11:22pm: Extra! Hand extended into break creates new chip leader
There was one hand that played deep into the break. Gilberto Castillo of Colombia opened pre-flop for 22,000. The player two to Castillo's left three-bet to 70,000 before Nicolas Cottin moved all in on the button for more than 300,000. Castillo called all in and, after the third player folded, said to Cottin, "You know what I'm getting in this tournament -- only aces." He opened A♦A♠ against Cottin's A♣K♣. Cottin flopped a king but didn't further improve.
Cottin isn't out though. He still has about 100,000. Castillo (pictured below) is the new leader with roughly 575,000.
It took a long time, but we finally reached the next break. Play will resume in 15 minutes and updates will be in a new post.
10:59pm: Two for the price of one
Jonathan Markowitz (pictured below) is contending for the chip lead again after knocking out two players in a three-way pre-flop all in. Markowitz had the best hand on the button, T♦T♥, and had to be pleased to see his opponents turn up the same hand -- ace-queen. The board ran out 8-J-J-K-6 to give Markowitz the double knockout. He's up to 520,000 in chips and is contending with American Jason Sudol for the chip lead.
10:41pm: Recent eliminations
The follower players have all been eliminated. Each received 3,567,000 Colombian Pesos:
55th: Sonia Bohorquez
56th: Antonio Salazar
57th: Andres Marquez
58th: Rafael Rodriguez
59th: Alex Puntoja
60th: Adolfo Plaza
61st: Maurizio Braga
62nd: Mauricio Cottin
63rd: Omar Rodriguez
10:27pm: Tonight's plan
With 51 players still left, it's probably worth going over the plan for the remainder of the night. Tournament Director Mike Ward has expressed a strong preference to play down to two tables, however long that takes. With the biggest stack in the room having only 63 big blinds, and the average stack sitting behind 25 big blinds, you might not think it would take that long. The problem is that, as a whole, the chips are evenly distributed (that's part of the reason the bubble took so long). Most players seem content to "sit back and wait" at this point, rather than drive the action. And since none of them is deep stacked, who can blame them?
Two more large stacks to add to the list at the top: Nicolas Cottin of Chile (400,000) and Gilbert Castillo of Colombia (380,000).
10:15pm: Level 18 begins (blinds 4000-8000, ante 1000, 54 players remain)
10:13pm: Hasta luego a Humberto Brenes
The last remaining Team PokerStars Pro, Humberto Brenes, is out of the tournament. Down to just 40,000 in chips, he moved all in from the small blind after action folded to him. The big blind called with A♥4♠, a slight favorite over Brenes' T♦9♣. Brenes didn't collect with board and left the tournament area to some scattered applause.
10:05pm: Big stacks
The chip counts page is a bit of a mess right now, so while we try to clean it up take a look at some of the big stacks in the room:
Julian Menendez - 460,000
Jason Sudol - 440,000
Alejandro Araya - 400,000
Jonathan Markovits - 350,000
Stuart McDonald - 300,000
Martin Romero - 300,000
9:49pm: Added time
If it seems like we've been in Level 17 for a long time, it's because we have been. The clock was paused several times during the extended hand-for-hand bubble, and once the bubble burst the tournament staff added some time to the level. There are currently about 25 minutes left before the blinds go up and we begin Level 18.
59 players remain.
9:33pm: Finally! In the money!
The interminable bubble finally... terminated. In the center of the room, Cesar Quengua moved all with Q♦Q♥ and was called by a medium stack who turned up the dreaded A♦3♦. Our unfortunate bubble boy, Mr. Quengua, was pleased with the J♠7♦6♥ flop and the 8♦ turn. When the A♥ ace from space hit the river, however, he reacted as if he'd been shot. Which, in some ways, he had been.
Quengua might have waited if he had known about Table 18, where three players sitting side by side had 8,000, 9,000 and 10,000 chips, respectively. They are all hugging each other as if they just got home from a war. Which, in some ways, they have.
Expect the players to start firing the chips into the middle with abandon now.
9:07pm: Brenes bluffs off half his stack
While we continue to wait for the bubble to burst, Team PokerStars Pro Humberto Brenes decided to get frisky. In a battle of the blinds, he raised to 23,000 after the small blind limped in. That player called to an all-club flop, 6♣4♣T♣, then led out for 18,000. Brenes called to see the 7♦ hit the turn. The small blind bet the minimum, 6,000, and again Brenes called.
The river was the T♦. The small blind checked, then snap-called a bet of 80,000. Brenes grinned a mischievous grin, as if to say, "Oops!", and showed a busted flush draw with K♦Q♣. His opponent tabled three tens, Q♠T♠, to collect the pot.
Brenes now has only 80,000.
8:43pm: One step closer
We're on the stone bubble now after a player with 16,000 shoved from the cutoff with A♦6♠ and was called by the button's pocket 9s. It was a good sweat through the turn, Q♠T♣T♥J♠, but the river bricked out the 6♣ to send the short stack packing.
