2009 PCA: The rich get richer
Today's miracle at the Atlantis Hotel and Resort, Paradise Island, the Bahamas, will be the disappearance of 70 poker players on day three of the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure.
There were 102 players bagging up chips at the end of day two yesterday evening, but there is only space on day four for 32 of them. We don't know anything of their identities, nor how long this disappearing act will take, but we will follow every trim and every slice right here on PokerStars blog.
No doubt there will be some engaging stories along the way. Two of the remaining field have started 2009 in precisely the manner they finished 2008: near the summit of huge poker fields and eyeing vast fortune.
Peter Eastgate and Ylon Schwartz were members of the PokerStars Six, that subset of the so-called November Nine, who battled through the masses of the World Series Main Event in July to return late in the year to contest the final table.
Schwartz led the way for long periods before some brutal beats knocked him back and sent him to the rail in fourth - nearly $4m richer. Eastgate, as if anyone needs reminding, went all the way to first place and became the World Champion, his coffers swelled by $9m.
Both of them have chips and both have been supremely focused on another huge score here in the Bahamas.
Also in today's field are a pair of Team PokerStars Pros in sight of a major payday. Victoria Coren and Alexandre Gomes both have more than 200,000 in chips and all the talent to make a charge today.
Coren also overlaps into another elite subset: she and Joao Barbosa are the only remaining former EPT champions in the mix. As has been written hundreds of times, there has never been a two-time EPT winner, but wouldn't the PCA 2009 championship title look sweet alongside either the season three London title (Coren) or season five Warsaw crown (Barbosa).
Other names to watch today include last year's final table players Hafiz Khan, who finished second, and Kris Kuykendall, who was fourth. Both seem to enjoy the Bahamian air and are still going strong.
Also still in the field are the likes of Kathy Liebert, Eric Liu, Mark Seif, John Cernuto, Denes Kalo, Tom Franklin and Max Pescatori, who scarcely need any introduction to seasoned poker observers.
The man they are all chasing is David Baker, our overnight chip leader who will be sitting behind 925,000 chips today, a few more than second-placed Daniel Heimiller and Christopher Bush, in third.
The main event is only one of several tournaments going on here in the Bahamas. The final of the High Roller event, featuring Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier, Eli Elezra, Daniel Alaei, Humberto Brenes, Nick Shulman, Scott Seiver, Liya Gerasimova and Will Molson, kicks off at noon, and you can follow live coverage on EPTLive on PokerStars.tv or at this dedicated High Rollers' corner of the PokerStars blog, where the high-rolling Stephen Bartley will be your guide through the action.
There's also a Battleships Poker tournament getting underway today, where 64 players will face off over back-to-back laptops to play a series of heads up tournaments. The defending champion is Sorel Mizzi, and he's back in the running, alongside the Team PokerStars Pro Victor Ramdin, among others. You can watch those match-ups on the PokerStars client - head to the Events → PCA → All tab.