2011 PCA Main Event: Day 6, level 29, 30 & 31 updates (blinds 80,000-160,000, 20,000 ante)

PCA-2010-thumbnail.jpg10.52pm: Level ends
That's the end of the level, blinds are moving up to 100,000-200,000 with a 20,000 ante - and we're setting up a brand new post. Head on over to it now. -- SY

10.50pm: Stein picks on Hall
Sam Stein raised it up with K♦[10h] and Galen Hall re-raised with A-2. Stein must have got a decent read as he moved all-in, forcing Hall to fold his weak ace. -- SY

10:45pm: Hall picks on Oliver
Chris Oliver came in for a raise to 475,000 from J♦T♦ and Hall defended in the big blind with 8♣6c]. Both players checked to the A♦ on the turn. Hall went after the pot with a 450,000 bet. Oliver, with no pair and no draw, raised to 1.1 million. Then Hall hit his flush with the 9♣ on the river. Hall checked to Oliver who bet 950,000. Hall raised to 2.7 million and Oliver turbo-mucked. --BW

10.30pm: Mike Sowers eliminated in 5th place for $700,000
Wow! Mike Sowers is out after falling in a huge hand to Chris Oliver. Sowers had raised with 4♣4♦ only for Oliver to re-raise to 775,000 with 8♠2♥. He'd been three-betting super light a lot, and Sowers made the call. The flop was 3♦8♥2♠, giviving Oliver two pair. Oliver bet 1.3million and out of nowhere Sowers moved all-in for around 5.5million. Oliver called instantly. The K♣ turn and 7♣ river changed nothing.

Sowers left with $700,000, while the remaining four players are now guaranteed at least $1 million! -- SY


Mike Sowers gets the bad news

10:19pm: Oliver remains frisky
Mike Sowers came in for a raise to Q♦J♠ and Chris Oliver out of the small blind with 3♣[2h. Sam Stein surprised them both calling in the blind with K♣T♣. On a flop of Q♠4♣6♥, Oliver led for 1.15 million and got calls in both spots. On the 3♠ turn, thi time everybody checked. The 5♣ came on the river, giving Oliver the straight. He came out betting again, this time for 1,875,000. Stein got out of the way almost immediately but Sowers thought for a good long while. Finally, Sowers folded. With that pot, Oliver moved up to 22,415,000, around half the chips in play. --BW

10.05pm: We're back (for real)
No mistake this time, the five remaining players are back at the table, and Chris Oliver has taken the first pot raising with 10-3 offsuit and betting at the missed flop. -- SY

9.35pm: No, we're not back
Sorry, folks,. The TV is showing a replay of some of the earlier action. We thought the first hand looked familiar! As you were. -- SY

9.32pm: We're back
Bellies full, thirst quenched, we're back for the PCA Main Event final table. Five players remain. -- SY

8.30pm: Dinner break
That's it for now. We're on a dinner break. Here are the chips which some will digest better than others: -- SY

Chris Oliver, 16,800,000
Galen Hall, 10,200,000
Mike Sowers, 8,595,500
Sam Stein, 7,585,000
Anton Ionel, 2,445,000

8.25pm: Hall bests Oliver
Galen Hall has become far more active of late, and he and Chris Oliver saw a 7♥4♠J♥ flop. Hall, with K♥7♦ bet 275,000 and Oliver called with 9♥8♣. The turn was 4♣ and Hall bet again, 325,000 this time, and that was enough to force a fold. -- SY


Galen Hall

8.14pm: Oliver takes some back
Galen Hall raised with K♥3♣ and Chris Oliver called with Q♠J♠. The flop was Q♥6♦A♣ and Hall bet 275,000. Oliver called. The turn was Q♣ and Oliver checked his trips for Hall to check behind. On the 2♦ river Oliver bet 260,000 only for Hall to raise to 740,000 with air. Oliver called quickly to take the pot. -- SY

8:09pm: Chris Oliver has a real hand, but Stein's is real-er
Chris Oliver came in for a raise to A♥J♥. For him, that's a monster. The problem was Stein had K♣K♠ and made it 860,000 more. Oliver made the call and they saw a 8♦6♣7♣]. Oliver checked, Stein led at it, and Oliver uncharacteristically gave up. --BW

7.58pm: Bolivar Palacios eliminated in 6th place for $450,000
Galen Hall raised with A♦4♠ and Bolivar Palacios from Panama shoved with K♦J♦ for 1.7million. Call. The flop was 8♥9♥4♣ and Palacios's fans on the rail were on their feet. The turn was Q♣ opening up a gutshot draw for Palacios, but the river was 3♦ and he busted in sixth for $450,000. -- SY


Bolivar Palacios

7:53pm: Three pairs, three raises, no flop
Anton Ionel came in for a raise to 380,000 with 5♥5♣. Galen Hall re-raised to 930,000 with 9♠9♣. Not to be outdone, Sowers woke up in the big blind with J♥J♣, good enough for a re-raise to two million. Ionel and Hall both got out of the way and Sowers put up another 1.5 million in his stack. --BW

7.46pm: Trucks 'n stuff
While we're delighted you are taking the trouble to read our written words, you may like to know this is available to watch live now (with an hour delay) on ESPN3 on the intertubes, and later on ESPN2 on TV.

