Chino Rheem eyes PCA title as six left in Caribbean showdown

The PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA) neared its multi-million dollar conclusion on Tuesday night when the starting field of 865 in the $10,000 Main Event was reduced to its final six. The complexion of the final table players represents the make-up of the field as a whole, with three Americans squaring off against one player each from Canada, Ukraine and Spain.

The final six, which includes recreational players and professionals, online stars and live grinders, will return to the stage at the Imperial Ballroom, in the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas, on Wednesday. Each player is already guaranteed $297,020, with the winner set for a $1,567,100 payday. The final will be streamed live at PokerStars.tv

David "Chino" Rheem leads the way after a day in which the returning field of 20 was cut by more than two thirds. Rheem was the principal attraction throughout, building a stack that started at 1.425 million and finished at 7.55 million.


The irrepressible Chino Rheem


At one point, Rheem's stack was down to around half a million after he lost a huge pot to the rising Austrian star Matthias Eibinger. But Eibinger was only one of the players against whom Rheem later exacted revenge. There was no stopping "Chino", who is still best known for his appearance at the World Series of Poker Main Event final in 2008, when he was a member of the inaugural November Nine. That seventh place price comprises $1.77 million of his $8.9 million career total, but Rheem also has three outright victories on the WPT to his name. He has recorded four seven-figure scores, and another seems highly likely here.


Not this time for Matthias Eibinger


PCA final table chip counts:

NameCountryChips
David RheemUSA7,550,000
Scott WellenbachCanada6,015,000
Brian AltmanUSA4,995,000
Daniel StrelitzUSA2,355,000
Vicent BoscaSpain2,875,000
Pavel VekslerUkraine2,035,000

The two players at the top of the leader board coming into the day both perished before the final table: neither Tommy Nguyen nor Jeffrey Hakim could hold on to the lead for long. The super high roller regular Christoph Vogelsang also fell at Rheem's hands in 11th.

It was also a spectacular day for Marc-Andre Ladouceur, who was staring elimination in the eye when he was all-in and dominated with K♣J♦ to Daniel Strelitz's K♥Q♣. Ladouceur hit two jacks to survive and then went on a surge up the leader board, before Scott Wellenbach took care of him in eighth.


Marc-Andre Ladouceur - 8th place


For the third consecutive day, Wellenbach is writing the PCA's feel-good story. He is a 67-year-old academic from Halifax, Nova Scotia, who is a translator of Buddhist texts from Sanskrit and Tibetan into English. He says he plays only two or three poker tournaments per year but he has belied his amateur status to more than hold his own (not for the first time) among the pros. Nonetheless, he says he does not rely on poker for his income and has pledged to give all of his winnings to charitable causes. "Being a Buddhist, we spend a lot of time meditating, and that's very cheap," Wellenbach says. He is second in chips.

As for the other four players, Daniel Strelitz won the LA Poker Classic about two years ago for his biggest tournament score of a little more than $1m. Brian Altman, who is also a WPT champion, has been a big stack throughout this tournament. We last saw him on a PokerStars final table at the ACOP Main Event in October 2017.


A nice one for Altman


The only real unknown quantities are Ukraine's Pavel Veksler and Spain Vicent Bosca. The latter took us to the final table when he eliminated the Platinum Pass-winning Mihai Manole in seventh place, and that gave him the chips to be a threat at the final. Manole actually won the first Platinum Pass to the PokerStars Players Championship, the huge jamboree that kicked off two weeks of poker here in the Bahamas. He didn't cash in that event, but he picked up $208,920 for seventh place this week.


Mihai Manole


The full details of how the day progressed is best relived via our archive of updates from the day, all of which are below. We may have missed the occasional blind steal, burp or ass-scratch, but there's no fuller telling of the day's story. The payouts to date are on the payouts page and the $25,000 High Roller event plays on.

Join us tomorrow when we will crown our winner. -- HS

Day 4 coverage archive:

• ENTRIES: 6 of 865 (including 94 re-entries)
• MAIN EVENT: CHIP COUNTS | PAYOUTS | SEAT DRAW
• $25K HIGH ROLLER: UPDATES | CHIP COUNTS | PAYOUTS
WATCH THE POKERSTARS.TV LIVE STREAM
ALL PCA INFO | TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE
DOWNLOAD POKERSTARS | Follow @PokerStarsBlog on Twitter


11:35pm: Mihai Manole busted in seventh place
Level 28 - Blinds 40,000/80,000 (BB ante 80,000)

Mihai Manole departs in seventh place, bringing the day to a close.

Vicent Bosca called from the button with Q♣J♠ which Manole checked from the big blind with K♣T♣. The flop came J♣A♣2♠. Manole checked. Bosca bet another 90,000 before Manole check raised to 240,000. Bosca called.

Now the T♦ turn card, and now Manole moved all in for his last 475,000. Bosca called and the cards were turned over. Manole needed a club, a ten or queen, but the river came A♥ and he's out, earning $208,920 for his finish. Meanwhile Bosca chips up to 2.875 million.

Mihai Manole - 7th place


That's it for Day 4. Back in just a sec with a recap of an exciting penultimate day of poker at the 2019 PCA Main Event! --SB

11:25pm: Veksler shoves, collects
Level 28 - Blinds 40,000/80,000 (BB ante 80,000)

It folded around to Brian Altman on the button who raised to 180,000 with 5♥4♥. Pavel Veksler was next to act in the small blind and he reraised all in with A♥3♥ and Vicent Bosca (big blind) and Altman quickly folded.

Veksler chips up over 2 million with that one, while Altman has just over 5.2 million --MH

11:18pm: Marc-Andre Ladouceur out in 8th ($146,840)
Level 28 - Blinds 40,000/80,000 (BB ante 80,000)

On the first hand back from the break, Scott Wellenbach looked down at K♥K♣ in middle position and raised to 200,000.

It folded to Marc-Andre Ladouceur on the button who had a decent pair himself -- T♥T♣ -- and after thinking about it he announced he was reraising all in for 1.985 million total. The blinds folded quickly, and Wellenbach also called quickly, causing Ladouceur to grimace and stand as the pair tabled their cards.

The flop was more bad news for Ladouceur, coming K♦Q♦3♣ to make a set for Wellenbach. The board ran out 6♦ then 2♦, and after nursing his short stack for much of the night, Ladouceur is out in eighth for $146,840. Wellenbach has 6.22 million now.

The next player to go out will earn $208,920, at which point play will stop for the night. --MH

Marc-Andre Ladouceur - 8th place


11:15pm: Play resumes, eight remain
Level 28 - Blinds 40,000/80,000 (BB ante 80,000)

You read the headline. Let's play some cards. --MH

10:55pm: Break time

That's a full level done with not a single elimination for the entire 90 minutes. The eight players are taking a 20-minute break before coming back to bigger blinds and shallower stacks.

Below find the current counts, with the blinds reflecting the shift to 40K/80K about to occur. --MH

NameCountryStatusChipsBig Blinds
David RheemUSA 8,070,000101
Brian AltmanUSAPokerStars player5,415,00068
Scott WellenbachCanadaPokerStars qualifier4,030,00050
Daniel StrelitzUSA 2,355,00029
Marc-Andre LadouceurCanada 1,985,00025
Vicent BoscaSpain 1,865,00023
Pavel VekslerUkrainePokerStars player1,230,00015
Mihai ManoleRomania 875,00011

10:35pm: Chino's bored, Wallenbach entertaining
Level 27 - Blinds 30,000/60,000 (BB ante 60,000)

Scott Wallenbach is happy to keep Chino Rheem occupied. Rheem has been complaining that he's bored. He wants players to show their cards or do anything to get some action in the game. Meanwhile Wallenbach has raised three hands in a row, all with sub-optional hands, and not with a lot of luck. Wallenbach almost got in a jam during one of those hands.

He opened for 150,000 with J♥9♥ and Bored Chino Rheem decided to call from the button with A♠6♦. Good thing for him. The flop came down T♥6♥6♣. Wallenbach checked-called bets of 200,000 on the flop and 300,000 on the 2♣ turn. He bricked the river, then folded to Rheem's 600,000 bet.

At the very least, Wallenbach gave Rheem something to do while laboring through what he considers a boring table -- one we consider one of the most fun to watch in years. --BW

Rheem keeping things lively


10:20pm: All-ins, not called
Level 27 - Blinds 30,000/60,000 (BB ante 60,000)

Plenty of all-ins, but little to report as far as calls are concerned.

Pavel Veksler was one of the most recent, moving all-in for 1.5 million with 6♠6♥. Chino Rheem had opened with 9♥8♥, but couldn't call.

A hand later it was Mihai Manole moving all-in for 905,000 with A♦J♥. Again, nobody found anything worth calling with. --SB

10:15pm: Manole could get action... gets no action
Level 27 - Blinds 30,000/60,000 (BB ante 60,000)

Mihai Manole, sitting on only 875,000, picked up pocket tens and shoved all-in. Daniel Strelitz had pocket eights and more than 2,000,000 in his stack. He elected to fold. Pavel Veksler found pocket sixes. Also a fold.

What does a Romanian have to do to get some action around here? --BW

Like a phone with its ringer turned off, Manole getting no calls


10:05pm: Ladouceur shoves the turn
Level 27 - Blinds 30,000/60,000 (BB ante 60,000)

A double-up just now for Marc-Andre Ladouceur who finds aces and steers them past the jacks of Pavel Veksler.

Veklser opened in early position, making it 120,000 having looked down at J♥J♣. Ladouceur was in the big blind with A♠A♦ and simple called, seeing the 8♣Q♦T♣ flop. Check, check.

On the 5♦ turn, Ladouceur checked to Veksler who bet another 165,000. Ladouceur spent a time card before moving all in for his last 670,000.

