Koray Aldemir leads as Negreanu, Kurganov make PokerStars Championship Barcelona €50K finale

In these super high roller events with the eye-popping buy-ins, it's sometimes easy to forget how mentally challenging tournament bubbles can be. These players have seen and experienced it all -- most of them, anyway -- but that doesn't necessarily prevent extra adrenaline from flowing when the money draws near.

Such was the scene as Day 2 of the PokerStars Championship Barcelona €50,000 Super High Roller came to a close, ending with the bubble bursting in the last level, then with nine players left Koray Aldemir finishing with the chip lead to enter tomorrow's finale.

Aldemir's baseball cap was a little Goofy, but the German's play was anything but as he ended the night with a big stack of 4.54 million.


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Leader Aldemir earns a tip of the cap

Seems long ago when Day 2 began and Adrian Mateos was the chip leader. A few last-minute registrations brought the total number of entries to 86 (including 19 re-entries), making the prize pool a whopping €4,129,290. The top 11 stood to divide those riches, with €1,135,500 going to the winner.

First things first, though. Namely, whittling the field down to that money bubble and then bursting it. Along the way Mateos saw his stack slide, then a big chunk of it go over to Team PokerStars Pro Igor Kurganov in a hand that saw both make full houses on the river, but Kurganov's aces full of kings were better than Mateos's aces full of queens giving Kurganov a huge double.


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It was a good day for Igor

That hand helped push Kurganov into the chip lead as the afternoon wore on, while Mateos would be on the rail before dinner. Stefan Schillabel, Ahadpur Khanghah, Manig Loeser, Rafael Moraes, Erik Seidel, and Charlie Carrel also joined the march to the exits as they worked down to the last two tables, with Christopher Kruk then Koray Aldemir taking over the role of chip leader.

2016 November Niner Vojtech Ruzicka fell in 16th when he was also run over by the Aldemir train, followed by Alexandros Kolonias (15th), Jack Salter (14th), and Mikita Badziakouski (13th).

It was during that stretch players engaged in earnest in table talk regarding bubbles, with Isaac Haxton in particular calling attention to how many times he'd bubbled recently (the EPT Prague High Roller last December springs to mind) and expressing a kind of fatalistic attitude toward the possibility occurring again as he became short-stacked with 12 left.

Haxton hung on, though, and had a few more chips than did Mikhail Rudoy when the latter found himself all in with pocket kings and at risk versus Kruk's ace-queen, then seeing his kings cruelly cracked by an ace on the river.

"You're all welcome," grinned Kruk, and Haxton was no doubt glad about what had transpired.


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A happy Haxton

Haxton would soon be all in himself, then out in 11th after losing a hand to Kurganov. Kurganov also took care of Daniel Colman in 10th, meaning Aldemir will lead the final nine to start tomorrow though Kurganov isn't too far behind with 4.17 million.

There's one other red spade who has made the tournament's last table, too. You might have heard of him.


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Another final day for Negreanu

Things were up and down in the early going today for Daniel Negreanu, but he ended well and with 1.71 million remains part of the mix with one day to go... again.

Here's how the chips ended up when bagging time arrived:

NameCountryChips
Koray AldemirGermany4,540,000
Igor KurganovRussia4,170,000
Christopher KrukCanada3,610,000
Bartlomiej MachonPoland2,625,000
Stanley ChoiChina2,055,000
Daniel NegreanuCanada1,710,000
Dietrich FastGermany1,190,000
Ivan LucaArgentina760,000
Bryn KenneyUSA740,000

Read through the full blow-by-blow from Day 2 below. Then come right back here tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. when the adrenaline will surely be surging again as we find out together who of this group claims the seven-figure first prize. Until then, buenas noches! --MH


Day 2 coverage:

• PLAYERS: 9 of 86 entries (19 re-entries)
CHIP COUNTS | PAYOUTS | ALL BARCELONA INFO
SIDE EVENTS | DOWNLOAD POKERSTARS
• Follow @PokerStarsBlog on Twitter

1:25am: Fast double
Level 18 - Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

Dietrich Fast did some acting, then got a double up (although one suspects everything would have been the same without the Oscar bid).

Action folded to Fast on the button and he ran down about 20 seconds of his clock before moving all-in for 490,000. Bryn Kenney, one seat to his left, then re-shoved and it was just the two of them.

Fast: 7♠7♥
Kenney: A♥Q♣

Fast said he wasn't happy, but the board bricked out. It was 9♣9♥J♦K♥8♦.

"You weren't thinking about folding?" Daniel Negreanu said to Fast.

Fast said that he was trying to make sure that Kenney would have got his chips in with pocket fours. "Oh, so you were bluffing," Negreanu said.

"I was acting," Fast said. "I do it everynight in front of the mirror."

That gave Fast 1.15 million and cut Kenney down to 750,000.

Fast also decided that the table should have some drinks, so there's a couple of gins on their way, one white wine and a beer. Negreanu and Kenney aren't partaking. -- HS

1:15am: Kenney and Fast swap stacks
Level 18 - Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

Bryn Kenney open-jammed for 620,000 under the gun and when it folded to Dietrich Fast in the big blind he called quickly. It was the same match up that Kurganov and Colman had: A♦K♠ for Fast, A♠Q♦ for Kenney.

And the ace queen would win again. The board ran out A♣4♣Q♠8♥2♦ and that meant a double up for Kenney. He now has 1.24 million, while Fast now has just shy of 600,000. --JS

1:10am: Final table draw
Level 18 - Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

Here's how the final are seated, and a rough look at the chip counts. --JS

1. Stanley Choi - 1.3 million
2. Igor Kurganov - 4.2 million
3. Ivan Luca - 680,000
4. Koray Aldemir - 4.825 million
5. Dietrich Fast - 1.2 million
6. Bryn Kenney - 620,000
7. Christopher Kruk - 2.8 million
8. Daniel Negreanu - 1.9 million
9. Bartlomiej Machon - 3.5 million

1:05am: Dan Colman out, KO'd by Kurganov (10th - €103,200)
Level 18 - Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

Even when you're Dan Colman; even when you have $28.3 million in career winnings; it still hurts when you bust a tournament.

Colman opened, Kurganov three-bet, Colman jammed and Kurganov called.

It was A♦K♠ for Colman and A♠Q♦ for the Team Pro, but the A♣4♣Q♠ flop meant Kurganov had sucked out. The 8♥ and 2♦ completed the board and Colman was out in tenth.

He was visibly deflated. "Sorry," offered Kurganov as he stacked up 4.2 million.

It's final table time. --JS


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Colman in happier times

1am: Isaac Haxton eliminated in 11th place (€103,200)
Level 18 - Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

It didn't take long after the bubble bursting for Isaac Haxton to open-push his last 650,000 or so all in from the small blind then watch Igor Kurganov call him from the big.

Haxton had T♥8♥ and Kurganov K♦8♦, which meant the 4♣8♥9♦ flop paired them both but kept Kurganov in front. The A♥ came on the turn, and Haxton held out his hands as though ready to accept one more heart on the river. But the K♠ completed the board and he was eliminated.

A few railbirds asked to take selfies with Haxton as he left, and he gladly did so on his way to collecting the first cash of the tournament.


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Isaac Haxton - 11th place

Meanwhile Kurganov gladly stacked up his chips -- about 2.25 million of them at present. --MH

12:55am: How to lose your chance at €1.135 million
Level 18 - Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

That's it, the bubble has burst, and the 11 players remaining are guaranteed at least €103,200 for their efforts. For some, that's not going to represent much of a profit--both Isaac Haxton and Christopher Kruk are in for €100,000, while Daniel Negreanu has invested €150,000.

However, Mikhail Rudoy would gladly swap places with any of them as he just became the unfortunate man to hit the rail in 12th.

And he was unfortunate. This was pretty grim.

Rudoy opened to I think 150,000 from a stack of about 400,000. Christopher Kruk then moved all-in from a far bigger pile in the small blind and although Bryn Kenney seemed interested, he passed in the big blind.

Rudoy put the rest over the line and was ahead with K♠K♥ to Kruk's A♥Q♦.

As players from the other table gathered, they saw the dealer deposit the 3♣2♥3♦ on the table, followed by the 4♣. Kruk now had a wheel draw too to go with his ace, but he ended up doing it the traditional way and spiked the A♠ on the river.


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Rude finish to hand -- and tournament -- for Rudoy

That sent a sickened Rudoy out the door and pushed Kruk up to 2.8 million. That's it, the bubble is done. They're all in the money (if not necessarily profit). -- HS

12:45am: A bundle of Choi
Level 18 - Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

Stanley Choi just put his entire tournament on the line in a healthy pot against the big stack of Bartlomiej Machon.

Choi made it 110,000 from the cutoff and Machon defended his big blind. The 9♦7♦5♥ hit the felt, and Choi continued for the same amount of 110,000. Call.

The turn then came the 3♠ and Choi didn't slow down. It was 200,000 to go on fourth street and Machon obliged. Finally the 3♣ completed the board by pairing it.

Choi shoved, and Machon made a fold showing a little bit of frustration that his plan hadn't worked. Meanwhile Choi was letting out a big sigh of relief that he wasn't our bubble boy.

He's up to 1.5 million, while Machon still has 3.55 million. --JS

12:30am: Negreanu takes from Aldemir
Level 17 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

Koray Aldemir had just pushed his stack back up around 4.2 million a short while ago, though he sent some of that across the table to Daniel Negreanu just now.

With the board showing 6♥3♣J♠7♠4♣, Aldemir led for 275,000 (around two-thirds pot), then Negreanu set out chips to raise to 600,000. Aldemir dipped into extra time to decide what to do, spending a time bank card before finally folding.

Negreanu is up close to 2 million now, while Aldemir still has 3.72 million. --MH


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Negreanu collects

12:25am: Aldemir's aces prevail
Level 17 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

There's is now significantly less to report from Table 1 than its neighbour, with Ike Haxton shoving his short stack a couple of times and picking up blinds and antes, otherwise Bartlomiej Machon and Daniel Colman driving most of the action, and everyone getting out their way.

The only other point of interest was when action folded all the way round to Igor Kurganov's big blind--a walk, in other words--and he looked at pocket aces. "That was your spot, Ike," Kurganov said, referencing Haxton in the small blind who could easily have bluff-shoved. "I believe in you, if you dodged that one."

Over on the other table, there was actually a hand of note. It began with a raise from early position from Koray Aldemir and a defence in the big blind by Christopher Kruk.

Kruk checked the flop of 9♥9♣J♥ and Aldemir bet 80,000. Kruk called. Then the J♦ came on the turn and Kruk took the lead with a bet of 170,000. Aldemir called.

The 9♦ river made it all very coordinated and Kruk had a stab. He bet 615,000. Aldemir called pretty quickly, forcing Kruk to show that he was playing the board with T♣8♣. Aldemir's A♥A♦ were ahead still.

Aldemir finished the hand with 4.2 million while Kruk dips to 2.5 million. -- HS

12:20am: Negreanu chips up
Level 17 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

For the past few orbits it felt like every time Daniel Negreanu opened a pot, he'd get three-bet by Christopher Kruk to his immediate left and have to lay it down.

This time he chose to just defend his big blind against a 90,000 button open from chip leader Koray Aldemir. They saw a 4♠K♣J♦ flop and it checked through, bringing the 8♣ turn.

