PCA 2016: Main Event Day 1A live updates



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8:44pm: End of Day 1A

That's it for Day 1A. The players are bagging up now. At this hour, we believe Toby Lewis is the chip leader. Here's the full wrap-up of the day.

8:30pm: Playing for tips
Level 8 - Blinds 300-600 (75 ante)

Jason Koon just moved up to 50,000 after sending Rocco Palumbo to the rail. He's been distracted momentarily by the massage therapist who asked about tips. She meant finger tips.

"I thought you meant life tips, sorry" he joked, before betting.

Palumbo asked how much and Koon said "this much" moving his chips into his line of sight. Palumbo then shoved, which Koon called showing pocket kings. Palumbo's pocket nines proved no match.-SB

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Jason Koon

8:15pm: Esfandiari keeps it in neutral
Level 8 - Blinds 300/600 (75 ante)

It's been a frustrating day for Antonio Esfandiari, who has not been above his 30k starting stack since he entered. He lost another pot moments ago to Nico Zimmermann. It started brightly for Esfandiari when he made a pre-flop raise to 1,200. Zimmermann was the only caller.

Esfandiari c-bet 1,800 on the 9♥3♠2♣ flop and Zimmermann called again. Then it went check-check on the A♥ turn, and again on the Q♦ river. It looked likely that Esfandiari was not winning the hand, and that was the case as Zimmermann turned over A♣4♣ for top pair. He now moves up to 28,000 while Esfandiari continues to toil away with a 24,000 stack. - RJ

8:00pm: Keith Lehr stack report
Level 8 - Blinds 300-600 (50 ante)

"Torture. Torture.... Torture."

Keith Lehr on the state of his progress. He currently has a stack of 13,600.

7:55pm: All down Hill for Mateos
Level 8 - Blinds 300-600 (50 ante)

Adrian Mateos opened for 1,100 which Alistair Hill raised for an amount I should have paid more attention to, which Mateos called for a flop of 2♠9♥5♦.

Hill, in early position, bet 3,400 which was called for a 3♣ turn card. Hill bet another 7,600 this time which again Mateos called. With an 8♥ river card on the board Hill moved his hand slowly towards his stack, picking up 15,125 and pushing it forward. Mateos looked at his cards again and figured this hand was over. He's down to 26,700. Hill meanwhile moves up to 78,000.-SB

7:50pm: The fashionably late crowd
Level 8: Blinds 300-600 (50 ante)

It seems turning up with just over a level to go is the cool thing to do. Steve O'Dwyer and Thomas Muehloecker have also joined the field, and Daniel Negreanu is now in the building too - will he take his seat or wait until tomorrow? --JS

7:50pm: Seeing more of Seymour
Level 7 - Blinds 300-600 (50 ante)
Richard Seymour has started his comeback. Down to less than 8,000 earlier, he's back up to 17,000, the latest bonus coming when he three-bet pre-flop to force a fold from Sven Lucha, who showed two red eights. Seymour showed nothing.-SB

7:48pm: The rich get richer
Level 7 - Blinds 250/500 (50 ante)

Toby Lewis has rocketed to chip leader status today and he doesn't show any signs of slowing down either. In this hand Lewis raised from the button and Talal Shakerchi called in the small blind before Tyler Patterson squeezed it up to 5,000. Only Lewis called - he could afford it, after all. Patterson continued the aggression on the K♠Q♥5♦ flop, betting 5,000 again. Lewis called in position. The turn was 3♥ and now Patterson slowed down, check-folding to a strong 12,000 bet from the British EPT winner.

Lewis now moves up to 148,000, putting daylight between him and all other contenders. With just one level left to play today it seems a near-certainty that Lewis will finish the day as overnight chip leader. But then, this is poker so you never know... - RJ

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Toby Lewis


7:44pm: Sir what the...
Level 7 - Blinds 300-600 (50 ante)
Mike Watson just got forced out of a hand against British player Gavin Cochrane. With 10,000 in the middle and a board of 4♥6♥K♠4♠ Cochrane checked to Watson who bet 7,000 from the cut off. Cochrane though was ready with a shove, forcing Watson to fold and reducing his stack to 18,000.-SB

7:40pm: Deeb out, Seiver and Perkins in
Level 6: Blinds 250-500 (50 ante)

We've just lost Shaun Deeb, but we have two new players to keep you entertained; Scott Seiver and Bill Perkins. Both had deep runs in the Super High Roller but both failed to make the money - you'll have to keep checking in the PokerStars Blog over the next few days to see how deep they can go in this one. --JS

7:25pm: Ausmus takes a hit
Level 6: Blinds 250-500 (50 ante)

It's been a nice steady climb for Jeremy Ausmus in this PCA Main Event, but his stack just got a big slice cut out of it to the delight of Rinat Lyapin, a PokerStars Qualifier from Russia.

We picked up the action on the turn, with the board showing 7♦T♦T♣A♥ and around 11,000 in the middle. Lyapin bet big - 9,000 - and Ausmus made the call, leading us to a Q♥ river. The Russian shoved all in for 19,775 and got a quick call from Ausmus, but he'd soon muck just as quickly once Lyapin turned over his pocket sevens for a flopped boat. --JS

7:25pm: Keith Lehr keeping busy
Level 7 - Blinds 250/500 (50 ante)

"You found the spot."

