PCA 2016: Day 3 Main Event coverage archive - Part 2

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Kevin MacPhee: Into the money

6:26pm: A Gross display of power
Level 17 - Blinds 2,500-5,000 (500 ante)

Jeff Gross and Toby Lewis just battled in a pot that would really put the pressure on the Brit, forcing him to make a decision for his entire tournament.

Gross started proceedings by opening to 12,000 from under the gun, which Lewis called from the button. The blinds both folded and we went to a flop of Q♦7♠2♠. Gross continued for 14,000 and Lewis called once again.

The turn was the 4♦ and now Gross checked over to the beast known online as "810ofclubs". Lewis then got in the driving seat and bet 21,000 - but his time in control of the pot was short-lived. Gross moved all-in and had Lewis covered. After careful thought he reluctantly laid his hand down.

Jeff Gross 350,000
Toby Lewis 198,000 --JS

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Jeff Gross

6:25pm: Paur powers on
Level 17 - Blinds 2,500 - 5,000 (500 ante)
Players are moving all in all over the place at the moment, and Taylor Paur was just on the right side of a three-way conflict.

Agshin Rasulov was all in for around 30,000 with A♦7♣. Paur had more - 57,000 - and J♠J♦ and Ruben Perceval had Q♠T♠ and had both players well covered. The board ran K♣7♥2♠K♠4♥ and Paur more than doubled. Rasulov busted and Perceval dropped to 170,000. -NW

Taylor Paur - 148,000
Ruben Perceval - 170,000

6:20pm: Mercier mops up Swilling
Level 17 - Blinds 2,500 - 5,000 (500 ante)

Justin Swilling didn't have many chips. He had about 40,000, which even I can figure out is eight big blinds. Swilling shoved from the cutoff but Jason Mercier, on the button, was happy to pick him off with A♣T♣ and was way ahead of Swilling's T♥9♦.

It was pretty hard for Swilling to win from here and it was all over by the turn on a board of A♥T♦6♦Q♥. -- HS

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Jason Mercier

6:15pm: Holz grins and Behrs it
Level 17 - Blinds 2,500 - 5,000 (500 ante)

Despite--and in some ways thanks to--being all in twice on the bubble, Fedor Holz has built a stack of more than 500,000, which is enough for him to be a bit more speculative. It doesn't always work out, mind you.

Peder Behr, one of only a handful of Scandinavians still in this event, opened to 10,000 from the hijack seat and Holz, on the button, was one of three players who called him. The others were in the blinds and were quickly rendered irrelevant when they checked the flop of Q♥3♣2♦ and folded after Behr bet 26,000. Holz, however, called.

The 4♦ came on the turn and Behr instantly moved all in for a around 100,000. Holz had enough to call him and still be comfortable, but decided to stay with a stack of 480,000 and folded.

Behr moves up to 160,000. -- HS

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Fedor Holz

6:10pm: Sets beat Kings
Level 17 - Blinds 2,500/5,000 (500 ante)

Since the bubble burst there have been more quick knockouts than a Mike Tyson highlights package. We're already down to 119 players and I witnessed one of the bigger pots of the level.

Siarhei Melianiuk bet 35,000 on a J♦4♦5♥ flop and was raised to 90,000 by Brandon Crawford. Melianiuk called and then faced a shove on the 3♣ turn. After tanking for a few minutes he called with pocket Kings but he was way behind the 4♣4♥ of Crawford. A non-King river later and Melianiuk was out.

Crawford now has a very large, very healthy 700,000 chip stack. Despite that, he's not even the chip leader on his table as the tourney daddy Leonardo Pires is seated on his left. If those two collide we are in for more fireworks than central London on New Years Eve. - RJ


6:00pm: All not lost for Knut
Level 17 - Blinds 2,500 - 5,000 (500 ante)

While all is lost for bubble boy Knut Karnapp, he can still count this trip as successful. Just last week he finished third in the LAPT Bahamas Main Event, cashing for $132,080.-SB

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Knut Karnapp and Christopher Mcnamara

5:55pm: Triple double
Level 17 - Blinds 2,500 - 5,000 (500 ante)

Having squeaked into the money many of the short stacks are now looking for a double up, and a way to get their stacks back to something like playable. Most of those who've been taking their shot have been successful. Like the following three gentleman:

David Bokor shoved for ten big blinds with A♦J♦ and won the race against Renaud Desferet's pocket eights on a 9♠9♦J♣6♦6♠ board. As well as chips he got a high five from Martin McCormick. Lucky man.

