PCA 2011 Super High Roller: Day 1, level 5 & 6 (blinds 1,500-3,000, 400 ante)


7.15pm: That's the dinner break
That's the end of the level and the start of the dinner break. Play resumes at 8.45pm local time. While we go track down some battered/breaded/frittered/microwaved conch check out the chip counts on the chip count page.

7.13pm: Super squeeze from SuperChen
Dan Cates opened under-the-gun for 7,000 and was called by Andrew Lichtenberger, David Benyamins, Jonathan Duhamel and Caio Pimenta before the action reached Bill Chen in the big blind. Chen announced that he was raising, put in 38,000 and then got to sit back and enjoy watching the dominos fall. -- RD

7.07pm: Griffin refusing to let go
Ashton Griffin has managed to get back up to 84,000 after shoving from the big blind into Viktor Blom's 8,000 middle position open. Griffin was down to around 50,000 jsust a short while ago and will need some help if he's to stand a chance of making the final five (fifth place pays out $200,000). The dinner break is closing in fast. Full chip count to come then. -- RD

7pm: Glantzing blow
Daniel Negreanu is up to nearly 600,000, winning his most recent pot against Matt Glantz.

Negreanu had opened, Glantz had raised to 19,500 and Negreanu called for a 4♣A♦3♥ flop. Both checked for a J♠ turn card which Negreanu checked. Glantz then bet 22,500 which the Team Pro called.

On the 2♥ river, Negreanu bet 65,000. Glantz thought for a moment, then called, mucking as Negreanu turned over 4♠5♠. Glantz down to 240,000. - SB

6.52pm: Shark attack
Humberto Brenes just picked up a nice pot either showing little respect for the current World Champion Jonathan Duhamel and online supreme Daniel Cates, or just having a monster.

Duhamel opened for 8,000 and was three-bet by Cates from the button to 22,000. Brenes came over the top from the small blind with a raise to 72,000. Duhamel quickly mucked and Cates didn't seem to have the taste to play a big pot with his hole cards either. -- RD

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"World Champion? In your eye!"

6.43pm: Hoyt uncorked
Phil Laak wants the dinner break lengthened. He's claiming it's a ten minute walk to the nearest restaurant, and his pal Antonio Esfandiari says that he wants to enjoy some dinner. There are two restaurants less than two minutes away, two more another four minutes away. But I'm merely someone who knows that the effects of jetlag are going to kick in sometime in the middle of level 7.

A vote was called for, then immediately overturned by tournament staff. Laak wanted an hour and 45 minutes, the compromise was an hour and a half, 15 minutes more.

In the meantime Hoyt Corkins was playing what would be his last hand of the Super High Roller. The board read 2♥9♦6♥ and was checked by Corkins and Brun Kenney. Then came the 5♦ turn. Corkins bet 50,000 which Kenney, diamond earring glinting, called for a T♣ river card.

Corkins fired in another 100,000. Kenney looked at his cards again to make sure and announced that he was all-in, for around 265,000 more.

Corkins stood up, hunching over his stack to count it out (around 100,000 left). "Flopped the three nines?" he asked in thick Texan, but Kenny wasn't talking. Corkins had removed his earplugs and looked unamused. He asked the dealer to spread the pot (worth around 160,000), then having sat down stood up again. Then he asked the dealer to pull in his 100,000. All was quiet, even Phil Laak, thinking about dinner perhaps, was keeping quiet. Corkins eventually sat down, dramatically stacked his chips and pushed them into the middle.

"Set," said Kenney. Corkins had a set too, but his 2♠2♥ was undone by Kenney's T♦T♥.

Corkins' eyebrows moved up his face. He looked like he'd just emerged from a deep sleep. "That's a cooler," said Laak in sympathy. Corkins said nothing, and looked exactly how you'd expect to look after losing $11,000. He departed for the rail.

"I really didn't think you had two tens," said Jason Mercier. Kenney up to more than 500,000. -- SB

6.32pm: McDonald under-the-gun shove
He either had a big hand or was feeling the pressure of four-bet shoving light under-the-gun for $100,000. Mike McDonald had a little more than 140,000 shoved into the middle following a three-bet from Sorel Mizzi on the button. Mizzi waited long enough to make McDonald sweat (perhaps literally) before tossing his hand into the muck. McDonald is now up to 170,000 or so. Ashton Griffin, also at the same table, is the current player on life support with just 50,000. -- RD

6.24pm: 'How to run good' - A book by Jason Mercier
Team PokerStars Pro Jason Mercier has been on the poor side of the tournament street with around 125,000 just two hands ago. Now he's busy looking for an upmarket condo having doubled through Bryn Kenney with A♠K♦ against A♣Q♣ before knocking out Tom Marchese with jacks against big slick.

Marchese had opened from middle-position to 7,000 and has been called by Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier on the cut-off before Mercier bumped it up to 19,200 from the big blind. Marchese wasted little time, in fact no time, getting his 100,000 stack in.

Grospellier, however, didn't have such an easy decision and mucked his hand. Mercier made the call with J♥J♠ and raked in the pot on the ten-high board to chip up to 380,000. -- RD

6.15pm: Six to the flop
Six players saw a flop of 7♥Q♠T♦. Jason Somerville starting things off with a bet of 6,500 in early position which was called by Sandor Denjan, Bryan Colin, Antonio Esfandiari in the cut off, Tobias Reinkemeier in the small blind and Eugene Katchalov in the big.

With the flop on the board Reinkemeier and Katchalov checked to Somerville who bet 13,500. Denjan folded, as did Colin. Esfandiari broke the pattern, calling, before Reinkemeier and Katchalov also passed.

