PCA 2014 begins with a bang, Martin Finger leads $100,000 Super High Rollers
It has been 357 days since the last PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, and for many people the long empty months have been spent, in the main, looking forward to the next one. But the good news is that today marked the day that their countdown reached ZERO: the 2014 PCA is now under way. Indeed, it is already one day old.
We kicked off with a bang in the Bahamas at noon with the start of the $100,000 Super High Roller event. It's the biggest buy-in of the week and attracts by some measure the most elite field. There may have been too few in purely quantitative terms to get anywhere close to filling the cavernous Imperial Ballroom, but if we were measuring only by quality, today's field raised the roof.
We had the current World Champion--Ryan Riess playing the first Super High Roller of his career. And we had the $18m Dollar Man--Antonio Esfandiari taking a punt at adding to his all time record career haul.
We also, of course, had Daniel Negreanu, known variously as Team PokerStars Pro, Kid Poker and, as of last week, Poker Player of the Decade. Negreanu was his usual chipper self, on a table alongside the EPT Grand Final champion Steve O'Dwyer, the High Roller monster Philipp Gruissem and one of the few men who can look at their combined bank balance, shrug his shoulders and say, "Meh".
Guy Laliberte, the billionaire founder of Cirque de Soleil, also joined the field.
In all, 45 players showed up and by the time eight levels were done, six had lost all their chips but then re-bought. Registration is open until the start of play tomorrow, and it's not out of the question for there to be a handful more arriving to play.
Martin Finger leads the field at this stage, having turned his starting stack of 250,000 into 829,000 by day's end. Finger, who won the Super High Roller event at EPT London last year, knocked out Keith Lehr towards the end of the day to snatch the chip lead from Max Altergott, who finished with 707,000.
Altergott himself had a pretty startling debut to live poker when he won the Grand Final Super High Roller event in May. We haven't had a two-time Super High Roller champion, but we have two pretty handy contenders here.
They are hotly pursued by Isaac Haxton (584,500), Bryn Kenney (562,000), Jason Koon (551,000), Lawrence Greenberg (513,800), Daniel Colman (512,500) and the aforementioned Gruissem (454,000). The German had the pleasure of knocking out Laliberte today, ensuring him, "I'll take these [Laliberte's chips] all the way to the final table, so they're safe." Only Gruissem can really make that kind of boast and feel confident of making good.
Also in the hunt are:
Paul Newey - 477,000
Mike McDonald - 435,000
Joseph Cheung - 428,500
Sorel Mizzi - 409,500
Vanessa Selbst - 401,000
It's one of those fields where everyone involved is a notable, so check the main Super High Roller page, click on the chip-count tab at the top, to see the full list of counts.
We resume at noon tomorrow, but fill some of the time between now and then by taking a look back at some of today's coverage. We battled off the January blues, and then welcomed in the titans for the Super High Roller.
We had a chat with the defending champion Scott Seiver and how about applying for a unique employment opportunity at the PCA. It's just a regular office job for some.
And as the day wore on, we couldn't resist any more. We had to know what's in the bag?!.
Tomorrow at the PCA:
12:00 - $100,000 Super High Roller - Day 2
14:00 - $1,000 NLHE Main Event Super Satellite (re-buy)
17:00 - $2,000 NLHE Turbo
18:00 - $1,000 NLHE Main Event Super Satellite (re-buy)
19:00 - $2,000 NLHE Turbo