NAPT Mohegan Sun: Day 1, levels 5-8 updates (200-400-50)

napt-thumb.jpg8:43pm: Bernard Lee doubles
Bernard Lee found himself on the right end of a coinflip to close the night his A♥K♥ flopping top pair against his opponent's pocket jacks. Lee is up to 90,000. --KB

8:39pm: Tryba takes over
As longtime tournament reporters, we have years of experience in nailing down who is leading at the end of day, even before the chips are counted. usually we can pick out the leader with 45 minutes or so to go. It usually holds, unless something this happens.

We walked up on the end of it as Eugene Katachalov, Mehrdad Yousefzadeh, and Chris Tryba got it all in for a pot worth the chip lead on a flop of J♣7♠3♠. The hands? Oh, baby.

Yousefzadeh: J♦J♣
Katchalov: 7♦7♥
Tryba: A♠9♠

Yousefzadeh was on his way to being the runaway chip-leader until the Q♠ hit on the river. Tryba had 53,200 in his stack and tripled up. Katchalov had more than that, so Yousefzadeh won a small side pot. Tryba, meanwhile, seems to be our end-of-day leader. We'll be back in a moment with the end of day news. --BW

8:27pm: Somehow, Mercier loses a big one
While he may not believe the press, I have long held that Jason Mercier wins everything. I am close to having verifiable proof. Nonetheless, he reports that just now things didn't go as well as I predicted. His post to the Twitter world tells the story. He writes: "Just lost 170k pot with top set all in on flop vs flush draw and gutshot. Left with 27k. Would be chipleader."

Instead, he's back where he started. I still contend, he's already won this event and we're just catching up on the space-time continuum. --BW

8:22pm: How does he do it?
If you were wondering like we were how Mehrdad Yousefzadeh has managed to take the chip lead late on Day 1, this might shed some light on the subject.

Facing a raise in the big blind, Yousefzadeh made the call o see the 7♥4♠T♦ flop. He check-called a 2,600 bet there, and hen a 5,050 bet on the 7♦ turn. Both players checked the J♥ river. Up against A♦8♦, Yousefzadeh turned over 2♠2♦ for the win.

That's how he does it. --BW

8:08pm: Day of the Vanessas
With all this talk about Vanessa Rousso, we cant ignore defending champion Vanessa Selbst who has just doubled to 75,000. It happened in a particularly ugly way. I walked up on the turn as bets were getting pulled in on a 9♠Q♦5♥ flop. She and Pat Pezzin checked the Q♣ on the turn. When the J♣ came on the river, Selbst checked to Pezzin. he bet 6,700. Selbst thought for a bit before announcing she was all-in. Pezzin didn't have to think long before calling with two red jacks. Selbst exhaled slowly and turned over Q♥J♠ for the nuts. Pezzin sat silent as he sent over another 20,000 in chips. --BW

7:55pm: Giang gutted
On a 9♦7♦4♠ flop, Chau Giang checked from the small blind, the button bet 1,800 and Giang moved all-in for his last 6,675. The button called and turned over J♦9♣, Giang in kicker trouble with 8♥9♠. Both players made trips on the turn with the 9♥, but the river was the 3♠, sending Giang to the rail. --KB

7:51pm: Sherwin taketh, Sherwin giveth
Vanessa Rousso is having the level of her career, or so she feels right now. "If you could only seen the hands I have had to show. I can't tell you how many times I've had kings," she said.

Moments ago, Rousso was in for a raise to 1,600 and Sherwin Agard called out of the blinds. He turned to we reporters behind him.

"Sherwin the Chip-Taker," he said. "Make sure you get that."

On a flop of K♣7♥4♥, Agard led for 1,700.

"And now she's gonna come back over the top," Agard told us.

"I call," Rousso corrected.

On the 3♠ turn, Agard checked, and Rousso checked behind.

The river was the J♦. Agard put up two fingers and tossed out a chip for his 2,000 bet.

"Make it four," Rousso said.

Agard snap-called and saw Rousso's two red aces.

He turned slowly to we reporters and corrected himself. "Sherwin the Chip-Giver," he said.

