PCA 2016: $100K Super High Roller Day 1 (Levels 3-6)

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This is an archive of Levels 3-6 of the 2016 PCA Super High Roller. Want the latest news? RETURN TO LATEST LIVE UPDATES

6:50pm: Chidwick loses a big one
Level 6 - Blinds 1,500/3,000 (400 ante)

Details are scarce on this one as I joined the action with the 3♠J♦6♠Q♠6♦ board already dealt and the sizeable chips out in front of both Anton Astapou and Stephen Chidwick. Tracing back through the bet sizes it appears that Chidwick bet 36,000 only for Astapou to raise it up to 105,000.

Chidwick thought it over in his trademark impassive manner before eventually making the call. Astapou tabled pocket threes for a flopped set and it was good. He now moves up to 350,000. Chidwick is still comfortable on 190,000 with two full levels of play remaining in Day 1. - RJ

6:15pm: Full Negreanu
Level 6 - Blinds 1,500-3,000 (400 ante)

He may have waited until Level 5 to show up, but we're already experiencing full Negreanu. The Team PokerStars Pro is by far the most vocal at his table and is engaging everyone from Stephen Chidwick and Dani Stern, to Jason Koon, Byron Kaverman, Shaun the Dealer and Donnie Peters of Poker News in conversation.

The subjects are rich and varied too, although only when discussing the recent boxing bout between Brian Rast and Sorel Mizzi did Negreanu get up from the table and shadow box his way this way and that. He then also referenced another angry dispute, apparently featuring Kaverman, that took place on a soccer field in Las Vegas over the past few months. It meant that Kaverman had to wade in with his side of the story as he was playing a pot against Christoph Vogelsang.

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Real Kid Talker

Negreanu is also playing some poker, and just got all of his chips in the middle in a three-way pot against Kaverman and Stern. This one started when Kaverman opened to 6,500 from under the gun and both Negreanu and Stern, in the two seats to his left, called.

The three of them saw a 8♣4♣9♣ flop, which both Kaverman and Negreanu checked. Stern bet 12,000 and Kaverman called. That took the action back to Negreanu and he pushed his three small stacks of chips into the middle. They totalled 61,200.

It turned out to be too rich for both of his opponents, who folded, and Negreanu showed them the bare A♣. He then dragged back a stack of about 110,000 chips, which should buy him plenty of time to dig out a few more anecdotes. -- HS

6:30pm: It's like he never went away
Level 6 - Blinds 1,500-3,000 (400 ante)

We suspected we might see Erik Seidel back in for attempt number two and the American has indeed bought back in. What's more, he's back in the same seat he occupied before (which also happened to Bill Perkins earlier today when he rebought). Ike Haxton has also fired another bullet and is at the same table. -- NW

6:25pm: Holz over Bonomo
Level 6 - Blinds 1,500-3,000 (400 ante)

Justin Bonomo opened with a raise to 6,500 from middle position, and Fedor Holz called from the blinds. The flop came 4♦4♣J♠. Holz checked, Bonomo bet 8,000, then after pausing about a half-minute Holz check-raised to 24,500. Bonomo thought about it, then called, and the pair watched the turn bring the 3♥.

Holz led this time, betting 41,000, and Bonomo called. The river then brought the K♣, and after waiting just a moment Holz announced he was all in.

Bonomo would take about two minutes to decide, much of it taken up with a count of Holz's stack which was about 170,000, matching the majority of what Bonomo had behind. At last Bonomo folded, and Holz collected the pot. --MH

Fedor Holz - 320,000
Justin Bonomo - 210,000

6:15pm: Haxton sent to the rail by Lehne
Level 6 - Blinds 1,500-3,000 (400 ante)

While Erik Seidel was busting on one table, Isaac Haxton was doing the same on another.

On a flop of 9♠T♥T♣ there were plenty of chips in the middle, with Bill Perkins and Kathy Lehne in the hand with Haxton. Haxton checked the flop from early position, as did Perkins next to him. That left it to Lehne to bet, making it 50,000. Haxton called and Perkins left them to it.

The pattern continued on the J♠ turn. Haxton checked to Lehne who bet 75,000 this time. Haxton thought a moment and then came to a decision. He was all in. Ominously for Haxton, Lehne snap-called, and with good reason. She'd flopped a full house with T♦9♦.

Haxton showed K♠Q♠. "I have one out" he said, without much conviction. The 4♦ river card proved why.

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Ike Haxton

"That was pretty bad," said Haxton, who left his seat to consider a re-entry. Meanwhile Lehne stacked her chips, more than 700,000. She turned to Perkins. "Where were you?"

