2011 PCA main event: Day 1B, level 1 & 2 updates (blinds 75-150)

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2.05pm: That's the break
Players are taking the first break of the day. -- SB

2.04pm: Hatless Hruby left exposed
"I don't think you know how many hands we've played together," Team PokerStars Pro Martin Hruby was told by JC Alvarado. Hruby, who normally tucks himself beneath a square hat, had led 5,250 into the river of a 2♦4♥J♥7♥J♣ board leaving Alvarado, resplendent in a salmon pink hoodie, to turbo-thump his foot up and down faster than the blinking eye.

There was around 10,000 already in the pot before Hruby's bet and Alvarado finally opted to make the call with J♦8♦ for top trips, weak kicker against Hruby's A♦Q♠. The Czech is down to around 15,000.

So you play play Martin a lot online? "Yeah," Alvarado smiled, "a little bit." While being a profile pro has plenty of advantages the fact that other players can relate your online play back to you is certainly one of the disadvantages, which is something that Viktor Blom will have to get his head around. -- RD


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'No hat Hruby' never caught on as a nickname


2.03pm: Conrad coolered by Duthie
Chris Conrad finished off 2010 by reaching Supernova status on PokerStars. This offers players many privileges but doesn't stop them being coolered by a Team PokerStars Pro. John Duthie just eliminated him after a set-over-set scenario. Duthie up to 65,000 as a result. -- MC


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Who could pass a set to John Duthie?


2pm: Tuning in to Arab Detroit
"You the champion, right?" This is Freddy Deeb, speaking to the player on his left, one Jonathan Duhamel. "You still believe it? Or do you wake up not believing it?"

"When was that?" asked Vivek Rajkumar, apparently the only poker player in the world not to know the World Series Main event is won in November.

"November," said Duhamel.

Deeb is in chatty mood, and thumbs his iPod looking for a radio station, settling for "Arab Detroit" (we're expecting a bumper sticker, Arab Detroit) as Jason Mercier limped pre-flop before Sander Jensen made it 550.

On Jensen's left was Rajkumar, a Super High Roller until he finished in tenth place on Day 2, who raised to 2,100. Mercier passed by Jansen called for a 8♠6♥7♠ flop.
Jansen checked to Rajkumar who bet another 2,250, which Jansen called for a 4♦ turn card. This time Jansen bet 3,750 and Rajkumar called for a 5♦ river. A check from Jansen and Rajkumar moved all-in for about 16,000. Jansen called but mucked when Rajkumar showed 9♦8♣. -- SB


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In case you didn't know this is what World Champion Jonathan Duhamel looks like


1.59pm: It's Isildur2
I don't know, you wait ages for an Isildur to come along and then two arrive at the same time. Yesterday we were introduced to Viktor Blom, the infamous Team PokerStars Pro otherwise known as Isildur1, and today I had to do a double take as what looked like Isildur2 had turned up.

However, it transpires this is just Blom's mate, who has exactly the same hairstyle and looks the spitting image of the swing king. He's railing young Mr Blom, who is going along nicely on 34,000.

On a 4♣[10d]4♥9♣ board, Blom bet 2,450 and got a call. Then on the A♦ river Blom bet another 6,400 and his hand seemed to be shaking slightly. Now he covered his face with his jacket. The call came, and Isildur1 turned over A♣A♥ for the rivered full house.

That's how he rolls, folks. -- SY

1.57pm: Politeness never hurt anyone
Team PokerStars Pro John Duthie and I just exchanged a very British shake of hands and wished each other Happy New Year. Marcel Luske then got in on the act and the hand shakes were repeated. This is what poker should be about; none of that fearful aggression and duplicity. -- SY


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They'll be donning suits and top hats for dinner


1.55pm: No locks Naujoks
What's this? Team PokerStars Pro Sandra Naujoks has had a dramatic new hairstyle and looks a million dollars. Which, incidentally, is less that she won when she took down EPT Dortmund a few years back.

