2009 PCA: Level 25 and 26 updates

Real-time updates from Level 25 of the 2009 PCA are brought to you by Howard Swains, Paul 'Dr. Pauly' McGuire, Stephen Bartley, and Brad Willis. Click refresh to see the latest updates.

Levels are 75 minutes long and blinds are 50,000-100,000 (10,000).

3.28pm: Daniel Heimiller, USA, eliminated in seventh place, earning $300,000

With the action folded to Daniel Heimiller he moves all-in. That's just the start of it. Dustin Dirksen asks for a rough count but keeps out of it. Poorya Nazari doesn't, and neither does Anthony Gregg, both of whom move all-in for a three way scrap. Gregg has nines, Nazari has eights and Heimiller fives.


All the players stand. Nazari has the others covered but will need an eight. The flop comes Jc-Kh-Js changing nothing. The six on the turn does the same. The final seven on the river card ends the tournament for Heimiller.


After his bust-out, Heimiller said, "It was a very difficult table with very aggressive players. I didn't get many hands. I couldn't give up the fives. I was too short. I had about a million left. You just gotta take your chances."'

3.23pm--Double Dutch doubles through Dustin Dirksen

Pieter Tieman just doubled up through Dustin Dirksen. The Dutchman made a standard pre-flop raise, something like 250,000, and dutifully counted out 1.4m when Dirksen asked how much he was playing. Dirksen re-popped to 600,000 and Tieman moved in. Call. Tieman had 7-7 and Dirksen Ac-Jc, but there was no jack, ace or club on the board and Tieman doubles.


The dream remains alive for the $33 satellite man.

3.20pm: Battle of the blinds

After four pots going uncontested to pre-flop raises the next is folded to the blinds. Daniel Heimiller completes in the small and they see a flop of Ac-Qc-5d. Both check for a turn card Ad. Again no one is willing to bet yet and they see the river card 3c. Heimiller makes a speculative bet on the end of 125,000. Benny called and shows K-5, the 5 being enough to take the pot against Heimiller's J-9.

3:17pm--The chip leader speaks

What's it like to be chip leader at the final table of an event where you can win $3 million. Just ask Team PokerStars Pro Alex Gomes.

Watch PCA 09: Alex Gomes Pre Final Table on PokerStars.tv

3:13pm--Taking a breath

After an hour and half of all-ins and action, the past few minutes have seen the players taking a breath. That doesn't mean much, though. When you take a breath, you have to exhale eventually, and the longer you wait, the bigger the exhalation will be. It's science.

3.07pm--Heimiller looking for queen high

The short-stacked Danny Heimiller has declared to the table that he's looking to shove, or even call Alexandre Gomes' all in pre-flop raises, with anything better than queen high. A couple of hands after announcing this, he open shoves from late position and Dustin Dirksen, in the small blind, asks for a count. He's told that Heimiller is playing 845,000 but eventually folds, as does Poorya Nazari in the big blind, who dismissively mucks 10-2. Heilmiller shows one card and it's a queen. "I folded ace-seven," says Dirksen. "I should have called."

3.01pm--The tower of Gomes

Benny Spindler bets 250,000 from utg plus one, getting a caller in Poorya Nazari. Anthony Gregg folds in the small blind but Gomes in the big stirs into life, sliding in a tall tower of white chips for a cool one million. It's a 750,000 raise that no one really wants to contest. Gomes takes down another pot.



The Imperial Ballroom was bustling earlier in the week with cash games in full swing and a slew of side events. At this point, there's a cacophony of ambient sounds. In one corner, the crew broke down the Battleship area. In another corner, the tournament staff unbagged chips for Day 2 of a side event. In the distance, the constant clattering of chips echoed from the cash game section. And over at the feature table, one hungry spectator brought his lunch with him. He chomped down on a bag of potato chips, a mere appetizer before he unwrapped a hefty deli sandwich and devoured that as he kept a keen eye on the action.


Dan Heimiller and Dustin Dirksen see a flop - 6c-5c-Kd - and they both check. The turn is the 7s and a bet of 325,000 wins it for Dirksen.


Next hand, Dirksen is one of three players who see a flop, this time completing from the small blind after Benny Spindler calls from the button and Poorya Nazari checks his option. The flop is Ah-3h-6d and Dirksen bets 180,000. Nazari folds but Spindler calls. The turn is the 10s and Dirksen check-calls Spindler's 250,000 bet. The river is Jc and Dirksen's check encourages Spindler to bet 700,000, which is good.

2.45pm: Good use of the all-in button

After Kevin Saul's elimination there's no rush for anything flash, although the potential remains. In a battle of the blinds, Gomes called from the small and Tielen checked his option for a flop of Js-6h-Kh. Gomes kicked out 160,000 before Tielen raised all-in. Gomes soon passed.

After drinks were delivered, opened and poured, Gomes tried the same technique himself, moving all-in from the button, and got the same deal. No takers.

2:43pm--Hello, Iceland!

Always interesting to see who is following the coverage here. Here's a look at some recent readers.


2:40pm--Saul's walk out

Kevin Saul walked quietly off the stage with a disappointed look on his face. He did his obligatory interview with EPT presenter Kara Scott then accepted a few congratulatory handshakes. Finally, hooked up and asked, "Do you know where I get paid?"

He was shown the way to the payout table where he will add another quarter million bucks to his lifetime tournament earnings.

2.30pm--Kevin Saul, USA, eliminated in eighth place, earning $234,000

We've lost our first player. Kevin Saul shoved his last 1,200,000 in from mid position and Poorya Nazari called from the button. Both blinds got out the way and Nazari showed two red queens to Saul's Ks-Js. The flop included a jack but it wasn't enough and Saul departs with $234,000, and a whole bunch of new admirers.


