WCOOP Event #17 Pot-Limit Hold'em live blog

Live blog coverage of WCOOP Event #17 $530 Pot-Limit Hold'em Six-Max is brought to you by bloggers Martin Harris, April Kyle, Jennifer Newell, and Jordan Raanan. Have a story for us? E-mail to blog@pokerstars.com. Click refresh to see the latest information.


5:15am--poker1O1 schools YanniYankiev, wins WCOOP Event #17!

The heads-up battle lasted nearly an hour, and the two had just decided to skip a break to continue play uninterrupted. And that was all it took. Just four hands later, the match was decided.

poker1O1 led at the beginning of the hand with 4,129,225 in chips to YanniYankiev's 670,775. poker1O1 raised it to 70,000 to start the action, and YanniYankiev reraised to 210,000. poker1O1 bumped it to 630,000, YanniYankiev reraised again - this time all-in, and poker1O1 called.

poker1O1 had Ks-Qs, and YanniYankiev showed Ah-Tc. The board came Ts-6d-Qc-7d-Jh and the tournament was over with a victory for poker1O1.

YanniYankiev finished second and was awarded $60,000 for the incredible effort.

poker1O1 claimed a hard-fought victory in Event #17 and won $80,400 in prize money and a WCOOP bracelet.

5:08am--poker1O1 wins!

It's over! poker1O1 won the Pot-Limit Hold'em Event #17 with a heads-up victory over YanniYankiev.


5:00am--Last two players skip the break and play on

Level 27
Blinds: 15,000/30,000
Average chip count: 2,400,000
Players remaining: 2
First prize: $80,400
Second prize: $60,000

4:50am--YanniYankiev gets even but falls back again

It could've been a stellar comeback. YanniYankiev has been working his shorter stack like a champ and got even with poker1O1 minutes ago, but YanniYankiev has dropped back down to approximately 1.2 million to the 3.4 million of his opponent.

Commentator Humberto Brenes, meanwhile, has been entertained.

Humberto B. [Commentator]: good game guys
Humberto B. [Commentator]: it is very interesting
Humberto B. [Commentator]: =)

4:35am--poker1O1 maintains lead over YanniYankiev in fight to the finish

A little more than ten minutes into the heads-up battle, poker1O1 shows no sign of surrendering the chip lead. Though YanniYankiev just crossed the one million chip mark, his opponent still has well over three million. The two are standing their ground.

4:22am--We are heads-up!

Heads-up play began with the following chip counts:

poker1O1 3,831,725
YanniYankiev 968,275

4:21am--QUEEN KAZU eliminated in third place

It was finally time for QUEEN KAZU to push that short stack again. When poker1O1 raised from the button, QUEEN KAZU reraised to 112,000 and YanniYankiev got out of the way. poker1O1 reraised to 352,000 to put his opponent all-in, and QUEEN KAZU did make the call.

QUEEN KAZU showed Ad-Jd, and poker 1O1 had him dominated with Ac-Qh. The board couldn't rescue the QUEEN this time when it produced a board of 4s-Kh-6d-8s-3c. QUEEN KAZU left the tournament in third place with $45,600 in prize money.

4:16am--Three players, 30 minutes, no news

There has been very little major action at the three-handed table, with the exception of QUEEN KAZU's double-up and ability to maintain with such a small stack.

More than thirty minutes into actual play - not counting the 15-minute break that two players were willing to forgo but QUEEN KAZU was not - the three players are still fighting it out for their share of the $186,000 available here. Some of the more sizable pots played have been between poker1O1 and YanniYankiev, with poker1O1 usually coming out on the winning end.

4:15am--Deal? What's a deal?

There hasn't been a single word uttered about a possible deal. Not by the players, the PokerStars moderator or even Humberto Brenes, who just so happens to be hanging around as a co-moderator. The players seem completely content with playing this one out in its entirety. There's only about a $15K difference between second and third and $20K difference between first and second. Deal? Who need it!

4:10am--Back in action with QUEEN KAZU short

We're back from the 15-minute break and QUEEN KAZU has his work cut out for him. He faces a significant chip disadvantage in the three-handed action.

3:58am--Three finalists go for 15-minute break

Level 25
Blinds: 8,000/16,000
Average chip count: 1,600,000
Players remaining: 3
First prize: $80,400
Second prize: $60,000
Third prize: $45,600

Chip Count:

poker1O1 3,148,394
YanniYankiev 1,301,724
QUEEN KAZU 349,888

3:50am--QUEEN KAZU hanging tight

Having been on the severe short stack for awhile, QUEEN KAZU folded his way through the first part of three-handed play. The careful player did push all-in at one point post-flop to pick up a 216,000 hand, but couldn't get much else going.

Losing ground again, QUEEN KAZU got into a raising war with poker1O1 and finally called the last raise all-in with As-5h. poker1O1 had pocket eights, but the board came 4d-Kc-5s-5d-Js. QUEEN KAZU doubled with trips to stay in the game with just over 300,000 in chips.

3:46am--Watch final tables with analysis at PokerStars.tv

PokerStars.tv is providing final table replays with all the cards face-up and analysis. Watch how Event #13 played out. This event's final table will be available in the coming days.

Watch WCOOP Highlights: Event 13 - $215 NLHE with rebuys on PokerStars.tv

3:42am--Humberto in the house

How do you add some color to the final table? Bring in the shark -- Humberto Brenes.

Brenes is doing some of the moderating in the final table chat. In fact, he's sparked a conversation between QUEEN KAZU, a Canadien, and Poland's YanniYankiev. Turns out QUEEN KAZU is half Polish. What a small world as the other moderator stated.

3:36am--mikek15's two pair not enough to avoid fourth-place finish

mikek15 had 723,507 chips his final hand started. poker101 couldn't have asked for a better turn card as he took a commanding chip lead.

mikek15 headed out with a fourth-place finish and a $31,200.00 consolation prize.

3:34am--Str8$$$Homey straight out in 5th place

Straight up. Str8$$$Homey went into the hand with over 700,000 in chips but tangled with chip leader poker1O1.

Str8$$$Homey raised from the button to 24,000 and poker101 came back from the small blind with a reraise to 84,000. Str8$$$Homey called to see the Qc-Tc-3h come on the flop. poker1O1 led out with a 120,000 bet, Str8$$$Homey raised to 540,000, and poker1O1 pushed all-in.

Str8$$$Homey called with Kh-Jc and the straight draw, but poker1O1 was in the lead with pocket jacks. The turn and river were 5d and 2c, respectively, and couldn't help the homey.

Str8$$$Homey left in fifth place with $20,592 extra in his account.

3:24am--s00tedj0kers eliminated from final table in 6th place

Only minutes after the start of the six-handed final table, we have a casualty. s00tedj0kers went into the hand as the short stack and when mikek15 came in for a raise to 24,000, s00tedj0kers reraised it to 82,000.

YanniYankiev came into the fray and popped it to 270,000. mikek15 folded and s00tedj0kers called all-in with Ks-Qc. However, YanniYankiev showed Qd-Qs and didn't leave many outs for the underdog. The board came down 7h-9h-9d-Th-Td and the cards had spoken.

s00tedj0kers claimed the sixth place position in this tournament and the accompanying $14,400 payout.

3:17am--Str8$$$Homey's big boy call

These are the kind of plays that can win a tournament. You just can't be wrong, otherwise you're crippled.

Str8$$$Homey had 9s-7s in the big blind and, along with YanniYankiev, called s00tedj0kers' pre-flop raise to 25K. The flop came 4s-As-2s and Str8$$$Homey bet 50K. s00tedj0kers raised to 148K and Str8$$$Homey called. The 9h came on the turn and both players checked. After the Jh came on the river, s00tedj0kers bet 240K and Str8$$$Homey made the hero call.

Even s00tedj0kers was impressed. "WOW nc," he wrote in the chat.

With that, Str8$$$Homey moved into second place behind mikek15 with 1.1 million chips.

3:08am--x-13 eliminated in 7th place

s00tedj0kers took the reigns in the hand and raised it up to 25,000, but x-13 came in from the small blind with a reraise to 85,000. poker1O1 bumped it to 210,000 which brought a fold from s00tedj0kers and an all-in call from x-13. poker1O1 showed As-Ks and x-13 had Kh-7h. The board came Qc-Js-Qs-Ad-9s and the flush on the river gave it to poker1O1.

x-13 was the final table bubble player with a seventh-place finish and $8,400 prize.

