PCA 2011 Bounty Shootout: Dario Minieri dazzles among a star studded final 36
The bounty shootout has become a hugely popular fixture at PokerStars festivals and today's was no exception. The 216-capacity was easily filled by players taking a shot at the $5,000 six-max event. It's an understandable attraction, you only need to win three tables to win a lovely amount of money, $200,000 in fact, and you can pocket thousands of bounty dollars along the way.
That's exactly what Dario Minieri did. Win bounty dollars, that is, thousands of them. The single table tournament titan - quite a mouthful - ripped through his opponents in record time taking all five $1,000 bounties as he booked a Day 2 spot just three hours in. The young Team PokerStars Pro must have been hungry.
Minieri had obviously found his table tasty, wolfing them down for $15,000 of indigestion, but the same could not be said for all the players going through - particularly Mike Binger and Toby Lewis.
Binger may have $6,656,790 live winnings to his name but that didn't mean that Darren Kennedy would just let him win. The Canadian, with a somewhat less extravagant $37,538 live tournament resume, kept doubling up time and time again; an uncomfortable lump of gristle in Binger's steak sandwich. They were the last diners with Binger finally polishing his meal off almost nine hours after tucking his napkin in. His brother Nick continued to rail even as the table was swallowed up by other tournaments. He had won his heat table some four hours earlier, knocking out the likes of Team PokerStars Pro Greg Raymer along the way.
EPT winner Toby Lewis almost matched them on the iron man front. Fresh after busting 34th in the main event for $59,000 the young Brit did not get off to the most auspicious start, quickly dropping to just 425 of his starting 25,000 stack. He came back from that to repeatedly take the lead against Luc Lafontaine only to double him back up in spots such as flopping A♥T♥J♥ with Q♠K♥ against 9♥3♥. He held his nerve and his stomach, finshing a little under an hour before Binger and Kennedy. A remarkable chip-and-a-chair comeback.
Play to win sit-and-gos such as these often create interesting chip swings and none more so than at Team PokerStars Pro Greg Debora and Fatima Moreira de Melo's table. The pair were both short in the four-handed action and it looked unlikely that either would make it to heads up. Both did and, boy, did they enjoy their feeding frenzy. Debora finally managed to despatch the tenacious Team PokerStars SportStar with a 2♠2♥ to J♦K♥ flip.
Things, or tings as they say in the Bahamas, are pretty hectic with charity and ladies events on top of the usual feast of tournaments so getting information hasn't been as easy as usual. Because of that we turned to Greg Dyer to supply us with the breakdown of the payout structure.
Dyer told us that each player that shoots through today will score $10,000 in prize money, as well as pocketing any of the $1,000 bounties they may picked up. A win tomorrow guarantees you $50,000 and a chance to scoop $200,000 if you win that third and final sit-and-go. And, as Dyer further informed us, if you scalp the greatest number of bounties you get a bonus $25,000 on top of the $1,000 that you get for each knockout.
Thank you to Greg for the info. Unfortunately for the young American he lost out heads up to Eric Ladny and won't be one of the final 36 rejoining us tomorrow. Players including Team PokerStars Pros Barry Greenstein and Jude Ainsworth join Minieri as does Team PokerStars Online's George Lind. Other notables through include Shaun Deeb, Johan 'busto soon' van Til, Jeff Madsen, Andrew Chen, Dean Lyall and Brandon Adams. A full list with seat draw will be published as soon as it comes through from tournament staff.
Thirty-six players return tomorrow to play down to a final six-handed table. Three tables will kick off at midday ET and the other three at 7pm. 'Why?' you ask. Well, it's because of its coverage on ESPN and the need to get as many of the players as possible onto TV feature tables. Join us then for coverage as it happens. Fingers crossed for no more Binger marathons...