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Laurence Essa Lead Final 24 in the partypoker WPTNUK London Main Event

Laurence Essa

Two hundred and five players returned to Aspers casino at the Westfield Stratford City complex in London on Saturday afternoon, each knowing that if they made it through the planned 12 levels of 40-minutes they would not only be in the money but would be one step closer to becoming a World Poker Tour champion.

At the close of play on Day 2, all but 24 of those 205 returnees had busted. One man, Laurence Essa, excelled as others fell and as a result starts the third and final day as the only player with more than one million chips and is the overall chip leader. Essa is a corporate trader by day and avid poker player by night; by Monday morning he could be a WPT winner to boot. Essa returns to Aspers on Day 3 armed with 1,069,000 chips, some 148,000 more than second placed Rahim Tadj-Saadat (921,000).

If Essa is going to walk away with the winner's trophy, he is going to be pushed hard by everyone still in the field, including two of the United Kingdom's brightest stars.

Former Grosvenor UK Poker Tour (GUKPT) Grand Final winner Kevin Allen starts the final day with 709,000 chips, which are enough to see him sit down in fourth place when play resumes. Three places below Allen is the recent partypoker WPT UK champion Matas Cimbolas (589,000) who will fancy his chances of adding a WPT National trophy to his collection.

partypoker WPT National UK London Day 3 Chip Counts

1Laurence Essa1,069,000
2Rahim Tadj-Saadat921,000
3Christopher Yong784,000
4Kevin Allen709,000
5Jesus Gracia687,000
6Jeraint Hazan625,000
7Matas Cimbolas589,000
8Paul Siliceo587,000
9Karl Roberts574,000
10Lucio Pacifico537,000
11Darren Mapley469,000
12Christopher Gordon417,000
13Chan Ha413,000
14Kenny King400,000
15Umberan Akhtar388,000
16Petrit Papushi386,000
17Michel Melkert362,000
18Marius Lietuvninkas361,000
19Andrew Bell295,000
20Jamal Gormati232,000
21Matthew Buckland158,000
22Saulius Tumosa133,000
23Justin Kean105,000
24James Manlove60,000

Each of the 24 surviving players is guaranteed £895 for their efforts so far thanks to the bubble bursting during the penultimate level of play on Day 2. The unfortunate bubble boy was Jacques Arama who three-bet his short stack all-in after Christopher Tong had opened the betting. Yong called with {9-Spades}{7-Diamonds} and was up against the {k-Clubs}{j-Spades}. A final board reading {q-Spades}{6-Clubs}{10-Diamonds}{q-Clubs}{7-Hearts} gifted Yong the best hand and Arama left empty handed.

Some of those reaching the money places included Jefferson Dike (42nd for £600), Surinder Sunar (39th for £600), and Kelly Ann Saxby (34th for £690).

Play resumes at 1:00pm on Sunday afternoon and you can follow all of the action from the £100,000 guaranteed Main Event via our live reporting pages.

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