PSC Bahamas: Main Event Day 1B live updates

Day 1B Live Coverage Archive

See a full wrap-up of Day 1B here

11:11pm: James Juvancic leads

At the close of play, James Juvancic is sitting on 271,800 good for the Day 1B chip lead and the lead overall. Andrew Ryan will be sitting in second place with 224,300. We'll have a fill wrap-up of the day in just a moment.

10:50pm: Six more hands
Level 8 - Blinds 400/800 (ante 100)

The players are playing six more hands before ending the night. We'll be back with a full wrap-up soon.

10:48pm: Juvancic jumps ahead
Level 8 - Blinds 400/800 (ante 100)

There's less than a half-hour to go tonight, which means your intrepid team of blogsters is scouting about in search of an end-of-day chip leader.

While Andrew Ryan was looking like a prime candidate with more than 225,000, James Juvancic appears to have jumped ahead of Ryan in the counts near the finish as he's stacking more than 250,000 at present.

Both are ahead of the pace of the Day 1A chip leader, James Martyn, who finished last night with 197,400. --MH

10:42pm: Lew looking for a place to vent
Level 8 - Blinds 400/800 (ante 100)

Randy "nanonoko" Lew is one of the late fallers here in the Imperial Ballroom. He was seen walking away from the table but is contractually obliged a nice guy and is happy to explain what happened to end his tournament to the rapacious vultures of the press corps.

"Well first I had kings versus aces," he said. "I almost folded." (Almost is not good enough, Randy. Keep talking.) "That was a 60K pot. Then I had queens against kings and...I'm going to find a place to go vent."

The man with the kings when Lew had queens was Edward Mandel. He's now stacking Lew's chips. -- HS

10:37pm: A gathering of red spades
Level 8 - Blinds 400/800 (ante 100)

The moving about of players as seats empty and tables are balanced has resulted in no less than three red spades back at Table 2 along the far wall, all Team PokerStars Pros.

Of the group Felipe Ramos is doing best with about 140,000, with Chris Moneymaker sitting behind about 75,000. Victor Ramdin is there as well, nursing a stack of 30,000. --MH

10:35pm: What's the opposite of a big blind special?
Level 8 - Blinds 400/800 (ante 100)

Xuan Liu is out, having run into some misfortune in a blind-versus-blind situation versus David Ward on her right.

Arriving once the damage was done, it was clear from the first three community cards -- A♥3♠6♣ -- that Liu had found trouble with her 6♠3♥ for bottom two pair when Ward happened to have A♣3♦ for top two.

Neither the 2♣ turn nor 5♠ helped Liu, and she's out. Ward is up over 60,000 now. --MH

10:25pm: Aaron Paul lets his poker face slip
Level 8 - Blinds 400/800 (ante 100)

Here's a definitive answer, once and for all, to the question of whether A-list Hollywood actors still feel the pressure of playing poker. Yes they do. They really do.

The Emmy-award winning Aaron Paul just played a pot against Mamed Mamedov and Chun Tai Lee that ended with Paul peeling his glasses off, rubbing his hands on his legs, slipping his headphones down around his neck and admitting that he was dreading seeing his opponents' cards.

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I joined the action on the turn with the board reading 9♥8♣6♥7♣ and Paul (who was in the big blind pre-flop) and Lee having checked. Mamedov bet 7,000 and both Paul and Lee called.

The 4♦ appeared on the river and Paul and Lee checked again. Mamedov said that he was all-in, and put 26,200 over the line.

Paul then let his poker face slip. For all of the previous seven levels, Paul has done his best acting job on the character "Young Contemporary Poker Player", which has meant dark glasses, a beanie hat, and music. He's been nodding his head along when he's not in hands.

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However now, faced with a bet that would constitute about half of his remaining, hard-earned stack, he was in agony. He took the sunglasses off and put the arm in his mouth. He slipped the headphones down to confirm with the dealer how much it was. He looked at his own stack. He was in pain.

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And then he called, which prompted a quick fold from Lee.

"Ten-high straight," Mamedov said, announcing what one suspects was the minimum Paul thought he could have. Specifically it was the T♦9♦.

With a relieved sigh, Paul turned over his T♥K♥. "I thought maybe you had the ten-jack," he said. Then when someone noticed Paul's flush draw, he said, "Man, I wanted that heart."

Paul wiped his sweating palms, sat onto his knees, then sat back down in his chair. "Wow," he said. "Nice hand, my friend."

He then starting stacking up about 80,000 chips. Paul is sticking around. -- HS

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10:20pm: Kitai drains Drinan
Level 8 - Blinds 400/800 (ante 100)

It folded to Davidi Kitai in the small blind who eyed Connor Drinan's sub-5,000 stack to his left, and Kitai pushed all in. Drinan held his cards up, thought a moment, then tossed his chips in to call.

Drinan had J♦5♥ and was dominated by Kitai's J♠7♠, but the K♠8♣9♠ flop and J♣ turn meant jacks for both and plenty of chopportunities -- like 27 different possible rivers to produce a split pot, in fact, if you want to get technical about it.

But fifth street brought the 8♠, filling a flush for Kitai and sending Drinan railward. Kitai has about 40,000 now. --MH

10:11pm: More chips for Charania
Level 8 - Blinds 400/800 (ante 100)

We were writing about Mohsin Charania making quads early on today and earning a nice boost to his starting stack. He's ending the day somewhat similarly, having just added another chunk while knocking out Jonathan Roy.

All of Roy's stack went in on the flop with the board showing Q♠5♥9♥ and Roy holding A♠Q♣ for top pair. But Charania had 9♣9♠ for a set, and two cards later -- the 8♦ and T♦ -- Roy was out.

Charania is up over 130,000 now with an hour of play remaining. --MH

10:04pm: Star Williams
Level 8 - Blinds 400/800 (ante 100)

Agustin Williams is the star attraction on Table 4, even if that table also features Vanessa Selbst, Noah Boeken, Arnaud Mattern and Ryan Riess.

Earlier in the day, there was a moment when he got involved in a pot against Selbst and turned to a neighbour to ask what her "Team Pro" patch meant. Then, having been given an explanation, correctly deduced aloud something along the lines of "Oh, she's pretty good then?"

This took place after Williams had moved all-in over Selbst's bet and Selbst was in the tank.

Selbst folded, and Williams said he had aces. Boeken said he didn't believe him, Williams showed the aces and Boeken said he still didn't believe him. Williams is that kind of guy.

Just recently, he was involved in another pot against Mattern. The former EPT Prague champion opened from under the gun to 1,600 at a point that the table was discussing misdeals. I didn't see what took them to this precise topic of conversation, but it seemed to be that Williams had maybe suggested there had been a misdeal, then looked at his hand and backtracked. (Important to stress: this also might not have happened, but it's true that they were discussing misdeals and were chuckling at what happened next.)

Williams picked up five blue chips, worth 5,000 apiece, and tossed them into the middle of the table. He was raising to 25,000. Everyone folded back to Mattern, who said, "I really like this hand" but folded it.

Mattern then said something like, "You suddenly wanted the hand?" and Williams said, "Kings". He then showed them face up -- K♥K♠ -- and raked in the small pot.

Selbst was first. "OK, what do you do with queens?" she said. -- HS

9:52pm: Kerr builds a mountain
Level 8 - Blinds 400/800 (ante 100)

There's another big stack this evening in front of Canada's Steven Kerr. He has about 137,000 and got a few of them in the time it took me to count down those stacks.

He opened to 1,500 from the cutoff and Urban Nilsson called on the button. (Does he have a brother named Rural?) The flop fell 9♣8♠4♥ and Kerr bet 2,500. Nilsson called.

After the turn brought the A♦ Kerr bet again. But 3,500 was too much to contemplate for Nilsson and he let his hand go.

Kerr seems like a lock for Day 2. -- HS

9:49pm: Back to 30K for Ho
Level 7 - Blinds: 300/600 (ante 100)

Maria Ho opened from the hijack making it 1,500. The action was folded round to Kliment Tarmakov in the big blind who called to see the 8♣9♥A♦ flop.

Tarmakov checked to Ho who bet 1,500. Call. It was the same on the T♣ turn. Tarmakov checked to Ho who bet, 2,300 this time, which was called.

On the J♦ river though the betting stopped. Both players checked. Tarmakov showed A♣5♦ but Ho had turned two pair with T♥8♥. The pot was hers, and brought her stack back to around the 30,000 mark. - SB

9:40pm: Ryan flyin'
Level 7 - Blinds 300/600 (ante 100)

Andrew Ryan's day has gone pretty well, you might say. After nearly seven levels of play, he'd spun his starting stack up over 200,000 -- the biggest stack we've seen today. And Ryan just added a few more in a hand versus Sean Posner that perhaps suggests just how things have gone for him.

Posner opened for 1,800 from under the gun and Ryan called from the hijack, then both players checked through the 8♣7♠5♠ flop and 2♣ turn. The river was the 9♥, and when Posner checked again Ryan flicked out a 5,000 chip, causing Posner to fold.

"I just gotta show you this," said Ryan, turning over 9♣6♣ for a flopped straight. Posner shook his head with a look that suggested he'd seen similar things already today.

