Gentili and Harder lead final six into PokerStars Championship Bahamas final

Historically the process of reducing a field of 16 to six (when there's a final table at stake) takes a while. But there's something about the climate in the Bahamas, or maybe it's the pink drinks, that has stepped things up a little this week, defying the more leisurely "island time" to produce a dramatic, action filled week, played at an increased speed.

To back that theory up it took less than five full levels to conclude today's play, one progressively dominated by two players, separated by a handful of blinds tonight, Christian Harder and tonight's chip leader Michael Gentili.


Michael_Gentili_PCB2017_MED5_13JAN17v2Michael Gentili


Christian_Harder_PCB2017_MED5_13JAN17_v2Christian Harder

The story of that day, the highlights, the eliminations and the double ups can be found by scrolling below, but the gist of it would be that the pair alternated spells in the chip lead as the remaining field fought to maintain their spot. Harder and Gentili are the favorites tomorrow, but the likes of Michael Vela, Rasmus Glaesel, Aleksei Opalikhin and the experienced Cliff Josephy each demonstrated their ability to win. There could still be surprises ahead.

NameCountryChips
Michael GentiliCanada6,175,000
Christian HarderUSA5,985,000
Aleksei OpalikhinRussia4,590,000
Michael VelaUSA1,755,000
Rasmus GlæselDenmark1,560,000
Cliff JosephyUSA1,240,000

In keeping with the entire event, these latter stages were played in a spirit that would make a good blueprint for future events. Off the tables (and even on) eliminations were met with sporting commiserations. As well as spirit there was also a buzz. As Cliff Josephy, adrenaline flowing, summed up as they bagged up: "Is there like a 10K turbo we can play for an hour?"

They'll wait until tomorrow to pick things up again.

Here are the details of each finalist, and how they'll line up (with thanks to media coordinator Jan Kores).


Seat 1: Michael Vela, 50, Newburgh, New York, USA

New York's Michael "MVP" Vela, 50, has been playing poker for more than a decade. He's earned nearly $2 million in live tournaments, the majority of that coming from his win in the 2007 WPT World Poker Finals at Foxwoods. On his way to that $1,704,986 payday Vela outlasted a final table that included former WPT champs Nick Schulman and Nenad Medic, as well as a 21-year- old Tom Dwan.


Michael_Vela_MED5_13JAN17Michael Vela

Vela's Main Event run:

End of dayChipsPosition
Day 265,100129 of 361
Day 3440,5003 of 125
Day 4676,00013 of 32
Day 51,811,0004 of 16


Seat 2: Christian Harder, 29, Annapolis, Maryland, USA

Christian Harder, 29, is a professional poker player from Annapolis, Maryland. Playing under his screen name "charder30", Harder has racked up more than $3.2 million in online winnings, and he's added more than $3.7 million in live tournaments, for a career total of more than $7 million combined.


Christian_Harder_PCB2017_MED5_13JAN17Christian Harder

Harder's Main Event run:

End of dayChipsPosition
Day 246,000191 of 361
Day 3232,00031 of 125
Day 4856,0008 of 32
Day 51,305,0008 of 16


Seat 3: Rasmus Glæsel, 33, born Copenhagen, lives in Oslo, Norway

Rasmus Glæsel is a former investment banker and while he is relatively unknown on the live scene he has been a regular in tournaments and cash games for several years online. Glæsel recently decided to travel the live circuit, and chose The Bahamas as his first stop. "We arrived with a bunch of Norwegian friends," he said. "There was seven of us playing the Main Event, and four of us cashed." Rasmus' girlfriend Ana is also here supporting him from the rail.

Rasmus_Glæsel_PCB2017_MED5_13JAN17Rasmus Glæsel

Glæsel's Main Event run:

End of dayChipsPosition
Day 288,00070 of 361
Day 3322,00012 of 125
Day 41,029,0004 of 32
Day 51,319,0007 of 16


Seat 4: Aleksei Opalikhin, 28, St. Petersburg, Russia

Aleksei Opalikhin has made it to Main Event final table despite never intending to play it. He'd decided to travel, and chose The Bahamas as the first stop of his tour of Latin America. The plan was to grind some of the smaller-buy-in events at the Atlantis Resort, but ended up wining a seat to the Main Event in a $650 satellite.


Aleksei_Opalikhin_MED5_13JAN17Aleksei Opalikhin

Opalikhin's Main Event run:

End of dayChipsPosition
Day 288,40069 of 361
Day 3387,5008 of 125
Day 4478,00021 of 32
Day 52,084,0002 of 16


Seat 5: Cliff Josephy, 51, Syosset, New York, USA

More commonly referred to by his screen name, "JohnnyBax", Josephy is a professional player perhaps best known for being one of the original heroes of online poker, reaching PocketFives' worldwide #1 ranking in 2005.

His live record received a big boost this past summer, too, when he charged though the massive WSOP Main Event field to reach November's final table. Josephy finished third, earning a career-best $3.5 million, which took his combined career earnings to more than $10 million.


Cliff_Josephy_MED5_13JAN17Cliff Josephy

Josephy's Main Event run:

End of dayChipsPosition
Day 281,10094 of 361
Day 3242,50030 of 125
Day 4579,00020 of 32
Day 51,331,0006 of 16


Seat 6: Michael Gentili, 24, Windsor, Ontario, Canada

Michael Gentili enjoyed his breakthrough result this past summer at the WSOP, finishing as runner-up in a $5,000 event for nearly a half-million dollars. He's also the owner of a WSOP Circuit ring, having won a C$365 event in his home country a few months prior. In total Gentili has one live victory and close to $700,000 in career earnings.


