Adrian Mateos leads at Day 1's end at PokerStars Championship Barcelona €50K

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a poker player in possession of a good fortune must be in want of an August trip to Barcelona. Whatever you call it, and whatever the state of the poker landscape, if you host a PokerStars event at Casino Barcelona, it will be huge.

As a record-breaking National Championship played out in the main tournament room (and a couple of annexes; they even thought we might have to abandon the press room!), the €50,000 Super High Roller event kicked off upstairs.

In dribs and drabs the superstars arrived, departed, re-entered, departed again, and re-entered. By the time eight levels had played out, there had been 81 entries, comprising 64 unique players and 17 re-entries, and registration is still open to start of play tomorrow.

The 4,557 in the £1,000 buy-in National Championship are playing for a first prize of €575,000. Chances are, the winner of the highest buy-in event will get around double that once it's all announced tomorrow.

At this stage, it's local hero Adrian Mateos out in front. Still the only Spanish player to win one of PokerStars' biggest live events, Mateos bagged 963,000 tonight, and leads a top five that looks like this:

Adrian Mateos: 963,000
Christopher Kruk: 916,000
Daniel Colman: 902,000
Yang Wang: 793,000
Ahadpour Khanghah: 704,000

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Adrian Mateos leads the €50K

At various stages several of those led, including the Chinese high roller Wang and Iranian businessman Khanghah as well as the usual suspects Charlie Carrel and Steve O'Dwyer all led today. But Mateos was in front at around the half-way stage and bounced back from a slight dip in fortunes, to put him at the top of the counts.

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One-time leader Ahadpur Khanghah

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Another one-time leader, Steve O'Dwyer

Daniel Negreanu is still in the hunt with 562,000, although he has already fired three bullets. Both Ben Tollerene and Mikita Badziakouski have also already invested €150,000, while David Yan, Dario Sammartino, Sergio Aido and David Peters are among those who have stumped up two buy-ins. Anyone eliminated today can also re-enter for what is certain to be a long day tomorrow.

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Daniel Negreanu: Good times at last

The other Team PokerStars Pro in today's field, Igor Kurganov, is also still involved. Kurganov had O'Dwyer to his left for long periods, and endured his own turbulent ride through the eight hours of play, but near-felted Aido for the second time in the day's dying embers and bagged 460,000.

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Philipp Gruissem checks in on Igor Kurganov

As ever, the best way to catch up on exactly what happened is to scroll through the action below. That's far from everything, but it's at least an idea. How they all finished can be seen on the chip-count page. That is all up to date.

Tomorrow the general idea is to play to a final table, however long that takes. We'll see about that. --HS


Day 1 coverage:

• PLAYERS: 54 of 81 entries (17 re-entries); Registration open until start of Day 2
CHIP COUNTS | PAYOUTS | ALL BARCELONA INFO
SIDE EVENTS | DOWNLOAD POKERSTARS


9:40pm: Last few hands
Level 8 - Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

The tournament has been paused and they're playing the last few hands of the day. -- HS

9:30pm: Kurganov collects big one through Aido
Level 8 - Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

It looked like it all went in on the 5♦K♦8♥ flop, when Sergio Aido had top pair with K♣J♥ and Team PokerStars Pro Igor Kurganov was drawing with A♦9♦.

The 3♥ kept Kurganov looking for help, then the 4♦ river brought it to make him a winning flush.

The pair were nearly even in chips before the hand began, meaning Kurganov almost took all of what Aido had behind, With the last level of the night nearing its end, Kurganov is around 400,000 while Aido has but 11,000. --MH

9:25pm: Yaroshevskyy yanks some from Badziakouski
Level 8 - Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

There was about 75,000 in the pot and a 2♣2♦8♣6♦ board on the felt. Igor Yaroshevskyy was under the gun and moved all-in for 86,000 and Mikita Badziakouski, who's on Yaroshevskyy's left, thought. Then Badziakouski grabbed a time bank card and thought some more.

Badziakouski eventually threw in a chip for the call and turned over 7♦7♣. But pocket sevens wouldn't cut it. Yaroshevskyy turned over J♦J♠ for a better pocket pair and a Q♠ completed the board.