Meanwhile we can confirm that Haxton has re-entered. - SB

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Kathy Lehne


6:05pm Seidel out
Level 6 - Blinds 1,500-3,000 (400 ante)

Erik Seidel just crashed out in a big hand against Conor Drinan. As the chips were pushed to Drinan, and as Seidel gathered his things, the board told the story of the collision: [6][a][6][j][3]

Seidel, holding [a][k] had flopped top pair. But Drinan had [6][5]. All over for Seidel. - SB

Erik Seidel_2016 PCA_100KSHR_Day 1_Giron_8JG7129.jpg

Will he be back?

6:04pm: Level 6 begins
Level 6 - Blinds 1,500-3,000 (400 ante)

Level 6 is underway. There will be another 20-minute break after this level, then two more levels will play out before Day 1 concludes.

Right now there are 39 players left from the 44 total entries. Only Bill Perkins has reentered the event, and he's done so twice. --MH

5:57pm: McKeehen drags one versus Drinan
Level 5 - Blinds 1,200-2,400 (300 ante)

In the last hand of Level 5, Connor Drinan opened for 6,500 from the button and Joe McKeehen called from the big blind. The flop came Q♥6♣A♦. McKeehen checked, Drinan continued for 7,000, and McKeehen called. The turn brought the J♥ and another check from McKeehen. This time Drinan bet 15,000, and McKeehen called once more.

The river was the 6♥. McKeehen checked a third time, and when Drinan bet 30,000, McKeehen called yet again. Drinan began to show what looked like ace-king, then saw McKeehen's hand -- A♥Q♠ for two pair -- and turned his over and sent the cards to the muck. --MH

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Connor Drinan, still stylin'

Joe McKeehen - 445,000
Connor Drinan - 215,000

5:55pm: Scott Seiver doubles through Mike McDonald
I arrived at the table to see a bet of 6,000 in front of Mike McDonald (button) and a single green 25K chip in front of Scott Seiver (big blind). The exact amount of Seiver's three-bet would remain a mystery as McDonald announced all-in and Seiver called off for 116,200 in total.

McDonald: A♠J♦
Seiver: A♣K♦

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Scott Seiver

McDonald was already counting out the chips as the 5♦9♣K♠ hit the felt. The T♣ turn gave him a sweat, but the 7♠ river kept Seiver in front. - NW

Scott Seiver - 234,500
Mike McDonald - 208,000

5:55pm: Time bandits
Level 5 - Blinds 1,200/2,400 (300 ante)

Since Daniel Negreanu joined Table 2 there's been a noticeable upswing in table chat and, in this case, action. Anton Astapou started off this multi-way hand by raising to 4,800. Christoph Vogelsang (Button), Negreanu (SB) and Dani Stern (BB) all came along for the ride, too.

All four players checked on the 9♣4♦7♠ flop. Negreanu then lead out into his three opponents on the 6♥ turn for 12,500 but was met by an immediate raise from Stern who made it 36,000. The initial raiser, Astapou, got out of the way before, somewhat surprisingly, Vogelsang over-called the 36,000 in position. That was enough information for Negreanu, who folded and started to consult his watch (more on that later).

The river was Q♠ and Stern, the previous aggressor, now checked it to Vogelsang who...thought. And thought. And then thought some more...before betting 66,000. Stern was clearly puzzled but didn't take too long to fold before saying, "this hand is really weird." It led Vogelsang to note that it was tough for him to be bluffing there.

At this point Negreanu chimed in.

"How long do you think you took on the river before you made a bet?" he asked Vogelsang.

After clarifying the unexpected question, the German guessed a total of nearly four minutes. It sent Negreanu into uproarious laughter - the real total, which Negreanu had been recording on his timepiece, was around two minutes and forty-five seconds. One suspects Negreanu would prefer a faster game. - RJ

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Father time: Daniel Negreanu

5:50pm: The young master
Level 5 - Blinds 1,200-2,400 (300 ante)

Everyone around the table of champions (as described below) has a right to peer over at their opponents with that slightly supercilious look that the best players have when surveying inferior prey. It might be the first time, in fact, that the old "If you can't spot the sucker at the table..." adage doesn't work. Simply, there isn't a sucker at the table.

That said, Fedor Holz has the strongest claim at the moment for being world poker's most irresistible force, and Holz has today continued the hottest of hot streaks. On a recent hand, Jason Mercier opened from under the gun and Scott Seiver called from the button. Holz also called from the big blind and they all saw a 5♦J♦2♦ flop.

Holz and Mercier checked, but Seiver bet 12,500. Holz called, which persuaded Mercier out of the way.