Steve O'Dwyer then played the role of dutiful host in a hand against Luke Guest. This time eights did hold as Guest's pair stayed strong against O'Dywer's A♣T♥ on a 3♦J♥2♦J♠9♣ board. Guest was all in for 60,500.

And last but not least, Ivan Barbuto shoved for 45,000 with 6♣6♠ and Dorian Rios gave him a spin with Q♠T♣. The 7♦9♣7♠4♠J♥ board meant the Italian stayed in this tournament. It was barely a scratch for Rios as he's got plenty of chips. -NW

David Bokor - 105,000
Luke Guest - 130,000
Ivan Barbuto - 99,000


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5:50pm: Leader Leonardo Pires pushes out Plouffe

With the bubble bursting, the min-cashing has begun. Meanwhile the winning ways of chip leader Leonardo Pires have continued, as he's just collected another pot and one more knockout as well.

Philippe Plouffe was all in before the flop with his short stack at risk versus Pires, although he was in seemingly good shape with K♦K♥ versus his opponent's Q♦J♦. But the board came 6♠7♥4♦5♦7♦, that river diamond making a flush for Pires, and Plouffe is out.

Pires is now sitting on a cool 1.23 million. --MH

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Leonardo Pires and Philippe Plouffe

5:45pm: Spitale survives close call
Level 17 - Blinds 2,500/5,000 (500 ante)

Franco Spitale is among the lucky ones as the bubble bursts. A hand early his stack dwindled to just 28,000 after a hand against Boyuan Qu.

On a flop of 5♣K♥K♦ both players checked for the A♥ turn. Spitale checked before Qu bet 35,000. Spitale had 64,000 behind and called for the 2♣ river card. That went check-check. A confused looking Spitale turned over J♠7♦, beaten by Qu's Q♥8♦.

Qu stacked his chips as camera crews raced to another table. For his part Spitale tried smiling, but it didn't really work. When the bubble burst a minute or so later he wasn't among those applauding. He'd finished in the money but his prospects for a long stay are not good.-SB

5:35pm: Knut Karnapp is your bubble boy
Level 17 - Blinds 2,500/5,000 (500 ante)

It took nearly two hours of hand-for-hand play but all players remaining in the PCA Main Event are now officially in the money.

Knut Karnapp, from Germany, was the unfortunate player to burst the bubble. He shoved for 55,000 with A♠Q♠ and was called by Chris McNamara and his A♦K♦. If things were looking bad for Karnapp pre-flop, they were suddenly looking a whole lot worse when the 5♦3♦8♥ flop was slapped down by the dealer. Now Karnapp needed either the Queen of hearts or Queen of clubs to survive, just two outs.

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Knut Karnapp: A face to tell a thousand stories

Neither of those materialised on the T♥4♠ turn and river and Karnapp was officially out. The 135 players still in the tournament are all guaranteed at least $8,860, but their eyes will be on that tantalising $833,260 first prize. Game on! - RJ

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Unlucky Mr Karnapp

5:30pm: In trouble on the bubble
Level 17 - Blinds 2,500 - 5,000 (500 ante)

This bubble is dragging on, and as a result some of those players who've been trying to fold into the money are getting short on chips. They include:

Ivan Barbuto - 36,000
Andrew Ryan - 37,000
Hamza Firdawcy - 39,500
Jiachen Gong - 49,000
Robert Pound - 50,000
Scott Wellenbach - 51,000

5.25pm: Bubble agony, in pictures
Level 16 - Blinds 2,000-4,000 (500 ante)

Here is the visual accompaniment to David Robinson's heart-stopping bubble moment, described at 5:05pm below. Linda Robinson, David's mother, is the lady invested on the rail.

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5:15pm: Break time; bubble still intact

With 136 players still remaining -- just one shy of the cash -- players are taking a 15-minute break. --MH

5.05pm: Bad flop, good turn, safe river; Robinson survives
Level 16 - Blinds 2,000-4,000 (500 ante)

David Robinson open-pushed all in from middle position for his last 51,000 and found himself up against a single opponent in Shawn Buchanan playing from the button.

While they waited for play to proceed, a short-stacked Tom Thomas, sitting to Robinson's left, joked with Robinson about his rooting interest in the hand -- it understandably wasn't for Robinson.

"We been like buddies the whole time!" grinned Robinson. "And now you turn on me?"