Pocket jacks took it down and Yaroshevskyy chipped up to about 245,000 while Baziakouski dipped to about the same amount. --AV

9:20pm: Tollerene bluffs again and misses
Level 8 - Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Mike Watson has just doubled up through Ben Tollerene, making it 2 and 0 for Tollerene's big bluffs in this level.

Watson opened the pot to 11,000 from under the gun and it folded around to Tollerene in the big blind who called. The dealer put out a 4♣9♦8♠ flop, and Watson made a c-bet when checked to (he placed a 25K chip in, but we didn't catch the amount).

Tollerene then bumped it up to 35,000, and Watson called to see a 3♠ turn card. Tollerene continued down that aggressive road with a 45,000 bet, and once again Watson just called.

Finally the A♦ hit the river. Tollerene thought for a while before putting Watson all in, and it only took him a couple of seconds before deciding to call off his stack. Tollerene flipped over the 6♠7♥ for a missed up-and-down draw, and Watson took it down with the A♠K♠ for a rivered top pair.

Watson is up to 400,000 now, while Tollerene drops further to 205,000. --JS

9:15pm: Big boost for Negreanu
Level 8 - Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Daniel Negreanu is on his third entry here in the last level of Day 1, and just now he earned a big boost that will potentially improve his situation heading into Day 2 tomorrow. He more-than-doubled up through Ahadpour Khanghah.

We were delivered details second-hand, but the report contained plenty of specifics. After a cutoff raise from Alexandru Papazian, Negreanu three-bet from the button, Khanghah called from the big blind, and Papazian called as well.

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Daniel Negreanu: Good times at last

The flop came K♥9♣2♠ and Khanghah led for 38,000. Papazian got out, Negreanu called, then the turn brought the T♠.

This time Khanghah checked, Negreanu bet 70,000, Khanghah check-raised all in, and after thinking a few beats and reasoning he had to call, Negreanu did to put his 190,000 or so at risk.

Khanghah had but 4♥4♣, meaning Negreanu was ahead with his Q♠9♠, and after the 2♣ river Negreanu had about 570,000. Khanghah still has a lot of chips with about 700,000. --MH

9:10pm: Burns busts
Level 8 - Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

A short-stacked Kahle Burns moved all-in from the button and an even shorter Dominik Nitsche called from the big blind.

Burns tabled K♦J♠ and Nitsche was in the lead with A♠8♥. Both players paired a card on the board, but Nitsche hit a pair of aces to beat Burns' jacks.

Nitsche's all-in was for 99,000 and his pair of aces doubled him to over 200,000 while Burns was left with just 9,000. Those chips then went all-in the following hand with 9♠7♦ and John Juanda called from the big blind with A♥T♠.

Once again, both players got a piece of the board. The board came 9♥A♦2♥6♠4♦ and, once again, aces took down the pot. Burns hit the rail while Juanda chipped up to about 230,000. --AV

9:05pm: Tollerene bluff picked off by Kruk
Level 8 - Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Chrisopher Kruk's ascent up the chip count continues, having just won a nice pot against Ben Tollerene.

Picking up the action on a 6♣5♥5♠4♥T♥ board, there was straight, flush and full house potential. Tollerene checked, and Kruk made it 27,000 to go. Tollerene than raised it to 125,000, and it didn't take Kruk too long to call.

Tollerene quickly turned over the K♣7♠ for just king high and the board, while Kruk showed the K♥5♣ for trips. He's up to 900,000 now, while Tollerene dips to 395,000. --JS

9pm: Sontheimer survives
Level 8 - Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Steffen Sontheimer got his last chips in the middle on a 5♦2♦9♥ flop with J♠J♥ and was ahead of the 9♠8♣ of Manig Loeser.

The 6♠ fell on the turn, drawing a reaction from others at the table as it gave Loeser some extra outs to steal the pot away, but the K♥ was safe for Sontheimer and he now has about 275,000. Loeser continues with 255,000. --MH

8:55pm: 3v3
Level 8 - Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Hip hop legend and Hollywood star Ice Cube recently launched his new basketball TV show, Big3. In it, retired NBA stars play each other in - you guessed it - teams of three, rather than the usual five.