"I'm a chocolate chip kind of guy."

"They brought me a real bag."

This all came from Keith Lehr, who passes the time at the table talking to the massage therapist working on his back. The first quote referred to the moment she found the cause of his back pain. The second was when she asked if he'd had one of the raisin cookies being sold outside the tournament room. The third, was when floor staff brought him a bag to put the Bellagio chips he had with him stored in flimsy polythene, now safely stored away.

His stack may not be the biggest, but then he is playing most hands and evidently enjoying it. That said, his table mates seem the quiet sort - although that's not surprising given that he's taken to playing most hands and betting big forcing others to fold.

Not the stuff of which friendly conversation is made, but good for a stack of around 30,000.-SB

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Keith Lehr

7:20pm: Shak is back
Level 7 - Blinds 250/500 (50 ante)

Super High Roller warfare just broke out in the Main Event. On a board of T♣6♣2♣Q♠ Dan Shak moved his remaining 12,250 chips into the middle to put Christoph Vogelsang to a tough decision. With a potential flush already on the board, he said, "I have a good hand, but I could be drawing dead."

After clarifying the size of the shove, Vogelsang eventually called and the cards were turned on their back. He wasn't drawing dead, but he was behind. Vogelsang held Q♦5♠ for top pair/bad kicker while Shak had A♠Q♥ for top pair, best kicker. The river was a blank and Shak lives to fight another day. He now has 29,000. - RJ

7:15pm: Here's a big surprise...
Level 6: Blinds 250-500 (50 ante)

If you're looking for an update that will shock you, astound you, and entirely dumbfound you...you probably shouldn't read this one.

Dan Colman just flopped a straight. And Dan Colman just won a nice pot.

It's what he does; make great hands and get paid off, whilst simultaneously getting away from the bad ones when he's beat. Colman opened to 1,200 before being 3-bet by Polish PokerStars Qualifier Norbert Berent to 2,700, which he called bringing a flop of K♠Q♦J♠. Colman checked and Berent continued for 3,500, which the superstar would also match. The river was the 4♥ and Colman checked once again, but this time Berent checked too. Colman turned over his T♣9♣ for a flopped straight, and Berent mucked.

Dan Colman is now up to 45,000. --JS

7:10pm: Troyanovskiy battles on
Level 7 - Blinds 250/500 (50 ante)

Details are sketchy for this hand as I joined it with Vladimir Troyanovskiy in the midst of counting how many chips Shaun Deeb owed him after winning a pre-flop all in. Deeb's hand was already mucked but Troyanovskiy's pocket tens were proudly displayed on the table. It turned out that Deeb owed 21,500, bringing Troyanovskiy's newfound wealth up to 46,000. - RJ

6:55pm: Bite on this
Level 7 - Blinds 250/500 (50 ante)

Israeli Nave Biton just got a double-up to 21,000 when his J♥J♦ held up against Paul Ephremsen's A♠Q♦. - RJ

6:20pm: End of the road from Drinan
Level 6 - Blinds 200-400 (50 ante)

Connor Drinan is out. After suffering early on and with a stack down to 2,900, he moved all in from under the gun with Q♣8♣ and was called by Rui Milhomens with 8♦K♦ in the big blind.

The board ran out 7♥9♣3♦ 4♣4♠ which did nothing to help Drinan who left the tournament area with a muted "good luck."-SB

6:35pm: Justin Bonomo performs an entirely selfless act - by trebling up
Level 5: Blinds 200-400 (50 ante)

When a player doubles up, or even trebles up, it's usually only good for one person - the victor (and their backers, of course). But in the hand we just saw, Justin Bonomo's treble up was all in the name of someone else - his masseuse.

Bonomo's stack had fallen from 12,500 to just 1,850 in just ten or so minutes, so we weren't surprised to find him all-in. He had two callers and announced to the dealer "Listen, if I win then she makes more money. Just keep that in mind," - referring to the young lady relaxing his shoulders.

The board ran out 7♣6♣Q♠4♣J♦ and was checked down all the way, and in the end Bonomo's pocket nines held up. He may have made his masseuse a few more bucks, but he has a long way to go to get back up to a healthy chip stack. --JS

6:25pm: Garcia limps to victory
Level 6 - Blinds 200/400 (50 ante)

There ain't a lot of limping going on out in the Main Event field today. Much like shoulder pads on jackets and turquoise shell suits, limping has gone out of fashion in the modern poker game. That didn't stop golf superstar Sergio Garcia from limping in a moment ago - and it worked out just fine for him too.

Garcia limped and that kick-started a limping revival. Noah Vaillancourt followed suit, as did Dan Shak and Wanda McCarley in the big blind. The flop was Q♥K♦4♣ and everyone checked to Garcia. The friendliness soon came to a sad end as Garcia flicked 1,000 into the middle. Everyone else folded and Garcia took his stack up to 52,000 while proving that sometimes fashion is overrated. - RJ

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Sergio Garcia

6:00pm: Ausmus gets Stern
Level 5: Blinds 200-400 (50 ante)

Dani Stern is sat just to the right of Jeremy Ausmus, and the two just tangled in a pot that would put Ausmus to the test.