Gone is the long, fair-haired look, and in return a darker shade and bob. She's as aggressive as ever, just taking a pot by re-raising all-in, not for the first time today. "Every time?" said her victim, shaking his head. -- SY


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Sandra Naujoks sporting a new look for 2011


1.50pm: Sexy time
This may be the table of death, but those sitting around it are having a ball. There seems to be a series of side bets going on, with Sorel Mizzi the ring master, counting up the monies owed on his Blackberry scoreboard.

Heavily involved is Will Falia, Yevgeniy Timoshenko, Liv Boeree and her fellow Team PokerStars Pro ElkY, although Carter Phillips seems to be keeping a little quiet. I'd love to tell you what the last bet was about, but this is a family blog and, er, let's just say the 'action' and 'position' should be left to the poker table, not to the subject of side betting. -- SY


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Antonio Esfandiari illustrating the power of position to Sorel Mizzi


1.45pm: Jenifer raids Bedell's till
Jenifer Tilly is up to 70,000 chips after busting Tom Bedell. The two saw a 8♦T♣7♠ flop before the chips went flying. We picked up the action with Bedell facing a Tilly raise to 11,000 after he had raised to 4,200. His answer was to move all-in for 30,625. Tilly dwelled but made the call with 8♠8♣ for middle set and it was good as Bedell had 7♣8♥ for two pair. The K♣A♥ turn and river changed not a thing and Bedell was gracious before leaving. -- MC

1:33pm: PCA health warning
Regarding our earlier investigation into the PCA massage industry, as a public service message to anyone receiving a massage at the 2011 PCA, we'd like to offer that we have recently seen more of Daniel Negreanu than we intended to today. His massage therapist is a dedicated artisan, indeed. We further might advise you ask any therapist who might approach you if she has recently worked on Kid Poker. If she answers yes, you might not know where those hands have been. But...we do. -- BW

1.29pm: Luske searching for his Lost City of Gold
Team PokerStars Pro Marcel Luske had raised to 400 pre-flop, picked up one caller before checking down an Q♠J♠7♠A♦2♣ board. At showdown Luske was forced to show first. His paired jack winning the pot.

Luske, however, was not happy: "They keep changing it. It's ridiculous. On the internet it's clear. The rules are always the same," he said. Creating a set of standardised rules is Luske's Lost City of Gold. "I assume he's got to show first," said Luske, remonstrating with the dealer.

At this point, now looking at the table with Kevin MacPhee and Chris Moneymaker next door, I was collared to grab a floor person. I'm not entirely sure why the dealer couldn't call 'floor' himself. It's probably a union thing, or an old Bahamian charter. With said floor person summarily brought over Luske continued to discuss the issue which resulted in an announcement just a few minutes later reminding everyone that it is the player that made the last aggressive act that must show in checked down pots (as is usual at European Poker Tour events). This initiated a small chorus of American accented boos. -- RD

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Smile, Marcel!

1:27pm: To see or not to see
Things you expect to see at a major PokerStars event: Salvatore Bonavena in a pink sweater, Greg Raymer explaining a ruling to someone, Jim Collopy grinning, and some guy you've never seen before, wearing a weird hat.

Things you don't expect to see, but will today, at a major PokerStars event: Isuldur1 in 3-D, a triple Roland Garros winner (Gustavo Kuerten) and a clean shaven Tim Vance. --SB

1:20pm: Saul read
Kevin Saul has mostly fond memories of the PCA. He came 8th here in 2009 for $234,000 but was chip leader at one point so felt he should've placed higher. He's off to a good start here today in his attempt to do better. He was already above his starting stack when he three-bet to 1,300 from the cut-off. There had been a raise to 400 from Scott Zakheim in mid-position and a flat call before Saul's raise.