Michael_Gentili_PCB2017_MED5_13JAN17Michael Gentili

Gentili's Main Event run:

End of dayChipsPosition
Day 240,200216 of 316
Day 3190,00044 of 125
Day 4688,00018 of 32
Day 53,708,0001 of 16


Clues that this day might go by faster than expected were present from the start. Pedro Cabeca busted on the second hand of the day and was soon followed by two of the big names left in the field - former World Champion Ryan Riess, and Team Pro Jason Mercier.


Jason_Mercier_PCB2017_MED5_13JAN17An early exit for Jason Mercier

As the first level of the day ended Alan Schein snap called his way to the rail in 13th place, before Polish player Marcin Kapkowski joined him there after the break. Michael Bartholomew's exit reduced the field to ten, and when Rodrigo Cordoba followed the remaining nine players convened around the feature table.

Nadya Magnus's run ended in ninth place, an appearance at the last table, but not the official final one, which played on as she joined the payout rail.


Nadezhda_Magnus_MED5_13JAN17Out in ninth: Nadya Magnus

Former Bahamas winner John Dibella would follow in eighth, before Brock Allison's elimination brought the day to an end busting in seventh (for all the payouts from today and this week check out the payouts page). You'll find details of all of these eliminations, and the dramas in between, scrolling through our live updates below.


John_Dibella_PCB2017_MED5_13JAN17John Dibella departing in eighth place

It leaves the conclusion of this first PokerStars Championship story to be decided tomorrow. Play starts at 12 noon but you can follow our live updates, and watch the PokerStars Live stream on a one-hour cards up delay from 1pm ET (7pm CET).

It promises to be an exciting end to the first event of its kind with a little bit of history made in the process. Join us then. -- SB


DAY 5 COVERAGE ARCHIVE

8:19pm: Official counts for the final six

NameCountryChips
Michael GentiliCanada6,175,000
Christian HarderUSA5,985,000
Aleksei OpalikhinRussia4,590,000
Michael VelaUSA1,755,000
Rasmus GlæselDenmark1,560,000
Cliff JosephyUSA1,240,000

8:18pm: Brock Allison busts in 7th to end the day
Level 26 - Blinds 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

After an hour of raise-and-take-it play, we have lost Brock Allison in 7th place. It happened in a blind versus blind battle with Allison getting it in with pocket fours and Michael Gentili holding pocket nines.

Before the dealer had burned a card, Allison had stood up, taken off his wireless microphone, and prepared to leave. It was almost as if he knew the dealer was going to drop a nine on flop.

Allison didn't catch up, and the pot went to Gentili. That hand moved Gentili up to 6,175,000 and the chip lead for the second night in a row.

We'll be back with a full wrap up of the day in just a moment..--BW

8:05pm: Circumspect
Level 26 - Blinds 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

For the fairly obvious reason that they're playing for a place on the last day of the PokerStars Championship Bahamas Main Event, nobody is getting their chips in lightly. It's a perfect spot for Christian Harder, who is making the most of the ICM considerations of his opponents and regularly hammering at small pots.

Seventh place pays $76,400. That's what the next man out is getting. Sixth place is worth $103,780. You would be circumspect too. -- HS

7:50pm: Stacks
Level 26 - Blinds 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

NameCountryChips
Christian HarderUSA6,305,000
Aleksei OpalikhinRussia4,810,000
Michael GentiliCanada4,445,000
Rasmus GlæselDenmark1,640,000
Michael VelaUSA1,505,000
Cliff JosephyUSA1,430,000
Brock AllisonCanada1,400,000

7:45pm: Josephy all-in
Level 26 - Blinds 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

Aleksei Opalikhin opened from the cut off for 145,000 before Cliff Josephy moved all-in for 1,145,000 on the button. The action was folded back to Opalikhin who had 4.8 million behind.

Opalikhin agonised. "That's the first time you've done that in three hours," he said. Joseph remained silent. Opalikhin folded. -- SB

7:35pm: Glæsel shoves off Harder
Level 26 - Blinds 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

Michael Gentili came in for a raise to 130,000 and Christian Harder three-bet from the button for 350,000. Gentili was quick to go away, but Harder gave it some thought. He would have had to call 730,000. He thought long and hard(er) about it, but eventually folded and sent the pot to Glæsel.--BW

7:25pm: Off they go again
Level 26 - Blinds 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

It's a big old ante now. And a small blind is a starting stack. Off they go; one more to leave and we wrap for the night. -- HS

6:55pm: Harder still happily on top
Level 25 - Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

It's still a great day for Christian Harder. Here are the stacks at the break:

NameCountryChips
Christian HarderUSA6,405,000
Aleksei OpalikhinRussia5,130,000
Michael GentiliCanada4,445,000
Rasmus GlæselDenmark1,600,000
Brock AllisonCanada1,405,000
Michael VelaUSA1,210,000
Cliff JosephyUSA1,195,000

christian_harder_psc_bahamas_lead.jpg

Can anyone catch Christian Harder?

6:50pm: Vela survives another level
Level 25 - Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

With less than a million left in his stack, Michael Vela needs some chips. On the last hand before the break, Michael Gentili opened, and Vela shoved all in for 995,000. While Gentili thought, Vela got to talking.

"I had Ace-Ace the last time we were in this situation," Vela said.

