2011 PCA main event: Day 3, level 17 & 18 updates (blinds 4,000-8000, 1,000 ante)
3:09pm: Break time
Players are now on a 15-minute break.
3:03pm: That's how you play poker...or something
Chris Oliver came in for a raise to 18,000 and faced a quick re-raise to 46,000 from Rudi Johnsen. Oliver immediately put Johnsen all-in for around 300,000. Johnsen called and was in great shape, his A♥Q♦ up against Oliver's K♥Q♠. It was all fine and good until the king on the river. Johnsen sat there for a good long time as if he couldn't move. Eventually, the dealer asked for his chips, something Johnsen seemed almost incapable of helping with. Nonetheless, he's gone. --BW
2.55pm: Binger busts, Stelmak regrets
Big hand alert. Strap yourself in. Michael Binger, Kim Frederikson and Dmitriy Stelmak had got themselves as far as a 6♣4♣2♣ flop. There was already 140,000 in the middle by then. Now Frederkson had bet another 36,000 and Stelmak called. Binger, however, shoved for around 200,000.
Without much ado, Frederikson re-shoved for 500,000 and the action was back on Stelmak, sitting with 350,000. He looked like he wanted to call. As Binger sat back in his chair as still as a rock, and Frederikson sat forward in his, just as still, Stelmak couldn't make up his mind. He was so unsure that he called the clock on himself.
The floor came over and we imagined the second hand ticking around. "You have ten seconds and then your hand will be dead," Stelmak was told 50 seconds later. "OK, I fold," he said, mucking A♣ face-up.
Binger had flopped a set but was behind to Frederikson's flush. He needed to pair the board. The turn came 9♣, meaning that if Stelmak had called he would have turned the nuts, and the river was 3♦.
With that, Binger departed, Frederikson moved up to 770,000 and Stelmak was left to rue folding.
"No gamble. No gamble," he said to the table.
"Well, that was exciting," said Frederikson.
Yes it was. -- SY
2.50pm: That guy's off his nuts
Edgaras Stusevas opened for 18,000 from the cut off and Ben Klier raised to 40,000 on the button. But that wasn't the main feature at this table. No, that would be Benjamin Barrows, wearing rubber duck pyjama trousers, sitting in his chair with his hands on his knees rocking forward and back while shaking his head. It's not unlike Michael Caine's performance in the closing torture scenes of the Iprcress file.
I wondered what was causing this, but as he began holding up his iPod by the headphones, staring at it like he'd just pulled it out of a rock pool, I decided not to ask.
Instead Stusevas called for a flop of 7♣K♠7♣ which both checked. On the A♥ turn Stusevas checked to Klier then called the bet of 47,000 for a 4♦ river card. No more, A♦8♦ for Stusevas, and A♠9♦ for Klier and a chop. Barrows was still rocking when I left. -- SB
2:44pm: Geyer pushes back to top
Facing a button raise to 18,000, David Robinson re-raised to 58,000 from the small blind. Not only did he get a call from the original raise, but also from Adam Geyer in the big blind. On a flop of K♥A♣9♠, all three players checked. The J♠ turn drew another check from Robinson, but Geyer bet 75,000. Only Robinson called. When the 4♠ came on the river, Robinson checked again. Then Geyer bet 115,000, Robinson wasted little time in calling...which turned out to be the wrong move. Geyer had a set of nines, good for the win and another 300,000 in his stack. --BW
2.44pm: Moneymaker knocks out Elky and Zuev, breaks a million and takes the chip lead
Team PokerStars Pro Chris Moneymaker has just knocked out Bertrand 'ElkY' Grospellier and Pavel Zuev in a three-way all-in. ElkY shoved for 110,000 with pocket sixes, Zuev moved all-in behind him with 8♠8♣ and Moneymaker capped the hand off with A♦K♦.
