2011 PCA main event: Day 2, level 11 & 12 updates (blinds 1,000-2,000, 200 ante)

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2.50pm: Break time
That's the end of the level. Players are on a 15 minute break. -- SB

2.49pm: Mega Path winner keeps on rolling
Evgeniy Zaytsev opened for 4,400 and was called by Sami Aro in cut-off and the David Bokor in the big blind. Zaytsev c-bet 6,800 into the 3♦5♣2♦ flop and Aro insta-raised to 15,000 with around 50,000 behind. Zaytsev looked at the stack and quickly passed.

Aro is the 100 FPP Mega Path winner that semi-slow rolled Carter Phillips yesterday (see 10.29pm: Phillips not a happy camper). I don't think he meant to do it, he didn't have the nuts after all. -- RD

2.48pm: Ainsworth a fortune
Jude Ainsworth opened for 4,600 in middle position which Benjamin Klier raised to 11,200. Ainsworth called and got a J♦A♣6♣ flop. Ainsworth checked to Klier, who had around 90,000 in reserve, who bet 15,000. Ainsworth immediately made it 20,000 more which Klier found too much. Ainsworth up to 155,000. - SB

2.45pm: ElkY dips before reascending
Team PokerStars Pro ElkY is up to around 180,000 chips now after doubling through Alex Santiago. The Frenchman's chips must've dipped a little since the Cada hand as his pre-flop all-in was for 87,800. His A♦K♣ managed to hit on the 2♠K♥2♥9♣8♣ board to best Santiago's Q♣Q♥. -- MC


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The comeback kid


2.41pm: The man that would be king
Viktor 'Isildur1' Blom continuously puts pressure on his opponents, which shouldn't come as a major surprise given that his bread and butter is playing high stakes heads up games. The only way to combat him is to come back over the top, and that's not always working. Should be fun to follow. -- RD

2.37pm: Rajkumar failing to rise to the challenge (so far)
This hasn't been the best week at the baize for Vivek Rajkumar (online play not included). Rajkumar was looking good to final table the $100,000 Super High Roller but fell near the end of Day 2 and here his attempts to build a stack are stuttering. I've twice seem him unsuccessfully c-bet flops; getting called and having to fold on a later street. -- RD


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Rajkumar will need to go deep to claw back that $100,000 entry fee


2:34pm: Fear the silence
There is a table on the far side of the room that has put four eerily quiet men up against each other. Despite their talent and bankrolls, they understated in a pretty serious way. Bolivar Palacios , Sam Stein, Pieter de Korver, and Brandon Adams all sit silently together. It's quiet...too quiet. And yet, it feels like at any minute, one of them is going to rip out another's throat. Not that it's happened yet, but if you don't like the sight of blood, you might want to wander in the other direction.--BW

2.30pm: How Viktor Blom is like Kendo Nagasaki
Viktor Blom is not the only public figure to have a public unmasking. Funnily enough Isildur1's career path follows a similar trajectory to that of legendary British wrestler Kendo Nagasaki. Hear me out.

Nagasaki was a masked wrestler, in the 1960s, 70s and 80s. A mysterious samurai warrior with powers of hypnosis, he was the headline draw for televised bouts around the UK, never revealing his true identity as he worked his way through fresh meat using a variety of specialised submission moves.

Blom has done the same, striking fear into his opposition sometimes by reputation alone, the computer screen serving as his mask.

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Viktor Blom

Also, while Isildur1 was unmasked in a crowd-filled high stakes tournament floor at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, Nagasaki also has an official unmasking ceremony, his taking place at the Civic Hall in Wolverhampton.

But for Nagasaki, some wonder whether the unmasking was the end of him, particularly when he turned out to look like an ordinary bloke from the North of England by the name of Peter Thornley. He wasn't even a real samurai.

Here's where I expect Blom will veer sharply away from this career path. Playing his first live tournament as a Team PokerStars Pro, and since his unmasking, he's amassed a stack of nearly 200,000, arranged untidily, like his matted hair. He chats with JP Kelly next to him, and occasionally puts the fear of, well, Nagasaki, into opponents.

