, I think this is his first final table, and I expect it'll be his last."

But all joking aside, this looks to be a tough final table with Daniel Laming the fan favourtie. He appears to have brought an army of Lamings to the Vic today, all of whom are cheering him on from the sidelines.

Final Table Chip Counts

The final table will commence at 10pm.

Seat 1: Nicholas Aly -- 297,000
Seat 2: Paul Pham -- 2,078,000
Seat 3: Jack McDermott -- 885,000
Seat 4: Daniel Laming -- 278,000
Seat 5: Dean Aldred -- 413,000
Seat 6: Hugo Martin -- 375,000
Seat 7: Karim Louis -- 774,000
Seat 8: Roy Farranat -- 885,000
Seat 9: Warren Wooldridge -- 729,000


Contrary to common belief, Ali Mallu isn't required to see chips fly, and this last level has perhaps been indicative of a field thirsty for first.

One player who will have had his eyes firmly fixed on the title was Pratik Ghatge, but upon running K-Q into aces, the etching of his name will have to wait for another year. But whilst Ghatge's departure was proof of an action-packed day, it was little more than a precursor to what would be a wholeheartedly spicier affair...

With Giovanni Pennetta raising to 85,000 with 2h-2c from middle position, fellow chip leader Paul Pham made the call on the button with Jc-Jh. Fireworks then ensued on a 5s-9c-4s flop as Pennetta led for 120,000, Pham raised to 290,000, Pennetta pushed, and Pham called. A harmless Kh turn and 8h river later, and that was that, the two biggest stacks on the table had clashed in an epic hand with Pham achieving a number of things: (1) adding to his already monstrous stack, (2) bursting the final table bubble and eliminating Pennetta, and (3) stunning the crowd.

"I put him on the flush draw," commented Pennetta in the aftermath. "Even with jacks he thought for a good two minutes before making the call, but I was sure he had a draw."

Jeremy Baked

Jeremy Bakes has, ironically, just been coolered with an unavoidable kings versus aces encounter that sees Warren Wooldridge's stack pulsate to a chip-lead threatening 800,000. Bakes had just under 300,000 at the time, and with the blinds at 10,000/20,000, decided to open push, if only to create the illusion of a weaker hand.

But his preflop strategy was irrelevant in the end, as Wooldridge had his gun cocked and was braced to fire, the bullets hitting the cowboys head on and sending them hurtling off their saddle. The 4d-2d-5c-Ah-5d board teased a split pot, but to no avail, and a hand-shake later and Bakes was cooked.

Meanwhile, Hugo Martin just limp-raised all in from the small blind with A-5, only for Giovanni Pennetta to call with the same hand (bar the suits, of course). A raggy board proved to be of no excitement, and the pot was chopped. "Good poker," applauded Nik Persaud from the sidelines. "Good raise, good call, lots of pressure, good poker all around."

Dirty Dozen

Just moments prior to the break, a disappointed, but reflective Michael Hyam trundled towards the exit, his A-T push from the button running into pocket tens and failing to improve. "That's the way it goes," he said. "I ran really well yesterday, so I guess it just evens out in the end."

As a result, we're now down to our dirty dozen, Channing assassin Paul Pham your current chip leader and the most likely to break that million milestone:

Paul Pham - 997,000
Jack Mcdermott - 782,000
Giovanni Pennetta - 781,000
Warren Wooldridge - 485,000
Pratik Ghatge - 481,000
Dean Aldred - 459,000
Karim Louis - 402,000
Nicholas Aly - 379,000
Hugo Martin - 372,000
Daniel Laming - 340,000
Jeremy Bakes - 306,000
Roy Farranat - 200,000

It's Time for Steve to Leave

A changing of the guards in the press room seems to have triggered some action at the table as, upon my arrival, three more players depart in quick succession to leave us with an unlucky-for-some 13. Whilst I was mounting the staircase during the exits of Neil Suaraz and Peter Wigglesworth, I showcased perfect timing for the fall of Steve Dickson, whose chips were waiting patiently in the middle just as I entered the room.

But despite any claims to fame, it wasn't me who they were waiting for, but Giovanni Pennetta whose decision on the big blind had been made all that more strenuous by the all-in reraise of Warren Wooldrigde on the button. Ultimately, Penette opted for the fold, and cards were revealed.