Put Ryan at 210,000, the Day 1B leader for now. --MH

9:34pm: A cunning Fox and the Sunk Cost Fallacy
Level 7 - Blinds: 300/600 (ante 100)

Jaanus Telvar didn't see the bet from Elio Fox, so when the action reached him in the small blind he announced "raise 1,200." That's when the problems started for the Estonian.

Fox had already bet, making it 1,500 from middle position. With the floor called the options were laid out to him. Admittedly this didn't take long as he was left with only one option. He had to min-raise.

And so Telvar paid up, making it 2,400. Fox, a shrewd player with more than $3.2 million in tournament earnings knew what to do next. Four betting would turn the screw on Telvar, and so he did, making it 5,500. No mercy from the Fox corner.

Telvar was now at the mercy of the Sunk Cost Fallacy, in danger of throwing good money after bad. He'd already paid up a min raise, now Fox wanted him to cough up more. Would he cut his losses now or pay up and press on in the hope that the hand would turn around on the flop. He paid up.

The flop came 5♦7♦4♦ which didn't improve Telvar's situation. He checked to Fox who fired again, another 4,000. This was enough for the Sunk Cost to become too much. Telvar mucked. - SB

9:33pm: O'Dwyer, Kornuth jump in
Level 7 - Blinds 300/600 (ante 100)

This just in -- the field has become considerably tougher, thanks to the arrival of two more players, both of whom have enjoyed career-high successes in this very poker room.

One is Steve O'Dwyer, whose best live cash ever came when he won the $100,000 Super High Roller here in 2015, good for $1,872,580.

The other is Chance Kornuth, who just last year in the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Main Event finished third for $641,140, also his career best live cash.

The prize pool keeps climbing here as more keep arriving, with these two certainly in the running to claim large shares of it. --MH

9:28pm: Chen chopped
Level 7 - Blinds 300/600 (ante 100)

Andrew Chen flopped a set of fives. Nice when you're all in. But not great when your opponent, in this case Robert Kostesky, flopped a set of kings and had a bigger stack.

Short version: Chen isn't going to win the PokerStars Championship Bahamas Main Event. -- HS

9:25pm: Table-mates
Level 7 - Blinds 300/600 (ante 100)

You have to beat everybody to win a poker tournament, but you can only get chips off of the people on your immediate table. And for a few players in this event, that's going to be more difficult than it often can be as plenty of tables have more than one player accustomed to running deep in such events.

Here are a few of the personal duels taking place amid the wider field today:

Felipe Ramos (105,000) v Victor Ramdin (37,000) v Chris Moneymaker (17,000)

Pascal Lefrancois (52,000) v Jeff Gross (30,000)

Noah Boeken (22,000) v Vanessa Selbst (100,000) v Ryan Riess (33,000)

Randy "nanonoko" Lew (75,000) v Jean Montury (66,000)

Sam Chartier (75,000) v Max Lykov (105,000) v David Yan (30,000)

Maria Ho (25,500) v Luc Greenwood (33,000) v Andre Akkari (34,000) v Jaime Staples (35,000)

Davidi Kitai (19,000) v Harrison Gimbel (41,000) v Nacho Barbero (115,000)

Aaron Paul (80,000) v Kevin Martin (41,000) v Damien Steel (170,000)

Jake Cody (19,500) v Fatima Moreira de Melo (27,000) v Blair Hinkle (110,000) v Eugene Katchalov (75,000)

I also spotted Ludovic Geilich in today's field, but recognised nobody else at his table. That may explain how come he has run up a stack of 130,000. -- HS

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Victor Ramdin: I gotta sit with Moneymaker?!

9:21pm: Lykov calls, Umerenko survives
Level 7 - Blinds 300/600 (ante 100)

It was one of those "any two" spots for Maxim Lykov. Or just about, anyway.

Stanislav Umerenko had opened with an all-in raise for just 3,500 from the button, and after looking down at Q♦4♠ in the big blind Lykov decided to put in the calling chips.

Umerenko had A♠5♣, the board came 6♠8♦7♠9♣J♠ to give him a straight by the turn, and he survives albeit still with a small stack. Lykov is playing 61,000 now, roughly twice the amount with which he started the day. --MH

9:13pm: Foxen picks up Pace('s chips)
Level 7 - Blinds 300/600 (ante 100)

Antonio Pace's Main Event run has concluded here in Level 7, his A♠A♥ failing him versus William Foxen's K♦Q♦.

A board of J♠6♦5♦9♦A♦ undid Pace, who had to snap a photo of the carnage before leaving. Foxen now has about 55,000. --MH

9:05pm: Triangle shooting
Level 7 - Blinds 300/600 (ante 100)

Daniel Weinman was all in again, this time for 10,800 behind K♦K♠ and up against Gleb Tremzin's 9♥9♠.

The cards were on their backs and the dealer was about to deliver the community cards when Weinman held up a hand.

"Wait!" he said with a grin. "I want a triangle!"

The table laughed as the dealer set an all-in triangle in front of Weinman, then Tremzin spoke up.

"Hey, I want one, too!"

That produced even more laughter -- and a triangle for Tremzin -- with Weinman saying that exchange guaranteed a nine was coming.

Fortunately for him it didn't, as the board fell 4♣8♦3♠2♥A♦, and he's back up around 23,000 while Tremzin falls back to 32,000. Meanwhile, the dealer got her triangles back. --MH

8:50pm: Drinan and Barbero to the river
Level 7 - Blinds: 300/600 (ante 100)

Connor Drinan and Nacho Barbero are usually good for some drama, and this latest hand they played went someway to live up to that.

Sergi Escote opened for 1,200 before Barbero, sitting one seat along, raised to 3,100. Drinan was over in the small blind, very still and wearing mirrored sunglasses. He had something because he was in no rush. So it was hardly surprising when he went for his chips to make an 8,500 four bet.

Escote passed but Barbero, looking over at the bet Drinan had made - a hodge-podge of chips of different colours, asked how much. Contented (and with 70,000 behind vs. Drinan's 19,000) he called.

The flop came 3♣6♦2♥ and was checked. Was this going to be one of those hands in which the only excitement was pre-flop? Not quite. On the A♠ turn Drinan bet 6,500 and Barbero called for the 5♦.

There would be no more betting, just a cagey show down after both players checked. Drinan turned over K♠Q♥ for a missed everything, while Barbero showed J♣J♦. He's up to 95,000 chips while Drinan slips to around 12,000. - SB

NEIL0990_Nacho_Barbero_PCB2017_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Nacho Barbero: Cucumbers want to be so cool

8:45pm: Jaime and Maria show
Level 7 - Blinds 300/600 (ante 100)

A post-dinner stroll around the tables finds Maria Ho and Team PokerStars Pro Online Jaime Staples among those taking part, having drawn seats side-by-side one another.

Staples is fresh off a few days' worth of Twitch commentary, while Ho is also a veteran of poker analysis over the airwaves. She might also have something else to talk about, given how she just finished fifth in the inaugural PokerStars National Championship here in the Bahamas earlier in the day.

Both were quiet, however, while playing a hand against one another just now, a hand that started with a Staples under-the-gun raise and blind defense from Ho. Ho checked-called a c-bet after the 3♠4♦5♠ flop, but another check and bet following the K♠ turn encouraged her to fold.

Staples is a little above the starting stack with about 32,000, while Ho has 18,500. --MH

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Maria Ho: One final table and looking for two

8:43pm: Cody pays off Hinkle's nuts
Level 7 - Blinds 300/600 (ante 100)

Few players play poker with the appetite of Jake Cody. Despite bursting on to the scene with immediate and repeated success, Cody's love for the game has never diminished. He is as hungry now as he ever was.

That's perhaps why it's particularly difficult to report on pots that Cody loses. Call us partisan, but we always want him to win.

The following hand (of which I saw only the very tail end) isn't going to prove too costly to Cody's prospects in this event, but it leaves him with only 18,000 chips, or 30 big blinds. He knows how to play this stack size, but he's always more chipper with towers of chips in front of him.

Anyhow, the pot: There was precisely 13,000 in the middle and only two players involved, who would have been in the blinds pre-flop. Cody checked the board of J♦T♦3♦5♦6♠ and Blair Hinkle bet 4,500.

Cody went into the tank for a while, but called and saw the hand he seemed to be fearing and expecting in equal measure. Hinkle had A♦T♣. Cody mucked.

That took Hinkle's stack to around 100,000, which is the biggest over there. Eugene Katchalov, Fatima Moreira de Melo and Maria Lampropoulos are also on that table, in addition to the WSOP bracelet winner Hinkle. It's never easy. -- HS

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8:30pm: Annnnd, we're back

The remaining players are back from dinner break and ready to finish off the last two levels of the night.

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A wide look at the tournament room

7:10pm: Dinner soon

Players are headed off to dinner shortly. They should be back around 8:25pm. We will be, too.

6:55pm: One Spin & Go winner down
Level 6 - Blinds: 250/500 (ante 75)

Our Spin & Go winner from earlier, the courageous Corey Cawdell-Howland is alas now on the rail. His table got increasingly scary looking as the day went on with the arrival of Sam Chartier, Max Lykov and now David Yan.