Negreanu chose to lead out for 125,000, and that got a call from the young German. The river was the 7♦ and both checked again.

Negreanu showed the A♠8♦ for a pair of eights, which was good as Aldemir mucked. He's on 3.44 million, while Negreanu increases to 1.5 million. --JS

12:10am: Big stacks, small pot
Level 17 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

Chip leader Koray Aldemir opened for 100,000 from under the gun and only Christopher Kruk called from the big blind.

Both checked the 2♥8♦4♥ flop, then Kruk checked the 3♥ turn. Aldemir fired 160,000, and Kruk stuck.

The river was the 9♣, and both checked quickly. Aldemir showed T♣5♣ for nothing much at all, Kruk showed A♥K♠, and the latter collected the pot.

Kruk is up around 3.3 million, close to Aldemir with 3.55 million. --MH

12:05am: Two all-ins, no calls
Level 17 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

A couple of all-in-and-no-call hands occurred in succession over on Table 2 here on the money bubble.

In the first Koray Aldemir opened for 90,000, then Daniel Negreanu shoved from the small blind and got quick folds from both Christopher Kruk in the big blind and Aldemir.

Then it was Mikhail Rudoy raising to 100,000 from the cutoff, Bryn Kenney calling from the big blind, and the flop falling 9♦5♣7♦. Kenney check-called a 100,000 c-bet from Rudoy, but after checking the 4♦ turn and waching Rudoy push, Kenney stepped aside.

Twelve players remain. --MH

12am: Stare down
Level 17 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

It's quite a scene when you see two great poker minds sat next to each other, battling it out heads up in a pot. Mainly because sometimes you get to see the extreme staring contests that players like Mike McDonald made famous.

Dietrich Fast had opened to 90,000 under the gun and Bryn Kenney defended his big blind. The flop fell 2♥K♥8♥ and Kenney check-called a 55,000 c-bet before both checked the 3♠ turn.

The 3♣ river then landed and by this point Kenney and Fast - who were sat right next to each other - were in the middle of a massive stare down. Just inches away from each other, they had eyes locked in an attempt to pick up even the most miniscule molecule of information.

They both must have seen something, because Fast chose to bet 255,000, and Kenney chose to fold quickly.

Kenney now has 2.28 million to Fast's 1.6 million. --JS

11:50pm: A well running Machon
Level 17 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

Bartlomiej Machon continues to accumulate chips on the money bubble after winning a couple more hands in a row over at his six-handed table.

In the first Igor Kurganov raised to 80,000 from the cutoff, Stanley Choi called from the small blind, and Machon called as well from the big blind. All checked the 3♠T♠T♥ flop, then after Choi checked the Q♠ turn, Machon bet 140,000, Kurganov volded, and Choi called.

The river was the A♥ and Choi checked once more, and when Machon fired 375,000 Choi folded right away to preserve his remaining 850,000.

The next hand was a blind-versus-blind one between Machon (SB) and Dan Colman (BB). After Machon led the 2♥7♣4♠ and was called, he checked the 6♥ turn and called Colman's bet. Both checked the K♠ river, and when Machon showed K♣4♥ Colman mucked with mock disappointment.

Colman has 1.1 million now, while Machon has chipped up over 3.55 million. --MH


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Machon marches on

11:40pm: Badziakouski busts, hand-for-hand begins
Level 17 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

Mikita Badziakouski couldn't pull off anything dramatic in the comeback department, but at least made his final hand entertaining enough.

Bartlomiej Machon opened the pot, making it 100,000 in the cutoff. Badziakouski then three-bet to 210,000 from the big blind. Everyone assumed it was a shove, but it wasn't. He had 10,000 left behind.

Then after a flop of Q♥4♥Q♣, Badziakouski energetically checked and Machon checked behind. Then when the T♠ turned, Badziakouski checked again and implored his solitary opponent to do the same. "Save yourself 10K," Badziakouski said.

Machon could not let him have it. He bet 10,000 and Badzikouski called. Machon had T♦T♥ and had now hit a set. Badziakouski had the 9♣9♠.

The river was the blank 8♣ and Badziakouski departs, two from the money.

Dan Colman was moved over to balance the tables, and they're now playing hand-for-hand until the bubble bursts. No one is really short, so this could drag on a bit.

Oh, and on what I think is his Super High Roller debut, Machon has 3.4 million chips to enter the bubble period. -- HS

11:35pm: Ay ay ay! Salter's out, Badziakouski's almost out
Level 17 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

A big hand just played out which saw the chip stack of Bartlomiej Machon rocket up the counts.

It started with a 90,000 under-the-gun open from Mikita Badziakouski, which was called by Machon on the button. Jack Salter then shoved from the small blind, and Badziakouski needed some counts.

"How much do you have?" he asked Machon. "Almost 1.3," came the reply.

"And you?" he said to Salter. That amount turned out to be 620,000.

"All in".

Machon couldn't have called quicker if he tried. "Ay ay ay!" groaned Badziakouski as he knew his A♠Q♠ was in big trouble. It was indeed as Machon showed the A♥A♣ and Salter tabled A♦J♠.

The board ran out 8♥5♥9♥9♦2♥, ultimately giving Machon a flush.

"Good luck guys," said Salter as he made a quick exit. "Good game Jack," said Igor Kurganov, overlooking proceedings.

Badizakouski is down to just 220,000 now - just five big blinds. Machon, however, is now very healthy with 3.1 million. --JS


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Salter says goodbye

11:30pm: Slow going at Fast's table
Level 17 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

Most of the action this level has been confined to Table 1, as the first orbit over on Table 2 has only seen tiny pots, mostly finished preflop.

Dietrich Fast took a couple of small ones early, then opened with a raise in another hand only for Mikhail Rudoy to push all in for 650,000 from the blinds and chase Fast.

Fast has also taken the lead at the seven-handed table as far as refreshments go -- he just ordered four chocolate ice cream cups for himself and others. --MH

11:25pm: Salter shoves, gets no calls
Level 17 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

Tournament staff have been logging hands played on either table since they got down to the last two. Prior to the last break, Table 1 was playing marginally fewer hands than Table 2, but they were also playing more streets with more VPIP among their players. That meant it was actually perfectly fair. (The shot clock helps with all this, of course.)

After the break, the pattern continued. After Mikita Badziakouski picked up the first pot with an uncontested early-position raise, it was a slower burn on the second hand. Ivan Luca began proceedings, with a raise to 80,000 from the cutoff, which only Jack Salter, the short stack, called in the big blind.

They both slowly checked the K♦A♦Q♣ flop. Then they both slowly checked the 6♦ turn. The river was the 2♠ and Salter reached for his entire 410,000 stack, which he pushed forward.

Luca ran the clock down to 1 second and then folded. Salter pushed slightly closer to 500,000. -- HS

11pm: Break time

See you back here in 20 minutes. --JS

11pm: Kruk doubles Kenney
Level 16 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

In the last hand before the break, Daniel Negreanu opened to 85,000 from the cutoff only for Christopher Kruk to three-bet to 250,000 on the button. Action was on Bryn Kenney and he took his time - even using a time bank - before he jammed for 628,000 total.

Negreanu folded quickly, but Kruk shrugged and made the call.

He flipped the over the K♠9♠ which trailed Kenney's K♣Q♣, and the board ran out 8♠8♦6♥A♥3♥ to give Kenney the double.

"Oh hello 'I had the best hand!'" joked Negreanu. "I would have turned a full house with ace eight!"

Nevermind. Kruk is down to 2 million and Kenney is up to 1.4 million. --JS

10:50pm: Thought bubbles
Level 16 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

There are 14 players left -- three from the cash. Time to start thinking about the bubble. And talking about it, too.

Isaac Haxton had mentioned recently how it had been happening to him recently. We're recalling his bubbling the €10K High Roller at EPT Prague last December, though he had another more recent story of bubbling to share with Mikita Badziakouski when asked.

That led Jack Salter to note how he could only remember bubbling once in all the tournaments he'd ever played -- perhaps 500 of them. Badziakouski also said he'd never endured it, at least in a big buy-in event like this one.


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Badziakouski, three off the bubble

"It's a special feeling bubbling the biggest tourney you ever play," chimed in Igor Kurganov, who bubbled the €25K High Roller at PokerStars Championship Bahamas this year.

"You should try!" added Kurganov with a grin. --MH

10:45pm: Fast with the firm glare
Level 16 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

A small pot from either table as the bubble nears:

Mikita Badziakouski opened to 65,000 from under the gun and Ivan Luca three-bet to 200,000 from the cutoff. Stanley Choi cut out a four-bet of 450,000 from the button and won when both opponents yielded.

Daniel Colman raised to 70,000 and Daniel Negreanu called on the button. Colman bet 90,000 at the flop of 4♣4♠9♦ and Negreanu called. There was no more betting through the 7♠ turn and A♣ river and Colman turned over 2♣2♠, prepared to be told he was beaten. He wasn't. Negreanu mucked. -- HS

10:40pm: Quads for Colman, home for Kolonias
Level 16 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

They're down to 14, and Alexandros Kolonias is the latest casualty.

The sole Greek in the field open-shoved under the gun for 303,000, and it folded around to Dan Colman in the big blind. He got a count and took a peek back at his cards before making the call.

Kolonias revealed the A♦K♠ and that was flipping against Colman's 6♣6♥, and on first glance the A♠6♦5♠ flop must have looked good for the player at risk. However, Colman had flopped a set.

He'd then turn an unbeatable quads on the 6♠ turn, and finally the board was completed by the 8♠.

Colman is up to 1.1 million now. --JS


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Kolonias KO'd by quads

10:35pm: Seating assignments for final two tables
Level 16 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

As two players were eliminated simultaneously, there were 15 players left when they did the next scheduled redraw. There's one more left (at nine players), but before that will come the money bubble as the top 11 cash.

Koray Aldemir leads the final 15, while Jack Salter and Alexandros Kolonias are the current short stacks.

Table 1
Seat 1: Jack Salter - 460,000
Seat 2: Ike Haxton - 1,150,000
Seat 3: Mikita Badziakouski - 1,225,000
Seat 4: empty
Seat 5: Igor Kurganov - 2,125,000
Seat 6: Ivan Luca - 1,450,000
Seat 7: Stanley Choi - 940,000
Seat 8: Bartlomiej Machon - 1,250,000

Table 2
Seat 1: Mikhail Rudoy - 740,000
Seat 2: Daniel Negreanu - 1,950,000
Seat 3: Christopher Kruk - 2,800,000
Seat 4: Bryn Kenney - 720,000
Seat 5: Dietrich Fast - 1,150,000
Seat 6: Koray Aldemir - 4,350,000
Seat 7: Dan Colman - 820,000
Seat 8: Alexandros Kolonias - 450,000

About half of the one-hour Level 16 still remains. --MH

10:20pm: Ruzicka falls, too
Level 16 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

Just as Igor Yaroshevskyy was busting on one table, Vojtech Ruzicka was eliminated on another.

Koray Aldemir opened to 65,000 from under the gun, and it folded to Ruzicka in the big blind. He three-bet to 230,000, only for Aldemir to put him all-in, which he snap-called.

Aldemir: 7♣7♠
Ruzicka: A♦K♦

Another flip, and while the 5♦4♦5♣ flop didn't pair the Czech he did pick up a flush draw to go with his over-cards.

