PCA 2014: Pascal Lefrancois leads the way as Polar Vortex put in its place

After two days dominated by talk of unexpected over-lays and undesirable lay-overs -- thanks, Polar Vortex, for both -- the 2014 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure got back to focusing on what it focuses on best: money, specifically how much and who was going to win it.

When all the counting was done and another eight hours of play went into the books, we knew for certain the answer to the first part of the equation. The second will remain wide open for a couple of days yet.

The winner of the 2014 PCA will take $1,820,420, the largest slice of a pie cooked up by 1,031 players throwing $10,300 into the mix. It ensured the $10m guarantee was comfortably surpassed and the pesky vortex put back in its place.


A lot of money, and this trophy too

The same calculations also informed us that 153 of a remaining 234 players are guaranteed a return of some kind on their investment. But it is impossible to pick a winner at this stage. There are plenty of sharks still circling these waters, and some unknown quantities with heaps of chips.

Their teeth will sink deep into the money tomorrow, with the bubble expected to burst within a couple of levels of play. By then, anyone might have taken over at the top and anyone else might be out of the door. But there will be some more confident than others tonight.

Pascal Lefrancois is our leader at this stage, with 412,000 in chips. He has won a bracelet at the World Series and he has run very close to the November Nine, but he has the chance to outstrip both of those achievements this week.


Pascal Lefrancois: Heading the field

Other big stacks are in front of Sam Greenwood (402,000) Bryan Altman (362,100) and Max Silver (345,000), who all burst through the 300,000 barrier. That's a ten-fold increase on the starting chips, and a psychological boost to sleep with tonight. (Not like that.)


Sam Greenwood: Staring at the stars

The huge reputations of Vanessa Selbst (who doubled to 251,100 right at the end of the day), Antonio Esfandiari (57,000), Mike McDonald (240,800), Greg Merson (188,800) and George Danzer (121,100) lurk still in this pool. As ever, the huge prize pool and the prospect of January in the Bahamas has proved impossible for the best in the world to resist -- and the 2012 champion John Dibella is also still going strong, with 243,600.


Antonio Esfandiari: Another big splash for Mr One Drop?

Other Red Spades in the hunt include Marc-Andre Ladouceur (208,700), Angel Guillen (185,600), Marcel Luske (134,600), Liv Boeree (135,700), Alex Kravchenko (75,700), Dario Minieri (168,500), Humberto Brenes (39,000), Leo Margets (92,500) and Caio Pessagno (54,300).


Liv Boeree: quiet day, but remains alive

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The Team PokerStars Pro Jason Mercier started with almost nothing, but put on a tremendous comeback to threaten the chip lead at one point. But then things went wrong in the late levels, leaving Mercier with 55,500.


Jason Mercier: Up, down, up, down

Chris Moneymaker started today on the feature table, but didn't make it through two levels. It wasn't much better for Daniel Negreanu on the secondary feature table. He also wandered away early for some sun.


Lounger free, you say? Stick Negreanu's towel on it


Chris Moneymaker: bad day

A man named Bruce Drake didn't make it through the day, but he'll be happy if he just finds his pants. Getting your picture on PokerStars Blog is the first step to fame achieved by Drake, and today we published a guide on how to grab the limelight.

Jonathan Padilla was the last man standing -- in a literal sense -- and we also caught up with Team Online's Andre Coimbra, whose marathon sit down had earned $70,000 for charity.


Andre Coimbra: Charity man

We were delighted to have a guest post from Lee Jones on the power of prop bets, which Keir Mackay also put under the microscope. (Sample quote: If you lose, you got outrun by a penguin.)

No such histrionics from the cool and collected Morgan Crosta, who took over the chip lead at one point, nor George Danzer, who is rocking the mohawk these days.


Vanessa Selbst and George Danzer in the mutual mohawk appreciation society

And then, to soothe you to sleep, take a look at Atlantis through a child's eyes. All together, aaaaaah.

We'll be back tomorrow from noon with a lot more of the same. It'll be bubble time, so strap in.

Our coverage of the 2014 PCA is comprehensive on PokerStars Blog, and it is simple to follow. The PCA 2014 Main Event page has a box at the top in which you'll find hand-by-hand coverage and chip counts after the action commences at noon. Below that are feature pieces, interviews and analysis updated throughout the day. You can also follow the action on PCA Live.