2009 PCA: It's that time again...

Earlier today, my colleague Paul McGuire noticed a hand involving the new World Champion Peter Eastgate where an unknown player showed a huge bluff after Eastgate folded on the end. "That's what's gonna happen to you now," said Jean-Robert Bellande, also on the table. "Everyone's gonna be gunning for you."

Eastgate probably knew that's how his immediate future would pan out as the nine million dollar man. But he might have expected some impartiality on the part of the tournament officials. They didn't have to stack his table with all the stars of the game, at least not all the time.

But returning from the dinner break this evening, Eastgate was on a table with the former Wall Street trader turned bracelet winner Johnny Bax, the British internet sensation Lukas Schwartz, the heavily chipped Alex Longobardi (somewhere near the chip lead at about 120,000), the EPT tournament director turned player Thomas Kremser, and the Aussie Millions champion from 2008 Alexander Kostritsyn.

Immediately I arrived to the table, my radar twitched. "This would be a perfect table to focus on for the patented* PokerStars blog classic 'A round with...' post."

* Not actually patented.

And so here it is, the latest of an occasional series: A round with...Peter Eastgate.

Table line-up (with approximate counts):
Seat 1- Johnny Bax, 50,000
Seat 2 - Peter Eastgate, 65,000
Seat 3 - Joe McGowan, 11,000
Seat 4 - Lukas Schwartz, 35,000
Seat 5 - Jean-Robert Bellande, 12,000
Seat 6 - Unknown player, 30,000
Seat 7 - Alex Longobardi, 120,000
Seat 8 - Thomas Kremser, 32,000
Seat 9 - Alexander Kostritsyn, 55,000

Level six, blinds 400-800, 100 ante

Hand one, Eastgate in small blind
As the dealer shuffles, Bellande is talking to his friend on the rail. "I was up to 28,000. Down to 12,000 now. He [pointing at Lukas Schwartz] got me to fold ace-king. I've never folded ace-king in my life." "I had ace-jack," boasted Schwartz, with no small dollop of pride. Schwartz was first to enter the pot once the cards were out and he limped from under-the-gun. Eastgate, silently, raised it to 3,100 from the small blind and everyone else got out the way. A small pick up from the world champion.

Hand two, Eastgate on the button
It's folded to the Dane on the button and he needs no further invitation to raise, making it 2,200 to go. Joe McGowan in the small blind moves all in for his last 11,000 and Eastgate insta-calls. McGowan shows two red tens and they're way ahead of Eastgate's two black sixes. The better hand holds up and McGowan survives.

Hand three, Eastgate in the cut-off
Jean-Robert Bellande makes it 2,200 from early position and Alex Longobardi calls two places along. Lukas Schwartz also calls from the small blind and they see a flop of As-9h-4h. Bellande and Longobardi then get them all in - Bellande's final 8,000 or so - and it's A-9 for Bellande (top two) versus Qh-8h for Longobard (flush draw). The turn is a heart and that's that for Bellande as the draw gets there.

Hand four, Eastgate in hijack
Thomas Kremser, playing now without his hood but deep in conversation with his wife Marina, makes it 2,000 from early position. Everyone folds and Kremser continues to earn a lot of respect.


Thomas Kremser, left, and Alex Kostritsyn

Hand five, Eastgate mid-position
It's folded to Eastgate, who makes it 2,200 to play. Longobardi is the only caller and they see a flop of 9s-7d-Js. After he hears his favourite word, "Check", Eastgate fires 3,000 at it, and that's good enough for another pick up.

Hand six, Eastgate mid-position
The new player to arrive in the seat vacated by Bellande is Shane "Shaniac" Schelger, who is carrying close to 70,000 in chips. Schleger is on the button and is involved straight away, calling Eastgate's now-standard bet of 2,200. The flop comes 3c-7h-2c and Eastgate bets 2,700, which Schleger calls. The turn is the Qh and Eastgate fires again, this time 4,200. Schleger calls. The river is 9h and Eastgate has another stab, this time two blue chips and one black, worth 11,100. Schelger looks as though he might fold, but then starts counting out the call and slides it in. As he does, Eastgate insta-mucks. Schleger does the same and a couple of players question whether he's allowed to do that. "Don't you have to show to win?" asks McGowan. The dealer says, "No," Schleger starts stacking the chips and tournament director extraordinaire Thomas Kremser, who will definitely know to the letter of the law what is the correct ruling, keeps schtum. He's on vacation.

Hand seven, Eastgate early position
Lukas Schwartz raises to 2,500 and everyone folds.

Hand eight, Eastgate early position
Eastgate raises to 2,200 - no surprise - and Joe McGowan makes it 5,000, which is enough to thin the field to nobody. He flips pocket queens and picks up the chips.

Hand nine, Eastgate in the big blind
It's fair to say that Eastgate has been busy in the round, as he has for most of the tournament, so when the unknown player in seat six enters the pot for the first time, raising to 2,000, Eastgate must fancy he's behind. He lets his big blind go.

And that's the round. There's was a good deal of stealing, an elimination, and then a hit to the world champion's stack courtesy of Shane Schleger. Players have now gone on the break at the end of level six.