NAPT Los Angeles: Day 2, levels 14-16 updates (2,500-5,000-500)
11:16pm: Night night
The clock has ticked down to zero and the chip are falling in the bags. We'll have a wrap up and chip counts in a bit.
10:53: Say hello to your new chip leader
Amidst the carnage that followed the bubble, Jimmie Guinther has emerged as the new tournament chip leader with 830,000.
10:39pm: Shocking exit for Shannon Shorr
Shannon Shorr opened for 13,000, Tom Lee three-bet to 33,000 and Shorr made the call. Shorr checked the 6♣5♦3♠ flop over to Lee who shipped his entire 222,000 stack into the middle. Shorr made the call, revealing pocket fours for a pair and a straight draw, while Lee could only show A♥T♦. As fate would have it, the T♠ hit the turn, Shorr's face falling twenty stories as it landed. The J♦ on the river brought Shorr no help and after the stacks were counted down, he was left with a paltry 7,500 while Lee rocketed up to 525,000.
With the table still reeling in shock from the hand, Shorr moved all-in on the next deal and Chris Demaci raised to 13,500 from the cutoff in an attempt to isolate him. That didn't exactly work, as Jeff Ahmadi shoved for his last 103,000 on the button, forcing a fold from Demaci. Shorr was ahead with A♣2♥ to Ahmadi's K♥T♠, but his fate was all but sealed when the flop came down J♦T♣K♠, giving Ahmadi two pair. Shorr paired his ace on the turn, but the river was the J♦ and looking like he had a case of whiplash, Shorr headed to the payout desk.
10:35pm: Gazes goes broke in brutal fashion
Kristy Gazes moved all-in for her last 60,000 with pocket kings and Gavin Griffin made the call with king-queen. Gazes was looking good until Griffin flopped a queen and turned another queen, sending her to the rail.
10:41pm: Mercier needs a double
Derek Lerner just flopped a queen-high flush with Q♣9♣ on a 7♣2♣8♣ board. His all-in move on the T♦ turn got a call from Mercier. Lerner is now inching up on 200,000 while Mercier is down to 63,000.
10.20pm: Eyster ousted in huge coup, Pearson leads in LA
Kevin Eyster is some player - but he can be a touch volatile too. He has just dusted off a stack of close to 375,000, giving it all to Travis Pearson, who assumes the role of clear chip leader with nearly 800,000.
Eyster opened from the cut-off, Jason Mercier three bet from the button, Pearson four bet from the small blind and Eyster shipped. That's the quick version, provided by Derek Lerner, who was also on the table. "It was ace-queen into kings and the kings held," continued Lerner as Pearson stacked up those many many piles of chips.
10:15pm: Nguyen gets the rest of Junglen
Anh Van Nguyen just finished off Adam Junglen. Junglen tried to squeeze Nguyen's raise and a flat call in between with king-nine off. Too bad for him that Nguyen had queens. Junglen is now gone and Nguyen is up to 520,000.
10.10pm: Jonathan Gagnon-Villeneuve outruns Junglen
It was an all-in pre-flop battle between Adam Junglen and Jonathan Gagnon-Villeneuve. Junglen had the pair of eights. Gagnon-Villeneuve held the ace-king. The board ran out 3♣6♠K♥4♣Q♦. Junglen prepared to push his entire stack across to the Quebecer, until everyone told him he had more than enough to cover the bet. "I wish I didn't," Junglen said. In the end, Gagnon-Villeneuve doubled to 280,000. Junglen was left with around 50,000.
10pm: Raskin roasts King, bursts bubble
Carter King is the NAPT Los Angeles bubble boy, sent to the rail by Micah Raskin. It all happened in a total flurry, but the long and short of it is that King lost his 190,000-plus stack with 9♠[10s] on an 8♠6♠ flop.
King and Raskin got involved in a real ding-dong raising war on that flop, which ended when King was all in and Raskin called with A♥[10h] - ace high. No spade came on turn or river, and Raskin's brave call took everyone through the bubble - except King, who is out of here in 105th.
Everyone remaining is now in the money - check out the payouts page for who wins what.
9.30pm: End of the level
That's the end of level 15, and as the players drift off for their break, tournament staff are racing off the black 100 chip. There's one level left until we're done for the night - and I expect we'll burst the bubble in that time. The board shows 107 players remaining, which means three more will leave with nothing.
9.20pm: Fitzgerald forced to fold bullets
We're four off the money, and don't the big stacks know it. Mike Sowers just forced Alex Fitzgerald to fold aces on what was an extremely wet board. Three cards were out already - 9♣6♥7♦ - and Fitzgerald (who had started the hand under-the-gun) bet 22,000 into a pot of about double that. Sowers called, taking them to a 5♣ turn. Fitzgerald checked, but Sowers bet 38,500, which pretty much put Fitzgerald to a decision for his tournament. Fitzgerald span over the A♣A♦ and flicked them to the muck.
9.10pm: Grimes on the map
Al Grimes has quietly become a force in this tournament and is now one of the handful of players with close to 500,000 chips. A quick Google reveals that Grimes placed sixth in a major tournament in February, picking up the first six-figure score of his career. But the same search revealed that there's also a place named Grimes in Alabama - ie, Grimes, Al - which elicited a pretty weak joke from comedy's Brad Willis. "Put Grimes on the map," he said, pointing to a small Google map of the town. He's here all week.
9:05pm: George Lind III does not play the board
This is one of those hands in which it would benefit us to have some of the action leading up to the turn, but since we don't, you'll just have to be as surprised as the now-railbird Kenny Nguyen who reacted to the showdown with the word, "Wow." With the board reading Q♦9♠A♣Q♣A♦, Lind called bets on both the turn and river (the last being a bet of 16,000). His opponent meekly announced, "I just play the board." Lind casually turned over K♦T♦...not playing the board, but pretty damned close. Again, Nguyen summed it up best. Wow.