With the board reading 8♦A♥9♥2♥T♠, Stern fired out a bet of 8,800 in to a pot of around 11,000. Ausmus was in the tank for a minute or so before opting to call. He was correct to do so, as it turned out, as Stern showed K♦J♠ and Ausmus happily showed his A♠8♥ and scooped the pot. --JS

Dani Stern 20,200
Jeremy Ausmus 68,000

5:56pm: From the NFL to the PCA
Level 6 - Blinds 200-400 (50 ante)

There are a lot of big players in the Main Event today, but none quite as big as Richard Seymour.

Aside from his size (six feet six inches and 300 pounds in his playing days) Seymour was a giant of the NFL during a 12-year playing career, and arguably one the greats of the modern game. A seven-time Pro-Bowler during spells with the New England Patriots and Oakland Raiders, Seymour had three Super Bowl wins with the former and a reputation as one of the best defensive lineman in the game.

For the layman, that means his job was to stop the ball and the man carrying it, however painful that might be for those involved. He did it very well with nearly 500 tackles and 57 (and a half) sacks during his career. The man made a mark on the game and various members of the opposition.

Now he's switching the turf for the tournament room, staring down opponents, such as German player Stephen Abbey who just won a hand against Seymour, proving himself to be the bravest man in the room.-SB

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Richard Seymour

5:55pm: Antonio wants to watch football
Level 6 - Blinds 200/400 (50 ante)

Earlier on, Antonio Esfandiari stated that if he busts today he's going to spend the next two days watching football. If he keeps losing pots like this one he can start getting that remote control ready.

Iaron Lightbourne opened to 900 and Thomas Hueber three-bet to 2,700. Here's where it got a bit weird. Esfandiari cold-called on the button, and then Paul Ephremsen did the same from the small blind. There's just no respect for three-bets these days... (Lightbourne got out of the way.)

As Hueber looked on in surprise, Esfandiari said, "I bet you didn't expect that!" The flop was A♥4♥6♦. Hueber was undeterred by the unexpected party he'd created and bet 4,500. It was enough to make both interlopers fold. He's now up to 25,000.

Esfandiari is slumping a little on a 22,000 stack as that TV looms ever closer. - RJ

5:45pm: Back for more
Level 6 - Blinds 200/400 (50 ante)

Kathy Lehne made her PCA Super High Roller debut this week and put in a very good showing, finishing in eighth spot for a min-cash (if this term still applies here) of $225,040. She's back for more today and has just hopped into Day 1A of the Main Event. - RJ

5:15pm: Either he has it or he doesn't
Level 5 - Blinds 150-300 (25 ante)

If you look up 'run bad' and 'cooler' in the poker dictionary, it would probably say something like "getting rivered by a one-outer" or "flopping the second nuts when your only opponent flopped the nuts". It was the latter which eliminated American PokerStars online qualifier Alexander Keating.

We picked up the action when Israel's Eyal Alksnis moved all-in on a A♣Q♠K♦6♠9♥ board, putting Keating and his last 11,350 at risk. Keating looked like he'd been punched in the stomach as he deliberated his decision, even announcing to Alksnis and the table "I flopped top set" - in this case, a set of aces.

If he had indeed flopped top set (we never actually saw his hand), then Alksnis held the only hand that was beating him. And he had had it all along. After Keating made the call for his tournament life, Alksnis flipped over T♦J♥ for the stone cold nuts. A tough way to bust for sure. He either he had it or he didn't; this time he had it. --JS


Get a PokerStars account now, qualify for big live events in a matter of days. Click here to get started.

5:20pm: I want to be a billionaire so frickin' bad
Level 5 - Blinds 150/300 (25 ante)

Jason Koon - inbetween playing one of the most prestigious tournaments of the poker year - is reading a book called Billions & Billions. After looking it up, my initial prediction that it would be a book about the stock market (or Fedor Holz's 2016 poker results) were proven incorrect. It's actually the final book from acclaimed astronomer Carl Sagan on the burning questions of our lives. A real page-turner, then.

After taking a break from his studies, Koon played a hand versus Andrei Streltsou. Koon called a pre-flop raise and then lead out for 1,300 from the small blind on a 7♠6♦5♦ flop. Streltsou called and both checked the 6♣ turn. A♠ came on the river and by this point Koon had shut down completely, check-folding to a bet of 2,400 from Streltsou.

Koon still has 40,000 but has a long way to go before he gets to that elusive one billion. - RJ

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Jason Koon (and, okay, Shaun Deeb)

5:10pm: Moneymaker up, then down a bit, but still up
Level 5 - Blinds 150-300 (25 ante)

Chris Moneymaker has started well in the Main Event, increasing the size of his stack. He was up to 58,000 but dropped down a little after two hands just played.

In the first Moneymaker raised to 700 from middle position and was called by Neeraj Madhvani in the cut off and Senh Ung in the big blind. The flop came A♠9♥4♠ which was checked all round for a 3♣ turn card. Ung checked again, leaving Chris Moneymaker to bet 1,000, which was enough to take the pot.