"As soon as you said you had a pair I thought 'oh sh**, he's got a pair," said Harrison Kaczka shortly after his pocket sevens were called by Blom's pocket deuces. Blom shrugged off the loss of 30,000. No-one here is losing any interest. - SB


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Viktor Blom without mask or internet


2.25pm: ElkY soars at Cada's expense
While we lose one WSOP champion (2009), we gain momentum with one former PCA champion (2008). ElkY, who started today with only 8,600, now sits with 135,000. While most of us mere mortals would be, well, delighted with that progress over little more than a level, ElkY takes it all on the chin.

Having worked his way up to 48,000, he explained methodically that he then more or less doubled up at the expense of Cada, who was dispatched cleanly and without too much blood. Cada had raised it up to 4,800 with pocket queens, and ElkY shoved with A-K, the flop was [q][9][10] to give Cada a set, but before he had time to even think of survival, the turn came a [J] and ElkY had a straight. The river failed to pair the board, and that was that for Mr Cada, who will no doubt be whooshing down a water slide by now.

ElkY, with such pedigree at this event, will be one to avoid. But he has a tough table, even without Cada sat there. On ElkY's right is Noah Schwartz with 85,000, while two places to his left is fellow Team PokerStars Pro Jose 'Nacho' Barbero, a man who wins LAPT events for fun. -- SY

2.20pm: New table, new stack
Maria Demetriou's British flavour table broke and she was moved to Andrew Chen's right and very quickly went about getting a double-up. There was a raise from under-the-gun before Demetriou shoved for 39,000 from two seats along with 6♠6♦. She was called and happy to see her opponent flip over 5♠5♥ and it held during the J♦Q♠8♥7♥7♣ board. -- MC

2.08pm: Three-bet, five-bet, fold
That 'happy little British corner' just dropped a few points on the smiley stakes with Jake Cody losing a chunk of his 140,000 stack five-betting and then folding to Joshua Kay.

Kay had opened for 4,000 or so and EPT winner Cody then three-bet to 12,700. Kay came back over the top for 26,500 and Cody, hiding behind some fancy looking shades, slowly re-raised to 40,300. Kay moved all-in and Cody insta-folded leaving himself with a little over 100,000. -- RD

2.03pm: Brits and chips
A happy little British corner of the room sees Team PokerStars Pro Liv Boeree (160,000), EPT Deauville winner Jake Cody (140,000) and PokerStars qualifier Maria Demetriou (45,000), all of whom looked a little displeased when Day 1B chip leader Walid Bou Habib sat down with his 250,000 stack. -- SY


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Why use a picture of Jake Cody when you can use one of Liv Boeree?


2pm: Schwartz triples
Noah Schwartz has tripled up to around 50,000 chips but might've been bust if it hadn't been for Yuval Bronshtein. Bronshtein raised from early position before Schwartz moved all-in for 18,000. Nacho Barbero flat called from the small blind but re-raised to isolate and it worked as Barbero folded.

Bronshtein: A♥K♣
Schwartz: 8♠8♣

The board ran 5♣Q♠2♠3♠9♣ to see Schwartz's hand hold. As soon as the flop was dealt Barbero shook his head. I wonder if he had a queen. -- MC

1.58pm: Moneymaker re-raised by Hajiyev
On a flop of 8♣7♣8♥ the action was checked by Ramin Hajiyev, Alexander Schacht and Chris Moneymaker for a turn card 5♥. Hajiyev, in the small blind, bet 3,300 which Schacht called by neatly pilling up the call and placing it in the middle. Moneymaker forewent any orderliness and lobbed in a raise to 11,200. Hajiyev thought for a few seconds and then re-raised all-in for 32,000 more. A fold from Schacht, a fold from Moneymaker. - SB

1.52pm: Those that were ahead
A quick catch up with some of the overnight chip leaders show that Pieter de Korver is up to 310,000, Tim Finne has had a small increase to 240,000 and Toby Lewis has climbed to 270,000 thanks to "One big pot." We've had one major blow out in Carol Ventura (see directly below). -- RD