3:04am--Final table is set

We have a final table after 12 1/2 hours of play. Here is what it looks like:
Finaltable17.JPG

Final table starting chip counts:

Seat 1: poker1O1 1,403,813
Seat 2: mikek15 1,295,635
Seat 3: QUEEN KAZU 236,065
Seat 4: s00tedj0kers 628,000
Seat 5: YanniYankiev 428,128
Seat 6: Str8$$$Homey 808,359

3:02am--Hand-for-hand play in progress

With the final table on the horizon, we are in the midst of hand-to-hand play. Our new chipleader with seven players remaining is mikek15, with 1.2 million.

2:58am--hervios eliminated in eighth place

In a battle of the blinds, it was Str8$$$Homey who first raised to 20,000 from the small blind and hervios who called from the big blind. The flop came Ts-8h-As and Str8$$$Homey bet out 23,456, which prompted a raise to 110,368 from hervios.

Str8$$$Homey pushed 371,104 into the pot, and hervios called all-in with Qc-Jc for the straight draw, but Str8$$$Homey showed Ac-5h for top pair. The turn and river were 6d and 7d, and hervios' run in this event was crushed in eighth place for a $8,400 payday.

2:50am--Final eight take a short break

Level 23
Blinds: 5,000/10,000
Average chip count: 600,000
Players remaining: 9
First prize: $80,400

Remaining player chip counts:

mikek15 1,290,635
poker1O1 1,136,570
s00tedj0kers 664,000
Str8$$$Homey 583,546
YanniYankiev 481,378
hervios 262,158
x-13 236,243
QUEEN KAZU 145,470

youg171 finally eliminated in ninth

After one of the most amazing short stack exhibitions of all-time, youg171 was finally knocked out in ninth place. He earned $8,400.00 for hanging on that long.

youg171 had been the shortest stack for pretty much the last three hours or so. But somehow he kept alive, winning about ten all-ins. Finally, with just 37,924, yougs171 got it all-in pre-flop with As-10h vs. mikek15's pocket nines. Once again, mikek15's pocket nines held.

The board of Js-5s-Kc-Kd-6d couldn't save youg171. Still, he leaves after one of the most impressive last three hours ever.

2:35am--Fighting for the lead

poker1O1 and s00tedj0kers are going back and forth trading the chip lead. Currently poker1O1 has the advantage. But s00tedj0kers isn't far behind. Both are just above the one million mark.

What exactly does the lead mean right now? Not much. It does, however, give some leeway just in case you have KK and run into AA, like the confrontation between the two earlier.

2:27am--beastmode315 eliminated in 11th place

The short stacks seem to be moving now as the blinds rise and the big stacks push the others around. beastmode315 raised to 60,100 but was raised all-in by hervios. beastmode315 called for his tournament life with pocket threes, but the pocket aces of hervios dominated. The virtual dealer gave them Qh-As-6h-9s-7c, and it was all over for beastmode315. The 11th place finish was worth $6,000.

2:21am--rosseg saved with quality double-up

rosseg and poker1O1 jumped into a pot to see the flop of Kd-Js-9h. poker1O1 checked, rosseg bet 19,935, poker1O1 raised to 101,581, and rosseg pushed all-in for 111,596. poker101 called with Kh-4h and top pair, but rosseg showed Ac-K -- top pair with the best kicker. The turn and river were 7d and 9c, and rosseg received some much-needed chips.

2:12am--SJMags gone in 12th place

After more than 30 minutes of 12-handed play, and with youg171 still as the severe short stack, it was SJMags who was at risk. With 216,173 going into the hand, he raised to 14,399 pre-flop. s00tedj0kers reraised to 49,000, SJMags popped it again, and s00tedj0kers made it 257,000 to go.

SJMags called all-in for his tournament life with 5s-5h, but s00tedj0kers had Kd-Ks. The board came down 8s-As-Jd-4s-Jh and SJMags was out of the tournament in 12th place with $6,000 for his efforts.

2:06am--youg171 will never die

It's amazing that we keep writing this. But you just can't ignore this amazing short stack story. youg171 with 14K in chips just doubled up with pocket sixes. For the 100th time (OK, maybe that is a bit of an exaggeration), rosseg summed up the situation: "Will never die."

BTW: youg171 just doubled up again, this time with A10. rosseg explained this double: "he has won like 99/99 allins in this thing."

That might be accurate.

1:55am--Newbie in the lead?

Is it possible? Can poker 1O1 really be playing in just his 20th-career tournament and be in the lead of a WCOOP event?

That is what several of the players at Table 124 are suggesting after checking into his stats. poker1O1, meanwhile, is vaguely denying the newbie tag.

1:50am--Guess who is still playing?

The break comes and goes and at the bottom of the chip list is none other than...youg171. Did he rent that spot?

1:43am--A five-minute break before Level 21 for 12 players

Level 21
Blinds: 3,000/6,000
Average chip count: 400,000
Players remaining: 12
First prize: $80,400

Remaining player chip counts:

Jennifer says:
poker1O1 1,264,912
s00tedj0kers 1,162,282
x-13 443,843
Str8$$$Homey 420,452
rosseg 271,067
beastmode315 256,289
hervios 230,314
SJMags 180,225
mikek15 176,492
YanniYankiev 173,426
QUEEN KAZU 168,471
youg171 51,827

1:38am--It's good to have the big stack cushion

It's a good thing s00tedj0kers had a commanding chip lead. Otherwise he would be out of the tournament after poker1O1 just took a huge pot of 1,28,190 from s00tedj0kers with AA vs. KK. Here is how the betting went down:

1:34am--TheRounderr gone in 13th place

Another player dominated, hung near the top of the leaderboard and looked strong for such a long time has exited prior to making the final table.

TheRounderr had slowly lost chips and entered the last hand of his tournament with little more than 55,000. poker1O1 began the hand by raising to 10,000, TheRounderr raised it to 37,500, poker1O1 bumped it to 65,000, and TheRounderr called all-in.

poker1O1 turned up Ac-Jc, but TheRounderr had a great chance to double up with pocket kings. But the board came 8c-2c-9d-5c-8h to give poker1O1 the flush. TheRounderr left in 13th place with $4,032.

1:32am--Down to two tables, youg171 still alive

s00tedj0kers has an overwhelming chip lead as the tournament is down to 12 players and two tables. But nothing is more unbelievable than to see youg171 still at the table with the smallest stack, a position he's held for hours.

As rosseg noted for the hundredth time in the last hour, "HE WILL NOT DIE."

1:26am--Waters81 crippled and out in 14th place

The hand that crippled Waters81 was one in which mikek15 doubled up with A-J versus the A-9 of Waters81. The pot was worth nearly 200,000 and left Waters81 with less than 15,000, which wouldn't go far in this stage of the game.

Waters81 shoved pre-flop with Tc-9d on the next hand, and SJMags called with Kd-2d. King high looked good for SJMags and looked better when the cards came 7c-Ad-Ks-Th-4s. Waters81 was suddenly out of the game in 14th place with $4,032.

1:20am--cdbr3799 takes leave of the tournament in 15th place

It was another crash-and-burn story of a tournament chipleader deep into the event who lost massive amounts of chips over the course of about an hour. Most recently, cdbr3799 lost a 189,332 pot to Waters81, though he still had a sizable stack going into what would turn into the elimination hand.

cdbr3799 started the action with a raise to 15,000 and s00tedj0kers bumped it up to 44,935. cdbr3799 pushed it again to 128,555, prompting a reraise from s00tedj0kers to 245,000. cdbr3799 put a stop to it with an all-in bet for his entire stack of 487,397 with Ad-Kc. s00tedj0kers didn't have a problem calling with pocket aces.

The board ran out Kd-6c-Ts-3s-5c, and that was that. cdbr3799 took a stunning fall and left in 15th place for a $4,032 payday.

1:12am--Str8$$$Homey stays alive with some help

Sometimes this is what you need to win a tournament like this with so many quality players. Str8$$$Homey was fortunate to stay alive on this hand.

1:04am--matjouz out in 16th place

matjouz entered the hand with just over 100,000 in chips. He raised pre-flop to 12,000 and was called by Waters81 and SJMags.

The flop came 8h-3c-Kh and it was checked to Waters81, who bet 20,000. SJMags called, but matjouz reraised all-in. Waters81 opted to fold, and SJMags called with Kd-Qd. matjouz showed Ks-Tc for the lower kicker, and the 9h turn and 3h river did not help. matjouz was gone in 16th place with $4,032 in prize money.