Heads up to the 5♦ turn. Somerville bet 38,000 this time. Esfandiari, having his shoulders tickled rather than massaged raised to 104,000, enough to force a fold from Somerville and take Esfandiari back up to around 270,000. - SB

6.10pm: Blom versus Negreanu
Viktor Blom and Daniel Negreanu have just tangled in an interesting pot. On the turn of a 3♦J♠4♥Q♥ board Blom bet 35,000 from the button into a pot of 40,000, leaving himself around 110,000 behind. Negreanu made the call from middle position.

On the K♣ river the Canadian Team PokerStars Pro checked and Blom counted out 87,500 which he slammed down across the line. Negreanu didn't seem to like it, muttering "pocket threes, pocket fours" under his breath. He finally made the call and was shown Q♠J♦ for two-pair. What did Negreanu hold? Did Blom's forceful shunt convince him he was bluffing? Only Negreanu knows. He is down to approximately 270,000 while Blom punts up to 308,000. -- RD

6.02pm: Payouts
The prize structure has just been confirmed, with $1.5 million at stake for first place.

1 - $1,500,000
2 - $1,000,000
3 - $643,000
4 - $400,000
5 - $200,000

A $1.4 million profit from a 38 player field? That's quite a return on your money. -- RD

6pm: In the ear
There may be a reason Hoyt Corkins is wearing earplugs today. At his table is Phil Laak, you may be able to hear him, who was busy giving Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier a good natured hard time for betting under-the-gun, making it 5,500 to play. Laak wanted information from ElkY before deciding whether he had anything worth calling with. Several minutes had passed before ElkY pointed out that two seats along Jason Mercier had raised to 13,400.

This changed nothing. Laak continued his performance as Bryn Kenney folded in the small blind. Laak followed him, as did ElkY. Mercier up to around 150,000. - SB

5.56pm: Old McDonald
Mike McDonald is up a little more, this time beating Vivek Rajkumar to a small pot. On a flop of 4♥A♥T♣ McDonald bet 9,000 which Rajkumar called for a turn card A♣. McDonald, typically still when in action, threw in another 21,500, enough to force the fold from Rajkumar. - SB

5.50pm: Viktor Victor
More from Blom who this time opened for 5,600 on the button. Nick Schulman, who has tangled several times with Blom, called from the big blind. The flop came 9♠K♥2♥. Schulman checked then folded to Blom when he bet another 10,300. Blom up to nearly 200,000. - SB

5.42pm: Down to 32
We're down to 32 players and that means four talent-packed tables (all eight-handed).

Table 1
Seat 1 - Caio Pimenta
Seat 2 - Justin Smith
Seat 3 - Bill Chen, Team PokerStars Pro
Seat 4 - Daniel Cates
Seat 5 - Humberto Brenes, Team PokerStars Pro
Seat 6 - Andrew Lichtenberger
Seat 7 - David Benyamine
Seat 8 - Jonathan Duhamel, Team PokerStars Pro

Table 2
Seat 1 - Matt Glantz
Seat 2 - Nick Schulman
Seat 3 - Sorel Mizzi
Seat 4 - Ashton Griffin
Seat 5 - Daniel Negreanu, Team PokerStars Pro
Seat 6 - Mike McDonald
Seat 7 - Vivek Rajkumar
Seat 8 - Viktor Blom

Table 3
Seat 1 - Antonio Esfandiari
Seat 2 - Shawn Buchanen
Seat 3 - Tobias Reinkemeier
Seat 4 - Eugene Katchalov
Seat 5 - Jason Somerville
Seat 6 - Sandor Denjan
Seat 7 - Bryan Colin
Seat 8 - Dan Shak

Table 4
Seat 1 - Tom Marchese
Seat 2 - Bryn Kenney
Seat 3 - Phil Laak
Seat 4 - Bertrand 'ElkY' Grospellier, Team PokerStars Pro
Seat 5 - Andrew Robl
Seat 6 - Jason Mercier
Seat 7 - James Obst
Seat 8 - Hoyt Corkins

There's still plenty of banter but as the blinds creep up do we detect an edge of seriousness finally entering this event? I think so. -- RD

5.32pm: The battles of Brenes
Earlier today Humberto Brenes sought assistance from his son watching from the rail, junior rubbing the shoulders of Brenes senior to work out the stress. The hand Papa Brenes just played against David Benyamine did nothing to ease any built up tension.

Brenes opened from middle position for 7,000 which Benyamine called from the button. The flop came 4♦T♥6♥ which Brenes fired at, 12,500 which again Benyamine called for a 6♦ turn.

Brenes checked this time, tapping his finger on the table before Benyamine bet 19,000. Brenes leaned towards Benyamine to count his stack. Regardless he passed. Benyamine flashed him a card which only seemed to bother Brenes some more. He's down to around 150,000 while Benyamine climbs to around 415,000. - SB

5.25pm: Daniel Negreanu at the break

5.20pm: Baker cooked
David Baker was down to just a couple of big blinds when he stuck it in with 9♦7♠. He was looked up by the big blind, Masa Kagawa, who showed 9♣T♣. Baker spiked top pair with his seven and then proceeded to lose to a straight on the river. -- RD

5.15pm: Before the break (that, of course, means we're back)
As level four ended Daniel Negreanu and Viktor Blom played a tentative hand together, first checking the 6♥4♣3♣ flop, then the J♠ turn before doing the same on the 7♣ river card; on each street Negreanu started at Blom as if expecting him to reach for a gun at any moment. Blom didn't, instead he showed A♦3♠ to win the hand. - SB

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PokerStars Blog reporting team in the Bahamas (in order of giant meatballs eaten at Carmines last night): Rick Dacey (a gut busting two and a half) and Stephen Bartley (a team demoralising one)