Gentili thought for a few moments, but ultimately folded. Vela showed Ace-King, and the players went off for a 30-minute break. --BW

6:30pm: Latest standings
Level 25 - Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

NameCountryChips
Christian HarderUSA5,885,000
Michael GentiliCanada4,675,000
Aleksei OpalikhinRussia4,530,000
Rasmus GlæselDenmark1,600,000
Brock AllisonCanada1,575,000
Cliff JosephyUSA1,430,000
Michael VelaUSA1,010,000

6:25pm: Glæsel gets paid with Aces
Level 25 - Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

Rasmus Glæsel and Brock Allison both have 1.61 million after the former won a heads-up pot between the two of them holding two black Aces.

Glæsel opened from the hijack and was called by Allison in the big blind. The flop spread T♦2♠J♦ and Allison check-called 130,000 before the 2♠ turn was checked through. Allison led for 175,000 on the 4♣ turn and Glæsel called quickly with his A♣A♠. Allison opened a losing Q♦J♠. --MC

6:15pm: Double for Glæsel
Level 25 - Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

Rasmus Glæsel has 1 million chips again, scoring a double-up through Aleksei Opalikhin. It was pretty straightforward: Glæsel jammed the small blind for 500,000 and Opalikhin instantly called from the big blind. It was good news for Glæsel as his A♦K♠ was ahead of Opalikhin's Q♠4♦.

rasmus_glæsel_double_up_psc_bahamas_day5.jpg

Rasmus Glæsel's delight at a double

There was plenty to worry about for Glæsel after the flop of 6♦7♥8♣ but the T♦ turn and A♠ river only helped the all-in player. Having made a tight fold of the deuces on the previous hand, Glæsel found quick vindication. His supporters on the rail went nuts.-- HS

rasmus_glæsel_rail_psc_bahamas_day5.jpg

Glæsel's rail celebrates

6:10pm; Selbst: Poker is alive!
Level 25 - Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

Rasmus Glæsel was down below 600,000 and sitting in the big blind with deuces. Christian Harder raised enough to put Glæsel all-in. Vanessa Selbst was on the live stream broadcast and said she would call with just about anything down to a medium king. Deuces are in that range, so when Glæsel commented that he had seen them lose so many time, Selbst was dumbfounded. Glæsel eventually folded, and Selbst was audibly surprised.

"Poker is alive and well," she said.

But stay tuned, because it gets more interesting on the next hand.--BW

6:05pm: How did that hand change things?
Level 25 - Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

Here's how they stand now:

NameCountryChips
Christian HarderUSA5,860,000
Aleksei OpalikhinRussia5,140,000
Michael GentiliCanada4,220,000
Michael VelaUSA2,520,000
Brock AllisonCanada2,115,000
Cliff JosephyUSA1,530,000
Rasmus GlæselDenmark800,000

6pm: Opalikhin leapfrogs Gentili
Level 25 - Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

Aleksei Opalikhin has moved into second place with 5.1 million after he won a pot off Michael Gentili, who dropped into third with 4.27 million.

Gentili opened to 110,000 from early position and was called by Opalikhin in the big blind. Both players checked the K♦4♣J♥ flop before Opalikhin led for 135,000 on the 5♥ turn. Gentili called and then bet 380,000 himself on the 7♥ river when Opalikhin checked to him. The Russian called with J♠4♠ and Gentili mucked. --MC

5:45pm: Latest counts
Level 25 - Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

NameCountryChips
Christian HarderUSA5,695,000
Michael GentiliCanada4,600,000
Aleksei OpalikhinRussia4,515,000
Michael VelaUSA2,520,000
Brock AllisonCanada2,290,000
Cliff JosephyUSA1,420,000
Rasmus GlæselDenmark910,000

rasmus_glæsel_psc_bahamas_day5.jpg

Rasmus Glæsel on short-stack duties

5:40pm: Vela's bluff machine broken
Level 25 - Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

Michael Vela has just run two failed bluffs in a row, the second of which was very costly.

It happened when he came in for a raise to 115 from the cutoff and Aleksei Opalikhin called from the big blind. The flop came out K♣2♣9♦, and Opalikhin checked. Vela put his bluff in motion, betting 175,000 and getting called. The turn brought the 5♣, and it again went check-bet-call, but this time for 225,000.

michael_vela_do_one_psc_bahamas_day5.jpg

Michael Vela: Do one

The river was the 6♠, and Opalikhin once again checked. Velas didn't give up. He figured he couldn't win with A♠J♣, so he bet 450,000. Opalikhin didn't look happy with the fact he had to call, but very little had changed since he started calling with T♣9♠ on the flop. It was, of course good, and moved Opalikhin up north of 4.5 million. Vela, meanwhile, is down to 2.5 million. --BW


5:35pm: Never too late for action
Level 25 - Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

We got excited just now as four players went to a flop, but then it slowed down before picked it again on the river as Brock Allison had a surprise.