The J♠ came on the turn and Holz took the betting lead, firing 14,000. Seiver called, which meant they saw a K♥ river. Holz checked again and Seiver hovered over his chips, itching to bet. But in the end he thought better of it and checked.

Holz tabled 9♠9♦ and the pocket pair was good enough. Seiver mucked.

That put Holz up to around 280,000 and Seiver down to about 125,000. And Holz picked up another 6,000 from Seiver on the next hand. This time, Mike McDonald opened to 6,000 from early positon and Seiver called from the cutoff. Holz asked for a count from Seiver (he could see McDonald's stack across the table) and raised to 25,000.

McDonald quickly folded, as did Seiver, and that added a couple more chips to Holz's stack. -- HS

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Holz: Not the sucker at the table


5:44pm: A game of percentages
Level 5 - Blinds 1,200-2,400 (300 ante)
If you've ever wondered how much each player in the Super High Roller had of themselves, we have the answer. Well we have an answer, whether it's accurate or not, courtesy of Joe McKeehen.

Nick Petrangelo asked the question: how much did he and Sean Winter think McKeehen would estimate each player had of themselves, percentage wise. Money was exchanged, predictions made and typed into mobile phones to avoid anything underhand.

"I have a number," said McKeehan. "Thirty-seven."

Suddenly Winter leapt out of his chair. "Give me the f***ing money!" He could hardly contain himself.

Sean Winter_2016 PCA_100KSHR_Day 1_Giron_8JG7106.jpg

Give that man his money!

As if it wasn't obvious enough someone asked what he had. Winter yelled back thirty-seven. He got his money. For the record Petrangelo guessed 40 per cent.

McKeehan then explained his thinking by pointing at each player in turn.

"I thought it was 100... 30." As he said 100 he pointed at Erik Seidel. As he said "30" he swung his arm around to point at everyone else.

Who knows if this is anywhere near the truth. - SB


5:43pm: Greenwood not keen on Kenney bet
Level 5 - Blinds 1,200-2,400 (300 ante)

Timothy Adams opened for 6,000 from middle position and Bryn Kenney called from the button. Sam Greenwood then three-bet to 21,000 from the small blind, forcing a fold from Adams, but Kenney stuck around.

The flop came 9♠A♥9♥, and after Greenwood led for 17,400, Kenney called. The turn was the 5♦. This time Greenwood checked, and Kenney took the invitation to fire a bet of 39,600. Greenwood thought for a bit, then called.

The river was the 3♠. Greenwood checked again, and Kenney promptly bet 150,000. Greenwood gathered calling chips and set them atop his cards, noting how he'd only be leaving himself about 50,000 if he should call and lose. He grimaced as he thought for several minutes, then finally decided to let his hand go. --MH

Bryn Kenney - 390,000
Sam Greenwood - 205,000

Bryn Kenney_2016 PCA_100KSHR_Day 1_Giron_8JG7099.jpg

5:24pm: Try number three for Perkins
Level 5 - Blinds 1,200-2,400 (300 ante)

Returning to short-stacked status to begin Level 5, Bill Perkins was soon felted for a second time today. But he's already hustled over to the cashier and has bought back in a third time, bringing the total number of entries to 44.

Late registration (and the ability to reenter) lasts until the start of Day 2 tomorrow. Last year saw 50 total entries for this event, making for a $6,402,000 prize pool with winner Steve O'Dwyer taking away the largest share of $1,872,580. --MH

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Third time's a...well, we'll see. Right, Bill?


5:19pm: World Champ on a roll
Level 5 - Blinds 1,200-2,400 (300 ante)

Joe McKeehen is making his debut at the Super High Roller tables--at least those that operate under the PokerStars flag--but he's rolling on his good form from the World Series. He has close to 400,000 chips at the moment and is putting them to work, at least if a recent three-hand sequence offers any indication.

McKeehen made two pair with his jack-nine to beat Conor Drinan's pocket queens--calling a bet of 26,000 on the river (all other action unknown)--and then picked up a small pot from Sean Winter. McKeehen raised to 6,000 from the cutoff and Winter called from the big blind.

The flop came 3♥A♥J♣, which they both checked, and then the 9♠ fell on the turn. Winter checked and then, at the merest sight of McKeehen even reaching for his stack, threw his cards into the muck with the force of a man who had lost more than a mere 6,000 tournament chips.

McKeehen seems keen to be playing most hands and lost the 6,000 back to Drinan on the very next hand. One suspects the pots will grow more significant as the evening wears on.

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Joe McKeehen

5:17pm: Justin credible value
Level 5 - Blinds 1,200/2,400 (300 ante)

As noted earlier, all tables in the Super High Roller are tough, but the so-called "table of champions" comprised of Steve O'Dwyer, Mustapha Kanit, Justin Bonomo, and Ole Schemion et al may well be the toughest. It was here that Bonomo took down a nice pot from perpetual High Roller champ O'Dwyer.