Jack Salter might have similar ideas for the poker world. When Ben Heath was just moved to his right, he gave him a fist bump and realised that Heath's arrival balanced things out.

"We're three on three now," said Salter, referring to the fact that Heath, Paul Newey and himself (all Brits), were up against tablemates Manig Loeser, Steffen Sontheimer and Dietrich Fast (all German).

Heath has the biggest stack of all the six right now (530,000), so I guess that puts the Brits in front currently. --JS

8:50pm: The last hand for Wang
Level 7 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Scott Margereson raised to 8,000 from middle position in the last hand of level 7 and Mustapha Kanit re-raised to 22,000 from the hijack. Yang Wang came along for the ride from the button and Margereson called.

Action checked to Wang on the 6♣T♦7♦ flop and only Margereson called. He wouldn't make it past the turn though, Wang bet 72,000 when checked to and Margereson cashed in a time bank card while making his decision.

It was a fold and Margereson dipped to about 250,000 while Wang went back up to nearly 800,000. --AV

8:45pm: Uruguay's No 1
Level 8 - Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

It's 8:45pm on a Saturday night. You're in Barcelona. You're Uruguay's all-time money winner with more than $1.3 million in earnings.

Might as well hop in the €50K Super High Roller, eh?

With less than one level left on the day, that's exactly what Fabrizio Gonzalez has done. Let's see if the Uruguayan can spin up his 250,000 stack before the bags are brought out. --JS

8:40pm: Tens timely for Gruissem
Level 7 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Phillip Gruissem just earned a big double through Christoph Vogelsang, the last hand before the table broke.

Gruissem had T♣T♠ and Vogelsang A♠K♣, and when the dealer delivered a 6♦J♦4♦6♠2♦ board, Gruissem won the pot.

"Just in time," he grinned as the tournament director set down the racks. Gruissem got to rack up 335,000 thanks to winning that hand, almost as much as the 345,000 Vogelsang still has left after losing it. --MH

8:35pm: Big stack battle, Ahadpour vs O'Dwyer
Level 7 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 400)

Two of the biggest stacks in the room just collided, providing the potential for a monster pot.

Unfortunately for you readers, it didn't end up happening. But fortunately for both Ahadpour Khanghah and Steve O'Dwyer, they both still have plenty of chips.

The hand started with a 10,000 open from Alex Papazian, which Khanghah called in the small blind and O'Dwyer called from the big. The flop came 7♦8♦2♣, on which Khanghah led out for 20,000. O'Dwyer called, and Papazian made a sigh-fold.

The dealer burned and turned the J♥ and this time Khanghah decided to check. O'Dwyer saw the open door and snuck in with a 45,000 bet. However, he was met with resistance in the form of an all-in jam.

O'Dwyer let his hand go pretty quickly and dropped down to 730,000, while Khanghah is on 950,000. --JS

8:30pm: O'Dwyer shoves, shows the bluff
Level 7 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

"Want to see?"

So asked Steve O'Dwyer of Daniel Dvoress, sitting to O'Dwyer's left, after the latter made a difficult fold just now in which he had to use up a time bank card.

There were a lot of chips in the middle -- about 320,000. The board showed three diamonds and a pair -- 5♦7♦K♦K♣. Dvoress had checked and O'Dwyer had shoved, and after thinking it through Dvoress decided he'd fold and avoid risking the 205,000 he had left.

Dvoress nodded in response to O'Dwyer's question. Then came the big reveal... A♠Q♠!

Dvoress grinned, still nodding in acknowledgement of a well-executed bluff.

O'Dwyer is up to 845,000. --MH

8:25pm: Rude or funny?
Level 7 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

We've just seen Dario Sammartino eliminated at the hands of Christopher "Apotheosis" Kruk. Eliminated for the second time, actually.

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Dario Sammartino, in happier times, talking to Bryn Kenney

While we were too late to catch the action, the board showed the 3♥J♥4♣Q♥A♥, and Sammartino held the Q♣Q♠ against Kruk's A♦K♥. As we all know, a flush beats a set, and that meant the Italian was out. If we had to guess, we'd say the money went in pre-flop.

