PCA 2015: Dietrich Fast from the blocks to head field at end of Day 1B
For the first five days of the 2015 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, the action inside the cavernous Imperial Ballroom at the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas has been focused in small, intense pockets. The Super High Roller is, by necessity, an exclusive field and took up no more than an eighth of the room; the LAPT sprawled, but players departed quickly; and the PokerStars Shark Cage takes place behind a big black curtain on a television stage.
However today was Day 1B of the $10,000 PCA Main Event, the moment everybody involved knows to clear the decks, hire in reinforcements and prepare for the arrival of the real masses. It is on days like these when we're reminded why it's necessary to rent this 50,000 square feet of conference facility every year: a lot of people want to play a lot of poker at one of the most prestigious tournaments on the calendar.
As is the time-honoured tradition, the great and the good arrived in their droves this afternoon. We had professional golfers, professional cage fighters, professional George Costanzas and, of course, a whole boat load of professional poker players: your Negreanus, your Busquets, your Merciers, Boerees, Greensteins and ElkYs.
And you also had some of the best-known online names competing in the bricks and mortar world, as well as some players on the ultimate spin-up, riding freeroll tickets or FPP buy-ins to the biggest race in town.
By the time the tournament officials called time this evening, after eight one-hour levels, the total number of entries for the day was getting close to 590 and the player out front was Dietrich Fast, with 208,200 chips.
The man with the most appropriate name ever for a Day 1 chip leader - he's fast, geddit - won an enormous pot late on when he flopped a set with pocket sixes, later improving to a full house, and after that it was plain sailing for the man from Germany. Everyone started with 30,000 and Fast's total is the one they all wish they had.
That said, so long as you're not listed with the word "Busted" beside your name, you're still in with a chance. Other big stacks found their way to the following players:
Kostas Pantaridis - 184,800
German Sakavichyus - 153,000
Andrey Shatilov - 136,500
Alex Klinashin - 135,000
And other players you might know, who will return with a stack tomorrow include:
Stephen Chidwick - 101,000
Daniel Negreanu - 85,400
Andre Akkari - 76,400
Mikhail Shalamov - 63,900
Christian de Leon - 53,000
George Lind - 47,500
Jonathan Duhamel - 43,700
Liv Boeree - 43,600
ElkY - 32,300
Jorge Limon - 24,100
Eugene Katchalov - 16,000
Jason Mercier - 17,900
Randy Lew - 13,400
But here's that list of the departed. There's no way back for any of these:
Carlos Mortensen, Bill Perkins, Calvin Anderson, Ivan Demidov, Chino Rheem, Paul Newey, David Williams, Steve O'Dwyer, Micah Raskin, Jason Koon, Sam Chartier, Antoine Saout, Jason Alexander.
Tomorrow is another day and the survivors of both opening flights will reconvene for more of the same. Registration closes shortly before cards go in the air, after which we will have our final number for this event and, shortly after that, an idea of how the riches are going to be shared.
There are some exceptional stories in this field, including the tale of Jeff Michels, who owes his presence here to a cat; a man named Ludwig Fernstrom, who has trucked his way from Stockholm to the Bahamas for $11; then there's Rick Fuller, who is playing here in memory of his friend (and ours) Chad Brown.
Along the way, Barry Greenstein advised on the perils (or not) of the seat draw, while Jason Mercier and Vanessa Selbst shared their secrets on improving your game.
We'll see if either of them can put their money where their mouths are tomorrow, when they return, along with the rest of us - and you, we hope.
In the meantime, take a look back on how Josh Kay outlasted a star-studded final table to prevail in the LAPT Bahamas main event. Well done, Josh!