The turn was then the 4♠, double pairing the board, and the river the T♥. Ruzicka couldn't hit his flush like Christopher Kruk did against Yaroshevskyy, and he was out in 16th.


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Koray Aldemir: New leader

They're now re-drawing for the final two tables. Aldemir is the new chip-leader with 4.6 million. --JS

10:15pm: Yaroshevskyy yanked out
Level 16 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

That's it, we're down to the final two tables in the Super High Roller.

Igor Yaroshevskyy's decline started when Bryn Kenney raised to 70,000 from the cutoff. Christopher Kruk was on the small blind and three-bet to 210,000. Yaroshevskyy then moved all-in for just over 300,000 from the big blind and Kenney folded.

Not Kruk though.

Kruk called and turned over A♥6♥ to Yaroshevskyy's T♣T♥. The J♥5♥5♣ flop gave Kruk a flush draw and while the 7♠ on the turn didn't complete it, the 8♥ on the river did. Yaroshevskyy was out in 17th place while Kruk chipped up to 2.9 million.

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Igor Yaroshevskyy: Standing up and heading home

But before they could stop the action to redraw to the final two tables, there was another elimination... --AV

10:10pm: Carrel cut down while Badziakouski and Yaroshevskyy double
Level 16 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

Three quick all-ins -- one per table -- took place just now. Let's deal with the one ending in an elimination first, as it gets the headline.

Following a Koray Aldemir button open, Charlie Carrel raise-shoved his stack from the big blind and got looked up by Aldemir, then had to laugh as he got caught making his move with K♥8♥.

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Charlie Carrel: Don't look back

Aldemir had 6♦6♥, meaning Carrel had two live cards, but after a Q♥3♦2♥9♠7♣ runout Carrel goes out in 18th.

Meanwhile Mikita Badziakouski had been pushing his stack all in on multiple occasions and getting no callers before he made a standard button raise to 65,000. Jack Salter shoved from the big blind over that, and Badziakouski called.

Like Carrel, Salter didn't have the strongest starter as he turned over A♠4♦ while Badziakouski had J♥J♦. The jacks held through the 9♣K♥3♠8♣4♥ board, despite Salter's calls for "a Barry!" on the end (i.e., an ace on the river). Put Badziakouski on 1.05 million now and Salter down to 500,000.

Finally, Igor Yaroshevskyy earned a small double to 305,000 after his A♥4♥ beat Mikhail Rudoy's Q♣3♣ when the board came A♦3♥J♣5♠4♣. Rudoy is at about 600,000 now. --MH

10:05pm: It's the Luca show
Level 16 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

Everything has been going Ivan Luca's way of late, but it seems that run has stopped.

In this latest pot, he opened to 63,000 from the cutoff and Stanley Choi defended his big blind. The flop came ace high - A♠5♥8♣ - and Choi check-called Luca's 63,000 c-bet.

To the turn, then. The dealer laid the Q♥ and that was checked through, bringing the 2♣ river. Choi checked a third and final time, letting Luca resume his aggression for 124,000.

Choi didn't take long to call, and when the cards were flipped it was Choi's A♥T♥ that was best against the A♣6♥.

That one dips Luca a little to 1.33 million, while Choi is just shy of the millionaire's club with 990,000 now. --JS

10pm: Lucky Luca
Level 16 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

Things weren't looking good for Ivan Luca. He went all-in with a big pocket pair, but got called by a better one, the best pocket pair actually.

Bryn Kenney got dealt A♠A♥ on the hijack and opened to 70,000. Action then folded to Luca's big blind and the Argentinian player three-bet to 270,000 with J♦J♥. Kenney then moved all-in and Luca quickly called.

His enthusiasm vanished when Kenney turned over pocket aces. The 7♣4♥3♠ wasn't encouraging either, but then a J♣ came on the river to thrust Luca into the lead. The T♣ came on the river and Luca doubled to 1.6 million while Kenney dipped to 685,000. --AV

9:50pm: Aldemir stacks Seidel, 18 remain
Level 15 - Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

It took an hour post-dinner, but finally the tournament has been trimmed from 19 players to 18 after the recent elimination of Erik Seidel.

Seidel had open-pushed a short stack from late position and Koray Aldemir called him from the big blind. Seidel tabled K♥3♥ and needed help to survive against Aldemir's 7♦7♣, but the 5♦8♠9♥9♠A♦ board didn't provide any and Seidel departed.

erik_seidel_psc_barcelona_shr_busted.jpg

Erik Seidel during Day 1 play

Aldemir has around 2.2 million after adding those chips. --MH

9:40pm: Luca continues to impress
Level 15 - Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

Another nice bit of play from Ivan Luca to report.

Action folded to Christopher Kruk on the button who opened to 50,000. Luca defended his big blind to see the 4♣7♥7♠ flop, on which he check-called a 53,000 c-bet.

That brought a turn card: the 2♥. Both players checked it.

The river was the A♥, and with his 30 seconds almost counted down, Luca led out for just 33,000. Kruk didn't waste much time calling, but mucked with a smile and a shake of the head when he saw Luca's hand:

J♣2♠.

Luca squeezed out some extra value with just a pair of ducks to go with the sevens on board, having floated the flop with nothing. He also got Kruk to call with worse.

Nice. --JS

9:35pm: Kenney climbing
Level 15 - Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

Bryn Kenney returned from the break 19th out of 19 in chips, but that's not the case anymore. Most recently he earned a big boost in a hand versus the current chip leader, Christopher Kruk.

Picking up things on the turn with the board showing 7♠3♠7♣8♠, Kruk checked from the big blind, and in position on the button Kenney fired 71,000. Kruk sat quietly for a moment, then said "Two four two" indicating a check-raise to 242,000. Kenney paused a couple of beats and called.

The river brought the 3♣ and check from Kruk, and this time it was Kenney calling out a number.

"Four two seven," he said.

bryn_kenney_psc_barcelona_day2.jpg

Bryn Kenney: Moving up

That bet of 427,000 was somewhere between half and two-thirds the pot, and after using up a time bank card Kruk decided to let his hand go.

Kenney is now up around 1.25 million, while Kruk still leads with just a bit under 3 million. --MH

9:30pm: Aldemir adds some from Ruzicka
Level 15 - Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

It was a battle of the blinds after Vojtech Ruzicka raised to 80,000 from the small blind and Koray Aldemir called from the big.

There was a 9♠2♠2♥ flop and a bet of 70,000 from Ruzicka. Aldemir called and a 5♥ came on the turn. This time Ruzicka checked and Aldemir bet 230,000. Ruzicka called and then both players slowed to a check when the K♠ came on the river.

vojtech_ruzicka_koral_aldemir_psc_day2.jpg

Vojtech Ruzicka and Koray Aldemir

Ruzicka showed A♦Q♣ while Aldemir took down the pot with Q♦9♥. The pot put Aldemir up to 1.8 million while Ruzicka dipped down to 1.4 million. --AV

9:20pm: Salter active, relatively speaking
Level 15 - Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

Not a lot happening over the last several minutes as the number of players remaining has held steady at 19.

Jack Salter has gotten involved a bit more than others over at Table 1. Once he limped from the small blind, Dan Colman raised to 84,000 from the big, then Salter shoved and Colman had to step aside. On another occasion Salter open-raised all-in from the SB, forcing another fold from Colman.

In between Salter chopped a pot with the player on his other side, the big-stacked Igor Kurganov, in yet another blind-versus-blind hand.

Kurganov continues to sit near the top of the counts (just behind Christopher Kruk at present) with 2.45 million. Salter is at about 875,000. And Colman has 650,000. --MH

9:15pm: Keep on Krukin'
Level 15 - Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

Christopher Kruk has played the big stack very well ever since he shot up the chip counts yesterday. He's still applying the pressure, and just took some more chips from Stanley Choi.

It folded to Choi on the button and he made it 50,000, before Kruk three-bet from the small blind to 150,000. Call.

The dealer put out an 8♦4♣3♥ flop, and Kruk continued for 130,000. That was all it took to shake off Choi and rake in the pot. --JS

9:10pm: Nice call from Luca
Level 15 - Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

Ivan Luca is in the zone. He just called a river bet with king high, and was correct.

He'd opened to 48,000 in the cutoff and Stanley Choi called from the big blind to see a T♠A♣4♥ flop. Luca continued for 24,000 - just one big blind - when checked to him, and Choi called again.

That brought a 2♦ turn which both checked, before the 4♣ river landed. Choi now saw an opportunity and led out for 108,000, but that didn't get past Luca who after a think made the call.

Choi turned over just the K♠9♦ for king-high, and that was no good against Luca's K♥J♥ for king-high and a better kicker.

Luca has 760,000 now, while Choi is just ahead with 780,000. --JS

9:05pm: A near double for Kenney
Level 15 - Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

It wasn't quite a double. Igor Yaroshevskyy bet big on the river and it looked to be about the same size as Bryn Kenney's stack. But after Kenney called, a quick count showed that Kenney would have just survived if he lost.

But he didn't lose.

The hand started when Yaroshevskyy raised to 50,000 from the cutoff and Kenney called from the big blind. Players were greeted with an A♦5♥7♠ flop and Kenney check-called a 30,000 bet.

There was a round of checks when the 5♦ came on the turn and then Yaroshevskyy bet 225,000 after the Q♦ landed on the river. Kenney thought and then called. Yaroshevskyy showed some air with J♣T♠ while Kenney tabled A♥2♠ for two pair. Kenney nearly doubled to 700,000 while Yaroshevskyy dipped to 340,000. --AV

8:55pm: Fast double up for Fast
Level 15 - Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

Just a couple of hands back from the break and Dietrich Fast has found a double up.

After Igor Kurganov opened to 54,000, it folded to Fast in the big blind and he shoved for 658,000 - or 27 big blinds. This perplexed Kurganov somewhat.

dietrich_fast_psc_barcelona_day2_shr.jpg

Dietrich Fast: Double

"Did you see where you were in the chip counts?" he asked Fast to no response. "You still have like..."

After a little mental arithmetic, Kurganov made the call with the 7♠7♥ and was flipping against Fast's A♦K♣. The 5♥A♣J♦2♣J♥ board gave Fast the win, and brought him up to 1.33 million. Kurganov's stack has dropped to 2.4 million. --JS

8:45pm: Back to bubble business
Level 15 - Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

The remaining 19 players are taking their seats, as we approach the bubble. Only 11 will make the money, so stay tuned to find out who leaves empty-handed. --JS

7:40pm: Dinner break

They're on a 75-minute dinner break. We'll have fresh chip counts soon, then return at around 8:50pm to play on for another four levels. -- HS

7:35pm: Two out, 19 sent for dinner
Level 14 - Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 2,000)

There was a flurry of activity towards the end of the level, with plenty of all-in pushes and both Linus Loeliger losing the last of his chips.

We heard only the scantest of details of Loeliger's elimination. It was pocket fours into ace-ten. But we watched the rest. Moraes open-pushed for 220,000 and Igor Kurganov called on the button. Moraes was very unhappy when Kurganov turned over his T♦T♥. Moraes had T♠9♠ and was in trouble.

He got no help from a board of 4♥5♦6♥K♠K♣ and was out in 20th.

On a neighbouring table, Isaac Haxton and Daniel Negreanu troubled the guardians of the red triangle. Haxton opened to 40,000 and Erik Seidel called on the button.

