PokerStars Festival New Jersey: David Johnston leads final 23 to Day 3


In the span of three hands, it appeared three different players might end Day 2 of the PokerStars Festival New Jersey Main Event with the chip lead. It looked like Mike Gagliano, who finished Day 1B on top, could once again finish in pole position, but Chris Dombrowski busted Alex Queen to take the lead with almost 500,000 and take the field to 25 players.

Christopher Dombrowski_2016 PSNJ Festival_Main Event Day 1B_Giron_8JG5393.jpg

Chris Dombrowski

Dombrowski couldn't even finish stacking his chips though when David Johnston went and eliminated Ryan Hohner to surge past the half million-mark and take the lead away.

David Johnston_2016 PSNJ Festival_Main Event Day 1B_Giron_8JG5457.jpg

David Johnston

Johnston would end the day on top, but he got a sweat from none other than Gagliano, who busted Craig Mason in 24th place to move up the counts, but his 484,000 could not best Johnston, who finished with 527,000. Those three round out the top of the counts for the final 23 players, which also includes Matt Affleck, EPT winner David Vamplew, NJCOOP Main Event winner Jesse Elliott, and WSOP bracelet winner Robert Cheung.

The day began with 70 hopefuls and ended with a flurry of activity that resulted in just 23 players left in the running for the title. That was kind of how this day went. Stretches of quiet followed by quick punches of activity. A steady stream of eliminations, a slow spell before the moeny bubble, and a surpise elimination of Asher Conniff bursting the bubble. Before hand-for-hand could even commence, it was over.

The 39 players in the money did not go quietly even though they were all guaranteed a payday. The first few busts happened relatively quickly, but with 32 players remaining, the field went almost an entire level without a bustout. The eliminations picked up and it appeared they were headed towards an early finish, but no one expected three players at three different tables to exit in the span of the same round of hands to take the field from 26 to 23 and bring the day to a close.

The good news for these players is they can take the early night or, if they want to take part in a good cause and get their poker fix, the third annual Chad Brown Memorial tournament is set to get cards in the air at 7pm. With a host of prizes, including a PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Main Event seat on the line, there are a lot of great things up for grabs but, more importantly, there is a great cause in honoring the late Brown.

If they don't want to play poker tonight, the rest of the Main Event players have a break until 11am tomorrow, when the 23 will play down to the eight-handed final table. A link to chip counts from the end of the day can be found right up at the top of your screen. You can see all of the day's reports below. --JW

6:01pm: End of Day 2 chip counts

Here's how the final 23 players stack up going into tomorrow's Day 3.

David JohnstonUSA527,000
Chris DombrowskiUSA494,500
Michael GaglianoUSA484,000
Daniel HoweUSA480,000
Matt AffleckUSA418,000
Sridhar SangannagariUSA338,500
Jovy OunthongdyUSA268,500
Nicholas AguileraUSA251,000
John GulinoUSA246,500
David VamplewUK219,000
Thomas RevelloUSA199,500
Ruben CostaUSA137,500
Jason AcostaUSA137,000
Eli KimUSA113,500
John KimUSA107500
Peter SmythUK102,500
Randy LewCanada100,500
Rocco DicondinaUSA98,500
Jesse ElliotUSA84,500
Darren EliasUSA66,000
Wayne GerichtenUSA54000
Robert CheungCanada53,000
Jack DuongUSA51,000

5:45pm: Monster pot eliminates Mason
Level 16 - Blinds 2,500/5,000 (500)

Although we were down to 24 players - which signaled the end of the day - there was still a pot in progress between Craig Mason and Mike Gagliano. A large pot had developed by the time the river of a T♥3♠K♥J♠7♠ board, Mason bet 45,500 and Gagliano shoved for 166,000 total. Mason looked sick and requested the 45,500 be pulled into the middle. He had just over 100,000 back and tanked before calling. Gagliano rolled over A♠K♠ for the nuts and Mason opened A♦A♥ to reveal his aces had been cracked on the river.

There were a lot of chips for Gagliano to stack, but he appears to be up to around 450,000. Full chip counts and an end of day wrap will follow. --NW

Craig Mason_2016 PSNJ Festival_Main Event Day 1B_Giron_8JG5447.jpg

Craig Mason

5:43pm: Ryan Hohner's elimination ends Day least we thought
Level 16 - Blinds 3,000/6,000 (500)

As the table told it to us, Ryan Hohner raised to 11,000, David Johnston reraised to 28,000, and Hohner moved all in for 121,000 total. Johnston called with A♦Q♦ and had Hohner's Q♠J♠ in bad shape. The board was no help to Hohner, who was eliminated in 25th place. After the hand, Johnston surpassed Dombrowski on the leaderboard with 535,000, making Dombrowski's reign at the top rather short-lived.

With 24 players remaining, play is scheduled to end for the day now, but there are still hands playing out on the other tables before bagging and tagging commences.--JW

5:39pm: Alex Queen eliminated by new chip leader Chris Dombrowski
Level 16 - Blinds 3,000/6,000 (500)

Chris Dombrowski raised from early position and Alex Queen defended his big blind. The flop came 8♥7♥2♦ and Queen checked. Dombrowski bet 9,000 and Queen called.

The turn was the K♠. Queen checked again, Dombrowski bet 24,000, and Queen again called.

The river was the A♣. Queen checked a third time, then Dombrowski moved all in, having Queen's remaining 65,000 or so covered. Queen thought for a while before calling. Dombrowski showed K♣K♦ for a set of queens and Queen silently mucked, gathered his belongings, and headed to payout desk to collect his 26th-place earnings. Dombrowski, meanwhile, appears to be the new chip leader with right around 490,000.--JW

5:35pm: Big stack update
Level 16 - Blinds 2,500/5,000 (500)

At the moment Daniel Howe is nearing the 500,000-chip mark, Daniel Johnston is hovering at 475,000, and Matthew Affleck is up around 425,000.

Those three are battling for the chip lead at present, while Chris Dombrowski is on the move -- and currently in a hand -- at the neighboring table. --MH

5:28pm: Bovic busts
Level 16 - Blinds 2,500/5,000 (500)

Another elimination means just 26 players remain in the Main Event, with Gabriel Bovic the latest man down.

He three-bet shoved for 40,000 over the top of Sridhar Sangannagari's button open, the latter called the extra and it was time for the showdown.

Sangannagari: A♦J♥
Bovic: Q♦J♠

The A♠8♦T♥T♣6♣ board didn't help Bovic and he was on his way. After that hand, Sangannagari is up to 290,000. --NW

5:25pm: All-in and no call
Level 16 - Blinds 2,500/5,000 (500)

While Victor Ramdin was being eliminated at one table, there were several all-ins going uncalled at the other tables.

After a Ruben Costa open, Peter Smyth reraised and then Costa shoved all-in, forcing Smyth to step aside. Meanwhile in a postflop battle Chris Dombrowski raised all-in over a Darren Elias bet, putting the latter to a test for all of his stack, but Elias let his hand go, too. Then Gabriel Bovic open-pushed his small stack, getting no takers.