As Wooldridge tabled Qc-Qd, Dickson smiled and signed, "I have one over", before flipping Ac-8s. "Oh my God," replied Wooldridge, seemingly haunted by past 'pair versus one over' confrontations. But he needn't have worried, as the 2d-Qs-2c flop was somewhat clinical, the Ks turn crushing any miracle hopes Dickson may have had.

A quick shake of the hand and a Weakest Link walk later and Dickson was gone, but he can leave safe in the knowledge that he'd pulled out a splendid performance and swam deeper than most through this shark-infested pool.

A fine performance from one of Black Belt's most popular members.

Lewis Loses 1mil Pot

Toby Lewis, chip leader for so much of this tournament, just finished in 17th place, winning $500. His asssassin - who else but Giovanni Pennetta, in a KK vs. JJ preflop monster of a pot which has cemented Pennetta at the top of the chip table with two actual tables left.

He Don't Hit Jack

Big flip for Jack Mcdermott, now, who after a long think preflop called the large 220k or so which Karim Louis had pushed all-in from the blinds, after button Mcdermott had made it 32k. His Td-Tc was up against Louis' Ac-Jd. Straight away on the flop came not one but two Jacks, and shaking his head Mcdermott paid the man his new 400k+ stack.

Railer Neil Channing (pictured when still in next to Louis) commented, "You flop so good."
"Yeh, don't I?" smiled Louis.
"You should play more tournaments, all you need to do is win races." Then, turning to the defeated Mcdermott, "He doesn't understand. He doesn't even know the hand rankings." Black Belt London Live, the only tournament you can get heckled by the busted pros 10 levels on...

FAyring Better

Steve 'FalconAyr' Dickson just tripled through to gain about 180k and a new lease of life for what had become a dangerously short stack. He was all in against two callers - erstwhile chip leader Giovanni Pennetta and other remaining Purple Belt Warren Wooldridge.

The flop came down 5c-9h-7d and Wooldridge now moved in himself for 170k, giving Pennetta a near five-minute dwell before he eventually passed. Wooldridge had the overpair - Tens, but Dickson had flopped a set with 5d-5h.

"I wish you had called now," lamented WW as he watched the pot slide to the short stack.

McdermOTT: Two Eliminations at Once

Jack Mcdermott has just busted both Robert Stain and Douglas Hogan in the same hand and now has over 800k. All in preflop, threeway, the large-stacked Mcdermott covered the other two stacks as comfortably as a duvet, and his Ks-Kc was equally comfortable facing Jacks (in Hogan's hand) and something that was already in the process of being mucked by the dealer when I arrived. Seeing as Stain started with a shorter stack, he finishes 20th, while Hogan takes the higher $500 payout for reaching 19th.

Chips With 20 left...

Giovanni Pennetta - 725,000
Jack Mcdermott - 508,000
Dean Aldred - 470,000
Pratik Ghatge - 440,000
Daniel Laming - 334,000
Hugo Martin - 331,000
Warren Wooldridge - 321,000
Peter Wigglesworth - 320,000
Toby Lewis - 300,000
Roy Farranat - 261,000
Nicholas Aly - 256,000
Karim Louis - 255,000
Neil Suarez - 248,000
Michael Hyam - 232,000
Paul Pham - 214,000
Jeremy Bakes - 177,000
Robert Stain - 174,000
Douglas Hogan - 154,000
Stephen Dickson - 104,000
Chun Law - 95,000
Joe Laming - 93,000

The only player so far to bust this level was Orange Belt Craig Wakeham, who was another victim of Giovanni Pennetta - this time he fell victim to a preflop big raise which had Aces to back it up (Pennetta immediately called). He couldn't crack them, so heads out in 22nd.

I speak too soon: at time of writing, Joe Laming, at one point a very large stack, now is a nonexistent one. 21st, and we're nearly down to two tables.

Reid Em and Weep

Mystery of the day is Adam Reid, who left his stack untended through the entire day and finally blinded out. However his 42k, while right at the bottom, managed to see him all the way through to 31st place, where he earned $300 in the 3rd pay bracket! You can't say Black Belt structures aren't pretty good...

G.P. is Tournament Doctor

G.P. of course being Giovanni Pennetta. Racking up a 655k stack and the chip lead here in level 19. He just busted both Priyan de Mel and Jerome Bradpiece - in the last 15 minutes! That must be a record for busting GUKPT champs - vs. de Mel he flopped the nut straight, apparently, while he took a while to get it in preflop against Bradpiece.