1:02am--Manta_Rays eliminated in 17th place

Manta_Rays started the hand with only 73,000 in chips, but called an initial raise of 12,000 by x-13 to see the flop of Td-2h-Jd.

x-13 made the first bet, and Manta_Rays check-raised all-in. x-13 called with pocket queens, and Manta_Rays showed Kc-Jh. The turn and river were As-Ah. x-13 had the better two pair.

Manta_Rays left in 17th place with a $4,032 payout.

1:00am--youg171 still standing

youg171 continues to stay at the bottom of the leaderboard. But other keep finding their names below his because they were knocked out of the tournament. youg171 is now among the final 15 players despite being the shortstack for what seems like three hours.

"you just won't die lol," rosseg said 20 minutes ago. Well, that same statement still holds true.

12:58am--Zefa goes out in 18th place

With just 178,323 chips left, Zefa raised, was reraised by hervios and then pushed all-in pre-flop with Ac-Qs. hervios made the easy call with Kc-Kh. The board came 6c-10h-10c-5s-8c and Zefa was out in 18th place with $4,032.00 to show for the 10 1/2 hours of play.

12:50am--Brown down and busto

It happened so fast. Chad Brown had 443,938 chips and was comfortable near the top of the leaderboard. That was until...he came up against s00tedj0kers.

Some pre-flop raising led to the two seeing 8s-7s-6d on the board. Brown began post-flop action by checking, but that was followed with a bet, check-raise, reraise to all-in. s00tedj0kers called the all-in with the last of his 81,700 chips. The pot had become massive - 737,300 to be exact. s00tedj0kers had pocket kings and found another king on the turn. Brown had Th-8h for top pair and a straight draw.

Here is how the hand played out:

A short time later, just before the end of Level 18, Brown and his below-100K stack were ready to play in the small blind. Pre-flop all-in was the play from Brown with pocket sevens, and waters81 was along for the ride with Ah-Jd. The board gave them 9c-Ac-Qd-Kd-Ts, and as the cards fall, aces beat the sevens of Brown.

Team PokerStars Pro Chad Brown was out in 20th place with $3,024 after an amazing run in this PLHE event.

12:42am--youg171 worse than ever

It's almost becoming a joke just how low youg171 can go. Apparently, lower than ever.

At the last break, youg171 had only 28,396 chips. Take into consideration that the average is over 250K. Still, youg171 outlasted former chipleader Chad Brown and is one spot away from getting into the $4K range in winnings.

12:35am--Level 19 begins sans Brown

Level 19
Blinds: 2,000/4,000
Average chip count: 252,631
Players remaining: 19
First prize: $80,400

Top ten chip counts:

s00tedj0kers 686,762
poker1O1 553,947
cdbr3799 539,722
Waters81 354,517
beastmode315 304,538
hervios 288,570
YanniYankiev 259,144
Str8$$$Homey 245,146
x-13 233,628
Zefa 230,320

12:26am--Call the doctors, there's more on life support

youg171 isn't the only one in the tournament still barely breathing. Actually, two players just fell behind youg171 as they desperately attempt to hang longer, particularly until it's down to at least 18 players, where the money jumps. chapmoney and GAHh are both below 70K and fighting for survival.

12:22am--youg171 still hanging

Remember about an hour ago we told you about youg171 hanging around until finally being able to double up with aces. Well, it turns out youg171, close to the short stack for the last two hours, is still hanging by a thread with the fewest chips of the remaining 21 players. youg171 has a paltry stack of 32,648. Yet he's still able to stay alive. Hang in there longer buddy, it's worth it financially.

12:15am--Brown back on the rise

Chad Brown was not letting his momentary drop on the leaderboard get in the way of the aggressive play that got him to the top in the first place. Seeing a flop of 7c-8h-8s TheRounderr, the betting war began.

TheRounderr bet 21,500 to start, Brown raised to 43,000, TheRounderr pumped it to 84,000, and Brown came over the top to make it 276,000. TheRounderr folded and Brown took the 192,000 pot to gain lost ground.

Several hands later, Brown took another pot, this one worth 163,500 chips, on a Ts-Ad-3h-3d board against mikek15. Brown's raise on the turn to 208,500 prompted a fold from his opponent.

Brown now sits back in first chip position with 577,798 and only 23 players remaining.

12:07am--The world represents in WCOOP

Take a look at the leaderboard right now and you say a nice variety of countries represented. There are players from the United States, Canada, the U.K., Sweden and Argentina to name a few. Basically, it's a smorgasbord of players from all around the world.

But that is nothing new for the WCOOP. Over 100 countries had been represented in WCOOP events entering today. Check out the list of countries with entrants.

12:00am--Four tables from glory

Four tables and 24 players remain in the pot-limit hold'em battle for an $80K first-place prize. The remaining players are finally getting close to the end after 9 1/2 hours of play.

11:55pm--cdbr3799 grabs chip lead from Brown

With the tenacity required to get to the top in this tournament, cdbr3799 has done just that. Only about fifteen minutes into Level 17, he claimed the top spot on the leaderboard, pushing Chad Brown down to second, though by less than 20,000 chips.

It seems that cdbr3799's strategy has been to stay aggressive and use his lead over the much shorter stacks at his table to steadily climb.

11:45pm--Closing in on $3K

The money is about to rise to over $3,000 when we get down to 24 players. Right now we have 27 players left. Those eliminated 25-27 will have to settle for $2,400. Those that finish 19th-24th get $3,024.00. It pays to hang in there.

11:38pm--youg171 hangs in there

youg171 was the smallest chip stack of the remaining 28 players with 34,974 when pocket aces fell into his lap at just the right time. youg171 was able to double up against poker101's pocket sixes to stick around a little bit longer.

11:33pm--29 players enter Level 17

Level 17
Blinds: 1,250/2,500
Average chip count: 165,517
Players remaining: 29
First prize: $80,400

Top ten chip counts:

Team PokerStars Pro Chad "ChadBrownPRO" Brown 472,248
cdbr3799 432,313
Str8$$$Homey 327,667
TheRounderr 309,981
YanniYankiev 264,932
Zefa 255,353
QuasiFiction 249,226
x-13 203,845
rosseg 198,026
Waters81 187,301

11:28pm--TheRounderr gets aggressive

After falling out of second place on the leaderboard a few levels ago, TheRounderr is working hard to get back there. Sitting to the right of Chad Brown was no picnic, as one well-played hand put him back into contention in third place.

With Qd-Ts-3c-2d-7d on the board and betting having taken place along the way, Brown bet after the river. TheRounderr raised all-in for 191,036. It was a big bet...big enough to cause Brown to request time to think before finally muck his hand. In the chat box, Brown typed that he folded pocket kings.

After scooping that 194,000 pot, TheRounderr has established that he won't be pushed around by the player to his left, no matter what that player is holding.

11:24pm--Final five tables

We are down to 30 players and just five tables here in this Pot-Limit Hold'em event after KingGorn was just eliminated in 31st place.

11:14pm--Pagano busts out in 33rd

Team PokerStars pro Luca Pagano was just eliminated by his nemesis in this event, x-13. Pagano had his chip stack up near 50K when his AQs fell short against x-13's pocket eights.

Pagano earned $2,016.00 for his effort.

11:07pm--Chatty Chad

Is it not enough that Team PokerStars Pro Chad Brown is crushing the field? He has to be one of the nicest guys in poker, too, which is evident in the chat box at his tables today.

For those who have seen him at live tournaments, they know that he is always cordial, willing to sign autographs, pose for photos and talk to fans. Never mind that it cuts into his break times and possibly his tournament concentration...being rude or aloof is simply not who he is.

The same goes for Brown's availability to fans online. Though he is obviously focusing on his game - thus, his chipleader status - he watches the chat and tries to answer any questions and correspond with those addressing him. Being a good guy and a good player is quite a combination.

11:03pm--Believe it or not

A lot of times, players tell their cards after hands in the chat. The question is: Do you believe them?

s00tedj0kers just claims to have won a hand with 2-7. Maybe, maybe not. That is for you to decide.

10:58pm--Slowing it down

Play has slowed...quite markedly. Once the field hit 50 players, caution seemed to be the word of the hour. Ten eliminations later, it got even slower. This could be a result of the money jumps approaching, as the current payout level is $2,016, then it increases by about $400, then $600, then $1000, then $2,000 and so on.