Rasmus Glæsel opened to 115,000 from the hijack and was called in three spots. The board rolled out Q♣3♥K♣A♣2♥ with Glæsel waiting until the river to continue. He bet 150,000 and was called by Michael Gentili in the small blind before Allison check-raised to 600,000. All opponents folded and Allsion's stack rose to 2.3 million. --MC

5:30pm: Off they go again
Level 26 - Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

Cards are in the air once more. -- HS

5:25pm: Name change
Level 26 - Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

We've been covering Allon Allison for several years in poker tournaments in the Bahamas. But we didn't know this: Although his full name is Allon Brock Allison, he goes by "Brock". So it's goodbye AA, hello BA for our final table player. Can Brock be the lucky man? -- HS

allon_allison_psc_bahamas_day5.jpg

Out with the Allon, in with the Brock

5pm: Break time
Level 25 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

There was no further significant action in Level 25 and so that one is now consigned to history. Here's how they line up as they go for a 20-minute breather:

NameCountryChips
Christian HarderUSA5,680,000
Michael GentiliCanada4,995,000
Aleksei OpalikhinRussia3,775,000
Michael VelaUSA2,520,000
Allon AllisonCanada1,580,000
Cliff JosephyUSA1,475,000
Rasmus GlæselDenmark1,280,000

4:50pm: Medallists
Level 25 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

In addition to a place at the final table, and the riches that brings, players who make the final table on the PokerStars Championship, you get a medal!

main_event_medal_psc_bahamas_day5.jpg

Main Event medal

4:45pm: Animated Vela
Level 25 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

A picture is worth 1,000 words. But I'm really not sure what story these 5,000 words tell. Better ask Michael Vela at the end of the day.

michael_vela_psc_bahamas_animation1.jpg

michael_vela_psc_bahamas_animation2.jpg

michael_vela_psc_bahamas_animation3.jpg

michael_vela_psc_bahamas_animation4.jpg

michael_vela_psc_bahamas_animation5.jpg

4:40pm: Seven-handed counts
Level 25 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

Here's how they stack up with seven left:

NameCountryChips
Christian HarderUSA5,965,000
Michael GentiliCanada5,115,000
Aleksei OpalikhinRussia3,450,000
Michael VelaUSA2,350,000
Allon AllisonCanada1,525,000
Cliff JosephyUSA1,490,000
Rasmus GlæselDenmark1,410,000

4:35pm: Dibella succumbs, take home $56,260
Level 25 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

There was no fairytale comeback for former PCA champion John Dibella. He busted to chip leader Christian Harder, who rose to 5.965 million.

Harder raised to 90,000 from UTG+1 and was called by Cliff Josephy in the cutoff before Dibella squeezed all-in for 235,000 from the big blind. Harder shoved as well and that got Josephy to fold.

Dibella: 9♥9♦
Harder: A♣J♠

john_dibella_psc_championship_bahamas_day5.jpg

John Dibella: Can't repeat PCA triumph

The board ran 3♣A♥3♥2♦Q♦ to send Dibella on his way. --MC

4:30pm: Dibella all-in but not out
Level 25 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

John Dibella flat called Aleksai Opalikhin's raise pre-flop and then shoved for 115,00 on the flop of A♥K♥6♥. Opalikhin called.

Opalikhin: K♠T♠
Dibella: K♦7♣

The turn card came 2♦ and the river 6♦. A chop pot to save Dibella. - SB

4:25pm: Vela takes from Gentili
Level 25 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

Michael Vela got up to 2.37 million after he flopped top pair and got one street of value.

Michael Gentili opened to 85,000 from UTG+1 and was called by Vela (button) and Rasmus Glæsel (BB). The flop spread A♦7♥4♠ and Gentili continued for 105,000. Vela was the only caller and both players went on to check the K♠7♦ board down. Vela opened A♥9♣ and Gentili mucked to drop to 5.2 million. --MC

4:20pm: Long way back for Dibella/Josephy
Level 25 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

NameCountryChips
Christian HarderUSA5,960,000
Michael GentiliCanada5,400,000
Aleksei OpalikhinRussia3,065,000
Michael VelaUSA2,120,000
Allon AllisonCanada1,700,000
Rasmus GlæselDenmark1,575,000
Cliff JosephyUSA1,205,000
John DibellaUSA240,000

cliff_josephy_psc_bahamas_day5.jpg

Cliff Josephy: Second lowest, but still here

4:15pm: Dibella down to six big blinds after big pot vs. Gentili
Level 25 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

A three bet from John Dibella to 225,000 on the button sent the action back to Michael Gentili who opened in the cutoff. He called for a flop of T♠9♣2♥. Dibella continued for 275,000. Gentili called.

The turn card was the 6♥. Another check from Gentili before Dibella bet again, 375,000 this time, leaving himself short of 700,000 behind. Gentili called.

The river came 3♥. Gentili checked. Dibella went to his stack and pushed forward 450,000, equating to all but six big blinds of his stack. Gentili didn't act immediately. Eventually he called.

It was A♣T♦ for Gentili which brushed aside Dibella's pocket sevens to leave the former Bahamas champion in trouble. Gentili up to 5.4 million. Dibella down to 240,000. -- SB

4:10pm: Harder closing in on 6 million
Level 25 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

More for chip leader Christian Harder. He won a small one off Allon Allison to move close to 6 million.

Harder opened to 90,000 from under the gun and was only called by Allison in the big blind. The board ran out Q♦T♣T♠5♥A♥ with no chips going in until the river. Harder bet 75,000 and Allison check-called before he mucked upon seeing Harder's A♠9♥. --MC

allon_allison_psc_bahams_day5.jpg

Allon Allison: Sit down, chips still

4:05pm: Nadya Magnus departs in ninth place
Level 25 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

After Michael Vela opened Nadya Magnus shoved for 605,000. Vela called and turned over J♠J♣. Magnus had A♥Q♥. The board came T♠3♦9♥7♥5♣ to send Magnus to the rail in ninth for $59,260. -- SB

nadja_magnus_out_psc_bahamas_day5.jpg

Nadja Magnus: No laughing matter

4pm: Chip counts
Level 25 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

Here's the latest chip counts:

NameCountryChips
Christian HarderUSA5,415,000
Michael GentiliCanada4,060,000
Aleksei OpalikhinRussia3,065,000
Allon AllisonCanada1,910,000
Michael VelaUSA1,790,000
John DibellaUSA1,650,000
Rasmus GlæselDenmark1,575,000
Cliff JosephyUSA1,205,000
Nadja MagnusUSA635,000

3:55pm: King Dibella
Level 25 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

A good start to the unofficial final table for John Dibella after he won a hand off Allon Allison.