Purple Belt Jerome had moved in for a further 95k into a pot of now 75k from the blinds and was busy talking him into something... "I'm obviously winning, let's see how lucky you are.." Pennetta sat back, arms crossed, and considered his opponent (whom he'd given plenty of credit earlier in the tournament, apparently).

"I don't know, I have a strange feeling," said Pennetta.
"Fold then, please!" replied Bradpiece, "When anyone says they have a strange feeling they tend to flop the nuts..."

Well, he did get a call from Pennetta's Q-K off, and his As-Js was instantly outflopped by a Queen. No help, and he hits the rail in 26th.

Easy Game in Theory, Tough in Pratik

Even though it looked like Pratik Ghatge had threebet shorterstacked Richard Willoughby with Jc-Js preflop, he still took his time thinking about the call when Willoughby moved in on him for 105k more. The chips were neatly laid out, and when he finally threw in the call, he was probably relieved to see Ah-Jh in his opponent's hand. No Ace for Willoughby and he exits in 32nd place, not looking too disheartened with his $300 and performance overall.

Meanwhile, Jon Neale moved in preflop with a shortish stacked A-K, only to find Scott McGovern giving him a spin with Ad-5d. That was looking good until the flop came Ac-8d-5h, and with no help from the Jh-Qs turn and river, a disappointed Neale said that although making it to the $350 pay bracket was nice and all, "It wasn't really what I was going for at this stage."

With Neale's elimination, I believe we're down to just three high Belts here: Jerome Bradpiece, Steve Dickson and Warren Wooldridge are Purple Belt and eligible to win $15,000 extra if they capture the top spot. They're currently on the same table (along with Priyan de Mel and Craig Wakeham) and it's an interesting one to watch.

Bradpiece: From short stack exit-teeterer yesterday, to 130k and a tableside steak sandwich today.

Playing The Pham Game

Neil Channing, definitely the most thematically dressed Black Belt player, has finally been eliminated, just when it was starting to look like a deep finish for the original poker blackbelt might be on the cards.

A couple of pairs, namely 77 on the button (out-raced by small blind Karim Louis' AK) and then TT the very next hand (which ran smack into Kings) were responsible for his elimination. Winning $250, he displayed the same crestfallen response to busting out as Nik Persaud did yesterday. They compared notes on the rail before his attention started being pulled in two directions - the remaining 36 players battling for the title here, and the cash game nestled in the far side of the room...

Chips at First Break

Who's vying for the lead now? Why - it's Day 1B chip leader Neil Suarez, almost doubling his stack in these last three levels to a half mil position.

Neil Suarez - 519,000
Joe Laming - 315,500
Jeremy Bakes - 252,000
Scott Mcgovern - 238,500
Daniel Laming - 226,000
Giovanni Pennetta - 220,500
Toby Lewis - 212,500
Dean Aldred - 192,500
Priyan de Mel - 188,000
Robert Stain - 169,500
Pratik Ghatge - 169,500
Jack Mcdermott - 169,500
Peter Wigglesworth - 166,000
Nicholas Aly - 161,500
Warren Wooldridge - 160,000
Douglas Hogan - 158,000
Jerome Bradpiece - 151,000
Hugo Martin - 142,000
Craig Wakeham - 126,500
Glenn Laming - 125,000
Shane Dewsbury - 124,500
Michael Hyam - 121,500
Gregory Bert - 115,500
Neil Channing - 110,000
Daniel Williams - 110,000
Paul Pham - 109,000
Roy Farranat - 108,000
Tim Magnus - 104,000
Chun Law - 103,500
Stephen Dickson - 102,500
Nicholas Stinson - 100,500
Karim Louis - 94,000
David Sparks - 92,500
Paul Zimbler - 87,500
Stephen Draper - 86,000
Jamie Roberts - 71,000
Richard Willoughby - 57,500
Tomasz Jedlecki - 51,000
Jon Neale - 42,000
Adam Reid - 41,500

This Just In.... Busted players in the money so far:

41 Diane Ambler $250
42 Ermyas Birru $250 (pictured below)
43 Lesley Kumar $250
44 Hassan Uddin $200
45 Wilson Chan $200
46 Lewis Higham $200
47 Tom Drew $200
48 Antonis Poulengeris $200
49 Mark Norman $200
50 Darren White $200

Bubble Near-Misses, then Bubble HIT

Action on table 6! Antonis Poulengeris just put Joe Laming to a big decision, moving all in over the top of three-betting big blind Jack McDermott. Laming tanked, then passed, going a bit mental when Poulengeris revealed Jacks vs. McDermott's A-K off. "Move all in with Jacks!" he fumed, "I passed Kings, what you do that for...?" Regardless of this eyebrow-raising fold, the AK hit an Ace anyway and doubled him up to 140k.