In a battle of unusual hairdos, the ponytailed O'Dwyer raised to 5,800 and the newly red-headed Bonomo (some might call it pink) called on the button. O'Dwyer bet 7,500 on the K♦T♦5♠ flop, and Bonomo called. The turn was the A♣, and O'Dwyer bet 13,000. Bonomo called again. The pattern of the action changed on the Q♠ river with O'Dwyer slowing down and checking. If he was hoping for a cheap showdown, he got bad news as Bonomo put out a bet of 30,000, leaving O'Dwyer to muse painfully on his predicament.

As a couple of minutes ticked by, he eventually put the chips into the middle to call. Bonomo had A♦J♠, and it was good. 1-0 to the red-head.

Despite that skirmish, O'Dwyer is still sitting comfortably on 280,000 while Bonomo is just below starting stack on 240,000. -RJ

Justin Bonomo_2016 PCA_100KSHR_Day 1_Giron_8JG7004.jpg

Pink or red, it's a winner for Bonomo

5:15pm: Alvarado axed
Level 5 - Blinds 1,200-2,400 (300 ante)
With just 29,000, JC Alvardo had only 12 big blinds to his name when Level 5 started It didn't take him long to find a hand with which to commit them.

After an open from Cary Katz, Alvarado three-bet all-in from the big blind with J♥J♣. He was in deep trouble against Katz's pocket kings. The Q♣9♥6♠A♥T♦ board kept the American in front, and Alvardo wished the players good luck before leaving the table. --NW

Cary Katz - 280,000

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JC Alvardo, we hardly knew thee

5:10pm: Lehne makes it 43
Level 5 - Blinds 1,200-2,400 (300 ante)

Kathy Lehne has joined the proceedings here at the start of Level 5, bringing the total number of entries up to 43.

Lehne has experienced success in Super High Roller events in this part of the world before, having finished second to Team PokerStars Pro Jason Mercier in a WPT Alpha8 event just over a year ago in nearby St. Kitts. Just last month Lehne also final-tabled the WPT Alpha8 Las Vegas event at the Bellagio where she finished sixth. --MH

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Kathy Lehne

5:00pm: Enter Negreanu
Level 5 - Blinds 1,200-2,400 (300 ante)
Team PokerStars Pro Daniel Negreanu has shown up fashionably late for this event and entered at the start of this level. He's already chatting away to the other players at this table where he's sat to the direct left of Byron Kaverman. As well as the GPI Player of the Year, he has the likes of Christoph Vogelsang, Jason Koon, and Stephen Chidwick with whom to contend (and, yes, of course, chat). --NW


4:55pm: What a difference a year can make
Those of you who followed our coverage last year might remember a story we did about longtime PCA staffer Tammy Ward. This time last year, Ward was facing a year's worth of tough cancer treatment. We're happy to report that as we make our way around the tournament area, Ward is here, working hard, and passing our chocolates (that, indeed, are full of booze). Of all the happy faces we've seen this year, we're overjoyed to see Ward looking so healthy. Welcome back, Tammy. --BW

4:55pm: Heading into Level 5
They're going into Level 5 now, with blinds of 1,200-2,400 (300 ante). Noah Schwartz is still out in front and Isaac Baron is out. He may or may not re-enter. Head over to the chip-count page for the very latest counts.

4:35pm: Seiver gets river value
Level 4 - Blinds 1,000-2,000 (300 ante)

Over on the "table of champions" Scott Seiver opened to 4,500 and after he spotted Jason Mercier eyeing up his stack he said: "I've got 128,000." Mercier flicked in the call from the button.

The blinds left them to it and the two players checked all the way to the river on a J♦K♦A♦3♦3♣ board at which point Seiver bet 2,400.

Mercier looked puzzled - perhaps by the size of the bet - and he looked at the tournament clock before finally settling on a call. Seiver rolled over A♥9♣ and Mercier swiftly mucked his cards. --NW

4:29pm: Oh, THAT'S why it took so long
Level 4 - Blinds 1,000-2,000 (300 ante)

We wish we knew exactly how this pot began, but it began so long ago, it's like trying to recall a childhood memory after a hard night of drinking. (And seriously, it has nothing to do with the fact that staff member Tammy Ward slipped us a booze-filled chocolate during the nearly 15 minutes it too from shuffle to pushing the pot).

Any case, with the pot already a little bloated we picked it up on a Q♣Q♦6♥ flop where both Christoph Vogelsang and Byron Kaverman have agreed to 28,000 as the going price to the turn. It wasn't immediately clear why each decision was taking upward of a minute apiece, especially when it went check-check on the 8♥ turn.