For his part Lykov now has more than 100,000. Meanwhile the other Spin & Go winner at the table Stanislav Umerenko is alive and well and plays on. -- SB

6:49pm: Furey unleashed on Greenstein
Level 6 - Blinds 250/500 (ante 75)

Barry Greenstein's calendar has had the Bahamas pencilled on it every January for about 10 years, and he is here once more for the inaugural PokerStars Championship event. It's not going great, but it is far from over. Greenstein still has 21,000 after being forced out of the following hand.

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Barry Greenstein

Greenstein opened the cutoff to 1,200 and both blinds came along. They were Charles Furey in the small blind and Tom Janssens in the big.

The three surveyed a flop of 3♥T♦K♦ and both Furey and Janssens checked. Greenstein continued for 1,600 and only Furey called.

The A♣ came on the turn and Furey check-called Greenstein's 3,200 bet this time.

The 4♠ fell on the river and barely had it settled there than Furey tossed his full stack into the middle. This seemed to be a pre-planned move. It was for about 9,500 but Greenstein wasn't interested in a count. He flicked his cards away and will carry on towards the dinner break with about two-thirds of his starting stack. -- HS

6:45pm: Greenwood reaches the half way point
Level 6 - Blinds: 250/500 (ante 75)

Luc Greenwood is half way through The Words by Jean Paul Sartre. Make what you will of the type of table image this presents. On the one hand he'd rather read than pay attention to every little detail. On the other hand, this guy reads Sartre, and didn't he once say "Everything has been figured out, except how to live"? (That may be so, but Sartre said nothing about how to get the Wi-Fi to work).

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Luc and Jean Paul

Whatever it means, Greenwood is having a good day. He told Luke Haward next to him that he'd reached the halfway point (the pair had been discussing Sartre earlier), but not before he'd won another pot to take him up to 55,000.

Houman Belany opened for 500 which Fabio Sousa rasied to 1,700 in the hijack. Greenwood was in the small blind and happy to call, as was Belany. They saw a T♦3♥J♦ flop and checked it for a 5♠ turn card.

Now Greenwood bet 3,500 which forced out Belany and Sousa, although not before the Brazilian had performed a kind of will-he-wont-he chip dance with his last 10,000.

Greenwood halfway through the day, halfway through his book, and now halfway to 100,000. - SB

6:40pm: Thrown over side by Sides, Sitton loses seat
Level 6 - Blinds 250/500 (ante 75)

From under the gun Hank Sitton pushed his last 4,425 forward, and it looked like the shove was going to get all of the way through until Bodo Sides called from the big blind.

Sitton had A♥8♠ and Sides 3♠3♦, and the 3♣5♥8♥ caused Sitton not to sit on his chair any longer, giving Sides a set of treys.

The A♠ turn evoked an "uh-oh" from a tablemate, leaving the door open with a few outs for Sitton. But the K♦ river wasn't one of the them and he is out.

Sides glides up over 80,000 with that small pot. --MH

6:36pm: The Barnes door
Level 6 - Blinds 250/500 (ante 75)

On the very next hand following Aaron Paul's victory with pocket nines, Tom Lutz opened to 1,500 and Allan Barnes shoved for 3,075. Lutz called with A♦T♦ and was always ahead of Barnes's Q♥8♥. The board ran 8♦T♣3♥4♠K♠. And they continue to fall...--HS

6:34pm: Paul aims to match Pinkman's respect
Level 6 - Blinds 250/500 (ante 75)

There are numerous plots and sub-plots that run through Breaking Bad, the show that transformed Aaron Paul from a jobbing actor (of immense talent, it has to be said) into a household name. There are numerous interpretations too for a narrative that, over the course of five seasons, charts the rise and fall of the chemistry teacher turned meth-cooking kingpin Walter White and his sidekick Jesse Pinkman.

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Aaron Paul on Day 1B

As White goes through the character arc of a Shakespearean tragic hero (this is not hyperbole, by the way; the five seasons can easily represent the five acts of a Shakespeare tragedy and White is blighted by Shakespearean fatal flaw), Pinkman's arc is slightly more simple. It's five seasons through which all he is looking for is White's respect.

As an actor, Paul has all the respect in the world. But he is now seeking respect as a poker player, and that may take some time. For instance, he just opened a pot from UTG+1, making it 1,500, and picked up four callers. In games across the world, four calls to an early-position raise is usually met with a plea for some respect.

Anyhow, how did it play out? Well, the flop brought the 6♠A♣4♠ and after Allan Barnes and Aston Soon Shiong, in the blinds, had checked, Paul bet 2,000. Jonathan Borenstein, to Paul's left, folded, as did Tom Lutz in the hijack. In fact, only Shiong called.

They both then checked the T♣ turn and the 2♦ river, with Paul scooping the pot when he showed the 9♠9♦.

With a stack of more than 70,000 now, the quest for respect is off to a good start. But this is really only Episode 6 of Season 1 and there's a long way to go yet. -- HS

6:29pm: Rude river busts Boeree
Level 6 - Blinds 250/500 (ante 75)

Liv Boeree's Main Event has come to a sudden end after one of those sure-it's-poker-but-that-doesn't-make-it-any-better hands versus Peter Jaksland.

It was a blind-versus-blind battle, with Jaksland leading from the small after a T♦4♣5♦ flop and getting called by Boeree in the big, building the pot to around 16,000.

The turn then brought the A♦ and a check from Jaksland, and Boeree set out two blue chips worth 5,000 each, indicating a bet of what sounded like 8,500. Jaksland paused a few beats and set his stack all in, and after thinking a short while Boeree called to commit the 15,000 or so she had left.

Jaksland had A♠J♦ for top pair, but Boeree's A♥K♣ give her aces with a better kicker. Then came the river... the J♣!

"Good game," said Boeree before departing, and Jaksland is now at around 68,000. --MH

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Liv Boeree: A picture of disgust (that was actually taken earlier in the day)

6:19pm: The latest from table Cada
Level 6 - Blinds: 250/500 (ante 75)

Table Cada has been the talky-table. As we wrote about earlier the conversation has been heavy, consisting of subjects as deep as football, baseball, marijuana, Rogue One, the disadvantages of getting old, and even a little poker.

But it has been Cada's table, the former World Champ seemingly involved in more pots than everyone else.

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Joe Cada: Action Man

Not in on the chat is Maria Lampropoulos, who sits, without the distraction of phone or giving her view on the virtues of George Steinbrenner, waiting for a hand to play.

She found one and checked a K♠8♣9♥9♣3♣ board through with Cada. When the action reached the river Cada, playing an average stack like a big one, bet 3,300, forcing a fold from Lampropoulos.

That followed another Cada hand, this one against his principal conversational mate Ryan Yu. It was an ugly one too.

The board had been dealt 7♥Q♥8♠7♦9♠. Yu had been check-calling Cada who eventually showed a meager looking 5♥2♥. For his part Yu showed an only slightly less meager looking 8♣4♣, good for the pot.

"You don't make many hands there!" joked Cada. Yu saw the funny side. - SB

6:15pm: Anderson out after Kerr crash
Level 6 - Blinds 250/500 (ante 75)

Calvin Anderson is out, having crashed into Steven Kerr's pocket aces on his final hand.

Kerr has 75,000 now. --MH

6:12pm: 60 minutes until dinnertime
Level 6 - Blinds 250/500 (ante 75)

The remaining players here have an hour left to play before they can head out into the Bahamian night for a bite to eat before playing two more levels.

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The Atlantis Marina at night

6:08pm: Rechecking the big board
Level 6 - Blinds 250/500 (ante 75)

Onto Level 6, everyone, the last level before the dinner break.

The big board is showing 456 entries so far for today's Day 1B, with 368 of those players still kicking. Late registration, remember, lasts until the start of tomorrow's Day 2. --MH

6:04pm: Barer short once more
Level 5 - Blinds 200/400 (ante 50)

After making at least one big call this afternoon (see 5:04pm), Ami Barer just made a big fold--at least that's what his three-minute-plus tank on the river made it look like.

Robby Westrom started this one going with a raise to 1,050 from under the gun and Barer three-bet to 3,100 from the button. David Roberts called in the big blind and that persuaded Westrom to call too.

They went three-handed to a flop of A♥3♦2♠ and all three checked. Then they saw the K♣ on the turn. Roberts bet 4,500 and Westrom quickly folded. Barer called.

The 9♥ appeared on the river and Roberts bet 6,500. Barer only had 14,600 back so was again looking at a bet for close to half his stack.

Barer looked at his stack a lot as he pondered his call. He also looked at Roberts, who must be aware that this is an opponent happy to call with almost nothing if he has a feel that something isn't right, took a swig from his water bottle.

After a long while, Barer flicked his cards away. He's pretty short again now. -- HS

6:03pm: Skalkak stacked
Level 5 - Blinds 200/400 (ante 50)

Vojtech Skalak's Main Event run has ended with the conclusion of Level 5 after getting the last of his short stack in behind K♥J♦ and needing help against Dominique Mosley's A♣T♣.