Then.... Jacks no good again, Henry Stafford getting them in against the AQ of neighbour Lewis Higham. That's it, the bubble bursts, everyone left of the 50 still in their seats is guaranteed at least $200 for their efforts!

Orange Belt Last Longer WON!

By Craig Wakeham, Toby Lewis, Tom Drew and Giovanni Pennetta.

Congratulations gents and enjoy your extra $500! Pictures coming soon, and of Orange-bubbler Simon Morris (below), to whom our condolences go as the regular prize bubble stretches out like it's made of rubber...

Joe Laming Picks off Bounty Dave Colclough

Well, it's easier when you flop top set on a 3-6-8 flop and your opponent (who's been pretty active, I saw him all in pre (no call) twice earlier, and setting Tom Drew in on a Jh-8s-Js flop with no further action) holds a set of sixes. Dave Colclough in the big blind had seen the flop along with a second caller, and Joe Laming's lucky 888 won him a decent pot and sent El Blondie to the rail. Laming up to a respectable 230k and we're nearly bubbling, with 52 players remaining...

"Ship It To the Old-school Dinosaur!"

So said Neil Channing, after a strange hand gave him a good few thousand. "There were seven limpers. That's what we have on this table," he mused, "Seven limpers!"

Paul Zimbler and Phil the Tower overheard this and were shaking their heads. Phil said, "Wow, seven limpers in level 14..." while Zimbler complained, "I don't know how he gets away with it!"

Seconds later and we hear he's doubled up to 112k, running pret-ty good on Day Two.

Possibly on the flip side of this hand, now severely stacked Man Kit Tung moved in preflop for just 11,400, looking callable (the blinds 1.5k/3k) even to big blind Karim Louis with his Jd-2h. Tung was in good shape to double up to just super-short with his dominating Ks-2d but the deck had other ideas. The board came Ts-7d-Tc...6c... Jc and the river sent him packing.

Day Two Combines the Field, Chews it Up, Spits it Out

70 players reconvened to play first to the money (at 50th place) and then on to a winner, who'll get a $15,000 top prize, extremely impressive trophy, and place in Black Belt history as the first live event Champion!

Already we're on a bubble of sorts - the Orange Belt Last Longer is in its final stage, with just five players playing for four $500 last-longer bonuses. Hitting the rail in the first exits of the day were two of the remaining Orange Belts - John Hayes and Andrea Bocchiero, leaving in contention Simon Morris, Craig Wakeham, Giovanni Pennetta, Tom Drew and chip leader Toby Lewis!

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Day 1B Concludes

At the close of Day 1B, it's Neil Suarez (pictured) who leads the way.

Neil Suarez -- 293,200
Priyan de Mel -- 176,000
Chris Wood -- 164,000
Dean Aldred -- 158,700
Jeremey Bakes -- 152,900
Daniel Laming -- 129,600
Glenn Laming -- 122,400
Robert Stain -- 121,900
Joe Laming -- 110,400
Michael Hyam -- 108,800
Mark Norman -- 100,500
Paul Zimbler -- 100,100
Warren Wooldridge -- 90,700
Lesley Kumar -- 90,700
David Sparks -- 77,500
Daniel Williams -- 77,200
Dianne Ambler -- 75,600
Jamie Roberts -- 77,100
Steve Dickson -- 76,500
Jon Neale -- 69,900
Paul Pham -- 69,000
Richard Willoby -- 63,200
Paul Garnham -- 60,900
Roy Farranat -- 57,600
Tim Magnus -- 41,700
Martin Taylor -- 40,700
John Hayes -- 39,100
Mike Tse -- 33,500
Frank Lippitt -- 32,400
Simon Morris -- 31,800
Harry Stafford -- 28,100
Gary Graham -- 27,300
Simon Tung -- 26,800
Jay Patel -- 26,500
Gregory Bert -- 25,900
Jason Lam -- 24,200

Play resumes tomorrow at 12pm, sharp... unless Channing gets on the mike.

Ghazi Down the Kazi; Stoned to Death

Deep into the final level of the night we witnessed a double whammy that bore witness to another couple of exits. When I joined the action, the hands were on their backs with two players - not coincidentally, I expect, the two with the inferior hands - all in and their tournament life on the line.

