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
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 and was up against the . A final board reading 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.