As they move into the latter half of Level 16, 27 players remain. --MH

5:24pm: Victor Ramdin eliminated in 28th place
Level 15 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (500)

Down to his last 30,000 or so, Victor Ramdin moved all in from late position and Eli Kim called out of the blinds. Kim held 8♦8♣ and the Team PokerStars Pro trailed with Q♦2♦.

Ramdin got no help from the A♥7♠4♠K♠7♥ board and he began to wish everyone luck, but Kim stopped him, unaware Ramdin did not have Kim's 50,000 chips covered.

Ramdin chuckled. "Are you kidding?"

Kim apologized, then got up to shake his opponent's hand and make a request. Can I be added to your list of archnemeses?"

Ramdin is out in 28th place and collects $1,909. Kim is up to 85,000.--JW

Team PokerStars Pro Victor Ramdin_2016 PSNJ Festival_Main Event Day 1B_Giron_8JG5421.jpg

Victor Ramdin

5:15pm: Abi-Yaghi eliminated
Level 16 - Blinds 2,500/5,000 (500)

Down to just 38,500 Tanios Abi-Yaghi's moved all-in from middle position and Thomas Revello called from the small blind to put the New Jersey native at risk.

Abi-Yaghi: A♠T♥
Revello: A♥Q♣

Abi-Yaghi had found a decent hand but he was dominated by Revello's holding and he didn't suck out as a 6♣5♠7♦7♠J♠ board meant Revello's kicker played and Abi-Yaghi is out in 29th. --NW

5:14pm: Robert Cheung doubles up
Level 15 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (500)

Peter Smyth was in the cutoff and Robert Cheung was in the small blind when they got it all-in preflop for Cheung's last 20,000. Cheung had the big cards with A♦Q♥, while Smyth had the small pair with 3♥3♦.

The A♥Q♣6♦Q♦8♣ board improved Cheung to a full house to double him up, but he is still one of the smaller stacks in the field with 45,000.--JW

5:12pm: "Who lives, who dies, Howe kills Joe Drory!"
Level 16 - Blinds 2,500/5,000 (500)

After the table folded around to Joseph Drory on the button and he looked down at A♠Q♣, he decided to ship his last 60,000. Alas for him he found a caller in Daniel Howe sitting in the small blind with A♣K♥, and after a A♦9♠K♣8♦A♥ runout ended with a Howe full house, Drory was knocked out in 30th.

Howe adds more to his huge stack -- he at 445,000 now. --MH

5:05pm: Ramdin down to 10 big blinds
Level 16 - Blinds 2,500/5,000 (500)

David Johnston opened to 13,000 in late position and Victor Ramdin defended from the big blind. The Team PokerStars Pro has zero blue 5K chips so had to pay to see with 13 individual 1K chips. Once the dealer had gathered them into the middle she produced a 3♣Q♣J♠ flop, neither player bet and the pattern repeated itself on the 2♥ turn. The K♠ completed the board, Ramdin checked, Johnston bet 25,000 and Ramdin instantly called. Johnston showed A♠T♣ for the broadway straight and Ramdin mucked. "I flopped a set," he said. He's now down to 49,000, while Johnston climbs to 400,000. --NW

4:55pm: Sanders busts to Howe
Level 16 - Blinds 2,500/5,000 (500)

A complete board of 2♣7♦5♦Q♦4♥ was on the felt and Adam Sanders had bet 22,000 of his remaining 80,000. Daniel Howe had raised enough to set Sanders all-in and he was tanking over the decision. Eventually he plonked his remaining chips over the line and Howe showed J♦T♦ for a flush and Sanders flashed pocket aces to the table before mucking. "Good luck guys," he said as he left. --NW

4:50pm: Bovic and Aguilera double up
Level 15 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (500)

Two short-stacks and two doubles with Gabriel Bovic and Nicholas Aguilera the latest players to be smiled on by the poker gods.
To be fair to Bovic, he got it in ahead with A♥J♦ to Tanios Abi-Yaghi's A♣6♥. There was no outdraw on the Q♣2♥4♣T♥5♠ board and Bovic doubled to around 60,000.

At the same time, Aguilera was at risk with J♥9♠ and up against the A♦Q♥ of David Johnston. The 9♦6♠Q♣T♠J♠ board was fun run out with Aguilera rivering two pair to win the hand. He was all-in for 51,500. --NW


4:45pm: Kings help Johnston
Level 15 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (500)

Ryan Hohner made it 9,000 to go from the cutoff, David Johnston reraised to 21,000 from the big blind, and Hohner called. On the Q♣6♦5♠ flop Johnston led for 20,000 and Hohner called, but both checked down the A♣ turn and J♣ river.

That turn ace appeared the culprit as the cause for action being stifled, as Johnston tabled K♠K♥ and Hohner mucked.

Johnston is up around 360,000 and challenging Sridhar Sangannagari for the chip lead right now, while Hohner has 152,000. --MH

4:44pm: Daniel Dizenzo ends the standoff
Level 15 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (500)

After 45 minutes without an elimination, the standoff ended when Daniel Dizenzo moved all in from under the gun for his last 48,000 and, after getting a count, David Johnston decided to call from middle position with A♥J♥. He was racing with Dizenzo's 9♦9♥ preflop, but had quite the lead by the time the board ran out A♠T♥2♦J♠J♦ to give him a full house, move his stack to 335,000, and send Dizenzo home in 32nd place.--JW

Daniel Dizenzo_2016 PSNJ Festival_Main Event Day 1B_Giron_8JG5405.jpg

Daniel Dizenzo

4:35pm: A Revello revival
Level 15 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (500)

Thomas Revello just earned a double-up after calling an all-in river bet from Sridhar Sangannagari.

The board read 8♦3♣J♣8♠4♣, and after Sangannagari's push Revello called with A♣9♣ for a flush. It was good as Sangannagari mucked, and Revello bounces back up over 120,000. Sangannagari still has a healthy 245,000. --MH

4:30pm: Acosta at the double
Level 15 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (500)

"I think you're about four to one on to win this race," said Peter Smyth to Jason Acosta, referencing the number of times Acosta has been all-in today without going bust. This time he was all-in for his final 67,000 with 9♥9♦ and Mike Gagliano was looking to stack him with A♥K♣.

A 6♠7♥3♦J♦7♣ run out kept the pair in front, Acosta doubled to just over 140,000 while Gagliano slips to 188,000. --NW

4:25pm: Clash of the titans
Level 15 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (500)

Sridhar Sangannagari and Chris Dombrowski have had a hard time staying out of one another's way this afternoon. The two have clashed in heads-up pots on several occasions, but neither is too worse for the wear. Sangannagari started the level as chip leader, while Dombrowski was sitting on a more than ample 226,000.

Dombrowski's stack surged during the first half of the level to get him over 300,000, but this recent hand took a small bite out of his newfound chips.

Dombrowski raised to 8,500 and Sangannagari called behind him. The flop came 9♣9♠7♠ and Dombrowski bet 11,500. Sangannagari thought for a while, then raised to 28,000. Dombrowski thought it over a bit, decided to fold, and Sangannagari took the pot to move to 340,000. Dombrowski now has 305,000.--JW

4:20pm: Holding at 32
Level 15 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (500)

The field was carved down to 32 toward the end of the last level, and they've already made it more than halfway through this one with no one being eliminated.