Zakheim was the only caller to the J♥A♥9♦ flop where he checked. Saul thought before continuing for 4,250 and he took the pot as Zakheim quickly mucked. Saul up to the 40,000 mark already. -- MC

1.09pm: Super High Roller
Daniel Negreanu yesterday finished up as runner-up in the PCA $100,000 Super High Roller for $1 million and he's currently investing a good chunk of that in the most enthusiastic massage outside of Bangkok. The curly blonde-haired masseuse has centred herself low in a low wide kung-fu stance and is attacking Negreanu's back and bum, a little too low to comfortably watch, with an energetic vigour that must come from the knowledge that he binked a million yesterday. She deserves a good tip. -- RD


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No wonder Daniel is smiling


1.04pm: Bankroll management
Atlantis is a fancy joint and drink prices can sometimes sting a little, so it's hard to fault anyone for being careful about what they order. Still, this is sort of funny. A player sat looking around for his cocktail server who had disappeared into the ether. "I ordered one about 20 minutes ago. I want to order another one, but I'm afraid they'll both come and it will be like $20."

Who said it?

Eric Baldwin, the man who just two months ago won the NAPT LA Bounty Shootout for more than $150,000. --BW

LEVEL UP: BLINDS 75-150


1.01pm: Spoilsports
The latest from the table of Information Technology hell is that the mood has softened a little, although confusion as to how such an awesome line-up could be randomly assigned a table together remains.

Between giggles Boeree continued to ask the floor staff for clarification, the response being that while players may have bought in months ago the draw is only activated once the player arrives to claim their ticket. Do that late and this happens.

"Bring us Ivey," said Praz Bansi to the floor staff. "We have a seat free."

It will be the first table to break. Funny though that this most enticing table draws is considered a bad thing. How about we call this table one and start dealing. -- SB

12.59pm: Language please
The issue of English only at the table was brought up by one player, who didn't appreciate that two Russian players were, well speaking Russian.

The floor man was called to remind the two gentlemen that under no circumstances were they to speak Russian when there were cards in play. One of them replied that there weren't cards in play when they were talking, a point supported by an American (he could have been Swiss) in seat five. This was fine. But the player who raised the objection still wasn't happy and wanted Russian banned for good.

"The problem, we don't speak good English," said the first Russian, an olive branch to cross this east-west divide.

"Your English sounds fine," said the objector.

"But we're friends," said the other Russian, in the spirit of glasnost.

"Well that's even worse," said the objector. It's a bad table to be Russian or have Russian friends. -- SB

12.57pm: The internet is broken
There must be something wrong with my internet - I've just seen Isildur1 fold THREE hands in a row. And when he did come in for an opening raise on the fourth hand, from under the gun, he got not one but three callers. One of them bet out on the 2♥[10h]5♣ flop to take the pot from under Viktor Blom's nose.

This is not what is meant to happen. Somone call I.T. now. -- SY

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Imposter?

12.55pm: More Team Pro match-ups
Jason Mercier shares a tables with new WSOP champ Jonathon Duhamel and Greg DeBora; Vicky Coren and Ivan Demidov are neighbours; while Maria Mayrink and Max Lykov share the same felt. - SY

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Max Lykov

12.52pm: Man who batters fish is here
Our most recent PokerStars EPT champion is playing today. Roberto Romanello, who helps to run the family fish and chip shop business in Wales, won €640,000 for his efforts in Prague last month. He hasn't started quite so well here and is down to 16,000. -- SY

12.51pm: The undisputed table of death
Hands down, no argument, this is the table of death and Liv Boeree is not happy about it.

"This is ridiculous," she said to a gathering deck of floor staff. Unbelievable and unacceptable were soon added to Team PokerStars Pro's description of the seat draw that had led to late arrivals (not late registrations, I hasten to add) being grouped on the accurately described 'ridiculous' table. Bertrand 'ElkY' Grospellier, Yevgeniy Timoshenko and Sorel Mizzi were already sat in a line from seat eight to seat two when the EPT winner arrived.