Robinson tabled A♦K♥ and said "All right!" when he saw Buchanan's A♥Q♥. But when the dealer spread the flop, a queen was the first card to show as the cards were spread 4♠J♣Q♦.

"Awwwwww," went the crowd. Robinson's shoulders slumped.

Then came the turn -- the K♣!

"Oooooohhh," went the crowd. Robinson suddenly sat up.

The river was the 8♦, and Robinson earned a full bubble-up. He's at 112,000 while Buchanan is at 140,000. --MH

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4:55pm: Desferet plays him like a fiddle
Level 16 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (500 ante)

Renaud Desferet just got a sneaky double-up through Ramin Hajiyev with a great check on the river. There was a decent amount of chips in the middle already when the board read Q♦4♥2♦J♥J♦. Desferet checked to his opponent Hajiyev, who duly shoved.

Even though we are now on the official bubble Desferet insta-called. It was obvious from the timing, and his calm demeanour, that he had the goods. In this instance, the goods were K♦3♦ for a King-high flush. Hajiyev could only show pocket Eights - which, presumably he was turning into a bluff - and Desferet got a full double-up to the safety zone of 220,000. - RJ

4.50pm: Busquet taps out
Level 16 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (500 ante)

Olivier Busquet jammed for 25,500 under the gun and was insta-called by Mike Watson. After the interminable wait for the TV cameras was over, the cards were revealed. Busquet's A♣T♥ was way behind the A♠K♦ of Watson. The 5♦2♦J♠4♦6♦ board did Busquet no favours and he is the official bubble-bubble boy of this tournament.

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No luck for Olivier Busquet

olivier_busquet_pca2016_out.jpgOlivier Busquet makes his way out

After one more player is eliminated the remainder of the field will be in that sweet, sweet money. - RJ


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4:45pm: Halt! It's Holz! Again!
Level 16 - Blinds 2,000-4,000 (500 ante)

Fedor Holz was just all in for the second time and at risk of bubbling this event.

After a pre-flop raising war that ended with Georgios Zisimopoulos calling Holz's all-in shove, the two players (who are sat right next to each other) had to wait an age before they could reveal their holdings and see any community cards.

While we were waiting in suspense, Olivier Busquet asked: "Hey Fedor, do you have a good hand?" to which Holz replied: "Not as good as I'd like. I'm ahead though."

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Holz hopes for help from above

Even Martin McCormick came over to wish the young superstar good luck. "I want Fedor's hand to hold," he told the room. "Fedor wants that too," Holz said.

Eventually though, after Jonathan Jaffe scooped a big pot over on his table, the cards were on their backs:

Fedor Holz 8♣8♦
Georgios Zisimopoulos A♥J♥

The dealer burned and turned the flop: 3♠8♥T♣. The flopped set was obviously a relief for Holz, but there was always a chance that a runner runner straight or flush could come. However, the A♣ turn locked up the hand for Holz, who now has 305,000. --JS

4:40pm: Pires makes a big move
Level 16 - Blinds 2,000 - 4,000 (500 ante)
There are certain players sweating every all-in and call at the moment, but not all of them. Two players who don't really have to worry are Leonardo Pires and Siarhei Melianiuk. That is unless the two of them played a huge pot against each other. Stop me if you know what's coming next.

JC Alvarado has been limping a lot on the bubble and after he did so again from under-the-gun, he was called by Pires and Thiago Nishijima only for Melianiuk to raise to 25,000 from the big blind. That got rid of all but Pires.

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Leonardo Pires: Don't mess

On the 8♣2♣4♠ flop Melianiuk bet 35,000, but Pires wasn't calling. He raised to 125,000. Call from Melianiuk. The J♣ hit the turn and Melianiuk decided to lead, betting 100,000. Almost instantly Pires announced that he was all in.

He was the covering stack with about 650,000 back, while Melianiuk still had roughly 290,000 behind. He tanked for a good five minutes - as you would in that situation - before folding A♣A♠ face-up. Pires then stood up and slammed T♣8♥ - a semi bluff - on the felt in celebration at his big move paying off.

That puts Pires through the 1 million mark, the first player in the room with a stack of that size. -NW

Leonardo Pires - 1,050,000
Siarhei Melianiuk - 290,000

4:37pm: Marvellous freebuy tournament
Level 16 - Blinds 2,000-4,000 (500 ante)
While we wait for the bubble to burst, why not take a look at our marvellous freebuy tournament, which could earn you a slice of a $1,000 prize pool, for absolutely nothing. --HS

4:35pm: Bubble ups!
Level 16 - Blinds 2,000-4,000 (500 ante)
Three players all in; three survive. It's this precise situation for which the phrase "Bubble-up" was invented. Please start using it. Add it to your poker lexicon. Please.--HS

4:30pm: Oliver's aces hold versus Nguyen's kings
Level 16 - Blinds 2,000-4,000 (500 ante)

Another tale of bubble survival to share as Justin Oliver just survived an all-in to keep his seat in the PCA Main Event.