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Byron Kaverman: Will not be rushed

The river was the 3♦. After recovering from our chocolate hangover, we waited through an interminable Volgelsang tank, one that ended when he finally checked. Kaverman struggled with his decision, too, but eventually bet 107,000. It was Volgelsang's turn to think long enough for us to wish for another chocolate. When he finally made his decision, it was all-in for 130,400.

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Vogelsang v Kaverman

At that point, Kaverman thought for a while again before eventually deciding he couldn't fold. No surprise there. He had K♣K♠. To his chagrin, Volgelsang had A♥A♣, good for a win to put him up to 300,000 and take Kaverman down to 100,000.

THAT'S why it took so long. --BW

4:35pm: Lehr can't call
Level 4 - Blinds 1,000-2,000 (300 ante)

From middle position Ankush Mandavia opened to 5,000 and Keith Lehr, who was the big blind, was the only caller.

The flop and turn action on the 5♣T♣A♣3♦ board was rapid with Lehr check-calling bets of 7,000 and 18,000. On the 9♠ river the speed slowed down but Mandavia didn't. He emptied the clip, betting 55,000 and although Lehr looked interested, he ultimately released his hand. -NW

Ankush Mandavia - 335,000
Keith Lehr - 202,000

4:30pm: Gun fights and poker in Mexico City
Level 4 - Blinds 1,000-2,000 (300 ante)

"So you live in Mexico City?" Anotnio Esfandiari asked JC Alvardo. "Is it safe?"

"Yeah," Alvarado said. "Although I did get caught in the middle of a gun fight. That was a fluke though."

The table kept discussing Mexico City and Alvarado also explained a crazy poker variant they play in the city. It involves lots of betting, getting dealt cards face-up and thousands of big blinds.

"If no one can beat aces at the end then players go heads-up again with that money already in the middle," Alvarado said. "They play like 2,000 big blinds deep."

That's far more than the 250 big blinds players started this tournament with and way more than the 20 big blinds Alvarado was left with after losing a hand to Esfandiari.

The Mexico City talk was cut short when Esfandiari raised to 4,500 from the cutoff. Alvarado three-bet to 13,500 and Esfandiari called. The flop came 9♣6♣2♦ and Alvarado bet 14,000.

Esfandiari raised to 31,000 and Alvarado called.

A 6♣ came on the turn and both players checked. The river was an A♦ and both players checked again.

Alvarado showed 7♠8♠ for a pair of eights but Esfandiari had the better kicker with K♦8♦.

4:25pm: Perkins mucks winner, though still grinning
Level 4 - Blinds 1,000-2,000 (300 ante)

Bill Perkins opened for 6,000 from the button, and it checked to Mike McDonald in the big blind. McDonald leaned over to see how much Perkins had behind -- about 80,000 -- and called.

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Mike McDonald leans

Both checked the T♣7♠2♥ flop and J♠ turn, then when the 4♦ fell on the river McDonald bet 4,500. Perkins called the bet, McDonald quickly turned over his Q♥9♦, and Perkins sent his cards to the muck.

A moment later, Perkins called out. "Wait, wait... what did he have?" said Perkins. "You had nothing, right!?!"

"The nut queen-high," cracked Isaac Haxton, not missing a beat.

"Oh f***!" answered Perkins through a pained look. "I had a pair of sixes!"

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Bill Perkins: Mis-reading

"It was the confident way he tabled it," said Talal Shakerchi, referring to the way McDonald had shown down his hand.

Perkins sat back in his chair, shaking his head and explaining he'd thought McDonald had queen-jack. He's still grinning, even if he now sits with one of the shortest stacks in the room. --MH

Mike McDonald - 235,000
Bill Perkins - 75,000

4:20pm: Picking up the Bill
Level 4 - Blinds 1,000-2,000 (300 ante)

Bill Perkins just won a pot that might help put some life back into his Super High Roller campaign. It was a three way hand with David Peters and Talal Shakerchi, with the chips, all 45,000 of it, in the middle pre-flop.

When it came 7♠K♠A♣ it took the wind out of everyone's sails. That was checked, as was the J♥ turn. Then on the 7♦ river Perkins looked like he was taking a speculative punt at taking the pot, tossing in a green chip worth 25,000, which by now was about half of his stack. Peters ducked out but not before Shakerchi called, only for Perkins to turn over 9♣7♣. It was enough. -- SB

Shakerchi - 375,000
Perkins - 80,000

4:15pm: Kurganov adds more to stack through Shak
Level 4 - Blinds 1,000-2,000 (300 ante)

Not long after doubling through Dan Shak, Igor Kurganov opened with a raise to 4,500 from the button and got one caller in Shak playing from the blinds.

