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2010 PCA amFAR Tournament: Round one

PCA-2010-thumbnail.jpgThe amFAR and PokerStars Charity Tournament is a shootout event. With four tables in play, this post will cover the first round, with two players from each table going through to the final. Players start with 5,000 chips and will enjoy 20-minute levels. Click refresh for latest updates.

See here for more about amFAR and its work in AIDS research, and here for live TV coverage.

10pm: Final table set
Our last outer final table has finished, with Team PokerStars SportStars Fatima de Melo and Mats Sundin both getting through to the final at the expense of Jimmy Wahlberg. While everyone takes a break for a breather, this is how the final table will look:

Montel Williams, TV host
Carlos Bernard, star of hit show 24
Mats Sundin, Team PokerStars SportStar
Fatima de Melo, Team PokerStars SportStar
Leo Fernandez, Team PokerStars Pro
Alex Gomes, Team PokerStars Pro
Luis Medina, Team PokerStars Pro
Spencer Benjafield, PokerStars qualifier


Fatima de Melo

9.50pm: Two more through
Team PokerStars Pro Leo Fernandez and PokerStars qualifier Spencer Benjafield are through to the final. Only the threesome of Mats Sundin, Fatima de Melo and Jimmy Wahlberg remain. Once one of those goes, our final eight is set.

Benjafield from Great Yarmouth in the UK, who works on the oil rigs in the North Sea, will now look forward to playing on the TV table.

"This is wonderful to be here," he said. "What a place to come and play poker! I'm looking forward to playing these guys. I was a big fan of Nelly, so it would have been cool to be play him, but I hear he is out."

9.40pm: SportStar split
We're three-handed on both of the remaining two outer tables. On one, Team PokerStars SportStars Fatima de Melo and Mats Sundin get all in on the river - both both have pocket aces and the pot is split!

On the other table, Team PokerStars Pro Leo Fernandez from Argentina locks a lock for a final place. He just took a monster off Frank Calo when his A♦T♥ overtook Frank Calo's Q♥Q♣ on a 9♠4♥9♥A♥5♣ board.

9.35pm: Nelly out
Nelly is busted in third place on the feature TV table - and that means TV Montel Williams and 24 star Carlos Bernard join Alex Gomes and Luis Medina in the final, with two tables still in play.

Nelly got all in on a 7-3-8 flop holding 2-3, but he was behind Bernard's 7-7. Another 8 on the river changed nothing, and the 7 on the turn filled up Bernard's full house.

Farewell, Nelly. Pack your trunk.


Nelly with something to smile about

9.20pm: First pair through to final
Team PokerStars Pros Alex Gomes and Luis Medina are the first two players to progress to the final.

One of those they beat along the way was Jules Manos, 43, a construction estimator from Bellingham, Washington, who has been playing poker for 15 years and won his seat into the amfAR tournament in a PokerStars freeroll.

Before the start of play he said: "Just being here is great. I've been to Jamaica once but nowhere like this. It's very exciting. I don't have a special strategy - I'm just going to play my normal game and hope I can keep my hands from shaking.!"

News also reaches us of Poli Rincon's departure.

9.05pm: Bust outs quicken
As the blinds start to bite, so the eliminations increase. Boris Becker and Jayde Nicole are the latest to take their leave. Becker revealed he had been card dead all night, and once down to 1,000 chips pushed with K♦2♦ and was called by the table chip leader, 24's Carlos Bernard with 9-7. Bernard hit a pair, and Becker was off to the locker room.


Boris Becker

Before the start of play, Nicole told me how she was looking forward to playing tonight. "I've been playing poker for four months, but in that time I've learnt a lot, and actually lasted eight levels of the PCA Main Event this week, which included time at the table with WSOP Champion Joe Cada.

"I'm so pleased to be here helping amFAR. It's so important for any celebrity to give their time and do their bit for charity, and I can't think of many better causes than AIDS research. In fact, the first ever charity event I did was on behalf of AIDS charities - we did a bikini car wash!"

Cool down, boys.

And now another treat - it's Jayde Nicole Sumo wrestling. Teddy Sheringham is the referee...

Watch PCA 2010: Jayde and Sarah's sumo fun on PokerStars.tv

8.55pm: Kelly Rowland busted
Carlos Bernard has eliminated the short-stacked Kelly Rowland. The feature table, now down to just four players, will not be such a pretty place now. Sitting there still is Nelly, Boris Becker, Montel Williams, and Carlos Bernard.


Kelly Rowland and Nelly

8.47pm: Sheringham, Raymer no more
Teddy Sheringham is missing from his seat - and as he is now being interviewed by the TV cameras it's safe to assume he is busted. Hang on, Greg Raymer is queuing to be interviewed as well. The Fossilman is out.

8.45: Rincon on thin ice
Poli Rincon, after losing a big pot to Carlos Bernard a short while ago, is all in every other hand. While he wins some he loses some. And they all seem to be against singing star Kelly Rowland, who initially shot to fame with Destiny's Child but is now a full-on solo star. She's just as short stacked and neither of them is able to knock each other out.