Negreanu three-bet to 160,000 in the small blind but then Haxton moved all-in for around 600,000. Seidel and Negreanu folded.

On another table, Bryn Kenney three-bet shoved over an Ivan Luca late-position raise and Luca quickly folded.

There are 19 players left at the dinner break. -- HS

7:25pm: Tabling bluffs
Level 14 - Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 3,000)

Charlie Carrel bombed the river with a bet of 100,000 -- more than the pot -- and after some thought Isaac Haxton called.

With some vigor, Carrel turned over 9♦4♦, showing he had absolutely nothing to match a board made up of two diamonds and three hearts. Haxton showed A♠8♠ with some uncertainty -- it was clear he wasn't sure if his pair of aces were good -- then laughed as the chips were pushed his way.

"All those red cards," said Haxton sheepishly. "I wasn't sure."

Daniel Negreanu then told a story of tabling bluffs in limit hold'em from long ago, getting better hands to fold in the face of such confidence, and Haxton agreed it creates some confusion when people happily turn over nothing hands.

Haxton has about 800,000 now, and Carrel 1.1 million as the dinner break approaches. --MH


7:20pm: Haxton stacks Loeser; 21 left
Level 14 - Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 3,000)

Rafael Moraes opened with an all-in shove over on Table 1, but got no interest. Shortly after that it was Manig Loeser open-raising all in for 232,000 from the hijack seat on Table 2.

Isaac Haxton was next to act, and after getting a count he decided to call the push. The others got out, Loeser showed A♠9♠, and Haxton 8♥8♠.

The board came seven-high, coming 4♥6♦7♦3♦3♣ -- meaning Haxton's eights remained best, Loeser patted the table as he left, then after a quick rebalancing each of the three remaining tables were seven-handed.

Haxton has 680,000 now. --MH

7:15pm: Fast with the firm glare
Level 14 - Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 2,000)

Dietrich Fast and Igor Kurganov just played a pot that wasn't necessarily as friendly as some. Kurganov seemed to be slightly unnerved by the fact that Fast spent almost all of his 30-second countdowns on all street staring intently directly in his opponent's face.

It started with a raise to 42,000 from Fast and a three-bet in the cutoff to 110,000 from Kurganov. Fast called taking the two of them to a flop of 7♠T♦T♣. Fast checked, staring at Kurganov, then Kurganov bet 55,000. Staring at Kurganov, Fast called.

The turn brought the 2♣ and, staring at Kurganov, Fast checked. Kurganov checked back.

The 7♦ completed the board and Fast continued staring. This is where Kurganov got a little upset and started muttering about the staring. Fast checked. Action was back on Kurgaov and so was the fixed gaze.

Kurganov checked back and Fast showed A♦A♥, which was a winner. The rest of the players at the table then started chatting about it too, but Fast held firm, saying he was within his rights to stare as much as he liked.

Kurganov didn't seem totally happy about it, but one suspects the sight of 2.55 million chips will keep him on the straight and narrow. Fast has 630,000. -- HS

7:10pm: Loeser edges closer
Level 14 - Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 3,000)

Manig Loeser found himself with just 100,000 remaining, and jammed all in over Daniel Negreanu's pre-flop open. He called with the Q♥T♠, but that was dominated by Loeser's Q♦Q♠ and after the A♣A♠5♥4♣2♦ runout Loeser doubles up. --JS

7:05 pm: Kenney doubles
Level 14 - Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 3,000)

Bryn Kenney was down to just 132,000 and he put it all-in from under the gun. Action folded to Igor Yaroshevskyy and he called from the button. The blinds released and we had another showdown.

Kenney tabled K♠Q♥ while Yaroshevskyy was in the lead with A♥9♦. The 6♣4♥3♥ flop missed both players, but then Yaroshevskyy improved to a pair of nines when the 9♥ came on the turn.

But the Q♣ came on the river to save Kenney's tournament life. Kenney doubled to about 310,000 while Yaroshevskyy was left with 965,000 after the hand. --AV

6:55pm: Playing the odds and probably
Level 14 - Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 3,000)

Isaac Haxton limped from the small blind, leaving himself about 160,000 behind, and Erik Seidel checked his option in the big blind.

The flop came 2♣7♣3♥. Haxton checked, Seidel bet 33,000, and Haxton moved all-in.

They were on the far end of the table from your humble table-side scribbler, so the talk was a bit faint. One of Seidel's words was distinct, however.

"Probably."

Seidel eventually called, showing A♠J♥, and saw that Haxton was drawing with J♣T♣. The K♠ turn kept Seidel in front, but the K♣ river was what Haxton needed and he doubled up.

isaac_haxton_psc_barcelona_day2_double.jpg

Haxton hits clubs to double

Haxton has around 400,000 now, while Seidel slips to 565,000. --MH

6:45pm: Even more for Igor
Level 13 - Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

Team PokerStars Pro Igor Kurganov has extended his chip lead courtesy of a bluff against Jack Salter. That's if you believe Kurganov was being 100 percent truthful anyway.

The hand started with a 46,000 under-the-gun open from Salter which was only called by Mikita Badziakouski in the small blind and Kurganov in the big. They went to a 5♦Q♥4♣ flop and Salter made a 61,000 c-bet, which only Kurganov called.

On the 4♦ turn both players opted to check, resulting in the 8♣ river. Kurganov now decided to lead out, making it 114,000. Salter tanked but would eventually fold, despite going a little over his time bank allowance.

igor_kurganov_big_stack_psc_barcelona_day2.jpg

Igor Kurganov: Big stack getting bigger

When the dealer was pulling in the cards, Kurganov motioned to grab his out of the muck, before claiming he had "ace ten of hearts".

Whether he had that or not, one thing he does now have is 2.53 million and the chip lead. Salter meanwhile is down to 750,000. --JS

6:40pm: Kruk KO's Khanghah
Level 13 - Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

The rollercoaster ride of Ahadpur Khanghah has come to an abrupt end shortly after the redraw down to the final three tables.

Following a 2♥7♠T♥ flop, Khanghah was all-in and Christopher Kruk his lone opponent. Kruk tabled Q♠Q♦, and Khanghah reached over to give Kruk a pat on the shoulder before turning over his Q♥J♥ for a heart flush draw.

The Q♣ on the turn improved Kruk to a set while lessening Khanghah's odds, then the J♠ river sealed it and Khanghah is out.

Kruk is still stacking, though looks to have around 2.1 million or thereabouts, having reclaimed the chip lead with 23 left. --MH

6:35pm: Final three tables
Level 13 - Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

Seat 1: Dan Colman
Seat 2: Rafael Moraes
Seat 3: Charlie Carrel
Seat 4: Alexandros Kolonias
Seat 5: Dietrich Fast
Seat 6: Mikita Badziakouski
Seat 7: Igor Kurganov
Seat 8: Jack Salter

Seat 1: Mikhail Rudoy
Seat 2: Bryn Kenney
Seat 3: Linus Loeliger
Seat 4: Stanley Choi
Seat 5: Ahadpour Khanghah
Seat 6: Christopher Kruk
Seat 7: Igor Yaroshevskyy
Seat 8: Ivan Luca

Seat 1: Vojtech Ruzicka
Seat 2: Koray Aldemir
Seat 3: Bartlomiej Machon
Seat 4: Manig Loeser
Seat 5: Isaac Haxton
Seat 6: Yang Wang
Seat 7: Erik Seidel
Seat 8: Daniel Negreanu

6:25pm: Big pot for Negreanu
Level 13 - Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

In the last hand before the three-table re-draw--we're down to 24 folks--Daniel Negreanu won himself a hefty pot against Mikita Badziakouski.

There was already a 4♦4♣8♦3♠ on board when we arrived, and Negreanu had checked. Badziakouski then tank-bet 90,000, and the Team Pro called. It's worth noting that this was a small blind (Negreanu) versus big blind (Badziakouski) confrontation.

The river came the 3♣, pairing the board a second time. Negreanu checked and the Belarusian used a time bank card before making it 185,000 (I think - he put 200,000 out there but seemed to say a number ending in eight five).

daniel_negreanu_psc_barcelona_day2_shr_2.jpg

Extra drama for Daniel Negreanu

Negreanu used a time bank too. He eventually called though, and Badziakouski's expression gave away that he'd been caught bluffing. He sighed and nodded before saying "Good call" and showing the 9♣7♦.

Negreanu revealed his K♥8♥ for eights and fours, and that raked him in a pot to bring his stack up to approximately 1.72 million. Badziakouski is down to 560,000.

"That was my first one," Negreanu said as he stacked, referring to the time bank card. "Seemed like a good time for it. Extra drama!" --JS

6:15pm: Salter takes his time, then takes chips from Khanghah
Level 13 - Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

Ahadpur Khanghah continues to remain heavily involved, playing big pots whenever he can get the chance. Right after doubling through Igor Yaroshevskyy just now, he was back at it again in a big one versus Jack Salter.

With the board showing 4♥6♦2♠7♣, Khanghah bet 65,000 and Salter called, bringing the pot up around 275,000. The 6♣ then provoked an immediate all-in push from Khanghah.

Salter is wearing a surgical mask that covers the bottom half of his face. Still, from the look in his eyes, he had to have been grinning.

"Ahhh... I was afraid you might do that," began Salter, who soon after pointed at the six on the flop as a problem for him if Khanghah had another in his hand.

"I don't know what to do!" said Salter at one point. "Take your time," said Khanghah.

Salter did, in fact, take his time -- literally -- as he'd end up using all four of his time bank cards, making it one of the longer bouts of tanking we've seen all tournament.

Finally Salter called to commit his last 325,000 or so, and Khanghah slapped over his A♠9♦, knowing his bluff had been caught. Salter had 7♥5♥ for sevens and sixes, and he won the pot.

"You put me to the test," he said to Khanghah. "My heart was beating fast!" Kanghah complimented Salter on making a good call.

That put Salter up to 955,000 now, while Khanghah slips down again to 660,000. --MH

6:10pm: Luca doubles through Ruzicka
Level 13 - Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

Thirteen is considered unlucky by many, but Level 13 has been a dream for Ivan Luca so far. After (possibly) bluffing Alexandros Kolonias in the previously reported Luca hand, he's just doubled up in a big pot against Vojtech Ruzicka.

Picking up the action on the turn of a 9♦9♠5♦3♠ board, there was already around 250,000 in the middle. Luca then jammed for 283,000, and Ruzicka was in the tank.

Eventually he tossed in a single chip for a call, and Luca (who was in the big blind) showed his K♣9♥ for flopped trips. Ruzicka had the J♠J♥ and would need one of those two remaining jacks to hit on the river.

Instead it came the A♥, bringing Luca up to around 820,000 and Ruzicka down to 345,000. --JS

6:05pm: Aces for Khanghah, disappointment for Yaroshevskyy
Level 13 - Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

Igor Yaroshevskyy opened to 37,000 from middle position and Ahadpour Khanghah called from the cutoff.