Veksler took his time, but called, turning over his jacks. He had one of six outs to find on the river, but the 2♥ was not one of them.

Veksler now has 1.84 million, and the hand moves Ladouceur up to almost 1.65 million, and no longer a short stack. --SB

Aces work for Ladouceur


9:55pm: Manole gets kings, earns a few
Level 27 - Blinds 30,000/60,000 (BB ante 60,000)

Mihai Manole opened to 130,000 from under the gun with K♠K♥, leaving himself just 525,000 behind, and he got one caller in Scott Wellenbach in the big blind with 6♣5♣.

The flop came T♦Q♠6♠, giving Wellenbach a pair. Wellenbach checked, and Manole bet 150,000. Wellenbach called. After the 7♥ turn, Wellenbach checked once more. This time Manole went all in for his last 375,000, and after thinking about it Wellenbach let his hand go.

"Ten or better, I believe I'm calling," said Wellenbach afterwards, referring to the status of the pair he held. "I think you were beat," said Chino Rheem. "That's what I thought, too," said Wellenbach with a wry grin.

Manole has 1.03 million now, Wellenbach 4.77 million. --MH

9:50pm: Strelitz wins one against Rheem
Level 27 - Blinds 30,000/60,000 (BB ante 60,000)

Daniel Strelitz just picked up a pot worth 810,000. Strelitz opened for 120,000 with A♦8♦. He was called by Chino Rheem on the button with 9♣7♣, and Pavel Veksler in the big blind with K♠Q♥.

The 4♥A♠9♦ flop was checked and that brought the 3♠ turn. Rheem bet 180,000, which forced a fold from Veksler. But Strelitz stuck around for the 6♦ river card. That was checked both ways. Rheem saw Strelitz's cards and tapped the table. - SB

9:45pm: CTL-Altman-DEL Strelitz's chips
Level 27 - Blinds 30,000/60,000 (BB ante 60,000)

What a hand. What a river. What a mess.

Holding Q♠T♦, Daniel Strellitz came in for a raise to 120,000. Marc-Andre Ladoceur called with K♣J♣ as did Brian Altman with 8♠6♠.

On a flop of 9♥J♠8♦, Strelitz decided to play it slow and checked it through to the turn with Ladoceur and Altman. The 4♠ came on the turn, and this time Strelitz didn't wait. He bet 225,000. Ladoceur called. That's when Altman decided to raise to 700,000. Strelitz just called, and Ladoceur decided it was time to get away.

The river K♠ gave Altman his flush. He bet 650,000. Strelitz made the quick call and got ready be sick in his lap. He saw the worst and looked like he'd been dunked in a sewer. He was left with fewer than 30 big blinds Meanwhile Altman was up to 4.6 million. --BW

A nice one for Altman


9:38pm: Ladouceur shoves
Level 27 - Blinds 30,000/60,000 (BB ante 60,000)

Marc-Andre Ladouceur shoves with A♦J♣ behind a raise from Brian Altman. Altman had opened with A♠9♠ but chose not to call Ladouceur's 925,000 shove. --SB

9:35pm: Small blinds pushing
Level 27 - Blinds 30,000/60,000 (BB ante 60,000)

With 535,000 left, play folded to Mihai Manole in the small blind. He looked down at A♠5♥ and made the obvious shove. Daniel Strelitz had K♠4♥ and had to think for one time bank card before folding.

On the next hand, Strelitz picked up pocket eights and shoved on Marc-Andre Ladoceur in the big blind. Ladoceur folded, too. No big swings, but the small blinds are shoving. --BW

9:30pm: Rheem pressing home his advantage
Level 27 - Blinds 30,000/60,000 (BB ante 60,000)

In the first hand after the break, Chino Rheem moves up to 8.6 million in a three-way hand that got as far as the turn.

Scott Wellenbach opened in early position, making it 150,000 with 9♥9♣. Marc-Andre Ladouceur called in the cut off with 8♠8♦ before Rheem three-bet 500,000 on the button with A♥Q♣. Both Wellenbach and Ladouceur called.

The flop came 4♠J♣K♣ which was checked three ways. On the 6♠ turn, the action was checked to Rheem who, undeterred, bet another 490,000. It was good enough to win the hand, as both Wellenbach and Ladouceur folded.

Rheem has 8.595 million after that one, Wellenbach 4.72 million,and Ladouceur 1.045 million. --SB

Rheem extends lead


9:25pm: Back at it
Level 27 - Blinds 30,000/60,000 (BB ante 60,000)

The final eight players are back and play has resumed. --MH

8:15pm: Dinner break chip counts

The remaining eight players are on a dinner break. They'll be back playing just before 9pm ET, with the live stream and our coverage picking back up about a half-hour after that. Here's how they are stacked up as they go to eat. --BW

NameCountryStatusChips
David RheemUSA 7,445,000
Scott WellenbachCanadaPokerStars qualifier5,220,000
Daniel StrelitzUSA 3,050,000
Pavel VekslerUkrainePokerStars player2,985,000
Brian AltmanUSAPokerStars player2,975,000
Vicent BoscaSpain 1,950,000
Marc-Andre LadouceurCanada 1,545,000
Mihai ManoleRomania 655,000

7:45pm: Too painful to pun, Deadman gone in 9th place ($116,460)
Level 26 - Blinds 25,000/50,000 (BB ante 50,000)

Simon Deadman was down to 695,000 and found himself in a pretty good spot. Play folded to Chino Rheem on the button. Rheem held A♠9♠ and raised to 125,000. Deadman was sitting in the big blind with T♠T♣ and, as you'd expect, shoved. "I think I'm going to call you," Rheem said. Checking the amount, Rheem realized he was never folding. "Yeah, I call."

The flop was sweet for Deadman: K♦[7♠8♥. The J♦ made it look a little uglier. The river T♦ was just of nasty. Deadman took it in stride, wished his former opponents good luck, and headed out in 9th place for $116,460. --BW

Simon Deadman


7:35pm: Altman rivers straight, but Ladouceur makes good lay down
Level 26 - Blinds 25,000/50,000 (BB ante 50,000)

Marc-Andre Ladouceur managed to make a good fold on the river against Brian Altman.

Ladouceur had called from the big blind pre-flop with T♣6♣ and flopped a pair of tens on a flop of T♠J♦7♦. Altman met him there with K♣Q♦

Both checked the flop for the 3♠ on the turn, which Ladouceur check-called for the A♣ on the river. This was the card that flipped the advantage back to Altman.

Ladouceur checked to Altman who bet 215,000, then folded. --SB

7:29pm: Last nine
Level 26 - Blinds 25,000/50,000 (BB ante 50,000)

Following Jeff Hakim's elimination, they have redrawn for the final time. The last nine now surround one table and the line-up is as follows:

Seat 1: Scott Wellenbach - 4.545 million
Seat 2: Mihai Manole - 805,000
Seat 3: Daniel Strelitz - 2.8 million
Seat 4: Marc-Andre Ladouceur - 2.12 million
Seat 5: Chino Rheem - 6.02 million
Seat 6: Brian Altman - 2.725 million
Seat 7: Simon Deadman - 770,000
Seat 8: Pavel Veksler - 3.975 million
Seat 9: Vicent Bosca - 2.075 million --HS

7pm: Reporting note

Again, here we move over to the PokerStars.tv live stream, which means our coverage will also start coming on a half-hour delay.

6:58pm: No more rungs for Hakim, out in 10th
Level 26 - Blinds 25,000/50,000 (BB ante 50,000)

Jeff Hakim had been clinging to his last big blinds for several orbits, but down to 415,000 with play folded to him on the button, he saw little choice but to put it all in with K♦3♠. Bad timing for him as Pavel Veksler woke up with A♦Q♠ in the big blind.


Jeff Hakim


Hakim managed to flop well on a J♠K♣7♣ board, but Veksler turned the A♣. Hakim didn't catch up and walked away in 10th place.


Jeff Hakim out of the Main Event


The remaining nine players are consolidating the TV table. This is the point at which our spoiler-rich live updates will settled down and get in flow with the live stream. We'll still bring you any action on or off the table. You can also check out our $25,000 PCA High Roller coverage here. --BW

6:56pm: Beaten Ladouceur lets loser go
Level 26 - Blinds 25,000/50,000 (BB ante 50,000)

Marc-Andre Ladouceur raised to 115,000 with K♥K♣ under the gun and Chino Rheem called in the cutoff with A♥6♥.

The flop wasn't great for Ladouceur. It came A♠J♦3♦. Both players checked it. The 5♣ came on the turn and Ladouceur checked again. Rheem bet 200,000 and Ladouceur called.

The 3♥ locked the hand up for Rheem, and Ladouceur checked again. Rheem bet 300,000, which put Ladoueceur in the tank.

"You're not going to raise?" Rheem goaded Ladouceur. "It's call or fold."

Ladouceur then made an excellent fold. --HS

6:53pm: Strelitz jumps over Ladouceur
Level 26 - Blinds 25,000/50,000 (BB ante 50,000)

Marc-Andre Ladouceur picked up A♠T♠ on the button and raised to 125,000, and Daniel Strelitz called from the big blind holding K♠Q♦.

The flop came 6♠Q♥7♦ giving Strelitz top pair, and he checked. Ladouceur checked behind. The turn was the 8♣. Strelitz bet 225,000 this time, and Ladouceur thought a short while before calling.

The river was the 8♠, meaning Strelitz had the best hand. He bet 400,000, and Ladouceur eventually let his cards go.