8.40pm: Double for Fossilman
Greg Raymer moves all in with A♦J♦ and entices a call from fellow Team PokerStars Pro Leo Fernandez, who has A♣5♣. The board ran an uneventful 6♦8♠9♥8♣Q♣ and Raymer moves close to the 10,000 mark. Fernandez down to a thousand or so.

8.35pm: The downfall of Poli Rincon
Carlos Bernard, who playes Almeida in the hit FOX show 24, dealt a cruel blow to Poli Rincon. On the A♠T♦4♥ flop Bernard made it 500, but Rincon raised to 2,000. Kelly Rowland sense danger and got out of the way, but Bernard moved all in - called by Rincon.

Rincon: A♦T♣
Bernard: A♣K♦

Bernard's top pair, top kicker was behind Rincon's two pair, but poker is never a simple game. So it was that the Q♦ came on the turn and the J♥ on the river, filling up Bernard's unlikely straight.

That set Rincon back to only a handful of chips, but Bernard up to a more healthy 5,775.

Blinds are currently 150-300.

8.16pm: Quick break
The remaining players are having a quick ten-minute break.

8.15pm: Negreanu explains himself
Daniel Negreanu took time to explain his bust out to PokerStars Blog HQ. He had pocket sixes, bet the 9-4-3 flop and was called by Jayde Nicole. She also called Negreanu on the K♠ turn, and on the T♠ river - the fourth spade. Negreanu was holding 6♠ and made a bet, but was met with an all-in re-raise from Nicole. "I did not believe her, so I called. But she had A-Q with the ace of spades!

"But the poker was irrelevant. The important thing was making money and raising awareness for amFAR. It's why I enjoy working with PokerStars so much - PokerStars makes sure money goes to the right places, and it's money that goes to help less fortunate people than us. Poker players are great at helping charities and are very generous people."


Daniel Negreanu

8.10pm: State of play
Here's where we are in this shootout. On William Thorson's table, six are left, with Team PokerStars Pros Alex Gomes and Luis Medina leading the way. Hang on, wasn't Thorson busted earlier? Well, yes, but he persuaded the tournament boss to let him buy back in. It's all for a good cause after all.

Greg Raymer's table has lost no one at all. Nine of them still sit there, looked in battle. They include world champion Joe Cada and Humberto Brenes.

Former Manchester United and England soccer star Teddy Sheringham survives on his table with five others. Chip monster here is Team PokerStars SportStar Mats Sundin on more than 10,000. "He's winning lots of little pots", said fellow Team PokerStars SportStar Fatima de Melo.


Fatima de Melo and Kenneth Cole

On the feature table we are down to six. Nelly leads the way, Montel Williams is also nicely stacked, but Kelly Rowland, Boris Becker and Poli Rincon have more work to do.

8.05pm: Nelly ups
Nelly survives and gets a nice double up through former footballer Poli Rincon. Nelly had 9-10 on a 8♠9♠6♣ flop, Rincon had K-7 for the open-ender. The turn was excellent for Nelly, coming 7♣ and filling his straight, and the 3♠ river secured the pot. It put him on more than 10,000, while Rincon slumps to around 1,500.

8pm: Celebs on the spot, part II
More quickfire video questions with the celebs...

Watch PCA 2010: amfAR Celebs on the Spot - Pt. 2 on PokerStars.tv

7.55pm: Negreanu flushed out
Team PokerStars Pro Daniel Negreanu has been busted by 2008 Playboy Playmate Jayde Nicole. Details to follow.

7.50pm: Montel dumps Martin
Martin Muursepp, the Estonian NBA star, has been bounced out, his K-J no match for Montel Williams' A-K. The main TV feature table is now down to six players. Two will progress to the final.

7.40pm: Slashed and burned
After that earlier hand against Poli Rincon that cost him his chips, Slash is now out. He had Q-J and a few hundred chips, but was up against Nelly's K-10. A king on the river sealed it, and the former Guns 'N Roses guitarist was on his way.

"This has been wonderful to be here," he told me. "amFAR is a great cause, and to come here to the Bahamas in a TV event is not a bad way to play poker. I've played a bit before, online when I am on the road or with my mates when I'm at home, but this has been something special." So long, Mr Slash. And that's a name that strikes a chord.



7.30pm: Krupa out
Joanna Krupa, the supermodel who recently starred in Dancing With the Stars on US TV, is out after running her A-Q, with an ace on the board, into Boris Becker's two pair. "A round of applause for Joanne Krupa," Neil Johnson announced through the mic. "A round of boos for Boris Becker," replied Nelly, not impressed that Joanna, who will soon host the new PokerStars.net NAPT tour, would no longer be sitting opposite him.

Team PokerStars Pro and world champion Joe Cada is also out. He told PokerStars Blog HQ: "Playing here in this charity event means a lot to me, especially as it means I get to give something back after being fortunate enough to win so much myself at the WSOP Main Event. amFAR is a great cause and I hope we raise a lot of money as well as awareness for their work.

