2011 PCA Main Event: Day 1A Levels 9 & 10 (Blinds 600-1,200, 100 ante)

PCA-2010-thumbnail.jpg12.10am: Play over
That's it for the night. It looks like Team PokerStars Pro Pieter de Korver will be our overnight chip leader with 245,300. A full list of counts will be made available on the chip count page as soon as we get it, while a full wrap of today's play will be with you shortly. -- SY

11.55pm: Last few hands
The clock has been stopped with 15 minutes left, and dealers have been told to deal just five more hands. Then players will bag and tag - and we get to go to bed. -- SY

11.50pm: Minieri versus Heimiller
Team PokerStars Pro Dario Minieri just tangled and came out on top against Dan Heimiller. The diminutive Italian raised and then four-bet when Heimiller three-bet him. Heimiller called to see the 4♦6♥5♠ flop but soon faced a 35,000 all-in bet from Minieri. He folded and Minieri showed A♥ and scooped the pot to move up to 75,000, whereas Heimiller drops to 56,000. -- MC

11.48pm: Horecki straightens up
Marcin Horecki bust a player with 3♥5♥ on a 6♥4♣K♦7♥J♠ board, his opponent mucking 6♦7♦ for two pair. -- SY

11.44pm: Lewis battering his way towards the chip lead
I wandered over to EPT Vilamoura winner Toby Lewis to see how his tournament was going. "110,000. And it's been up and down," he said with a smile and a backwards nod to Dario Minieri, the Team PokerStars Pros that specialises in a form of irascible poker.

That 110,000 was about to grow. Fresh meat had just settled into the seven seat, two seats to Lewis' right, and it decided to raise to 3,000. Lewis called in the hijack, incredibly Minieri decided to muck his hand in the cut-off but Dan Heimiller opted to see the flop from the small blind.

The meat c-bet 7,000 on a 8♥9♣2♣ flop and Lewis, after sitting statue still for 30 seconds, raised it up to 18,500. Heimiller wanted no part of this nonsense and passed his hand. The meat did not. Call.

The 5♥ didn't stop Lewis who fired 23,500. He was called again. A T♦ on the river would have completed a gutshot straight draw (six-seven would have got there already) and Lewis moved all-in putting his opponent's remaining 45,000 to the test. He didn't like the taste of it and mucked his hand. Lewis is up to over 150,000. -- RD

11.40pm: Deeb done
Shaun Deeb is out with less than half an hour left to play on Day 1A. He opened for 2,500 and was re-raised by Jonas Becker who made it 7,000 to play. Deeb immediately lumped the last of his stack, a few thousand, into the middle and Becker called, turning over A♣J♠ to face Deeb's T♣T♦.

All looked good for Deeb until the river card, the board running A♠6♣J♦T♠J♥. Deeb had been ready to go, was ready to stay on the turn, then got up to leaves on the river. - SB

11.35pm: Lucky number 7
Faced with a 2,600 raise, Eric Froehlich moved all-in for 31,700. Jim Fennel, to his left, also moved all-in. The raiser folded and Froehlich and Fennel were heads-up.

Froehlich showed 7♦7♥ and was trailing Fennel's K♦K♣. The flop came 5♦9♦6♦, giving both players a flush draw. The turn was a 7♣, giving one player a set. There was no metaphorical ace on the river for Fennel, it was literally the 5♣.

Froehlich doubled up and is now sitting behind 65,000.

11.30pm: Dabul down
Veronica Dabul has moved table and is now directly to the right of one of the chip leaders, Team PokerStars Pro Peter de Korver. Dabul opened for 3,000 from the cut off which De Korver called from the button. The big blind also called for a flop of A♦4♣9♦. The big blind checked to Dabul who bet 4,500 of her stack of 15,000. De Korver, reaching to his stack which dwarfs Dabul's, peeled off a raise to 10,200, effectively making it an all-in move to call for the Argentinian. As the big blind passed Dabul moved from side to side in her chair and after a minute of thought, passed. -- SB