Currently, the field is stuck at 33 players on six tables. The blinds just increased to 1K/2K, and with the price of poker going up, along with 15 players under the 100,000 mark, we may see some action soon.

10:52pm--Team PokerStars represents in Event #18

Don't forget to check out the action over at the HORSE tournament. Event #18 has plenty of Team PokerStars pros still in the mix. Follow the action with the live blog.

10:45pm--Train quickly derailed

Just when it looked like Team PokerStars pro Luca Pagano was on a roll, he basically crashed. Not crashed and burned, just crashed.

Pagano lost close to 60K on one hand when he was pushed out by x-13 with a reraise on the river. The board showed 7h-6d-9s-8c-4h and Pagano was forced to fold when x-13 raised Pagano's 32,400 bet to 100,800. Pagano only had 30K left.

10:38pm--Luca train still rolling

The Luca train has not slowed down. After winning five consecutive hands a moment ago, Pagano has just won three of the last four hands at his table to push his stack over 100K. Things are going so well that Pagano won a 20K pot on one of those hands when he hit runner-runner kings. Look out, the train is rolling through Table 34l!

10:34pm--Philosophizing about a short stack

Karl Marx had a short stack...for a while. The player was at the bottom of the leaderboard for level after level, and throughout the last level, his stack was under 25K. Watching Karl Marx play that short stack, here is what we have learned:

Strategy #1: Challenge similarly small stacks in the blind and push them off raises, knowing they may be scared to risk it all against a tight player.

Strategy #2: Wait. Fold. Wait. Fold. Wait. Fold.

Strategy #3: Smile when A-K suited pops into your hand and push with it. Hope you see your opponent call pre-flop with only 4-5. Cringe when the board comes Q-4-6-6-5. Possibly throw something.

In the end, Karl Marx outlasted numerous others with bigger stacks by playing tight and looking for the right spot to move. Though it didn't work out as planned, he cashed $1,680 for 40th place.

10:31pm--Welcome to the game, Luca

After remaining relatively quiet for quite some time, Team PokerStars pro Luca Pagano finally woke up. And he did so in a big way!

Pagano just won five straight pots at Table 34 to up his chip stack to close to 90K. The biggest hand was a 43K pot won with a full house, tens over kings. Is this a sign of things to come? After all, you never want to wake up the sleeping giant.

10:26pm--After nearly eight hours, a short break

Level 15
Blinds: 900/1,800
Average chip count: 123,076
Players remaining: 39
First prize: $80,400

Top ten chip counts:

Team PokerStars Pro Chad "ChadBrownPRO" Brown 559,148
The Rounderr 271,706
Zefa 264,017
cdbr3799 263,222
Str8$$$Homey 261,674
rosseg 245,282
x-13 170,198
mikek15 164,485
sickdickey 156,849
poker1O1 155,084

Other Team PokerStars Pros remaining:

Luca Pagano 53,797 (30th place)

10:19pm--A collective sigh from Table 124

When Chad Brown's previous table closed, he was moved to Table 124. Between the comments in the chat box and those who remained silent, one thing was clear. *sigh* The chip leader had arrived. With over 500,000 chips, as compared to the others - one below 100,000, three around the 140,000 mark, and one over 250,000 - Brown was probably not a welcome sight at the table.

10:14pm--allinstevie loves that KQ

Most player aren't ecstatic with KQo. allinstevie likes the hand a lot though. Canuck found out just how much when he reraised allinstevie to 12,800 pre-flop with pocket tens. allinstevie three-bet to 40K and Canuck then moved all-in for his final 68,452. allinstevie called and wouldn't you know it, there was a king on the flop. The board came out 4c-Kd-5d-Jc-Ah and Canuck exited the tournament in 45th place.

10:07pm--Down to 45

There are just 45 players and eight tables remaining here. The money is about to get into the $2K range. Those that finish 31-36 will earn $2,016.00.

9:58pm--TheRounderr inching toward top spot

While Chad Brown has a fairly sizable lead over everyone else in the field, the player having held down second place for awhile is looking to inch closer to the seemingly elusive Brown. In consecutive hands, TheRounderr eliminated opponents. First, it was bcforrest. The next victim was YUFOLDBSTHND.

TheRounderr is still more than 100,000 behind Brown, but at least that #1 spot is now in sight.

9:54pm--Patient Pagano

One of the most important characteristics for a poker player is patience. It's impossible to always get quality hands. Sometimes you just have to sit back and wait for the right time to make a move. Team PS pro LucaPagano is doing just that. Pagano is showing patience and has not moved much in the last half hour. He has just under 70K and is in 27th place.

9:47pm--Maridu has left the virtual building

Nearing the lower end of the leaderboard, Maridu's patience seemed to be running out. With 38,200 left in chips and in the big blind, she decided to move all-in with pocket tens. As luck would - or would not - have it, mikek15 woke up with pocket aces and called. Here is how it played out:

9:43pm--WatchOutSir leads rush to the exits

Just as we noted nobody was getting knocked out, there were a bunch of exits. WatchOutSir was involved in two, one being himself. First, WatchOutSir hit a set of nines to knock out shortstacked hasumutas. But on the very next hand, WatchOutSir got his remaining 58K in the pot pre-flop against sickdickey. WatchOutSir had AK but sickdickey had pocket jacks, which held and sent WatchOutSir to a 59th-place finish. the effort was still worth $1,296.00.

9:38pm--Barcelona Brown

Could there be something in the Barcelona air that has Team PokerStars Pro Chad Brown fired up? Not only has he been in the top ten on the leaderboard in this tournament since the first hour, but he is maintaining a solid chip lead over his competitors with only eleven tables left.

Only yesterday (we think but the time difference confuses us a little), he finished in 24th place out of a field of 619 players at the EPT Barcelona for a $24,393 cash.

Take a look at some of the footage shot by PokerStars.tv of Brown in his natural setting, at a poker table delivering some analysis of the play.

Watch EPT Barcelona 2008 Day 2 Chad Brown on PokerStars.tv

9:36pm--Staying alive

It's been 15 minutes since the break ended and nobody has busted out. We're still at 61 players as action has slowed considerably. There are a couple players, however, that are in trouble, BKiCe being the most obvious.

9:28pm--And representing Brazil...

We have Maria "Maridu" Mayrinck still in the field today. The former Brazilian PokerStars blogger turned PokerStars Pro is maintaining in 53rd place with $27,300. Typically an aggressive player, she has slowed down at this stage of the game, presumably to strategize and wait for prime moments to move.

9:23pm--Strong right from the start

Look at the top ten at the one-hour, two-hour and three-hour mark and there is one common thread -- Chad Brown's name. Yes, Brown has been pretty much dominant right from the start. He did actually miss the top ten at the four-hour mark, but quickly regained his birthright near the top not long after.. Now, Brown isn't just in the top ten, he's in the lead. The most important thing, however, is if Brown is at the top several hours from now.

9:11pm--Chip counts at six-hour mark

Level 13
Blinds 700/1,400
Average chip count: 78,688
Players remaining: 61
First prize: $80,400

Top ten chip counts:
1. Team PokerStars Pro Chad "ChadBrownPRO" Brown 337,305
2. The Rounderr 232,046
3. The BigViking 170,090
4. Str8$$$Homey 169,750
5. Zefa 157,858
6. cdbr3799 147,931
7. poker1O1 147,790
8. KingGorn 144,060
9. QuasiFiction 128,610
10. allinstevie 122,818

Team PokerStars pros remaining:
Luca Pagano 69,292 (28th place)

9:01pm--A softball for Brown

An observer railing Chad Brown's table is asking him questions, including whom he believes to be the most beautiful female poker pro.

ChadBrownPRO: ness
ChadBrownPRO: hands down

Referring, of course, to his fiancée and Team PokerStars colleague Vanessa "LadyMaverick" Rousso.

Brown has cruised past the 335,000-chip mark, extending his lead over The Rounderr who currently sits at 226,046.

8:48pm--Boom! Chad Brown over 300K

After claiming an 86,400 pot versus Messmacher. Brown flopped two pair (tens and nines), and was able to turn a nice profit when Messmacher took the lead in the betting post-flop.

Brown now has 304,002 chips. The rest of the field look up in awe, with The Rounderr having the closest view with 201,796.