The flop came T♥T♦K♥ and both checked, then the A♣ fell on the turn. Shak checked, Kurganov bet 5,500, and Shak called. The river brought the 7♥ and a quick bet of 10,000 from Shak, and after pausing a beat Kurganov called.

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Dan Shak

Shak showed A♥8♣ for aces and tens, but Kurganov had a straight with Q♣J♦ and collected the pot. --MH

Dan Shak - 255,000
Igor Kurganov - 110,000

4:05pm: The sickest...
Level 4 - Blinds 1,000-2,000 (300 ante)
In a tournament full of supremely talented poker players you might think it more difficult to pick out a "soft" table than a particularly "tough" table. But even by these standards, table six is undoubtedly the table of death.

How's this for a line-up:
Seat one: Mustapha Kanit
Seat two: --Empty--
Seat three: Scott Seiver
Seat four: Steve O'Dywer
Seat five: Fedor Holz
Seat six: Jason Mercier
Seat seven: Justin Bonomo
Seat eight: --Empty--

Their list of accomplishments is long but every player at the table bar one has won an EPT High Roller or Super High Roller title. And as for the one that hasn't, well that's Fedor Holz, who's won two Super High Roller titles in the last two weeks. --NW

4:05pm: Seidel's world champion woes continue
Level 4 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (300 ante)

Erik Seidel first shot to fame when he finished as the runner-up to Johnny Chan in the 1988 WSOP Main Event. Since then, he's gone on to amass over $25m in tournament winnings and cement his place as one of the legends of the game. Yet one thing that Seidel hasn't been able to do is go one place further and actually win the WSOP Main Event. It just so happens that today he's seated next to the new world champion of poker Joe McKeehen, and once again Seidel appears to be losing out.

There was already a substantial mound of chips in the middle when the turn came down to make the board read 3♥3♣4♠7♣. Seidel checked and McKeehen bet 28,000. Seidel called and the river was 8♣. It was checked again to the world champ and now he put out 72,000 into the middle. It was too much for Seidel who threw away his hand. Any revenge on the new world champion will have to wait for later. - RJ

4:05pm: PLO on hold for Schwartz
Level 4 - Blinds 1,000-2,000 (300 ante)
For Noah Schwartz, the PCA is practically on his door step, little more than 200km from his home in South Isles Beaches in Florida, a short flight, or a longish swim.

He plays with swagger, which Isaac Baron just had to contend with. On a flop of 2♦4♠Q♠ Baron bet, and Joe McKeehan called, sending the action to Schwartz on the button. He thought for a while, and made a few noises. Then he made up his mind.

"F*** it. PLO here I come," he said, thinking ahead to a consolatory side event.

The turn came 3♠ which all three players checked for a T♣ river card. Another 45,000 from Baron this time, good enough to force a fold from McKeehan. But what would Schwartz do?

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May the Schwartz be with you

He talked a bit (to himself), quietly suggesting he was committed to losing the hand. Then he called and watched Baron turn over A♦5♠. But Schwartz could beat that, showing T♠9♠. A stack of 570,000 now for Schwartz. Baron meanwhile is down to 105,000. - SB

4:00pm: Small double for Kurganov
Level 4 - Blinds 1,000-2,000 (300 ante)

Igor Kurganov raised to 4,500 from under-the-gun and Dan Shak re-raised to 13,500 from the cutoff. Action folded back to Kurganov and he moved all-in for another 39,900.

Shak called and showed K♣J♣ to Kurganov's A♦K♠. Kurganov was in the lead and hit an ace on the A♥5♠3♦8♣J♦ board to double up.

Kurganov doubled to around 90,000 while Shak dipped to 315,000. --AV

3.55pm: Fedor Holz's golden run
It is January 6 and Fedor Holz told PokerStars Blog today, "I have already met my financial goal for the year." Must be nice to be Fedor. Click through for Nick Wright's interview with the German phenom, who has won $5m in the past two weeks. "It's too sick," he said.

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3:49pm: Perkins doubles through Haxton
Level 4 - Blinds 1,000-2,000 (300 ante)

On his second entry in the tournament, Bill Perkins found himself down to a short stack again and involved in a hand with Isaac Haxton sitting on his right. After building a small pot and watching a flop come 3♣T♠8♣, Haxton leaned over to see what Perkins had left and put his neighbor all in, and Perkins called.