The average stack at the moment is just over 40 big blinds. --MH

4:15pm: A few chips for Cheung
Level 15 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (500)

Robert Cheung open-raised his last 11,500 from middle position, and it folded to John Kim in the big blind who called.

Cheung opened A♦T♦, and the table responded with favorable comments about having picked up a hand that strong to play with his short stack. Meanwhile Kim showed A♣6♥.

"Patience," Cheung grinned, tongue partly in cheek. "Now it will pay off!"

Pay off it did as the board came 2♦5♣K♦T♠T♥, giving Cheung trips and the pot.

"I still don't even have the starting stack," said Cheung after, but Peter Smyth corrected him. "No, you have two... three thousand... you've made a profit!" he said.

Cheung does have about 28,000 -- a bit over the 25,000 with which he started the tournament -- although looks still to be 32nd of the 32 left. Meanwhile Kim has about 70,000. --MH

Robert Cheung_2016 PSNJ Festival_Main Event Day 2_Giron_8JG5253.jpg

Robert Cheung

4:10pm: Chris Moneymaker owes Eli Kim a solid
Level 15 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (500)

"Like a boss," Chris Moneymaker exclaimed as he approached fellow Team PokerStars Pro Victor Ramdin's table and saw his friend's mountain of chips. Ramdin smiled proudly, then Moneymaker asked the table how they were enjoying the event. Once the pleasantries were exchanged, he got to the more important question.

"Who has been letting this guy win?"

"It is me," Eli Kim volunteered. "I keep giving him my chips."

Moneymaker walked around the table and shook Kim's hand, grateful for the information and grateful for his friend's good fortune.--JW

4pm: Pots for Dombrowski and Hohner
Level 15 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (500)

Christopher Dombrowski is closing in on a stack of 300,000 as he just won a decent sized pot against Darren Elias. The latter opened to 9,000 from middle position and Dombrowski called from the cutoff. The two of them went heads-up to a 6♥6♦7♣ flop on which Elias bet 10,000 and Dombrowski called. The 8♠ fell on the turn, Elias gave up the betting lead, but called Dombrowski's bet of 22,000. On the K♦ river Dombrowski bet 44,000 and Elias folded. After that hand Elias is down to 170,000 while Dombrowski is up to 280,000.

Meanwhile, on an adjacent table Ryan Hohner and Victor Ramdin were involved in a pot. The Team PokerStars Pro bet 21,500 on the turn of a 5♠J♠9♣K♣ board and Hohner check-called the bet. On the T♦ river Hohner moved all-in for 95,000 into the pot of 87,000 and Ramdin released his hand. He's down to 195,000 while Hohner is up to 182,000. --NW

3:57pm: The name game
Level 15 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (500)

Peter Smyth is in love. And he doesn't care who knows it. That is why he has been regaling the table with how much he enjoys the "all-in" triangle on each table, which is placed in front of players when they are all-in.

"I want to change my name," Smyth told Ruben Costa. I want my new screenname to be 'MrTriangle'."--JW

4pm: Victor the victor in latest Ramdin-Kim clash
Level 15 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (500)

Eli Kim and Victor Ramdin are sitting opposite one another at Table 3, as they've been for the entire day. Seemingly every time one is in the big blind, the other is raising from middle position, and they've taken turns getting the better of one another.

Just now Ramdin won one of those battles after Kim raised to 9,000, Ramdin defended his big blind with a call, then Ramdin check-called bets on all three postflop streets from Kim -- 11,000 on the 4♠T♥6♦ flop, 16,500 on the 5♣ turn, and 22,000 on the 5♥ river.

"You're good," said Kim after the final call, and indeed Ramdin's Q♠T♦ for tens and fives beat Kim's A♥9♦.

Ramdin has 182,000 now while Kim slips to about 50,000. --MH

3:57pm: Adam Sanders shoves
Level 15 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (500)

Adam Sanders raised to 9,000 from under the gun, Matt Affleck called behind him, and Jack Duong defended his big blind. The flop fell A♥7♦2♦ and Duong checked. Sanders bet 11,000. Affleck folded and Duong called.

The turn brought the 7♥ and both players checked. The river was the Q♣. Duong bet 12,000 and Sanders thought for about 30 seconds before moving all in for around 50,000 more. Duong quickly folded and Sanders took the pot. He is up to 130,000, while Duong is down to 140,000.--JW

3:53 pm: Updated chip counts
Level 15 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (500)

Here are the chip counts from the break, featuring chip leader Sridhar Sangannagari.

Sridhar Sangannagari_2016 PSNJ Festival_Main Event Day 1B_Giron_8JG5361.jpg

Sridhar Sangannagari

Sridhar Sangannagari369000
Jovy Ounthongdy325500
David Johnston292500
Michael Gagliano273000
David Vamplew264000
John Gulino245500
Craig Mason242000
Christopher Dombrowski226000
Peter Smyth222000
Jesse Elliott221000
Darren Elias204000
Daniel Howe201000
Matthew Affleck167500
Jack Duong166500
Victor Ramdin152000
Alexander Queen144000
Ryan Hohner140000
Rocco Dicondina139000
Eli Kim117000
Randy Lew107000
John Kim100000
Ruben Costa95000
Thomas Revello93000
Joseph Drory88500
Jason Acosta83000
Adam Sanders82500
Nicholas Aguilera69000
Tanios Abi-Yaghi46500
Gabriel Bovic45500
Wayne Gerichten42000
Daniel Dizenzo34000
Robert Cheung25000

3:30pm: Break time

The final 32 players are on a 20-minute break.

Side Event Trophy & Branding_2016 PSNJ Festival_Main Event Day 1B_Giron_8JG5334.jpg

3:22pm: Jason Acosta gets John Kim again
Level 14 - Blinds 1,500/3,000 (400)

Jason Acosta moved all in for 33,800 and, once agaqin, John Kim called behind him. This time no third party got in the way, so it was time for a showdown with K♥9♥ for Acosta and J♠J♦ for Kim.

The 8♠6♥5♦ flop brought a gutshot for Acosta, but the 2♦ on the turn kept Kim's jacks out front. The river was the 7♥ though, giving Acosta his straight and the double up to 70,000. Kim is now down to 81,500.--JW

Jason Acosta_2016 PSNJ Festival_Main Event Day 1B_Giron_8JG5364.jpg

Jason Acosta

3:10pm: Two down
Level 14 - Blinds 1,500/3,000 (400)

Two exits in two hands at table one means were down to just 32 players. First to go was Joseph Sanfilippo. He open shoved for 50,000 with A♥6♥ and Christopher Dombrowski woke up with A♠A♣ in the big blind. No help for Sanfilippo on the board meant he was gone and Dombrowski was up to 220,000.