"I'm excited to be playing with the celebrities. I met Slash from Guns 'N Roses here a few days ago, and he was great."

7.20pm: Slash's stack, er, slashed
Guns 'N Roses star Slash lost a big pot to former Real Madrid and Spain footballer Poli Rincon. He had jacks but got it in bad on a Q♦9♣4♠3♥ board against Rincon's Q-6. The A♣ river changed nothing. Slash down to 550.


Slash and Boris Becker

7.10pm: Nelly aggression
We've seen him at EPT Monte Carlo, the WSOP and here at the PCA, so it's no surprise to see hip hop star Nelly on the feature table in this event. And he's playing an aggressive game as he tries to build a stack.

On a Q♠9♦K♦ flop he and Boris Becker checked. On the 7♥ turn Becker made it 500, Nelly re-raised to 1,600 and Becker called. On the 6♣ river Becker slowed down with a check and was then forced to fold when Nelly fired out 2,000.

7.05pm: Cooler for Akkari
Team PokerStars Pro Andre Akkari got it all in with Frank Calo on a 6♥8♣T♣ flop. But he was not too pleased to see the hands:

Calo: 8♦8♥
Akkari: 6♦6♠

The 4♠ turn and 4♥ river changed nothing, and the Brazilian was left with just 800 chips.

6.55pm: Raymer doesn't bluff
Greg Raymer bets 2,000 on a K♦J♥7♦ flop and the only other person in the hand, Kasey Thompson, folds.

"Good fold," Raymer said. "I never bluff - I gave that up years ago." With that, he turned over 7♣7♥ for the flopped set.

6.50pm: The celebs on camera
Here's a look at some of the celebs and the pro earlier, in an 'On the Spot' feature (part one)...

Watch PCA2010: amFAR Celebs on the Spot - Pt. 1 on PokerStars.tv

6.45pm: Thorson crippled, then eliminated
Team PokerStars Pro William Thorson is the first to go. First he was cut down to just a sprinkling of chips in a nasty hand. He had pocket kings and enjoyed the fact a king came on the flop. He got it all in, but was aghast to find his opponent had aces - and there was an ace on the flop too!

Thorson's last few chips went in the middle a few hands later. With T♠8♠ he was up against Friend of PokerStars Darus Suharto's A♠Q♠. The board ran A♣2♣T♥6♦3♣, and that, as they say, was that.

Here's the group shot. What a lovely bunch...


6.35pm: Ready to roll
Our players are taking their seats. Four tables are filled, but only two from each will make it through to the final.

Kenneth Cole, the chairman of amFAR is making an introductory speech, outlining the foundation's important work in AIDS research.

Here's how our four tables are expected to shape up....

Table 1
Martin Muursepp, Estonian NBA star
Kelly Rowland, R&B star, Destiny's Child founder
Nelly, Hip hop legend, Grammy Award winner
Carlos Bernard, "Tony Almeida" in 24
Slash, Guns 'N Roses lead guitarist
Boris Becker, tennis legend, Team PokerStars SportStar
Montel Williams, US talk show host
Joanna Krupa, supermodel and future host of new PokerStars NAPT
Poli Rincon, Spanish football legend

Table 2
Jimmy Wahlberg, brother of actor Mark Wahlberg
Jayde Nicole, 2008 Playboy Playmate of the Year
Jérôme Le Banner, French kick box champion
Luis Medina, Team PokerStars Pro, Portugal
Teddy Sheringham, former England soccer player
Erik Adielsson, Harness racing champion
Daniel Negreanu, poker legend, Team PokerStars Pro
Mats Sundin, NHL legend, Team PokerStars SportStar
Fatima de Melo, Dutch hockey pro, Team PokerStars SportStar

Table 3
Spencer Benjafield, PokerStars qualifier, UK, offshore engineer
Diko Shoturma, Adrian Grenier's friend
Joe Cada, world champion, Team PokerStars Pro
Constantinos Psalidas, PokerStars qualifier, USA, professional player
Leo Fernandez, Team PokerStars Pro Argentina
Andre Akkari, Team PokerStars Pro Brazil
Pieter de Korver, Team PokerStars Pro Netherlands
Humberto Brenes, Team PokerStars Pro Costa Rica
Greg Raymer, former world champion, Team PokerStars Pro

Table 4
Chad Brown, Team PokerStars Pro USA
Jose Miguel Royo Garcia, PokerStars qualifier, Spain, retired
Roland Loranger, PokerStars qualifier, Canada, construction worker
Vanessa Rousso, Team PokerStars Pro USA
William Thorson, Team PokerStars Pro Sweden
Hevad Khan, Team PokerStars Pro USA
Pierre Neuville, EPT Vilamoura runner-up, Belgium
Jules Manos, PokerStars qualifier, Canada
Alex Gomes, Team PokerStars Pro Brazil

While we get going, here's a pic we thought you might appreciate. It's 2008 Playboy Playmate Jayde Nicole.


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