The door card opened with the A♠ quickly followed by the 4♠ and 5♣. The 3♥ turn brought ElkY an open-ended draw so any , ,  or any  would take the pot away from Moneymaker. The river was a blank and Moneymaker was left scooping in a pot that takes him up to 1.27 million now. He is chip leader of the PCA. -- RD
2.39pm: Big slick no good here
Anton Ionel's top pair, top kicker wasn't enough to stop him busting out of the tournament. Anthony Guetti opened the pot with a raise to 23,500 from second position only for Ionel to three-bet to 53,000 from the next seat along. Guetti called to see the 8♥K♦7♥ flop where he checked. Ionel continued his aggression with a 62,000 bet but was check-raised to 151,500. Ionel sat for a minute before moving all-in for around 280,000. Call.
Ionel tabled A♠K♠ but was drawing very thin to Guetti's 7♠7♣. The turn came 2♦ to finish it and the river rubbed salt into the defeated would of Ionel as it fell K♥. -- MC
2.35pm: When you have two As in your last name...
...people should beware. Eddie Sabat came in for a raise to 18,000. Joel Patchell re-raised to 51,000. Sabat made it 80,000 and Patchell called. They got it in for Sabat's last 150,000 on a 2♥K♦4♥ flop. Patchell held pocket tens, to Sabat's aces. Nothing screwy happened and Sabat got the double-up. --BW
2.25pm: Flores freerolling into the money
We've been talking on here about some players who made it deep after qualifying using their FPPs. Now we've found someone who got here for absolutely nothing. A freebie. And he's already guaranteed $20,000 in prize momey.
What's even more impressive is that Spaniard Asier Flores is playing in his first ever live event of any note!
So how did he end up sitting here with poker's elite, fighting for a first prize of more than $2million? Well, he won an 8,000-player freeroll on PokerStars and then won the next stage, a final of nine players. That secured him the opportunity to come to the Bahamas and have dinner with WSOP Main Event champ and new Team PokerStars Pro Jonathan Duhamel. Those present then played a sit and go, the winner of which would bag a PCA Main Event seat.
That man was Flores, and he's been very comfortable ever since. He's currently a little short on around 120,000. But as he got here for nothing and already has $20,000 in his back pocket, I don't think he minds too much. -- SY
2.20pm: Chris on the Moneymaker
Over on the feature table Chris Moneymaker just bumped his stack up to more than 950,000 after he called the all-in of Michael Gagliano. Gegliano needed running cards with his [a][t] against the pocket aces of Moneymaker. It was a 700,000 pot for the Team PokerStars Pro which keep him among the leaders. - SB
2.14pm: Everyone give up, this title is obviously Katchalov's
Eugene Katchalov must be the odds-on favourite to win this event (however improbable that seems). He won the Super High Roller a few days ago and has been all-in three times today, as far as I'm aware, and has hit a set every single time.
I'm not the only one that has noticed. Alex Santiago, upon seeing his A♣K♣ beaten by Katchalov on a 4♠J♥T♠2♠7♥ board, said: "It's so unfair, three times you've been all-in and three times you've hit a set."
Katachalov had opened from early position and then jammed all-in for 180,000 over Santiago's 41,500 three-bet. Katchalov is now on close to 400,000. -- RD
2:09pm: Binger doubles
Kim Frederikson must not have believed Michael Bingers initial raise. Heck, he may not have believed the shove for 150,300, but by that point he had three-bet Binger and pot committed himself. As it turned out, Binger held K♣K♦, not a bad hand against Frederikson had 7♦8♦. While Frederikson flopped a flush draw, he didn't get there and Binger doubled up to more than 300,000.--BW
2.05pm: Boundy pushes, out
Derek Boundy began today with 279,000 but found himself in a spot of bother. Moving in to level 18 he had only 70,000 of those left. One open-shove from the button was met with no callers, although Kim Frederikson claimed he was very close to calling from the big blind. "A little less and I certainly would have called," he said.