On the next hand Seung Woo Yoo risked his final 39,600 with A♣5♥ and Darren Elias eliminated him with A♠Q♦ on a 5♣Q♣K♠8♦T♠ board. He's up to 140,000 now. --NW

3:10pm: Apostol can't outwit, outplay, outlast field, eliminated by Gagliano
Level 14 - Blinds 1,500/3,000 (500)

We were just noting how Tyson Apostol had won some chips with which to battle the "mathletes" like Michael Gagliano -- as Apostol jokingly called him a while ago -- once the money bubble had burst.

Well, after a hand with Gagliano the Survivor star is out. Catching the action on the last round of betting, there were two queens and a jack on the board when Gagliano bet enough to put Apostol all-in, and the latter thought a little while before calling. Gagliano had king-queen for trips and Apostol just a jack.

"I'm pretty sure you have me covered," said Apostol, doing a little math of his own. "By a lot." It was true, and he wished the table well before departing.

Gagliano has 284,000 now. --MH

Tyson Apostol_2016 PSNJ Festival_Main Event Day 2_Giron_8JG5262.jpg

2:45pm: John Kim loses in chop
Level 14 - Blinds 1,500/3,000 (400)

Jason Acosta moved all in from lat position for 21,900 and John Kim called on the button. Ruben Costa then reraied all in from the blinds for more, which was enough to drive Kim out of the pot.

Costa was out front with A♠Q♣ to Acosta's A♥6♠, but the K♠9♣9♦K♦8♦ board resulted in a chop pot for the pair, who split Kim's chips for a slight profit each.--JW

3:01pm: Vinny Pahuja doubles up
Level 14 - Blinds 1,500/3,000 (400)

Seung Woo Yoo raised to 7,000 from under the gun and Vinny Pahuja moved all in behind him for 27,300 total. Pahuja had to sweat it a couple of times as players deliberated whether or not to call.

Eventually, action folded back to Woo Yoo, who thought for a couple of minutes before calling with Q♥J♣. Pahuja turned over A♥K♥.

Pahuja's hand held on the K♠Q♣6♦2♦T♥ board and he doubled up to 60,000, while Woo Yoo fell to about the same.

Edit: Woops. Before we could finish publishing this post, Pahuja busted Chris Dombrowski.


Vinny Pahuja_2016 PSNJ Festival_Main Event Day 2_Giron_8JG5311.jpg

Vinny Pahuja

2:56pm: Payout! Levitch downed by Apostol
Level 14 - Blinds 1,500/3,000 (500)

Right after the bubble burst, Tyson Apostol opened from mid-position for 7,000, and it folded to David Levitch who pushed all-in from the blinds. Apostol paused just a beat before calling, turning over A♦K♠ while Levitch had A♥8♣.

The board ran out 9♣3♦T♣2♠T♥, and Apostol had won the hand. He wasn't convinced he had Levitch covered, though, and so the counting began.

"I think he's got a little more," said Apostol as the dealer counted out Apostol's stack of 38,800. But Michael Gagliano eyed both stacks and said he thought Apostol had him.

"You mathletes!" grinned Apostol as Levitch's chips were counted out, finally... adding up... to... 38,700.

That was just enough to send Levitch to the desk as the tournament's first casher. Now Apostol has about 81,000 with which to continue battling the mathletes. --MH

2:52pm: Asher Conniff bubbles
Level 14 - Blinds 1,500/3,000 (400)

Down to just 12,400 Asher Conniff pushed all-in from the button. Peter Smyth folded and the action was now on Randy Lew. "I don't even know the math, I'm just gonna throw it in and hope!" said Lew.

"You said I'm a nice guy who you want to double up, but you also don't want to bust me," joked Conniff. Despite the seriousness of the situation it was all smiles and jokes. "You can't even call the clock because it's paused," joked Mike Gagliano. The clock had been paused as the tournament had reached 40 players and players from the table that had been broken were filling in the empty seats at the five remaining tables. One of those players was Tyson Apostol and he took his seat just in time to hear Lew say: "Whatever!" and make the call.

Conniff: A♦T♠
Lew: K♠4♥

The 3♠K♥8♥ flop gave Lew the lead and Conniff was on his feet before the 2♦ turn and 5♥ river completed the board. "Good luck everybody," he said. Everybody else is now in the money and guaranteed $1,576.--NW

Bubble Boy Asher Conniff_2016 PSNJ Festival_Main Event Day 1B_Giron_8JG5351.jpg

Sorry, Asher

2:45pm: Ignore Peter Smyth. He's just an idiot.
Level 14 - Blinds 1,500/3,000 (400)

After a raise from John Kim, action was on Asher Conniff. He thought for around 30 seconds before tablemate Mike Gagliano called the clock on him. The floorperson made it to the table, but Conniff folded before he got the speech about having one minute remaining to act on his hand.

After the floor walked away, Conniff calmly told Gagliano, "Twenty-five seconds. That is not an unreasonable amount of time."

"You're doing it every hand. C'mon man, you're stalling."

Conniff, who is one of the shorter stacks in the field, has not been quick to fold preflop.

"I am doing what I am legally allowed to do," Conniff explained. "To respond by doing something you aren't allowed to do isn't cool," referring to the fact Gagliano called clock fairly early in Conniff's thought process, arguably before he had a resonable time to think.

The two continued back and forth a bit more in tones that were not argumentative and were pretty respectful, but it was clear Gagliano did not agree with Conniff's notion that he has within his rights as a player to think every hand.

As the discusse the issue, the next hand played out. Conniff took about 20 seconds to check and re-check his cards, eye his opponent's stack, and fold, then Peter Smyth raised behind him. Randy Lew, who was resting his head on the table, needed a secod to look up and realize action was on him. Once he did, he folded.

"Don't make me call the clock on you Randy," Smyth said with a smile.

Lew, unaware Smyth was joking around, started to defend himself a la Conniff, but quickly realized it was all in good fun.

"You'll have to remember to ignore me, Randy," Smyth told him. "I'm just an idiot."--JW

2:45pm: Ramdin stops Sinder with the ol' six-deuce
Level 14 - Blinds 1,500/3,000 (500)

Bradley Snider put his last 17,500 in as an all-in push from middle position, and Eli Kim called from a couple of seats over, then it folded to Victor Ramdin in the big blind who called as well.

Ramdin and Kim checked down both the 9♣8♣5♦ flop and 4♦ turn, then Ramdin bet 15,000 after the 3♣ river and Kim folded. Ramdin then turned over 6♠2♦ for a straight -- earning a "ho ho ho!" from Kim -- and with A♣K♦ Snider was eliminated in 41st.

They're on the stone bubble now -- one more knockout and they'll be in the money. --MH

Team PokerStars Pro Victor Ramdin_2016 PSNJ Festival_Main Event Day 2_Giron_8JG5318.jpg

Victor Ramdin

2:37pm: There's no harm in asking
Level 13 - Blinds 1,200/2,400 (400)

"Can I have this hand. Please? Puh-leeeeze?"

That was Gabriel Bovic just now, pleading his case to Sridhar Sangannagari. After a late-position raise to 6,500, Sangannagari had called from the small blind and Bovic pushed his last 35,000 or so in from the big blind as a reraise. The original raiser had gotten out, and Sangannagari was thinking about whether to call.