8:43pm--Here's a lesson for ya

The advantage of being the big stack in poker is that you can really put your opponents to the test, as poker1O1 recently did. With just pocket deuces he put pressure on the blinds, raising it up to 2,400. The small blind succumbed and folded, the big blind played back and raised back to 7,800. Poker1O1 raised him back and ASPoker8 had no choice then back to get his stack all-in pre-flop with As-4s.

The board brought him no help -- in fact, the 2h on the turn only improved poker1O1's hand and ASPoker8 finished today's event in 78th place, good for a $1,152 cash prize.

8:42pm--Paul-Ambrose hits the rail in 79th place

After taking a couple more hits to his stack, PS pro Steve "stevejpa" Paul-Ambrose suddenly found himself down to 8,666 -- a bit more than seven big blinds. He picked up Qs-8h and decided to run with it, raising to 4,200 preflop and getting called by junior4718.

When the flop came Ac-3s-5c, junior4718 checked and Paul-Ambrose didn't have much choice but to push his last 4,466 in the middle. junior4718 called, showing 9c-9s.

The turn was the 3c and the river the Jh, and Paul-Ambrose was eliminated.

8:36pm--Taking it to a whole, 'nother level

We've just begun Level 12, where the blinds are 600/1,200. Where are the antes, you're wondering? No, you're not wondering that... no antes in pot-limit games.

We currently have exactly 80 players remaining. Ever since we hit the 96-player mark, all of those left have been guaranteed more than $1,000 for their achievements today.

Team PokerStars pro Chad Brown has a huge lead at the moment. His stack of 274,602 chips is nearly 100k ahead of second place Zefa who has 176,577.

8:31pm--hasumutas takes it to the top

Meet our newest player to join the leaderboard, as hasumutas joins the chip leaders in 5th place with over 140,000 in chips. Watch the hand that put him there:

8:28pm--Paul-Ambrose knocked back

Steve "stevejpa" Paul-Ambrose just took a hit after running his pocket nines up against junior4718's pocket queens. He slips back down to 27,109 after that one, 67th place out of the 87 players remaining.

8:17pm--Pagano hurting

We said Pagano didn't want to get in the habit of giving away chips, but it looks as if he's feeling in a bit of a generous mood today.

With blinds at 400/800 Pagano called a raise to 2000 from WatchOutSir along with the big blind, hasumutas. The three saw the flop of Js-4d-8c and WatchOutSir led out with a 4,000 bet. Pagano raised to 8,000 and hasumutas, sensing he was beat at least once if not twice, got out of the way.

WatchOutSir then raised all-in with Ah-Jc and Pagano called with Kc-Jd. The turn brought As, giving WatchOutSir two pair, aces and jacks, and the river was a 2c giving no relief to Pagano. The 44,704 pot went to WatchOutSir and Pagano, who was once atop the leaderboard, is now in 55th place with just over 40,000 in chips.

8:10pm--Brown claims massive pot; charges into first

Whoa! A 200,000-plus chip pot over on Table 156! Former chip leader bdubs3737 raised to 2,350 from the button, Chad "ChadBrownPRO" Brown called from the small blind, and boogit also called from the big blind.

The flop came 9h-Qc-8s. Brown and boogit checked, bdubs3737 bet 4,000, and Brown minimum-raised to 8,000. Both boogit and bdubs3737 called. The turn brought the 5h, and that's when the fireworks really began. Brown checked, boogit bet 13,000, bdubs3737 called boogit's bet, then Brown check-raised all in to 82,262! boogit folded, and bdubs3737 thought a long while before making the call.

Brown showed Jh-Th for the nut straight and a flush draw, while bdubs3737 had Qh-5c for two pair. The river was the 9s, and Brown won the 208,574-chip pot and moved into first place. Down to just 453, bdubs3737 decided to sit out and was blinded away a few hands later, ending the day a disappointing 98th.

8:04pm--We'll take your word that's what it is...

After winning two large pots back-to-back without going to showdown, nsinger remarked to his table "being a cardrack is fun." Without having called him down, nsinger's opponents can only take his word for it that the cards are falling his way, though as he currently sits #28 on the leaderboard it appears that may have been the case today.

8:03pm--Chip counts at the five-hour mark

Level 11
Blinds 500/1000
Average chip count: 46,601
Players remaining: 103
First prize: $80,400

Top ten chip counts:
1. Zefa 172,282
2. Poker1O1 138,424
3. TheBigViking 127,586
4. Allinstevie 112,041
5. Waters81 95,531
6. Bdubs3737 95,465
7. Team PokerStars pro Chad "ChadBrownPRO" Brown 95,465
8. Taknapotin 92,545
9. Mikek15 90,812
10. Ozenc 86,378

Other Team PokerStars pros remaining:
Steve "stevejpa" Paul-Ambrose 61,632 (23rd place)
Luca Pagano 56,992 (30th)

7:58pm--Battle of the big stacks

Table 156 is getting wobbly, what with all the chips on it. Half of the players sitting at the table are in the current top 10 -- poker1O1, bdubs3737, and Team PokerStars pro Chad Brown.

poker1O1 had just moved ahead of bdubs3737 when the following hand took place. bdubs3737 raised to 1,900 and it folded around to poker1O1 who called from the big blind. The flop came 2d-4d-9c. poker1O1 checked, bdubs3737 bet 2,400, poker1O1 raised to 6,400, and bdubs3737 called. The turn was the 8h. This time poker1O1 bet 1,400, and bdubs3737 raised to 12,800. poker1O1 called.

The river was the Ac, making a board of 2d-4d-9c-8h-Ac. When poker1O1 bet out 26,000, bdubs3737 typed "un****ing real" before folding. That hand brought poker1O1 up to 138,824, and knocked bdubs3737 down to 95,065. Meanwhile, Chad Brown sits across the table with 93,812.

7:49pm--Presto! stevejpa's stack grows

Waters91 raised to 2,000, and Team PokerStars pro Steve "stevejpa" Paul-Ambrose called behind on the button. The flop came 2h-4h-3s. Waters91 checked, Paul-Ambrose bet 3,200, and Waters81 called. Both then checked the 8h on the turn.

The river was the 6s. Waters81 checked, Paul-Ambrose bet 8,800, and after some moments of contemplation Waters81 made the call.

Paul-Ambrose showed 5d-5c for the straight, and Waters81 typed "gh" as he mucked. Waters81 still has a nice stack of 76,984, while Paul-Ambrose is now up to 54,203.

7:44pm--Pagano stumbles

With his name high up among the leaders for the past hour, Luca Pagano can afford to lose a big hand, but it's not something he'll want to get into the habit of doing.

With pocket 8s and posting the small blind of 400, Pagano raised it up to 1,600. The big blind, x-13, then raised him back to 4,800. At this point the two blinds got in to a raising war and when it was over x-13 was all-in for his 21,036 stack.

x-13 showed pocket 9s, besting Pagano's pocket pair and the board brought no help for our Team PokerStars Pro. X-13 doubled up and Pagano took a hit to his stack, one that knocks him down to 11th on the leaderboard.

7:37pm--bdubs3737 new chip leader

Shortly before the cash bubble burst, bdubs3737 got involved in a big hand against pokerbud738, with the result being bdubs3737 being vaulted into the chip lead with over 130,000. Watch how the hand played out:

7:34pm--We're in the money

With the elimination of clarkatroid in 145th place, all of the remaining players will be cashing in today's event. Everyone left is guaranteed at least $768 for their efforts today.

7:28pm--Hand for hand

With one minute left in Level 9, we are down to 145 players -- just one away from the cash. The tournament is now being played hand for hand.

7:21pm--Bubble talk

As we approach the money bubble -- just three players away, now -- the remaining participants are engaging in dialogue about their recent pasts and possible futures. Here's a sampling from chip leader markysals11's table, with player rdog7811 chiming in from another table in this same event:

rdog7811 [observer]: think i can bubble?
Roothlus: if i bubble it'll be my 4th wcoop bubble thus far
markysals11: lol

markysals11: im just going for my 3rd 15min break
markysals11: thats my goal
Roothlus: sick
Roothlus: havent made my first
Roothlus: made it in a 2nd chance
markysals11: ya but im still down $
markysals11: lol

7:14pm--You call that a welcome wagon?

Shane "shaniac" Schleger was moved to a new table and immediately started to try and get things going and build up his stack. kalounardo had other plans in mind though, re-raising shaniac's flop bets and putting him to the test on the 8h-5d-Ts board with a final raise to 13,629 that proved to be too much for shaniac to call.