Following an opening raise, Binh Nyugen called from middle position, then Oliver shoved for 80,500 from the button. The blinds and original raiser got out, but Nyugen called, and once again there was a pause while other tables completed their hands.

Before tabling their cards the pair chatted about both their tournament histories thus far and what they held, and Nyugen chuckled a bit as he explained how he had called to induce a jam behind him. Once they tabled their cards it was clear what he meant -- he had K♣K♦, but alas Oliver had been dealt A♦A♥.

The board delivered no drama, coming T♦5♥4♦6♣J♦, with only the paint card on fifth street earning a collective "oooh!" Oliver chips back up to about 230,000 while Nyugen slips to just over 110,000. --MH

4:25pm: Fedor Holz doesn't lose these
Level 16 - Blinds 2,000-4,000 (500 ante)

Fedor Holz jammed his remaining 64,000 on a 5♣2♥Q♥ flop and was called by Alexander Lynskey, who covered him. The two of them had a long wait on their hands until the cards were on their backs because of another all in and call on a different table.

As news broke out that Holz was all in, the general belief in the tournament room is that he doesn't lose these kind of things. It proved to be true. When the cards were finally flipped over Holz's A♥3♥ was technically behind the A♣K♦ of Lynskey, but he had a ton of outs. One of those, the T♥ landed on the river and Holz doubled to 140,000.

Ladies and gentlemen, your bubble must continue. - RJ

4:20pm: McCormick is a bubble comedian
Level 16 - Blinds 2,000-4,000 (500 ante)

Our Scottish friend Martin McCormick is up to his old tricks again; entertaining the crowds, making everyone around him laugh, playfully berating his table mates, and raking in chips.

On a 8♦Q♦K♣ 7♥ J♥ board, McCormick was stood up and telling his only opponent in the pot, Sam Chartier, "If you have ace-ten, then bet. If not, you're in a world of pain!"

Chartier would bet 7,000, and when his bet was called he announced he had a jack. McCormick shouted "Queen!" and turned over his A♠Q♠ for the winner. He's now up to 410,000 and we're just two eliminations from the money. --JS

4:15pm: Shakerchi earns bubble-up through Greenwood
Level 16 - Blinds 2,000-4,000 (500 ante)

On the third hand of hand-for-hand play there was an all-in and call from the table in the far corner. Following a Sam Greenwood open from middle position, it folded to Talal Shakerchi who three-bet all in with his last 80,500, and when it got back to Greenwood he called.

There was a pause as the tournament directors waited to see if there were any other all-ins on any of the other tables, and when there were not the dealer was at last directed to proceed with the players first tabling their cards.

It was a race, as Shakerchi had Q♣Q♦ and Greenwood A♥K♦. The 7♥6♠T♦ flop had Greenwood talking about an eight-nine runout for a chop, but the turn was the 5♣ and river the 7♣, and Shakerchi survived with a double-up--or "bubble up" as a double-up in this specific circumstance should always be known.

Shakerchi is up around 175,000 now while Greenwood slips to 64,000. --MH

4:05pm: What's next for Boeree and Katchalov
Level 16 - Blinds 2,000-4,000 (500 ante)

This morning, Liv Boeree and Eugene Katchalov opened up about everything from angel investing, to the lottery, to what their plans are for the future. Read about it here: From business to poker and back again.

4pm: Little time to pay the Waxman
Level 16 - Blinds 2,000-4,000 (500 ante)

The Waxman is here to collect. Matt Waxman is scooping chips like there's no tomorrow.

First, a 68,000 bet into a 100,000 pot was enough to take that hand down. Then, on the very next hand, the flop was T♥A♥6♣ and Jonathan Little checked it over to him.

Waxman made it 8,300 to go and Little made the call. Next up on the board was the 4♥ turn, which Little checked again and Waxman bet 24,500. After another call, the river landed.

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Matt Waxman: Building a huge stack

It was the K♥ and Little's final check resulted in a whopping 67,500 bet which was quickly called. Waxman showed the J♦Q♥ for a sweet rivered straight and made it two large pots in a row.