1:42pm: Jonathan Jaffee: from 27,000 to 415,000
In a moment made for three-letter acronyms beginning with "W" and ending with "F," Jonathan Jaffe, a PokerStars qualifier, has taken over the chip lead after starting with just 27,000. While it took some work to get to that point, the kill shot came against Brazil's Carol Ventura on the last hand before the break. According to Ventura, she had come in for a raise from the button, then called Jaffe's re-raise out of the big blind. The flop was ace-high rainbow with one diamond, none of the cards pairing Ventura's hand. Jaffe led at the pot and Ventura called. The turn was the 2♦. Jaffe led again, but this time Ventura raised. Jaffe, holding A♦6♦ made the call, hit the nut flush with the 7♦ on the river, and then...checked. Ventura, with no pair, moved all-in. Jaffe snap-called and took almost everything Ventura had in front of her.

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Jonathan Jaffe, all smiles


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Carol Ventura


At the start of the day, table 21 had three of the top ten stacks in the room. Chips have been flying all day. Tommy Vedes, who started the day with 220,000, couldn't stop shaking his head. "(Ventura) three-barrel bluffed with queen high. I gave her like 100,000. I want to kill myself," he said. "Anyone have a sharp machete?" --BW

1.34pm: Play resumes

1:19pm: Break time
After 75 minutes of play, it's time for a 15 minute break.

1.18pm: How did he get value here?
Team PokerStars Pro Viktor Blom just got some extra river value out of Steve Kelly where few other players would. Blom raised from the button and Kelly called from the big blind to see the 6♠J♠2♠ flop. Blom checked behind whilst saying, "I think you were going to check-raise me so I check as well".

The turn came 5♠ and Blom checked behind again saying , "I still think you were going to do something silly so I check as well".

The river came Q♠ putting a flush on the board and before Kelly went to bet Blom said "I have a straight flush". This didn't stop Kelly from leading for 4,500. "Do you have the ace of spades?" asked Blom. "Is that four-and-half thousand?" he asked again before announcing "I make it eleven".

Kelly quickly called and Blom said, "I have the nine of spades" whilst revealing K♣9♠. It was good for the pot as Kelly mucked.

JP Kelly is sat to Blom's right now and smiled and said "Nice raise". -- MC

1.16pm: Damn you, Justin Scott (Phil Ivey is out)
It all started with Ana Laura Marquez Esteban who opened the pot for 4,000 and was called by Dario Minieri in the hijack and Justin Scott on the button. Max Gurevich appeared to wake up with a hand and three-bet to 16,600. Scott was the only one to play on.

The 8♠Q♠K♥ flop was checked by both players but Gurevich couldn't help himself from leading 24,300 into the 9♣ turn. Scott sat and pondered his options. I thought I could see a shove and a call coming for a big pot. In fact I was so entranced by whether Scott would shove I failed to notice Phil Ivey getting knocked out at the table behind me. Just as I looked up to see Ivey walking out of the tournament room, giant headphones strapped to his head, Justin Scott decided to fold. Thanks, Justin, thanks a lot. You could have at least jammed to make the pot interesting to compensate for missing Ivey's exit. Some people... -- RD

1.12pm: Perfectly good hand ruined
The pot was opened for 3,500, which Joe Cada called in the hijack, as did Grospellier on the button and Nacho Barbero in the big blind. Suddenly we had a hand on our hands.
Although not for long. On a flop of K♣K♠9♣ the action was checked to Grospellier who bet 6,600 putting an immediate end to the fun.

Grospellier started the day on 8,600. He's now up to 37,000. - SB

1:08pm: Minieri executes the reverse slow-roll
Dario Minieri seemed as serious as a mongoose in a cobra nursery when he shoved all-in over the top of a short-stack's all-in. "I have aces, mate," Minieri said. The poor guy on the other end turned up two black sevens, sure he was drawing to two outs. Then Minieri turned up an ace...and a jack.

"I think people are more happy when they realize they aren't drawing dead!" Minieri said with a giant smile.

The other guy wasn't so happy as Minieri hit his jack to scrape up the little pot.