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Incredulous Liv (which would be a pretty good name for a band)

The situation, before Boeree's descent into the chaos, had been described by Mizzi in less polite terms. If ElkY seemed to share the sentiment he certainly wasn't showing it. I think he just likes to play. Then a second EPT winner arrived in the form of Carter Phillips (Barcelona, Season Six) who looked around at the table. He really didn't seem to want his seat: "This is like the $100,000," he muttered, a little amazed at the line-up. There were two other American players who were obviously known players to Mizzi.

While Boeree, now in her seat a couple to the left of the Canadian, was still questioning the floor staff why this had happened (Mizzi, for instance, had qualified for the event some time ago) and what was going to be done, WSOP bracelet winner and fellow Brit Praz Bansi arrived. And there's still a couple of seats left vacant. Boeree was assured that, as things stood, their table would be the first to break. Ridiculous indeed. -- RD

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Bring us Ivey!

12:47pm: The return of Darren Keyes
Darren Keyes gets around. He's been playing in PokerStars events for a very long time. Last year's PCA, however, was a shining moment for his ROI. He won his 2010 PCA seat for 75 Frequent Player Points, then placed 10th for a $150,000 win. He's back here today looking to bank some more PCA cash, if not improve on last year's silly-good ROI. --BW

12:43pm: Musical chairs
Don't get us wrong. We're not going to complain about seeing Jen Tilly and Evelyn Ng at the same table. Still, we'd like it if they sat in the right seats. On the first pass by their table (I tried not to stare), Ng was in the eight-seat and Tilly was in the nine-seat. After a few hands went by, they switched chairs. A full investigation will begin after we find a member of Team Blog who is comfortable talking to women. --BW

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Before they switched seats

12:42pm: And the award for most ridiculous...
We've seen a lot of silly face covers in our years covering poker. Today's award for Most Ridiculous Tell-Hider: the guy wearing turquoise and lime green ski goggles. Good luck, sir. --BW

12.31pm: Video
Here's the video team's starter for the day...

12:40pm: The other PokerStars November Niner
We've already mentioned the arrival of Jonathan Duhamel, the 2010 WSOP champion and proud PokerStars flag-waver. While his accomplishment outshines all in the world, we can't forget the other PokerStars player who sat at that WSOP final table, Jason Senti. He's here today as well and looking to make good on the $1.35 million he made in November. --BW

12.39pm: Ace kills action
Team PokerStars Pro Chris Moneymaker just won a pot with pocket kings but was left with the taste that he could've won a lot more off his opponent, Marcel Schreiner. I'm not quite sure how the betting went but Moneymaker had 2,200 chips in front of him in the BB and was facing a raise to 4,750 from his German opponent. Moneymaker called to see the A♣5♣4♠ flop where both players checked. The turn came 9♠ and a 6,000 bet from Moneymaker took the pot down. He than flipped over K♠K♦ and said "The ace always comes". -- MC

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Moneymaker, king(s) for a level

12.35pm: Affleck building foundations
Matt Affleck is off to a good start after making a full house and getting paid by Garrett L Smith. The river was out leaving a 2♦T♥K♣J♥J♦ board and Affleck faced a 1,475 bet that he raised to 5,500. Smith called but soon mucked seeing Affleck's T♥J♠. Affleck on 36,000 chips right now. -- MC

12.28pm: Places please
Just because you might have won a seat to the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure on PokerStars, it doesn't mean it's going to be easy to find it.

Jason Mercier and Jonathan Duhamel share a table today, not the kindest of seat draws for anyone arriving to fill the vacant five seat. So maybe the embarrassment that comes with sitting down to play the wrong stack isn't quite as bad as you first imagine. Far better to make an idiot of yourself this way than in some heroic hand later.