He's now sitting with 750,000. Cause he's the Waxman. Yeeeahhhhhhh he's the Waxman. --JS

3:50pm: Hand-for-hand begins
Level 16 - Blinds 2,000 - 4,000 (500 ante)

Tournament staff have announced that we're now three players off the money and they're starting hand-for-hand play across the tournament floor. --HS


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3.45pm: Big stacks butting heads
Level 16 - Blinds 2,000 - 4,000 (500 ante)

The big stacks on table 13 aren't tiptoeing around the bubble. Leonardo Pires (750,000) and Siarhei Melianiuk (470,000) just played a big pot against each other.

Melianiuk opened to 10,000, JC Alvarado and Brandon Crawford both called only for Pires to three-bet to 54,000 from the big blind. Back on Melianiuk he got a count of the bet and then four-bet to 120,000.

That quickly got rid of Alvarado and Crawford but were we about to witness a million chip pot? We weren't as Pires folded. --NW

3:40pm: Stopka stopped shy of the cash
Level 16 - Blinds 2,000-4,000 (500 ante)

With 139 players left they are now four knockouts away from the cash. Unfortunately for Dominik Stopka of Germany, he won't be among the ones making the money.

Following an opening raise to 8,500 from under the gun and a call from one seat over, it folded to Stopka on the button who pushed all in for his last 38,000 and only Troyanovskiy called.

The German had A♥K♦ while the Russian showed T♥T♠. The board came 5♣2♣Q♠2♦5♠, and Stopka stood and exhaled, pausing for moment to think about his close-but-not-close-enough finish, then wished everyone well as he departed.

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Vladimir Troyanovskiy: The destroyer

Troyanovskiy now has 325,000. --MH

3:30pm: Hugging the bubble
Level 16 - Blinds 2,000 - 4,000 (500 ante)

Only eight more players will leave this tournament empty handed and as level 16 gets under way these are the players who are most at risk:

Julian Parm Ann - 35,500
Justin Oliver - 40,000
Helio Chreem - 44,000
Olivier Busquet - 46,500
Albert Balayn - 47,200
Michael Kamran - 51,000
Dominik Stopka - 51,300
Andrey Shatilov - 52,700

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Olivier Busquet: Short hair, short stack

3:20pm: Level end
Level 15 - Blinds 1,500/3,000 (400 ante)

I know, I know. We were all big fans of Level 15. But sometimes you just have to let go of the things you love. It's over. Gone. Kaput. It is an ex-level. --HS

3.15pm: McCormick's words of advice
Level 15 - Blinds 1,500/3,000 (400 ante)

After winning the $50,000 Single-Day High Roller this week, and a million other tourneys in the past few years, Steve O'Dwyer probably doesn't need much advice. But Martin McCormick decided to give it to him anyway.

"Have you been getting too greedy?" he said, noticing that O'Dwyer's once-mighty stack has been on a bit of a downward spiral.

"They've been getting too greedy," O'Dwyer said, referring to the rest of his table.

"Nevermind. You're doing OK. Not in this tournament, but you're doing OK in life."

O'Dwyer couldn't argue with that as the two newfound pals returned to their respective tables. - RJ

3.13: Gregg crushing
Level 15 - Blinds 1,500-3,000 (400 ante)

It's hard to get past Anthony Gregg. David Eldridge just found that out once again.

After the turn made the four-card board read 4♠K♠2♣7♠, Eldridge bet 7,800 and Gregg made the call. The river was the T♦ and now Eldridge made it 19,300 to go. The hand wasn't over though; Gregg raised it up to 53,500 and took it down.

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Tony Gregg: End boss

Anthony Gregg 470,000
David Eldridge 505,000 --JS

3.11pm: Milhomens outkicks Buchanan
Level 15 - Blinds 1,500-3,000 (400 ante)

Acting from middle position, Shawn Buchanan made an opening raise to 6,300, and it folded to Rui Milhomens in the cutoff. He made it 17,500 to go.

It folded back to Buchanan who called, and the pair saw a pair of aces fall among the first three community cards: A♥8♠A♣.

Buchanan checked, then called a bet of 15,000 from Milhomens. He'd check-call again on the 6♦ turn after Milhomens bet 36,000. But Buchanan had to stop to think after the 7♠ river came. He checked, and Milhomens pushed all in.

