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

PCA-2010-thumbnail.jpg1pm: Break
That's the end of level 2 and we're on our first 15-minute break of the day. -- SY

12.57pm: Haxton takes hit
On the final hand of the first level, action was folded around to Isaac Haxton in the small blind. He made it 400 to go, Carlos Romero called and to the flop they went. A 2♥Q♠K♠ prompted a 900 from Haxton and Romero made the call again. The turn brought a [10d] and a round of checking.

The river was a 9♥ and Romero checked. If you've been reading carefully, you'll notice something wrong with that sentence. It wasn't Romero's turn. Haxton called the floor and asked if Romero's check was binding if he checked as well. Yes, it was. Haxton thought for a while, wondering if Romero made an honest mistake or a sneaky maneuver to coax Haxton into betting.

"I've seen that trick done a couple of times," said the dealer, "but mostly in cash games. It's really sneaky." Haxton decided to play it safe and checked. He showed a pair of fives and Romero also turned over a pair, 6♦6♥. A small pair, but big enough to beat Haxton and take the pot.

Despite losing the hand Haxton is still standing strong at 62,000. -- AV

12.55pm: Garcia bunkered
You could not put golf and poker together in a designer clothing warehouse. While poker players are keen on loud, brash attire (think Ed Hardy), golfers prefer the softer, pastel-colored tops (think Pringle). We're graced today by the presence of one of golf's greats, the Spaniard Sergio Garcia, and I am pleased to report he has a sensible patterned top on today, in soft pastel shades.

He also does not have many chips after losing out to a set just now. The board was 4♠9♦J♥ and Dermot Blain had bet 2,300 and Thierry Fardel had called. Garcia then made it 7,500 and Blain got out of the way. But Fardel, from Switzerland, made it 17,000. That sent Garcia into the tank, thinking and concentrating much like he would for a monster 18-foot putt. He elected to move all-in, which covered Fardel.

Fardel was not happy. "We may go home early," he said to his father on the rail. "Oh I call." He turned to Garcia...

"Do you have pocket jacks?"
"Do you have pocket nines, then?"

With that Fardel turned over 4♣4♥ for bottom set, and Garcia could only muster A♥J♠

for top pair, top kicker.

Fardel got a key double up, Garcia was over par with 8,000. -- SY

12.50pm: Haxton's pair no good
Isaac Haxton is a player full of confidence after beating Isildur1 in the first of his SuperStar Showdowns and even though he just lost a pot to Felipe Montenegro Sansonetti this confidence wont be dented.

Sansonetti opened with a raise from mid-position and was called by Haxton in the hijack and the big blind player. All three checked the flop before Haxton bet 600 when the action was checked to him with the board reading 2♥A♠J♣J♠. The big blind folded but Sansonetti made the call to the 4♥ river.

Both players declared they had a pair after it was checked down but Haxton's cards hit the muck when the Coata Rican announced and tabled 8♥8♣. Haxton still going well on 47,000 chips though. -- MC

12.40pm: Video, video
Tired out reading all these beautiful words? Well here's some moving pictures for you. I believe the hip young kids call it a video. -- SY

12.35pm: That's how it's done
Team PokerStars Pro Joe Cada's stack is touching the 40,000 mark after getting a river bet paid off. The board read 9♣K♣5♣T♠5♠ and his 4,300 bet in the already 5,000 chip-pot was called. Cada tabled 7♣8♣ for a flush and it was good as his opponent mucked. Cada's neighbour said to him "That's how it's done, huh?"

Cada's wide smile is the opposite emotion being shown by Juan Manuel Pastor. The Spanish Team Pro is down to 2,200 chips. We don't know how he lost them and due to the emotion he's showing on his face means we're not going to ask for now. -- MC


Joe Cada

1.20pm: It's all in Phil Ivey's eyes
Daniel Negreanu could today become the world biggest ever tournament winner. If he finishes first or second in today's $100,000 Super High Roller final table he will overtake Phil Ivey in lifetime tournament earnings, something approaching $14 million. And it's quite fitting that Ivey will be here to see it as he's just taken his seat in the Main Event.

Ivey is already in the thick of it, and he just gave me an "oops" look as he failed to bluff an opponent of a chunky pot. The flop was 5♣Q♣6♥ and Ivey faced a 1,000 bet before re-raising to 4,500. Call. The turn was Q♥ and when his opponent checked, Ivey tossed in two blue 5,000 chips, a meaty bet that put his opponent all-in.

As the other player shrugged and moved his stack across the line, Ivey looked at me and have me his "Oh dear" look and reluctantly turned over A♣J♣ for ace-high. He was up against Q♦J♠ for trips and the 3♦ river changed nothing. Ivey still has 14,000 left after that little mishap.

Also at his table is Team PokerStars Pro Theo Jorgensen and EPT Deauville champion Jake Cody. Should be tasty. -- SY

1.15pm: Minieri has a hand, shocker
We're used to seeing Dario Minieri raising and betting throughout the course of a hand with air. So much so that it's always something of a surprise when he actually has something. On this one he held A♣Q♦ and bet and got called by two opponents through every street on a 2♥6♥A♠7♦3♠ board. He's up to 54,000. -- SY


Dario Minieri

1.10pm: It's all in the Jamba Juice
Team PokerStars Pro Dennis Phillips, the once amateur who turned $200 into millions at the 2008 WSOP, proves - once again - that he's a man of the people. Phillips came to Day 1A with his standard appetite for poker and even stronger craving for juice. Jamba Juice. But sadly, security informed him that Jamba Juice was not allowed in the tournament area. In fact, no liquids were allowed. But that wasn't going to stop Phillips.
Using his powers for good, he contacted PokerStars staff and the ban on fluids was lifted.