He opened from the button and Allison called from the small blind. Both players checked the J♦A♣4♠ flop before Allison led for 100k and 125k on the 4♣A♠ turn and river. Dibella called both times with K♠K♣, good to beat Allison's K♦J♣. He moved up to 1.35million. --MC

3:50pm: Marginal gain for Dibella
Level 25 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

John Dibella opened for 95,000 in middle position. Aleksai Opalikhan called from the big blind for a flop of 3♦A♣J♦. Opalikhin checked to Dibella who bet 105,000. Opalikhan folded. - SB

3:45pm: Away they go again
Level 25 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

Play has started again. We'll have all the action here.

3:30pm: Seat draw

1Allon AllisonCanada1,925,000
2Michael VelaUSA1,880,000
3Christian HarderUSA5,205,000
4Rasmus GlæselDenmark1,755,000
5Aleksei OpalikhinRussia2,900,000
6Nadja MagnusUSA700,000
7Cliff JosephyUSA1,300,000
8Michael GentiliCanada4,060,000
9John DibellaUSA1,145,000

3:27pm: Annnnd another break

There will now be another break for the redraw and situating the feature table.

3:28pm: The bluffer and the bluff-catcher
Level 25 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

Two hands from the outer table to report, which took place either side of Rodrigo Cordoba's elimination from the featured table. The tournament staff called a halt to proceedings just as the second of these two was getting under way.

The first featured a bluff from Allon Allison and a decent bluff-catch from Aleksei Opalikhin. The second was a smaller pot, which ended when everyone folded to Allison's bet.

aleksei_opalikhin_psc_bahamas_day5.jpg

Aleksei Opalikhin: Don't bluff this man

The first: Opalikhin opened to 100,000 from the cutoff and Allison called in the big blind. The two of them looked at a flop of 7♠5♥T♦ and Allison check-called Opalikhin's 110,000 c-bet.

They both checked the 2♣ turn to see the J♠ river. Allison bet 150,000 at it and Opalikhin called. Allison was forced to show his Q♠8♠ and Opalikhin's nut no-pair A♥K♣ was good.

Next up, Allison opened his button to 80,000 and Rasmus Glæsel called in the small blind, as well as Opalikhin in the big. It's about here that the dealer was told not to deal another hand because they were going down to the last table.

The flop brought the 5♠6♦2♠ and, after two checks, Allison's 125,000 bet was good. -- HS

3:26pm: Cordoba exit takes us down to nine
Level 25 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

Rodrigo Cordoba raised to 85,000 on the button. Christian Harder was on the button and raised to 245,000. Cordoba moved all in for 990,000. Harder looked again, then thought for a while. Then he called.

Cordoba: 7♣7♠
Harder: A♣J♦

The board came A♠9♦2♥5♠3♥ to send Cordoba to the rail in tenth place. The clock is paused. We're down to nine. We now wait for the redraw. - SB

rodrigo_cordoba_psc_bahamas_day5_a.jpg

Rodrigo Cordoba: Elimination takes us down to nine

3:24: Josephy back on the up
Level 25 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

It was a good start to the level for Cliff Josephy. He won a pot without showdown to get back up to 1.4 million. He took from Nadja Magnus who became the short stack with 800,000.

He opened to 90,000 from under the gun and then emptied the clip with bets of 90k, 180k and 250k on each street of a 4♣T♣9♦6♦2♣ board. She check-called all the way to the river where she finally succumbed to the barrage of bullets and folded. --MC

3:20: Sympathies to Daniel Negreanu

We'd like to offer our sincere sympathies to Daniel Negrenau who today learned his dog Mushua died after living 17 years.

3:11pm: Question of the day

While you're waiting for the next big hand, here's something to think about.

3:10pm: We're back

The final ten players are back in their seats.

2:46pm: Break time

It's time for our second break of the day. --BW

2:46pm: Glæsel in action again
Level 24 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

Rasmus Glæsel opened for 65,000 under the gun which Opalikhin on the button, and Nadja Magnus in the small blind called.

The flop came 3♥5♠T♦. Magnus checked. Glæsel bet 80,000 and Opalikhin called. Magnus got out of their way.

The turn was the A♥. Glæsel bet another 165,000 and Opalikhin passed. - SB

2:45pm: Allison cracking Queens?
Level 24 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

Aleksai Opalikhin called from under the gun and Allon Allison did the same from the small blind. Rasmus Glæsel wasn't playing along though and raised to 105,000 from the big, forcing a fold form Opalikhin. Allison looked at Glæsel and they both laughed. Allison eventually folded and Glæsel showed two red queens.

"Argh," said Allison exasperated. "I had a hand that would crack that so easy!" - SB

2:44pm: Harder takes over the lead
Level 24 - Blinds: 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

Christian Harder has moved into the chip lead for the first time in this tournament, and considering his stellar poker resume, he'll be favourite for the title now in many people's eyes.