Dietrich Fast threw in a three-bet to 118,000 and then Yaroshevskyy upped it to 262,000. It was a dream situation for Khanghah, who was looking down at A♣A♦. He quickly moved all-in and Fast folded while Yaroshevskyy called.

igor_yaroshevskyy_psc_barcelona_shr_day2.jpg

Igor Yaroshevskyy: Bad time for queens

Yaroshevskyy turned over Q♥Q♣ and then muttered angrily when Khanghah showed his aces. The board came 9♣8♥6♦5♦4♣ and Khanghah scored a double up. The pot put Khanghah up to 1.45 million while Yaroshevskyy dropped to just 300,000. --AV

ahadpour_khaghah_psc_barcelona_day2_shr.jpg

Ahadpour Khanghah: Great time for aces

6pm: Carrel correctly calls
Level 13 - Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

Arriving just as the 5♦5♣J♠ flop was being dealt, a bit of deduction suggested Linus Loeliger opened from middle position, then Charlie Carrel must have raised from the blinds as the pair of beasts (online and live) managed to build a pot of around 270,000 between them before any community cards had been dealt.

Post-flop things were a little less drama-filled, until the end, anyway. Carrel led for 65,000 and Loeliger called. Both checked the 9♣ turn. Then Carrel checked the 4♥ river.

Loeliger bombed a bet of more than 200,000. Carrel asked for a clarification of the amount, and as soon as that was delivered he called. Loeliger had K♠Q♦, and Carrel showed J♦7♦ to collect the pot.

Carrel has 1.175 million now, Loeliger 610,000. --MH

5:55pm: What's behind Luca's smile?
Level 13 - Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

Ivan Luca doesn't say much. It might be because he's Argentinian and doesn't want to speak English at the table. It might be because he's enjoying whatever he's listening to on his headphones too much. Or it might be because he's simply focused on the game.

He might not say much, but after this latest hand, he let out a smile that was worth a thousand words.

He kicked off the pot with a 36,000 open and when it got to Alexandros Kolonias in the small blind, he three-bet to 100,000. Luca glanced back at his cards, and tossed a chip on top. Ten seconds later he did the exact same thing again. Eventually he decided his hand was good enough to see a flop.

That fell A♦4♠8♠ and both checked, just as they would on the 3♣ turn.

But the J♠ river brought some action. It completed a spade flush, and when Kolonias checked a final time Luca took his time and eventually made it 126,000. Kolonias went into the tank for around a minute (using a time bank card), but folded in the end.

A huge smile then spread across Luca's usually straight face, suggesting he'd successfully executed a bluff. Kolonias asked him something quietly and Luca shook his head.

Kolonias is now playing 700,000, while Luca increases to 560,000. --JS

5:40pm: The fall of Schillhabel
Level 13 - Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

The latest player to leave is Germany's Stefan Shillhabel, who in two hands went from a big stack to zilch.

Daniel Colman was all in against him with the Q♠Q♣ against Schillhabel's 9♥9♠ (I missed the action, but it's safe to say that pre-flop three and four-bets were involved). The board ran out 2♣8♥A♣5♣7♥, and that meant Schillhabel had to send close to 600,000 over to Colman.

daniel_colman_psc_barcelona_day2.jpg

Why is this man laughing? It's Daniel Colman, that's why

In the next hand Schillhabel jammed his last 78,000 with the Q♥8♥ and was called by Bartlomiej Machon with the A♥6♦. Schillhabel flopped the world on the J♥Q♠T♥, but the 5♠ and - more importantly - the K♠ river gave Machon a straight for the knock out.

bartlomiej_machon_psc_barcelona_shr_day2.jpg

Bartlomiej Machon: Knockout

Schillhabel is outta here, while Colman sits with 1.2 million and Machon improves to 1.2 million also.

stefan_schillhabel_psc_barcelona_day2_shr.jpg

Stefan Schillhabel, left: Deflated and defeated

--JS

5:45pm: One Yan down
Level 13 - Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

David Yan has been eliminated after losing his stack to Koray Aldemir.

In his final hand, Yan had A♥9♥ and Aldemir Q♥Q♦, and a board of 4♦6♦3♦9♣J♣ added up to Aldemir having the better pair and Yan heading to the exit.

david_yan_psc_barcelona_day2_out.jpg

David Yan's day is done

Aldemir now has 1.46 million, having earned a spot inside the top five of the counts. --MH

5:40pm: Gonzalez gone, Kurganov nears 2 million
Level 13 - Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

Fabrizio Gonzalez came back from break with 360,000 and thought he'd score a doubled up with pocket jacks.

Gonzalez looked down at J♣J♥ and raised to 36,000 from under the gun. Action folded to Igor Kurganov's button and the Team Pro looked down at a bigger pocket pair: K♣K♦. Kurganov three-bet to 92,000 and Gonzalez moved all-in.

fabrizio_gonzalez_psc_barcelona_day2_shr.jpg

Fabrizio Gonzalez: Gone

Kurganov quickly called and players tabled their pocket pairs. The 3♦Q♥6♠9♦7♠ board missed both players and pocket kings reigned supreme. Gonzalez's tournament came to an end while Kurganov chipped up to 1,960,000. --AV

5:30pm: River value for Schillhabel
Level 13 - Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

With around 125,000 in the middle and the board showing 3♣6♠4♦A♣9♣, Stefan Schillhabel bet 80,000.

"Eighty," said Daniel Negreanu aloud, a prelude to about 10 seconds' worth of contemplation that ended with a call. Schillhabel turned over A♠Q♠ for a pair of aces, and Negreanu grinned as he mucked.

Schillhabel bumps up to 655,000, but Negreanu still has reason to grin with his 1.6 million. --MH

5:25pm: Negreanu rises close to the summit
Level 13 - Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

As 29 players return for Level 13, there's a very familiar name rising up towards the top. Daniel Negreanu is now second overall, with only Christopher Kruk between Kid Poker and the very summit. The chip-counts have been freshly updated.

daniel_negreanu_day2_shr_barcelona.jpg

Daniel Negreanu near the top

5:05pm: Take a break

The players have gone on a 20-minute break, so we'll do the same. See you shortly.

5:02pm: Eyes on the (third-place) prize
Level 12 - Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

Igor Kurganov and Charlie Carrel are playing at adjacent tables, and just now they happened to choose the same moment to stand and stretch as Level 12 is almost over.

After Kurganov made a reading recommendation to Carrel who noted it, he then had a question for the young British player.

"Are you going to win?" he asked. "Am I what?" responded Carrel. "The tournament... are you going to win it?" repeated Kurganov.

igor_kurganov_psc_barcelona_day2.jpg

Igor Kurganov: Reading recommendation

"I'm going to come in third," said Carrel with a grin. He wanted to win, of course, he clarified (as do all 31 of the remaining players). But he felt he'd be coming a couple of spots shy of the top prize.

They speculated a little from there about who would, in fact, be earning the €1,135,500 awaiting the winner, compared notes about the relative "happiness gap" between that prize and third-place money (a little over half), then returned to their seats for a couple more hands before the next break. --MH

5pm: Loeliger over Luca
Level 12 - Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

With the board showing 6♣7♣3♦9♠, Linus Loeliger fired a turn bet and was called by Ivan Luca, putting the pot up close to 400,000. The 6♦ river then earned a short bit of quiet contemplation from Loeliger followed by an all-in push.

linus_loeliger_psc_barcelona_day2.jpg

Linus Loeliger: Beating Luca

Luca would spend a time bank card in response, but wasn't willing to risk anymore of his chips as he let his hand go. Loeliger moves up around 820,000 after collecting that pot, while Luca has about 720,000 with a few minutes left before the next break. --MH

4:58pm: Mad Dog silenced
Level 12 - Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

Mike "Mad Dog" Watson is out, losing a race against Dietrich Fast. Watson didn't have heaps and got it in pre-flop with ace-king. It didn't hit against Fast's pocket fours.

Fast now has around 900,000 now. --HS

4:55pm: Khanghah attack
Level 12 - Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

If there's one thing players have probably worked out by now it's that if you're entering a pot against Ahadpour Khanghah, you had better be prepared to play for most of your chips. Khanghah is not exactly shy of shoving.

Here's a case in point. Khanghah made an opening raise to 37,000 from under the gun and Paul Newey thought he'd give it a spin from the button. They were heads up to the flop of 4♠5♦A♠ and Khanghah bet 55,000. Newey called.

The turn brought the T♣ and Khanghah jammed for 386,000. Newey got the count, then looked at his own stack of around 410,000, and then folded. Khanghah's aggression did it again and built his stack back around 500,000. --HS

4:50pm: Schillhabel snipes another
Level 12 - Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

Stefan Schillhabel just keeps on taking them out.

His most recent victim was Christoph Vogelsang. Schillhabel started that hand with an under-the-gun raise to 27,000 and action folded to the big blind, which was occupied by Vogelsang.

Vogelsang called and the dealer fanned out a 7♠8♥9♠ flop. Vogeslang moved all-in for about 130,000 and Schillhabel quickly called. Vogeslang showed A♣7♦ for bottom pair while Schillhabel tabled two-pair with 9♣8♣.

Vogeslang also got two-pair when a 6♠ and 6♦ completed the board, but Schillhabels 9s and 8s were better.

Vogeslang and his ET turtleneck were out of the tournament while Schillhabel chipped up to 580,000. --AV


8G2A7606_PCBAR2017Christoph_Vogelsang_Neil Stoddart.jpg

A rare glimpse of Vogelsang without hood over mouth

4:40pm: Kurganov's full house better than Mateos's
Level 12 - Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

Igor Kurganov raised to 27,000 from middle position and got one caller in Adrian Mateos playing from the button. Mateos began today as the chip leader, but has seen his stack slide a bit and started this hand with about 575,000. Meanwhile Kurganov began it with around 385,000.

The flop fell Q♦K♥A♣, and Kurganov continued for 30,000. Mateos called. The 3♠ turn brought a 110,000 bet from the Team PokerStars Pro, and Mateos stuck around once more.

The A♠ came on the river, and Kurganov didn't respond immediately. After a few seconds he pointed at the time clock to remind the dealer to start it, then about 20 seconds after that bet almost all of what he had left. Mateos sat a few seconds himself before announcing he was raising all in, and Kurganov quickly called off the remainder.

Kurganov flipped over A♦K♠ for aces full of kings, then saw how that had just pipped Mateos's A♥Q♣ for a lesser full house. Kurganov leaps up close to 800,000 after that pot while Mateos is now down to 175,000. --MH


8G2A7601_PCBAR2017Adrian_Mateos_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Big loss for Mateos

4:35pm: Yaroshevskyy into seven figures
Level 12 - Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

You can count Igor Yaroshevskyy as a member of the millionaire's club too now as a small pot against Christopher Kruk put him into seven figures.

Kruk raised to 25,000 from the cutoff and Yaroshevskyy, whose stack I had just counted at 980,000, called in the big blind. The two took a flop of 9♦K♥9♠ and Yaroshevskyy checked. Kruk bet 18,000 and Yaroshevskyy called.

Both checked the 5♣ turn taking them to the 9♣ river. Yaroshevskyy bet 57,000, Kruk called and Yaroshevskyy's K♦5♥ won the day. --HS

4:25pm: Snipping shorties
Level 12 - Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

One table was tired of its short stacks and decided to get rid of a pair of them in the matter of a few minutes.

The first to go was Ben Heath. Heath was down to just 113,000 and got it all-in against Dan Colman. Heath tabled 4♦4♠ and was flipping for his tournament life when Colman turned over A♥9♠.

But the 9♥3♠T♣8♦K♠ board fell in Colman's favor and the pair of 9s took it down. Heath hit the rail while Colman chipped up to about 870,000.