Strelitz passes over Ladouceur with that pot, moving up to 2.6 million while Ladouceur slipped to 2.44 million. --MH

6:49pm: Another pair for Deadman
Level 26 - Blinds 25,000/50,000 (BB ante 50,000)

Another pair for Simon Deadman, this time 9♥9♣ in the cutoff seat. He pushed for 770,000. Mihai Manole carefully folded his button. Marc-Andre Ladouceur folded his small blind. And Chino Rheem also folded his big blind. --HS

6:48pm: Veksler vexes Altman
Level 26 - Blinds 25,000/50,000 (BB ante 50,000)

Following a quiet outer table orbit highlighted only by Jeffrey Hakim having to fold twice while in the blinds, then shoving and winning from the button to get back to 535,000, there was a bit of action in hand involving Pavel Veksler and Brian Altman.

Veksler opened for 100,000 from the button, and Altman three-bet to 400,000 from the big blind, earning a call from Veksler. Altman continued for 250,000 after the 8♠K♣7♥ flop and Veksler called, then Altman checked following the K♠ turn.

Acting with deliberation, Veksler bet 425,000, and after 10 seconds or so Altman gave it up.

Veksler is at about 3.55 million, while Altman has 2.65 million. --MH

6:44pm: Deadman gets aces, no action
Level 26 - Blinds 25,000/50,000 (BB ante 50,000)

It folded around to Simon Deadman in the small blind who looked down at A♠A♣ and just limped. Mihai Manole was in the big blind with T♦3♥ and just checked, and the flop wasn't the greatest for Deadman, coming Q♣5♣A♦ which made it unlikely he'd get any action.

Deadman bet 50,000, and Manole tossed his hand away. Deadman has 770,000 now, and Manole 930,000. --MH

6:40pm: Ladouceur's rise continues
Level 26 - Blinds 25,000/50,000 (BB ante 50,000)

Marc-Andre Ladouceur's extraordinary surge continues, and the Canadian just took a pot from Simon Deadman too. This will actually go down as a good fold from Deadman, who lost the minimum to a better hand.

Deadman opened to 100,000 under the gun with A♦9♦ and Ladouceur then three-bet to 275,000 with A♠K♣. Deadman sniffed it out and time-bank folded.

Deadman has 13 big blinds left now, while Ladouceur moves up to 2.3 million. --HS

6:36pm: Two pair for Ladouceur
Level 26 - Blinds 25,000/50,000 (BB ante 50,000)

David "Chino" Rheem opened to 125,000 from under the gun with K♣8♣, and Marc-Andre Ladouceur called from the big blind with A♣9♠.

The flop came 3♣9♦2♠. Ladouceur checked, Rheem bet 200,000, and Ladouceur called. The turn brought the K♦ to pair Rheem, and both players checked. They both checked again after the A♠ river, and Ladouceur won it with two pair.

Ladouceur has just under 2 million now, Rheem 6.34 million. --MH

6:31pm: Christoph Vogelsang out in 11th ($96,080)
Level 26 - Blinds 25,000/50,000 (BB ante 50,000)

It's been a rough last 30 minutes for Christoph Vogelsang and now his pain is over.

Chino Rheem opened from the button and Vogelsang shoved for his last 590,000 from the small blind. Rheem had A♣5♥ and Vogelsang had K♦J♦.

"You steamin'?" Rheem asked of Vogelsang. "Do you steam?"

Vogelsang said nothing, but then Rheem said: "Four-ninety? Whatever." He called.

Rheem was ahead and Vogelsang couldn't catch through the T♣3♠3♥8♣3♣ board.

Vogelsang departs, and Chino gets richer. He has more than 6.3 million. --HS

6:29pm: No-show showdown
Level 26 - Blinds 25,000/50,000 (BB ante 50,000)

Brian Altman was first to act and min-raised. Vicent Bosca called from the button, as did Scott Wellenbach out of the big blind. On a flop of 2♣5♦Q♦, Wellenbach and Altman both checked. Bosca bet 160,000 and only Wellenbach called. Both players checked through the T♥ turn. The river was the five of spades. Wellenbach checked, and Bosca bet 280,000. Wellenbach confirmed the amount and announced a quick call. Bosca looked ever-so-sheepish and pushed his arms facedown toward the much.

"Alright," Wellenbach said with a bemused look. "I don't have to show here, right?"

Confirmed, Scott.

And so he didn't. --BW

6:24pm: Vogelsang on the ropes
Level 26 - Blinds 25,000/50,000 (BB ante 50,000)

Christoph Vogelsang has been left with crumbs after a hand against Marc-Andre Ladouceur on the feature table. The TV crew did not broadcast the beginning of the hand, but we picked it up on the turn with the 2♠9♥8♠Q♠ out there.

By this point Ladouceur, on the button, had A♠4♠ while Vogelsang had K♣2♦. They both checked it, even though Ladouceur had the nut flush. (There was 475,000 in the pot.)

The T♦ fell on the river and Vogelsang sprung the trap. He bet 320,000, leaving himself 590,000 behind. Ladouceur moved all-in and Vogelsang had to fold. --HS

6:19pm: Altman gets there against Veksler
Level 26 - Blinds 25,000/50,000 (BB ante 50,000)

Brian Altman just leap-frogged Pavel Veksler in the counts, getting there on the river and making a well-judged value-bet too.

Altman raised to 100,000 from under the gun and Veksler called in the small blind. They saw the 5♠5♥4♥ flop and Veksler check/called Altman's 100,000 continuation bet.


Pavel Veklser


They both checked the 2♣ turn and then the J♠ fell on the river. Veksler checked again and Altman bet 325,000. Veksler used up a time-bank card but called and Altman showed his J♥9♥.

Having flopped a flush draw, he hit two pair to win instead, jacks and fives.

That put Altman up to 2.7 million and Veksler down to 2.3 million. --HS

6:15pm: Ladouceur gets lucky and doubles
Level 26 - Blinds 25,000/50,000 (BB ante 50,000)

Having just taken Christoph Vogelsang for a chunk, Daniel Strelitz just ended up giving 525,000 of them back to Marc-Andre Ladouceur. It doubled up Ladouceur -- and he got very lucky to do so.

Ladouceur open-shoved from under the gun for 525,000 with K♣J♦ and Strelitz woke up with K♥Q♣ on the button. He re-shoved and got the blinds to fold.

So Ladouceur was dominated, but smashed the J♣7♦4♣4♥J♠ board and doubled up to 1.150 million. Strelitz is down to 2.35 million. --HS

6:13pm: An outer orbit
Level 26 - Blinds 25,000/50,000 (BB ante 50,000)

A quiet orbit just played out at the five-handed outer table. I feel compelled to tell you about it, nonetheless.

Pavel Veksler won the first two hands both of which began as limped pots and produced little (or no) postflop betting.

Vicent Bosca won the next hand (a raise-and-take), then Scott Wallenbach won one by three-betting over another Bosca open.

Finally it was Brian Altman opening for 115,000, Vicent Bosca called from the blinds, then after the 8♣2♠Q♦ flop, Bosca checked, Altman bet, and Bosca folded.


Mihai Manole


Yep, that was it. Bosca (3.85 million) and Wallenbach (3.4 million) remain the big stacks, Veksler (2.65 million) and Altman (2.1 million) are doing fine, and Mihai Manole (600,000) is still short. --MH

6:09pm: Strelitz runs excellent bluff against Vogelsang
Level 26 - Blinds 25,000/50,000 (BB ante 50,000)

The first significant action on the feature table came when Christoph Vogelsang opened his button to 100,000 with J♣T♣ and Daniel Strelitz three-bet the small blind to 260,000 with 9♠9♥. Vogelsang called.

The flop brought a pair for Vogelsang when it came 2♠Q♦J♠ but Strelitz continued for 275,000. Vogelsang called.

The 2♦ turn paired the board and Strelitz now slowed to a check. Vogelsang checked behind and the A♦ came on the river.

Strelitz had a great read on the situation and turned his hand into a bluff, pushing all-in for 1.68 million. That covered Vogelsang's 1.16 million.

Vogelsang did not call instantly, which must have pleased Strelitz no end. And then he didn't call at all.

He threw away his better pair and Strelitz finally cracked a smile. That's a tremendous bluff and it moved him up to 2.85 million. --HS

6:06pm: Barer bumped in 12th ($96,080)
Level 26 - Blinds 25,000/50,000 (BB ante 50,000)

Ami Barer clearly wanted a longer break. Well, not necessarily. But he is now free to do as he pleases as he has become the latest player to bust from this tournament on the first hand of Level 26.

Barer was under the gun and moved all-in for 285,000. Scott Wellenbach, in the cutoff, was the first person interested in calling but he first wanted to see how much Jeff Hakim, in the big blind, had in his stack.

Wellenbach learnt that it was 835,000 and then called. Both Brian Altman and Hakim let their hands go.

Wellenbach: A♥9♣
Barer: A♠6♣

The board ran 7♠J♣2♦Q♣9♦ and Barer was done in 12th. He takes $86,000, and everyone else is now guaranteed $96,080. --HS

Ami Barer


5:50pm: Break time

While folks are on break here...check this out. Scott Wellenbach is going to do what with his winnings?

5:41pm: Strelitz pummels Ladouceur
Level 25 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (BB ante 40,000)

On the final hand of Level 25, Daniel Strelitz forced a fold from Marc-Andre Ladouceur, which will leave the latter with only 10 big blinds when they come back in 20 minutes.

Prior to this hand, and for context, Mihai Manole had shoved twice, once over Strelitz's open, and then as an open-shove from early position. It moved his stack over that of Ladouceur.


Marc-Andre Ladouceur


So, back to the hand in question: Strelitz opened to 80,000 from the cutoff and Ladouceur called in the big blind. Other players left the table for their break, but the dealer put the 2♠5♦Q♥ on the flop. Ladouceur checked and Strelitz bet 65,000. Ladouceur then raised to 150,000 and Strelitz called.