11.25pm: Marching Martin
PokerStars qualifier Mathieu Martin is up to 170,000 and part of this is thanks to Erik Seidel. The seven-time bracelet winner raised from the button and Martin defended from the big blind to see a K♦8♦Q♦ flop. Martin check-called a 5,000 bet before the 3♣ turn and J♠ river were checked down. Martin tabled K♥9♥ and it was good for the pot as Seidel mucked to drop to 23,500. -- MC


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PokerStars qualifier Matthieu Martin


11.20pm: Mighty Minieri
Dario Minieri is up to 77,000, eliminating an opponent in the process. With betting and calling across a board of 2♣5♥Q♣4♦T♣ the Italian turned over 7♣3♣ for a flush to beat K♠Q♠. The broad grin was in place as the departed gave a curt nod to a friend nearby to signal catastrophic failure. -- SB

11.17pm: Video time
Here's the video team's summary as we approach the end of the day...

11.15pm: Rubbing it in
We're used to seeing the lovely massage ladies at the tables, but it's unusual to see three of them working the same turf. Right now Gigi is soothing the back of Victor Ramdin; Viviana is untying the knots in Justin Smith's shoulders and Carolyne is busy with Phil Ivey's neck.

Enjoy, gentlemen! -- SY

11.10pm: Dutch heater continues
Team PokerStars Pro Pieter de Korver continues his surge up the leader board. He's now broken through 200,000 after hitting a jack-high flop with A-J and following that with an A-K coup against pocket jacks. -- SY

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Pieter de Korver

11.08pm: Reasons to be fearful
This PCA Main Event is so large that there are traps and pitfalls pretty much everywhere you look but sometimes it's the ones that don't seem that dangerous at first glance that are the most venomous. This is probably the case for many of the tablemates of Jack Ellwood, aka jackellwood. The young Brit is sat in the nine seat of his table looking, if anything, a little bit nervous. He's got around 37,000 in front of him, which is not particularly intimidating, but his online record, well, is something to send shivers down anyone's spine.

Ellwood had an incredible 2010 which was ignited by a second place finish at the United Kingdom & Ireland Poker Tour (UKIPT) Manchester for £37,500, which equates to around $60,000. Maybe it served as a confidence boost but something happened that weekend because Ellwood went on to win, win and win some more. He binked $237,644 in a $535 tournament and a further $51,017 the same night.

That was the beginning. He then finished third in the $2,100 SCOOP for $206,720 and fifth in the $5,200 WCOOP main event for $509,976. Not a bad year for someone who had previously scored $10k as their largest win. The question is whether 2011 will continue on in the same vein. In the meantime, Ellwood sits and waits. His tablemates have little idea they're one step away from danger. -- RD

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Jack Ellwood: It's always the quiet ones that you have to worry about

LEVEL UP: Blinds 600-1,200, 100 ante

11.05pm: The Heimiller manoeuvre
Daniel Heimiller is up to 53,000 in a that ended with him facing off against EPT Vilamoura winner, Toby Lewis. There was a mid-position raise to 2,500 that Lewis called from the hijack as did both blinds. The flop came 6♣3♥4♦ and Lewis bet 5,300 when the action checked to him. Only Heimiller called to see the A♣ turn where both players checked. The river came J♠ before Heimiller led for 7,600. Lewis tanked for two minutes but folded to leave himself with around 100,000. -- MC

10.55pm: Poluzhnikov power
Phil Ivey has switched tables, his previous home breaking up, taking with it a few barrier poles and some railbirds. He arrived at his new table with the same expression of detachment, back straight, eyes wide and head cocked to one side slightly as if he were listening to a baseball game on a radio in the next room. He pays no attention to Victor Ramdin and Oleg Poluzhnikov playing a hand.

On a flop of 4♦T♣9♦ Ramdin checked in the big blind then called Poluzhnikov's bet of 9,000 for a 2♦ turn card. Both checked that for a [t] river. Again Ramdin checked and watched Poluzhnikov bet 10,000. Ramdin tanked a short while then called. Poluzhnikov turned over K♦K♠ for a winning flush.

"I hit the worst card in the deck," said Ramdin, admitting to having mucked ace-ten. - SB

10.48pm: Ivey comes last in three-way race
Phil Ivey had the chance to knock out two players in one hand whilst holding the best hand but came last out of the three. Brian David Zimcosky moved all-in for his last 6,500 from mid-position and Ivey called before John Kenneth Leathart moved all-in for just 300 more. Ivey made the call with 9♥9♣, ahead of Q♦J♦ and 7♣7♦.

