After nine levels of play and 195 entries on the day creating a field of 288 entries overall, Day 1b of the 888live Poker Festival London Main Event and its £200,000 guarantee was smashed in style as champions and legends of the game took their seats. Aleksandar Kacharov ended the day highest in chips, with 299,700 to his name, a three-bet behind Day 1a's dominators, Albert Sapiano (301,500) and Andrea Volpi, the overall leader with 302,000.
Antonio Esfandiari, Sam Grafton, Tom Middleton, Michael Mizarachi, and Team 888Poker ambassadors Chris Moorman and Sofia Lovgren were all in the field. However, Leo McClean got off to the fastest start when he twice got paid for value with two-pair.
Michael Mizrachi got off to a good start once he sat down and late registered. He was up to 160,000 chips when most of the field had less than a third of that amount, before making the decision to leave for an early fitness break to swim at the Olympic Aquapark. He returned after the dinner break with just as much force as he left it and promptly doubled to lead the way by a country mile with 300,000. While Mizrachi would end slightly lower on 182,100, The Grinder was a huge driving force behind the day.
Kuljinder Sindhu won a huge hand against Terry Jordon at a dynamic table, which also featured Tom Middleton. Middleton and Jordon would both bust to Shah Raza Salma's rivered quad fives. That left a path for Sam Grafton to dominate. Grafton ended highest at that table, only behind Kacharov with 266,200 to his name. Andrew Hulme, who tangled with Mizrachi later on, ended up ahead in that battle and also carried a huge stack through with 231,000.
Behind Hulme, two ladies dominated the story. Laura Glasgow has 210,800. Sinem Melin ended the day fifth on Day 1b with 199,300 after being down to just 4,000 chips halfway through the day. Three flopped sets in an orbit put her right back into contention.
We'll be back in action at 12 p.m. in London on Saturday as we play through nine levels or to the final table of nine players, whichever comes first.
In the meantime, check out this video of 888 Partner Henri Bühler.