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Chris Moneymaker

Moneymaker was in action again in the next hand. Now in early position he raised to 700. Madhvani called again from middle position while Jeroen Goddijn did the same when the action was folded to him in the big blind.
The flop came 6♠Q♥4♣ which was checked by Goddijn. Moneymaker bet again, 1,100 this time which was called by Madhvani for a T♥ turn card.

Another bet from Moneymaker, 2,150 this time, which again Madhvani called to see a river card, the A♠.
Perhaps sensing trouble Moneymaker checked. Perhaps sensing the same Madhvani checked too. Moneymaker turned up 9♥7♥, but Madhvani had that beat, showing K♠Q♣.

Moneymaker down, but still up.-SB

5:10pm: Random musings from the floor
Level 5 - Blinds 150/300 (25 ante)

On Day 1 of any tournament, where the blinds are small and the cash is but a distant daydream, players are more likely to relax, chat it up and have a good time. There's a lot of that going on out there in the Day 1A field today. Here's some of the completely disconnected, non-poker goings on at the moment;

- 2013 WSOP Main Event champion Ryan 'The Beast' Riess has been milling around the tournament area all day, almost always with a Bahama Mama cocktail in hand, the local specialty. At this rate, either he will late register later today and play a quite unusual style of poker, or he will begin his campaign tomorrow with a banging hangover.

- After his elimination from the Super High Roller final table Isaac Haxton has jumped into the Main Event and is sitting next to Fatima Moreira de Melo. They are discussing what it's like for Haxton in Malta, where he now lives. We promise the next Haxton update will be more interesting than this one.

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Fatima Moreira de Melo

- Finally, Christoph Vogelsang has spilled a glass of water on the table and on his bright white trousers. Awkward. - RJ

5:00pm: No, no, no, Nanonoko
Level 5 - Blinds 150/300 (25 ante)

PokerStars Team Online's Randy 'Nanonoko' Lew has just met his tournament demise at the hands of former EPT Main Event champion Toby Lewis.

I joined the hand on the river of a [ax][6x][4x][tx][2x] board where Lewis had bet enough to put Lew all in. Lew called it off and couldn't beat the 5♠3♦ of Lewis, who had rivered a straight. - RJ

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Randy Lew

4:50pm: Ronaldo is sent off
Level 4 - Blinds 150-300 (25 ante)

It's never fun when you have to say goodbye to such a popular player, but we've just lost Brazilian football legend Ronaldo from the PCA Main Event. He made an exciting deep run in this event last year, so it's a shame to lose him on Day 1.

It was Russia's Andrey Zaichenko who would be the beneficiary of Ronaldo's exit. Ever the gentleman, Ronaldo kindly took a photo with Zaichenko before making his way out of the tournament room. --JS

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Ronaldo

4:41pm: Colman joins the party
Level 4 - Blinds 150-300 (25 ante)

The man who sits third on poker's all-time money list - Dan Colman - has arrived.

As he sat down with his 30,000 stack, friend and mentor Olivier Busquet came over to say hello. The two shared a joke before getting straight back to work.

Colman had a colossal year in 2014, cashing for in excess of $19,000,000. 2015 was a quieter affair, yet he still cashed for just under $2,000,000. In just one week of 2016 so far, Colman already has $502,000 in winnings. It's fair to say that when Dan Colman is in the field, everyone else should be very worried indeed. --JS

4:40pm: No King for Volpe
Level 5 - Blinds 150/300 (25 ante)

As you'd expect there are some very tough tables out there in today's Day 1A field - one of the toughest includes Antonio Esfandiari, Dario Sammartino and Paul Volpe. The latter had the betting lead on the turn in this hand with the board reading K♦7♦K♠6♥. Nico Zimmermann checked to Volpe and he bet 3,800. Zimmermann called.

The river was 6♠, putting two pairs on the board. Zimmerman checked again and Volpe gave it a minute's thought before giving up on what was now a clear bluff. He checked the table and prepared to lose. It was a good decision not to fire again on the river because Zimmermann had K♣T♠ for Kings full of Sixes.

Volpe drops to 20,000 while Zimmermann is going along nicely with 43,000. - RJ

4:39pm: Technical difficulties perhaps abating

As you might have noticed, we have been experiencing some technical difficulties. We're slowly coming back to life (we hope). Here are some recent chip counts that show USA's Brian Brunner as one of the biggest stacks in the room. Scroll down if you want to see the biggest muscles.

4:10pm: Vogelsang takes one off Mizzi, while Shak attacks
Level 3 - Blinds 100-200 (25 ante)

Dan Shak is nothing if not a hard worker. He's currently juggling his phone, laptop, mobile earpiece, and the PCA Main Event. So when something gets in the way of his work, he's not afraid to speak his mind.

That's what happened during a pot between Sorel Mizzi and Christoph Vogelsang, Shak's tablemates. "Every hand is taking five minutes!" he protested, as his two fellow high-rollers took their time. On a Q♣T♥5♦ board, Vogelsang checked to Mizzi, who bet 3,900. That bet was called and the turn was the 4♣. After at least a minute, Mizzi checked it over to Christoph, who bet 5,300 and got his opponent to fold.

