Edinburgh, like many parts of the United Kingdom, may be in the grip of a storm named Barney, but that didn’t prevent 115 players making their way to the Genting Club Casino at the Fountain Park Entertainment Centre for Day 1a of Season 5’s UKIPT Edinburgh Main Event.
The whistling and howls of the gale-force winds outside were drowned out by the sounds of chips riffling and dreams dashed, although the dream of becoming a UKIPT champion is most definitely still alive for the 29 players who weathered the storm, especially Kevin Whelan who ended the night as the tournament’s chip leader.
Season 5 UKIPT Edinburgh Main Event Day 1a Top 10 Chip Counts
According to the PokerStars blog, Whelan is a 35-year-old Liverpool native who now resides in Aberdeen. Whelan was seated with German superstar Dominic Nitsche for parts of Day 1a and the duo clashed on several occasions.
The first saw Whelan hand over some of his stack to Nitsche when the former led for 4,500 on an board and Nitsche called. Whelan fired 6,500 on the turn, and once again Nitsche called. It was for Whelan, but the for Nitsche which had improved to two pair.
Later in the day, the pair collided again and this time it was Nitsche who came away from the battle licking his wounds. Nitsche was under the gun, Whelan in the big blind, and the latter check-called a bet on a flop, before check-shoving on a turn. Nitsche called to put Whelan at risk of elimination, turning over . However, Whelan showed for a full house, and when the river bricked off, Whelan doubled his stack.
Michael McGee came close to being the overnight chip leader after ended Day 1a with 269,900 chips while Italy’s Roberto Morelli finished the night with 204,700 chips and was the only other player to bag up more than 200,000 chips.
Top poker talent such as Kyle Maguire (132,000), Dara O’Kearney (102,600), reigning champion Dean Hutchison (84,200), Mudasser Hussain (76,900), the aforementioned and Nitsche (55,600), also progressed to Saturday’s Day 2.
While the above players all headed to bed knowing they were still in contention for the title, some familiar faces saw their quest for glory end prematurely.
Day 1b begins at midday and sees plenty of fresh faces enter the fray.
Tune into UK & Ireland PokerNews on Saturday morning to discover if Whelan is still the tournament’s chip leader, or if one of the Day 1b posse has managed to eclipse his impressive total.
Lead image courtesy of Mickey May of the PokerStars Blog