"I'll show you if you fold. Really, I'll show. Can I take this hand? Please?"

Bovic's begging caused Sangannagari to crack a smile, and before long he was chuckling loudly.

"Speech play!" said Vinny Pahuja from across the table, causing some more chuckles by the William Kassouf reference (recognized immediately by all). "Nine-high like a boss," added Joseph Sanfilippo, and everyone laughed some more

Finally Sangannagari folded. "It worked!" said Bovic as he tabled his A♦K♦ before collecting the pot.

Just two eliminations from the money, Bovic hangs on with about 52,000 now while Sangannagari has a healthy 280,000. --MH

2:35pm: Sick run out
Level 14 - Blinds 1,500/3,000 (500)

With 10 big blinds Tom Pschar's dream was on the line with A♦K♣ against Daniel Howe's 9♦9♣. A 8♠7♠5♠Q♠T♠ run out meant that the pot was chopped. We're no mind readers but we're farily sure that the only player who loved this chopped pot was Pschar. --NW


2:25pm: Matt Affleck busts John Myung
Level 13 - Blinds 1,200/2,400 (400)

John Myung just got his last chips in with K♠Q♥. Matt Affleck chose to race with 6♦6♥. The board ran clean for Affleck and Myung was gone in 42nd place.

Matt Affleck_2016 PSNJ Festival_Main Event Day 2_Giron_8JG5286.jpg

Matt Affleck

2:24pm: Robert Cheung vs. Matt Affleck
Level 13 - Blinds 1,200/2,400 (400)

Robert Cheung raised to 5,500 from middle position, Ryan Hohner called on the butotn, and Matt Affleck called in the small blind.

The trio checked the A♣7♣7♣, then the turn brought the 8♦. Affleck checked, Cheung bet 7,500, Hohner folded, and Affleck called.

The river was the 7♦. Both players checked. Affleck showed A♥5♥ for aces-up. Cheung turned over K♥K♦ before pushing his cards towards the muck. After the hand Affleck was up to 125,000 and Cheung was down to 45,000.--JW

2:20pm: Pschar shoves, survives
Level 13 - Blinds 1,200/2,400 (400)

With just nine big blinds to his name Tom Pschar requested the all-in triangle and awaited his fate. Manuel Perito had a good ol' think up before folding and Pschar's sweat was over as everyone else folded. --NW

2:15pm: The Bulldozer strikes again
Level 13 - Blinds 1,200/2,400 (400)

Four players limped into the pot and saw a flop of 9♥8♠5♣. Jason Acosta checked in the big blind, John Kim checked from middle position, and Peter Smyth bet 10,000 from late position. Randy Lew folded behind him, Acosta called, and Kim folded.

Smyth asked, "How much do you have left, sir?"

"About 30," Acosta replied.

The turn brought the Q♣ and Acosta checked. Smyth bet, well, about 30,000. That was enough to do it, as Acosta folded and Smyth took the pot, chipping up to 245,000.

"The bulldozer strikes again," tablemate Asher Conniff declared.--JW

2:13pm: Sangannagari sinks Wantman
Level 13 - Blinds 1,200/2,400 (400)

After Sridhar Sangannagari opened for 5,500 from under the gun, it folded to Matthew Wantman on the button who reraised all-in for his last 50,000 or so. The blinds stepped aside, and after looking over the reraise and thinking a short bit, Sangannagari called.

Wantman had 9♣9♠ and Sangannagari A♥K♠ and the race was on. Wantman led through the Q♦Q♣T♠ flop and 3♠ turn, with when the A♦ fell on fifth street he tapped the felt and made his exit.

Sangannagari has 265,000 now and is challenging for the chip lead with 42 left -- just three from the cash. --MH

Sridhar Sangannagari_2016 PSNJ Festival_Main Event Day 1B_Giron_8JG5361.jpg

Sridhar Sangannagari

2:05pm: It's never easy
Level 13 - Blinds 1,200/2,400 (400)

Down to just over 13 big blinds Bradley Snider moved all-in from middle position, the player to his immediate left tank-folded but Rocco Dicondina called from the small blind.

Snider: 7♣7♦
Dicondina: A♦J♥

The 9♣3♣Q♦ flop was safe for Snider, the T♠ turn made him exclaim. "Oh my god," as it gave Dicondina extra outs, but the 6♠ was a brick and Snider doubled up. He was all-in for 32,000 so is up to around 69,000. --NW

2:01pm: Thomas Revello doubles through John Gulino
Level 13 - Blinds 1,200/2,400 (400)

John Gulino raised to 5,100 in middle position and thomas Revello moved all in on the button for 44,500. Gulino called with 8♦8♠ and Revello was out front with J♦J♥. The jacks held on the K♦7♣6♠2♣3♠ board and Revello doubled to 95,000 while Gulino fell to 170,000.--JW

John Gulino_2016 PSNJ Festival_Main Event Day 2_Giron_8JG5219.jpg

John Gulino

1:56pm: More for Sridhar Sangannagari
Level 13 - Blinds 1,200/2,400 (400)

There was 40,000 already in the pot and the board read K♣8♦7♠K♠4♥ when Chris Dombrowski checked the river and Sridhar Sangannagari bet 16,000. Dombrowski called and mucked when Sangannagari showed K♥Q♥ for trip kings. Sangannagariis now up to 300,000, while Dombrowski is sitting on 68,000.--JW

1:55pm: Aces hold for Acosta
Level 13 - Blinds 1,200/2,400 (400)

David Levitch opened for 5,100 from middle position, but would soon scurry after Jason Acosta reraised all-in for 21,000 from the next seat over and John Kim called from the big blind.

Kim had 8♦8♠ but Acosta A♠A♣, and five cards later -- Q♣3♥4♠T♦6♣ -- Acosta survives with about 44,000 while Kim has 118,000. --MH

1:50pm: Double up for nanonoko
Level 13 - Blinds 1,200/2,400 (400)

After Peter Smyth opened for a raise, Randy 'nanonoko' Lew moved all-in for 23,000 and Smyth called the extra. Lew was ahead with A♣K♦, but with Q♦9♠ Smyth had live cards. The 2♣K♥6♦T♥Q♥ run out kept the Team Pro Online members interest in the tournament alive and he doubled to around 53,000. --NW

Team PokerStars Pro Randy Lew_2016 PSNJ Festival_Main Event Day 2_Giron_8JG5276.jpg

Randy Lew

1:47pm: Sridhar Sangannagari nears the lead
Level 13 - Blinds 1,200/2,400 (400)

With around 21,000 in the pot, four players saw a flop of A♥T♥8♣. Vinny Pahuja checked in the big blind, Chris Dombrowski bet 8,500 from middle position and Sridhar Sangannagari raised to 22,000 behind him. The fourth player in the hand folded, as did Pahuja, and action was back on Dombrowski. He thought about it a minute, then called.

The turn was the 3♥. Dombrowski checked and Sangannagari
bet 28,000. Dombrowski thought it over again, but decided to fold this time. Sangannagari took the pot and chipped up to 260,000.--JW

1:42pm: Apostol avoids showdown... for now
Level 13 - Blinds 1,200/2,400 (400)

We've mentioned already how Survivor winner Tyson Apostol is donning a black cowboy hat and vest today. With just five eliminations prior to the money, he open-pushed his stack from early position and it folded around to Ryan Hohner in the big blind.