Mizzi has headphones in, so presumably couldn't hear Shak, but will the request to speed up the action be heard by Vogelsang? --JS

4:00pm: The sofa guy is no more
Level 4 - Blinds 100-200 (25 ante)
The light that shines twice as brightly, burns for half as long. Put another way: Bastian Landehagen is out.
The Norwegian arrived to play today having woken up an hour earlier on a hotel lobby sofa. He swaggered his way through an entertaining first three levels, treating his condition with a triple Baileys and beer. But while he was a lot of fun, he's now on the rail, or more specifically in bed. His own, rather than a sofa somewhere.

"He was entertaining," said one tablemate. "We'll miss him."-SB

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Sofa Guy, aka Bastian Landehagen

3:45pm: Moneymaker up, Petrangelo down
Level 4 - Blinds 100-200 (25 ante)
Both Chris Moneymaker and Nick Petrangelo were late arrivals to the Main Event today. Both just clashed in a hand.
Much had already taken place when we caught the action, with a board of 5♥6♦2♣Q♣ checked by both players, with more than 12,000 in the middle for which to play.
Moneymaker, in early position, then made a pot sized bet, which Petrangelo called in the cut off. Pocket sevens for Moneymaker were good to move him up to 53,000. Petrangelo's stack is down to 6,000.-SB

3:40pm: Hello handsome
Level 3 - Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

Antonio Esfandiari has arrived in the PCA Main Event, and is instantly making friends. Looking across the table at Dario Sammartino his eyes lit up and he said, "Hello handsome!"

Paul Volpe, who was seated next to Dario Sammartino, laughed. This just fired Antonio up some more - "Hey, Dario is too good looking for both of us!" The first-ever Big One for One Drop winner then went on to reveal his strategy for the tournament. "I'm either going to bust or have a load of chips. If I bust I'm just going to watch football for the next two days."

So don't expect to see Mr. Esfandiari in any side events any time soon. - RJ


4:05pm: River check-raise pays off
Level 4 - Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

The board of T♦7♠6♦Q♣6♠ was already out when Boyuan Qu checked to Andrei Streltsou. The Belarusian bet 5,000 but was swiftly check-raised all-in by Qu, who had him covered.

Streltsou called but couldn't beat the 9♦8♦ of Qu, who moves up to 53,000 while Streltsou is free to spend his afternoon on Paradise Island however he wishes. - RJ

3:20pm: Four to the floor
Level 3 - Blinds 100-200 (25 ante)

As soon as we hear a dealer call for a member of the tournament floor staff to come over to the table, we tend to rush over. Sometimes it's an argument about angle shooting, other times it's nothing more than an innocent question.

The question this time was: If you're not in the hand, can you - or should you - ask to see someone's cards when they muck?

Essentially what happened was two players were heads up in a pot, Chance Kornuth and Gabriel Andrade. After Kornuth put out a river bet, Andrade called, resulting in Kornuth saying "Good call" and mucking his cards. Andrade turned over his cards and raked in the pot.

Then Armin Ojani asked to see Kornuth's cards, and here's where the debate started. Should you be allowed to see a player's mucked cards when you're not in the hand? Kornuth didn't think so. According to Chance, only players in the pot should be able to ask, and Andrade, from what we believe, did not.

The floor ruled that you have to show the mucked cards when a player asks to see them - but only if that player is in the pot. The dealer, Kornuth, Ojani and Andrade continued to discuss it during the next hand.

"I just wanted to clarify," said Ojani. --JS

3:10pm: Jason Koon...bloodied
Level 3 - Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

Olivier Busquet and Jason Koon are now seated on the same table and there's a lot of talk about fitness, sport and muscles. In case you haven't seen Busquet recently, he is in training to fight 'friend' and fellow high roller JC Alvarado in an MMA fight later this year. And the training seems to be working - he's huge.

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Olivier Busquet

Fellow super-athlete Koon was giving Busquet some handy training tips before telling a story about when he got into a no-holds-barred fight back in 2007. I'll let Koon take it from here.

"We were in a Holiday Inn Express lobby and this guy charged at me and took me down. As we hit the floor I whispered in his ear, 'You're in trouble now buddy!' - I was a different person back then. Then he brought his elbow up and hit me right in the eye. It felt like someone had poured hot coffee all over me and I knew I was busted open bad. I saw my shirt was covered in blood. We stopped fighting and shook hands. It was over."

"Then an old couple came out of the elevators - this was 5am - and they were going off to get breakfast. With blood all over my face, I waved at them and said hi." - RJ

NEIL7080_PCA2016_Jason_Koon_Neil Stoddart.jpg

2:50pm: Moneymaker thinks maybe Blaby
Level 3 - Blinds 100-200

Now playing the main event is Chris Moneymaker, who just raised a hand to 600 in middle position. Stanley Blaby called in the seat to his left, which Andrea Vezzani did the same, having limped under the gun.

The flop came 2♠K♠6♦ which was checked to Blaby. He bet 1,200 which got Vezzani to pass. Moneymaker meanwhile wasn't going anywhere, and called for a 6♣ turn card. He checked again.