Then another short stack was eliminated while Colman was still stacking up his chips.

Sergey Tikhonov moved all-in for his last 43,000 and then Stefan Schillhabel re-shoved for 155,000 from the cutoff. The rest of the table got out of the way and players tabled their hands. Tikhonov showed A♥5♦ and Schillhabel turned over a dominating A♣T♣.

The 8♣Q♥T♥ flop gave Schillhabel a pair of tens and then a 5♥ came on the turn to pair Tikhonov's five. It was too little too late though and then a 9♦ came on the river to seal Tikhonov's fate.

Tikhonov's Super High Roller run came to an end while Schillhabel chipped up to about 210,000. --AV


8G2A7583_PCBAR2017Sergey_Tikhonov_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Tikhonov's no more

4:15pm: Limit poker
Level 11 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

They're doing it differently on Table 4. It could be mistaken for a game of $2-$4 limit at times.

The last hand of Level 11 and the first of Level 12 both went multi-way to a flop. The first kind of fizzled out, but the second ended up with a lot of chips pushed forward. Most of them belonged to Ahadpour Khanghah.

Paul Newey actually started the first hand in question with a call from under the gun. The epidemic spread through Yang Wang, Khanghah, Erik Seidel (button), Stanley Choi (SB) and Mikita Badziakouski, who checked his option.

Then these six saw the flop of J♣8♣7♠. After four checks Khanghah bet 41,000 and his five opponents folded.

On the next hand, with blinds now up to 6,000/12,000 (2,000 ante), Khanghah just called from mid-position. Rafael Moraes then raised to 30,000 and Choi, on the button, and Badziakouski, in the small blind, called. Newey folded his big blind, but Khanghah called.

So there was four of them this time to a flop of Q♦8♣J♥. After two checks, Khanghah again bet. He made it 65,000. Only Badziakouski stuck around for a turn of 7♠. Badziakouski checked, then Khanghah said that he was all-in.

"Count please," Badziakouski said.

He was told it was 223,000.

"No," Badziakouski said, and folded.

Badziakouski still has 925,000 to play with. Khanghah has a little less than 400,000. --HS

4:10pm: Machon collects from Colman
Level 12 - Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

Dan Colman raised to 27,000 from under the gun while carrying on a conversation with the player to his right. That meant he didn't pay much heed to Bartjomiej Machon's three-betting to 80,000 from the seat to his left.

It folded back to Colman who then turned back to eye Machon's reraise, Colman, called, then the pair watched the flop come 5♠5♦3♠. Colman check-raised a c-bet of 38,000 from Machon, then the 2♣ came on the turn. Another check from Colman, a bigger bet of 140,000 this time from Machon, and another call from Colman.

The river brought the 4♥ -- another baby card, but one suddenly bringing hands containing aces into play in a meaningful way. Both players checked, and Machon showed he had an ace -- two of them, in fact, with A♥A♣. Colman had Q♣Q♥, and Machon won the big pot.

Colman still has 730,000, just a little more than Machon now who jumps up to 720,000. --MH

4:05pm: Quads v quads
Level 11 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

Settle down. While factually accurate, that headline is a little misleading. Both Mikhail Rudoy and Mike Watson had quads by the end of a recent hand, but that was only because the full board read 3♥3♦3♣6♥3♠.

There was about 140,000 in the pot by the time they got to the turn, at which point Rudoy bet 58,000 and Watson called. Then the fourth three came on the river and both players slowed to a check. Rudoy turned over his T♦T♠ seemingly expecting to have been counterfeited. But Watson mucked, so the ten kicker was good.

Rudoy could have handled the hit, even had the hand gone against him. He has 1.27 million. Watson has almost precisely 1 million fewer. --HS


8G2A7550_PCBAR2017Mike_Watson_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Watson loses with quads

4:02pm: O'Dwyer out
Level 11 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

Steve O'Dwyer won't be collecting another Super High Roller trophy, alas, as shortly after losing that recently reported hand with Daniel Negreanu he lost the last of his short stack and is now out. --MH

4pm: A pair of pairs
Level 11 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

Erik Seidel raised to 22,000 from early position and Stanley Choi called from middle position. Isaac Haxton decided it was worth a call from the button and Ahadpour Khanghah did the same from the big blind.

The flop came Q♣8♣Q♠ and only a pair of players kept going. Seidel bet 25,000, Choi called and the other two folded.

The turn brought a 9♥ and bet of 90,000 from Seidel. Choi thought, called and then both players checked when the K♥ came on the river. The pair of high rollers then each showed a pair. Seidel turned over 4♠4♦ and Choi tabled a bigger T♥T♣.

Choi took in the pot and chipped up to 720,000 while Seidel dipped to around 380,000. --AV

3:55pm: It's all relative
Level 11 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

In some contexts, Daniel Negreanu's river bet of 65,000 might have seemed small. But all is relative, and for Steve O'Dwyer to call meant risking a quarter of his stack.

To back up, Negreanu had raised to 22,000 from the button, Sergey Tikhonov called from the small blind, and O'Dwyer called as well from the big blind. The flop came K♥3♣3♦, and when checked to Negreanu continued for just 12,000. Tikhonov didn't want to play and folded, but O'Dwyer called.

Both remaining players then checked the 7♥ turn card, and O'Dwyer checked again after the J♠ came on the end. That's when Negreanu bet 65,000, and O'Dwyer tanked, though again (with the "shot clock"), we're talking in relative terms, as he only took about 15-20 seconds before deciding to call.

Negreanu tabled K♣7♠ for kings and sevens, and O'Dwyer mucked. He's now down to about 175,000. Meanwhile Negreanu has chipped up to about 1.09 million -- that's a nice nice stack, relatively speaking. --MH

3:50pm: More casualties
Level 11 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

Only 38 players are now left, with Murad Akhundov, Juha Helppi, Byron Kaverman, Julian Thomas, and David Peters all eliminated in the past 10 minutes. --HS


NEIL8956_PCBAR2017Byron_Kaverman_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Kaverman's gone

3:45pm: Ruzicka hits everything to double
Level 11 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

Linus Loeliger came from behind to stay alive just before the latest break, but he's now just lost about a quarter of his stack to Vojtech Ruzicka who also overcame a pre-flop disadvantage to win.

vojtech_ruzicka_psc_barcelona_day2_shr.jpg

Vojtech Ruzicka gives Koray Aldemir the eye

Ruzicka open-pushed for 104,000 and Loeliger called on the button. Neither of the blinds were persuaded to join the party, leaving Ruzicka's Q♦J♦ up against Loeliger's A♣K♣.

It was a lovely flop for Ruzicka. It came 2♦3♦J♣, giving him top pair and a flush draw, and he had it locked up after the A♦ turn. The river was the inconsequential 8♦.

Loeliger moves down to 335,000; Ruzicka is up to 220,000. --HS

3:40pm: Peters passes it back
Level 11 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

And just like that, David Peters gave all his chips back to Ahadpour Khanghah.

Peters was in the lead when he moved all-in though. Erik Seidel, Mikita Badziakouski, Peters and Khanghah were faced with a 9♣3♦T♣ flop and there was about 90,000 in the pot.

Badziakouski checked, Khanghah bet 35,000 and Peters moved all-in. Seidel folded and so did Badziakouski. Khanghah called and showed middle pair with 9♦7♥ and Peters was in the lead with Q♠T♦. But then a 7♠ came on the turn to give Khanghah two-pair. A 5♥ completed the board and the dealer counted out the stacks.

Peters had 227,000 and Khanghah had a tad more. Peters hit the rail and Khanghah chipped up to about 565,000. --AV

3:35pm: Khanghah slips after doubles by Peters and Badziakouski
Level 11 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

Ahadpour Khanghah has suffered a couple of hits to his big stack after both David Peters and Mikita Badziakouski doubled through him in quick succession.

The Peters hit was the smaller of the two, a blind-versus-blind confrontation that bumped Peters back up to around 250,000. Not sure of the action there, but given that Peters won with queen-high versus Khanghah's jack-high, it looked like an open-shove-and-call type situation.

Soon after Badziakouski was all in with A♠Q♦ versus Khanghah's A♦2♦, and while we had walked away that one looked like a postflop push. In any case, the A♣8♦Q♣Q♥4♣ added up to a big double for Badziakouski who now has about 695,000.

After those hands, Khanghah has slipped to 330,000. --MH

3:25pm: Carrel picks off Thorel
Level 11 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

Charlie Carrel is far too polite to admit it, but he'd have been delighted with his seating assignment for the latest passage of play. He had what in many of these Super High Roller events is the best seat in the house: immediately to the left of a big-stacked Jean-Noel Thorel.

Thorel loves poker. He loves playing lots of pots, the bigger the better, and he loves a bluff too. Carrel prides himself on a superlative ability to read his opponents--he's a mean online player, but live tells are a speciality--and so there's little surprise to report that Carrel has just picked off a huge Thorel bluff to move up to around 860,000.

I wish I saw more of this play out, but here's all I really did see: four cards in the middle of the table--the T♦3♦A♣7♣--and the all-in triangle out in front of Thorel.

Thorel had the covering stack, so Carrel had a decision for his last 300,000 or so. "Will you show the bluff?" Carrel beseeched Thorel. Thorel said that he would show one. "Not two?" Carrel continued, pleading. "Pleeease. We're friends."

Whatever Thorel said or did next, it persuaded Carrel to call it off.

"You win," Thorel said, turning over Q♠2♦. Carrel's A♥5♦ already had the hand locked up before the A♦ river.

Thorel is now down to 210,000, while Carrel, who didn't have much more than that a little while ago, is a force once more. --HS


8G2A7638_PCBAR2017Charlie_Carrel_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Carrel, with a pre-bust Thorel to his left

3:15pm: Kolonias KOs Gruissem
Level 11 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

Philipp Gruissem didn't make it far in Level 11.

Alexandros Kolonias raised to 22,000 from the hijack in the first few minutes back from break and Gruissem moved all-in for 144,000 from the button.

Action folded back around to Kolonias and he threw in a chip for the call. Kolonias turned over 8♣8♥ and Gruissem shook his head. Gruissem tabled 3♣3♦ and didn't get any help on the K♣J♣2♥7♠4♥ board.

Gruissem was eliminated while Kolonias chipped up to 760,000. --AV

3:10pm: Peters, O'Dwyer pushing short stacks
Level 11 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

Both David Peters and Steve O'Dwyer returned from the break to below average stacks, and each of the formerly top-ranked players in the Global Poker Index immediately began pushing their chips in the middle in an effort to improve their situations.

First it was Peters watching Ahadpour Khanghah limp from the small blind, then choosing to shove over his big blind to earn a fold. Peters is still with about 125,000, though.

Then at another table Daniel Negreanu raised to 22,000 from the button, and O'Dwyer shoved over that from the BB. "About 230?" asked Negreanu, inquiring about the bet size, then after O'Dwyer confirmed Negreanu thought a few moments before folding. O'Dwyer is up around 260,000 after that one. --MH

3:05pm: The Red Triangle II
Level 11 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

The all-in triangle came out twice in consecutive hands at the start of Level 11, both times for pots involving Charlie Carrel, and both times representing a strong enough move to get opponents to fold.

On the first, it was actually Carrel who was muscled out. He raised to 20,000 from under the gun and Byron Kaverman moved all-in for around 180,000. Carrel quickly joined everyone else in throwing their cards away.