A few hands later, and Boundy was pushing again from mid position. This time, however, that man Frederikson made an instant call. Everyone else mucked.
"Give me my 20%," Boundy begged the dealer. But the A♣4♥7♣2♣Q♠ failed to help. Boundy departs; Frederikson up to 750,000. -- SY
2pm: Eights are good
Jake Cody opened for 17,500 from the cut off which was called by small blind William Givens for a flop of T♣Q♦8♠. That was about as tense as this one got as the flop was checked, along with the J♣ turn and 3♥ river.
Givens turned up 8♥6♥. Cody looked over, grinned as he realised he couldn't beat it, and mucked. - SB
1.52pm: Play restarts
The players are back in their seats and that means the pressure is back on, especially for those at the TV table (see below). Doesn't it look pretty? Well, sit under those halogen lights for a while and a four-bet shove from ElkY won't be the only thing making you sweat. -- RD
1.37pm: Ending the level on a high
As the end of the level struck Toby Lewis ended the level in good form, moving up to 479,000 after a short hand against Anthony Guetti.
Lewis opened for 15,000 in early position which Guetti raised to 43,000 from the small blind. With the action back on Lewis, and the table deserted of players now on their break, Lewis took back his original bet and replaced it with a raise to 90,000. Guetti soon passed. - SB
That's the end of the first level of the day. We're on a 15-minute break. Don't go away. -- SY
1.33pm: Strange play from Overton as Mask busts out
Richard Mask was down to his last 60,000 when he open shoved under-the-gun. In the seat directly to his left Aaron Overton mulled his options over. He had 220,000 and could fold, call or raise. He opted to call. The action folded all the way around to the big blind, Aaron McCready, who moved all-in and Overton insta-folded leaving himself with 160,000.
McCready flopped a set with the J♠Q♣3♠ flop and Mask failed to catch running sixes or spades. -- RD
1:30pm: Bernard Lee eliminated
This one was sort of ugly for Bernard Lee. He was short-stacked and behind going into the all-in confrontation Philippe Plouffe. Lee had sixes to Plouffe's aces. The board brought two tens and a deuce on the flop, and then the miracle six hit the turn. Then the river...and this is pretty foul...was a ten. Still recovering a few minutes later, Lee muttered, "If you're going to do it to me, don't do it that way." Nonetheless, another good run for Lee. --BW
1.32pm: What the Dickens! Oliver stealing?
Yesterday we saw Chris Oliver getting heavily involved in substantial pots, sometimes with very little. It was unconventional but it was working out for him as he finished the night on nearly 800,000. He's trying the same bullying tactics today, but Aaron McCready is having none of it.
From under the gun, Oliver made it 13,500 and McCready, sitting two places to his left, re-raised to 32,000. It was folded back to Oliver, a man who stacks his chips in such a haphazard manner that it is almost impossible to count them. He reached for a clump of blue, 5,000 chips and four-bet another 70,000. Back to McCready again, and this time the man from Canada went into the tank. He had around 400,000 and was easily covered.
No matter, he announced calmly that he was all-in and before he had chance to move a single chip over the line, Oliver mucked. -- SY
1.27pm: Harry helps Heimiller
PokerStars qualifier Dan Heimiller is up to 185,000 after doubling through the big stacked Harry Kaczka. Heimiller raised from the button and called when Kaczka set him in from the big blind. Heimiller tabled 9♥9♠ to Kaczka's A♥6♣ and the board bricked out. Kaczka still going strong on around 720,000 chips. -- MC
1:26pm: Wait, I'm good?
As some commotion was stirring on one corner of the floor, Ilan Rouah and Nathan Schoo were quietly playing for a half-a-million chip pot on the other side.
It started off with a simple 15,500 raise from the cutoff, compliments of Rouah. Schoo, in the big blind, re-raised to 39,000 and Rouah called.