The board came 9♥6♠2♥8♠Q♠, unhelpful for Skalak who departs. Moseley moseys up over 45,000 with that one. --MH

5:52pm: Photo finish for Ghionoiu
Level 5 - Blinds 200/400 (ante 50)

We've seen it plenty of times -- a player ousted in somewhat improbable fashion whipping out a smart phone to snap a photo of the board, a visual supplement to the bad beat story already being rehearsed in the player's mind.

Usually the phones don't come out before the river is dealt, but such was the the case just now when Daniel Ghionoiu got his chips in on a 7♣6♠4♥3♥ board holding K♦5♠ only to see his opponent Victor Figueroa flip over 8♣5♣ for a higher straight.

Everything was already within frame when the J♣ completed the board, and having secured the evidence Ghionoiu departed.

Meanwhile Figueroa has secured a stack of about 105,000 by now. --MH

5:44pm: Cantos gets his handshake, but not before he busts
Level 5 - Blinds 200/400 (ante 50)

It's exciting enough that Aaron Paul is even here in the Bahamas playing the PokerStars Championship Main Event. No one really expects the Hollywood star to make a deep run or anything, but don't tell Paul himself that. He has more than double his starting stack at the moment--64,500 to be precise--and that's a good deal more than plenty of others in the room.

He played only the role of supporting actor in the following pot, which ended up accounting for the hopes of Jorge Cantos. Cantos, from Argentina, open-shoved from under the gun for less than 6,000 and Brazil's Joao Alberto Barreto didn't need to know the amount. He called immediately. (Paul folded his big blind.)

Barreto had A♥A♦ and would have called a shove for any amount. Cantos was in trouble with his K♣Q♣. The flop didn't help. It came 8♥J♥J♦. The turn offered a glimmer of hope. It was the T♥. But the 3♠ slammed the door in his face.

Cantos slowly stood from his chair but wanted a quick handshake before he left. Paul--it was his hand Cantos was looking for-obliged. It cost him $10,000 but he met Aaron Paul. That's cool, isn't it? -- HS

5:40pm: How to "style out" awkward moments: The Aaron Paul way
Level 5 - Blinds: 200/400 (ante 50)

Aaron Paul's presence in the tournament room seldom goes unnoticed, even under his urban camouflage of sunglasses and baseball cap. People walking by spot him, mouth "Is that Aaron Paul?" to whoever they're with. Then stop and stare for a while.

This actually happened a few moments ago. Paul had stood up from his seat to stretch his legs. A young couple walked by, did the "Is that Aaron Paul?" thing just as Paul, taking a long gulp of Red Bull, had one of those awkward moments.

Head tipped back taking a drink, his headphones fell off, forcing him to half catch them with his neck and shoulder. It was the standing still equivalent of walking down the street, tripping on the curb and trying to look like you meant it. This was Aaron Paul looking awkward just like the rest of us.

But if he'd lost any degree of Hollywood chic he managed to restore it with style almost immediately.

Along came a guy names Kirk from the next table.

"Aaron," he said, apologetically asking for a photo. Paul shook his hand, flashed a grin at the camera that the two of them were now looking at, then shook his hand again, only after making a point of asking Kirk's name.

Then they each wished each other luck and returned to their seats. Kirk with a story he'll tell for years, Paul with total cool restored. - SB

NEIL0289_Aaron_Paul_PCB2017_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Aaron Paul: Mr. Smooth

5:38pm: Buddiga bounces back
Level 5 - Blinds 200/400 (ante 50)

Pratyush Buddiga, who has been to the Main Event final table here before, was looking at a Day 1 exit a moment ago. Well, it would have taken a two-outer to crush him when he got his money in, but he was officially the player "at risk."

Andres Stawski and Buddiga were at a flop of A♣T♥7♥ and Buddiga check-called Stawski's bet of 3,000. Then the 6♣ came on the turn, and Buddiga checked again. Stawski bet 3,000, and Buddiga moved all-in for 11,575.

Stawski called but could only table J♦J♥ to Buddiga's A♥4♥. There was no jack on the river, and Buddiga doubles to above his starting stack. -- HS

NEIL0465_Pratyush_Buddiga_PCB2017_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Pratyush Buddiga

5:34pm: Glæsel gets some from Meijer van Putten
Level 5 - Blinds 200/400 (ante 50)

Jasper Meijer van Putten comes into this first PokerStars Championship at the Bahamas as the European Poker Tour's last Main Event winner, having topped a field of 1,192 to win the title and nearly €700,000. His hopes of becoming the first PSC Main Event winner just suffered a setback, though, after a hand versus Rasmus Glæsel.

NEIL0905_Jasper_Meijer_Van_Putten-_PCB2017_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Jasper Meijer van Putten

Having missed the preflop action, it looked like an early position raise from Meijer van Putten was met with a three-bet from Glæsel as there was about 5,000 in the middle when the flop came 9♦4♥J♥. Meijer van Putten check-called a bet of 3,500 from Glæsel, then both checked the 3♠ turn.

The river brought the J♠ and a bet of 6,600 from Meijer van Putten, and Glæsel tanked for some time before finally calling. Meijer van Putten quickly flipped over his A♦Q♦, and Glæsel seemed to think perhaps he was beaten for a second before he tabled his A♠K♥ and saw that he'd won the pot.

While Glæsel moves up around 50,000 while Meijer van Putten is now down to just over 10,000. --MH

5:28pm: An unlikely meeting across the oceans
Level 5 - Blinds 200/400 (ante 50)

Pavel Plesuv is from Moldova but has grown accustomed to the High Roller tables on the European Poker Tour over the past few years. Will Failla is from New York and is an all American poker player. From his $5 million registered tournament winnings, only a very small slice came outside of either North America or the Caribbean. He's a regular here in the Bahamas.

That's the beauty of this game. It seems highly unlikely Plesuv's and Failla's paths could possibly have crossed if it wasn't for poker.

Anyway, here's a small pot the two of them played. Plesuv was under the gun and Failla on the button, and they had got to a flop of 8♠5♦J♠. Plesuv bet 1,400 and after a brief moment of thought, Failla put 3,300 over the line. (The dealer was about to scoop it in, mistaking it for a call, before she announced what Failla had not: "Raise".)

Plesuv called and they saw the 2♦ appear on the turn. Plesuv checked and Failla bet 6,500. Plesuv called.

The river brought the 2♥, and they both quickly checked. "I thought you turned a big hand," Failla said. But by that point he was dragging the pot towards him, Plesuv's 7♦6♦ missing all of its potential, leaving Failla's J♣8♣ still best. -- HS

5:14pm: Morin ousted by Thirlwell
Level 5 - Blinds 200/400 (ante 50)

"All in!" said the dealer. "All in," he said again.

The first time was due to Felix Morin committing his short stack. The second thanks to Stephen Thirlwell reraise-pushing from the next seat over.

All that shouting caused everyone else to step aside, and Morin showed A♦J♠ while Thirlwell had Q♦Q♥.

A runout of 5♣8♣4♠8♦3♣ meant Morin's all-in versus Thirlwell hadn't gone well, and the pair shook hands as Morin headed railward. Thirlwell has 48,000 now. --MH

5:08pm: Making the poker world turn
Level 5 - Blinds: 200/400 (ante 50)

It's time to pause and spare a thought for those guys among the early fallers. These are the guys who lose their chips half way through day one. These are the guys who ply away at the tables trying to make it work, regardless of that nagging hunch that this isn't their day. These are the guys whose hopes just got crushed without even a "thanks for playing" from their tablemates.

So here's to that quiet dignity of the player out in 696th place - whoever he is. Sure, when the time comes their 30K starting stack won't even pay for an ante on the final table. But while their contribution is small it's significant. These guys help make the poker world turn.

Not that any of that means anything to players like those currently leaving the tournament room, their days over, having busted in level 5. -- SB

5:05pm: Hinkle collects
Level 5 - Blinds 200/400 (ante 50)

Blair Hinkle, winner of three WSOP Circuit rings, a WSOP bracelet, and nearly $4 million in tournament earnings, is here today and has thrived so far through the first four-plus levels.

Just now he was in a hand versus Fatima Moreira de Melo sitting on his left, one that saw him defending his blind versus her under-the-gun open, then leading on a T♦8♣7♣ flop. Both checked the K♦ turn, but when Hinkle fired again on the 2♣ river de Melo folded.

Hinkle is up around 65,000 at the moment, with de Melo right at the starting stack of 30,000. --MH

5:04pm: Fifth-pair good
Level 5 - Blinds 200/400 (ante 50)

You're at the river in a multi-way pot, three players from the original five are still involved and you're facing a bet for half your stack looking at this board: 9♠7♥T♣6♥7♦. What's your minimum calling requirement?

If you said, "I'd snap here with an under-pair, and I'd be right," you're playing poker on Ami Barer's level. That's what happened. Here's how it played out.

David Roberts started it rolling by limping from early position. That began an epidemic: Thomas Bo Markussen called in the hijack, Ricky Grover called in the cutoff and Dmitry Ponomarev called on the button. Barer, in the small blind, raised to 3,100.

Roberts and Grover both called, which means they went three way to the 9♠7♥T♣ flop. All of them checked.

The 6♥ came on the turn and Barer bet 5,300. Both opponents called. Then the 7♦ fell on the river. Barer and Roberts both checked, but Grover fired 7,500.