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Christopher Kruk: Up to 655,000

"If I ask them to bring me another 250K, would that be rude or funny?" joked Kruk, who is clearly on a rush right now. His stack is up to 655,000 following that bust up. --JS

8:20pm: Badziakouski's back in the game
Level 7 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Mikita Badziakouski fell to Erik Seidel in a bluff gone wrong last level, but now he's back in the game and butting heads with Igor Kurganov.

Kurganov started that hand off with a raise to 9,000 and Badziakouski called from the small blind. The dealer fanned out a T♣A♠3♦ flop and Kurgnaov bet 10,000. Badziakouski called and the turn brought a J♣ and a pair of checks.

An A♦ came completed the board and Badziakouski completed the betting with a bet of 80,000. Kurganov didn't think too long and let his hand go, leaving himself with about 160,000. Badziakouski on the other hand is on the rise.

This was a small pot, but Badziakouski has gained more than 50 percent of his starting stack back in and is currently sitting with 418,000. --AV

8:10pm: Gruissem grabs some
Level 7 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

The way this ended, it appeared one of those hands in which a player in the big blind had stubbornly stuck around in the face of a late-position player's aggression, then found a spot to take the pot away.

What we know for sure -- a board showing 8♥8♣3♠4♣, a check from Phillip Gruissem, a nearly pot-sized bet of 34,500 from Vladimir Troyanovskiy, an all-in push for nearly 100,000 from Gruissem, followed by a Troyanovskiy fold. Oh, and the latter showed one card -- the A♠ -- as he released his hand.

Gruissem is at around 170,000 now, while Troyanovskiy continues with 210,000. --MH

8pm: Luca's lookin' unlucky
Level 7 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

It's not been a good few hands for Ivan Luca. While he's managed to keep most of his stack intact, he's certainly been put in some tough spots.

Arriving to the table with a 7♣A♦2♦4♦8♥ board, a 120,000 pot, and around 275,000 in chips in front of Ben Heath, a little processing showed that Luca had been put all-in. He was well into his first 30-second time bank, and at the last moment he tossed in a time bank plaque.

Those 60 seconds, bought with the card, would tick down too, meaning he had to use another.

When that one ran out, Luca decided to live and fight another day. He folded, and then on the very next hand his open got folds all around and meant he picked up the blinds and antes.

But he was back at it in the very next hand. Igor Yaroshevskyy opened to 9,000 in the hijack which got calls from Mikita Badziakouski (cutoff), Heath (button) and Luca (big blind).

The four saw a flop of K♥T♦9♣ and it checked to Badziakouski, who led for 14,000. Only Luca called to see the 5♦ turn, and Luca was faced with a 35,000 bet after he checked again. And again, he decided to fight another day.

Luca now has 190,000, Badziakouski is up to 330,000, and Heath is doing the best of that bunch with 580,000. --JS

7:55pm: Petrangelo and Peters, pace-setters
Level 7 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

For a good while this afternoon the two top-ranked players in the Global Poker Index have been sitting side-by-side.

Nick Petrangelo is currently No. 1 in the GPI overall rankings, and in fact has been for the past 20 weeks in a row. The man he took the lead from is David Peters who remains close to the top at No. 2. Peters was just moved to another table, however, racking up his stack of 255,000.

Just before he left, Petrangelo was pushing all in on the turn in a hand versus Bryn Kenney (currently No. 6 in the GPI) and after some thought Kenney folded. Petrangelo has about 235,000 right now, and Kenney just over 300,000. --MH

7:45pm: Back to it
Level 7 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Players are back in their seats and Level 7 is under way. We'll play this one, then another one, and then we'll be done for the day. -- HS

7:20pm: Negreanu fires a second, misses again
Level 6 - Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

At the very end of the level, Daniel Negreanu got the last of his chips in (this is his second bullet, by the way) on a flop of A♣4♦7♠. Christoph Vogelsang called and Negreanu said: "I've got a set, a flush draw, or a straight draw. Pick one."