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Shawn Buchanan: A lot of thinking beneath the hoodie

The bet was for 66,300 total, and after a couple minutes Buchanan finally came up with a call. Milhomens turned over A♦K♣ for trip aces, and while Buchanan's A♠J♣ also added up to three aces, his lesser kicker meant Milhomens had earned the pot.

Milhomens is up to 262,000 now, while Buchanan slips to 136,000. --MH

3:09pm: Hurman the cat who got the Chreem
Level 15 - Blinds 1,500 - 3,000 (400 ante)

An cry of "Boom!" rang out from Table 9, emanating from Tyler Hurman.

The reason soon became clear: He had got lucky to double up and stay in the tournament, while his opponent, Helio Chreem, was now left with very little indeed.

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Helio "Cat's got the" Chreem

The cards were already on their backs by the time I arrived but, given the shortness of the stacks involved, it's pretty likely it all went in pre-flop. Hurman had T♥T♦ and a stack of 38,100 in front of him, while Chreem held J♠J♥.

The K♦7♦K♥T♣5♦ board was still face-up in the middle of the table, revealing that Hurman had got lucky on the turn. The dealer was busy taking the requisite 38,100 from Chreem and, when he'd done, so it meant the Brazilian was left with just 20,000. --NW

3:08pm: The longest lunge
Level 15 - Blinds 1,500/3,000 (400 ante)

In case you were curious about Antonio Esfandiari's disqualification from the Main Event yesterday, here is the full story: The Longest Lunge.

3:05pm: Watson wins some from chip leader McAllister
Level 15 - Blinds 1,500/3,000 (400 ante)

Phillip McAllister, chip leader right now, opened for 7,200 in middle position which Jason Mercier called in the small blind. Mike Watson also called from the big. The flop came A♥3♦8♥.

Mercier and Watson checked before McAllister bet 13,600. Mercier folded but Watson called for the 6♠ on the turn. Then the checking started, on the turn and the 4♥ river card.

Watson turned over Q♣8♣. McAllister rose from his seat for a better look, then folded. Watson is up to 210,000. McAllister the clear leader with 900,000.-SB

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Phillip McAllister: Daddy

3pm: Win-win situation
Level 15 - Blinds 1,500/3,000 (400 ante)

Dan Hindin's remaining 120,000 chips were in the middle and he didn't seem to have a care in the world. As Rory Brown was mulling over whether to call or fold on the 3♠T♣5♠7♣ board Hindin said, "I don't care what you do. It's still early enough to go to the water slides or hit the lazy river."

He had a point - it's light and sunny outside.

As another minute in the tank ticked by, Brown declared he had a made hand. This didn't unnerve Hindin. "Look, whatever you do I'm going to the bar after the next hand." Brown eventually folded, meaning that Hindin will be going to the bar with 240,000 chips to his name.

Brown has a very healthy 380,000. - RJ

2:55pm: Toby Lewis on the up and up
Level 15 - Blinds 1,500-3,000 (400 ante)

We noticed a pained expression on Toby "810ofclubs" Lewis's face, so hurried over to his table to see what was going on.

With 60,000 in the middle, Lewis faced an all-in bet for all his chips from Antonio Pinhel, with the board as follows: 6♠T♣8♠ 9♠ 9♥. It was certainly a wet board, with flushes, straights, full-houses and more all possible.

Lewis eventually made the call and delighted to see Pinhel turn over the 8♥7♣ for a mere straight, which he had beat with his Q♠J♠ flush.

Lewis now sits with 200,000. --JS

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Toby Lewis

2:50pm: Spears snares a few more
Level 15 - Blinds 1,500-3,000 (400 ante)

The bustouts are coming at a slower pace now as the field gets closer to the money. Andrew Spears was just able to score another one to help reduce the field down to 145 players, and give his own stack a nice boost to 415,000.

With 135 getting paid, they are now 10 knockouts away from the cash. --MH

2:49pm: The jovial jester
Level 15 - Blinds 1,500/3,000 (400 ante)

There are all sorts of fun and games happening on Table 18, and most of them are being instigated by Martin McCormick. He is talking non-stop and playing pots constantly. The latest one was against Sam Chartier and it didn't end too well for McCormick.

The UK player check-raised to 46,100 on a 2♠9♦5♦ flop and was called in position by Chartier. The Q♣ turn went check-check and then McCormick agonisingly folded to a 41,000 chip bet on the turn.

"You're just keeping those chips warm!", McCormick shouted to Chartier. "Take them for a walk or go get a coffee. They'll come back."