9pm: Life is Sweet for Mike Leah
We're down to 110 players - six from the money - and this is when poker tournaments become either extremely tentative or extremely aggressive depending on what table you happen to pass by, and the size of the stacks involved.
Neither Mike Leah nor David Sesso are in immediate threat of elimination before the bubble - just so long as they don't continue to get involved in huge pots against one another. One was just brewing a few moments ago, but it fizzled out on the flop.
Leah raised to 8,350 from mid-position and Sesso made it 23,000 from late. Leah then added another 20,000 to that when it was folded back to him, and Sesso called.
That took them to a [10d]5♥J♥ flop and Leah bet 36,200 at it. Sesso looked for all the world as though he wanted to continue, but then folded, allowing the two of them to maintain stacks in the 200,000s.
8:42pm: Eyster bullies Mercier
Three players went to a A♦7♥6♣ flop, and the action checked to Jason Mercier. He bet 17,700, the initial pre-flop raiser folded and Kevin Eyster made the call. The turn came the 4♠ and Eyster checked again. Mercier bet 41,400 and Eyster calmly cut out a raise, making it an additional 100,000 on top. The raise left Eyster with only another 87,000 behind and put Mercier to a shove-or-fold decision, as he held only an additional 173,000. After a long tank, Mercier gave up his hand, Eyster coyly showing the 9♠ as he raked in the pot. He's up to 335,000.
8.35pm: Lind boosted by busting Smith
George Lind III has just eliminated Justin Smith. The two have sat next to one another for much of the day, and although the full circumstances of this pot are unknown, it seems likely that there was some history between the two.
It certainly looked like it: the board was A♦6♣7♥9♥6♥ and Lind's winning K♥4♥ were exposed. That represented runner-runner flush; how they got there is anyone's guess.
8:22pm: Anh Van Nguyen closing in on 500,000
We just wandered up on the end of a hand between Canadian Team PokerStars Pro Anh Van Nguyen and Adam Junglen with the board reading 3♠K♦A♥6♠T♠. Nguyen had bet out 35,000 into an already big pot (we were told there had been a bit of a raising war pre-flop, but it had been check-check on the turn). Junglen looked more than a little peeved, but folded. Nguyen is now up around 490,000.
BLINDS UP: LEVEL 15, 2,000/4,000/400
8:07pm: Players take a ten-minute break
8:05pm: Demaci cracks aces, triples
Chris Demaci open-shoved for his remaining 48,800, James Sowers called from the cutoff and Alex Fitzgerald re-shipped from the big blind for a little more than 100,000. Sowers got out of the way, leaving Demaci heads-up with Fitzgerald for his tournament life.
Demaci turned over Q♠J♣ and found himself up against Fitzgerald's pocket aces. The flop, however, was a fortuitous Q♥J♠2♠, giving him top two pair. The turn and river came the 9♠ and the 4♦ respectively and Demaci tripled to 150,000 as the cutoff Sowers buried his head in his hands and mumbled something about folding nines.
7:50pm: Elexhauser, Kenney jockeying for chip lead
Just a few minutes ago, we saw one of the biggest pots to develop so far. It happened on a 9♠Q♥6♠ flop. It was a damned good time for Slovakia's Tomas Elexhauser to have 9♦9♥. It was even better for Elexhauser that Shane Schleger and another player both had two pair with Q♦6♦ and Q♠6♣. Elexhauser dodged the case queen on the turn and river and nearly tripled up to 525,000.
Not to be outdone, Bryn Kenney is now sitting on almost exactly the same amount - and he has both Nicholas Grippo and Gavin Griffin on his table, with the potential for fireworks high.
7.40pm: Coffee soured
Clint Coffee's head was rested on the rail of the table as his micro-stack was in the middle against Jason Mercier's kings. Coffee had pocket twos and there was no miracle, but by that point the damage had been long done. Moments before, Coffee had lost all but about 1,600 of his chips to his neighbor, and looked absolutely distraught about it. He was one of only 10 players with more than 200,000 chips at the start of the day, but half of them are now gone.
7.20pm: Binger continues to fly
Michael Binger is adding another huge pile to his stack after getting pocket fives to hold up against Jason Lee's big slick. Binger raised to 7,000 from the hijack, Lee boosted it up from the button, Binger shoved, Lee called and it was the classic hold 'em race, for about 100,000 chips.
Binger has slightly more than 400,000 now.
7:10pm: Playing shorter
In accordance with the NAPT rules, the tournament is now moving to eight-handed play. The big TV on the wall (the one not showing the Steelers getting their tails kicked 10-3 at halftime) reads 137 players remaining.
7:02pm: Ladies lance Liebert
Kathy Liebert pushed all-in for her final 27,000 and got called by a pair of queens. "This is the best hand I've hand in a while," she said. It was K♥J♥ for the Poker Kat. No king came to the rescue and Liebert is now on the rail.
6.45pm: Big stacks into level 14
It's the start of level 14 and the short break afforded us the chance to sweep the room and get a handle on some of those big stacks out there. There may be a couple of others lurking in the midst, but these nine are all there or thereabouts. (The chip lead, I mean.)
Nicholas Grippo - 461,000
Thomas Middleton - 455,000
James Sowers - 410,000
Anh Van Nguyen - 385,000
Bryn Kenney - 370,000
Rob Acton - 355,000
Travis Pearson - 335,000
David Sesso - 330,000
Gavin Griffin - 298,000
The tournament clock shows 148 players remaining. The bubble, remember, is 104.
Three of those big stacks:
Anh Van Nguyen