Now armed with his Razzmatazz smoothie, Phillips was ready to play. And play he did. Michael Malm called a 300 raise from the cutoff. Phillips, on the button, also made the call. The flop came 5♣J♥2♣. The raiser checked and Malm bet 800 and Phillips called. The preflop aggressor decided to fold and let them play it out.

The turn brought a K♦ and Malm checked. Phillips bet 1,300 and Malm called. The river brought an 8♣ and Malm led out for 3,200. Phillips raised to 8,200 and Malm went into the tank. Malm thought and thought. Then he thought some more. "I feel like giving this to you," said Malm as he picked up a single blue 5,000 chip and twirled it in his hand. Malm decided to keep his blue chip for a little longer and folded. He couldn't handle Phillips' razzmatazz. Dennis Phillips now has 44,000 and an half empty cup of Jamba Juice. I say it's half full. -- AV

1.05pm: LEVEL UP: Blinds 75-150

12.55pm: Who's the more star struck?
Team PokerStars Pro Daniel Negreanu just entered the room in anticipation of the start his Super High Roller final table and he was excitedly greeted by Sergio Garcia. The Spanish golfing super star, who is a keen poker player, seemed in awe of the Canadian. Negreanu himself seemed just as excited to meet Garcia as the whole poker world knows he's a golf nut away from the tables

PCA 2011_Serio_Garcia.jpg

Garcia looking for sets rather than birdies this week

Garcia is playing in the main event today and will be hoping to covert his form of the fairways to form on the felt. -- MC

12.40pm: Tough table
We have hundreds and hundreds of players in their seats today. So many hundreds that I have not yet finished counting them. Three of them are tough cookies and have ended up on the same table: Erik Seidel, Barry Shulman and Scott Seiver are the men looking wearily at each other. -- SY

12.35pm: Man of words
Team PokerStars Pro Marcin Horecki, fresh(ish) from his third-place finish at EPT Prague for $326,000, is sitting on his 30,000 starting stack, settling in for the long haul. He's brought a book with him to help pass the time - Killka Godzin Przed Swittem by Dean Koontz. I've read it; it's brilliant. -- SY

12.30pm: Another man down
It hasn't taken long for us to lose our second player of the day. The flop was out as 8♣9♣7♣ before the chips went flying into the middle between Patrick Carron and Mike Baxter. Baxter had got them in good with his 3♣2♣ for a flopped flush but he had to evade a host of outs as Carron tabled J♣J♥.

The turn came 7♦ giving Carron and extra couple of out and one of them duly came in with the J♠ river to make him a full house and a 55,000 stack. "Sorry man. Nice playing with you," offered Carron to a disbelieving Baxter. We'll be finished in two days if this keeps up. -- MC

PCA 2011_10K Main Event_Day 1A_mike_baxter.jpg

Almost the first out, Mike Baxter

12.15pm: Man down already
And the unlucky chappy is Sebastian Panny from Austria, who ran his rivered ace-high flush into the straight flush of Dustin Dorrance-Bowman. Dorrance Bowman, the fearsome DDBeast on PokerStars, had 6♣5♣ and loved the river on the 2♣3♣7♦A♠4♣ board, moving all-in.

Panny, who qualified for this event on PokerStars in a $700 satellite, made the reluctant call with A♣[10c], fearing he was up against the nuts. "Oh well," he told me as he made his way to the door. At least he as has the sunshine to look forward to for the rest of the week.

Dorrance-Bowman, who has traded his FPPs into a Porsche on PokerStars, as well as bagging a WCOOP bracelet in September, is our early tournament chip leader. -- SY

12.03pm: And the man from the ministry starts us off
In a much more prompt manner than we expected, the 2011 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Main Event is under way. Once players, or most of them, had found their seats, the Director General of the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Mr David Johnson, welcomed everyone before announcing the famous: "Shuffle up and deal."

PCA 2011_10K_Day 1A_ David Johnson.jpg

Director General of the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Mr David Johnson

We're going to be playing ten one-hour levels today with a dinner break expected at around 6.30pm. That, ladies and gentlemen, means you'll be able to follow our spanking live coverage until past midnight our time. You lucky people. -- SY

11:55am: 2011 PCA main event set to begin
This time last year, there weren't all that many people who knew the name Harrison Gimbel. A few days later, the smiling 19-year-old became he youngest ever PCA main event winner. He flew out of Nassau $2.2 million richer.

Because of his youth, there have been precious few opportunities to see the millionaire on the live poker circuit since that fateful day in January 2010. Today, that changes. Gimbel is scheduled to sit down this afternoon for what looks to be the biggest PCA main event in its eight-year history.


As we type, the Atlantis resort's biggest ballroom is filling with hundreds of players. This is only Day 1A, and the first flight field today is going to be bigger than most tournament fields all year long.

This $10,000 buy-in event looks to draw in the neighborhood of 1,800 players. It's an amount that is fairly hard to comprehend. Outside of the WSOP, this festival is the biggest in the world, and the main event is its centerpiece.

However many people show up today, there seems no doubt this is going to be absolutely huge. As the players take their seats (each set up with 30,000 chip stacks), they'll be preparing to play at 50-100 blinds.

We have a four-man (well, three men and a monkey named Alex) team ready to to report on all the big action from the first flop to the last river. Stick with us all day and night, because we're not going anywhere. -- BW


The PCA lobby

PokerStars Blog PCA main event reporting team (in order of arrival time this morning): Simon Young (10:10am), Marc Convey (11:00am), Brad Willis (11:15am), Alex Villegas (...pending)