It all proved to be too much for shaniac at this table. In just a few short hands later he was out, falling to Joeik when shaniac would get it all-in on the river with the Ad-Ac-Jd-6h-7d board. Holding As-8s, it didn't seem like a bad move for shaniac, given that there was only one other Ace in the deck that could beat him. Too bad it just happened to be sitting in Joeik's hand at the time. Shaniac finished today's event in 161st place, just 17 places shy of the money.

7:12pm--New chip leader

Player markysals11 continues to ride the rush, using pocket aces to eliminated a short-stacked yfsas's pocket tens. He's pushed out to 121,944 and the chip lead, with PS pro Luca Pagano now in second with 105,974.

7:04pm--markysals11 making his mark

Another big hand over on markysals11's table just took place. In this one, as1025 raised to 2,100 and markysals11 called. The flop came 9c-Js-7d. markysals11 checked, as1025 bet 3,100, and marksals11 called. The turn was the Qd. markysals11 again checked, and as1025 bet 7,500. marksals11 promptly check-raised the pot, and as1025 called with his remaining 12,019.

marksals11 showed 6d-9d for a pair and a flush draw, while as1025 showed Kd-Tc for a made king-high straight. The Td on the river took the hand away from as1025, knocking him out in 169th. markysals11 is now up to more than 100,000.

6:57pm--Chip counts at four-hour mark

Level 9
Blinds 300/600
Average chip count: 27,118
Players remaining: 177
First prize: $80,400

Top ten chip counts:
1. Team PokerStars Pro Luca Pagano 103,574
2. markysals11 82,584
3. Illwill514 81,745
4. Taknapotin 79,765
5. YUFOLDBSTHND 73,686
6. QuasiFiction 72,267
7. taqtiX 71,752
8. rosseq 70,918
9. Waters81 65,124
10. Alloverflop 65,088

Team PokerStars pros in the Top 100:
Chad "ChadBrownPRO" Brown 63,014 (11th)
Steve "stevejpa" Paul-Ambrose 41,421 (27th)

6:50pm--Gotta have faith (in one's lack of faith)

Player as1025 raised to 1,400 and markysals11 called from the small blind. The flop came 6s-Tc-Ks and both checked. The turn was the 8d and when markysals bet out 1,800, as1025 raised to 6,450. markysals11 called.

The river was the 4c. markysals11 checked, and this time as1025 bet 12,200. markysals11 took a moment to replay the hand in his mind.

markysals11 said, "god i dont believe u"

He went with his read and made the call, showing 7s-7d. He was right, as as1025 showed Ac-6h. markysals11 is at the moment sitting on a stack of 92,134, within shouting distance of leader Luca Pagano.

6:45pm--Luca Pagano takes the top

Remember what we said about needing someone to play back with Luca Pagano? He found it, and then found it again. The first hand we'll recap for you. The second one -- the one that shot him to the top of the leaderboard -- is one of those that you just have to see for yourself.

Pagano was in the big blind with Ah-Qd facing a raise to 579 from Kakalala. He called and everyone else got out the way, leaving those two to see the flop of 2c-Qc-9d. Both checked and it was off to the turn where the 6s fell. Here Pagano bet out to 1400 and Kakala called. On the river, the Ts hit. Pagano bet out to 2,400 and Kakalala raised him to 6,822. Pagano thought, then called and showed his pair of Queens. Kakalala had been betting a stone-cold bluff with 7h-5h and Pagano won the 18,602 pot.

Now, the hand that put Pagano on top? It is one of those that poker players never forget, changing fates mid-stream and shipping a 110,943 pot to Pagano. Watch how this one played out:

6:43pm--Brown reaching for the skies on American Airlines

Chad Brown just picked up a 37,000-plus pot after getting Mrdawwe to commit all of his chips preflop with 6d-5d against Brown's Ac-As. The board came Td-9s-Js-Kc-Qc, giving both players a straight, but Brown the better one.

MrDawwe is out in 195th place. Meanwhile, Brown is now up to 65,814 (5th place).

6:35pm--QuasiFiction was telling the truth!

Huge hand just occurred over on Table 74 involving PokerStars SuperNova LoneHixx and QuasiFiction. The hand began with QuasiFiction raising to 1,020 and LoneHixx calling behind. The flop came Qd-8s-4s and QuasiFiction bet out 1,600. After waiting several beats, LoneHixx raised to 4,885.

QuasiFiction went into the tank, then repopped it to 17,295, prompting LoneHixx to reraise pot immediately for 54,525 total. QuasiFiction called with his remaining 16,660, showing Ad-As. LoneHixx showed Ks-Qs for top pair and a flush draw, but the aces held up, propelling QuasiFiction to 70,550 and second place. LoneHixx tumbles all of the way down to 30,209.

6:26pm--No play for Pagano

Luca Pagano continues to hold steady at the #31 spot on the leaderboard. He's not gotten involved in many hands at his table since coming back from the break, and in the ones he has players haven't much wanted to see him past the flop in them.

On his last two hands alone he's collected 4,200 from the table without ever having to see a turn card. With well-timed raises he's been able to build pots early on making these profitable enough, but Pagano will need to get some play back in order to move up the leaderboard and make a run for first.

6:17pm--Chad ain't just a fad

PS Pro Chad Brown raised the minimum to 600 from the cutoff, and caecilius reraised to 2,100 from the small blind. It folded back around and Brown thought a moment before making the call.

The flop came 7c-Jh-6c, and caecilius took a few seconds before betting 2,000. Either something seemed fishy or Brown had hit that flop, as he quickly reraised to 10,500. And caecilius just as quickly folded.

Seems Brown is stickin' around in this one. He is now up over the 50,000-chip mark, still comfortably within the top 10 where he has been pretty much all afternoon.

6:08pm--265 remain

We're halfway through Level 7, and currently 265 players remain on 44 tables. Still a while to go before that money bubble bursts, as the top 144 finishers get paid today.

6:05pm--The rich just keep getting richer

Tournament leader YUFOLDBSTHND just claimed another WCOOP life and adds to his stack atop the leaderboard when he knocked StoneCold17 out in 276th place. With Ad-Th, short-stacked StoneCold17 pushed-all in pre-flop following a raise from YUFOLDBSTHND, who made the move with Ah-Qs. YUFOLDBSTHND paired the Q on the flop and StoneCold17 never caught up.

Only time will tell if anyone can catch up to YUFOLDBSTHND's chip count, but we've got hours ahead of us in today's event.

5:53pm--It is likely markysals11 enjoyed his break

A huge pot just in the last hand before the break propelled markysals11 to 54,839, placing him in second behind leader YUFOLDBSTHND. Before the flop, markysals11 raised to 550, rolonrolon reraised to 1,600, and markysals11 called. The Th-Ah-Qs flop induced further action, and when the Jd came on the turn rolonrolon would commit the rest of his stack. See what they each had:

5:49pm--Chip counts at three-hour mark

Level 7
Blinds 150/300
Average chip count: 15,635
Players remaining: 307
First prize: $80,400

1. YUFOLDBSTHND 72,526
2. markysals11 54,839
3. KingGorn 50,507
4. Lord_Strife 49,305
5. Team PokerStars pro Chad "ChadBrownPRO" Brown 46,465
6. blakeb0921 45,007
7. W Snipes 43,494
8. curlysam 42,502
9. rosseg 42,040
10. KankeeAhmed 41,549

Team PokerStars pros in the Top 100:
Luca Pagano 32,194 (19th place)
Steve "stevejpa" Paul-Ambrose 22,668 (54th)

5:38pm--McEvoy smackevoyed

Since picking up that big pot way back at the end of Level 2, Team PokerStars pro Tom McEvoy has seen his stack slowly dribble away ever since. Just now he had a hand in which BigFishNuts -- one of our chip leaders with more than 40,000 -- had raised from UTG to 700, and McEvoy, sitting to his left with 6,765, reraised pot to 2,400. It folded back around and BigFishNuts called.

The flop came Jh-7s-5s. BigFishNuts bet out 5,100, enough to put McEvoy all in, and the 1983 WSOP Main Event champ folded.

On the very next hand, McEvoy committed his remaining 4,365 preflop with As-Kd, only to find himself up against teyger's Kc-Ks and wader's Qh-Qs. A queen flopped, and wader ended up taking the 12,465-chip pot. McEvoy is out in 330th place.