Barer pondered for a long while, but then indicated that he was going to call. Roberts quickly folded.

Grover was forced to show his K♣Q♥ and Barer bared his 4♠4♥ which took it down. Barer built his stack to 43,000 as a result. -- HS

4:55pm: Tens work for Weinman
Level 5 - Blinds 200/400 (ante 50)

Daniel Weinman ended Level 4 in not-so-good fashion, losing a big chunk of his stack to Edward Mandel.

Level 5 has begun better for him, though, after getting his stack of almost-5,000 all in with T♥T♠ and being up against Thomas Gabriel's A♥9♥.

The board rolled out 3♣Q♣3♠J♦2♠, and Weinman survives with a bit more than 10,000. Meanwhile Gabriel remains in very good shape to begin Level 5, having more than 90,000 at present. --MH

4:25pm: Break time
Level 4 - Blinds 150/300 (ante 50)

That's the end of Level 4 and they're heading on their second 20-minute break of the day.

4:20pm: Weinman barrels, Mandel calls and collects
Level 4 - Blinds 150/300 (ante 50)

Let's talk about a hand between Daniel Weinman and Edward Mandel. We'll start on the flop, with Weinman playing from the big blind, Mandel in middle position, and around 3,500 in the pot with the first three cards coming 8♦K♣3♠.

Weinman fired 2,800 at that board and Mandel called, then after the 7♠ turn Weinman bet another 6,500 and Mandel called again.

The river brought the 4♠ and an all-in push from Weinman, and Mandel called to put his 17,225 at risk. Weinman tabled 9♦6♥ -- he'd turned a straight draw and missed -- while Mandel had K♠T♠ for flopped top pair that had become a runner-runner flush.

Put Mandel at about 55,000 as the break nears, while Weinman is suddenly down to just 5,000. --MH

4:15pm: T-Bo still climbing
Level 4 - Blinds: 150/300 (ante 50)

There doesn't seem to be any stopping Thomas Bo "T-Bo" Markussen. A few minutes ago, his tablemates were wondering if his 90,000 was good for the chip lead. Since then, he's continued to climb and is now sitting on 116,000, nearly four times the stack he started with four hours ago.--BW

NEIL0832_Thomas_Bo_Markussen_PCB2017_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Thomas Bo "T-Bo" Markussen: One-man wrecking crew

4:10pm: Maimone remains
Level 4 - Blinds 150/300 (ante 50)

Nick Maimone -- winner of the $25,000 High Roller here one year ago for just a tiny bit under $1 million -- just survived an all-in confrontation versus Mattias Priolo.

Arriving near the end, it looked as though the chips might have gotten in after the flop as the completed board came 7♦2♣3♥4♥4♣, say, on the turn (but don't hold us to that).

In any event Maimone's K♠K♦ held versus Priolo's A♠Q♦, and Maimone is back to about 25,000 while Priolo has right at 40,000. --MH

4:05pm: Clubland
Level 4 - Blinds 150/300 (ante 50)

It looked like some sort of club, the group back on Table 2 near the wall.

Many of them were leaned forward, chins on fists, looking at the board, including Team PokerStars Pros Chris Moneymaker and Felipe Ramos. And practically all of them were in the hand -- six, to be exact, having built a pot of 4,000 pre-flop.

The flop? It landed all clubs -- 3♣J♣Q♣.

Ramos checked the small blind, and Thiago Maia Mascarenhas went all in with his short stack from the big blind. Everyone else, including Moneymaker, decided to ditch the club, and after a bit of a think Ramos called to challenge Mascarenhas.

Ramos had K♦T♣, meaning he had an open-ended straight draw and could make a flush, too, while Mascarenhas had Q♦3♦ for two pair. The turn was the 6♥ -- okay for Mascarenhas -- but the A♦ river sunk him as it gave Ramos a winning straight.

Ramos has 30,000 or so now, while Moneymaker is sitting back up behind his nearly 40,000. --MH

4pm: Woops?
Level 4 - Blinds: 150/300 (ante 50)

There was already 20,000 in the pot by the time the board read 5♥3♠2♠4♣6♣, and Canada's Mark Radoja had to think a minute. Finally, he decided to make his move: "All-in," he announced, pushing more than 20,000 in front of his cards.

Waiting in the shadows was Thomas Bo "T-Bo" Markussen.

Really, even though Radoja only had pocket queens, he didn't have to worry about much. Even if T-Bo had turned the wheel with an ace in his hand, the river had counterfeited that. The only think Radoja had to sweat was whether T-Bo had somehow made it that far with a seven in his hand.

T-Bo had not.

He had made it with two sevens in his hand.

He made the quick call. When he finished stacking chips, he had around 90,000 which, if it's not the chip lead, is close. --BW

3:55pm: Tilly and a dry Martino
Level 4 - Blinds: 150/300 (ante 50)

Jennifer Tilly has climbed back up to 20,000 after a hand against Fiodor Martino. Tilly opened for 725, which Martino raised to 1,500. Tilly called for the 9♥8♠2♦ flop.

At this point Tilly checked to Martino who bet 1,200. Tilly called and then both players checked the 3♦ on the turn. It was on the river that Tilly sealed it with a bet of 3,500. Martino thought for a while, even looked at one stage to be ready with the call. But he mucked. Tilly's stack is back on the way up. - SB

3:50pm: Decisions, decisions
Level 4 - Blinds 150/300 (ante 50)

A new dealer arrived at Table 15, and as dealers often do, he bid the table well, albeit with a little added to the usual message.

"Good luck everybody," he said as he scooted forward. "May all your decisions be good ones."

Soon it was Stanislav Umerenko deciding to open for 800 from middle position, Maxim Lykov deciding to call from a couple of seats over, and both watching a flop come A♠A♣Q♣.

Umerenko thought a moment, and chose to bet 1,200. Lykov also considered things for a couple of beats, and he decided to call.

The decisions after the 2♠ turn went a little differently, with Umerenko checking, Lykov betting 2,300, and Umerenko calling.

The 5♣ fell on the turn, and Umerenko -- down to about 10,000 -- decided he'd better check. Lykov chose to be 4,200, and Umerenko hemmed and hawed a bit before choosing to call.

Lykov tabled A♥7♣ for trip aces, while Umerenko showed... A♦7♠ for trip aces. Chop it up! Lykov has about 52,000 now, while Umerenko is at 16,000-ish.

You decide for yourself if they both chose well. --MH

3:45pm: More superstars
Level 4 - Blinds: 150/300 (ante 50)

Another look at some more big names in today's field:


Andre Akkari


Aaron Paul


Celina Lin


Vanessa Selbst


Pratyush Buddiga


Noah Boeken

3:40pm: Like, um, what KIND of nothing?
Level 4 - Blinds: 150/300 (ante 50)

Play folded all the way around the blinds where France's Florence Allera who raised to 750,000. Marco Caza made the call out of the big blind and they saw a Q♠Q♣8♣ flop. Allera, the 2014 France Poker Awards' Female Player of the Year, led at it for 1,000 and got a quick call from Caza. The turn brought the T♠. This time Allera checked, and Caza bet 1,000. Allera didn't give up, so they went to the 7♦ river. That killed the action, and both players checked. Neither seemed particularly interested in turning up a winner.

"I have nothing," Allera said.

Caza still didn't flip over his cards. "What kind of nothing?" he asked.

Allera, still hesitant, finally relented and said, "I'll show you." She flipped 2♣5♣ toward the muck face-up. Caza gave it a look and finally tabled A♣9♣. Both players had missed their flush.

"Good thing it didn't come," Allera said. "Lucky!"--BW

3:35pm: Getting harder maybe, but for whom?
Level 4 - Blinds 150/300 (ante 50)

The situation has got a little harder for the two Spin & Go qualifiers we talked about earlier (see 12:45pm). But if the arrival of Sam Chartier, Celina Lin and Max Lykov was worrisome for Corey Cawdell-Howland he wasn't showing it.

Cawdell-Howland opened for 750 in late position which Lykov, up to nearly 60,000 already this afternoon, called from the big blind. The flop came 6♠Q♦J♠ and Cawdell-Howland had another go, making it 1,000 to play. Lykov called.

Now the Q♣ on the turn.

This time Cawdell-Howland checked to Lykov who took it upon himself to bet 1,100. Had Cawdell-Howland been applying the brakes? Not at all. He check-raised back 3,000, forcing a fold from Lykov.

Cawdell-Howland up to 50,000. -- SB

3:30pm: 2016 High Roller champ back again
Level 4 - Blinds 150/300 (ante 50)

Nick Maimone ran pretty darned hot last year in the Bahamas. He cashed three times for more than $1 million during the 2016 PCA, the bulk of that coming from his victory in the High Roller tournament. The online veteran doesn't spend most of his life on tour. He instead prefers to play online while working on teaching and charity efforts in Honduras. He still comes to the Bahamas, though, and he's here for Day 1B of the Main Event today. --BW

3:25pm: Nanos vs. cards
Level 4 - Blinds 150/300 (ante 50)

With the board showing 9♥6♠Q♥4♦T♠ and about 25,000 in the middle, Konstantinos Nanos thought for a while about the all-in bet of 8,500 that had been made by his opponent, Michael Nugent, before finally coming up with a call.