Perkins had 9♣9♥ and the current best hand versus Haxton's A♣4♣. Neither the K♥ turn or 6♥ river gave Haxton his flush, and Perkins survived. A count showed he was calling 51,200 on that flop bet, meaning he's up to around 120,000 now while Haxton has slipped to about 175,000. --MH

3.45pm: Level 4 begins
Level 4 - Blinds 1,000-2,000 (300 ante)
We're into level four now. The blinds are as stated on the line above this one. The full chip counts for the end of level three are over there on the chip-count page. Noah Schwartz has taken over the lead.

3:30pm: Selbst will not back down
Level 3 - Blinds 800/1,600 (200 ante)

Vanessa Selbst tends to attract action wherever she goes in the poker world. This time round she wasn't the instigator but she was the victor in a three-way hand involving Ole Schemion, Ankush Mandavia and her.

Selbst kicked off the action by min-raising to 3,200, attracting a call from Mandavia on the button. Kurganov folded in the small blind before Schemion pumped it up to 17,500. Selbst took her time and asked - well, moved her hands in an "I can't see" manner to be precise - how many chips Schemion had behind. The answer was about 180,000. Eventually, she called and so did Mandavia.

Schemion checked the 9♦A♣9♥ flop and now Selbst bet 22,500. Mandavia quickly folded. Schemion pondered the situation for a while longer but eventually came to the same conclusion as Selbst raked in the pot.

She's now up to 260,000, with Schemion stil doing just fine on 185,000. - RJ

3:20pm: Setting up Shakerchi
Level 3 - Blinds 800-1,600 (200 ante)

Talal Shakerchi is now well above average after he hit a set of fives.

The hand started with a cutoff raise to 4,500 from Daniel Dvoress. Shakerchi called from the button and Bill Perkins did the same from the big blind.

Dvoress bet 10,000 on the 2♦5♠J♥ flop and Shakerchi called while Perkins let his hand go. Armed with the well-concealed set, Shakerchi bet 25,500 when the 3♣ came on the turn. Dvoress called and an 8♠ completed the board.

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Talal Shakerchi: Well hidden fives

Dvoress checked again and Shakerchi fired off a final bet of 51,500. Dvoress called and mucked when Shakerchi turned over 5♣5♦.

The hand put Shakerchi up to about 430,000 while Dvoress dipped to 245,000. -- AV

3:24pm: High Roller champs collide
Level 3 - Blinds 800-1,600 (200 ante)

Mustapha Kanit, donning a technicolor-dreamcoat-like sports jacket, opened with a raise to 4,000 from middle position, then Steve O'Dwyer made it 12,000 to go from the cutoff seat. It folded back to Kanit who eyed the situation for a moment, then called the raise.

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Mustapha Kanit, the walking Ishihara test

The flop came 5♠J♥8♦. Kanit, who won a one-day High Roller at the EPT11 Grand Final in Monte Carlo and another High Roller at EPT12 Barcelona, checked to O'Dwyer, who of course won this very event at the 2015 PCA. O'Dwyer pushed out a bet of 15,000, and after thinking for a while Kanit called.

Both players then checked the A♥ turn and Q♣ river. Kanit showed 9♠8♠ for nines, but O'Dwyer's K♠K♦ were best and he collected the pot. O'Dwyer's up to 390,000 now, while Kanit is sitting at about 175,000. --MH

3:21pm: Kurganov in reovery mode
Level 3 - Blinds 800-1,600 (200 ante)

Igor Kurganov's first bullet in this $100,000 is still flying, but he's having to rebuild it as the day goes on. After looking a big chunk of his 250,000 stack to Fedor Holz, Kurganov managed to get his last 25,000 or so chips in the middle with K♥Q♥ versus Vanessa Selbst's K♦K♠. The board ran out well for Kurganov. The 7♦7♥6♦A♥J♥ gave him the flush and the double to 50,000.--BW

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Vanessa Selbst

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Igor Kurganov: Still fighting

3:18pm: Not late arrivals after all
Level 3 - Blinds 800-1,600 (200 ante)

We need to correct an earlier post in which we thought Sorel Mizzi and Keith Lehr had joined the Super High Roller field. Mizzi, in fact, is playing a nearby $1,100 turbo. Lehr meanwhile is sitting with a big stack of real-money chips and roll of cash on the rail of the Super High Roller. --BW

3:15pm: Check yourself, don't wreck yourself
Level 3 - Blinds 800/1,600 (200 ante)

To reach the Super High Roller level in poker, you've got to know how to play aggressively. Raises, re-raises, squeezes and cold four-bets are all vital parts of a top player's repertoire in the modern game. Despite this, there's an awful lot of checking going on out in the field as we begin Level 3.

The first check-off occurred between Steve O'Dwyer and Antonio Esfandiari where, after a raise and call pre-flop, the hand was checked all the way to the river. A small bet by Esfandiari prompted a fold from O'Dwyer.

