888Live returned to Aspers at Casino Westfield Stratford for the next event of the London Local Live series, which ran from 28th April to 1st May. This time, the guarantee was increased to £88,000.
The £220 buy-in single re-entry with a starting stack of 25,000 proved a real hit and players turned out in force again. There were three Day 1's giving players ample opportunity to make Day 2, if they so wished, with the option of playing multiple times to get a bigger stack to take through to the final.
Three Day 1's
Day 1a on Thursday 28th saw the event kick off at 7pm and drew 158 entries made up of 135 unique and 23 re-entries. The regulars, a cosmopolitan mix befitting this vibrant area of the capital, turned out in their droves and the familiarity saw a hotly contested game with plenty of friendly rivalry.
By the end of fourteen 30-minutie levels at around 3am there were 28 players remaining who would go on to Day 2.
Day 1b on Friday was another 7pm start, but played out in an even livelier atmosphere since the weekend had well and truly started. Numbers were up on the previous day with 198 entries, which broke down into 180 unique and 18 re-entries. Another finish in the early hours of the morning saw 32 players bag up chips for the final day’s battle.
Day 1c had the earlier start time of 2pm and attracted the biggest turnout so far, with the weekend afternoon crowd being joined by those firing their last bullets to try to get to the final day. The final tally for Day 1c came in at 234 entries comprising 201 unique and 33 re-entries.
Action wrapped up around 10pm and saw 40 survivors, who would be joining the other Day 1 players on Sunday.
Bigger Prize Pool
The final numbers for the Main Event were 590 entries and of those, 100 had navigated through fourteen levels to make it to Day 2. Coincidentally, that was the exact same number of entries that the previous 888Live Main Event attracted back in March.
The guarantee was again smashed, and the prize pool stood at an impressive £116,820. A min-cash would be worth £450 and the winner would receive a handsome £22,500.
Cards were in the air at 1pm on Sunday for the final day as the surviving 100 players took their seats, ready to play down to a winner.
Online Qualifiers Put In a Good Showing
There were plenty of chances to satellite into this live event online, and of the three 888poker qualifiers who made it through to Day 2, it would be Chuc Khuu who would be eliminated first. He fell short in 72nd place, just shy of the money.
Khuu had started the day with 100,000 and went down to a single ante before running it back up to 65,000. There would be no fairytale ending, though, as he hit the rail soon after when his Ace-Jack was beaten by an opponent’s Ace-Queen.
The remaining two online qualifiers did make the money with Graham Amos getting a min-cash £450 when his Jacks lost to Ace-King. Gareth Smirthwaite nursed his stack to a 39th placed finish when his Ace-Six lost out to a pair of Queens. Smirthwaite’s finish was good for £600.
Day 2 - The Bubble
With 63 places getting paid, action went hand-for-hand in level 16 and lasted five hands, ticking over to level 17 before the bubble was burst. There was a three-way all-in, and it was short stacked Chin Fernando who tabled AsQh and saw he was up against AdJc and TsTc. A pretty sick run out of Js-Qs-Kc-9h-Qc gave Fernando trip queens, but the pocket tens hit a straight on the turn to eliminate him.
Fernando took the blow in good spirits as his table mates commiserated with him and he received a consolation goody bag, including a set of 888poker travel chips.
The remaining players could now breathe a sigh of relief; they had each locked up a minimum of £450.
The pace of eliminations picked up once the bubble had burst and by level 20 the field had been reduced to 34 players. By midway through level 22, there were 18 players across the final two tables and from there the eliminations slowed a little as the remaining players were within touching distance of a final table.
The Final Table
It took until level 26 for the final table of nine to be set and when it was it looked like this:
Stephen Doody was the first to go out in ninth place, and then JJ Hazan busted in eighth - shoving the button with Qh7h and getting a call from the big blind holding AcJs. The board ran out Jc-5s-3c-3s-3h, and Hazan was out.
Vilnis Geidans was eliminated in seventh when he shoved AsJd and was called by Danny Tran holding Ac4d. Tran flopped a straight as the board ran out 5h-2c-3c-2d-8c.
There was some Impressive laddering by Ciprian Paunescu, but he eventually got unlucky when his Ace-Nine was rivered by King-Ten.
Michael Magalashvili was out in fifth when he three-bet shoved with Qc9c and Danny Tran eventually made the call with 6s6h. The board ran out Ac-4d-Ah-Jh-3h and the tournament was down to four players.
A Deal Is Done
Four-handed play went on for several hours and, as the stacks got shallower, they decided to talk numbers. The tournament director crunched the ICM figures but after some thought, they decided to play on.
A couple of hands later, though, the clock was paused again and with so much money at stake a deal was agreed as follows:
• Steven Game, £15, 515
• Danny Tran, £13,855
• Albu Ion, £13,220
• Vimal Kane, £11,700
• With £2,000 up top and the trophy to the winner
On the very next hand, after the deal was agreed, all the money went in on the turn of a board reading Ah-2h-3h-Ts. Kane had a flush with 7h4h, but Ion had a better one with Jh8h. The river was the Kc, and they were suddenly down to three players.
Another hour went by as the chips went back and forth before Tran called off all his chips on the river of a board showing 9s-Qc-Js-Th-6s. Tran held Jh9h but was beaten by the KsQd straight of Steven Game.
It was then heads-up. Another hour would pass as the lead and momentum swapped places several times before just past 3am when all the chips went in the middle. It was Ion who was at risk holding Ac9d and Game who had 9c9s. The board ran out 7s-Tc-2h-7c-2d and after shaking hands with the valiant loser, Game was crowned the new champion and presented with the big cheque and the trophy.
Biggest Cash, First Tournament Win
Speaking to 888poker after his victory, the 26-year-old Game from near Birmingham, but now living just a two-minute walk from Aspers, told how he had fired two bullets to make it through to Day 2 but was mighty glad that he did.
“It’s my biggest cash, first tournament win. I used to play mainly just heads-up online, but now I’ve moved onto live.”
Asked what he planned to do with the money, Game said he hadn’t had a holiday for a year so, potentially, he would head to Costa Brava to play the next 888Live event at the end of April.
Final Results After Deal