He took from former chip leader Michael Gentili without having to showdown. The two players had amassed 740,000 by the time the board rested as 8♠5♠K♣Q♣Q♦. Gentili checked and tank-folded to a 410,000 bet on the river. He dropped to 3.85 million. --MC

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Michael Gentili: Former chip leader, still strong

2:40pm: Observations from the outer table
Level 24 - Blinds: 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

Cliff Josephy likes to raise to 70,000 pre-flop. Rasmus Glæsel prefers 60,000. And Nadja Magnus splits the difference. She opens to 65,000.

That's all I've got. -- HS

2:37pm: Dibella getting short
Level 24 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

John Dibella has dropped to a Day 5 low point of 790k after his bluff failed in a hand against Christian Harder, who rose to 3.99 million.

He opened to 65,000 from under the gun and was called by Harder in the small blind. Both players checked the 7♠3♥A♦ flop before Harder check-called bets of 65,000 and 165,000 on the K♥6♥ turn and river. Dibella opened J♦8♦ and lost out to Harder's K♦6♦. --MC

2:34pm: More for Opalikhin
Level 24 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

Aleksai Opalikhin opened for 70,000 when the action was folded to him in the small blind. Nadja Magnus was in the big blind and called for a flop of J♥3♣K♥.

Opalikhin bet another 100,000 which was called, as was his bet of 160,000 on the 5♣ turn. Both then checked the T♣ river with Opalikhin showing 7♠K♠ to win the hand. He's up to 2.5 million. Magnus down to 1,375,000. - SB

NEIL3828_Nadezhda_Magnus_PCB2017_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Nadja Magnus

2:26pm: AA continues to fly
Level 24 - Blinds: 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

Allon Allison is on the up again. Having been down to only a couple of big blinds yesterday, he now has 2.5 million after a skirmish against Nadja Magnus.

Actually, he first lost a small pot to Rasmus Glæsel after Allison opened to 75,000 from the button and Glæsel three-bet to 225,000 from the small blind. Allison folded.

But he climbed back on the horse and opened the next pot, again to 75,000. Magnus called in the big blind and they looked at a flop of A♦8♣Q♦. Magnus check-called Allison's bet of 110,000.

They both checked the A♣ turn, but then Magnus led out for 165,000 on the Q♥ river. Allison pushed a tower of green chips out, worth 500,000, and Magnus waited a couple of beats before folding.

Magnus is now down to 1.38 million, only about 10,000 more than the table short-stack, Cliff Josephy. Aleksei Opalikhin has about 3 million and Glæsel 1.7 million. -- HS

2:11pm: Battle of the blinds
Level 24 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

In a battle of the blinds, and with a flop of 2♣4♦3♠, Rasmus Glæsel bet 75,000 and Aleksai Opalikhin called. That brought the 4♣ turn card. Glæsel checked, Opalikhin bet 130,000 and Glæsel called. Both then checked the K♥ river, with Glæsel showing K♣Q♣ to win the hand.

He's up slightly to 1.8 million. Opalikhin meanwhile has somewhere near 2.3 million. - SB

2:02pm: Slump
Level 24 - Blinds: 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

We're in another slump on the outer table, with very few pots of note. Actually, you can probably downgrade "very few" to "no".

Aleksei Opalikhin opened one pot to 70,000 and tempted Nadja Magnus and Cliff Josephy in from the blinds. They saw a flop of 6♦3♠K♦ and two checks from Magnus and Josephy, followed by a bet of 115,000 from Opalikhin, got the job done.

Rasmus Glæsel then opened a pot to 65,000 from under the gun and Josephy's three-bet to 200,000 from the small blind picked up the pot.

Then they actually went all the way to the river in another hand, when Opalikhin opened to 75,000 from the small blind and Magnus called in the big. They checked flop, turn, and river--a board of 5♥8♦5♣ | T♦ | K♠--and Opalikhin opened A♣Q♣.

Magnus mucked. -- HS

1:55pm: The Harder he tries, the luckier he gets
Level 24 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

Christian Harder found aces the very next hand after eliminating Michael Bartholomew, and won another huge pot with them to move up to 3.510 million.

Rodrigo Cordoba opened from the cutoff and called after Harder three-bet from the next seat. The board ran out 2♣8♦8♠5♥7♣ with Cordoba checking to face bets of 140,000, 265,000 and 530,000 on each street. The Argentine called the first two bets fairly quickly but took a long time to call the river bet. Harder opened aces (again) and Cordoba mucked and dropped to 1,165,000. --MC

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Christian Harder

1:37pm: Another one falls as Harder busts Bartholomew
Level 24 - Blinds: 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

It was a case of bad timing that cost Michael Bartholomew. He found a good pot to three-bet all-in but ran into a monster behind him.

Michael Gentili opened to 65,000 from under the gun before Bartholomew three-bet all-in for 915,000 from the cutoff and Christian Harder moved all-in as well, for 1.295 million, from the small blind. Gentili folded.

Harder: A♠A♣
Bartholomew: 9♥9♠

The board ran a blank 3♦T♣7♦K♠K♦. Harder moved past 2.3 million. --MC

1:33pm: No turn
Level 24 - Blinds: 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

After the flurry of early eliminations--a pace that has kept up on the featured table--it's slow going on the outer table. In fact, I don't think they have seen a turn card since returning from the break.

The most interesting hands (all things being relative) have been as follows:

Rasmus Glæsel opened to 60,000 from the button and Nadja Magnus called from the big blind. The flop fell 6♦A♦K♠ and Magnus check-folded to Glæsel's bet of 65,000.

Not long after, Glæsel raised to 65,000 from under the gun and Magnus three-bet to 135,000 from the cutoff. Everyone, including Glæsel, quickly folded.