The board ran out 7♥A♣2♦4♦J♥ hitting set for Leathart and eliminating Zimcosky. Ivey down a little to 88,000. -- MC

10.40pm: Brown and out
No longer in his seat, and therefore presumed out, is Team PokerStars Pro Chad Brown. -- SY

10.35pm: A Dutch bink
Pieter de Korver made it 2,000 then called when Andras Kovacs moved all-in for around 14,000. De Korver's pocket nines were a mile behind Kovac's A♠A♣ and the 6♠K♥[5] flop and 6♦ turn were no help. The river, however, was 9♥ and the two outer sent more chips De Korver's way. He now has 160,000. -- SY

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Pieter de Korver

10.30pm: Visser loses a race
Team PokerStars Pro Ruben Visser is down to 22,000 after doubling up his neighbour. His ace-king couldn't get there versus his opponents' pocket nines, especially after another nine appeared on the flop. -- MC

10.25pm: Victor-y for Smith
Justin Smith is up to 85,000 after forcing Team PokerStars Pro Victor Ramdin into folding. The two made it to a 6♠K♦Q♠ flop where Smith check-raised Ramdin's 5,700 (7,000 in the pot) up to 15,400. Ramdin looked like he was considering something tricky but ultimately folded to leave himself with 56,000. -- MC

10:20pm: Minieri can fold
This might well deserve its own post, if not a 5,000-word magazine article, but the breaking news of the moment is a shocker: Dario Minieri has found the ability to fold. It came as a massive surprise to all who watched. He was facing a bet of more than 20,000 on a Q♥K♣6♥K♦7♣ board. He asked the dealer to spread out the pot, in which was more than 40,000. Minieri agonized. He only had two choices: call or raise. Because, as we once thought, he certainly couldn't fold. But, then he did, sending shockwaves of horror and disgust across this airplane hangar of a room. He still has more than 80,000 in his stack, down from around 100,000 at the last break. A lot of that happened when he played some small suited connectors, caught a gunshot and and backdoor flush draw on the flop. There was no question what would happen then. That's the nuts for Minieri. He made his straight by the river and put a huge bet in, but his opponent Toby Lewis folded.

"Everybody thinks I bluffed," Minieri said, "but I had a hand!"

Whatever you say, Dario. --BW

10.20pm: Hahn now with Ivey
Having won his trip here to play Isildir1 (Viktor Blom) heads-up, Nicholas Hahn is now concentrating on the main event, where he is sat with Mr Phil Ivey. Hahn is going along nicely with a stack of 120,000. -- SY

10.15pm: Seiver skewered
If you took the bet against Scott Seiver, you won. Seiver moved all in for about 12,000 and was called by Chad Eveslage. Seiver showed 9♥9♦ and was up against Eveslage's J♥Q♦. The race was on.

The board was 7♥3♦[10h]2♥K♥. Giving both players a flush, but Eveslage's was higher. Seiver took his things and made his way to the rail. "I actually thought I was going to win that one," said Seiver as he walked out. -- AV

10.12pm: Prager bust
The first half of Team Prager team has come up short. Josh Prager was just eliminated but got his chips in good. He open shoved for 12,000 and was followed into the pot by the player on the push who moved in for 13,000.

Prager tabled K♠Q♠, ahead of his opponent's K♦J♦. The board a diamond friendly A♦6♦5♥6♥5♦ to make Prager's opponent a flush. "Oh well", he said "Helen's turn tomorrow". -- MC

10:00pm: Two more hours
After a break to get rid of the green chips (who needs those pesky 25 denomination things anyway), the players are headed back to their seats for the final two levels of the night.

While we wait for the cards to get back in the air, here's a look at our own personal Hemmingway, aka Tom McEvoy.

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PokerStars Blog reporting team (in order of healthy dinner choices): Simon Young (green salad), Brad Willis (tuna wrap), Alex Villegas (pizza), Marc Convey (a giant, sort of obscene hot dog)