The legend that is Ali Mallu is the man to catch after Day 1a of the 2015 Grosvenor UK Poker Tour (GUKPT) Manchester Main Event. Mallu’s overnight chip bag was bulging with 133,000 chips, a single 100 denomination chip more than second placed Nigel Ventre.
Day 1a saw 78 entries in total, 31 more than the 2014 edition that overlaid by eight players, a good sign that the £200,000 guarantee will be met this time around. Of those 78 entries, only 25 managed to progress to Saturday’s Day 2 and, as mentioned, Mallu leads them all.
Mallu’ style of play makes even the great Gus Hansen look like a complete nit, but it is a style that does work from time-to-time as is evident by Mallu’s $1,007,966 in live tournament winnings. He could easily build a massive stack on Day 2 and go onto win or be one of the first players out of the door, which makes him fun and exciting to watch and play against.
Nigel Ventre almost had his name up in lights, but was pipped to the chip lead by a mere 100 chips. Ventre had a deep run in the 2013 GUKPT Didsbury Main Event (he finished 13th for £1,150) and will be hopeful of a similar run in this event.
A number of big names chose Day 1a to get their GUKPT title quest of the ground and a handful of them punched their Day 2 ticket.
Former European Poker Tour (EPT) Barcelona champion Tom Middleton made the relatively short journey down the M62 from Leeds to Manchester and finished the night with 56,600 chips. Matt Davenport (42,000), Team PokerStars Pro Jake Cody (37,100), John Eames (25,000) and World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet winner Barny Boatman (9,600) also progressed.
2015 GUKPT Manchester Main Event Day 1a Top 10 Chip Counts
The second and final starting flight kicks off at 1:00 p.m. on Friday afternoon and continues until nine 60-minute levels are completed. In addition to plenty of fresh faces, we’d expect the likes of Steven Warburton, Ben Martin, Alex Spencer, Yucel Eminoglu, Ian Simpson, Phill Huxley and Kevin Williams to take another bite at the cherry, having crashed out at various points on Day 1a.
Head to the GUKPT blog for live updates from the Main Event, but make sure you return to UK & Ireland PokerNews on Saturday for a recap of the Day 1b action.