Hohner got a count and thought for a decent amount of time while Apostol looked across the felt at him, at full attention as though readying for a high noon duel. At last Hohner relented, and Apostol pulled back his chips as though returning a weapon to its holster.

Apostol has about 40,000 with which to fire right now, while Hohner is well armed with 190,000. --MH

Tyson Apostol_2016 PSNJ Festival_Main Event Day 2_Giron_8JG5255.jpg

Tyson Apostol

1:40pm: Chip counts
Level 13 - Blinds 1,200/2,400 (400)

Here are the full chip counts from the break.

David Johnston283000
Michael Gagliano239000
Ruben Costa221000
John Gulino220000
Ryan Hohner210000
Craig Mason210000
Sridhar Sangannagari205000
Joseph Drory205000
Vineet Pahuja170100
Jovy Ounthongdy168000
Victor Ramdin168000
Jesse Elliott165000
Eli Kim149200
Adam Sanders140000
Peter Smyth137200
John Kim136800
Alexander Queen130000
Wayne Gerichten126500
David Vamplew125000
Daniel Howe121000
Gabriel Bovic116000
Jack Duong110000
Rocco Dicondina106500
Matthew Affleck105000
Christopher Dombrowski95600
David Levitch81500
Matthew Wantman77400
Robert Cheung75000
Darren Elias68500
Tyson Apostol65000
Tom Pschar63000
Nicholas Aguilera62100
Thomas Revello62000
Randy Lew61900
Seung Woo Yoo60700
Manuel Perito57000
Daniel Dizenzo50500
Tanios Abi-Yaghi46000
Asher Conniff45500
John Myung40000
Bradley Snider36600
Joseph Sanfilippo33300
Jason Acosta18500
Angel Lopez18400

1:35pm: River saves Acosta
Level 12 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (300)

After Randy Lew opened to 5,000, Jason Acosta jammed for 10,500 and Lew called the extra. Lew showed pocket sixes and Acosta opened K♥Q♣. "I don't think I can win this one," said Acosta and he reached under the table for his bag. The 9♠7♠T♠9♦K♦ board meant he hit the river to double up, Lew is now down to 35,000. --NW

1:34pm: Mike Gagliano isn't hungry
Level 13 - Blinds 1,200/2,400 (400)

Jason Acosta was in the big blind and sitting on a relatively short 18,000 when he started to make an offer to the table.

"If you give me a walk, I'll buy you dinn..."

Acosta was interrupted by the loud of plop of Mike Gagliano dropping chips into the pot. From under the gun, Gagliano decided to raise and counted out chips, extended his arm, and dropped the bet into the pot, completely uninterested in what Acosta may have to offer.

The raise was enough to take it down, and it appears Gagliano is eating solo tonight.--JW

Michael Gagliano_2016 PSNJ Festival_Main Event Day 2_Giron_8JG5273.jpg

Michael Gagliano


1:05pm: Break time

The remaining 44 players are on the first break of the day.

1:04pm: John Kim wins three-way all-in
Level 12 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (300)

There was a flurry of preflop activity whcih resulted in John Kim putting in 7,000 from the small blind, Andrew Glauberg moving all in from the big blind for 31,900 and Randy Lew reraising all in from middle position, having both Glauberg and Kim covered. Kim thought for a good minute before calling for his remaining 53,400. Here is what each player had:

Lew: 6♦6♣
Kim: Q♦Q♣
Glauberg: K♦K♣

Glauberg and Kim were at risk with Glauberg having the best of it, but the Q♥T♥4♣ flop gave Kim the commanding lead in the hand. An A♦ on the turn and A♠ on the river sealed it for Kim, who eliminated Glauberg and doubled through Lew to end the level with around 145,000. Lew is still alive and sitting on 50,000.--JW

1:02pm: Mason jars Dullavin
Level 12 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (300)

A huge pot to report now and one that saw Craig Mason double up. Adam Sanders opened to 13,500 from early position, Mason three-bet to 13,000 from the cutoff, Shawn Dullavin smooth called and Sanders got out the way.

Neither player bet the J♥K♦J♠ flop and the 9♠ fell on the turn. Mason check-called a bet of 26,000 and the 6♠ fell on the river. Again Mason checked and this time Dullavin moved all-in, his bet was 48,000 and Mason was in a tough spot. "Oh my gosh, I don't think I can fold," he said before adding. "I promise I'm not slow rolling you."

The two had very similar stacks so it was decision for his tournament life and eventually he called and showed 9♦9♥ for a full house. Dullavin had ace-king and was left with just 1,000 as Mason was all-in for 47,000. --NW

12:59pm: Johnston, Gulino lead big stack brigade
Level 12 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (300)

With the first two hours of play on Day 2 nearly done, Ruben Costa has relinquished his chip lead with 47 players left as David Johnston, John Gulino, and Ryan Hohner have moved out ahead of him.

David Johnston_2016 PSNJ Festival_Main Event Day 2_Giron_8JG5323.jpg

David Johnston

Here are some big stacks and a few other notables at the moment:

David Johnston -- 265,000
John Gulino -- 242,000
Ryan Hohner -- 215,000
Ruben Costa -- 195,000
Victor Ramdin -- 178,000
Joseph Drory -- 175,000
Peter Smyth -- 170,000
Adam Sanders -- 156,000
David Vamplew -- 138,000
Randy Lew -- 124,000

The first break of the day is moments away. --MH

12:50pm: Sanders ships one
Level 12 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (300)

in a pot that took over 10 minutes from start to finish, Adam Sanders really put Joseph Drory to the test. It was Sanders who started the action, he opened to 4,500 from early position, Drory called from the small blind and Daniel Howe called from the big blinds.

On the 3♦9♣A♣ flop Sanders bet 6,500 and both Drory and Howe called. The Q♥ turn was checked through and the Q♠ completed the board. Drory elected to lead, he bet 13,000, Howe called but Sanders then raised to 40,000. After getting a count of the raise Drory asked for the 13,000 from each player to be pulled in so he could better calculate the pot.

He then tanked for a few minutes before eventually calling, Howe instantly folded and Sanders rolled over K♣Q♣. Drory looked crestfallen, he couldn't beat it and folded his hand. He's still got lots of chips though as that dent dropped him to 175,000, Sanders is up to 149,000, while Howe is down to 113,000. --NW

12:51pm: Conniff calls, collects, continues
Level 12 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (300)

Jason Acosta raised to 4,500 from the cutoff and Asher Conniff called from the big blind. Both checked the 7♣K♦3♣ flop, then after the 8♦ turn card Conniff checked, then Acosta tossed out four blues for a bet of 20,000.

Conniff responded by saying he was all-in, just making sure as he didn't quite know if he had more or less than the 20,000 out there. It turned out Conniff had 19,300 and so was calling, and he had K♠2♠ (kings) while Acosta had 9♠8♠ (eights).