5:29pm--The 40,000-chip club

Four members thus far, sitting atop the leaderboard: KingGorn (48,857), rosseg (43,340), Team PokerStars pro Chad Brown (41,855), and KankeeAhmed (40,449).

5:20pm--Nelson nixed

PS pro Lee Nelson's frustrating day has finally ended. Down to 4,158, Nelson and cdbr3799 got into some back-and-forthing preflop until all Nelson's chips were in the middle. Nelson showed pocket nines, well behind cdbr3799's pocket kings. The board came Ad-Ts-Qh-2d-7h, and Nelson is out in 373rd.

5:16pm--Ha! You folded quads!

Over at table 55 a remarkable thing just happened... half the table hit quads... while the other half folded!
When the flop came down 9d-9h-9c Yo brains, jornxx, and QuasiFiction were a little stunned, each checking the action, no doubt fearing a pocket pair the other might be holding. But when the 9s hit the turn things got crazy.

Yo brains checked, jornxx bet out 750, QuasiFiction called, and Yo brains then raised it to 4146. With nothing to fear now the players decided to get it all in the middle, each raising all-in until eventually the pot reached 41,749.

They split the pot of course, leaving their tablemates who had folded pre-flop to marvel at the fuss and perhaps lament not having been a part of it.

5:12pm--Brown throwing down

Ryan "Daut44" Daut raised to 450, Chad "ChadBrownPRO" Brown called, then sketchy1 raised to 1,650 from the button. Daut folded, and Brown called.

The flop came 3h-8h-Jd. Both checked. The turn was the 7d. Both checked again.

The river brought the 8s. Brown bet 3,975 (the size of the pot), and sketchy1 folded. Brown has chipped up past the 38,000 mark and into third place at the moment.

5:09pm--My name is Luca

Team PokerStars pro Luca Pagano continues to hold steady here in the early going with an above-average stack of 15,197. Hear what he has to say about playing Vegas and his fellow Italian pros in this interview from the 2008 World Series of Poker:


Watch WSOP 08: Luca Pagano On Vegas on PokerStars.tv

5:01pm--Nelson snakebit

PS pro Lee Nelson can't seem to catch a break. After getting his shorter-stacked opponent gherick with the advantage on the flop, gherick managed to catch a needed card to survive. Following this hand, Nelson is down to 2,029:

4:51pm--Bill Chen straightened out

Bill Chen is the most recent member of Team PokerStars Pro to exit today's event after getting all his chips in the middle against markysals11 on a Ts-7h-9c-Kd board.

Chen, who held Kh-Th, had been taking the lead betting with his two pair the entire way down and had no choice but to commit his entire stack on the turn. Markysals11 held Qc-Jc for the King-high straight and won the 12,983 pot and sent Chen to the rail.

This elimination dashes all hopes Chen had for making a repeat of his 5th place finish in last year's Pot-Limit Hold'Em event.

4:49pm--No saving ace for macstarr; Pagano on the move

A short-stacked macstarr got it all in preflop with Kd-7c against PS pro Luca Pagano's As-Kc. Tough spot for macstarr, made even worse by the flop: Qd-Js-Ts. No ace came to give macstarr a split, and he's out 485th. Pagano sneaks back into the Top 100 -- all of the way to 61st, actually -- with 16,123.

4:41pm--Chip counts at the two-hour mark

Level 5
Blinds 75/150
Average chip count: 9,795
Players remaining: 490
First prize: $80,400

1. KankeeAhmed 43,499
2. TheCleaner11 33,500
3. kissamu123 29,335
4. rosseg 26,630
5. Ulett_23 26,066
6. Boykee 25,530
7. Pier85 25,080
8. D1rtyR1v3r 25,025
9. Team PokerStars pro Chad "ChadBrownPRO" Brown 24,710
10. Roothlus 24,249

(No other Team PokerStars pros in the Top 100)

4:40pm--"NoMercy" indeed

Looks like Isabelle Mercier found her hand to stand with but unfortunately for her the cards did not go her way.

With 8h-7h she shoved pre-flop to a call from sprstoner who held pocket 9s. The board brought her no mercy and Mercier finished today's event in 507th place.

4:31pm--Runner-runner quashes rockets

After Team PokerStars pro Lee "LeeNelsonP*" Nelson limped, RiVeRs HoMe raised to 300 and Nelson called. The flop came Th-Qh-3d. That's when the fun began.

RiVeRs HoMe bet the minimum: 300. Nelson raised to 900. RiVeRs HoMe then reraised to 1,500, typing "no bs" afterward.

Nelson had had enough of the tippy-toeing, and repopped it to 5,100. RiVeRs HoMe immediately shoved all in for 9,489 total, and Nelson called.

LeeNelsonP*: Ac-Ah
RiVeRs HoMe: Jc-Qs

Looked good for Nelson, but the turn and river brought two jacks: Jd-Jh, giving RiVeRs HoMe the 19,578-chip pot. "looks like bs to me," chimed YUFOLDBSTHND.

After the hand, RiVeRs HoMe claimed he'd misclicked when min.-reraising on the flop. In any event, it worked out for him. Meanwhile, Nelson slips to 3,764.

4:28pm--Just toss those, they're no good

Isabelle "NoMercy" Mercier surely was delighted when she saw the pocket Aces she had been dealt, and wasted no time raising it up to 300 pre-flop. She got two callers who saw the 7c-3c-Kd flop along with her, Aboubacar checked to her and NoMercy bet 850, emiwarg called her bet and Aboubacar bowed out.

On the turn the 2d hit and Mercier stepped it up, this time firing 1,850 into the pot. emiwarg respond by coming over the top all-in for 4,096 and Mercier called to see the 5s on the river.

At showdown Mercier revealed her Aces but emiwarg showed her the pocket 3s he'd been holding on to for the 10,892 pot. "NH" Mercier typed.

With that Mericer is on life support and will be looking to make a move soon.

4:25pm--KankeeAhmed new chip leader

KankeeAhmed has just surged into the chip lead with over 35,000 on the strength of this big pot won versus zangbezan24:

4:11pm--Oooh, I didn't want to see that

Team PokerStars pro Steve "stevejpa" Paul-Ambrose just experienced a few tense moments. With the board showing Ks-3s-5s, a raising war with konsul11 ended with Paul-Ambrose being all in with Ac-Kh versus konsul11's As-Kc. Can't imagine Paul-Ambrose liked seeing his opponent flip that over.

konsul was freerolling for the flush, but the Qh on the turn and 4h on the river meant Paul-Ambrose could continue with his stack of 4,960. konsul11, meanwhile, has 9.123.

4:10pm--Vicky Coren eliminated

After a broadway straight double-up that looked like it might see her on the road to recovery, Vicky Coren has unfortunately again run into kicker troubles and has been eliminated from today's event in 586th place.
Prior to pushing all-in with Ts-8s Coren remarked in chat "oh **** it I'll gamble with this, gl" only to see the flop of Tc-Qh-4c... and the Ac-Th that her opponent B.Hagberg was holding.

Ever in good spirits, Coren then remarked "perfect lol" as she waited to see if the turn or river might bring her salvation.

Unfortunately it did not, leaving this member of Team PokerStars to seek WCOOP gold another day.

4:03pm--Post-flop: where the action is

It is a curious combination, really -- short-handed and pot-limit. Hand values obviously go down in a 6-max game, so one tends to see more action. Yet the pot-limit format tempers preflop play somewhat, as players often cannot really push opponents off hands until after the flop (when the pots get bigger).

As a result, we're seeing more limping and minimum-raising preflop than one might normally find in a 6-max. no-limit hold'em game. A recent hand on Table 94 demonstrated how it often isn't until the flop or turn that things can get really hairy in PLHE.

PS pro Chad Brown minimum-raised to 160 from the hijack seat/UTG+1 and both blinds called -- retdes from the SB, and Ryan "Daut44" Daut from the BB. Total pot 480.

The flop came Td-Qs-4d. retdes checked, Daut bet 360, and Brown just called. retdes folded. Total pot now 1,200.

The turn brought innocuous-seeming 2c. Daut bet 960, then Brown raised pot to 4,080. Daut went into the tank, then made the call. The pot had suddenly grown to 9,360.

The river was the 5d, completing a possible flush. Daut instantly pushed all in with his last 5,515, and after thinking about it, Brown let it go. Brown now has 14,470, while Daut has nearly caught him with 14,160.

