The £2,200 High Roller of the 2017 PokerStars Festival London saw 47 hopefuls out of a 178-entry strong field return to the tables of the iconic Hippodrome Casino. It soon became obvious that the plan to finish the event in two days would become a challenge. Due to the extremely big turnout, it was decided to determine the champion via an additional tournament day on January 26th.
Yuriy Boyko started the day in the lead 13 spots off the money, and the Irishman will be returning tomorrow as the short stack of 20 big blinds with only five players remaining. Joe Johnson takes the overnight spotlight with a massive stack of 2,200,000 after turning on a "sick heater" throughout the late stages of the day.
Second in chips is Nicolas Beker with 1,123,000, closely followed by Enzo Del Piero (1,100,000). Harry Lodge (626,000) and aforementioned Boyko (484,000) are the two shortest stacks with half an hour remaining in level 23 at blinds of 12,000-24,000 and a running ante of 4,000.
|Seat||Player||Country||Chip Count||Big Blinds|
|3||Enzo Del Piero||UK||1,100,000||45|
Among those to miss out on the money were such big names as former November Niner Pierre Neuville, Peter Jaksland, Philipp Gruissem and 2016 Irish Open champion Daniel Wilson. The bubble then turned into an endurance challenge of more than two hours. Eventually, Michel Abecassis would become the last player to leave empty-handed. After a limp, Abecassis shoved for less than eight big blinds with pocket eights and found one caller behind before Neophytos Neophytou reshoved behind them with pocket aces. Abecassis found no eight or other help and the tournament was in the money.
The field was quickly reduced to 32 and moved to the "Lounge" where Chris Moorman and Julien Sitbon were among those to depart soon after. Moorman's shove for 10 big blinds was called by Sitbon and Nathan Manuel. The flop came ace-high with a flush draw and Sitbon then bet the turn and river when running spades appeared. Manuel called with ace-queen for the flush, while Moorman turned over jack-eight suited for the slightly inferior flush. Sitbon, who won the 2015 Unibet Open Main Event in Cannes, followed soon after losing a flip with ace-jack to pocket tens.
The British poker pros Matthew Ashton and James Akenhead had to settle for 24th and 22nd place respectively and Johnson took over the lead when his pocket queens cracked aces and held against king-jack in a three-way all in. The eliminations kept coming at a fast pace and soon the last two tables were reached. Robert Willis and Valentin Frunze were among those to bust before the dinner break.
Once the 11 hopefuls returned, everyone agreed to play another three levels and then bag up for an extra day of play. Javier Zarco's check-raise all in with the nut flush draw failed to get there against the king-four suited of Johnson for top pair and the second nut flush draw. The last remaining PokerStars Team Pro, Liv Boeree, then bowed out in 10th place. Boeree was at risk with queen-jack and Jonathan Clark called with pocket fives in the big blind to win the flip, and also set up the unofficial final table.
Neophytos Neophytou and Nathan Manuel joined the rail before the action once again slowed down. After the departure of Clark in 7th place, the short stacks Lodge and Nicolas Cardyn asked to play an extra half an hour to either bust or double up and that wish was granted. Unfortunately for Cardyn, it resulted in a sixth-place finish after the Frenchman lost a flip with pocket sevens to the ace-king suited of Del Piero.
The remaining five players bagged up just after 2 a.m. local time and will be back at 1.30 p.m. to play down to a winner. As per usual, the PokerNews live reporting team will be there to provide all the action.