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Sam Chartier: Keeping chips warm

By now, the TV crew filming this event were starting to show an interest too - everyone loves a character.

If McCormick was so confident the chips would return, why didn't he call? That's the question Chartier asked. According to McCormick, "All I want to do is beat 13 more players", which would mean a cash in this event.

With a stack of 290,000 the chances of that happening are strong. The chances of McCormick continuing to provide an endless stream of chatter for Table 18 are even stronger. - RJ

2:48pm: Mercier can't knock out Busquet, but can Alvarado?
Level 15 - Blinds 1,500 - 3,000 (400 ante)

Team PokerStars Pro Jason Mercier has the company of Mike Watson to his immediate left, while the chair to Watson's left was empty. That is until Olivier Busquet moved to the table and occupied it.

"This seems like the perfect chance to ask you who you're going to bet on," Mercier said to Watson, referencing Busquet's upcoming MMA fight against JC Alvarado.

"I wasn't planning on having a bet," Watson said. "But I really want to see the fight and I'm not sure if I can go to the fight and not bet on it."

The discussion ended there because there was a hand of poker to play. Mercier opened to 7,000 from the cutoff and Busquet, who only had 35,600, moved all-in from the small blind.

There was no snap call from Mercier and he said: "Oh man," before looking back at his cards. "I know you've got it," he added before sending his cards into the muck.

So no knockout blow from Mercier. Interestingly Alvarado is still in this tournament too, he's got 150,000. -NW

2:45pm: Recent eliminations
Level 15 - Blinds 1,500-3,000 (400 ante)

These folks won't be around to sweat the bubble. They have all busted in the first 2.5 hours of play.

Alberto Bari, Ami Alibay, Andrew Whitaker, Andrey Zaichenko, Angelina Rich, Anthony Augustino, Anthony Diotte, Antonio Da Costa Ferreira, Benjamin Pollak, Buck Ramsay, Calvin Anderson, Charlston Carlos Betzel, Corey Hochman, Dov Markowich, Eddy Sabat, Elie Saad, Friedrich Meyer, Guillermo Olvera, Gurgen Arsenyan, Guy Cruickshanks, Ian O'Hara, Joao Ribeiro, John Tabago, Kevin Andriamahefa, Lars Johansson, Lennart Konst, Marius Pospiech, Ramiro Petrone, Ravl Sharda, Rodger Reynolds, Ronald Lauzon, Russell Carson, Samuel Phillips, Stanley Blaby, Tam Nguyen, and Tamer Kamel.

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Eddy Sabat reads it and weeps

2.43pm: Mercier Andressed to kill
Level 15 - Blinds 1,500-3,000 (400 ante)

Jason Mercier has just increased his stack by knocking out PokerStars qualifier John Andress. After Phillip McAllister opened to 7,200 (as he has been doing every single pot since becoming chip leader), Andress shoved on the button for 60,000 and Mercier made the call from the big blind. McAllister got out of the way and it was A♥Q♣ for Andress and T♣T♠ for the Team PokerStars Pro.

The flop was great for Andress - 7♠Q♠J♥. His pair of queens were way ahead but it was far from over. The turn was the 2♠ giving Mercier a flush draw. BOOM! The 6♠ on the river made Mercier's hand the winner and Andress was flushed out of the door.

Mercier now has 280,000. --JS

2:39pm: Long wait for Crute v Lewis
Level 15 - Blinds 1,500/3,000 (400 ante)

It might not have been the biggest hand, but it ranked as one of the longest, between Toby Lewis and Jono Crute.

On a flop of 9♣5♠T♣ Crute, playing out of the big blind, checked to Lewis who bet 10,000. Crute then raised to 26,000, which Lewis called. The turn came the 5♥. Crute made it 40,000 this time, which Lewis called for the T♦ on the river.

It was no surprise when Crute then moved all in for his last 112,800. Lewis rubbed his nose and started thinking things over.

It was a tense moment, although at one point the dealer had to ask the others at the table to quieten down their conversations - about the weather in North Carolina, and how to play Mexican poker - to allow Lewis time to think, and Crute to look like he didn't care. Lewis, who had 125,000 behind sipped coffee as though he was the one waiting. Crute meanwhile looked uninterested, with his head tilted slightly to the right.

After what must have been five or six minutes Lewis made a quiet "argh" noise, before admitting he didn't know what to do. "I probably shouldn't fold," he said, before looking at his cards one last time before folding.

Everyone wanted to see the cards.

"Show the bluff," said James Calderero, turning to the dealer. "Even she wanted to see it!"