The 6♥ river meant Conniff was safe, and he has around 56,000 now while Acosta slips to 18,000. --MH

Asher Conniff_2016 PSNJ Festival_Main Event Day 2_Giron_8JG5289.jpg

Asher Conniff

12:40pm: Darren Elias battles John Gulino
Level 12 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (300)

Darren Elias raised to 4,500 on the button and John Gulino called in the small blind. The players checked the Q♠T♦4♠ flop, then checked again when the turn brought the 8♣.

The river was the T♠. Gulino bet 6,500 and, after a minute of deliberation, Elias raised to 22,000. Gulino called. Elias tabled J-9 for a straight, but Gulino had K♠9♠ for a flush to take the pot. Gulino is up to 250,000 and Elias is down to 80,000.--JW

Darren Elias_2016 PSNJ Festival_Main Event Day 2_Giron_8JG5221.jpg

Darren Elias

12:30pm: Smyth drags a decent pot
Level 12 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (300)

From early position there was a raise of 5,000 from Michael Gagliano, one seat along Tom Pschar flat called, only for Peter Smyth to make it 16,000 from the small blind. Randy Lew folded the big blind but both Gagliano and Pschar called to create a pot of more than 50,000.

On the 5♠J♠6♥ flop Smyth threw out a bet of 26,000 and both Gagliano and Pschar folded. After that hand Smyth is up to 175,000, Gagliano has 160,000 and Pschar is down to 35,000. --NW

12:28pm: Heartbreak for Perticari
Level 12 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (300)

Sean Lango raised to 4,500 from the button. Richard Perticari then raised all-in from the small blind for 27,000, then Alex Queen reraised over that from the big blind and Lango let it go.

Perticari showed K♥T♥, and was a little dismayed when he saw Queen turn over A♥Q♥. Lango then mentioned he'd folded a couple of hearts as well, so what were the chances that...

Flop: 7♥5♥3♥.

The table laughed -- save Perticari -- at all the hearts, and after a couple of inconsequential diamonds completed the board, Perticari is out while Queen is now up to 78,000. --MH

12:25pm: Carlos Chadha eliminated by David Johnston
Level 12 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (300)

There was around 7,000 in the pot and the board read 8♣3♠3♥8♠ when David Johnston checked from under the gun and Carlos Chadha bet 5,200 from the cutoff, leaving around 17,000 behind. Johnston check-raised by setting a stack of 5,000 chips in the pot, which was more than enough to put Chadha to an all-in decision. Chadha decided to take his chances and called with K♥K♦. Johnston showed 3♣4♣ for a full house, which held up on the river to give him the KO and the pot and move him to 210,000.--JW

Tournament Area_2016 PSNJ Festival_Main Event Day 2_Giron_7JG9858.jpg

12:20pm: Gerichten gets Greenstein
Level 12 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (300)

Team PokerStars Pro Barry Greenstein open-raised all-in from the hijack seat with his last 18,600, then Darren Elias called the push from the next seat over in the cutoff.

It quickly folded to Wayne Gerichten in the big blind, and when he didn't likewise pitch his cards away quickly it was clear he had something more than decent. Eventually he carved out 30,000 and tossed them forward, then was told he had to put out a little more to make a min-raise. It didn't matter that much, as Elias folded, then Gerichten and Greenstein showed their hands.

Gerichten: K♥K♦
Greenstein: T♦T♠

The 4♥Q♠8♣J♦3♠ board didn't save the Bear, and with a "Good hand" he headed for the exit.

Gerichten has about 115,000 now, while Elias has just under 100,000. --MH

Team PokerStars Pro Barry Greenstein_2016 PSNJ Festival_Main Event Day 2_Giron_8JG5222.jpg

Barry Greenstein

12:10pm: Johnston busts Beilan
Level 12 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (300)

Victor Ramdin put in a raise from middle position and it folded to Judith Bielan on the button who set out her entire stack of just about 40,000 as an all-in reraise.

It folded to David Johnston in the big blind who promptly called Bielan's shove, and with a wide grin Ramdin let his hand go.

Bielan tabled A♣K♠, then stood and said "oh no" as Johnston showed K♥K♣.

"Ah, that stinks," said Bielan as the unhelpful 2♠4♦8♣ flop was dealt. The 7♣ turn and 8♦ river were no better for her, and she departs.

"Thanks for the protection, bro," said Ramdin afterwards to Johnston. "I had ace-queen!"

Johnston is now stacking about 165,000. --MH

12:10pm: Apostol shoves on Hohner
Level 12 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (300)

With a 5♠5♣8♦J♦ board on the felt, Ryan Hohner bet 7,000 and Tyson Apostol made the call. The J♣ river completed the board and Hohner slowed down as he checked the action to Apostol. The Survivor winner didn't take too long to move all-in for around 30,000 and Hohner didn't even bother to ask for a count before folding. Despite that hit he's still got 200,000, while Apostol is up to around 45,000. --NW


12:04pm: Tyson Apostol trending downward
Level 11 - Blinds 800/1,600 (200)

Ryan Hohner raised to 3,200 on the button and Tyson Apostol defended his big blind. The flop came J♥9♦4♣ and Apostol bet 3,200. Hohner called, then both players checked the 2♥ on the turn. The river paired the board with the J♣ and Apostol checked again. Hohner bet 9,000 and Apostol thought for a bit.

"12,000," Apostol announced. "Can I make it 12?"

He could not. The dealer informed him a min-raise was to 18,000.

"Eighteen it is," he responded. Hohner clarified the amount, then called.

Apostol showed J♦8♦ for trip jacks, but Hohner had him outkicked with K♥J♠ to take the pot and move to 200,000. Apostol, meanwhile, is down to 27,000.--JW

11:55am: Kim choosing correctly
Level 11 - Blinds 800/1,600 (200)

Eli Kim is wearing a t-shirt that reads "I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I'M DOING." It may or may not be a bluff, but in any case he navigated the last couple of hands well enough to sit with a nice stack.

In the first Victor Ramdin raised to 3,800 from middle position, then it folded to Kim who made it 9,800 to go from the small blind. The David Johnston four-bet to 21,000 from the big blind, Ramdin folded and with some consternation Kim let his hand go, too.

The next hand saw Kim invited to enter another big battle with an all-in Bernard Gallagher, and this time Kim decided to get involved. He had A♠K♦ while Gallagher showed K♥K♠, and the 3♠A♦5♦J♠4♥ runout meant the end of the road for Gallagher and a nice pot for Kim.

Afterwards, Kim explained he had folded the same hand -- ace-king -- in the previous hand. Whether he'll know what to do with Big Slick the next time he gets it is yet to be determined, but for now he's got 145,000 chips with which to continue. --MH

11:40am: Daniels got a lot of heart
Level 11 - Blinds 800/1,600 (200)

Down to just a lick over 10,000 Shawn Daniels moved all-in from under-the-gun and Victor Ramdin called to put him at risk.