When the A♦8♥4♠ flop fell, Schoo grabbed a small pile of chips, worth 31,500, and placed it in the middle. Rouah called.
The 2♠ came on the turn and Schoo patted the table. Check. Rouah took this opportunity to bet out 64,000. Schoo silently counted out some chips and called. A 7♥ came on the river and Schoo checked again.
Rouah bet again. He piled his remaining blue chips into a large stack and placed them into the pot. He was left with a only few stacks of yellow chips, worth about 180,000. "Can I get a count?" asked Schoo. Those were the first words spoken since the hand started.
"155,000," announced the dealer. Schoo thought for a minute before finally announcing the call. When he did, Rouah sighed and looked down at his cards, accepting defeat. He slowly turned one card over, 9♣, then the other, the 9♥.
Much to Rouah's surprise, Schoo was the one to sigh after seeing the second nine and threw his cards into the muck. Rouah jumped out of his seat and shouted "Allez! Allez!" and the dealer pushed the massive pile of chips in front of Rouah.
On the very next hand, while he was still stacking up Schoo's former chips, Rouah called from the hijack. Schoo raised to 40,000 and action went back to Rouah. "I need to see my hand first," said Rouah, "I know you'll raise with nothing so I have to see my hand."
Rouah looked down at his cards and re-raised to 100,000. Schoo folded. Rouah is now up to 795,000. --AV
1:20pm: Rudi! Rudi! Rudi!
If there is a man with a name befitting a Cinderella story, it's good ol' Rudi Johnsen of Norway. We may have the chance to get that chant going soon, as he's just managed to double up in an ace-jack versus sixes race. He hit his ace on the flop and is now sitting on around 500,000.--BW
1.20pm: Things we've learnt in the last ten minutes
A walk around the tournament floor has taught us the following:
* John Andress has doubled up to 300,000 through Greg Hobson with pocket kings.
* Hoyt Corkins is out. We know this because he longer has any chips and isn't in his chair. He started the day fairly short on 148,500.
* This was Victor Ramdin's fourth cash out of five PCA's. Surely a record?
* Boom mics are dangerous, I almost lost my head on two occasions.
More action as it comes. -- RD
1.17pm: Victor defeated
Victor Ramdin is out of the PCA Main Event, sent there by Super High Roller winner Eugene Katchalov.
Katchalov opened for 18,000 before Ramdin moved all-in for 36,000. Martin van Gelder called in the big blind before Katchalov moved all-in himself. Van Gelder took some time to decide, eventually folding pocket nines face up.
Team PokerStars Pro Victor Ramdin
Katchalov turned over J♥J♠ to Ramdin's A♦T♠. The flop was a brutal one, coming as it did J♦3♦3♣, with a Q♣ turn and 2♠ river. Ramdin out. Katchalov up to 200,000. - SB
1.15pm: Uh-oh for Zuev
Pavel Zuev has been eliminated by Darren Stater after three-betting all-in for 94,500 from the hijack. Slater opened the pot with an under-the-gun raise and snap called when Zuey shoved prompting Zuez to say "Uh-oh". His instincts were right too as Slater tabled K♣K♠ to Zuev's A♠J♠ and the board ran Q♣4♠T♦6♦T♣ to confirm his demise. -- MC
1.10pm: Binger, bada boom
Michael Binger was not blessed with a big stack at the start of play--around 100,000--and that had dwindled to little over 60,000. In other words, he was walking the plank and not far from the edge. A good time, then, to find K♠K♥ and get called by Sami Aro with A♣4♦.
If that was good, the K♣4♣A♠ flop was very acceptable. All the money went in, and Binger stayed ahead on the Q♥ turn and 5♥ river. -- SY
1.06pm: Jaka off to a good start
Eric Beren pushed over 30,000 into the middle on a Q♣5♣9♦ flop and was called by Faraz Jaka. Both then checked the 3♦ turn to see a [10h] river. Beren had another stab at it, a hefty 85,000 this time. Jaka gave it some thought, then called, showing K♦Q♦ for top pair, a mile ahead of Beren's A♦J♦.
