PokerStars Championship Barcelona: Down to five in the €10K High Roller

The High Roller is creeping closer to a champion. Only a handful of players are left fighting for the title of champion and €1 million.

Ronny Kaiser is still in the lead with about 11 million, but Markus Durnegger is in hot pursuit with about 10 million.

Kaiser has tasted PokerStars victory before. The Swiss pro won EPT Talinn back in 2011 and now he's guaranteed more than the €275,000 he won there. The final five will make a minimum €284,700 and if Kaiser takes it down, he'll more than double his $1.1 million in live tournament earnings.

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Ronny Kaiser

Durnegger on the other hand has already doubled his total tournament earnings. Before today, Durnegger's biggest cash was for €140,000 and his lifetime total equaled $333,209. Even though they're leading the pack, they have to outlast a skilled trio that consists of Benjamin Pollak, Georgios Sotiropoulos and Franz Ditz.

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Markus Durnegger

We last left you with nine players and the shortest among them was Quan Zhou. Zhou rode his short stack through to the final nine, but he became the official final table bubble. Decked out in sparkly shirt under a black-and-white suit with drawings trumpets, french horns and other brass instruments, Zhou is a flashy bubble.

He was even the biggest bubble boy in the world earlier this summer when he stone-bubbled the 2017 WSOP Main Event. Zhou was dressed in crisp black suit with white lapels that time and he bluffed off his stack into a set on the river.

This time Zhou got it in with a flip.

Zhou was down to about 900,000 and raised to 120,000 from middle position. Jakub Michalak moved all in from the big blind and Zhou called and tabled Q♥Q♠. Michalak showed A♠K♦ for the flip.

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The A♦K♠2♥ gave Michalak a pair of pairs and Zhou was left hoping for a queen or running straight cards. But the turn brought a 2♦ and the 6♠ on the river kept the board queenless.

Michalak chipped up to 5.2 million while Zhou got €91,300 for his 9th-place finish.

Then other short stack hit the rail.

Luis Rodriguez moved all in from the small blind for just over a million and Markus Durnegger called from the big blind. Rodriguez turned over K♦J♦ and was going to need some help against Markus Durnegger's A♣T♣.

The 3♥7♠A♠6♠3♠ board only brought help for Durnegger though and Rodriguez hit the rail, winning €115,600 for finishing 8th.

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Luis Rodriguez is out

Then a cooler brought down Emil Patel. Patel was sitting with 3.8 million and looked down at some shiny red kings from the cutoff. He raised to 180,000 and our tournament chip leader, Ronny Kaiser, three-bet to 530,000 with A♥K♠. Kings are good enough for a four-bet though and Patel made it 1.25 million to go.

Five-bet all in? Yup. Kaiser jammed and Patel called. The board ran A♠5♠2♦T♠T♦ and Kaiser shrunk the tournament down to six players. Patel got a €166,960 payday for the 7th-place finish while Kaiser's lead grew to 11.0 million.

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The party's over for Emil Patel

Then Durnegger started catching up with a one-two knockout. First Durnegger took a few million of Jakub Michalak with a rivered straight and then he finished him off with ace king.

Michalak raised to 175,000 that hand and Durnegger made it 525,000 to go. Michalak moved all in for his remaining 2.2 million and Durnegger called.

It was another flip with Michalak showing J♥J♦ to Durnegger's A♥K♣.

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Jakub's jacks couldn't hold.

Durnegger hit an ace on the flop of an A♣5♣9♥Q♠3♦ board and Michalak was down for good. Durnegger chipped up to 9.7 million while Michalak got €223,700 for finishing 6th.

Then there were five.

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Alex Villegas
@PokerStars in Barcelona