Still, the reverse slow-roll is a pretty little move for a pretty little player. I'd encourage you all to work it in to your repertoire and call it the Dari-roll. --BW

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1:03pm: "Your papers, Mr. Brenes?"
There are rules and rules are meant to be followed. There are so many new faces in this field that the tournament staff requires ID for players to get their chip bags. Cue this scene:

"Floor on 3!" screamed the dealer and summoned a member of the floor. "Mr. Brenes doesn't have his picture ID and I don't know him."

Now, it's not as funny as it may seem at first. This was Alex Brenes, younger brother to Humberto, who had come here today without his passport. Fortunately for him, Greg Pappas (who regularly works on the LAPT) was summoned to provide independent verification of Brenes' identity. Of course, I'm a little suspicious of Pappas now. No one checked his passport. --BW


1.10pm: Hook, line and stinker
Dan Shak is out in bizarre fashion. But before I come to that, I need to rewind a little to a spat, or two spats between JC Tran and Charlie Hook.


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JC Tran


On the first hand Tran, with around 40,000 behind, raised to 3,800 and it was folded to Hook, a PokerStars player from the US sitting on more than 140,000. "How much do you have behind?" he asked Tran. Satisfied that it was nothing too troubling, he re-raised to 11,100. Tran, hidden below a black cap, looked unimpressed and folded.

The very next hand, Tran open-raised again, the same bet of 3,800. And Hook re-raised by the same amount. This time, however, Tran called the 11,100 bet. The flop was 5♥8♣5♦ and Tran checked, only for Hook to move all-in. Once again Tran looked a little peeved. He thought about it, checked back on his cards and mucked.


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Charlie Hook


Step forward Dan Shak. This was the third hand in a row with me hovering, and now Shak open-raised - 5,000 from him. Folded around to that man Hook, and this time he smooth called. Shak did not look too happy with that. The flop was 3♥3♣5♦ and Shak bet out 10,000 this time, leaving himself around 28,000 behind. Hook moved all-in and Shak called instantly - with 7♠9♠ for nine high! Hook had him crushed with 9♥9♣, and the turn and river ran blanked.

"Have you ever seen such a play?" Hook asked the table as he stacked up the chips. You have to think the previous bullying hands against Tran had somehow got in Shak's head.

All of this was being watched by a slightly bemused Marcel Luske, who looked at me with his mouth open. "Well he did have a back-door straight draw," he said. -- SY

1.05pm: Back to bed
Jonathan Aguiar overslept this morning and tweeted: "Somehow woke up in my room at the reef at 11:50 and only missed 1 hand."

He can go back to bed now as his follow-up tweet read: "Busto, button opens, I shove 23bb with JT he tanks 2 minutes and calls with AQ". -- MC

1.02pm: Mighty Minieri
Sami Aro and Max Gurevich played a hand against each other from the blinds. Aro opened for 4,000 which Gurevich called for a flop of 9♣4♠A♠. Both checked that and the A♣ turn card before a bet from Gurevich on the 5♠ river, was check-raised to 15,000 to win the pot.

On the next hand the action swiftly moved around the table as Matthew Ezrol opened 3,800. Suddenly everything stopped. The reason - Dario Minieri. The table waited as he raised to 8,700.

Aro asked how much, but it was a courtesy more than anything. Minieri waited through these formalities, Aro folding and the action working back to Ezrol who went into the tank while Minieri, alone at the far end of the table, with vacant seats either side of him, looked like he had already played out the remainder of the hand in his head and was waiting for Ezrol to fold so he could play the next one.

Ezrol folded. Minieri up to around 90,000. - SB

12.55pm: 'I thought I was done for'
These were the words that Will Reynolds uttered as Greg Lindberg beat him into the pot on a 6♣A♣2♥ flop. The hand started with a late position Lindberg raise and a Reynolds three-bet from the BB. Lindberg called and then raised to 22,000 when Reynolds led for 9,200. Reynolds shoved for 58,300 and Linberg snap called.