Jaka is up to around 600,000. -- SY
1.03pm: Cody in slow motion
We got to know Jake Cody as he cut his way through a field of Frenchmen to take the EPT Deauville title last season. He is a picture of concentration, making only slow and deliberate movements when making bets. He won't give away anything.
On this one he made it 13,500 and got a call from purple-beanie-hat man, Brandon Meyers. The flop was 7♠J♠3♥ and Cody made it 17,000. Meyers was happy to call. The turn was 4♣ and both slowed to a check. On the 6♥ river Cody counted out 38,000 methodically and pushed it over the line.
Meyers looked unsure, checking back on his cards, but making the call with an emphatic plonk of chips on the table. Cody turned over J♥9♥ but he'd been outpipped by Meyers who held J♦Q♦. Both players still comfortable in chips. -- SY
12:58pm: Schaff shafted
Aaron Schaff had come in for a raise to 14,500 and found himself facing a 45,000 raise from Dwyte Pilgrim. That's when Nikolai Yakovenko broke into a fairly involved questioning of the house rules on whether a player could put a big stack of chips across the line, but only drop a few chips. When he was finally satisfied with the explanation, Yakovenko moved all in. Schaff called, but Pilgrim didn't. "Do you have them?" Schaff asked.
For some reason, this seemed to irriate Yakovenko. "Do I have them? Do I have them?" He said it several times as he turned over his hand. "Do I have them?"
"Do I have them?" Yakovenko said again.
The flop and turn T♣[9♣4♥2♥ ran out well for Schaff. Then the dealer put the A♥ on the river to send Schaff packing. --BW
12.50pm: Lewis keeping up the pressure
Toby Lewis is still young with a full life ahead of him but can I suggest that when he does leave this mortal coil that he has the epitaph 'Why call when you can raise?' chiselled into his gravestone.
Brandon Meyers opened for 13,500 from the hijack and Lewis three-bet to 43,000 from the small blind. The raise folded out both Masa Kagawa in the big blind and the initial raiser Meyers. Lewis is up to 450,000. -- RD
12:44pm: How about these ROI stories?
Winning a qualifier to the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure can result in some serious return on investment takes. Not all qualifiers are created equal, however. The PokerStars Mega-Path satellites let players climb up through the ranks for just Frequent Player Points. Two players have turned their FPPs into real money. Tomer Aminpour from Israel, got in for only 40 FPPs. He just busted out for a profit of $17,500. Still alive is Sami Aro from Finland who is here for only 100 FPPs. He started the day with has 247,000 and is still alive at this hour. --BW
12.39pm: Chip pilgrimage
It was obvious there was something going on at table eight; two roaming TV crews, a host of spectators and a whole heap of chips in the middle. As I arrived the clock was called on Nicolas Hahn. At the other end of the table sat Dwyte Pilgrim with a bet of 135,000 in front of him on a J♣3♥2♦3♦A♣ board. Hahn stacked up the call in front of him, a large chunk of his chips, and as the seconds counted down he slowly moved his hand back towards them. His large hand settled at the back of the stack and with two seconds left he looked like calling before quickly pulling his hand back with a pained expression on his face.
That look would only get worse as Pilgrim flipped his K♠Q♠ face up. Pilgrim, who has $1,564,547 tournament winnings to his name, has chipped up to over half-a-million. Marty Mathis who is sat at the same table now has 340,000. -- RD
12.36pm: The rich get richer
Tristan Wade has fallen at the hands of Japanese businessman and poker fanatic Masa Kagawa. Wade was very short stacked and moved all-in from early position with K♦Q♣. Kagawa made the call with A♠Q♥ from the small blind and the board ran 9♣4♠5♥Q♠8♥. Tristan can go off and Wade in the sea now if he so pleases. -- MC
12.32pm: Big slick no good
Tomer Aminpour is out. Timothy Finne had opened for 13,500 before Aminpour re-raised all-in for 97,000. Finne, who had Aminpour covered by several hundred thousand, asked for the count and made the call fairly quickly.