Nugent tabled K♦J♣, having filled a straight with that fifth-street card, and Nanos was bothered enough to bend his cards up as he tossed down his no good K♣9♠.

"Deck change!" called the dealer as Nugent stacked up what is now about 43,000 and Nanos brooded over his 6,000. --MH

3:15pm: Randy Lew recovering
Level 3 - Blinds: 100/200 (ante 25)

After a slow start that saw his stack dwindle a bit in the early going, Team Online's Randy "nanonoko" Lew has shown signs of life. On the last hand of Level 3 with around 7,000 in the pot, Daniel Weinman checked to Lew on a 5♦2♠K♥4♠9♣ board. Let cut 4,000 out of his stack and put it in front of him. Weinman gave it a few seconds of though before making the call. Lew showed him 5♣5♥ for a flopped set and the win. Lew is now back up over his starting stack of 30,000. --BW


Randy Lew: nanonoko in the house

3:10pm: Dry stretch
Level 3 - Blinds 100/200 (ante 25)

As noted just below by my esteemed colleague "SB," sometimes you walk around a tournament for what seems like forever searching for something worth sharing with those wanting to know what is happening. Such was the case for much of the second part of Level 3 for your humble scribbler.

Maurice Hawkins is enjoying himself, having just won a pot amid his considerable table talk. The guys over at Table 26 are still engaged in animated conversations, where Ryan Yu, Joe Cada, and the others are mostly still talking about sports. And Nicolas Palma managed to eat nearly an entire bowl of conch soup before I could find a good reason to get back to the laptop. --MH


Maurice Hawkins: Enjoying himself


3:05pm: Excuses, excuses
Level 3 - Blinds: 100/200 (25 ante)

Sometimes it's not always easy to get what you're looking for.

I was trying to write about Liv Boeree. She opened to 650 under the gun, called a three bet and saw a flop, only to have to fold to a big bet.


Is this an interesting update, Liv?

I was trying to write about Jake Cody. He saw a flop, but his bet brought the hand to a swift end.

I was trying to write about David Guay. His arms are tattooed from his shoulders to his fingertips with faces of various people. Bob Marley fills his right bicep, while what appears to be Marlene's Dietrich's face is on his right hand (do people get Marlene Dietrich's face tattooed on their hands?) But he was forced out of a hand.

So I went back to Cody and a flop of 3♣6♣3♣. Would this produce something?

Cody checked to Enio Bozzano who bet 1,125. Andrew Ryan in Seat 2, who moments before had knocked out Marcos Carniero, also called, as did Cody. So we'd see a turn card T♦, but not much more. Another bet from Ryan brought another hand to a premature end. Not the ending Cody was looking for. Me neither. - SB

2:55pm: Existentialism from the middle of Day 1B
Level 3 - Blinds: 100/200 (ante 25)

Just in case you needed a dose of philosophy as you're laboring through another day of drudgery, we offer this from Day 1B player Jennifer Tilly.--BW


Philosophy's Jennifer Tilly

2:50pm: Early leaders
Level 3 - Blinds: 100/200 (ante 25)

It's still only Level 3, but a few people have jumped out to the early lead. As we mentioned earlier, Mohsin Charania started off strongly and is nearing the 80,000 mark. So, too is Canadian venture capitalists Damien Steel, a man who has said in the past that every entrepreneur should play poker. Meanwhile, it looks like 2015 Asia Championship of Poker Super High Roller champion Andjelko Andrejevic is sitting on about 85,000 and the Level 3 chip lead.--BW

2:45pm: What Larocca has and what he still wants
Level 3 - Blinds 100/200 (ante 25)

Michael Larocca has an unopened pack of Mentos and about 40,000 chips, including the last from Joe Nalbandyan's stack whom he just busted. But he wants more.

Scooping the chips from the win in Nalbandyan's last hand, Larocca picked up the famed "All-In" triangle, saying "I want one of these."

Unfortunately those don't come as bonuses for busting players, although perhaps a well-placed tweet for the PokerStars Live webcast crew might earn him one. They'll start streaming the action from the Main Event tomorrow, by the way, so watch this space for your chance to win. --MH

2:40pm: Nice flop for Palma
Level 3 - Blinds 100/200 (ante 25)

When Nicolas Palma raised from early position to 450, Robert Bakker probably was thinking about a certain range of hands Palma might have when calling from the hijack seat.

The flop came all low cards -- 3♠5♥3♦ -- and Palma continued for 800. Bakker was likely still thinking about that range when he called, much as he was after the 8♦ turn card that prompted a bet of 2,100 from Palma, one that Bakker called again.

The river was the T♥, and this time Palma barreled for 5,300. What could he have? Bakker had to find out and called, and Palma turned over 5♠5♣ for fives full to claim the pot.

Bakker slips to just over 15,000 while Palma climbs back up near the starting stack of 30,000. --MH

2:35pm: Running without the ball
Level 3 - Blinds: 100/200 (ante 25)

Give it to Pavel Veksler. The man doesn't need the ball to run. In a raised pot, he went to a flop of A♦K♥8♦ with Max Lykov and led into it for 1,525. The turn gave both players a moment of pause, and they checked through the 2♣ to the 3♠ river. Veksler then started running fast again, putting out 2,600. Lykov didn't think too long before deciding his A♠T♣ was good. It a longshot. Veksler held 6♠7♠, which he turned over as soon as he was called. The dealer had to do a double-take before seeing the bluff for what it was and pushing the pot to Lykov.--BW

2:30pm: The health benefits of medically proscribed poker aka pot talk over pots
Level 3 - Blinds: 100/200 (25 ante)

If it wasn't for the poker getting in the way over on Table 31, these guys could be having a real good time. This has to be the liveliest table. Not necessarily in terms of action, but the conversation hasn't stopped since we started a few hours ago.

The protagonists were Ryan Yu, Joe Cada, Michael Lewin, and others. Earlier on the subject was sports, and which ones were better watched on TV than live. Ryan Yu, in a Blue Jays cap, figured this included football, what with all the details of the yards, downs, clock, etc. all up there on the screen. Others agreed, some disagreed, but the spirit of man talk prevailed.


Joe Cada: Michigan native happy to talk sports

That was the last level. Now the subject was marijuana.

There was general consensus on the big picture, just not the details. One person would say one thing. Another would say that wasn't true. Then another player would say something else, which someone else would say was not true.

This went on as I tried to pay attention to the 4♦2♥7♥ flop. The debate had moved on to the virtues of scientific research vs. statistical research, which nobody could agree on. They all seemed to agree it was good, but that research and stereotype had hampered their case. The expression "suffocating monkeys" was used. Someone else blamed Cheech and Chong.

In the end they all agreed that the pharmaceutical companies understood the benefit, but that the whole thing was about money. To prove it Michael Lewin bet the ace on the river to take the pot. - SB

2:25pm: Moneymaker out...then in!
Level 3 - Blinds: 100/200 (ante 25)

Well, the National Championship will not end in a title for Chris Moneymaker. Though he made the final table, he busted out short of the win. It appears Moneymaker didn't bore of the action, however. He's joined the Main Event field at Felipe Ramos' table. --BW


Chris Moneymaker: New table assignment

2:15pm: Bad luck, but for whom?
Level 3 - Blinds 100/200 (ante 25)

As the third level of the day started, he sauntered into the room, relaxed, smiling, and wearing a shirt that reads "#Monkeynuts redrawing to the #coconuts."

We probably don't have to tell you who was under the shirt, but in case you've been under a rock for eight months, it was William Kassouf, a man who made himself well known during last year's World Series of Poker Main Event.

He drew Table 13 Seat 4, which the woman at his side declared: "Bad luck."


William Kassouf: Let the speech commence

"Should I take another one?" Kassouf mused before wandering over to his table and greeting the collection of players at his table.

PokerStars qualifier Michael Bartholomew looked up at his new opponent and mused aloud, "Well, this should be interesting."--BW

2:10pm: Red pros in action
Level 3 - Blinds 100/200 (ante 25)

We noted a short while ago that Team PokerStars Pro Liv Boeree has joined the proceedings. She's at a table adjacent to the one her fellow Red Spade sporter Celina Lin is sitting. Both were just involved in separate hands.

Over on Lin's table she was making a turn bet to collect a small stack and start her effort to begin accumulating. Boeree was met with a little more resistance, however, in her hand versus Peter Jaksland.


Liv Boeree: When I raise my hand, you fold

After an early position open to 600 and a cutoff call from Jaksland, Boeree made it 2,300 to go from the button, forcing the original raiser to fold but Jaksland stuck around.

The flop came 6♣K♥Q♣ and when checked to Boeree bet 2,600, and Jaksland called again. Both checked the J♣ turn and 2♦ river, and when Jaksland tabled K♣J♠ for two pair Boeree mucked. --MH

2pm: Wake up call
Level 3 - Blinds: 100/200 (ante 25)

Geffrey Klein leaned back in his chair, his phone camera held up. At first it looked like he wanted to take a picture of Feizel Satchu a few seats along, who was leaning back yawning and stretching. But when he motioned for him to get out the way he got the picture - Aaron Paul, in cap and hoodie, talking to someone next to his seat, also wearing a cap and hoodie. Actually, I couldn't tell you which one was which. I'm assuming one of them was Aaron Paul.

