Tournament organizers were chatting yesterday about their worry over the forthcoming £10,350 No-Limit Hold'em High Roller Heads-Up. Sixty-four players was the number they were hoping for, but some pessimistic voices were saying it was more likely to be somewhere in the mid-fifties. Still not a bad turnout, though, for a high buy-in high-variance tournament in its inaugural year. Move forward one day and two rounds of the tournament later and those worries are a distant memory. A fairly staggering 103 players signed up to create a prize pool in excess of £1 million, guaranteeing a first prize of £288,409. Thirty-two players will return tomorrow when three more rounds are likely to be played. The first round (third of the tournament) will be a tense affair as it’s the bubble round. The loser gets nothing; the winner gets a minimum of £22,847.
Phil Ivey raced through his two matches, dispatching two very dangerous opponents in Sam Trickett and Erik Sagstrom. His Team Full Tilt colleague Chris Ferguson was even quicker through his two matches but without a happy ending. His day started well with a bye but he lasted less than ten hands against Andrew Feldman when his ace-king couldn’t catch-up with the Brit’s pocket queens. For such a high-buy-in event, it was surprising to see how quickly most of the matches ended. There was one player happy to take his time and ended up in the last match in both rounds. Mike Matusow took about two-and-a-half hours to dispatch Sam Stein in round one and then over three hours to lose to Ilari "Ziigmund" Sahamies in round two. Other Team Full Tilt members to fall today included Andy Bloch (round one), Erik Seidel (round one), Ferguson (as we mentioned in round two), Tom Dwan (round two) and John Juanda (round two).
Neil Channing won both his matches to set up an intriguing all-England tie with young online phenomenon Chris Moorman who won through two rounds, as well. Huck Seed won through and will have to use all his TOC experience to navigate his way past Sahamies in round three. A host of other names bye’d and battled their way through including Gus Hansen, Ram Vaswani, Howard Lederer, Scott Fischman, Daniel Negreanu, Shawn Buchanan and Yevgeniy Timoshenko.
Those who we loved but lost today included Vanessa Rousso, Jake Cody, Jason Mercier (played with no sleep after taking down a WCOOP a few hours earlier), Andrew Litchenberger, Praz Bansi, Barny Boatman, Carlos Mortensen, Antonio Esfandiari, Jeff Lisandro, Greg Mueller, Scott Seiver and Phil Hellmuth.
The big-name players crammed into this small space have shown what a star-studded field this was with very little value in terms of an edge in skill. All this means that taking down this title will be worth huge bragging rights in the poker community. If there’s ever been a harder heads-up field to navigate, we'd sure like to see it.
The poker resumes at 3:00 p.m. local time and the motivation dial will be turned up to 11 as we go about trimming the field from 32 to our semifinal four. You can bet your brackets our Live Reporting team will be back inside the ropes to bring you updates from all 28 matches throughout the day!
These live updates are brought to you by Full Tilt Poker, who have just announced qualifiers for the Full Tilt Poker Series Espana Grand Final at Gran Casino de Barcelona. You can win your seat to this €3,200 event for as little as $5 only at Full Tilt.