Then Aleksei Opalikhin opened to 65,000 from under the gun and Allon Allison called in the small blind. After the flop of T♥2♦6♥ and a check from Allison, Opalikhin's bet of 110,000 was good enough.

It's a tournament of two halves at the moment. All the action is on the main table. -- HS

1:26pm: Kapkowski busts in huge pot
Level 24 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

Michael Gentili may have had a relatively quiet first level, but that changed very quickly after the restart. He won a huge pot to eliminate Marcin Kapkowski in 12th ($32,200) and saw his stack grow to a mammoth 4.44 million.

Kapkowski opened to 65,000 from under the fun and called after Gentili three-bet to 210,000 from the big blind. The flop fanned T♦8♦8♠ and Gentili led for 240,000 and called after Kapkowski shoved for 835,000.

Gentili: Q♦Q♠
Kapkowski: 5♣5♠

The board ran out 3♣9♣ and Kapkowski went on his way. --MC

1:24pm: Allison all-in
Level 24 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

On a flop of Q♥9♥4♣ there was a bet from Michael Vela before Allison moved all-in for 800,000. Vela had the option, but folded. - SB

1:21pm: What happened to him?
Level 24 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

The departure of Alan Schein in the last hand of the previous level has taken time to filter through the rest of the table, some of whom were already on their break when it happened. Allon Allison asked, "what happened?" and Michael Vela gave the story. Shortly after that Cliff Josephy returned. "What happened?" he asked. - SB

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Alan Schein

1:13pm: Back in action

We're back to business with 12 players remaining.

12:55pm: Schein departs in last hand of the level
Level 23 - Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

Alan Schein's tournament just came to an end on the last hand of the level.

After he opened for 53,000 from the button Opalikhin raised in the big blind to 147,000. Schein, as had become familiar, called fast.

The flop came 4♣8♦5♣. Opalikhin decided he would move all-in, easily covering Schein, who after two beats said "Call!", turning over A♠Q♣. Opalikhin turned up 9♥9♦.

alan_schein_psc_bahamas_day5.jpg

Alan Schein: Out before the final

Two cards to come. The turn came K♥ and the river 8♣.

Schein out in 13th place. Opalikhin up to more than 3 million. - SB

12:50pm: Break time

Because players finished in the middle of of a level last night, our first break of the day is happening right now, just 50 minutes into the start of play. We'll be back in 20 minutes.

12:50pm: Dibella pushes hard to oust Harder
Level 23 - Blinds: 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

On the final hand before the break on the featured table, John Dibella again opened from under the gun, which is apparently his favourite position from which to put in a raise.

Six of his opponents were OK with him taking it down, but Christian Harder called in the big blind to see at least a flop. That came: 7♥3♠4♥.

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John Dibella: Former champ sticking around

Harder checked and Dibella bet 54,000. Harder called, for a turn of 9♦ but then checked it again. Dibella bet 128,000 and that finally persuaded Harder to give them all a 20-minute break. -- HS

12:49pm: Liar, liar, pants on fire
Level 23 - Blinds 12,000/24,000 (4,000 ante)

A funny hand played out between Michael Vela and Rasmus Glæsel. The latter won it and moved up to 1.98 million; the latter lost it but caused some amusement as he dropped to 1.945 million.

Vela opened to 55,000 and then gave Glæsel a look when he three-bet to 127,000 from the small blind. "What? I didn't want to let this guy in (points to Aleksei Opalikhin), I want it head-up."

He got his wish as only Vela called to see an A♦9♠6♣ flop. Glæsel checked to face a 225,000 bet. "I have an ace," added Vela. Glæsel then check-raised all-in and Vela said, "I lied!" and folded. --MC

12:45pm: Gentili three-bets, wins
Level 23 - Blinds: 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

Michael Gentili hadn't won a pot today...until now. After John Dibella opened to 53,000 from under the gun, Gentili three-bet to 135,000 from one seat along. Action got back to Dibella and he folded.

Whether or not that had gone Gentili's way, it wouldn't have mattered. He is still the only man with more than 3 million, and is still cruising. -- HS

12:40pm: Schein betting all the way
Level 23 - Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

Alan Schein just bulldozed his way through a hand to increase his stack a little to 900,000.

He opened for 52,000 under the gun which was called by Aleksai Opalikhin and Michael Vela. The flop came 4♦3♠2♣ and Schein bet another 100,000. Called by both. On the 4♥ turn Schein announced "300", pushing out three towers of blue and leaving himself 160,000 behind. It was too much for the opposition though, both of whom folded. - SB

12:36pm: Mercier all-in...and out!
Level 23 - Blinds: 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

The biggest name left in today's field, the five-time WSOP bracelet winner and Team PokerStars Pro Jason Mercier, is now the biggest name waiting at the payouts cage. He is out in 14th, winning $32,200.

He open-jammed the cutoff and Michael Bartholomew, in the big blind, said, "I have to call you." Bartholomew did call, and was dominating Mercier with A♥9♣ against A♦8♠.

The flop was blank. It came 7♣Q♥4♥. The turn, the 4♣, brought opportunities for a chopped pot. But the 3♥ river only favoured Bartholomew and Mercier is out. -- HS

NEIL3780_Jason_Mercier_PCB2017_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Jason Mercier

12:34pm: Straight vs. two pair
Level 23 - Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

Rasmus Glæsel opened for 48,000 on the button which Nadja Magnus called form the big blind. The flop came 2♠3♥4♦ which Magnus check called the 54,000 bet by Glæsel. That brought the A♣ on the turn, which was checked for the [qh on the river. Magnus, who had flopped a set with A♥5♦ checked to Glæsel who had made two pair on the river with Q♠3♠. He bet another 118,000 but then watched as Magnus raised to 254,000. Glæsel finally tossed a chip in, signaling the call.