Blaby though was keeping to his plan and bet 2,100, then he set about ignoring the fact that Moneymaker, a foot away, was staring at him. Moneymaker called again. Both then checked the 9♣ river, at which point Blaby turned over K♥A♠. Moneymaker mucked, down to 35,000.-SB

2:50pm: Price change
Level 3 - Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

As you will have noticed by now the buy-in for this year's PCA Main Event is $5,300 for the first time. Traditionally it has always been a $10,000 buy-in. By making it more affordable the event should be accessible for more players, while still maintaining the prestige that the tournament has always had since its inaugural festival in 2004.

Two pros overheard discussing the change were Iaron Lightbourne and Paul Volpe, who are seated near each other on the same table. Volpe wasn't speaking from a fountain of knowledge, however. "Is this a $5k?" he asked. This, of course, after he had already paid (or qualified on PokerStars) his way into the tournament. After hearing he was correct he celebrated by raising pre-flop and taking down a small one with a continuation bet on the flop. - RJ

2:50pm: Everybody needs good neighbours - especially at the felt
Level 3 - Blinds 100-200 (25 ante)

Team PokerStars Online Pro Randy 'Nanonoko' Lew and EPT7 Vilamoura champ Toby '810ofclubs' Lewis are at the same table, but they're not neighbours. Lewis is currently sat next to fellow Brit Terence Jordon, and the two have been far from friendly when it comes to taking each other's chips.

One hand we caught saw Jordon open to 525, only for Lewis on his immediate right to 3-bet to 1125, which was called. The two saw a flop of K♣9♠Q♦, which Jordon checked. Lewis, all the while being stared at just inches away, put out a bet of 2,000, and now it was Jordon's turn to raise the stakes. He made it 4,500 to go and Lewis threw out calling chips.

The turn was the 6♠, and Jordon checked again. Lewis didn't take too long to put out one blue chip and three yellow chips totalling 8,000, which was enough to take down the healthy pot.

We'll keep checking in to see if these two start getting along. --JS

2:30pm: Desperate times calls for desperate triple measures
Level 3 - Blinds 100-200
As we reported earlier Bastian Landehagen had a rough night, falling asleep on a hotel lobby sofa after a heavy session celebrating a side event cash. So when he reached the first break of the day in the main event, he needed to do something to take the edge off the day, which still had six levels to go before he could find his bed. You'd forgive him for taking a nap perhaps, or drinking black coffee. But that's not really Landehagen's style.
"Is that Baileys?" asked Celina Lin, as he sat down.

"It's a triple Baileys," he replied, holding a beer in his other hand.

It's the kind of behaviour that may yet make Landehagen the star of Day 1A. It's due partly his back story, but also the way he's dealing with his not-ideal playing condition.

"Can we stop and look at numbers, ICM?" he said, before telling the story of a hand across the room where someone he knew six-bet jammed with pocket threes and was then called by aces. This got everyone laughing.
He then set about telling the dealer about the players he was up against.

"Steven usually plays hands," he said, looking over at Steven Abbey in the seven seat. "He's a loose aggressive player."

He then turned to Sven Lucha in seat two.

"This guy usually has the worst hand on the river."

Then to Celina Lin in the seat next to him, whose stack just happened to be made up small denomination chips. .
"Celina is in between. She gets a lot of small chips," he said, an expert. "That's her strategy - build a tower."
Lastly he pointed over at Adrian Mateos in seat one.

"This guy Adrian... he just listens to music. In Norway we call him 'the machine'."

Someone asked what he listened to.

"Machine music," said Landehagen, before getting involved in a hand, raising in early position, with Lucha calling.

"Let's see the three on the flop," said Landehagen, seconds before the flop came 3♥9♠9♥.

"There's the three," he said as everyone laughed. "You should just fold now."

Lucha was in an awkward position, and figured the safest thing to do was fold. At which point Landehagen showed the nine. Then he sipped his Baileys through a straw.-SB

2:35pm: Glued to the action
Level 3 - Blinds 100-200

Justin Bonomo and Toby Lewis are just a couple of the players in the action in the Main Event who are simultaneously streaming the Super High Roller final table on their phones and tablets.

The final table features Bryn Kenney, Isaac Haxton, Mustapaha Kanit, and reigning WSOP world champ Joe McKeehen. You can watch the live cards-up coverage here. --JS

2:35pm: Noah Vaillancourt outgunned
Level 3 - Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

Canadian Noah Vaillancourt cuts an intimidating presence at the poker table. With tattooed arms as large as Hulk Hogan's famous pythons, one suspects he gets a lot of walks when it's his big blind. Vaillancourt was just involved in a fun hand with Eric Benhamron, who wasn't afraid to mix it up. Benhamron bet 600 on the J♦J♣T♣ flop and Vaillancourt raised to 1,200 in position. Benhamron had a small think before calling.

On the 7♦ turn Vaillancourt bet 1,700, and Benhamron check-called. The K♣ looked like an action card, but it went check-check. It quickly became clear that Vaillancourt had made an excellent decision by checking back with his Q♠J♥. He'd flopped trips, but Benhamron had hit a straight on the turn with his 9♣8♣ and took it down. Vaillancourt remarked he was glad the Q♣ hadn't hit the river instead - it would have given him a full house but Benhamron a straight flush!