Read about Ryan Daut's triumph in the 2007 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure here.

3:58pm--Greg Raymer eliminated

After the damage done to his stack, Greg Raymer was looking for the right hand and place to get his money in and found it with Qs-Jc. First to act, he raised the blinds to 160. Two players got out of the way but one - mjh0318 - raised him back to 480. The blinds bowed out and FossilMan called the raise, the two players seeing the flop.

The 2h-2d-3h looked pretty good to mjh0318 with his pocket Kings, so when FossilMan bet out 1,080 he raised for his remaining 155 all-in. Raymer called for the 70 chips he had left in front of him and saw what he was up against. The turn was the 6d, the river the 3s, and Raymer returned home in 669th place.

3:57pm--Coren in trouble

Vicky Coren will likely be pushing all her chips in soon, her stack now sitting at 500.

Fans are rooting for her in the chat pulling for a comeback:

weldonjr [observer]: come on Vicky time to get on a roll.

Coren laughs and replies that she is enjoying the tournament. That's the spirit Vicky!

3:42pm--Players enjoying their Kraft

PS pro Luca Pagano's tablemates are asking him questions. One recently asked the Italian pro what his favorite Italian meal was.

Pagano might've missed the question -- it is hard, sometimes, to let one's attention drift when playing six-max. Seizing the lull in the conversation, another player stepped in to provide his answer:

macstarr: mcarony'N'cheeseesah

3:42--That had to hurt

Things aren't looking so good for the FossilMan. He's now down to just under 2,000 in chips thanks to a tangle with ccmdsn right after the break. The hand put ccmdsn in the top 100 but has Raymer looking for the right time to make a move. Take a look at how the hand played out -

3:38pm--Right place, right time for McEvoy

Just before the first break, Team PokerStars pro Tom McEvoy somehow managed to cajole Luj0_1989 into getting all of his chips in the middle on a board of 7s-7d-5s-Kc when the latter only had the modest holding 5d-2d, well behind McEvoy's Ac-Ad.

The ace on the river sealed it, and McEvoy found himself in the top ten at the break with a stack of 17,510.

3:32pm--Chip counts at the one-hour mark

Level 3
Blinds 40/80
Average chip count: 6,629
Players remaining: 724
First prize: $80,400

1. molped 21,590
2. Powerman34 19,040
3. Team PokerStars pro Lee "LeeNelsonP*" Nelson 18,758
4. maveri9 18,250
5. Team PokerStars pro Chad "ChadBrownPRO" Brown 18,050
6. twirlpro 17,970
7. mpg1000 17,715
8. Team PokerStars pro Tom McEvoy 17,510
9. mr. burns 17,350
10. zmeyga 16,505

Other team PokerStars pros in the Top 100:
Luca Pagano 14,615 (29th place)
Victor Ramdin 10,495 (96th)

3:27pm--What can Brown do for you?

Oh, I dunno. Take your chips?

Team PokerStars pro Chad "ChadBrownPRO" Brown has built up a nice stack here during the first hour. With 19,340, Brown is in second place at the moment behind molped who has 21,410.

3:26pm--Coren in control

While Vicky Coren hasn't been able to get much going today with big hands, a recent hand at her table where she was able to minimize the potential damage to her stack shows why this lady has been such a success on the poker circuit.

In the small blind with pocket 9s Coren saw a raise from Bushman and decided to call. The big blind got out of the way and it was just the two of them seeing the flop of Ac-4s-Tc where both players checked. The turn was an 8s and here Coren decided to test the waters a bit and lead out with a modest 260. Bushman called and it was off to the river. The 5c hit and again Coren made a meager 260 bet, which Bushman called, flipping over his Ah-2h for a paired Ace on the flop to best Coren's pocket 9s.

3:21pm--Calling with position

That's the strategy employed by Team PokerStars pro Steve "stevejpa" Paul-Ambrose in a recent hand versus SilkysNuts. Player konsul11 had minimum-raised to 120 from middle position, and Paul-Ambrose elected to call from the cutoff. It folded back to Silkysnuts who repopped it to 510 from the big blind. konsul11 folded, and Paul-Ambrose meditated a moment before calling.

The flop came 7c-Jd-Th. Silkysnuts fired out a continuation bet of 760, but when Paul-Ambrose raised to 1,920, Silkysnuts could continue no further. Silkysnuts still has a nice stack of 8,630, while Paul-Ambrose jumps up to 5,700.

3:08pm--Big pot for Nelson

Team PokerStars pro Lee "LeeNelsonP*" Nelson has jumped near the top of the leaderboard following a huge hand with YK VIKING.

YK VIKING raised to 180 from UTG and Nelson called behind him. s00tedj0kers called as well from the button, and the blinds got out of the way. The flop came Kh-Js-6d. YK VIKING bet 240, Nelson raised to 600, s00tedj0kers folded, and YK VIKING called.

The turn was the Th. YK VIKING checked, Nelson bet 1,440, and YK VIKING called. The river brought the 8s. YK VIKING again checked, and Nelson fired out 3,600. YK VIKING promptly reraised all in for 5,099 total, and Nelson snap-called, showing Ac-Qd for the turned straight

YK VIKING was eliminated, his Kc-Jc (two pair) having failed him.

Nelson is now up to 17,119.

3:05pm--Nice turn of events for Pagano

Team PokerStars pro Luca Pagano just picked up a huge 13,000-plus pot here at the start of Level 2 by turning a straight versus eittak's pocket queens. That hand rockets Pagano among the early leaders and into the top ten. Here's how the hand played out:

3:00pm--960 entrants

With Level 1 concluding, registration is now closed. A total of 960 came out for today's event, making the total prize pool $480,000. The top 144 finishers will get paid, with the player finishing in first landing a cool $80,400 for a $530 investment.

2:53pm--All that and modesty too

Greg Raymer is off to a nice start this morning, steadily grabbing chips over at table 78. He just took down a big pot with blinds at 20/40, raising it up to 80 and getting a raise back to 280 from ccmdsn. FossilMan called the pre-flop raise and both players saw the 8d-3d-2d on the flop and checked.

On the turn the Qs hit and ccmdsn bet out 430. Raymer called. The 8s came on the river and both checked. At showdown ccmdsn revealed Ad-Kc playing the board for a pair of eights to Raymer's two pair Queens and eights, and the 1,460 pot sailed to Raymer.

In the chat afterwards ccmdsn typed "nh". FossilMan replied with "nope, just dump luck. but ty anyway."

2:43pm--Pagano bounces back

Player macstarr raised to 140 from under the gun and Luca Pagano, sitting to his left, made the call. Oakley1 also called from the big blind.

The flop came Jh-Ah-4s. Oakley1 and macstarr both checked, and Pagano bet 440. Oakley1 called and macstarr got out of the way. The turn was the Ts, and Oakley1 checked again. This time Pagano fired out 1,320, and his opponent scampered away. Pagano is now up to 6,750.

2:37pm--Pagano runs into cowboys at the start of tourney trail

Team PokerStars pro Luca Pagano just lost a 1,440-chip pot when he ran into BIG_CREEK 6's pocket kings here in the early going. Pagano slips to 4,280 here in the early going. (Players began with 5,000 chips today.)

2:37pm--Stars shining bright

Team PokerStars Pros are out in full force today, including Dario Minieri, Bill Chen, Chad Brown, Marcin "Goral" Horecki, John Duthie, Katja Thater, Lee Nelson, Isabelle "NoMercy" Mercier, Hevad "RaiNKhaN" Khan, Steve "Stevejpa" Paul-Ambrose, Tom McEvoy, Victor Ramdin, Greg "FossilMan" Raymer, Vanessa "LadyMaverick" Rousso, Raymond Rahme, Barry Greenstein, Vicky Coren, Luca Pagano, Humberto Brenes, Betrand "ElkY" Grospellier, and Gavin Griffin.

2:32pm--Shuffle up and deal!

Looks like we have 880 entrants at the moment, and with registration still open we may well get close to last year's total of 1,090 who entered this same $530 pot-limit hold'em event.

9:00am--WCOOP Event #17 begins at 2:30pm ET

WCOOP Event #17 $530 Pot-Limit Hold'em Six-Max kicks off at 2:30pm ET. The tournament has a $400,000 guarantee. Join us here for all the action once it begins.

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in WCOOP