Rousso now has 128,000.--BW


Vanessa Rousso

7:45pm: Busquet's set falls to quads
After flopping a set of sevens, Olivier Busquet was happy to call a short-stacked opponent's all-in on a J♥7♦6♥ flop. The poor chap turned over pocket sixes for the underset and was resigned to his fate... that is, until he spiked a one-outer on the turn, the 6♦ falling to make him quads. The river was the 2♥ and Busquet, shaking his head in disbelief paid off the 5,300 all-in with a chuckle. Busquet's stack took only a small hit; he's still on more than 40,000 in chips. --KB

7.35pm: Reilly gives it back to Ebanks
The Tim Reilly v Joe Ebanks battle has just swung back in the favour of the latter, with Reilly being forced to count out 20,100 to double up his adversary. I don't know how any of this played out, but Ebanks was showing A♣K♦ on the board of J♥Q♦J♦A♥7♥. Reilly's hand was mucked, and after he'd paid off Ebanks, he was left with about 9,000. Ebanks has more than 40,000 again. -- HS

7:22pm: Selbst plays poker, talks scrabble
Vanessa Selbst continues to play the role of wrecking ball here at the Mohegan Sun. There's probably no need to mention again (but we will) that she is the defending champion of this event. And since we're talking all things Selbst right now, how about her proficiency at Scrabble? --BW

7.20pm: The life of Reilly
The table of internet demons has just seen a hand that, well, will have reminded a few people of the kind of coups you see online.

Joe Ebanks opened from the cut off, making it 1,300 to go. Jonathan Aguiar, on the button, only had 1,525 left and decided this was his spot. He moved them all in.

Adam Junglen folded in the small blind, but the hand was far from done. Tim Reilly in the big blind re-raised to 4,300, creating a side pot between him and Ebanks, assuming Ebanks was amenable. He was, and indeed he moved all in, covering Reilly.

Reilly snap called and Aguiar probably realised his tournament was all but done. Three hands went on their backs:

Aguiar: A♦[10s]
Ebanks: K♠K♦
Reilly: A♥A♣

The flop brought hope of an unlikely triple up for Aguiar. It came 9♦J♠8♦. "Oh-oh," said tablemate Ronnie Bardah.

But when the 2♦ turned and the 2♣ rivered, Aguiar muttered: "I'm done" and headed for the door.

Reilly, whose all in was for about 18,000-ish, tripled up and Ebanks took a big hit. He's down to about 5,000. -- HS

Tim_Reilly_Mohegan Sun 2011_Main Event_Joe Giron_JGP4566.jpg

Tim Reilly doubles up

7:11pm: The recently departed
Joining Negreanu on the rail are Melanie Weisner, Bill Chen, Corey Burbick, Carter Gill and Bryn Kenney. --KB

7:05pm: Negreanu makes early exit
The convention center area of the Mohegan Sun casino sits behind some heavy doors to protect it from the joyful noise of slot machines and Kenny Chesney concerts. I'd just returned from a trip to the restroom and was pushing my way through said doors when I nearly took off the nose of Team PokerStars Pro frontman Daniel Negreanu. I learned only after excusing myself that he'd just busted in the seventh level of the day when his ace-queen couldn't perform against pocket tens. He told the world via twitter, "I rarely bust day 1. If you regularly bust day 1 of these events you need to quit poker asap. Had no shot today." --BW


Daniel Negreanu in happier times

6:52pm: Tweets from the front
Here's how a few of the PokerStars flag-bearers described their statuses on Twitter during the break:

Barry Greenstein: "Nothing much that level. 310 left. I'm average with 37k. 62BB"

Vanessa Selbst: "55700 to end level 6. 2 more levels to play today."

George Lind III: "Doubled up w ak v aj on a56 flop, won a few more decent pots 42k now"

Vanessa Rousso: "Sitting on 80k after level 6...2 more levels to go tonight. Avg is like 37k or so..."

