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Dario Sammartino Tops Star-Studded Field on Day 1B of UKIPT London

Dario Sammartino

Although £1,000 is a lot of money to many people, to the biggest names in poker this princely sum wouldn’t even cover dinner with friends at Nobu or one of the many overpriced, trendy restaurant they like to frequent.

In a world where €5,000 European Poker Tour Main Events and their €10,000 and €50,000 High Roller cousins dominate the poker news headlines, £1,000 buy-in events usually fly under the radar. The latest edition of the UKIPT London Main Event is not interested in passing by without people knowing; instead, it is kicking, screaming and letting off a barrage of fireworks while shouting, “look at who is playing in our tournament!”

Day 1B of attracted 491 players to the Grand Connaught Rooms in Covent Gardens and among that bumper crowd were some of the most established professional players in the world. Team PokerStars Pros were represented by Richard Toth, Marcin Horecki, Matthias de Meudler, Andre Akkari, Nacho Barbero, Liv Boeree and the legendary Barry Greenstein. The fact Greenstein bought into a £1,000 tournament proves how far the UKIPT had progressed since its inception.

Greenstein would end the day with a most respectable 162,000 chips, making him the highest placed Team Pro going into Friday’s Day 2, with only Boeree and de Meulder managing to progress with him from the final starting flight.

Some of the other big names to buy into the UKIPT London Main Event and navigate their way through to Day 2 include the 2013 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure champion Dimitar Danchev (197,800), Charlie Combes (163,800), EPT Snowfest champion Vladimir Geshkenbein (130,000), Luke Reeves (110,100), World Series of Poker bracelet winner Craig McCorkell (72,000), and British legend Julian Thew (46,000).

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Despite the big names packing out the lavish venue, it was the relatively little-known Italian Dario Sammartino who ended Day 1B as the chip leader, his 265,400 chips are enough to see him lead overall, beating Day 1A leader Richard Trigg by almost 40,000 chips. Sammartino is primarily a cash game player at PokerStars’ Italian site where he crushes the €5/€10 and €10/€20 No Limit Hold’em games. He is no slouch when it comes to live tournaments, too. So far in Sammartino’s career, he has cashed for more than $510,000 including picking up £15,000 when he finished 29th in last season’s EPT London Main Event (the one that Ruben Visser won!)

At 12:00 noon, the 70 players who survived Day 1A will join up with the 153 who progressed from Day 2 creating a field of 223. These hopefuls will then enter a battle of wits at the blue-felt covered tables in the Grand Connaught Rooms knowing that only almost exactly half of them (112) will leave the venue with nothing but memories and possibly a few bad beat stories to tell their loved ones.

The mathematicians among you have probably figured out that last sentence means the UKIPT London Main Event is paying 111 spots this year. A min-cash yields £1,810 and this amount increases all the way up to the £136,875 first place prize.

There is still a long way to go in this tournament before the champion is crowned, but by the time Day 2 is written into the history books – probably after another eight 60-minute levels – we will be much closer to being able to predict who that champion will be.

UKIPT London End-of-Day 1B Top 10 Chip Counts

1stDario SammartinoItaly265,400
2ndAdrian DemuscaRomania209,000
3rdDimitar DanchevBulgaria197,800
4thAntonin DudaCzech Republic195,500
5thMathew PerryUK179,300
6thGeorgios KapalasGreece163,800
7thCharlie CombesUK163,800
8thBarry GreensteinUSA162,000
9thNicolau Villa-LobosBrazil146,300
10thLudovicus Van WelyNetherlands143,700

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