Joe Laming had both opponents by the short and curlies with Ac-Ad versus Javed Ghazi's Ks-Kh and Elizabeth Stone's 7h-7d. Despite the "one time" demand of Ghazi, the board ran out a rather dry and uninspiring 8s-5h-2c-2s-5c to give Laming the pot, and his two foes the door.

On the same table, but several hands later, we finally lost bounty Marty Smyth. Despite a dogged will to survive that would have had Bear Grylls applauding from the sidelines, he was eventually put down by Steve Dickson, the Purple Belt desposing of his man with pocket jacks holding up against threes.

A Lot of Action

The last level saw more action than a Die Hard boxset with the following players left to hail down a taxi:

Robert Weston
Simon Girling
Azzy Asghar
Simon Herrick
Gladys Long
Patryk Wlodarski
Del Snelling
Nick Mazur
Gerald Ringe
Warren Jackman
Simon Fossat
Richard Hurst
Dominic Harrison
Tristan McDonald
Gerard Harraghy
Darren Sprengers
Chris Ambler
Richard Eatock
Alan Steer
Christopher Andreou
Joel Hughes
Maxcel Verdugo

Of those, I was able to witness Girling's exit, Kd-Qh unable to topple the As-Kc of Gregory Bert on a 7s-9c-9s-2s-3d board.

One player who did evade the list though was Dianne Ambler. She was able to crack aces with pocket queens, a third lady on the turn making her push for 26,400 a lucrative one and increasing her stack two fold.

Steve Dickson is also still in with 45,000.

It's a Funny Ol' Game

The room has been on absolute tenterhooks these past few moments as final bounty Marty Smyth has been poking his feet over the edge of the cliff and looking odds on to fall. He wouldn't be anywhere near the coast, however, if he hadn't been dealt a blow by the Poker Gods.

With a short stack pushing all in from early position with Ah-7h, Smyth made a brave, but justified call with As-9s, only to have the board come 6c-Jd-Kh-Qh... 7d for a rivered pair. A few hands later, and down to several thousand, he was all in himself, on the verge of departure wih 9h-6s versus Ad-Qc. Again, I'm going to need the dots, as the board came 4d-Js-4s-3h... 6d to keep the Irishman alive, and save the bounty from the jaws of defeat.

Meanwhile, chip leader Warren Wooldidge just raced over to the press area with an excited look on his face matched only by his offspring on Christmas Eve: "Snoops, Snoops!" he exclaimed. "You have to listen to this pot. I limped under the gun with fours and there were no fewer than six callers. It got round to the big blind who then pushed all in for 20,000."

"Tell me you folded..." I inquired.

"I made it 100,000," continued Wooldridge, "... and the limpers folded. When I turned my hand over he said, 'I've got one overcard' and showed 6-2, but the board came five straight cards to split the pot!"

Graded Down

We're two Graders - and two Irishmen - down: Gerard Harraghy and Marty Rice.

The latter was the victim of the rampaging rhinoceros that is Warren Wooldridge who is sucking up chips like a Dyson on speed. Rice was, of course, the latest recipient, three-betting Wooldridge's open of 3,000 to 11,000 from the big blind with kings, before getting his remaining 29,000 in on the jack high flop. Wooldridge, however, had flopped a set of eights, which duly held up on a cowboy-less turn and river.

Harraghy, meanwhile, had a slightly less formidable holding, calling a three-bet with K-Q before check-raising all in on a raggy flop. Unfortunately, his foe had bullets and shoved his chips in quicker than a pack of wolves on a three-legged cat. As for Gerard and his miracle runner-runner? Well, that failed to arrive, and he ended up like the three-legged cat - battered, brusied and slightly stunned.

Post-Dinner Hospital Queue

The dinner-break steaks are normally enough to leave people bloated and reluctant to move their chips upon return, but not so today as players have been falling like whippets from a plane. Within just a few hands we lost both Annabel Jones and Keir Fitzgibbon, whilst not long later Mandy Card followed suit. Faced with a min-raise (from pocket threes, it later emerged), Card shoved all in with A-J, but ran into both A-K and A-A to leave her in a situation that not even Houdini could have escaped from. A dry board later and yes, she was indeed gone.