All that means some pretty impressive tech work is going on behind the scenes. We won't pretend to understand what any of it does, but here's a truck with a big dish on top. It probably beams pictures. Somewhere. -- SY


No idea what this truck does

7.42pm: Palacios shoves...
... and picks up the blinds and antes with pocket queens. -- SY

7.40pm: Playing again
Players are back at the table and blinds are now 80,000-160,000 with a 20,000 ante. -- SY

7.30pm: Chips
We'd hate for you to be bored during the break, so here are the current chip counts. -- SY

Chris Oliver, 18,835,000
Galen Hall, 9,195,000
Mike Sowers, 7,730,000
Sam Stein, 5,170,000
Anton Ionel, 3,965,000
Bolivar Palacios, 1,615,000

7:19pm: Break time
The final table players have taken a break. They'll be back soon, as will we.

Here's our chip leader Chris Oliver.


Chris Oliver

7:11pm: Hall gets a small one
Hall came in for a raise to 270,000 and got calls dorm Mike Sowers' K♦J♦ and Anton Ionel's A♥Q♦. Hall checked, Sowers bet 525. Ionel got out of the way, but Hall called with his 5♣5♠. On the A♠ turn, both players checked. THe river was the 2♦. Both players checked and Hall picked up the pot. --BW

6.58pm: Double up for Ionel
Anton Ionel doubled up in unconventional fashion (according to commentator Daniel Negreanu). He flat called with 7♠7♥ and was called by Galen Hall with [8]6♣ before Mike Sowers re-raised to 450,000 with A♠K♣. Ionel called and then it kicked off on the 5♠3♦3♠ flop, with Ionel moving all-in for 2.3million total, and Sowers making the call. The turn was Q♥ and river Q♠ to send the chips to the man from Romania.

He then spoke in his native language to pals on the rail, which Negreanu kindly translated for the viewers. -- SY

6:52pm: Sowers tests the deuces never loses axiom
Mike Sowers came in for a raise with deuces, and Stein re-raised him with Q♥J♣. That made the flop, Q♠2♥5♥, pretty fun.

Sowers checked, Stein bet 450,000, Sowers made it 960,000 more. Stein made the call to see the A♣ turn. Sowers pushed 1.7 million into the middle, which was apparently too much for Stein to handle.

Sowers moved up to more than ten million in chips. --BW


Mike Sowers

6.42pm: Sowers' pot
Mike Sowers raised with A♠[10c] and Chris Oliver called with 6♠6♦. The flop was [10d]9♥4♦ and Sowers' continuation bet got through even before his chips had crossed the line. -- SY

6.36pm: Max Weinberg eliminated in 7th place for $300,000
Weinberg, left short by the hand below, was always going to push all-in at the first opportunity, and that happened on the very next hand. Galen Hall had bet 240,000 with J♦[10c] and Weinberg moved all-in for 760,000 with A♣8♠. Hall called. The 9♣[10d]K♦ flop sent Hall into the lead, and the Q♣ turn improved him to a straight. The K♣ river sealed the deal and sent Weinberg to the rail.

We're already down to six players. -- SY


Max Weinberg

6.34pm: Blinds up
We've moved into level 30 and blinds are now 60,000-120,000 with a 15,000 ante. -- SY

6:33pm: Wild hand from beginning to end
Well, this is why it's fun to watch this thing on TV with hole cards revealed.

Chris Oliver came in for a raise with A♥2♣. Stein, who has been wanting to play a lot of pots with Oliver, made the call, Gallen Hall picked up on it and put in a re-raise bluff with king-deuce. Sowers wasn't buying it from Hall either and pushed all-in with A♠J♣. That looked like a good plan until Max Weinberg woke up with Q♥Q♦. The bad thing for Weinberg was the board ended with four spades: 2♥6♠7♠ 5♠J♠ and Sowers took down the big pot. Weinberg, meanwhile, is crippled and below one million. --BW

6.30pm: Queens no good
Chris Oliver raised with K♣9♣ and Sam Stein called with Q♦Q♣. Both checked the 8♦7♦K♥ flop, then Oliver bet 130,000 when the A♣ hit the turn. The river was 7♣ and both checked. Oliver's paired king was good. -- SY

6:25pm: Today is not yesterday for Ionel
It was 255,000 from Galen Hall with A♥K♥. Anton Ionel called out of the big blind with J♦T♦. Ionel checked, Hall bet out 220,000, and Ionel check-raised to 460,000. That put the action back on Hall who apparently smelled a rat and called. On the A♠ turn, both players checked. The Q♠ came on the turn, Ionel bluffed for for 545,000.

