on 12:14

The penultimate event of the 2008 Gala Casinos British Poker Tour - the £500 + £50 two day event. With an hour long clock and 10,000 starting chips this promised to the be the perfect warm up for the Grand Final. 129 players began and as would be expected play was cagey in the early stages. At the first break only 9 players had been eliminated.

This was a strong field, with many a familiar face . Amongst the tour regulars were a number of current and former GCBPT champions including Anthony Arlott, Neil Blatchly, Pete Singleton,
Colin Pearson and Wu. These were joined by other formidable players such as Michael Grecco, Charalambos Xanthos, Mick Mc Cool, Dan Carter, Dave Mauldin, Richard Howe, Joker Joe Gresh, Ash Abdullah, Matt Dale, Alan Vinnicombe, Stuart Rutter and Mad Marty Wilson who was in top form as usual (Catherine was in bed recovering from the night before and Marty had to withdraw her just before the start of play).

I lose the minimum chips early in level 2 when I find KK in the hole on my BB, Neil Blatchly
raised UTG to 325, blinds 50/100 I flat call the raise and get a queen high flop, I check hoping to get a continuation bet from Neil but he checks behind me, Ace on the turn, I check as does Neil, rag on the river, I check but have to call his 800 bet on the river to see his ace.

Around 80 players remained at midnight, although the cash tables were buzzing. With 9 levels due to be played it was looking like it would be a long night. 13 players would be paid, with a top prize of £21,000 going to the winner. With this in mind, players glanced at their watches, sighed and pushed on - determined to come back tomorrow and make the cash.

I crashed out in 49th position when sitting with AK hearts and hitting a king high flop however my opponent has me crushed with pocket aces.

Play was suspended for the day at 3.45am after a decision was made to cut a level to give the players some well earned rest. By this time 35 players remained. Amongst these are Mad Marty Wilson, who took a dent to his impressive looking stack in the last hand of the day. Other names of note still alive included up and coming players Tom Middleton and Richard (madasawasp)Whitmore - while the old guard showed they could still cut it with Bambos (and his wife) both looking healthy. Chip leader going into day 2 was Martin Kavanagh with an impressive 125,400 chips.

Chilling out at home today before travelling down to Luton tomorrow for the Champions of Champions game, 92 runners have qualified for this event, all but 25 runners have 5000 chips with the chip leader being Sam Trickett with 25k and Marc Goodwin on 20k, a 45 minute clock with a 2pm start and running antes will ensure that the game is completed for around 3am