Jelinek on top in Newcastle
Day 1a of the Newcastle leg of the Grosvenor UK Poker Tour (GUKPT) is in the bag with Steve Jelinek leading a surprisingly small field. For the last year, the GUKPT has been amazing everyone with how it was seemingly recession proof with amazing field sizes, but yesterday just 42 players paid £1000+£60 to play in day 1a of the main event, whereas usually you see at least 100 a day.
There are quite a few reasons that spring to mind as to maybe why there is suddenly such a smaller attendance in Newcastle. First of all, the World Series of Poker is about to start and everyone is saving their money for Vegas. Then of course there is the £1000 Grand Slam Event at Dusk Till Dawn next week which many players may have decided to play instead, not mention some 30 odd BlackBelt Poker Graders trying to grind away online before the grading ends this Sunday.
There will probably be more players today, as is usually the case in day 1b, in the meantime the remaining players look like this (Courtesy of Blue Square/GUKPT):
Steve Jelinek 61275
Mohamed Muse 47500
Henning Granstad 45200
Colin Wu 37925
David Collins 35450
Andreas Hoivold 31325
Paul Gardener 31275
Matthew Lewis 30625
Carlo Citrone 27125
Glen Williams 25625
Iftkhar Ali 15925
Peter Smithson 13125
Gordon Wright 12575
Ganesh Rao 7100
Women's World Open III This Sunday
Women's poker is positively booming at the moment with players like Kathy Liebert, Sandra Naujoks, Kara Scott and Vanessa Rousso all holding court in some of the toughest open events in the world. This weekend sees the start of the third and possibly toughest Party Poker Women's World Open in Maidstone, London. Matchroom Sports will be assembling 36 of the top female players in the world to battle it out for a $50,000 first prize.
World Series of Poker Europe champion Annette Obrestad leads the pack, alongside Jennifer Tilly, Sandra Najuoks, Liv Boeree and Maria Demetriou. We like the chances of UK circuit regular Lynne Beaumont, Collette Murphy of Ireland and Pokernews blogger Jen Mason to cause an upset.
A Party Poker spokesman said: "There are certainly some interesting heats lined-up. The opening heat features Annette and Germany's Christine Klecz while the second in the afternoon features both Jennifer Tilly and Jen Mason. Heat five on Wednesday looks to be one of the toughest on paper, however, as it features May Maceiras, who seriously impressed last year with her hyper-aggressive game, as well as Maria Demetriou and Sandra Naujoks."
The tournament features six six-seater heats with one six seat runner-up heat. The final table will feature seven players and as usual the commentary will be led by Jesse May.
UK WSOP Watch List – Neil Channing
Yesterday we brought you one of the new school top picks for the 2009 World Series of Poker in the form of online giant Chris Moorman and now we turn to one of the old school. Neil Channing has seemingly overnight become the godfather of UK poker (despite having been a regular fixture in UK poker circles for years). After a deep run in the 2007 main event and multiple final tables in the Grosvenor UK Poker Tour (GUKPT) and GCBPT, he finally captured a major in the form of the 2008 Irish Open - since then he has been on everybody's favourites list to win big in Vegas.
Channing has really impressed observers of the Irish Open and other televised poker events with how well he captains the table with his chips and his relentless table talk. He will certainly be putting a lot of pressure on his own shoulders to do well in Vegas this year and he has high expectations for his motley crew of disciples, the BlackBelt Poker Graders.
There is a concern that his interests away from the table (His Brown Belts and the small army of players he regularly stakes anyway) might distract him this year in Vegas, but with 7 WSOP cashes last year and a further 2 at the WSOPE - he could finally convert a deep run into a major WSOP result this year.