He drops to 1.46 million after that hand while Magnus moves up to 2,050,000. - SB

12:32pm: Kapkowski takes a sliver from Gentili
Level 23 - Blinds: 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

With Cliff Josephy having departed the featured table to fill the spot vacated by Ryan Riess, Marcin Kapkowski took the big blind that should have been destined for Josephy.

Michael Gentili was in the small blind and action folded to him. He raised to 60,000 and Kapkowski called. They saw the flop fall 5♦T♠6♠ and Gentili, with 3.5 million in his stack, checked to a man with 850,000.

But it was the short stack who now took over. He bet 60,000 and Gentili called.

The turn was the intriguing T♥ but Gentili checked again. This time Kapkowski checked behind. Who knows what they were up to here.

After the Q♥ completed the board, Gentili led for 110,000. That was surprising. But not as surprising as the raise to 220,000 from Kapkowski. Gentili, whatever he was up to, stopped it. He folded. --HS

12:29pm: Riess falls in 15th for $32,200
Level 23 - Blinds: 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

Ryan Riess' face dropped slightly when the river failed to come to his rescue. He had outs, lots of them after falling behind on the flop, but it wasn't meant to be for the former world champ.

The pot started with a 52,000 under-the-gun raise from Nadja Magnus and a flat call from Michael Vela in the next seat. Riess was one more seat along and squeezed all-in for 303,000. Magus folded and Vela flicked in the call.

Vela: A♥5♥
Riess: A♦K♥

The board ran T♠4♦5♦8♦2♣ to pair Vela's kicker. He moved up to 2.2million. --MC

NEIL3015_Ryan_Riess_PCB2017_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Ryan Riess

12:20pm: Mercier dwindles further
Level 23 - Blinds: 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

Jason Mercier didn't have many chips to play with when he returned to the Imperial Ballroom today, but opted to open to 51,000, from a stack of only about 330,000, from UTG+1. Rodrigo Cordoba called in the small blind, then checked the flop of 8♥8♣5♦.

Mercier continued with a bet of 43,000 and Cordoba called, taking them to the turn. It was the 2♣.

Cordoba then took the betting lead when he pushed out 64,000. Mercier reluctantly let it go, leaving him with about 235,000. It's going to be a long way back from here for Mercier.

Cordoba, meanwhile, has 2.02 million. -- HS

12:15pm: The first elimination of the day
Level 23 - Blinds: 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

The first player eliminated today is Pedro Baptista. On the second hand on the outer table, he moved all in for around 500,000 behind an opening bet of 52,000 from Rasmus Glæsel, who then snap-called.

Baptista: J♣J♦
Glæsel: A♦K♥

Both players looked to their supporters on the rail, and Glæsel wished Baptista good luck.

The board came T♠A♥6♠3♥4♠ to reduce the field to 15. Glæsel up to around 1.85 million. - SB

NEIL3465_Pedro_Cabeca_PCB2017_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Pedro Cabeca (16th place)

12:05pm: First blood to Dibella's kings
Level 23 - Blinds: 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)
They're off and running on the featured table, and action started with a penis joke from John Dibella that got an agreeable chuckle from his seven opponents. And then, perhaps now on edge against Dibella, the rest of the table allowed the 2012 PCA winner to take the first pot.

Rodrigo Cordoba raised to 50,000 from under the gun and Dibella called a couple of seat along. Michael Bartholomew called in the big blind too.

The flop brought the 2♣3♣4♥ and after two checks, Dibella's bet took it down. He then showed K♦K♠, after a cheeky flat-call with a monster pre-flop. -- HS

12:03pm: Allison on his late comeback

A quick word with Allon Allison before play started. Last night he was left with 180,000 after the big hand against Nadja Magnus but transformed that into 1.15 million in the space of about 20 minutes. His take? He got lucky, then he got lucky and got lucky. - SB

11:16am: Play resumes at 12pm

Here in about 45 minutes, the final 16 players in the PokerStars Championship Bahamas Main Event will sit down. When we leave tonight, we expect there to be only six left. Included in Day 5 are a Team PokerStars Pro, a former WSOP champion, a recent member of the November Nine (and PokerStars veteran), and a former Bahamas champion.

At the very top is Michael Gentili. Three hours before the end of play last night, Gentili had 177,000. At the end, he had nearly three million more. Will it be enough to get him to the final table. We should know the answer to that within the next 12 hours.

Stay tuned.

Michael GentiliCanada3,708,000
Aleksei OpalikhinRussia2,084,000
Nadezhda MagnusUSA1,877,000
Michael VelaUSA1,811,000
Rodrigo CordobaArgentina1,770,000
Cliff JosephyUSA1,331,000
Rasmus GlæselDenmark1,319,999
Christian HarderUSA1,305,000
John DibellaUSA1,294,000
Allon AllisonCanada1,150,000
Marcin KapkowskiPoland955,000
Michael BartholomewCanada877,000
Alan ScheinUSA635,000
Pedro CabecaPortugal540,000
Ryan RiessUSA371,000
Jason MercierUSA340,000

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

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PokerStars Blog reporting team on the $5K Main Event: Stephen Bartley, Marc Convey, Howard Swains and Brad Willis. Photography by Neil Stoddart. Follow the PokerStars Blog on Twitter: @PokerStarsBlog

Live reporting team
@PokerStars in Bahamas