Satchu might have had reason to be yawning. His day had been quiet up to now, until a hand came along to brighten things up a bit.

Four players saw a flop of 5♦3♣8♦. Satchu was first to act in the small blind. He bet 1,000 (this took place before the break) which got a fold from David Billard in the big. Villyan Petleshkov called though before Kelin and Vanessa Kade got out of their way.

Satchu bet again on the 4♥ turn, 2,400 this time. Again Petleshkov called to see the river card 5♠. Satchu bet again, 5,300. Too much for Petleshkov this time. Satchu meanwhile is up to 42,000, and wide awake. -- SB

1:50pm: Welcome to the Gallery
Level 3 - Blinds 100/200 (ante 25)

A look at some of the luminaries in action today:


Ryan Riess: Former WSOP champion


Felipe Ramos: Brazil's inspirational boss


Sacheen Ramchandani: The reddest coat in the Bahamas


Fatima Moreira de Melo: PokerStars SportStar extraordinaire


Jake Cody: Youngest Triple Crown champion still hungry

1:50pm: Players return
Level 3 - Blinds 100/200 (ante 25)

They're re-seated and ready to go in Level 3. Liv Boeree has now taken her seat in this one. -- HS

1:30pm: Break time
Level 2 - Blinds 75/150

Congratulations players, you have reached the first break of the day. Back in 20 minutes.

1:20pm: Frohn dips into Nacho's chips
Level 2 - Blinds 75/150

We noted earlier (at 11:45am) how Andreas Frohn had started out today in the wrong seat, having had to move part of the way into the first level.

From his correct seat, he just now got involved in a hand versus Nacho Barbero that saw him check-call a Barbero bet on the 7♦3♣4♣K♣ turn, then check again after the T♠ river. Barbero thought for a while before checking behind, and was glad he did when Frohn showed 9♣7♣ for a winning flush.

Frohn is at about 25,000 now while Barbero is at 42,000. --MH

1:10pm: From online to live
Level 2 - Blinds 75/150

Fabrizio Gonzalez was deep in the tank considering a river decision after having bet and gotten raised by Lucas Blanco when the latter called the clock. Gonzalez took a few seconds longer and folded, preserving the 23,000 or so he currently has.

The Uruguayan has been his country's most successful online player for sometime now, having won numerous big events on PokerStars as "SixthSenSe19." He played the Super High Roller here earlier in the week, narrowly missing out on the final table.

Speaking of crushing online, as that hand was playing out Jason "jdtjpoker" Wheeler, winner of numerous Super Tuesdays and more on PokerStars, walked by, having just registered for this one. --MH

1pm: "Lukes". Chapter 2.
Level 2 - Blinds: 75/150

The two Lukes, Luke Haward and Luc Greenwood, just took each other on in a nervy pot.

You'll remember them from earlier (see 11:50am), Greenwood with his copy of Sartre and the seemingly holistic Haward, his chips being the only thing in his possession not biodegradable, although he may reduce and reuse them at some point today.

The board was already dealt up to the turn, 3♣7♣9♥T♥. Greenwood bet 4,000 and waited for Haward to respond. Slowly he picked off calling chips and then, slowly, put them into the middle.

That brought the river card 5♥. Greenwood, also using monastic precision, placed two blue chips forward - a bet of 10,000 (leaving himself 17,000 behind). Haward, with 23,000 behind, did nothing. Well not at first. Finally he passed his cards, leaving the pot to Greenwood who now has 37,000. - SB

12:50pm: Martinez ousts Martin
Level 2 - Blinds 75/150

Bartley Downling opened from middle position, then Raul Martinez made it 1,500 to go from the hijack seat. It folded to Michael Martin in the small blind who four-bet to 4,100, and that was enough encouragement to cause Downling to fold.

Martinez paused just a beat before announcing he was all in, and Martin considered for about a half-minute before committing his entire stack of about 12,500.

Martin had Q♣Q♦. Martinez had two more letters in his name and two better cards with A♠A♣. The flop came A♥3♦6♦ to make things even worse for Martin, and by the 5♥ river he was drawing dead to exit early halfway through Level 2.

Martinez has about 37,000. --MH

12:45pm: $10 well spent
Level 2 - Blinds: 75/150

I can't say for certain but Corey Cawdell-Howland might just be the most contented player in the field right now.

As he'd taken his seat this morning another player at his table asked "Anyone here qualify?" This was Stanislav Umerenko, who unlike Daniel Negreanu yesterday, asking for information, was just generally curious.

He'd qualified for $10 in a Spin & Go. Cawdell-Howland said that's what he'd done too - effectively paid $10 to play a $5,000 buy in Main Event. Admittedly $10 doesn't get you much in Atlantis, but it can get you a shot a being a Champion.

What's more Cawdell-Howland just won a pot that took him back above his starting stack, all the way to 37,000.

He'd opened for 250 in early position and got three callers in "drinks man" Mark Okhman on the button, and the players in the blinds. The flop came 8♠7♥6♠.

Cawdell-Howland bet another 650 which Okhman seemed to treat with contempt, not pausing before he raised to 1,600. I looked at Cawdell-Howland whose face didn't change from that contentedness I mentioned earlier. He waited patiently for the blinds to fold and them immediately called.

The turn came the A♦ both players checked this for the 5♠ on the river. Cawdell-Howland bet 3,500. Okhman seemed agitated, and kept looking at his wallet, which given the circumstances seemed quite a prudent habit. He folded.

Without the contented expression changing Cawdell-Howland stacked up his new chips. Not bad for $10. - SB

12:30pm: Evard makes things hard for Haber
Level 2 - Blinds 75/150

The river card having been dealt, making the board 2♠7♠2♥T♠5♥, Francois Evard had bet 8,000 -- about what was in the pot -- and after making that bold bet he was speaking in bold terms to his opponent, Alexander Haber.

"I'm not going to let you bluff me three times," said Evard. "Three times is enough, okay?"

Haber nodded in response and the pair continued to talk about deuces, flushes, and other related matters. Finally Haber called, and Evard quickly tabled 7♦7♣ for sevens full, good for the win as Haber mucked.

Evard has close to 50,000 now and appears ready to talk some more, while Haber quietly sits behind a now dwindled stack of 6,000. --MH

12:25pm: On the other side of the room

While our focus is going to be on the Main Event and $50,000 Single Day High Roller throughout the day, we would be remiss if we didn't mention a pretty cool final table happening over on the other side of the room. The National Championship event is hosting these players in the final eight:

PokerStars Championship Bahamas $2k National Championship

Seat 1: Nicola Basile - 1,625,000
Seat 2: Marc-Andre "FrenchDawg" Ladouceur - 2,925,000
Seat 3: Ramiro "ramastar88" Petrone - 640,000
Seat 4: Javier Gomez Zapatero - 440,000
Seat 5: David "MissOracle" Yan - 2,600,000
Seat 6: Maria Ho - 1,055,000
Seat 7: Chris Moneymaker - 595,000
Seat 8: Ben Philipps - 570,000

There is a top prize of $131,000 for the remaining eight. We'll let you know how it turns out.--BW


Final table players in the PSC National: Standing (l-r): Nicola Basile, Ramiro Petrone, Marc-Andre Ladouceur, Chris Moneymaker, Ben Phillips. Seated (l-r): Javier Gomez Zapatero, David Yan, Maria Ho.

12:20pm: Angel firing
Level 1 - Blinds 50/100

Angel Penalver opened from under the gun and Theo Da Cruz Lima three-bet from late position.

The blinds got out, and Penalver set his entire stack forward as an all-in four-bet -- a re-raise worth about 30 times when Da Cruz Lima had put in. That was enough to encourage a fold.

On the next hand, Penalver three-bet from the big blind, then fired a big continuation bet to scoop another pot. --MH

12:15pm: My name? Check the jacket
Level 1 - Blinds 50/100

Even if her face weren't immediately recognizable in the field, we'd still be able to find Elizabeth Bennett-Martin. She's currently seated next to the rail with a jacket hung over her chair, the back of which garment has her name embroidered in big red letters.

This is a red-letter month for Bennett-Martin. It seems like she manages to find her way to the Bahamas every year, and she's had no small amount of success over the years. This was a story from seven years ago when she had already made a name for herself here at the PCA. Two years ago, she managed a deep run in the Main Event, placed 65th for nearly $25,000.


Elizabeth Bennett-Martin: Fingers cross for another deep run

As we described in 2015, Bennett-Martin and her crew from the Toronto Poker League have become mainstays here in the Bahamas, and this year is no different. While we're still early days here, it's fun to think of Bennett-Martin having to go back to the embroidery shop to add the word "champion" on the back of her jacket. --BW

12:10pm: Janssens denies Greenstein
Level 1 - Blinds: 50/100

Barry Greenstein opened for 300 in middle position. He got two callers from the blinds, Tom Janssens and Igor Gamayunov.

The flop came 5♦7♣A♠ which was checked to Greenstein who tossed in a 500 chip. Janssens called while Gamayunov left them to it. Then the 6♠ on the turn. This time Janssens led the betting, making it 1,000 to play, which Greenstein called for the 5♥ river.

