By Simon Young

When you play tournament poker you can’t rely on big premium pairs to get you in the money, but they don’t half come in handy. Aces and kings are likely to send your stack skywards – but as we all know, they’re rarer than a steak tartare.

That wasn’t the case for PartyPoker qualifier Marc McCloghlin today, however. The restaurant chef from Limerick in Ireland found himself with aces once and kings twice in the early skirmishes. And best of all, he managed to make them work and he’s now up to more than 70,000 from his 41,000 starting stack.

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Ingredients of success: Marc McLoghlin 

Marc said: “I got very good hands earlier on, but not so many lately. In fact I dropped back a bit in chips, and hanging around in a pot with A-J longer than I should have done didn’t help. I need to start picking up a few blinds now, but I’m happy with the way it’s going.”

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Jiri Hlavaty: moving in the right direction 

Jiri Hlavaty from the Czech Republic is making steady progress, up to 36,000, as is Finland’s Mika Paasonen (34,000), while Sweden’s Vartan Ohannesian is up to the 90,000 mark. I watched him put in a big re-raise pre-flop, then sit stone-faced as the initial raiser tried to get a read. Eventually he folded, and frustrated Vartan tossed his A-A face up in the middle of the table.

He said: “You really need to make A-A work for you. I badly wanted a call – and I thought at least that the chip leader would do but unfortunately he felt better of it. Everything is going fine at the  moment, though.”

More news about our PartyPoker riser of the day, Klaus Malanitsch, who started with a tiddly 6,000.  He got up to 70,000 at one stage but has now settled back at around 55,000. “I had Paul Wasicka (2006 Main Event runner-up) at the table, but someone busted him before I could,” lamented Klaus. “It has been an entertaining day so far.”

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