Pat Pezzin: "NAPT MS. 80k after level 6. Avg 35k"

All the remaining players have two more levels to play before breaking for the night. --BW


Mohegan Sun casino


6:35pm: Players take a 15-minute break

6:34pm: Dan Shak wakes up, but not with aces
Dan Shak was quite literally asleep, elbows on the table, his head cradled in both hands. He didn't wake up when his hole cards were pitched to him and I wondered if one of his tablemates would be kind enough to give him a little shake before the action came around to him in the small blind. The sound of the button's 1,200-chip raise finally roused Shak, who looked down at his hand and reached into his stack for a three-bet to 8,100. The big blind moved all-in, the button folded, and with the action back on Shak, he made the call, turning over A♠6♥.

"Wow," said the big blind, raising an eyebrow as he tabled. Q♣J♣. Shak had him covered.

Shak's ace-high held on the 8♥5♥2♠5♠T♥ board and he eliminated the big blind, increasing his stack to 38,000. --KB

6:31pm: Nazari rebounding
If you recognize the name Poorya Nazari, it's for good reason. He won the biggest published first prize in PokerStars Caribbean Adventure history. That $3 million win in 2009 came the same year as Nazari's last live cash, a $29,000 final table finish at the Empire State Poker Championships' $1,500 event.

Today, Nazari had fallen back below 10,000 from his starting stack of 30,000. As we prepare to enter the last break of the day, Nazari is sitting on 47,000. --BW


Poorya Nazari

6.30pm: Out, out, out. In, in, in
Here are a few who have been and gone:

Kyle Bowker
Jason Sommerville
Dan Heimiller

And here are a few doing rather well:

Victor Ramdin - 90,000
Carlos Mortensen - 86,000
Kevin Eyster - 68,000

6:21pm: Buchman's four-bet takes it
Eric Buchman opened for 1,000 from under-the-gun and got four callers in Vanessa Rousso, Jonathan Duhamel, the cutoff, and the button before the small blind reraised to 5,600. The big blind folded and with the action back on Buchman, he made a large four-bet to 25,000. The move seemed to puzzle Rousso the most; with 40,000 behind she tanked for over two minutes before giving up her hand. Buchman's move chased away the rest of the table and he took down the pot without a flop.

"I thought it might be aces there," Buchman said to Rousso after the hand.

"No. Of course not. But until I saw the size of your raise I was instantly shoving," Rousso replied. "That might have been a bad fold, I don't know."

Buchman declined to reveal any clues about his hand to Rousso and is now sitting on 83,000 in chips. --KB

6:18pm: Checking in
Via the handy little comments section at the bottom of each post, we were asked to check in on Brian "player9ball" Flood, a player who is playing here just a couple of weeks removed from a fifth place finish in the PokerStars Sunday Million. The man from St. John's Canada won more than $74,000 for his efforts there. Today, he's sitting at Daniel Negrenau's table and currently holding steady with around 25,000 in chips.

If there's somebody here you'd like us to check on, feel free to let us know in the comments. We'll do our best. --BW

6pm: irl
Some of online poker's best known campaigners have found themselves all on the same table this afternoon. Joe "ender555" Ebanks, Jon "FatalError" Aguiar, Adam "AJunglen" Junglen, Andrew "foucault82" Brokos and Ronnie "RonNasty" Bardah are taking up five of nine seats around the same slab of felt.

5.45pm: Remembering summers past
During the World Series of Poker last summer, we grew to knew a new band of PokerStars qualifiers and players who spent long days sitting behind massive stacks of chips.

James Carroll was one of them, and he was close to the tournament chip lead for several days before busting in 96th for $67,422.


James Carroll, centre, during the World Series

Carroll has reinvested $5,000 of his bankrolls in this tournament at Mohegan Sun, and he remains in the day one field with about 51,000. -- HS


5:31pm: "g0lfa" hits a sand trap

"You gotta watch this, it's a classic race!" quipped Ryan D'Angelo as I passed his table.

After pushing his short stack all-in with pocket deuces, the three-time WCOOP winner found himself up against the mighty 3♠5♣. Although the A♣J♣4♦ flop looked promising, the 3♥ hit the turn, leaving him drawing to only six outs. The river was the 4♥ and D'Angelo departed the table, off to sweat the Masters.