It was a straight race, and one Finne went on to win, galloping over the finishing line as the board came 5♥2♠2♣6♣[10h]. We're another man down. -- SY
12.30pm: Aces baby
There's no better way to start a session than to find aces and double-up. Welcome to Day 3 Calvin Anderson. The PokerStars qualifier found A♥A♦ and was up against Matthew O'Donnell and his 3♣3♠. The board ran an uneventful 2♣T♣9♦Q♣T♥ and Andrson's stack was counted down as 275,500. O'Donnell drops to 260,000 chips. -- MC
12.20pm: Yazbeck back
Georges Yazbeck was always going to be up against it, but he came to give it his best shot. With his wife waiting on the rail, and probably a lunch reservation, Yazbeck returned to play his stack of 3,000 which, being in the big blind, was spent in the first hand. He didn't even bother to sit down.
So the smiles of joy had a dash of irony when his J♣Q♣ steered past Tamas Lendvai's K♠J♥ when he hit a queen on the turn.
"You can sit now," said Edward Sabat, so he did, and moved all-in again on the next hand. He showed A♥6♠ to 605's 6♦7♦, and immediately flopped trip aces. "Now you can fold."
I wish I could tell you Yazbeck was now approaching the chip lead, alas no. He's now walking out of the tournament room $17,500 richer after his last ditch pocket fours couldn't outlast Oleg Perepletchikov's K♣6♥, who turned a king.
So long Georges. You lasted four minutes and three hands and played each of them as though it were the last. I've seen players last hours at final tables and play fewer hands than that. - SB
12.12pm: Lots of early action
The main event players must have been chinning plenty of coffee this morning given the state of the early action. Notably we've seen big pots for Tim Finne, with the nuts to Tomer Aminpour's second nuts, and Eugene Katchalov who doubled through with pocket threes to Chris Niesert's A♠Q♠. Katchalov, who took donw the Super High Roller for $1.5m a few days ago, open-shoved 80,000 from the cut-off and promptly flopped a boat on the 3♠T♣T♦ flop. When you're hot, you're hot. Katchalov is up to 170,000. -- RD
12.05pm: Off we go
Only a few minutes later that the planned start time, play is under way. Tournament boss Mike Ward has revealed we will play six 75-minute levels today (like yesterday) OR play down to 48 players, whichever comes first.
Yesterday the bust outs were super quick, but one suspects things will settle down a little now. -- SY
11.55pm: "You may as well go back to your room now"
If any players have forgotten their photo ID they better get scurrying back to their room right now. The tournament director has just annouced that no-one will be allowed to open their bag without the correct identification. Five minute warning. -- RD
11.40pm: Moneymaker leading the charge to catch Geyer
Coming back into Day 3 we have 173 players left and we're into the $17,500 payouts already. Adam Geyer may be at the top of the chip counts with 909,000 but he's got a whole host of players chasing him down Harry Kaczka, Eric Buchman and one Mr. Chris Moneymaker who all have well over half-a-million each.
Action starts at noon and will play eight-handed until the end of play today. The number of levels is yet to be confirmed but we're putting our (theoretical) money on five 75-minute levels.
PokerStars Blog reporting team in the Bahamas (in cast order from Reservoir Dogs): Brad Willis (Mr White - the experienced old hand), Stephen Bartley (Mr Orange - the one that will sacrifice himself for the betterment of society), Marc Convey (Mr Pink - the motor mouth), Rick Dacey (Mr Blonde - the slightly psychotic one), Simon Young (Joe Cabot - the big boss man) and Alex Villegas (Officer Marvin Nash - the one most likely to wake up missing an ear).