The 8♥ came on the turn and Ladouceur checked again. Strelitz said he was all-in, and that covered Ladouceur. After about 25 seconds of thought, Ladouceur let his hand go, leaving him 520,000.

With blinds increasing to 25,000/50,000 after the break, he has some work to do. Full counts coming. Back in 20. --HS

5:28pm: Chino Rheem takes out Tommy Nguyen in 13th
Level 25 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (BB ante 40,000)

Tommy Nguyen -- now acting a bit more quickly since Matthias Eibinger's knockout in 14th -- saw the table fold around to him in the small blind, and after hesitating just a bit he pushed all in for his last 380,000 and David "Chino" Rheem called right away from the big blind.

Nguyen: K♣5♣
Rheem: K♥Q♥

The 6♦K♠7♥ flop paired both players, but Nguyen still needed help. Neither the 2♦ turn nor T♠ river provided any, and Nguyen finishes 13th for $86,000.

Rheem's good day continues, and with another knockout he is now up to 5.95 million. --MH

Tommy Nguyen


5:21pm: Rheem basks in the glory of an Eibinger elimination
Level 25 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (BB ante 40,000)

"You're welcome, boys," Chino Rheem said in response to the unspoken thank-yous he felt heading in his direction from the rest of the players on the outer table. "Everyone's bitching about the shorty, now he's made the pay-jump and everyone's happy."

In truth, they should mostly be grateful to Rheem for having knocked out the exceptionally dangerous Matthias Eibinger, who has hit the rail in 14th and narrowly missed out on yet another final table in his fledgling, but exceptional, career.

Eibinger's final hand played out like this: he opened to 80,000 from the cutoff and Rheem called on the button. The blinds cleared out the way and they saw the 3♣6♦T♣ flop. Eibinger checked and Rheem bet 125,000.

Eibinger then collected his thoughts, followed by his chips, and moved them all forward. The shove was 1.045 million. Rheem called instantly.

Eibinger's Q♠Q♦ was ahead, but Rheem's 7♣6♥ had a world of potential. The 8♦ turn added another way for Rheem to win, and the 9♦ river skewered it. His backdoor straight was better than Eibinger's over-pair, and it now puts Rheem's stack at around 5.7 million. Eibinger has $77,620, while everyone else is now guaranteed $86,000.

Rheem now has control of this tournament (but that's far from the last we'll see of Eibinger). --HS

Matthias Eibinger


5:19pm: Doing the short-stack shove
Level 25 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (BB ante 40,000)

Back to the outer table, we just watched a couple of all-in-and-no-calls involving the two short stacks, Mihai Manole and Tommy Nguyen -- 13th and 14th, respectively, in the counts right now.

In the first Manole open-pushed all his chips forward from the small blind, and after a bit of thought Nguyen folded from the big blind. Manole had just over 600,000 after that one.

Nguyen had a similar idea when it folded to him in the next hand, and he jammed from the small blind, forcing a fold from Matthias Eibinger. A little after that he jammed again from the cutoff and won. Nguyen was on 510,000 after those hands.

Play resumes, with David "Chino" Rheem the chip leader as the only player with more than 4 million. Full counts below. --MH

5:10pm: Chopping the atmosphere with a knife
Level 25 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (BB ante 40,000)

It's still mainly goofing on the outer table, but the atmosphere did just get hellishly serious for a while as a massive pot played out between Matthias Eibinger and Daniel Strelitz.

Eibinger opened to 80,000 from UTG+1 and Strelitz called on the button. The blinds left them to it and the dealer treated them to the T♣T♦2♣ flop. Eibinger bet 85,000 and Strelitz called.

The A♠ came on the turn and Eibinger barrelled again, this time for 275,000. After Strelitz called this one, Eibinger had only 615,000 in his stack and his opponent had 1.9 million back.

The 4♠ completed the board and Eibinger reached for everything. He pushed his chips forward in one decisive motion.

Strelitz rubbed his brow and looked a little tortured, but mid-way through his second 30-second time allocation he threw in the call.

Eibinger tabled A♥Q♦ and a relieved Strelitz showed is A♣Q♥. They chopped it up and everyone breathed again. --HS

5:07pm: Veksler and Altman race to get their chips in
Level 25 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (BB ante 40,000)

Pavel Veksler and Brian Altman just got into a raising war on the feature table.

Veksler started it under the gun with A♣K♥. Altman followed him with A♥K♥ until he five-bet shoved for 1.3 million. Veksler called for the anti-climax and a board of J♣6♦Q♠Q♦7♣. --SB

4:51pm: Bosca up, Barer down
Level 25 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (BB ante 40,000)

Vicent Bosca flops a set of fives to win a hand against Ami Barer.

They saw a flop of Q♠5♥5♠ with Bosca betting with 6♣5♣ against Barer with T♠9♦.

Bosca was betting again on the T♥ turn but both checked the 2♣ river card.

Bosca up to 2.88 million. Barer is on 865,000. --SB

Ami Barer


4:50pm: It's time to talk about time
Level 25 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (BB ante 40,000)

As noted below (see 4:30pm), the action has slowed on the outer table. Indeed, it has slowed too much for Christoph Vogelsang, who just now called the floor about it.

Short-stacked Tommy Nguyen was the cause for Vogelsang doing so, however, once the floor arrived, there was a hand ongoing that had to be completed before any discussion about the situation could be begun. The action was on Nguyen, and he used every second available to him, including that provided by his last two time bank cards, before going all in for 320,000.

It folded to Mihai Manole in the big blind who used two time bank cards himself before folding to keep his 625,000. Nguyen now has 420,000.

Vogelsang asked the tournament director about Nguyen using all 30 seconds each time the action was on him, and the response from the TD was that if in his judgment anyone was abusing having 30 seconds, he could reduce the amount of time available to 20 or 10 for that player.

Play continues, and indeed there is a money jump coming which is of concern for short stacks like Nguyen and Manole. --MH

Vogelsang, ninja fighting stalling?


4:35pm: Ladouceur all in
Level 25 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (BB ante 40,000)

Marc-Andre Ladouceur just moved all-in on two consecutive hands, but got no takers on the feature table. He picks up a few chips though, and is up to 785,000. - SB

4:30pm: The fast and the not so fast
Level 25 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (BB ante 40,000)

There is a whole lot of nothing going on at the outer table at the moment, with plenty of table chatter but almost no significant action. The principal discussion point is the speed of play, with a couple of players running down the clock to within the last five seconds of their allocation on most decisions. That is slightly irking Chino Rheem, who plays very quickly on almost every street, but Rheem is continually adding: "Don't take it personal" if anyone offers anything in the way of disagreement. It genuinely seems as though no one actually is taking it badly. It's just one way to pass the time.

The only showdown of the past 10 minutes or so came after Rheem opened to 90,000 from the button and Daniel Strelitz called in the big blind. The dealer put the 4♠6♦8♥ on the flop and Strelitz said: "Check."

"I do the same," Rheem said, for which the dealer required confirmation. "Check," Rheem said.

They then checked the 3♥ turn and the 3♠ river and Rheem's A♦T♥ was good. Yep, that's really all to report. --HS

pm: Hakim up to 2.28 million
Level 25 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (BB ante 40,000)

Scott Wellenbach opened in the hijack for 100,000 with K♦Q♠. Jeff Hakim called on the button with K♠Q♣, as did Ami Barer on the big blind with J♣3♣.

The flop came 4♠A♠8♠

The action checked to Jeff Hakim who made it 110,000 to play. Barer folded, but Wellenbach called for the 7♣ turn.

Wellenbach checked to Hakim who bet another 450,000. That was as far as Wellenbach would go. Hakim up to 2.28 million. --SB

4:27pm: Berkey out in 15th place
Level 25 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (BB ante 40,000)

Matthew Berkey gets eliminated by Ami Barer.

Scott Wellenbach opened from under the gun with K♦Q♣ before Barer, who had T♠T♦ moved all in for 655,000 in the cut off. Berkey found A♥K♣ and called all in from the small blind as Wellenbach stepped aside.

The board came 8♣8♥4♣2♠J♦ to send Berkey to the rail in 15th place and $77,620. Barer moves up to around 1.2 million. --SB

Berkey packing up and moving out


4:20pm: Vogelsang wins pot against Deadman
Level 25 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (BB ante 40,000)

Christoph Vogelsang opened for 85,000 on the button. Simon Deadman called on the big blind for a flop of Q♥K♣K♦.

Deadman checked, then called Vogelsang's bet of 50,000. Both checked the 5♠ turn for the J♠ on the river. Again Deadman checked before Vogelsang bet 145,000. Deadman eventually called but mucked his hands when Vogelsang turned over Q♣7♥.

Deadman is still on around 1 million chips. Vogelsang has 1.8 million. --SB

4:10pm: Level 25 begins, Rheem leads final 15
Level 25 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (BB ante 40,000)

Play resumes, with David "Chino" Rheem the chip leader as the only player with more than 4 million. Full counts below. --MH

NameCountryStatusChips
David RheemUSA 4,060,000
Pavel VekslerUkrainePokerStars player3,320,000
Scott WellenbachCanadaPokerStars qualifier3,030,000
Daniel StrelitzUSA 2,730,000
Vicent BoscaSpain 2,360,000
Jeffrey HakimLebanonPokerStars qualifier2,010,000
Brian AltmanUSAPokerStars player1,610,000
Christoph VogelsangGermany 1,415,000
Simon DeadmanUK 1,410,000
Matthias EibingerAustria 935,000
Ami BarerCanadaPokerStars qualifier905,000
Mihai ManoleRomania 825,000
Marc-Andre LadouceurCanada 515,000
Matthew BerkeyUSA 380,000
Tommy NguyenCanada 320,000

3:35pm: Berkey doubles short stack through Ladouceur
Level 24 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (BB ante 25,000)

In the last hand of the level, Matt Berkey moved all in from the small blind for 175,000 with J♥9♠ and Marc Ladouceur called from the big blind with K♣6♥.