Seeking more exciting pastures, I moved on to Bill Perkins' table. Perkins is known for playing a wild style, and it started off well when he raised to 4,000 from early position. Isaac Haxton in the big blind was the only caller. The 5♠K♦4♣ flop had potential. Check, check. The turn was even better - A♣. Check, check. Finally, a bet on the river from Haxton - of approximately two big blinds - and a snap call from Perkins, who found out his pocket Queens were no match for Haxton's King-Jack.

We are still very much in the feeling-out phase of this tournament though, and it's only a matter of time before everyone stops being friends and ruthless aggression takes over. - RJ

3:10pm: Holz betting, Mandavia calling
Level 3 - Blinds 800-1,600 (200 ante)

Fedor Holz is keeping busy, jollied along perhaps by some remarkable recent form. He just formed a fold from Vanessa Selbst on a 6♥5♣2♦3♣ board, and then took on Ankush Mandavia in the next hand.

With a 3♥T♥4♥ flop already dealt Holz was betting and Mandavia was calling. It was the same story on the K♥ turn card. Mandavia checked to Holz who bet another 9,000, then called.

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Ankush Mandavia

Now the river card, the 4♠. Holz, in very slow motion, picked up 28,000 and moved it forward. Mandavia thought for a bit, then called. Holz showed pocket fives but Mandavia had him beat, showing Q♥T♦.

He's up to 430,000, while Holz drops a little to 320,000. - SB

3:05pm: Cold streak ends for Winter
Level 3 - Blinds 800-1,600 (200 ante)

"When was the last hand you won, Sean?"

So asked Joe McKeehen after watching Sean Winter open with a late position raise. Winter thought for a moment, and after studying the tournament clock had his answer.

"Exactly twenty-eight minutes ago," he replied. "Okay, I'm in," said McKeehen with a grin as he defended his blind with a call.

The flop came Q♥2♦3♥, and after McKeehen checked, Winter set out a continuation bet. "I'm not going to make you wait longer," grinned McKeehen as he relinquished his cards while describing them as small, suited, and black.

As he collected the pot, Winter asked Isaac Baron on his left if ever in cash games he had taken it easy on an opponent who was having a bad streak, and Baron couldn't recall having done so. Winter then provided supporting evidence, noting with a laugh how Baron hadn't taken it easy on him in a cash game the two of them had once played. --MH

Joe McKeehen - 345,000
Sean Winter - 195,000

3:00pm: Starting and ending strong
Level 3 - Blinds 800-1,600 (200 ante)

Noah Schwartz raised to 4,000 from the hijack and Sean Winter re-raised to 13,200 from the cutoff. Nick Petrangelo made it 36,000 from the small blind and Schwartz folded.

Winter called and the flop came Q♥T♠2♠. Both players checked and then checked again when the 8♦ came on the turn.

The river brought a 9♠ and a 50,700 bet from Winter.

Petrangelo called and took down the pot with J♠J♦ after Winter quickly flashed and mucked a pair of sevens.

Nick Petrangelo -- 565,000
Sean Winter -- 190,000

2:50pm: New arrivals, one on the cheap
Level 3 - Blinds 800-1,600 (200 ante)

With the first two levels down, the tables are starting to fill up. Mike McDonald, Dan Shak, Keith Lehr, Antonio Esfandiari, Mustapha Kanit, and Sorel Mizzi all just showed up in the tournament area.

Connor Drinan was there, too, for all of half a second before a member of the tournament staff came running over to him. Somewhere a machine spit out a weird tournament ticket and Drinan's entry stub was for a $1,000 turbo. They're sorting that out now, and we expect Drinan to be ready to (super high) roll very soon. --BW

2:45pm: Level 3 begins
Level 3 - Blinds 800-1,600 (200 ante)

Players are back from the break and in their seats, and Level 3 has begun. The big board is showing 36 total entries now. Among the newly-entered players are Byron Kaverman, Dan Shak, Antonio Esfandiari, and Mustapha Kanit. --MH

2:30pm: Petrangelo out front; full break-time counts
Thirty-three players went to the first break of the day. The field continues to grow and, as yet, only Bill Perkins has re-entered. We have full chip counts from the break on the chip-count page, with Nick Petrangelo leading the way. He took a big chunk out of Perkins early on and hasn't looked back.

Click through for previous action from Levels 1-2.

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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 at Atlantis: Stephen Bartley, Martin Harris, Ross Jarvis, Howard Swains, Alex Villegas, Brad Willis and Nick Wright. Photos by Joe Giron.

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Howard Swains
@howardswains in Super High Roller