World Cup of Poker VII: The five-handed round
4.35pm: It's the French! It's the French!
Team France lead after two rounds of sit and gos in the World Cup of Poker. They top the table with 74 points after victories by Lucien Schemann and Alexandra Petitjean at the bell kept them on top, scoring 37 points, the same as in the nine-handers.
This remarkable consistency would ruin the hopes of an impressive Filipino team which also notched up another two victories. After David Chiquito Summers took the first team captain Geoffrey Pamatian defeated Argentinian Marzullo Matias to top spot, making the type of hero call along the way that makes you wish this were filmed.
They finish second with 70 points, four short of a night off. They will return, as will the others, for the Heads-Up round at about 5pm.
France - 74
Philippines - 70
Italy - 67
Slovakia - 66
Ukraine - 64
United Kingdom - 60
Argentina - 59
Spain - 56
United States - 38
4.25pm: Another win for the Philippines
The first winners are clocking their points on the massive digital scoreboard, hanging over the scoreboard for the World Cup of Poker.
Most notable, at least for the sentimentalists out there, is that Douglas Chiquito Summers did the business for the Philippines. Summers was the first man out in the nine-handed round but just defeated Slovakian captain Dag Palovic to earn ten points, which he's still giggling happily about now.
There was also a win for Nacho Barbero, who defeated the UK's Gary Billington in one match. The UK got the better of the Argentinians in another round where David Tierney beat Edgardo Ariel Mazzarola into second place. So far there has also been victory for Litterio Pirrota of Italy. - SB
4pm: Things moving fast
I might be wrong, but there's a sense in this World Cup that players want to know how tomorrow's final will shape up as quickly as possible. Nearly an hour into the five-handed round and already some tables are at the heads-up stage and eliminated players are dutifully reporting their departure number, including Liv Boeree (fourth), Vanessa Selbst (fifth) and Luca Pagano (fifth).
It was not to be for Mark Larsen who despite a second early exit from these preliminary events looks like he's just won the PCA main event. "What time does the next round start?" was his happy, now familiar question.
Among those also out at this stage is Leonid Bilokur who immediately walked the few feet to where his High Roller chips were waiting.
3.20pm: No higher tribute
Two matches have captains playing against each other; Arnaud Mattern plays Jose Barbero while Dag Palovic will face off against Juan Manuel Pastor.
Interestingly one of the Ukrainian players is multi-tabling. As well as the World Cup Leonid Bilokur is also playing the High Roller event, where he sits alongside Argentinian Team PokerStars Pro Leo Fernandez. He has 40,000 in that and 3,000 in this. Testament to the majesty of this World Cup is Bilokur is not at his high roller table right now.
High rolling in the World Cup of Poker: Leonid Bilokur
As a reminder the team leading after this round of matches will receive a "bye" into the final tomorrow, along with the largest starting stack at that final. As another reminder it's the PokerStars party tonight. No one wants to be late out of here.
3.05pm: About to begin
Players are drawing for seats. They should be under way any minute now. -- SB
3pm: The five-handed round
The five-handed section of the World Cup of Poker is next up, the middle act. If the nine-handed round was the set-up, establishing location and character, we're now in that phase where a confrontation emerges, an obstacle that someone has to deal with and that could make their life very difficult. I suspect it might be the language barrier.
But for many World Cup players the hardest part has already been done, the qualifying to get here.
The five handed round
Each player has undergone a rigorous process made up of several stages; the first spent qualifying for a national team (your own, not just any); and then a second stage of Divisional Finals to determine which national teams earn a place and the finals in the Bahamas where they are lodged and pampered like the national heroes they will be.
Team USA have their work cut out
So now it's the five-handed round, nine matches with the same point system - 10 points for first, eight for second, down to five for fifth place.
Here's how things look right now:
1. France - 37
T2. Philippines - 30
T2. Slovakia - 30
T4. United Kingdom - 26
T4. Spain - 26
6. Italy - 24
7. Argentina - 21
8. Ukraine - 17
9. United States - 8
PokerStars Blog reporting team in the Bahamas (in order of World Cup of Poker finals covered):Stephen Bartley (3)