The flop was 5♠5♥A♦ and turn 8♦, and Berkey was down to his last card. The river then brought the 9♥, pairing Berkey and he survives with 380,000 while Ladouceur takes 515,000 to the break. --MH

3:30pm: Rheem close to 4 million after big hand versus Eibinger
Level 24 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (BB ante 25,000)

Chino Rheem's day just got a lot better after a hand against Matthias Eibinger.

He opened for 60,000 under the gun which Eibinger called form the big blind. The flop came 7♦7♥3♥ which Eibinger checked to Rheem. He then bet 100,000 before Eibinger raised to 275,000 (with the clock on 1 second). Rheem called.

On the 6♥ turn Eibinger bet 220,000. Rheem called, taking things to the river, the 9♠.

Eibinger spent a time bank card before he bet 300,000. Rheem looked at his cards again, handing over a time bank card very formally along the way. HE moved all-in.

The total was a shade under 1.5 million, which was in turn less than what Eibinger had left behind. Eibinger would take his time, spending all of this remaining time bank cards in the process.

With five seconds left on the clock he got a final reminder. He called, turning over Q♥7♣ for a set of sevens.

The fact Rheem turned over his cards at all meant he had a winner. He did, showing 6♦6♠. He showed them, then exhaled for what seemed like the first time in five minutes. The way he stacked his new chips suggested his energy was back.

"'Don't put a ****ing three on the river', that was what I was thinking," said Rheem, who now has 3.8 million. Eibinger drops to 760,000. --SB

3:28pm: Veksler wins big one from Berkey
Level 24 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (BB ante 30,000)

Here's one of those hands that was more fun to watch with hole cards, another from the feature table.

Pavel Veksler raised to 60,000 from under the gun with Q♥T♥. Then Matthew Berkey three-bet to 175,000 from the next seat with K♠T♠. Action circled back to Veksler and he four-bet to 375,000, and Berkey called, pushing the pot up to 825,000.

The flop came 4♦K♣5♣, giving Berkey top pair. Veksler took almost 30 seconds, then bet 250,000. Berkey called. That made the pot 1.325 million, more than either player had left behind.

The turn was the 9♠. This time both players checked.

The river was the J♦, filling a king-high straight for Veksler. He waiting nearly a half-minute again, then bet 900,000, about three-fourths of his remaining stack. Berkey studied long enough to spend two time bank cards, then called to see the bad news.

Veksler moves up to 3.43 million, while Berkey now has 270,000. --MH

Veksler vaults up the counts


3:23pm: An overview of the outer table
Level 24 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (BB ante 30,000)

Simon Deadman, Matthias Eibinger and Christoph Vogelsang got to a flop together after Deadman opened to 65,000 from early position and Eibinger refused to give up his button and Vogelsang wouldn't surrender his big blind.

As the dealer prepared to deal a flop, they assumed battle poise, with Vogelsang rolling up his hood, Deadman pulling the top of his sweater over his neck, and Eibinger staying exactly as he was, which is absolutely motionless behind dark sunglasses. The game is gone!

The flop was the 2♠5♣Q♥ and both Vogelsang and Deadman checked. Eibinger then bet 85,000. (Two checks to Eibinger is the same as a man dressed in red, with a red nose and a red wig waving a red flag in front of a bull.) Vogelsang and Deadman folded.

Not long after that, Deadman made an excellent river call to take a small pot from Chino Rheem. Deadman had defended in the big blind to Rheem's late position open and then they checked the 3♠2♣8♣8♦7♦ board all the way to the river. Rheem then had a 75,000 stab, but Deadman picked him off with A♥9♦. The ace-high was better than Rheem's J♦Q♥. --HS

Howard Swains (he's the one in black) getting a Swains-eye view


3:22pm: Hakim takes back from Ladouceur
Level 24 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (BB ante 30,000)

Marc-Andre Ladouceur raised to 60,000 with 6♠6♥ in the hijack, and Jeff Hakim three-bet to 220,000 from the small blind holding A♥Q♦. Ladouceur called.

The flop came T♥A♣K♣, pairing Hakim's ace and causing Ladouceur's pocket sixes to shrink. Hakim continued for 160,000, and Ladouceur pushed away his pocket pair.

Put Hakim back to just over 2 million, and Ladouceur down to 720,000. --MH

3:19pm: Strelitz and Eibinger get to the river
Level 24 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (BB ante 25,000)

Daniel Strelitz opened for 60,000, which Matthias Eibinger called from the big blind for a flop of J♥6♣5♠.

Eibinger checked. Strelitz made it 60,000 and Eibinger called.

On the K♣ turn there was the same pattern, with Strelitz's bet being 100,000 this time.

On the 2♥ river the pattern continued up to Strelitz betting 275,000. This time Eibinger folded, although he's still on 2.55 million. Strelitz is up slightly to 2.75 million. --SB

Daniel Strelitz


3:16pm: Ladouceur chips up some more
Level 24 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (BB ante 30,000)

Marc-Andre Ladouceur picked up A♣6♣ in the cutoff and raised to 60,000, and Jeff Hakim called him from the big blind with 8♦6♦.

The flop came 5♦2♦A♥ and Hakim checked, and Ladouceur bet 55,000. Hakim called, then the 8♣ turn gave Hakim a pair to go with his flush draw. Both checked.

The river was the A♠, giving Ladouceur trip aces. Hakim checked, and Ladouceur bet 225,000. Hakim thought for a while, then called, and Ladouceur collected the pot.

Ladouceur is now up to 940,000, while Hakim slips to 1.73 million. --MH

3:09pm: A little more for Ladouceur
Level 24 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (BB ante 30,000)

Ami Barer raised from the cutoff with A♠T♦ and Marc-Andre Ladouceur called from the big blind with Q♦J♣, leaving himself just 310,000 behind.

The flop came Q♥4♣8♠ giving Ladouceur top pair, and he checked. Barer bet 65,000, and Ladouceur check-raised to 300,000 -- not all in entirely. Barer folded in a snap.

Ladouceur gets up to 570,000, while Barer is on 980,000. --MH

3:05pm: Altman takes from Berkey
Level 24 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (BB ante 30,000)

Here's a feature table hand for you involving Matt Berkey, who has been relatively quiet of late.

Brian Altman raised to 65,000 from middle position with 8♣7♣, and Berkey defended his big blind by calling with A♥9♥.

The flop came Q♣Q♠Q♦, and Berkey checked. Altman bet 40,000, and Berkey called. The turn was the 7♥, making a full house for Altman. Berkey checked once more, and Altman bet 110,000 this time. Berkey let it go.

Altman has 2.11 million with that small one, and Berkey is holding steady at 1.81 million. --MH

2:55pm: Strelitz doubles big
Level 24 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (BB ante 30,000)

Anything happened on the outer table? Well, not much except a 2.5 million double up.

The hand began with an open to 60,000 from Mihai Manole UTG+1 and then a three-bet to 170,000 from Tommy Nguyen in the hijack seat. Daniel Strelitz then four-bet pushed for 1.215 million and it quickly scared Manole away.

Nguyen, however, took three time-bank cards before deciding that this was a call with his J♣J♦, even though he had only 1.55 million in his stack. He was soon racing Strelitz's A♥K♠.

The flop favoured the over-cards. It fell Q♥2♠K♣. The K♦ turn didn't alter all that much, and the T♦ river sealed it for Strelitz. He now has 2.5 million, while Nguyen has a whisker over 500,000. --HS

2:50pm: Vogelsang and Rheem get to the river
Level 24 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (BB ante 25,000)

Chino Rheem and Christoph Vogelsang saw a flop come 6♦A♦8♦. Rheem checked, Vogelsang made it 30,000 and then Rheem raised to 75,000 almost immediately. Vogelsang called.

The turn was the Q♠. Rheem bet another 120,000. Vogelsang called and they saw the river card 9♥.

Rheem checked. After some thought, Vogelsang also checked.

Rheem showed Q♥2♥. "Do you have an ace?" he asked Vogelsang, who slowly turned over 9♦ and A♠ for two pair to win the pot. --SB

2:55pm: Bosca doubles through Hakim
Level 24 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (BB ante 30,000)

Jeff Hakim was dealt a big hand on the button -- Q♠Q♦ -- and raised to 70,000, then Vicent Bosca reraise-shoved all in for 865,000 from the small blind with A♥Q♥. It folded back to Hakim who called, and the pair awaited the board to come.

The flop came J♣K♥A♠, giving Bosca the better pair and both a Broadway draw. The turn was the K♦ and river the 4♦, and Bosca doubled to 1.79 million, which is exactly what Hakim has now as well. --MH

2:52pm: Wellenbach over Hakim
Level 24 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (BB ante 30,000)

Back to the feature table we go, where just now Scott Wellenbach was dealt 7♠7♣ in the cutoff and raised to 75,000. It folded to Jeff Hakim in the small blind who looked down at A♦J♣ and called, and after Vicent Bosca folded the big blind the flop came K♦4♠5♦.

Hakim checked, Wellenbach bet 115,000, and Hakim called. The turn brought the T♦, meaning Hakim had picked up both the nut flush draw and a gutshot draw. Both players checked.

The river was the 2♠, and having bricked his draw Hakim checked and Wellenbach checked behind and won the pot.

Wellenbach has 3.03 million right now, Hakim 2.66 million. --MH

2:45pm: Laddering not part of the plan for Ladouceur
Level 24 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (BB ante 30,000)

Marc-Andre Ladouceur is the short stack at the feature table -- indeed, he's the short stack among all 15 players left at the moment.