By general consensus, Saul played one of the best days of poker ever seen at any tournament yesterday, dominating with his monstrous chip stack and making some truly heroic plays, including a river call with pocket sevens against Benny Spindler's huge bluff that ranks among the best calls seen on the EPT. The wheels came off the wagon, however, when he ran into Alex Gomes's aces late on and today was always going to be a struggle. Safe to say, the remaining seven players are breathing a huge sigh of relief at Saul's departure, which is a mark of the respect they held for his game.

2:27pm--Calm Before the Storm and the Orange Dutch

A couple of Pieter Tielen's friends are sitting in the audience and sporting orange wool ski caps in honor of the Dutch colors. "Where there's orange, there's the Dutch," said our very own Howard Swains.

The Brazilian contingency has been relatively quiet. On Day 4, they were ecstatic and boisterous as Alex Gomes made a run at the final table. Their hero has slowly bled away chips in the early going which is the core reason for their unusually quiet selves. It also appears that they are slowly waiting and waiting for Gomes to win a big hand before they unleash a wave of zesty exuberance. Gomes good friend and fellow Team PokerStars Pro Andre Akkari is among the many Gomes railbirds.

2.22pm--Heimiller moves in for a Gomes call

Alex Gomes, true to form, makes it 225,000 from utg plus one. Next to him Tielen folds but next it's Dan Heimiller who moves all-in for 590,000 more. Dustin Dirksen asks how much Heimiller has but folds regardless and the action is back on Gomes who doesn't take long to call, flipping over Ts-8s to Heimiller's Ad-Jh. "One time" calls Gomes, perhaps not for the first time, while Heimiller asks for no surprises.

As the Brazilians begin finger clicking, one of the creepiest sounds for any non-Brazilian opponent, the flop hits with Hollywood subtlety, Qc-9h-Td, matching the ten of Gomes but giving Heimiller an open ended straight draw. The turn is a 7c helping no one but the 8c river gives Heimiller the straight, keeping him alive.


2.15pm--Folding is an option

Dustin Dirksen raised from under the gun and got the respect he was looking for until it reached Benny Spindler in the small blind. The German announced that he was all in for something like three million and, after Kevin Saul folded in the big blind, Dirksen open passed pocket sixes. That he can allow a small pocket pair to go pre-flop now is indicative of his progress so far today.

2.10pm-- Gomes all the way

A ten minute spell of pure Gomes pressure. The Brazilian Team PokerStars Pro is raising every hand, a steady 240,000 each time, which is enough to dissuade the others from getting involved unnecessarily. The only variation is when Peter Tielen tries a raise from the button. Gomes in the small blind re-raises all-in, quickly ending the encounter.

2:09pm--Sunglasses count

Two of the final table players are wearing sunglasses. Who? Poorya Nazari and Alex Gomes.

2:02pm--Dangerous Dirksen

It's been a dream start for Dustin Dirksen today. As the short stack coming into the final table, he will have been desperate for an early double up. And then another one, if possible. And that's exactly what he's just done, this time taking his Js-Jc up against Benny Spindler's Ah-8c, all in pre-flop. There was no drama through flop, turn and river and Dirksen doubles his 1,750,000 into more than 3,500,000. Not bad for a player who came into today with only 760,000.


2:00pm--Other notables in crowd

Among the other notables watching the final table today: Steve Paul-Ambrose, Terrence Chan, Maria "maridu" Mayrinck, Evelyn Ng, Greg Raymer, Gavin Griffin, Stevie Chidwick, and Jon "Apestyles" Van Fleet.


1:59pm--Level 26 begins

We're now at Level 26 with 50,000-100,000 (10,000) blinds.

1:55pm--Famous Railbirds & Hoodless

Team PokerStars Pro Joe Hachem is among the celebrities in the audience checking out the final table. He is currently seated next to Thor Hansen, who is highly regarded as the Godfather of Scandinavian poker.

Kevin Saul had been wearing a turquoise colored hoodie during the previous two days. The majority of the time, he was in stealth mode with the hoodie up and covering his head. At today's final table, the hoodie is noticeably absent. On the other side of the table, Alex Gomes has a gold and green Brasila soccer warm up jacket slung over the back of his chair.

1.51pm--No show for Gomes

Poorya Nazari put in a 205,000 bet to start the hand and is called by Alex Gomes for a flop of 6d-2d-Ts. Gomes checks before Nazari makes it 260,000, which Gomes calls. The turn card is an Ad which both players check before a river card Jc. Now Gomes makes it 630,000. Nazari calls but his hand doesn't need to be shown as Gomes mucks his cards immediately.

1.47pm--Dustin Dirksen double up

After a degree of administration concerning the television production play gets underway. Alexandre Gomes raises to 210,000 from early position and it's folded round to Dustin Dirksen in the small blind. He announces "Re-raise 760 all in," and moves his chips forward. "OK," says Gomes and calls. Dirksen is ahead with As-Kh against Gomes' Qs-Jh and the board runs out completely dry to give Dirksen the early double up he was looking for.

1:42pm--Shuffle up and deal

And we're off. Cards are in the air.


1:40pm--Player introductions

The players are being introduced. Play will begin shortly. Here's a look at the final table players and all that is the PCA.

Watch PCA 09: Final Table Intro on PokerStars.tv

1:20pm--Final table set to begin

The final table players unbagging their chips and settling in for a long day on the road to the $3 million first prize. Fifteen minutes remain in Level 25 before moving up to Level 26 at 50,000-100,000 (10,000) blinds.