In the United Kingdom, fans of football dream of being able to follow their team all the way to a cup final held at Wembley Stadium. The venue is, after all, the home of English football and a magnificent stadium in its own right. Today, the hallowed turf of Wembley Stadium hosted it very first poker tournament, Day 2a of the International Stadiums Poker Tour. And what a day it was.
By the time registration closed at the end of the eighth level there were 319 players registered, and Alban Juen was leading around 175 player who advanced to Day 3 on Sunday. The Frenchman started Day 2a with a tournament leading stack of 187,350 thanks to an impressive Day 1 performance during the online leg of the ISPT.
Juen bagged up 367,500 chips once time was called on proceedings. According to our sources, Juen has three live tournament cashes to his name, the most impressive of that trio going for $128,384 in the 2012 World Series of Poker Main Event (59th place).
Hot on Juen's heels is Leigh Wiltshire, one of the brainchildren behind the Amateur Poker Association and Tour (APAT). Wiltshire's final task of the night was to try and fit chips worth 326,900 into a single plastic bag. He managed it and is now in fine shape going into Sunday's Day 3.
Around 175 players navigated their way through to Day 3 including Bruno Launais (305,300), Jamie Burland (164,800), Ivey Poker Pro Mathew Frankland (150,400), David Benyamine (139,900), Sam Trickett (132,600), reigning European Poker Tour Prague champion Ramzi Jelassi (91,500) and JP Kelly (51,000).
Day 2a also claimed the scalps of some of the game's biggest names. ISPT ambassador Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi busted out very early on, as did Christopher Brammer, while Tony G's appearance was a brief affair. Tony G sat down three levels into the day and lasted around 35 minutes before he crashed out. Also eliminated during were the likes of former EPT champions Michael Tureniec and Toby Lewis, while former World Series of Poker Main Event winner Peter Eastgate also came and swiftly went.
Saturday is the second and final start day and it should see the inflatable tents, that encapsulate the players on the Wembley pitch, packed to bursting point. Along with a number of the Day 2a casualties re-entering we are expecting to see Roberto Romanello, Marcel Luske, Dave "Devilfish" Ulliott and many more famous faces in the crowd.
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