"You didn't bluff once yesterday," Hall said, then grudgingly made the call for the win. -

That hand took Ionel's stack below the 2 million mark. -BW


Anton Ionel

6.15pm: Weinberg takes one
Max Weinberg opened with a raise to 240,000 with [10h]7♥ and was called by Sam Stein with K♥Q♥. The flop was 7♠A♦5♦, pairing Weinberg's 7, and he bet 315,000 only for Stein to re-raise to 785,000. Call. The turn came [10c] and Stein checked then folded when Weinberg moved all-in with two pair. -- SY

6.06pm: Oliver steals, wins
Chris Oliver raised with air, 6♦4♥, and Sam Stein just called with A♦K♦. The flop was Q♣8♥[10h] and Oliver made a 315,000 continuation bet. Call. The turn was 6♥ and now Oliver checked, and Stein checked behind. The river was 3♣ and both checked again. Oliver's paired six was good. -- SY

6:02pm: No action for Palacios
When Chris Oliver came in for a raise to 260,000, Bolivar Palacios probably figured he was about to double up with pocket aces. Unfortunately for him, Oliver only had 8♦4♠ and folded to a re-raise. --BW

6pm: The 'in' crowd
As you will have gathered by now, this final table is being played out behind closed doors Fort Knox-like security. Only a lucky few are able to watch it live, a maximum of four people per player. This is what they look like...


5.52pm: Palacios pushing
Max Weinberg made it 230,000 from the under the gun with 4♠4♥ and it was folded around to Bolivar Palacios. He looked very interested and no wonder - he had Q♣Q♥. He pushed all-in. It was another 1,785,000 to Weinberg, who folded. -- SY

5:48pm: Oliver tries, gives up against Stein
Oliver came in for a raise to 220,000 with Q♦5♦ and go the call from Sam Stein's 5♠5♣ and Galen Hall's A♣5♦ On a flop of 3♦4♥[9h. Oliver led at the pot for 340,000, Stein called, and Hall got out of way. On the T♣ turn, Oliver checked and opened the door for Stein to steal the pot with a bet. --BW

5.40pm: Headache? Us?
PokerStars threw a splendid Caribbean-themed party last night. It goes some way to explaining why we're feeling a little fragile today. -- SY

5.38pm: Good fold, Ionel
It's been a bit cagey since the Plouffe exit. On this one, Ionel raised to 215,000 from under the gun with A♠J♥ before Sam Stein re-raise all in A♦K♣. Ionel gave it a moment or two's thought before tossing his cards into the muck. -- SY

5:27pm: Plouffe river, eliminated in 8th for $202,000
Chris Oliver limped in with king-jack and was faced with a raise from Sam Stein. Then Philippe Plouffe shoved all-in. Oliver got out of the way, and Stein made the call.

Plouffe Q♠Q♥
Stein A♣K♥

Plouffe looked good for the double-up...until the river. The board ran out T♦T♥J♣4♦A♦ and Plouffe was gone in eighth for $202,000.--BW

5.15pm: Play starts
Play is under way, although we missed the first several hands because of technical difficulties in the media room that for once were not my fault. Anyway, we have a feed now and it appears all eight players are still in. Phew! -- SY


Final table players

4:06pm: Final table beginning (apparently)
The inside of the Imperial Ballroom looks different today. There is a giant wall blocking where the TV set used to be. We tried to walk in and were threatened by a man with a gun (no, not really, but it was close).

The final table is beginning behind that wall, but even we can't see what's going on in the sequestered area. Because it's all being broadcast on ESPN3.com (starting at 5pm) and ESPN2 (simulcast starting at 10pm) with hole cards shown, the final table is playing out under the highest security. We begged and pleaded, but even we have been run off to the media room to watch this thing happen.

To maintain an historical record, we'll report everything we see here. However, we don't blame you if you watch on ESPN or PokerStars.tv.

While we wait for the broadcast to begin, here's a look at the big fireworks display we all watched and fondly remember (sort of) at the PokerStars party last night.


Fireworks before the final table

PokerStars Blog final table reporting team in the Bahamas (in order mental acuity): Simon Young (1%) and Brad Willis (.5%)