Yes, said the dealer, laughing.

"When the dealer wants to see it you know something," JC Alvarado said.

Lewis laughed out of frustration as well as at the situation. "Do you think I should have called?" he asked the dealer, who being a professional said she couldn't say.

Regardless, the table broke with Lewis down to 140,000 and Crute now sitting with 265,000.-SB

2:37pm: Foxen over O'Dwyer
Level 15 - Blinds 1,500-3,000 (400 ante)

Following a raise from middle position to 7,000 from Steve O'Dwyer, it folded to William Foxen in the hijack seat who made it 19,000 to go, and when the action returned around to O'Dwyer he called the three-bet.

The flop came 6♣T♦6♦. O'Dwyer checked, Foxen paused a few moments before betting 17,200, and O'Dwyer called. The turn brought the 9♦, and O'Dwyer checked again. Foxen again acted with deliberation, eventually betting 47,000 this time, and after thinking about it a bit O'Dwyer called once more.

The river brought the Q♠ and another check from O'Dwyer. Foxen took several minutes before acting, enough time for all of the players around the table one by one to begin taking their eyes off the action, with Davidi Kitai eventually standing up from the table to get a better look at the tournament clock. Just over 50 minutes left in the level, it read, with 152 players remaining.

Finally Foxen made a small bet of 39,000, and after a much shorter period of contemplation O'Dwyer called. Foxen tabled K♥J♣ to show a runner-runner straight, and O'Dwyer mucked.

O'Dwyer has 354,000 now, while Foxen chips up to 325,000. --MH

2:35pm: Behold your new chip leader
Level 15 - Blinds 1,500/3,000 (400 ante)

Phillip McAllister has just assumed the chip lead in this tournament with 630,000. However, even McAllister would admit that this latest big pot was accrued more through luck than skill.

I joined just as McAllister was five-betting to 74,000 versus Nicholas Grippo. Moments later, we heard the inevitable all in and call. McAllister has pocket aces and Grippo had kings. Ouch.

An ace-high flop signalled the end of it for Grippo as McAllister needed both hands to rake in the huge bundle of chips that now belonged to him. - RJ

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Phillip McAllister

2:30pm: The bubble is fast approaching
Level 15 - Blinds 1,500 - 3,000 (400 ante)

A reminder that the top 135 players get paid in this event, with 152 remaining the bubble is likely starting to play on the minds of many of the players left in. --NW

2:25pm: The river is kind to Grippo
Level 15 - Blinds 1,500-3,000 (400 ante)

Nicholas Grippo is getting stronger here in the Main Event.

After Phillip McAllister opened to 6,800, Mike Watson and Grippo both made the call and saw a flop of 2♦Q♣J♣. It checked around. With the arrival of the 2♠ on the turn, Mike Watson took it upon himself as the first to act to make it 13,500 to go, which both Grippo and McAllister called.

The 5♣ fell on the river. After Watson checked, Grippo now took the betting lead and slid out a bet of 34,000.

McAllister got out of the way and Watson called, before mucking when Grippo's A♣6♣ proved to be the winner, all thanks to the flow of the river.

Nicholas Grippo 360,000
Mike Watson 140,000 --JS

2:20pm: Paur gets richer
Level 15 - Blinds 1,500 - 3,000 (400 ante)
Minutes after losing a chunk to Agshin Rasulov (see below) Taylor Paur got those chips back by eliminating Benjamin Pollak.

The Frenchman, who finished fourth at EPT11 Deauville, opened to 7,000 on the button, Paur three-bet to 20,000 out of the small blind and Pollak didn't think very long before moving all-in for around 60,000.

Paur called.

Pollak: K♥Q♦
Paur: A♣J♥

The Q♥A♦J♦ flop hit both players but kept Paur in front, and it stayed that way on the 2♣ turn and 4♦ river. - NW

Taylor Paur - 175,000

Click through for previous coverage from Day 3


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Take a look at the official website of the PCA, with tournament schedule, videos, news, blogs and accommodation details for the Atlantis Resort in The Bahamas.

Also all the schedule information is on the EPT App, which is available on both Android or IOS.

PokerStars Blog reporting team on the $5,000 Main Event: Stephen Bartley, Martin Harris, Ross Jarvis, Jack Stanton, Howard Swains, Alex Villegas, Brad Willis and Nick Wright. Photos by Joe Giron and Neil Stoddart. For more photos from this event by Joe Giron visit Poker Photo Archive.

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