He's pushed all in twice recently to pick up small pots, and now sits with 490,000. --MH


2:45pm: Rheem loving his position
Level 24 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (BB ante 30,000)

Chino Rheem has had position on Matthias Eibinger for almost all of today (except for a brief period where Eibinger was balanced off Rheem's table) and Rheem clearly likes the spot. Eibinger did take a lot of Rheem's stack earlier, but the former November Niner is now bouncing back. This next hand helped a lot.

Rheem opened to 60,000 from under the gun and Eibinger called in the big blind. They went to the 7♦J♦5♠ flop and Eibinger check-called Rheem's 75,000 continuation bet.

They both checked the K♣ turn and then the Q♥ completed the board. Eibinger bet 210,000 and Rheem raised to 600,000. Eibinger threw in the calling chips, but mucked when Rheem showed A♥T♣.

That puts Rheem up to 2.15 million, while also cutting Eibinger down to 2.2 million. --HS

Photographing the chips he's gonna win in just a bit


2:40pm: Some give and take with Wellenbach
Level 24 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (BB ante 30,000)

On the feature table, the conversation just now turned to Scott Wellenbach donates all of his winnings to charity -- various charities, he explained when asked.

"Maybe if you win, you can start a charity?" someone suggested.

"It's so much work," said Wellenbach with a smile. He's still in front with 15 players left, currently with 3.24 million.

Wherever he finishes, each of those charities stand to earn a nice donation from Wellenbach. Meanwhile the others have some work to do if they want to push him out of the chip lead. --MH

2:40pm: Joao Simao eliminated in 16th place
Level 24 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (BB ante 25,000)

After Christoph Vogelsang opened for 65,000 Joao Simao moved all in from the big blind. Vogelsang called.

Vogelsang: T♠T♣
Simao: A♣2♣

The flop brought hope to Simao, but the turn and river stamped it out.

7♦4♣6♣T♥T♦

Simao makes his way to the rail in 16th place. Vogelsang moves up to 1.4 million. --SB

2:30pm: One for Altman, one for Hakim
Level 24 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (BB ante 30,000)

In the first hand after the redraw, Brian Altman was dealt A♥K♣ under the gun at the feature table and raised to 60,000, and all folded.

The next one saw Jeff Hakim dealt A♣J♣ under the gun and he raised to 70,000, and when it folded to Altman in the big blind he chose to call with A♦5♣.

The flop came T♦9♣4♦. Altman checked, and sitting to his left Altman sat with his mouth covered for a while before betting 125,000. Altman rechecked his cards, then let them go.

Hakim is up to 2.96 million, while Altman has 2.24 million now. --MH

2:26pm: Redraw!
Level 24 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (BB ante 30,000)

With 16 players left, they are down to the last two tables. Here's how they now line up:

Table 1NameChips Table 2NameChips
       
1Christoph Vogelsang790,000 1Matt Berkey1,380,000
2Daniel Strelitz1,180,000 2Marc-Andre Ladouceur350,000
3Simon Deadman1,035,000 3Scott Wellenbach3,390,000
4Mihai Manole1,060,000 4Brian Altman2,265,000
5Joao Simao490,000 5Jeff Hakim2,845,000
6Tommy Nguyen1,935,000 6Vicent Bosca1,000,000
7Matthias Eibinger3,720,000 7Ami Barer1,190,000
8David Rheem1,510,000 8Pavel Veksler1,705,000

2:16pm: Barer three-betting
Level 24 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (BB ante 30,000)

Scott Wellenbach raised the first hand of the final table with king-jack, though was three-bet by Ami Barer with ace-king and ended up loses a small one after calling and folding postflop.

Wellenbach tried again on the next hand, raising with Q♦T♣, but Barer three-bet him again with A♠Q♣ and Wellenbach folded.

Wellenbach has 3.47 million and Barer 1.27 million. --MH

2:15pm: Enrico Camosci's Main Event comes to an end
Level 24 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (BB ante 25,000)

It's finally the end of the road for Enrico Camosci. After Christoph Vogelsang moved all-in, Camosci did the same. Both were almost even in chips.

Camosci: A♦T♦
Vogelsang: 8♥K♠

The board was all fine for Camosci until the river, coming as it did: 9♥6♦2♣5♣8♠.

Camosci flinched a bit, then smiled, reduced as he was to 35,000 (and the small blind) for the next hand. So when Vogelsang raised on the button, he called all in. Altman also called from the big blind. The flop came 5♠2♥9♥, which was checked for the 7♠ turn. Altman then chased Vogelsang away with a bet of 175,000.

Altman: 9♦T♥
Camosci: A♠5♦

The river card Q♠ ended Camosci's tournament with a 17th-place finish for $69,220. A brief pause now as the final 16 redraw for seats around the last two tables. --SB

Enrico Camosci - 17th place


The long walk out


2:05pm: Immediate double for Simao
Level 24 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (BB ante 30,000)

First hand back from the break and Joao Simao is going to be feeling a whole lot better about things. He doubled up his short stack in a blind-versus-blind, come-from-behind encounter.

Everyone folded to Simao's small blind and he pushed for 230,000. Pavel Veksler was the only player still with cards, but he looked down at A♠T♣ and knew that was plenty good enough to call. Simao was in trouble with his Q♥T♦.

The first three cards out the deck were T♥3♥8♥ and Chino Rheem, also at the table, said: "Always a sweat." The sweating ended with the 5♥ turn.

The 9♠ river was meaningless and the four-flush double Simao up to 535,000. Veksler loses a little and now sits with 1.8 million. --HS

Simao scores a double


2pm: Play resumes, Wellenbach leads final 17
Level 24 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (BB ante 30,000)

Players are back and in their seats, and Level 24 has begun. After a great first level of the day on the feature table, Scott Wellenbach is the new chip leader among the final 17. Look below to see the latest counts for everyone.

NameCountryStatusChips
Scott WellenbachCanadaPokerStars qualifier3,770,000
Matthias EibingerAustria 3,720,000
Jeffrey HakimLebanonPokerStars qualifier2,670,000
Pavel VekslerUkrainePokerStars player2,145,000
Brian AltmanUSAPokerStars player2,095,000
Tommy NguyenCanada 1,920,000
David RheemUSA 1,685,000
Daniel StrelitzUSA 1,230,000
Mihai ManoleRomania 1,175,000
Simon DeadmanUK 1,035,000
Vicent BoscaSpain 1,015,000
Matthew BerkeyUSA 950,000
Ami BarerCanadaPokerStars qualifier810,000
Enrico CamosciItalyPokerStars player475,000
Christoph VogelsangGermany 470,000
Marc-Andre LadouceurCanada 430,000
Joao SimaoBrazilPokerStars qualifier230,000

One more knockout and they'll redraw for the final two tables. --MH

1:40pm: Break time
Level 23 - Blinds 10,000/25,000 (BB ante 25,000)

The 17 remaining players are heading out to enjoy the first 20-minute break of the day. Fresh counts coming. --MH

1:39pm: Danny Tang out in 18th ($60,840)
Level 23 - Blinds 10,000/25,000 (BB ante 25,000)

Danny Tang is out on the last hand of the level, busting to Chino Rheem.

It was a bit of a weird one, with Tang opening to 375,000 and leaving about 50,000 behind -- another example of the new style "almost" all-in bet. Rheem, on the button, said, "I want to min-raise" and put a big stack of chips out.

Having made his intentions clear, the floor supervisor instructed the dealer that the raise was to 725,000. "Thank you," Rheem said.

The two players in the blinds folded and Rheem turned over his A♥A♦. But this was another example of the difficulties of the "almost" all-in: the player calling/raising ofter forgets that he can't yet show his cards.

"I'm sorry, I forgot," Rheem said. "Save it. Save it," he said to Tang, who now knew he was up against the biggest hand possible. "I know I'm gonna get a penalty," Rheem said.

Tang sighed but called. He couldn't really do anything else, eve though his 6♥6♣ was in bad shape.

There was no real sweat for Rheem through the 7♣9♦Q♠2♠4♦ board and that was all she wrote for Tang. He leaves in 18th for $60,840.

Players are now on a 20-minute break and 17 remain. Rheem will come back to 1.69 million, and learn whether a penalty will be enforced. (I don't think it will be, but I'm not sure.) --HS

Tang falls in 18th


1:39pm: Wellenbach moves into the lead
Level 23 - Blinds 10,000/25,000 (BB ante 25,000)

Daniel Strelitz raised from the button with 9♥8♦ and Scott Wellenbach called from the big blind with A♣2♣.

Both checked the 6♥4♦3♦ flop, then Wellenbach checked following the A♠ having made a pair of aces. Strelitz fired 75,000 into the opening, and Wellenbach called.

The river was the T♠. Wellenbach checked once more, and Strelitz waited a while before checking back, and Wellenbach won yet another Level 23 pot.

He's up to 3.675 million now, having moved into the chip lead, while Strelitz has 1.275 million. --MH

1:35pm: Levity in a tense situation as Rheem moves all-in
Level 23 - Blinds 10,000/25,000 (BB ante 25,000)

Chino Rheem opened for 60,000. Danny Tang was in the big blind and called for a flop of K♠4♠3♠. Tang checked it, then called Rheem's bet of 70,000.

On the Q♣ turn Tang checked again. Rheem made it 150,000 this time and again Tang called for the river card 7♥.

As it landed Rheem watched Tang, not the board. Tang checked. Rheem moved all in for 400,000, which was a little less than what Tang had behind.

The table waited. Then came the comedic moment of the tournament when the dealer quietly reminded Tang he had ten seconds to act. By way of response Tang dropped four time bank cards in the middle. Everyone laughed, including Rheem.

Tang asked Rheem if he planned on showing if he folded. It was unclear. Eventually Tang did fold.