On the next hand, Jean-Noel Thorel completed from the small blind and Carrel checked his option in the big. The two looked at a flop of 8♠5♦K♦ and I think it went check, bet, call.

The 9♠ fell on the turn and Thorel checked again. Carrel bet 27,000 and Thorel called. Then the 6♥ completed the board. Thorel checked and Carrel looked his opponent down a couple of times. Then he said he was all-in, for around 350,000.

Thorel glanced back at his cards and tossed them away. --HS

2:40pm: Break time

With 47 players remaining, players are now off to enjoy their first 20-minute break of the day. --MH

2:35pm: No LOL-ing matter for Troyanovskiy
Level 10 - Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

Vladimir Troyanovskiy, who was the Player of the Championship in Sochi a couple of months ago, is going to need a lot of help to haul himself back into contention in this event. He is down to less than 75,000 now having recently doubled up fellow short-stack Linus Loeliger.

Troyanovskiy opened to 17,000 from early position and Fabrizio Gonzalez called a couple of seats around the table. Loeliger then moved all-in for only 42,000 on the button.

Troyanovskiy then moves all-in too, for 129,000 total, which persuaded Gonzalez out of it. So they were heads up with Loeliger's 6♣9♣ behind Troyanovskiy's Q♦K♥.

The 9♦ on an otherwise blank board won it for Loeliger and cut Troyanovskiy down a little. They headed to the break both with short stacks but with Loeliger marginally happier. --HS

2:30pm: Tough times for the big dogs
Level 10 - Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

The past 10 minutes have been fairly brutal for some of the best players in the world. All of Daniel Dvoress, Nick Petrangelo and Benjamin Tollerene have been swept away.

We're approaching the end of Level 10, which will mean the first break of the day and full chip counts for the remaining players on the chip-count page. --HS

2:25pm: Loeser makes Juanda leave
Level 10 - Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

That's it for John Juanda.

Juanda was down to about 200,000 and got it all-in against Manig Loeser. Juanda was hoping his 8♠8♣ would be good enough for the double up, but Loeser showed a better pocket pair with K♥K♦.

The J♥3♦J♠ brought another pair, but not one that helped Juanda. Although that pair did spell his initials. A 7♥ came on the turn, but it wasn't the eight Juanda needed. Neither was the 2♣ that came on the river.

Juanda hit the rail while Loeser chipped up to 700,000. --AV


NEIL8950_PCBAR2017John_Juanda_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Juanda down

2:20pm: Salter felts Kisacikoglu, Luca shoves on Kurganov
Level 10 - Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

Covering multiple hands on different tables is a formality in live poker reporting. But when your pen dies right as the hands get interesting, it sure is tricky.

Having quickly whipped my phone out my pocket and opened the notepad, all the info was texted in just in time.

On one table Ivan Luca opened to 17,000 in the hijack and was called by Igor Kurganov on the button. Heads up to a flop, it came 4♠5♥J♣ and Luca decided not to c-bet, instead check-calling a 14,000 bet.

When the 6♦ turn hit, Luca checked once more and Kurganov made it 50,000. After a long tank which included using a time bank, Luca decided to jam, and that got the Team Pro to fold. Kurganov is now on 500,000, while Luca is on 295,000.

Meanwhile on the adjacent table, Orpen Kisacikoglu had jammed for around 120,000 and Jack Salter called, tabling the A♦K♠ against Kisacikoglu's 7♠7♣. By the turn Kisacikoglu's sevens were safe, but an ace on the river arrived to eliminate him and bring Salter's stack up to 670,000. --JS

2:15pm: Aldemir among the millionaires
Level 10 - Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

Koray Aldemir is now also north of 1 million in chips having pushed Julian Thomas out of a hand. Thomas claimed had flopped a big hand, but also that he couldn't believe Aldemir could be bluffing when it mattered most.

Christoph Vogelsang set things off with a raise to 18,000 from the hijack, which attracted Aldemir in the cutoff and then Thomas, on the button, put out a re-raise to 75,000. Vogelsang fled, but Aldemir called.

They quickly saw an action flop -- Q♥A♠J♣ -- and Aldemir checked. Thomas bet 45,000 and Aldemir called.

The J♦ on the turn slowed both of them. At least that was what they were projecting. Both checked. But after the 8♠ came on the river, Aldemir said that he was all-in, covering Thomas's 300,000 effective stack.

Thomas took off his sunglasses and said, "I flopped a lot." Aldemir remained motionless as Thomas added, "There's not so many bluffs you can have."

Thomas burnt through two time-bank cards then folded his hand. The strong move put Aldemir up to 1.1 million, behind only Christopher Kruk in the counts. --HS


8G2A7027_PCBAR2017Koray_Aldemir_Neil Stoddart.jpg

More than a milly for Aldemir (picture from Day 1)

2:05pm: Nitsche nixed
Level 10 - Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

The predominantly German table just lost a German, eliminated by another German.

This particular case of fratricide started when Christoph Vogelsang raised to 18,000 from the middle position. Action folded to Dominik Nitsche's small blind and he moved all-in for 144,000. Vogelsang called and turned over A♥J♠ to Nitsche's J♦J♣.

The 3♦A♦2♦ flop brought an ace in the window and another German, Julian Thomas, patted the table and said "Good game."

It was meant to be a reverse jinx in favor of Nitsche, but the 7♠ on the turn and 5♣ on the river made it a regular old jinx.

"It always works for others," Thomas told Nitsche.

It didn't work for Nitsche though and he hit the rail while Vogelsang chipped up to about 490,000. --AV

1:55pm: Losing the minimum the Ike Haxton way
Level 10 - Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

"How do you feel when you lose five percent of your stack kings against aces?" Mikita Badziakouski asked Ike Haxton. That was indeed the state of affairs: Haxton had pocket kings and Murad Akhundov had aces and they got it all-in pre-flop.

There was no outdraw on the A♣Q♥6♠9♠7♣ board, but it barely stung Haxton because Akhundov had only about 70,000 in his stack. Akhundov doubled to 165,000 and Haxton still has 710,000, even after the coolest of set-ups in hold'em.

"I feel great," Haxton said. "That's the right time to get kings against aces." --HS

1:50pm: Prize pool and payouts
Level 10 - Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

With 86 entries total (67 uniques plus 19 re-entries), the total prize pool for this one added up to a cool €4,129,290, to be divided among the top 11 finishers.

The winner will enjoy a seven-figure payday, as the top prize is €1,135,500. Here's a look at all the payouts:

1st - €1,135,500
2nd - €807,300
3rd - €528,500
4th - €406,790
5th - €322,100
6th - €251,900
7th - €198,200
8th - €154,900
9th - €117,700
10th - €103,200
11th - €103,200

Practically speaking, though, more than 50 players still in the hunt, the thought of payouts is a distant one at present. --MH

1:45pm: Game of thrones
Level 10 - Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

Kings fighting queens, queens fighting kings, while the common men start a rebellion to overthrow them both.

Sounds like a Game of Thrones storyline, but is actually just a hand that took place between Steve O'Dwyer, Igor Kurganov and Jan-Erik Schwippert.

It started with the crown prince Charlie Carrel opening to 15,000 from under the gun. It then folded to Schwippert in the cutoff, and he moved all in for his last 123,000. King Kurganov then tanked for a while on the button before deciding to call, and then it folded to the Mountain of O'Dwyer.

He asked his little birds for a count of Kurganov's stack (280,000 behind they said), and glanced back and forth between the Team PokerStars Pro and Carrel. After using his initial 30 seconds and an additional 30 seconds, he then moved all in with the biggest stack.

The crown prince Carrel snap-folded, but King Kurganov snap-called.

Schwippert - J♣J♥
O'Dwyer - Q♦Q♣
Kurganov - K♥K♠

While the kings and queens were focusing on each other, Schwippert's rebellion began on the J♦2♠7♥ flop. The 6♥ and 4♠ then completed the board, and that meant the jacks had won the battle.

They didn't win the overall war though, as Kurganov managed a nice win for the side pot from O'Dwyer (and O'Dwyers always pay their debts).


8G2A7534_PCBAR2017Igor_Kurganov_Neil Stoddart.jpg

King Kurganov

After winter had come, Schwippert had trebled to 310,000, Kurganov had increased to 560,000, and O'Dwyer was left with 170,000. --JS

1:40pm: Playing small ball
Level 9 - Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

It has becoming intriguing over the past year or so to watch Philipp Gruissem play a short stack. Not for him the "get it in" approach when sitting with a sub-20 big-blind stack. He somehow manages to find patience where many others find only fury. And it's not unknown for him to find a way to build back into contention.

Gruissem just won a pot that went three-handed to the flop and still ended it with only 145,000 in his stack. Everything about it was small and a little unconventional, actually. (That's what she said, etc.)

Fabrizio Gonzalez got the ball rolling with a pre-flop call from the hijack. Linus Loeliger then called from the small blind and Gruissem checked his option. Three players, minimum investment.

The flop brought the 4♦4♠K♥ and Loeliger checked. Gruissem bet 8,000 and Gonzalez called.

The turn was the A♦ and Gruissem now bet 20,000 from a stack of only about 100,000. It was good enough because Gonzalez folded.

Gruissem has that 145,000 to play with, as blinds go up to 4,000/8,000. Gonzalez has around 500,000. --HS

1:35pm: Carrel squeezes value from Kurganov
Level 9 - Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Not a balls-out brilliant pot this one, but it's always worth admiring the way the top players assess where they stand in a hand, and manage to wring out some extra value.

The hero is Charlie Carrel, who started it going with a raise to 15,000 from mid-position, picking up a call from Igor Kurganov in the big blind.

Kurganov took a passive line, starting with a check of the K♦J♥6♠ flop. Carrel bet 8,000 and Kurganov called. Kurganov checked again after the 7♥ turn, and Carrel checked back. Then they saw the A♣ appear on the river.

Kurganov checked again and Carrel put 45,000 into the middle. Kurganov took about 15 seconds but then called. He mucked after being shown Carrel's A♦3♦.

Kurganov still has 420,000 and Carrel sits with 290,000. Isolated hands like these don't win tournaments, but an accumulation does. --HS

1:35pm: Muehloecker minced, Kanit canned
Level 9 - Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

It was one of those time bank kind of calls. There was already a sizable pile of chips in the middle, about 260,000. The 5♠8♣6♦T♣K♥ board had some draws, some texture, some life.

Koray Aldemir had moved all-in on that board for 330,000 and action was on Thomas Muehloecker. It was a time bank kind of decision. Muehloecker barely had Aldemir covered, and a loss there would leave him with just about 45,000.

Aldemir wasn't giving anything away, either. His eyes were hidden behind sunglasses and his stare focused on his phone, which was just pumping out random four-digit numbers every second. Aldemir was so transfixed on keeping up his statuesque demeanor that he didn't even notice when Muehloecker called -- a tablemate had to tap him to break him out of his trance.

When Aldemir came to, he turned over 6♣6♠ for a set of sixes and Muehloecker mucked. Aldemir chipped up to about 950,000 while Muehloecker was left with just 45,000.


NEIL9002_PCBAR2017Thomas_Muehloecker_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Muehuloecker now on a short stack

But Muehloecker wouldn't be the next to go at his table -- Mustapha Kanit fell on that sword.