Reynolds turned over A♦K♦ and was very surprised to see Linberg table A♠T♣. The 3♣5♠ turn and river changed nothing and Lindberg walked off at pace. The two players' stacks were counted and it turned out that Lindberg had 600 chips remaining but it was too late as he was long gone. -- MC

12.45pm: Blom's accidental slow roll
Viktor Blom (yes, he of Isildur1 fame) just knocked Joao Paulo Simao in a 80,000 pot and mistakenly slow rolled him in the process. Simao opened from under-the-gun to 4,200 and was called by Harrison Kacska in the cut-off before Blom three-bet to 12,600 from the small blind.

Simao moved all-in and Blom suddenly thought he was behind: "Eurrggh," he said, which I presume is the same in Swedish as it is in English, "How much more is it?" Blom made the call and asked: "Pocket pair?" Simao said that he did and Blom replied: "Then you got me."

Blom: T♦T♥
Simao: 9♣9♠

Blom immediately apologised, he'd been convinced that the under-the-gun raiser's pairs would have been ahead of his. The board ran out 4♥K♥2♠Q♦5♠ as Blom chipped up to 170,000. -- RD

12:41pm: Ruben Visser eliminated
It was "double up or go home" time for Dutch Team PokerStars Pro Ruben Visser. He ended up with the latter after getting it in with K♠7♠ vs. Eugene Katchalov's A♣7♣. The board ran out A♥4♠3♣9♦7♥ , by which point Visser was already walking toward to the door. --BW

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Ruben Visser


12.35pm: "Gross" Errr, no...
Nicholas Decktor-Korn didn't like the river of the 4♥J♥6♥4♣9♥ board in front of him. "Gross," said Decktor-Korn about both the cards on the table and the concept of having to call 13,200 from Lennart Holz. He grudgingly chucked his chips in to make the call and was shown A♥2♥ for the flopped nut flush. Looks like he was behind all along. -- RD


12:32pm: PCA Champion Watch
Three former PCA champions started Day 2, but none of them started in very good shape. Harrison Gimbel (2010), Poorya Nazari (2009), and ElkY all had chips to start the day. Nazari was in the best shape with right around 30,000. Gimbel had about half of that. ElkY had 8,600. After the first half an hour, all three are still alive. Still, the possibility of a repeat champion in 2011 seems grim. --BW

12.37pm: Cutting to the chase
If you're going to come here to play poker, then play poker. This seems to be the mantra of Josh Bergman today, who returned for Day 2 with a stack of nearly 90,000, lost some, then tried to win it back using an old fashioned technique known as "keep betting." It's working.

First a 4,000 bet from the river, then one from the cut off, called by former Super High Roller Vivek Rajkumar, who a few moments ago was flagrantly violating the "no food" policy in operation.

On a flop of 5♦8♥9♣ both Rajkumar and Bergman checked for a 2♣ turn. Rajkumar bet 5,800 at it but Bergman, playing like a man with a flight to catch, raised to 16,000 total. Rajkumar passed. Bergman up some more. - SB

12.35pm: Ivey runs bad
Phil Ivey loses a race to send him down to 44,000. He had open-raised to 4,000 and got a call from Kyle Brossia before Alan Gould moved all-in.

"It's 25,300," said the dealer. Ivey, sitting with headphones clasped around his head, leaned forward and exposed his left ear, looking for a repeat of the info.

"25,300," he said again.

Ivey looked across at Brossia to check out his stack (Ivey was covered), but made the call. Brossia got out of the way:

Ivey: 9♣9♠
Gould: A♦K♦

The flop was 8♣J♠2♠ to keep Ivey nicely in the lead, but the A♣ on the turn left him with two outs. The 3♥ river was not one of them. -- SY

12.27pm: The lonely walk
They came in like a herd of wildebeest, striding purposely toward their seats for the start of play. Within minutes, many of them were walking slowly and sadly back again. Such is the fate of the short stacks who needed to push early to secure the double up. Justin Bonomo, who started the day with little over 30,000, is one of those. He has just been seen walking dejectedly up the corridor. -- SY

12.26pm: Things a little easier now
Just before play started, as I surveyed the room, Marty Mathis called me over and asked me to look at his table draw. He was seeing the funny side of being drawn against John Monnette, Will Reynolds, Justin Bonomo, Nick Schulman and Team PokerStars Pro JP Kelly. I'm glad he could see the funny side!