Both players are sitting pretty on 32,000, while across the table Olivier Busquet has dropped down to below his starting stack on 24,000. - RJ

2:20pm: And we're back...with chips

Here are some selected chip counts at the break.


Qualifying for events like this is easier than you might think Click here to get a PokerStars account and give it a try.

2:10pm: Strong Brazilian support

While on his break from the PCA Main Event, Ronaldo popped over to see his fellow countryman and Team PokerStars Pro Andre Akkari, who is still going strong in the LAPT Main Event.

Poker is blowing up in Brazil; earlier this week Akkari and Friend of Team PokerStars Felipe "Mojave" Ramos, answered questions about the rise of the game in their beloved homeland - you can check that article out here.

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Ronaldo

2:05pm: Break time

The Day 1A field is on its first break of the day.

1:40pm: Weight loss and stare downs
Level 2 - Blinds 75-150
An hour or so ago Chance Kornuth and Armin Ojani were talking marriage. Not to each other mind, just their own marriages, and the tendency to put on weight in the months after the happy day. With the relationship locked up, there's no longer the urgency impress by keeping in shape.

"My wife gave me 50 pounds leeway," joked Kornuth, who is the model of athleticism. "I knew right then she was the one!"

Now the two of them were staring each other down over a flop of 6♣8♥J♦. There had been action. Ojani, in early position, had raised to 11,800 after a bet of 3,200 from Kornuth on the button. The staring was intense.

"Can you beat two pair?" asked Kornuth, who was unspecific as to whether he actually had two pair. Ojani shrugged, apparently irritated. Of course he could beat two pair, said his shoulders. It was enough for Kornuth to fold. Ojani then showed Q♣T♣.-SB

1:40pm: Zaichenko up to 40,000
Level 2 - Blinds 75-150

Andrey Zaichenko moves towards 40,000 chips, winning another hand. This one was three-way between himself, Ronaldo and Rinat Lyapin. Zaichenko raised on the button after the others limped into the pot. Both called for T♥2♥K♦ flop. The action as checked to Zaichenko whose 1,700 bet was enough to win the hand.-SB

1:35pm: No frame required
Level 2 - Blinds 75/150

When players are still entering the tournament and the blinds are still small one of the first things to look for when you're after interesting action is a hand that starts with a three-bet and call. These are the ones that can get big and - if we're lucky - result in a knockout or double-up.

Spotting a three-bet on one of the tables at the back of the room, I rushed over. British pro Iaron Lightbourne had made it 900 on the button and Nico Zimmerman called out of position. Zimmerman check-called a 750 bet on the 4♠6♦6♥ flop before it went check-check on the 5♣ turn. The river was 7♠ and now Zimmerman bet out 1,750. It was enough to make Lightbourne fold. Both players are still doing just fine though, with around their 30,000 starting stack intact. - RJ

1:15pm: Medicinal beer
Level 2 - Blinds 75-150
"If you can make that person appear I'd really appreciate it."

This was Bastian Landehagen, who we admit was the player mentioned earlier who woke up on a sofa in the hotel lobby an hour before play began. The person he was talking to was the dealer. The person he needed to appear was a waitress. The item he needed as soon as possible was a beer.

"If they would come here, I would oblige."

As we mentioned earlier, for a man working on very little sofa sleep, and a big night, he's functioning well, already winning a few pots. So the beer is purely medicinal, for this is a man aiming to make it through the day, in more than one way.-SB

1:11pm: Zaichenko logging on
Level 1 - Blinds 50-100

Andrey Zaichenko has taken his seat and immediately started playing hands, almost without looking up from getting the internet on his iPad to work.

After taking a small pot from Elizabeth Bennett-Martin he took on Christopher Greaves in a hand. On a flop of 6♣8♣9♣ Zaichenko checked to Greaves who bet 1,000, with Zaichenko called. Both checked the 3♣ turn for a T♦ on the river. Another check from Zaichenko before Greaves bet 1,500. Zaichenko called, then nodded and grinned as Greaves, who he's played against before on a past TV table, turned over A♠K♣.-SB

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Elizabeth Bennett-Martin

1:10pm: Huge let-off for Bonomo
Level 1 - Blinds 50/100

When you flop a King-high flush and your opponent flops an Ace-high flush you are supposed to lose all of your chips. There should be no other outcome. However, Justin Bonomo just found himself in that same unfortunate situation and has somehow lived to tell the tale.

It started when the long-time pro opened to 300 from the cut-off and was called by our key protagonist, Bjorn Winkler, on the button and Wanda McCarley in the small blind. The T♣J♣5♣ flop looked dangerous but didn't deter Bonomo from betting 700. Winkler flat-called and McCarley got out of the way. Bonomo then bet 1,800 on the Q♠ turn and Winkler just called. The river was Q♦ and Bonomo now went bigger, betting 4,200.