That was the end of the action. Janssens turned over 8♣8♠ which Greenstein looked at, and with the murmur of disappointment folded his hand. - SB

12:05pm: Early chips for Charania
Level 1 - Blinds 50/100

With three players still in and the board showing 4♦5♣T♣4♥, Buoyan Qu checked, watched one opponent bet 1,200 and then Mohsin Charania call. Qu then check-raised to 3,500, knocking out the bettor but failing to shake Charania who called to bring the pot close to 10,000.

Charania had a good reason to stick around, and perhaps Qu was wary of that when he checked following the Q♠ river. Charania fired a healthy 8,500 into the opening, and after some thought Qu called the bet.


Mohsin Charania: Early quads

Charania tabled 4♠4♣ for quad fours and Qu mucked. Charania bounces up around 55,000, having nearly doubled his stack before the first level has ended. --MH

12pm: Dibella returns
Level 1 - Blinds 50/100

This will be the five-year anniversary of one-time amateur player John Dibella winning $1.7 million as champion of the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure. Since then Dibella has acted nothing like the amateur he once claimed to be. He's put up more than 40 live tournament cashes over the past five years and is in the top 300 of American live poker tourney money winners. He's back today looking for another title. --BW

11:55am: Ones to watch
Level 1 - Blinds 50/100

As more players arrive here in Paradise, more of the usual suspects are among them.

Team PokerStars Pro Barry Greenstein is among those sitting down during the second half of Level 1, as is Eugene Katchalov and Pierre Neuville.

All three of them are ones we'll be watching, no doubt, but let's add a few others to the "ones to watch" category, too.

Daniel Weinman is here. He took runner-up and then first place within three years in the WSOP Circuit Cherokee event. He also took 39th in the PCA Main Event here two years ago, and hopes to better that run this week.

Knut Karnapp has also taken his seat. The German earned a career-high score here at the Atlantis a year ago when he took third place in the LAPT Bahamas Main Event.

And we can't avoid adding Jasper Meijer van Putten to this short list as well -- he's coming off a big victory in the last ever European Poker Tour Main Event at EPT Prague last month.

File these names away for later reference, and perhaps we'll talk again about them later in the week. --MH

11:50am: "Lukes", Chapter I. Verse I.
Level 1 - Blinds: 50/100

Luke Haward is one of the many PokerStars qualifiers today and arguably the most easy to spot. He's a striking figure, a prophet on vacation, with a floppy hat, the long hair, the beard, the sandals, the while linen clothes, and a stack of about 30,000.

He sits alongside Luc Greenwood (Haward/Greenwood) who you sense hasn't quite worked out what to expect form Haward. For one thing Haward talks a lot, and Greenwood has so far responded politely. He has with him a book though, a copy of Sartre, a useful prop in case the guy next to you starts getting on your nerves ("Sorry pal, I don't mean to be rude, but I'm trying to read.")

So far so good though. Greenwood has one a couple of early pots and by coincidence Haward is a Sartre fan. One way or another this will be a long day for both of them. - SB

11:45am: May I see your ticket, sir?
Level 1 - Blinds 50/100

Ever get on a plane, find what seems like an especially nice window seat with extra leg room, and get nice and settled and all buckled in when someone arrives to tell you you're in the wrong seat?

Something similar just happened to Andreas Frohn. He had seemed quite comfortable playing a few hands over on Table 23 just now. That's when Florence Allera arrived -- it was her seat, actually, meaning Frohn had to leave and be redirected over to Table 20 into the seat indicated by his registration slip.

"How was the seat?" asked Allera before he left, and Frohn nodded. "So far so good, although I lost a couple of chips," he said.

Frohn's new seat seems relatively nice. It is closer to the emergency exit, if that matters. --MH

11:40am: Medic! Medic!
Level 1 - Blinds 50/100

The very first time PokerStars visited the Atlantis resort (January 2005), a young man by the name of Nenad Medic made the final table. He placed sixth for $112,500. It was his first ever recorded live cash, and one that would set him off on a career that has since seen $4.6 million in live tournament winnings.

Since then, we've seen Medic here over and over again. Not only did he final table in 2005, he cashed in 2007 (51st--$ 14,128), 2009 (76th--$20,000), and last year when he cashed in the LAPT Bahamas Main Event.

True to form, Medic is back here again today to see if he can repeat his final table feat from so many years ago. --BW

11:36am: Single-day $50K imminent

As the Main Event Day 1B plays its opening level, dealers and tournament staff are setting up the tables for the $50,000 Single Day event, which will begin at noon. You can follow along with MC Marc Convey over on our Single Day High Roller page.

11:35am: Straight...down the leader board
Level 1 - Blinds 50/100

It's been a rocky start for the UK's Neil Moroney. We arrived at his latest hand on the turn with the board reading K♠8♦7♠6♥. Moroney was facing a bet of 1,700 from Denmark's Thomas Bo Markussen. Moroney fiddled with his chips for a bit before finally pushing forward two yellow 1,000s and waiting for his change. The river brought the 4♥, and Markussen wasted little time before betting a whopping 7,600.

Moroney leaned up over the rail and peered at the board much like a man who has lost his spectacles in the river below a bridge. He stared hard for nearly a minute before finally announcing call and tossing out a single chip.

Markussen rolled over 9♥T♦, known in Denmark and worldwide as the nuts.--BW

11:30am: Early messages between Mackey and Ramdin
Level 1 - Blinds 50/100

James Mackey is here, seeking a fourth cash in Main Events here on Paradise Island. Mackey cashed in the PCA Main in 2007, 2009, and 2010, just a small part of his nearly $3.6 million in tournament winnings.

Mackey is sitting to Victor Ramdin's right, and just now tried to limp in for the minimum bet of 100 from the small blind. Nuh-uh-uh said Ramdin -- figuratively, that is, with his raise to 300, and Mackey gave Ramdin a quick sidelong look and slight grin as he folded.


Victor Ramdin: Sideways glances all round

Ramdin showed his king-queen and collected the small pot, and both collected a small bit of information going forward. --MH

11:25am: Last minute preparations
Level 1 - Blinds: 50/100

You've eaten breakfast, you've arrived in good time, and now you've finally taken your seat. You're all set for a long day of play in the Main Event.

Well not quite.

If you're Mark Okhman you still have a few last minute preparations, all dependent on finding a waiter.

He wanted a bottle of Perrier, actually two bottles of Perrier water. And a Red Bull. And did they have any fresh fruit juice? No fresh juice? Cranberry? He'd take cranberry. And a little table to put this all on. No tables? Cup holders then.

A player on the next table then asked for a cup of coffee. That's fine but he's going to have to wait. - SB

11:20am: Filling in
Level 1 - Blinds 50/100

It took a few minutes, but the groggy and sleepy-eyed have started filling in the seats. We've just run into former November Niner Dennis Phillips, Jennifer Tilly, and Bernard Lee as they took their seats. --BW

11:15am: More familiar faces
Level 1 - Blinds 50/100

More familiar faces to report. Among those here and already taking hands are Sergey Sergeev, Marco Caza, Luc Greenwood, and Allen Kessler.

2009 World Series of Poker Main Event champion Joe Cada is here as well, as is three-time Super Bowl champion Richard Seymour.


Joe Cada: Former WSOP champ

Phil Laak is here, too. Laak as nearly $3.5 million in lifetime tournament earnings, but is seeking his first cash here at the Atlantis. --MH


Phil Laak and Barry Greenstein get the conversation started

11:05am: Early arrivals
Level 1 - Blinds 50/100

Well, it's just after 11am, a time that is before your average poker player's sunrise. The tables are still filling in, but we've already seen some familiar faces, including actor Aaron Paul and NFL star Richard Seymour. Paul is sitting with Team PokerStars Pro Victor Ramdin.

Scattered around the room, we've also seen Felipe Ramos, Arnaud Mattern, Pascal Lefrancois, Eddie Sabat, and Fatima Moreira de Melo. The last of those is current running in first place on t-shirt selection, however. She's shown up wearing a shirt featuring a broken heart and the caption, "Love don't pay the bills." --BW

11am: Cards are in the air
Level 1 - Blinds: 50/100

Off they go. We are expecting at least 500 players, and possibly many more. The starting field already includes both Aaron Paul and Fatima Moreira de Melo. How many expletives will be shared between them, I wonder. -- HS

Aaron Paul-PCB2017-Monti-2558.jpg

An x-rated conversation if ever there was one

Aaron Paul-PCB2017-Monti-2513.jpg

The superstar Aaron Paul playing in the Bahamas

10:30am: Awaiting the hordes

Good morning all and welcome back to the Bahamas for Day 1B of the PokerStars Championship Main Event. Yesterday there were 229 players in the opening flight (up from 2016's 200) and today will be significantly larger. Many of the top stars will also be playing. Essentially, if they didn't play yesterday, they'll be in the field today. That means Liv Boeree, Jake Cody, Felipe Ramos, Jason Somerville, Jaime Staples and, if our sources are correct, Aaron Paul, who has crawled out of a run-down RV parked in the lot outside.

Play begins at 11am. We'll have full coverage from start to finish. -- HS


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

Live reporting team
@PokerStars in Bahamas