Ramdin: K♠K♦
Daniels: 2♣2♥

A 4♣Q♥6♥ flop left Daniels asking for hearts, he got one on the A♥ turn and another on the K♥ river. "You called it buddy," said another player at the table. It was a loss of just a few big blinds on the hand for Ramdin and he took it in good spirits. The Team PokerStars Pro is still well stacked here on Day 2. --NW

11:35am: Angel in the outfield?
Level 11 - Blinds 800/1,600 (200)

For baseball fans, it was a late night last night. Perhaps that explains why Angel Lopez is missing in action so far today? Whatever the reason, Lopez is not here and his 52,600 to start the day is already down to 37,000.--JW

11:28am: Donatelli down, done in by Dombrowski
Level 11 - Blinds 800/1,600 (200)

Chris Dombrowski opened for 3,800 from under the gun, and it folded over to Bovic Gabriel who called from a couple of seats over.

Then Gregory Donatelli reraise-pushed his last 29,400 over the top, and when it folded back to Dombrowski he called the shove. Gabriel thought for a while before releasing his hand, and the two remaining players tabled their cards:

Dombrowski: A♥K♣
Donatelli: A♠Q♣

Donatelli was already standing by the time the 4♠2♥7♣ flop and 9♠ turn had been dealt, and headed to the exit after the 7♥ completed the board.

Dombrowski is now at about 70,000. --MH

11:33am: Revello takes on Cowboy Apostol
Level 11 - Blinds 800/1,600 (200)

Survivor star Tyson Apostol has shown up in a cowboy hat today, but the gunslinger just lost a few bullets to Thomas Revello. Apostol held A♠Q♦, which looked pretty good when he flopped an ace. Problem was, Revello had flopped two pair with his ace and a seven on the K♣7♦[A♣ board. Revello got it in on the 2♠ turn, made a boat on the river, and doubled up. --BW

Tyson Apostol_2016 PSNJ Festival_Main Event Day 2_Giron_8JG5256.jpg

Tyson Apostol

11:31am: Mathieu Aymerich eliminated by Manuel Perito
Level 11 - Blinds 800/1,600 (200)

Mathieu Almerich and Manuel Perito got it all-in preflop for about 60,000 apiece with Americh out front with K♥K♣ and Perito holding A♦Q♥.

Perito quickly took the lead on the A♥9♥7♣ flop though. He held up on the Q♦ turn and 4♣ river to take the pot. As the dealer counted down the stacks to verify Perito had Almerich slightly covered, Almerich did what we are all wont to do in the situation, which is take a picture of the board to document his bad beat after getting it in with the best of it.--JW

Mathieu Aymerich_2016 PSNJ Festival_Main Event Day 2_Giron_8JG5297.jpg

Mathieu Aymerich

11:28am: Pretty card for Perticari
Level 11 - Blinds 800/1,600 (200)

With less than 10,000 in the middle and the board showing 8♣Q♠5♣, Richard Perticari got his full stack of 21,200 in behind a flush draw with A♣9♣ and needed to hit a club versus Tanios Abi-Yaghi's K♥Q♥ for top pair.

The 9♥ turn changed nothing, but the K♣ river card was what Perticari was looking for and now he's up around 50,000. Abi-Yaghi, meanwhile, drops into the danger zone with about 10,000. --MH

11:20am: Revello over Smyth
Level 11 - Blinds 800/1,600 (200)

Another short stack shove and another survivor as it was Thomas Revello' s turn to double. He was all-in for 14,500 with pocket nines and Peter Smyth re-raised to isolate. "You got me," he said when he saw Revello's hand, and opened 6♦6♠. The 7♣4♣A♥K♠T♣ board kept the nines in front. --NW

11:18am: Joy for Choy
Level 11 - Blinds 800/1,600 (200)

We often refer to Day 2 as moving day, and the start of the day normally involves a lot of action, especially from the short stacks who, having made it through Day 1, try and turn their meagre possessions into something more meaningful.

With just 6,300 to his name Christopher Choy was dead last at the start of play and on just the second hand of the day he took his stand. He shoved for 5,900 with A♠6♦ and Nicholas Aguilera called with 7♣7♦.

The J♣9♣Q♣ flop reduced Choy' outs the 9♠ was actually a good card for him and the Q♦ river meant Aguilera's pair of sevens were counterfeited on the river. So, Choy doubles and with the blinds and antes also taken into account he actually almost tripled. --NW

11:13am: Borrero bounced
Level 11 - Blinds 800/1,600 (200)

Action right away here on Day 2 with Miguel Borrero open-raising his short stack of 15,200 all-in over an opening raise by Sridhar Sangannagari can the latter calling the push.

Borrero had K♦J♠ and needed help against Sangannagari's Q♠Q♣. The J♦3♥A♥ flop did give him one pair, but the T♦ turn and 5♥ helped no further and Borrero is out.

Sangannagari is up around 135,000 with that one. --MH

11:13am: Costa knocks out Tavss, adds to lead
Level 11 - Blinds 800/1,600 (200)

After start-of-day chip leader Ruben Costa opened with a raise, John Tavss reraise-pushed his stack in as a three-bet, and it folded back to Costa.

"How much?" asked the New Yorker, and Tavss (from Virginia) responded it was "about 40." Costa said okay and turned over J♦J♠, and Tavss was at risk with his A♦8♥.

Ruben Costa_2016 PSNJ Festival_Main Event Day 2_Giron_8JG5239.jpg

Ruben Costa

The board rolled out 4♥4♣7♦8♣J♣, giving Tavss a not-good-enough pair and improving Costa to a full house, and Tavss bid everyone adieu.

Costa increases his lead even further, and is now sitting on 265,000. --MH

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11:12am: Timothy Polcari falls first
Level 11 - Blinds 800/1,600 (200)

On the first hand of play, Timothy Polcari moved all in from under the gun for 26,100 and Manuel Perito called in the cutoff. Joseph Drory was in the big blind and moved all in as well, but for substantially more, over 100,000 to be more precise.

Perito, who was sitting on around 90,000, folded what he claimed to be pocket tens. Drory showed Q♣Q♥ and Polcari needed help with his A♦T♦. The K♣Q♦2♥ flop brought a set for Drory but a gutshot for Polcari. The 9♦ turn added a flush draw for Polcari, but the 3♥ river was no help and he became the first Day 2 casualty, while Drory moved to over 150,000.--JW

11:04am: Play underway

With Mike Ward's shuffle up and deal, the final 70 players are in action.


10:46am: Day 2 about to begin

The final 70 players in the Main Event are starting to trickle in for what will be a shorter day than initially anticipated. We expect to hit the money at some point late this afternoon. How late we go will depend on how fast the players play.

Here's the basic schedule: Tournament Director Mike Ward expects to play from now until around 8pm tonight with no dinner break. This will give everybody time to head over to the 3rd annual Chad Brown Memorial poker tournament.

There are some caveats. If play reaches three tables before 8pm, Ward may decide to call it a day and bring everybody back tomorrow. Also, if things go slower than anticipated and players don't reach four tables by 8pm, players will go to dinner and come back to get down to three tables.

So, let's get it rolling.

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PokerStars Festival New Jersey live reporting team: Martin Harris, Jessica Welman, Nick Wright, and Brad Willis. Photography by Joe Giron.
Live reporting team
@PokerStars in Live Poker