Kanit raised to 15,000 from under the gun two hands later and Dominik Nitsche called from the small blind. Igor Yaroshevskyy called from the big blind and a 4♠8♦3♥ flop hit the felt. Nitsche bet 18,000 and a pair of calls brought the 9♠ on the turn.

Kanit bet 57,000 when checked to and Nitsche folded. Yaroshevskyy moved all-in and Kanit quickly called.

Yaroshevskyy turned over 8♣7♣ for a pair of eights while Kanit showed a flush and straight draws with A♠2♠. Kanit had a lot of outs, but the 3♣ that came on the river wasn't one of them. Yaroshevskyy barely had Kanit covered and doubled to about 450,000 while Kanit hit the rail. --AV

1:30pm: Yan's in the dangerzone
Level 9 - Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

David Yan has left himself pretty short-stacked having just given up a pot to Stefan Schillhabel.

The German opened to 15,000 in the hijack and Yan defending his big blind to see a 2♠2♦4♥ flop. He'd check-call a 20,000 c-bet, but would check-fold to a 32,000 bet on the 9♦ turn.

Yan is under the 20-big blind mark with 114,000, while Schillhabel is on 340,000 now. --JS

1:25pm: Heath left unhealthy by Helppi
Level 9 - Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Ben Heath just lost a chunk of chips, and they're all now sitting in front of the sole Fin in the field, Juha Helppi.

Helppi opened the pot to 15,000 from the cutoff and was called by both Heath on the button and Jack Salter from the big blind. The three saw a T♥T♣5♣ flop hit the felt, which Salter checked to the raiser.

Helppi made a continuation bet worth the same as his preflop open, 15,000, only for Heath to then raise to 42,000. Salter snap-folded and went back to his eating his noodles, but Helppi didn't budge.

On the 8♦ river, Helppi checked and Heath carried on firing, putting out a bet worth 72,000. But Helppi had plans for this hand all along; he check-raised all in (well, almost; he left himself one 5K chip behind as a card protector) for 244,000, and after some consideration Heath had to let his hand go.

Heath is down to 148,000 now, while Helppi is up to 450,000. --JS

1:20pm: Cold deck
Level 9 - Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Christopher Kruk has just leapt into a significant chip lead in this event, winning a massive chunk of Rafael Moraes's overnight stack, with Kruk perhaps considering himself unfortunate not to have taken it all.

This was a cooler. Moraes opened to what looked like 13,000 from mid-position and Kruk, already with the biggest stack at the table, three-bet to something like 35,000. Moraes called and the dealer was dragging this in when I arrived, so these are perhaps not precise amounts.

The two of them saw a flop of A♠3♥5♣ and Moraes checked. Kruk bet 24,000 and Moraes called.

The turn was the Q♦ and Moraes checked for a second time. Kruk bet 72,000 and Moraes called again.

The 4♥ put four to a straight on the board and Moraes checked it. Kruk bet 122,000 and after about half of his allotted 30 seconds, Moraes announced a raise. He made it 400,000.

Kruk sighed, but called instantly. He was clearly fearing that somehow Moraes was going to show up with a deuce here. But Moraes didn't have that. He had Q♥Q♣ for a turned set. Kruk was therefore able to turn over his A♦A♥ -- a flopped better set -- and take the pot.

You have to think they'd have got it all-in with a slightly drier river card.

As it is, Kruk soars to 1.7 million, and Moraes is left with 240,000. -- HS


8G2A7206_PCBAR2017Christopher_Kruk_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Kruk now on top (picture from Day 1)

1:10pm: Akhundov doubles through Khoroshenin
Level 9 - Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

He came into the day as one of the short stacks, but Murad Akhundov has just managed to double up through Oleksii Khoroshenin. Those two have basically swapped stack sizes now.

Action folded to Akhundov on the button and he jammed for 103,000. David Peters folded his small blind and it was on Khoroshenin, who after a little thinking time decided to make the call with his A♥9♣.

That was behind Akhundov's A♣Q♥ though, and the 7♥Q♦2♣ flop gave him an even bigger lead. The 6♦ and 6♠ completed the board, bringing Akhundov up to 217,000, and Khoroshenin down to 110,000. --JS

1:05pm: Leonard leaves early
Level 9 - Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Bartlomiej Machon and Patrick Leonard started Day 2 with the same exact chip count: 132,000. They also started the day seated right next to each other. But that affinity between the two has come to an end as the short stacks decided to take different paths against Daniel Negreanu.

At one point early in Day 2, Machon decided to raise to 12,000 from the cutoff. Leonard, who was on the button, moved all-in for about 100,000. Daniel Negreanu looked over at Machon's stack and decided to move all-in as well. The big blind and Machon went for folds and it was Negreanu versus Leonard.

Leonard turned over 5♠5♣ while Negreanu tabled A♠K♦. The K♠A♣T♦ flop gave Negreanu a pair of pairs and the lead and the turn brought a 4♣. Leonard was hoping for a third five on the river, but it brought a 9♠ instead. That was it for Leonard and he hit the rail while Negreanu chipped up to about 720,000. --AV

1pm: Yaroshevskyy versus the Germanics
Level 9 - Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

On the subject of not hanging around (see post below about Jean-Noel Thorel), Igor Yaroshevskyy likes to play quickly. He seems to me as though he has stepped out of a novel set in 18th-century France: he is a rapier-quick swordsman, a musketeer -- although perhaps not always for the forces of good.

On the first hand on his table, Yaroshevskyy opened to 14,000 from the cutoff and Christoph Vogelsang called in the big blind. This week, Vogelsang has been concealing the bottom half of his head, and the all-telling neck, by dragging up a kind of polo-neck-cum-hoodie to his nose. His eyes and forehead peek out like a mole emerging from a hole.

Anyway, back to the poker. The flop came 5♥2♥K♠ and Vogelsang checked. Yaroshevskyy bet 14,000 and Vogelsang called.

The turn brought the Q♥ and Vogelsang checked again. Yaroshevskyy bet 27,000 this time, and that was enough to win it.

Yaroshevskyy, who is from Ukraine, is going to need all his guile to prosper today. He has four German wizards in a row to his left -- Vogelsang, Koray Aldemir, Julian Thomas and Dominik Nitsche, and the Austrian Thomas Muehloecker to his right.

"Do they do the table draws by nationality?" Neil Stoddart, PokerStars photographer, pondered. --HS

12:50pm: Sizing down
Level 9 - Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Fabrizio Gonzalez of Uruguay just took a funky line in a hand against Bryn Kenney, but the unorthodox play would ultimately backfire.

With an A♦5♣T♦ flop already out there, Gonzalez led for 15,000 and Kenney matched it to see the J♥ turn. Gonzalez continued for 43,000 on fourth street, and once again Kenney didn't budge.

The 5♠ completed the board, and paired it, too. Gonzalez now chose to bet just 20,000 -- less than half his turn bet, and around one-sixth of the pot.

But Kenney either picked up on something, or simply had it. He raised it to 115,000, leaving himself 122,000 behind. Gonzalez let his clock count down but would eventually fold his hand, taking his stack down to 190,000.

That pot brings Kenney up to 440,000. --JS

12:45pm: Like he just stepped out of the shower
Level 9 - Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

It's not raining in Barcelona, but Jean-Noel Thorel's light covering of wispy hair is wet at its ends. If we rule out hair product (he made his fortune through beauty products, but is not himself vain), it's clear that Thorel stepped out of the shower in his hotel room this afternoon and quickly scooted to the tournament area. He didn't even have time to properly dry.

Thorel does things quickly. He's always in a hurry. So it was fitting that he was also the first person in the tournament today to make an all-in bet, and it must have been on the very first hand, too.


8G2A7263_PCBAR2017Jean-Noel_Thorel_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Thorel, in a drier state (from Day 1)

I only arrived with the board dealt all the way. Between him and Jan-Eric Schwippert, Thorel had built a pot of around 195,000 as the A♥2♦9♠J♣6♠ had emerged on the table. Schwippert, in the big blind seat, bet 120,000 at it. Thorel, on the button, then jammed for 482,000 more.

That was more than Schwippert started the hand with, and he burnt through one time-bank card before deciding to fold. Thorel is at least half a century Schwippert's senior, but has more tricks -- and, it must be said, more hair -- than many of his opponents this afternoon. --HS

12:40pm: Fresh start
Level 9 - Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Day 2 of the €50,000 Super High Roller has begun and while most players are returning after bagging chips in Day 1, a handful are just starting out.

Sergey Tikhonov, Stanley Choi and Byron Kaverman have all bought in for Day 2. They'll be firing their first and only bullet in this tournament. Meanwhile David Yan and Stefan Schillhabel have fired another bullet -- the third for each -- and get another starting stack for Day 2. --AV

12:30pm: Let's rock
Level 9 - Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Players are in their seats and Day 2 is underway. There are a few who have joined (or rejoined, as the case may be) just before late registration closed with the start of Level 9. We'll let you know who to add to the Super High Roller cast of characters, and a little later pass along prize pool information as well. --MH

12pm: Spaniard Adrian Mateos leads Day 2 returners

Buenos días friends to Day 2 of our exclusive start-to-finish coverage of the €50,000 buy-in PokerStars Championship Barcelona Super High Roller.

The sun was just starting to peek through the cloud-filled sky during the walk over to the Casino Barcelona. Similarly will today be the day the real contenders will start to emerge from the crowd of high rollers, positioning themselves for a run at the title tomorrow.

The Spaniard Adrian Mateos will begin today having situated himself best to get through to Day 3, having amassed a chip stack of 963,000 to lead the 54 players who'll be returning from 81 total entries (thus far).

Mateos as we know has had a lot good starts before -- and a lot of good finishes including a European Poker Tour Grand Final Main Event title, a World Series of Poker Europe Main Event victory, plus two other WSOP bracelet wins and other first-place finishes.


8G2A7044_PCBAR2017Bryn_Kenney_Adrian_Mateos_Neil Stoddart.jpg

"Says here I'm chip leader," notes Adrian Mateos (right) to Bryn Kenney

Christopher Kruk (916,000) and Daniel Colman (902,000) are Mateos's closest competitors to start today, with Yang Wang and Steve O'Dwyer also coming back to plentiful stacks.

Team PokerStars Pro Daniel Negreanu is likewise in good shape to begin today with 562,000, while his fellow red spade sporter Igor Kurganov also remains in contention with 460,000.

It's a stacked field as usual, and with late registration open until the start of today in this unlimited re-entry event, anyone who played and busted yesterday can still get back in the mix if desired.

The first hands will be dealt at 12:30 p.m. The schedule says 10 one-hour levels are planned today, with a 75-minute dinner break coming after the sixth one, although as always plans are subject to change as they'll try to manage things most fittingly for tomorrow's finale.

Stick close for live updates, photos, chip counts and more as we find out together who makes it through to tomorrow to have a shot at what will surely be some large payouts up top. --MH


PCBAR-2017-Monti-Beach-All In-1113.jpg



Take a look at the official website of PokerStars LIVE, with tournament schedule, news, results and accommodation details for the PokerStars Championship in Barcelona and all other Festival and Championship events.

Also all the information is on the PokerStars LIVE App, which is available on both Android or IOS.

PokerStars Blog reporting team on the €50,000 Super High Roller: Martin Harris, Jack Stanton, Howard Swains and Alex Villegas. Photography by Neil Stoddart.

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