Rheem asked the floor staff if he would have to show everyone if he showed his cards to Tang (yes, was the answer). Rheem asked the others if they would forgo this right.

"I don't want to show it, but I want to be nice to him," said Rheem, who passed his cards to Tang.

The dealer intercepted them so Rheem grabbed them himself and turned them over, showing T♠9♠

"Obviously I have it. I never not have it!"

Tang said he had king-ten. He drops to 500,000. Rheem climbs back up to 850,000. --SB

1:32pm: Wellenbach keeps on keeping on
Level 23 - Blinds 10,000/25,000 (BB ante 25,000)

Scott Wellenbach just keeps on chipping up, having just collected a few more in a three-way hand. He's up to 3.5 million now, and is challenging Matthias Eibinger for the chip lead. --MH

1:30pm: The Eibinger effect
Level 23 - Blinds 10,000/25,000 (BB ante 25,000)

A new table, but old tricks for Matthias Eibinger, who has open-raised three out of the past four hands. And on the other one he three-bet out of the big blind.

That one was also the only hand he lost, with Vicent Bosca picking up some spare chips.

Bosca opened to 55,000 from the hijack and Enrico Camosci called on the button. Eibinger then three-bet to 165,000 from the big blind, which put the decision back on Bosca.

He moved all-in, for around 600,000, and his opponents snap-folded.

No doubt about it that Eibinger's presence has suddenly brought this table to life.

There are two minutes left on the level and we'll have full counts at the break. --HS

1:22pm: Who invited you? Eibinger assumes chip lead
Level 23 - Blinds 10,000/25,000 (BB ante 25,000)

Matthias Eibinger has been moved to Brian Altman's left, and it doesn't appear the man from Austria is a welcome neighbor. Play folded around to the two in the blinds. Altman limped, Eibinger checked, and they saw a flop of 3♣8♦4♠. Altman checked, and Eibinger min-bet for 25,000. Altman didn't think long before raising to 100,000. Eibinger called and they saw the 9♥ turn. Altman announced 200,000, and once again got a call from Eibinger.

The river was the J♣. Altman announced "Eight hundred," and Eibinger snapped him off. Altman was forced to show a bluff: 7♦5♣. Eibinger had flopped two pair with 8♣3♠.

That hand dropped Altman down to 2 million. Eibinger is now the chip leader with 3.6 million. --BW

Eibinger: Now setting the pace


1:20pm: Barer survives all-in
Level 23 - Blinds 10,000/25,000 (BB ante 25,000)

Daniel Strelitz opeend with A♠J♠ from the cutoff, Scott Wellenbach called with 7♥7♦ in the small blind, then Ami Barer shoved all in for 580,000 total from the big blind with 5♥5♦.

Strelitz chose to call, Wellenbach chose to fold, and the board rolled out 8♣2♠Q♣8♦7♠ for Barer to survive with 1.24 million. Strelitz slips to 1.4 million. --MH

1:15pm: Tang tangles with Berkey, doubles
Level 23 - Blinds 10,000/25,000 (BB ante 25,000)

Danny Tang called out of the big blind when Matt Berkey raised from mid-position and the two of them saw the 7♦T♠7♥ flop. Tang checked, Berkey bet 40,000 and Tang check-raised to 130,000.

Berkey thought for a while before moving in, and that meant Tang had some thinking to do. His thought process was influenced by the kerfuffle on the other table, which resulted in Badih Bounahra's elimination, and then Tang opted to call for his last 385,000 and put his own head on the chopping block.

Tang was ahead with his Q♦T♣ to Berkey's 8♦9♦. Berkey also picked up outs to the flush when the K♦ fell on the turn. But Tang survived and doubled thanks to the T♥ river, and that put both these adversaries on almost precisely the same sized stacks. Tang has 905,000 and Berkey has 910,000.

Immediately after the hand, Matthias Eibinger was taken from the table to fill Bounahra's spot on the other table. "Noooooo!" Chino Rheem said. --HS

1:12pm: More for Wellenbach
Level 23 - Blinds 10,000/25,000 (BB ante 25,000)

Daniel Strelitz and Scott Wellenbach just battled over a pot on the feature table in which Wellenbach, holding A♣Q♣, made a flush by the turn with the board showing 4♣K♣T♦8♣.

Strelitz had T♥9♥ and thus unfortunately for him made trips when the T♠ completed the board on the river. Strelitz checked, then called a 250,000 bet from Wellenbach to pay him off.

Wellenbach is now up to 3.425 million, while Strelitz is on 2 million. --MH

1:10pm: Badih Bounahra out in 19th after second shove
Level 23 - Blinds 10,000/25,000 (BB ante 25,000)

Badih "Bob" Bounahra shoved twice. On the first attempt he got no response. On the second, for 275,000 with A♥6♠, Simon Deadman called, turning over K♥K♦.

The board came 3♣4♦J♠9♥Q♦ to send Bounahra out in 19th place for $60,840. --SB

Bounahra bounced in 19th


1:10pm: Vohra busts in 20th
Level 23 - Blinds 10,000/25,000 (BB ante 25,000)

Raj Vohra open-shoved for 380,000 from the small blind for 380,000 with K♠5♥ and Tommy Nguyen called from the big with K♣8♥.

"All right let's go, five-ball," said Vohra as he stood from the table. The flop came 6♦Q♣8♠ to pair Nguyen's kicker, and after the A♥ turn no river card could save Vohra.

Vohra is out in 20th for $60,840, while Nguyen gets back to 995,000. --MH

Raj Vohra goes out in 20th


1:05pm: Camosci doubles through Vogelsang
Level 23 - Blinds 10,000/25,000 (BB ante 25,000)

Christoph Vogelsang opened to 50,000 and Enrico Camosci shoved for 225,000. Vogelsang made the call with K♥6♥. Camosci had A♠T♥. The board ran out 5♣[5♥Q♠ ("Good flop," said Camosci), 8♣ ("Good turn," he continued), Q♠ ("Perfect river). Vogelsang fell to 700,000. Camosci doubled to 550,000.

"It doesn't change anything," Camosci said point to the big-stacked Brian Altman. "We're just going to give it all to him on the next hand anyway."

Vogelsang almost made that come true. He opened on the very next hand to 50,000. Altman made it 170,000. Vogelsang pushed forward 500,000, leaving himself 200,000 behind. Altman pushed, Vogelsang called. But then they both turned up ace-queen for the eventual chop. --BW

1:02pm: Big call helps Wellenbach picks off Nguyen's bluff
Level 23 - Blinds 10,000/25,000 (BB ante 25,000)

Start-of-day chip leader Tommy Nguyen had been relatively quiet at the feature table today, raising a couple of times with ace-king and pocket jacks but getting no action.

Then came a hand in which Nguyen raised to 70,000 from the hijack with K♥8♥. Scott Wellenbach three-bet to 260,000 with A♦J♣ from the small blind, and Nguyen called.

The flop came 9♣A♥2♠ and Wellenbach led for 270,000. Nguyen called. The turn was the 4♦. Wellenbach reached for chips, but then checked. Nguyen paused a beat and took the initiative, betting 300,000. Wellenbach called with his pair of aces.

The river was the T♥, and Wellenbach checked. Nguyen sat for a few seconds, then looked up and told the dealer "all in."

Wellenbach exhaled and sat back in his chair, obviously not liking the situation. He would spend two time bank cards as he thought it over. Finally he came to a decision.

"This may be a big mistake, but I call."

It wasn't a mistake. Indeed, it was the opposite, and now Wellenbach has almost 2.8 million while Nguyen slips to 1.46 million. --MH

Wellenbach chooses correctly, collects


1pm: Eibinger punishes Rheem
Level 23 - Blinds 10,000/25,000 (BB ante 25,000)

Trouble has been brewing between Matthias Eibinger and Chino Rheem for quite a while, with the next-door neighbours representing two of the most aggressive players left in the field. Eibinger is raising almost all the time and Rheem is one of few willing to do battle -- and here's the first significant pot the two played against one another.

Eibinger opened to 55,000 from the button and Rheem called from the small blind. So far, so standard. The flop was the 7♣K♠Q♣ and Rheem check-called Eibinger's 55,000 continuation bet.

The turn was the A♠ and Rheem checked again. Eibinger bet 90,000 but Rheem now raised to 400,000. It didn't shake Eibinger, who paid to see the K♦ river.

Rheem checked again and Eibinger sized right down, betting 265,000. That sent Rheen into his regular thinking routine, running through potential hands Eibinger could have, and confessing, "I only have a seven."

Rheem clearly thought there were too many bluffs in Eibinger's range for him to fold and put the 265,000 forward. Eibinger turned over his K♣T♣ -- resolutely not a bluff -- and Rheem mucked.

Rheem dips now to 565,000 after that mis-step, while Eibinger soars to 2.56 million. --HS

12:55pm: Altman bossing the short stacks
Level 23 - Blinds 10,000/25,000 (BB ante 25,000)

Brian Altman continues to relentlessly hammer the short stacks. That means Enrico Camosci again.

Three players saw the flop of A♦3♣4♣. Camosci (300K behind) checked to Altman who bet 60,000. Badih Bounahra (also 300K behind) folded, spending a time bank card in the process. Camosci called.

The turn card came A♥. Both checked that for the 9♠ river. Camosci then bet 30,000 (now playing a stack of around 200K). Altman looked over at him, then bet 300,000, easily covering Camosci, who folded immediately.