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Justin Bonomo

Here's where Bonomo realised he had dodged a bullet more accurately than Neo in The Matrix. Winkler instantly said "call" and, after checking that was the case, Bonomo flipped over K♣5♣ with the confidence of a man who knew he had won a big pot. But then Winkler showed A♣4♣ for the nut flush and jaws hit the floor. Winkler attempted to explain why he hadn't raised with the nuts on the flop or turn but, whatever the answer, the rest of the table may come to rue the fact that the super-dangerous Bonomo is still in this tournament. - RJ

12:50pm: No gold coins for Luigi Mario
Level 1 - Blinds 50-100

For many players who visit the PCA, the Main Event is the only tournament they play. After all, there's plenty to do here at Atlantis in the Bahamas away from the poker tables.

But nobody wants to take an early shower. Unfortunately, just half an hour into Day 1A, that's exactly where Luigi Mario Grisa was heading.

His quick downfall began on a board of K♠T♣J♦8♥4♠, which saw him lead for a bet of 3,000 into a pot of around 5,000. This was then raised by the Netherlands' Fokke Jacob Beukers to 8,000, to Grisa's chagrin. He would call it off though, only for Beukers to turn over A♠Q♥ for a flopped nut straight. Naturally, he mucked.

Just a few hands later we saw Grisa walking away from his table, shaking his head and sporting a wry smile. It turned out he'd 6-bet shoved his pocket threes smack bang into pocket aces.

And like that, it was over. With such a fantastic name, perhaps he should consider a career in plumbing? --JS

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Maybe the beach then?

12:30pm: From the comfort of a warm sofa to the harsh world of the Main Event
Level 1 - Blinds 50-100

Strategically there is a good case for playing the opening day of the Main Event. The field is smaller and the big names often choose Day 1B to start their campaign. That's all well and good, unless you're playing Day 1A after waking up an hour ago, on a sofa, in the hotel lobby.

That's the story of one player in the field today. We'll spare his blushes for now, although he looks good for a man who was shaken awake by a cleaning lady not so long ago.

"I played the 1K turbo last night and made the money," he said. "So I had a couple of drinks. Then a couple of drinks. Then a lot of drinks. Then ended up in the casino."

He looks good for a man still technically living his Thursday night.-SB

12:30pm: Big trouble for Table 11...
Level 1 - Blinds 50/100

It was noted earlier that Christoph Vogelsang arrived on time today, and he's also arrived in the mood to play some serious poker too. I arrived at Table 11 as Vogelsang was calling what appeared to be a large three-bet from the female player on the button. I would love to provide you with her name but she was not around long enough for it to become available, as you'll find out.

The flop was A♥J♣4♠ and Vogelsang check-called a huge 6,000 bet from our anonymous female. The 6♦ turn was checked through but it was bombs away once the A♣ river landed. Vogelsang shoved the remainder of his stack in. It was around 18,000. He was called instantly and had a slightly worried look on his face as he turned over A♠K♦ for trips with top kicker. Despite the worry, it was good and Vogelsang took down the 60,000 chip pot for a full double-up.

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Christoph Vogelsang


It was at this point that his opponent stood up, quickly collected her things and marched off with name badge in tow. And that is why she will forever be known as the anonymous female who gave Christoph Vogelsang all the chips on Table 11. This can only mean bad things for the rest of the table which now includes golf superstar Sergio Garcia, who is seated to Vogelsang's right. Bad seat draw Sergio, bad seat draw... - RJ

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Sergio Garcia


12:15pm: The Super High Rollers enter Main Event town
Level 1 - Blinds 50/100

Players are still flooding into the poker room here at The Bahamas, with few wanting to be unfashionably on time. Plenty were here for the midday kick-off though, including a few faces who usually like to play events with an extra zero in the buy-in. They include Christoph Vogelsang, Paul Newey and Olivier Busquet. The first two already crashed out of the $100,000 Super High Roller earlier this week so will need to make a very deep run in this one to post a profit for the trip.

Busquet, meanwhile, is looking lean and mean with a new Army recruit haircut replacing his trademark curtained look. We'll let you know if the crew cut works out for him throughout the day. - RJ

12:13pm: Early notables
Level 1 - Blinds 50/100

As the tables start to fill in, we've seen a few familiar faces, including Justin Bonomo, Paul Newey, Olivier Busquet, Brazilian football legend Ronaldo, Team PokerStars Pro Celina Lin, EPT crusher Adrian Mateos, and Team Onliner Randy Lew.

12:00pm: Here we go
Level 1 - Blinds 50/100

Alrighty, folks. It's on. The 2016 PCA Main Event is just about to begin. We expect today's flight to be smaller than tomorrow's both due to players being in the LAPT Bahamas Main Event and the fact that people generally just like later flights.

It's going to be a busy day for us. The LAPT Bahamas Main Event is in Day 2, and the Super High Roller final table kicks off in a couple of hours.

For now, stay with us right here for live updates in the Main Event. -BW

Chips & Cards_2016 PCA_Main Event_Day 1_Giron_8JG7780.jpg


Want to be here next year? Sign up for PokerStars and start your journey. Click here to get an account.

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 2016 PCA Main Event: Stephen Bartley, Ross Jarvis, Jack Stanton, and Brad Willis. Photography by Joe Giron and Neil Stoddart. For more photos from this event by Joe Giron visit Poker Photo Archive.

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