As Rafal Michalowski opened for 225 and Mercier raised to 750, one player arrived doing just this, and was filling out a waiver form before the dealer could tell him he was in completely the wrong place. He apologised, got up and left as Jonathan Duhamel re-raised to 2,250 in the small blind. Close call. Michalowski and Mercier passed.

On the next hand, and a board showing Q♦7♣9♦4♦, Mercier bet 875 into a pot of about the same. As a Romanian player got ready to call English player Priyan De Mel sat down in the five seat, only to be told he was in completely the wrong seat, and should leave. The Romanian called for a J♥ then called Mercier's bet of 2,100, mucking as Mercier showed the J♣Q♣. Close call. -- SB

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Mercier and Duhamel meet across the felt

12.22pm: Will they (and I mean I) never learn?
"Hey man, isn't there someway I can log into my account to prove who I am?" asked a young American in a green scheme t-shirt and shorts combo. "I'm in the reef, it will take, like, an hour to get my ID." Indeed it will you ill-prepared nincompoop. That is why you should have brought it with you in the first place. Come on, people, this is fairly basic stuff.

I, of course, am being high and mighty about this as I left my press credentials in my room on Day 1 of the $100,000 Super High Roller and had to angrily trudge back to my room grimly muttering under my breath like a post-watershed Mutley to collect them. One rule for everyone, that's the egalitarian way of the poker felt. -- RD

12.20pm: Fancy seeing you here
As we may have mentioned already, today is huge. Well over 1,000 players are packed into the tournament room filling more than 100 tables. Coincidence, then, that two friends and members of Team PokerStars Pro Canada are sharing the same table. In seat one is Pat Pezzin, and a few seats along sits Anh Van Nguyen.

"A room this size and I have to sit and look at him all day," Pezzin said.
"It's worse for me," Van Nguyen added. "I have to look at him." -- SY

12.15pm: Massage begins
One hand into the tournament and Daniel Negreanu, fresh from topping the all-time tournament money list, is getting his first massage. "That's weird," he joked as his masseuse shook his hand before beginning work on his back.

Also on this table, so one best avoided, is Team PokerStars Pro Luca Pagano. -- SY

12:10pm: The biggest story of Day 1B that didn't actually happen
"I already doubled up and lost it all back," said Greg Raymer as we made our first pass across the tournament floor. "First two hands!"

No, it didn't actually happen. But if it actually had, it would've been aces that held up, and then aces cracked. But again...no, not really. Raymer is still on his starting stack of 30,000. --BW

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Greg Raymer back in the land of reality

12pm: Shuffled up and dealt
Day 1B has begun following the obligatory pre-game spiel from the tournament director (guest starring George Markantonis, CEO of Atlantis). First bad beat accompanied by hair pulling and gnashing of teeth to occur within fifteen minutes. -- RD

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Shuffle up and deal

11:27am: Second verse, same as the first
And here we are once again. We have our bag of Atomic Fireballs, our Jamba Juice (well, almost all of it...Villegas messed up the order...again), and our limber fingers. Within the next half an hour, this ballroom will fill with the balance of the PCA Day 1 field. Day 1A finished with 272 of the initial 647 starters. Team PokerStars Pro Pieter de Korver finished atop the field.

We have no idea how many players will walk in today, but we expect it to be a lot more than yesterday. Among them: Jonahan Duhamel, Viktor Blom, Daniel Negreanu, Chris moneymaker, ElkY and many, many more.

Play is scheduled to kick off at noon. Join us here for all the live action. We're not going anywhere until after midnight (when we won't, under any circumstances, let it all hang out). --BW

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PokerStars Blog PCA main event reporting team (in order of darkness of preferred drink): Rick Dacey (Guinness), Photographer Joe Giron (Crown and diet Coke), Brad Willis (single malt scotch neat), Marc Convey (blended scotch), Simon Young (Adnams real ale), Stephen Bartley (vodka tonic), Alex Villegas (whatever somebody else is buying)