Altman's current count: 3.1 million. --SB

Altman ascending


12:52pm: Vohra shoves, collects, still short
Level 23 - Blinds 10,000/25,000 (BB ante 25,000)

It folded around to the feature table's short stack Raj Vohra who shoved for 370,000 on the button with 5♠5♥. Scott Wellenbach got a count before folding 9♣7♦ in the big blind, and Vohra has 430,000 now. --MH

12:50pm: The stiletto and the buckler
Level 23 - Blinds 10,000/25,000 (BB ante 25,000)

Enrico Camosci open-shoved twice in the past orbit, with the only threat of a call coming the second time, when he was in the cutoff and Simon Deadman was in the big blind. Deadman is not one for posturing, but he wanted a count and scratched his chin a good while before folding.

There's a bit of a weird dynamic on that particular table at the moment, with two players showing the two ways to employ a short stack. Camosci is using his as a kind of stiletto -- a short and slender dagger that can nevertheless inflict significant wounding if its blows land. (Also appropriately enough, a weapon developed in Italy.) Meanwhile Badih Bounahra is employing his as a buckler, ie., a tiny shield with which he's attempting to ward off attacks.

Bounahra hasn't yet committed his short stack, but he's hoping its presence stops anyone making small raises into him, then being committed to a call should he shove.

It's difficult to say which method is working the best as neither is exactly flying up the counts. But between them Camosci is the firm favourite to either double up or bust first. --HS

12:46pm: Altman and Camosci go at it again
Level 23 - Blinds 10,000/25,000 (BB ante 25,000)

Enrico Camosci and Brain Altman clash again, with similar results to what happened earlier.

Camosci opened for 80,000 in the small blind, getting a call from Altman in the big. They saw a flop of 3♣6♦K♦. Camosci bet 60,000. Altman called for the 8♣ turn card, which Camosci checked. Altman bet again, 140,000 this time. Camosci called once more.

The T♣ fell on the river. Camosci, now with less than 400,000 of the million with which he started the day, checked to Altman, who pushed forward a tower of green chips worth 500,000. There was no response Camosci could make but to fold.

He's down to around 380,000 now. Altman keep climbing, now up to 2.83 million. --SB

12:43pm: Simao shoves one, folds another
Level 23 - Blinds 10,000/25,000 (BB ante 25,000)

Joao Simao won a pot off of Matthias Eibinger just now. Simao had raised from the hijack and Eibinger called from the big blind, then on the T♣9♦2♣ flop Eibinger check-raised Simao's continuation bet, to which Simao responded by shoving and Eibinger let it go, keeping his 1.95 million.

On the next hand Simao opened against, this time with a big raise to 185,000.

"Yow!" said David Rheem from the small blind, then asked Joao if he'd pronounced his name correctly. "Better," said Simao with a smile.

Then Pavel Veksler responded by shoving from the next seat over, and when it folded back to Simao he folded.

Veksler is on 1.655 million now, Simao just 720,000. --MH

12:40pm: Camosci crawling back
Level 23 - Blinds 10,000/25,000 (BB ante 25,000)

Enrico Camosci has begun his comeback from that unfortunate hand against Brian Altman. In the most recent orbit he pushed once, from the small blind, and got Altman out of it, and then he raised to 50,000 from under the gun and got a call from Christoph Vogelsang in the big blind.

They saw the 7♥4♦K♦ flop emerge and Vogelsang checked it. Camosci bet 25,000 and Vogelsang called. Both players checked the 3♣ turn and that brought the A♦ on the river. Both players seemed to think about betting, but both checked. Vogelsang's 8♠8♦ had been rivered by Camosci's A♠8♥.

Camosci is now up to 650,000 while Vogelsang dips slightly to 980,000. --HS

12:37pm: Wellenbach four-bet shoves with aces
Level 23 - Blinds 10,000/25,000 (BB ante 25,000)

Scott Wellenbach picked up A♠A♥ and raised to 65,000 from early position. Then Ami Barer looked down at A♣Q♦ in the hijack and three-bet to 175,000.

It folded back to Wellenbach who checked Barer's remaining stack -- 725,000 -- then spent a time bank card before four-betting all in, and Barer quickly folded.

Wellenbach is on 1.425 million now. --MH

12:35pm: Big hand as Altman shoves on Camosci
Level 23 - Blinds 10,000/25,000 (BB ante 25,000)

A big hand just played out between Brian Altman and Enrico Camosci.

Altman opened from under the gun, making it 50,000 to play. Camosci called from the big blind for a flop of J♠Q♠6♥.

Camosci checked to Altman who made it 45,000. Camosci then raised to 90,000. Altman thought for a moment, then called.

That brought the 9♠ on the turn, and perhaps crucially, a third spade. Both checked.

The river card was the 3♣.

Camosci, who often looks like his attention is elsewhere, and has his chips piled up on his red time bank cards, as if they're resting on a red carpet, announced a bet of 400,000.

Altman spent a time bank card thinking about it before announcing he was all-in for 1.9 million.

That had the effect of bringing Camosci back to life. He suddenly looked focused, his attention on the table rather than somewhere else. He gathered his red time back cards as if reading to start dealing them. He'd spend three before folding.

A big hand that reduces Camosci's stack to 500,000. Altman continues to assert his authority on the event. He's up to 2.5 million. --SB

12:25pm: Barer over Vohra
Level 23 - Blinds 10,000/25,000 (BB ante 25,000)

With just 525,000 to start the hand, Raj Vohra opened for 60,000 from middle position with A♣T♣ and got one caller in Ami Barer who picked up K♣Q♠ in the big blind.

The flop came Q♣T♦9♠, giving both players pairs. Barer checked, and Vohra chose to bet 50,000. Barer called. The turn was the 3♠, and both checked.

The river was the K♥ making two pair for Barer, and he led for 65,000. Vohra took a while, spending two time bank cards, but finally folded.

Barer has 750,000 now, while Vohra is now down 415,000. --MH

12:24pm: One flop, no turns
Level 23 - Blinds 10,000/25,000 (BB ante 25,000)

It's been cagey stuff on Marc-Andre Ladouceur's table since his double up, with the dealer required to do a lot of shuffling, but to only put one flop out there.

That came when Pavel Veksler opened to 50,000 under the gun and Chino Rheem and Joao Simao called on the button and in the big blind, respectively. The J♠2♣6♥ drew a check from Simao, a continuation bet of 80,000 from Veksler, and then two folds.

Other than that, Ladouceur opened to 50,000 from under the gun and everyone folded. (Danny Tang used a time-bank card before he thought better of it.) Also Matt Berkey opened to 50,000 from the cutoff and everyone folded. And then Ladouceur open-pushed the small blind, attacking Tang's 210,000 stack in the big blind. Tang folded his 3♣6♠. --HS

12:20pm: Feature table underway
Level 23 - Blinds 10,000/25,000 (BB ante 25,000)

On the first hand at the feature table, Mihai Manole opened with T♣8♣ and Scott Wellenbach immediately three-bet with A♥Q♣, enough to get folds all around including from Manole. The next saw Ami Barer open with two red jacks, getting no action.

On the third hand, Jeffrey Hakim opened from the hijack with K♥Q♠ and Manole defended from the big blind with 6♣5♣. A small c-bet from Hakim on the 4♦T♠4♥ won it. --MH

12:15pm: Play begins at Table 3
Level 23 - Blinds 10,000/25,000 (BB ante 25,000)

Out on Table 3, Simon Deadman (750,000) and Badih Bounahra (400,000) are starting the day as the short stacks, while Brian Altman (1.785 million) had the most to begin.

Altman added a few more in the first hand of the day after defending his big blind against a Vicent Bosca open, calling a c-bet, then checking it down and winning with an unimproved pair of sevens.

On the next hand Bounahra looked like he might want to get involved from the cutoff when checked to but didn't. Deadman did, though, raising from the button and getting called by Vogelsang in the big blind. A c-bet from Deadman on an ace-high flop was enough for him to claim the small one. --MH

12:10pm: Ladouceur starting as he means to go on
Level 23 - Blinds 10,000/25,000 (BB ante 25,000)

The first hand brings a double up for Marc-Andre Ladouceur. He shoved on the button and got a call from Matthias Eibinger.

Eibinger: Q♠Q♣
Ladouceur: A♦Q♦

The board came 4♥5♦3♦A♠5♠ giving Ladouceur aces on the turn. He doubles to around 600,000. --SB

Ladouceur doubles to start the day


12pm: Cards are in the air
Level 23 - Blinds: 10,000/25,000 (BB ante 25,000)

Off they go!

11:23am: 20 ready to battle for final table

It's six or six today, according to Danny McDonagh. That's six players or six levels, whichever comes first. There are 20 people left in the Main Event. Before the end of the night, the survivors will be at one final table. At the top of the prize pool sits the $1.5 million first place purse.

Here's how they'll sit down at 12pm. Table 2 will be on the live stream. We'll have full coverage from now until we finish for the night. Stick with us. --BW

NameCountryChipsTableSeat
Daniel TangUK245,00011
Matthias EibingerAustria2,485,00013
David RheemUSA1,425,00014
Matthew BerkeyUSA1,570,00015
Joao SimaoBrazil725,00016
Pavel VekslerUkraine1,320,00017
Marc-Andre LadouceurCanada300,00018
Rajesh VohraUSA585,00021
Tommy NguyenCanada2,705,00022
Daniel StrelitzUSA2,615,00023
Mihai ManoleRomania1,325,00024
Scott WellenbachCanada1,135,00025
Ami BarerCanada570,00026
Jeffrey HakimLebanon2,640,00028
Simon DeadmanUK750,00031
Vicent BoscaSpain965,00032
Christoph VogelsangGermany1,240,00035
Enrico CamosciItaly1,050,00036
Brian AltmanUSA1,785,00037
Badih BounahraUSA400,00038

Who will be king of Atlantis?


PokerStars Blog reporting team on the $10,300 Main Event: Stephen Bartley, Martin Harris, Howard Swains and Brad Willis. Photography by Neil Stoddart and Carlos Monti.

Live reporting team
@PokerStars in Live Poker