64 players remain. The next player eliminated will burst the money bubble. The rail is packed three people deep. There are roughly 100 people sweating this bubble.
8:29pm: Hand for hand
Another elimination has pushed the field into hand-for-hand play. With 65 players left, things are going to slow down just a bit more. The short stacks will really be "turtling" now.
8:16pm: Andrade notches the first post-dinner elimination
From early position a short stack opened for 15,000. Luis Filipe Andrade moved all in for about 100,000, folding the action back around to the initial raiser. He called all in for 72,000 with the pre-flop nuts, A♣A♦. Andrade showed down pocket jacks and took the lead in the hand by flopping a set, 6♣K♦J♣. The turn and river came 4♦ and 5♦, causing Andrade's opponent to pick up his cards, hold them up to the ceiling as if to say, "Why God?" and then fling them into the muck. He's out.
66 players remain.
8:10pm: Level 17 begins (blinds 3000-6000, ante 1000, 67 players remain)
And we're back. It's bubble time, with 67 players remaining and 63 being paid.
6:55pm: Dinner time
As expected, we did not get any eliminations in the last 15 minutes of the level. 67 players are going on a 75-minute dinner break. When we return, 4 of them will wind up very unhappy inside of an hour. See you then.
6:39pm: Dead stop
With very few short stacks (fewer than 10 big blinds) left in the field, play has come to a virtual halt with 67 players left in the field. It's a race against the dinner clock at this point, but it looks like we're not going to find four more eliminations before the end of the level in approximately 15 minutes.
6:18pm: A sampling of some of the big stacks
Jonathan Markovits - 380,000
Martin Romero - 300,000
Jason Sudol - 300,000
Humberto Brenes - 280,000
Stuart McDonald - 260,000
Cesar Mejia - 260,000
Angel Diaz - 250,000
With blinds at 2500 and 5000, nobody is truly out of the danger zone.
6:02pm: DA CHAAAARK! IT'S DA CHAAAAAAAAARK!
Look out, LAPT Colombia field. The lone remaining Team PokerStars Pro got his hands on some chips. Humberto Brenes raised pre-flop, then called a three-bet out of position. Brenes and his opponent were heads up to a flop of 4-8-10. Brenes checked and then called a small bet from his opponent. Brenes also checked the turn, which was a 9. His opponent responded by moving all in, a bet that Brenes snap called. He showed down pocket 9s for a turned set, the leading hand against his opponent's pocket kings. No king on the river. Brenes collected a scalp and increased his count to 270,000.
Lynn Gilmartin spoke with Brenes for her mid-day update about an hour ago:
5:55pm: Level 16 begins (blinds 2500-5000, ante 500, 75 players remain)
5:47pm: Closing in on the bubble
As of this writing, 77 players remain in the Main Event (and as we left the tournament floor, Angel Diaz was standing up and shouting again on the far wall). With 63 getting paid, and the stacks leveling out with no monster stacks beating the rest of the field into submission, players are starting to tighten up in preparation for the bubble. It'll be close to see if the bubble bursts before the dinner break or if a few unlucky players have to come back from dinner just to bust out empty-handed.
5:33pm: Disaster for Torres
We walked up to Freddy Torres' table just as the flop was coming down 3♥T♥3♠. There was about 80,000 in the pot; it was contested between Freddy Torres and Jonathan Markovits. Both players checked to the 9♦ turn, where Torres bet 35,000. Markovits called, leaving himself 70,500 behind.
On the river 2♥, Torres moved all in. Markovits quickly called all in himself, tabling Q♠Q♦. Torres was on an ace-high bluff with A♦J♣ and rapped the felt, "good hand". He's down to about 55,000, while Markovits (below) is closing in on 300,000.
5:20pm: Gonzalez eliminated; Castro cleans up
Within moments of each other, Pablo Gonzalez was eliminated and Andres Castro took out a short stack on an adjoining table. Gonzalez made his stand all in pre-flop for about 40,000 with A♣J♦. His opponent tabled A♥Q♦ and won the battle of the kickers, K♥K♣6♣8♦T♦. On Castro's table, the short stack's all in was for even less -- about 20,000 -- with A♦7♥. Castro showed down 2♦2♥ and flopped a set, Q♥2♠T♦. The turn and river bricked out.
Within the first ten minutes of the new level, short-stacked Pablo Gonzalez moved all in. A player in the blinds called. Gonzalez turned up his hand, thinking he had 7♣7♠. Instead he realized he had been dealt 7♠7♠! A floor was called, who quickly ruled the entire hand a mis-deal. A new setup was brought to the table, and when we left the dealer was very carefully fanning the deck and checking each card.
4:55pm: Level 15 begins (blinds 2000-4000, ante 500, 96 players remain)
After an extended break to color up the black (T100) chips, play has resumed.
The extended break gave us a chance to get a good sweep of the room without any counts changing. It appears that Martin Romero continues to lead with 285,000. He's followed by five or six players with about 250,000, including Cesar Mejia and Angel Diaz. Amazingly, not a single player in the field has crested the 300,000-chip mark yet.