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Leon Louis Leading the 2015 GUKPT London Field

Leon Louis in action at UKIPT Edinburgh

The 2015 Grosvenor UK Poker Tour (GUKPT) got under way at The Poker Room in the heart of London on Thursday afternoon and what a start this new season has got off to. Late registration was open for six levels and when the staff pulled the shutters down they had taken 110 buy-ins.

Among those 110 entrants were some of the best poker talent the United Kingdom has to offer, going to show that the GUKPT hasn't lost any of its appeal despite entering what is now its ninth season.

Thirty-eight players punched their ticket to Saturday's Day 2, but none of them excelled as much as the overnight chip leader, Leon Louis. The poker aficionados among you will be aware that Louis is a phenomenal player, one who crushes in the world of high stakes heads-up sit 'n' go (HUSNG0 tournaments. Louis is also quite handy in a full ring environment as is evident by his $173,272 lifetime winnings in lmajor live tournaments and the fact he ended Day 1a of the 2015 GUKPT London Main Event with a colossal stack of 140,500 chips.

Only two other players from the first starting flight bagged up six-figure stacks. Dervis Ozkarapinar returns on Saturday with 128,300 chips at his disposal and Joe Beevers finished on an impressive 101,900 chips. Beevers is a British poker legend, one with more than $2.5 million in live tournament winnings. Now that the former Hendon Mobster has chips aplenty he should be adding to that impressive total during the next few days.

Joining the above trio safely through to Day 2 is a group of players whose names would not look out of place in a tournament featuring a much larger buy-in than the £1,090 here.

Recent UKIPT London champion Rapinder Cheema (85,100) is riding the wave of success and looks set for another deep run, while the likes of World Series of Poker bracelet winner Barny Boatman (83,200), Danish star Morten Mortensen (79,700), Haresh Thaker (72,600), Victor Ilyukhin (72,000) and GUKPT Reading winner Paul Vas Nunes (71,800) each had profitable days at the GUKPT branded felt.

Also progressing to Day 2 are Ryan Spittles (71,100), French pro Marc Inizan (67,400), Charlie Combes (67,400), Matt Davenport (49,900), Richard “Chufty” Ashby (43,300), Charles “Chaz” Chattha (37,600), James “Flushy” Dempsey (28,600) and the 2014 GUKPT Grand Final champion Charlie Carrel (24,300).

2015 GUKPT London Day 1a Top 10 Chip Counts

1Leon Louis140,500
2Dervis Ozkarapinar128,300
3Joe Beevers101,900
4Niall Murphy94,300
5Anthony Marks89,800
6Rapinder Cheema85,100
7Barny Boatman83,200
8Morten Mortensen79,700
9Adam Kossew72,700
10Haresh Thaker72,600

The second and final starting flight, Day 1b, begins at 1:00 p.m. on Friday 30 January and sees those entering battle it out over the course of nine levels. Traditionally, the last flight of a live tournament is the busiest so it will be interesting to see who makes their way to The Poker Room for Day 1b, especially as Day 1a was so star-studded and the French Poker Series / European Poker Tour Deauville is also running.

Tune into UK & Ireland PokerNews on Saturday morning for a recap of the action from Day 1b of the 2015 GUKPT London Main Event.

Lead image courtesy of Rene Velli of the PokerStars Blog

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