"I don't know. I shouldn't have done that. I had like, no fold equity. Oh, well," he shrugged, heading for the door. --KB

5.35pm: A lesson in value by Carlos Mortensen
I don't think he does it on purpose, but Carlos Mortensen has an uncanny knack of slipping into major tournaments all but unnoticed. Sometimes about eight levels pass by before any reporter even notices him - and when they do it's only because he has amassed a lofty tower of chips.

Today, Mortensen was noticed from the outset. He snuck past media row about 30 minutes into level one, but one of us happened to look up at precisely the right moment to spot him in our midst. It's how come he's been on the radar all day.

All else is normal in Mortensen's world: he's now up to about 75,000, which is a decent stack at this stage. He just nibbled some more from Mark Tyson in a pot that ably demonstrated his ability to extract the maximum from just about any hand he finds.

Mortensen opened to 800 from under-the-gun and Tyson made it 2,400 from one seat to his left. That was called in the seat to Tyson's left and after it was folded back to Mortensen, he called too.

All three of them checked the 7♠A♠4♥ flop, but then Mortensen bet 3,500 at the 8♥ turn. Only Tyson called and they went to a Q♣ river. Mortensen bet 5,500, Tyson raised to 16,000 and Mortensen announced that he was all in. Tyson shrugged and mucked.

"Wow," shrieked a table-mate. "Show a bluff."
"I caught the queen," Mortensen said, turning over the Q♥. "Oh, I had an ace too," he added. -- HS

5:31pm: Prize pool and payouts
We have posted all the prize pool and payout information over on a page that is appropriately named the NAPT Mohegan Sun Prizes and Payouts page. As we mentioned earlier, first place will earns $450,000. Bottom money walks with $7,500. --BW

5:15pm: Ace-high no good
One of the golden rules of poker reporting is not to speak with players while they're in a hand. But occasionally, one will speak to you, especially if his name is Daniel Negreanu.

"How's it going? Haven't seen you in a while," Negreanu said.

"Not too bad, yourself?" I replied.

"I'll let you know after I see this flop."

It came down 8♦7♥7♣. Negreanu checked from the small blind and his middle position opponent checked behind. The turn came the 4♣ and Negreanu checked again. The MP player quickly tossed out 1,200 and Negreanu just as quickly called. The river fell the 9♦ and Negreanu turned around and led out for 3,500. After a moment's consideration, his opponent called.

"I've got ace-high!" said Negreanu, not turning over his hand.

The MP player turned over J♣9♣ and Negreanu mucked. He's down to 16,000 in chips. --KB

5:12pm: Et tu, Mr. Mercier?
Kristy Arnett managed to catch up with Jason Mercier at the break. For a few words from the man who wins everything, check out the video below. --BW

5:07pm: Little Man going big
Mike Sica, known for both his excessive consumption of toothpicks and his nickname "Little Man," isn't feeling so little right now. He just managed to get A♣A♦ to hold up against A♠K♣ for a pot worth nearly 60,000. A king and couple of the threes on the flop made an uninvolved player (who apparently had a three) a little sick. "It wouldn't be the first time I went out like that," Sica said as he stacked his chips. "But I managed to win this one!" --BW

4:50pm: Team PokerStars Pro break report
The mood among Team PokerStars Pro at the break was decidedly mixed. Jason Mercier, after starting the day strong, is back down to around his starting stack at 33,000. Vanessa Rousso is up to 56,000 and happy about it. Pat Pezzin is rocking and rolling at 75,000. George Lind III claim to be losing every pot and is on 15,000. Worse off is David Williams is says he is "unfocused." He has 8,000. Finally, Barry Greenstine reports a 44,000 stack at the break. --BW

4:36pm: Annnnnnd, we're back
After a short break, the players are back to celebrate the halfway point of the day. We've been handed he preliminary figure for the day, which include the following:

Starting field: 387
Remaining players:351
First place $450,000.

While we're waiting for players to take their seats, here's smilin' Daniel Negreanu. --BW


PokerStars Blog reporting team: Kristin Bihr, Howard Swains and Brad Willis. Photography: Joe Giron.