In fact, as I write, we are still losing players. The current post-dinner hospital queue now looks like such:

George Frangeskou
Simon Wing
Samuel Fossat
Adam Frampton
Amanda Card
Dennis Vanmaanen
Laurence Houghton
Rita Gilroy
Keir Fitzgibbon
Annabel Jones
Philip Taylor Milden
Gareth Cash
Michael Carr
Paul Harrison

Dinner Break Chip Counts

Warren Wooldridge - 131,000
Neil Suarez - 102,200
Priyan De mel - 88,300
Dean Aldred - 81,800
Chris Wood - 81,500
Joe Laming - 77,700
Jeremy Bakes - 74,700
Del Snelling - 73,900
Rory Liffey - 72,800
Jason Lam - 71,600
Martin Rice - 69,900
Lesley Kumar - 66,200
Jon Neale - 62,700
Paul Zimbler - 62,600
Robert Stain - 60,400
Jay Patel - 59,900
Michael Hyam - 55,900
Gary Graham - 53,700
Richard Willoughby - 52,000
Mark Norman - 51,200
Azzy Asghar - 51,200
John Hayes - 51,100
Daniel Laming - 50,400
Keir Fitzgibbon - 46,800
Thibault Richard - 46,700
Elizabeth Stone - 46,400
Patryk Wlodarski - 46,400
Dominic Harrison - 46,100
Gerard Harraghy - 43,800
Glenn Laming - 43,600
Roy Farranat - 41,600
Chris Ambler - 41,100
Nick Mazur - 39,800
Gerald Ringe - 39,600
Kashif Shirazi - 39,100
Paul Garnham - 37,600
Jason Tennant - 37,100
Javed Ghazi - 36,100
Alan Steer - 35,300
Michael Tse - 33,400
Daniel Williams - 31,400
Jamie Roberts - 30,200
Chris Poutashi - 29,400
Rita Gilroy - 27,900
Gregory Bert - 26,900
Martin Taylor - 26,400
Robert Weston - 25,500
Marty Smyth - 24,800
Stephen Dickson - 24,100
David Sparks - 22,400
Richard Hurst - 21,600
Henry Stafford - 21,000
Frank Lippitt - 20,300
Warren Jackman - 20,000
Tim Magnus - 18,900
Simon Wing - 18,800
Man kit Tung - 18,400
Simon Fossat - 17,900
Diane Ambler - 17,300
Christopher Andreou - 17,000
Tristan Mcdonald - 16,700
Amanda Card - 16,200
Samuel Fossat - 15,400
Simon Girling - 14,800
Richard Eatock - 14,000
Joel Hughes - 13,900
Gareth Cash - 13,600
Annabel Jones - 13,400
Darren Sprengers - 13,400
Philip Taylor Mildon - 13,300
Gladys Long - 13,000
Paul Pham - 12,900
Simon Herrick - 12,200
Adam Frampton - 11,900
Dennis Vanmaanen - 11,600
Simon Morris - 11,100
Laurence Houghton - 10,900
Maxcel Verdugo - 5,100
George Frangeskou - 4,100

Persaud Runs into a Warren

As we crawl towards the break, the third bounty of the day falls in the shape of Black Belt Poker co-founder Nik Persaud. It was CEO Warren Wooldridge who lit the opening spark, raising to 2,200 from early position. Persaud (hijack) and Marty Rice (big blind) both called. After a 9c-4c-6d flop hit the felt, it was checked round to Persaud who sat back in his chair, undertook a quick count of both his chips and the pot, and nonchalently announced all in for 19,500.

Rice folded without hesistation but Wooldridge, perhaps influenced by the obvious lure of a belt and signed photo of his colleague, was less hospitable and dipped into the tank. "You can work out what I have," claimed Persaud. "I have an open-ended straight draw. I'm a favourite, so you can call it off now." "I call," replied Wooldrige flipping Qc-6s. He wasn't lying, confirmed the dealer as Persaud tabled 8c-7c.

"It's not coming," smirked Paul Garnham shaking his head as the 4h turn hit the felt, and he was right to be synical as the river came a Qd to give Wooldridge two pair and leave Persaud with little more than a missed monster draw.

Speaking of monsters, Wooldridge's stack has grown into a beast!

And on that note, we head into the dinner break. Back in 45 minutes.

De Wolfe in Da House

Senseis Persaud and Channing joined by Roland De Wolfe and Black Belt Poker League III winner David Meuiner.

The two jokers in the pack.

Bounty Check

Both the scalps of Nik Persaud (35,000) and Marty Smyth (26,500) are in tact, meaning the prize belts remain firmly in my grasp.

David La Ronde has been less fortunate and is now a member of the ever-incraesing list of walking wounded after running "A-K into aces" and "kings into queens."