One of these obstacles has now been removed from his path. Justin Bonomo recently tweeted "Busted hand 2 of day 2 in the PCA. JJ < KTo (aipf)" -- MC

12.21pm: Kaczka late, forgets his trousers
Harrison Kazska was the obligatory player to forget his ID. He told tournament commissar Neil Johnson that he was running so late that he forget to grab it.

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Harrison Kazska

This may be the reason that he's wearing his pyjama bottoms; classic blue and white affairs that make Kazska look like he's stepped out of a toothpaste advert. Kazska was finally given the nod to open the bag. He has 54,000 and Viktor Blom two seats to his left. -- RD

12.15pm: A tale of two aces
Come back today there were two players we were keen to keep an early eye on: Team PokerStars Pro ElkY came back with just 8,600 and Friend of PokerStars Poli Rincon was faring worse with just 1,500.

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Poli Rincon

Both players found themselves all-in the first hand with differing fortunes. Ricon open shoved with T♣9♠ but was isolated by Andrey Bondar who held A♠A♦. Rincon turned a ten but the river bricked and he said his goodbyes.

Two tables along ElkY was in the big blind and facing a raise from Simon Charette. The Frenchman moved all-in with (wouldn't you know it?) A♥A♦ and Charette called with K♣9♣. The flop came a scary 4♣2♠T♣ but the flush failed to come through the T♦4♥ turn and river. -- MC

12:03pm: Day 2 underway
With 645 players in their seats (or late), the cards are in the air. --BW

11:59pm: Interesting match-ups
As we prepare to wade into the field, here are some people and tables to watch.--BW

  • Ryan Olisar (227,700) vs. Carol Ventura (225,000) vs Tommy Vedes (220,200)
  • Chris Moneymaker (217,600) vs. Bruno Severino (201,700)
  • Owen Crowe (2130,000) vs Chad Eveslage (203,500)
  • Bernard Lee (163,200) vs. 2009 PCA champ Poorya Nazari
  • EPT Season 6 London champ Aaron Gustavson (69,900) vs. Alex Brenes (110,400) vs. Phil Ivey (75,600)
  • Justin Scott (203,300) vs. Dario Minieri (79,000)
  • Dwyte Pilgrim (199,200) vs Darren Keyes (63,200) vs. Erik Backlund (140,900)
  • EPT Vilamoura winner Toby Lewis (181,000) vs Greg DeBora (60,400) vs John Shipley (144,100)
  • Viktor "Isildur 1" Blom (141,900) vs. The World
  • 11.30am: Day 2 set to start at noon
    Pieter de Korver is a man suited for life as a multi-millionaire in the Bahamas. The Dutchman can usually be seen striding around the tournament floor in tight white trousers, a neatly pressed shirt unbuttoned halfway down his chest; all crowned with a wide winning smile. If you picked him up from his chair with a crane, swung the arm a couple of hundred metres towards the marina and dunked him onto The Norwegian Queen he certainly wouldn't look amiss. The Team PokerStars Pro is one step closer to that lifestyle given that he is top of the chip charts with 245,300 after carving up the Day 1A field.

    He is not alone in chasing the Bahamian dream, however. Walid Bou-Habib and Tim Finne both had strong finishes to Day 1B to finish just a little behind De Korver but it's Chris MoneyMaker on 217,000 that specialises in making dreams come true. MoneyMaker is often credited as a key factor in the poker revolution of the last decade, and rightfully so. Can he make a Caribbean dream come true? It's too early to say with 644 other players still in. Follow us all the way through to the final table here at the PokerStars Blog. -- RD


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    Captain Pieter de Korver


    PokerStars Blog reporting team in the Bahamas (in order of progeny): Simon Young (Three - which is why he's always broke), Brad Willis (Two, currently stuck in snowdrifts), Stephen Bartley (Two, currently with fingers stuck in ears), Marc Convey (0 - suspected mini-Conv's in Asia), Rick Dacey (0 - but has fellow blogger Nick Wright as a flatmate, does that count?) and Alex Villegas (Yet to hit puberty).