Vogelsang was coy in answering the question, but turned over A♦T♣ which was ahead of Negreanu's J♣7♣. "I've got a re-buy too," Negreanu said. The next two cards out were both blanks and Negreanu said, "See you in a little bit."

As they head to the break, it's the businessman Ahadpour Khanghah who now leads. He has 1.1 million. Steve O'Dwyer has recently been moved to Khanghah's immediate left. -- HS

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One million man: Ahadpour Khanghah

7:20pm: $60 million between them
Level 6 - Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Dan Colman, winner of more than $28 million in tournaments, checked the K♠4♦2♦ flop. Then Erik Seidel, winner of over $32 million in tournaments, bet 11,000. Colman check-raised to 38,000, and after a moment's pause Seidel called.

The 8♣ turn then earned an 80,000-chip follow-up from Colman, and Seidel decided to let his opponent have it.

With the next break close, Colman has about 605,000 now while Seidel is at 495,000. --MH

7:15pm: Mateos making mounds
Level 6 - Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Adrian Mateos already has an Estrellas Poker Tour title, an EPT title, a WSOP-E Main Event title and, just a few months ago, he added a €50,000 Eight Max Shot Clock title to his resume.

The 23-year-old has more than $9 million in live tournament earnings and now he's near the top of the leaderboard in the PSC Barcelona Super High Roller.

Mateos has been chipping up throughout the day and recently took a bit more from Jean-Noel Thorel. Mateos raised to 7,000 from middle position that hand and Thorel three-bet to 16,000 from the hijack. Mateos called and then checked the 7♣T♦A♦ flop. Thorel bet 28,000 and Mateos called.

Both players checked the 6♦ on the turn and a 9♦ completed the board. Mateos bet 58,000 and Thorel called. Mateos turned over K♣Q♦ and Thorel mucked. Thorel dropped to 300,000 while Mateos chipped up to about 970,000. --AV

7:10pm: Wang wins Kakhmazov's stack
Level 6 - Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

After getting off to a fast start to begin the day, Nadar Kakhmazov has been felted here as Level 6 nears its conclusion.

Yang Wang was the man taking the last of Kakhmazov's stack. Wang also started well today, and has continued to hover near the top of the counts all day so far. He has 760,000 now. --MH

7:05pm: Heath leaves Yaroshevskyy shorter
Level 6 - Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Steve O'Dwyer opened to 6,500 from under the gun, a raise of less than 1 percent of his chip-leading stack. Igor Yaroshevskyy called from one seat to O'Dwyer's left, from a stack of only about 140,000, then Ben Heath three-bet to 23,500.

Heath had about 450,000 so was well stacked too. O'Dwyer didn't want to mess with that. He folded. Yaroshevskyy, however, called and they were heads up to the flop of K♣4♣5♥. Yaroshevskyy check-called Heath's bet of 17,500.

Both players checked the 5♣ turn and then Yaroshevskyy also checked the A♥ river. Heath put out about 200,000 chips, covering the 90,000 Yaroshevskyy had left. Yaroshevskyy folded.

There was more good news for Heath as a floor supervisor came over and asked O'Dwyer to move tables. He racked up about 850,000 and took them away. --HS


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A happy Heath

6:55pm: Vogelsang cracks Negreanu's kings
Level 6 - Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

It was Christoph Vogelsang first to act following a 2♥6♥8♣ flop, and he led with a bet of 5,500. Daniel Negreanu made it 20,000 to go, and Vogelsang responded with a reraise in return. Negreanu pushed all in, and Vogelsang called to commit his stack of 103,900.

"Two pair?" asked Negreanu, and Vogelsang answered affirmatively, tabling 6♣2♣ to confirm. Negreanu nodded and showed K♠K♦, and after the Q♣ turn and 9♦ river Vogelsang earned a double.

Vogelsang is up around 235,000 now, while Negreanu has slipped to 65,000. --MH


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The face of a man who cracked kings with six-deuce

6:45pm: Seidel busts Badziakouski
Level 6 - Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Erik Seidel came in late, but took one out fairly early.

The victim was Mikita Badziakouski, who made the mistake of re-raising to 24,000 from the cutoff after Seidel had raised to 7,500 from middle position. Badziakouski called and a 4♣T♣2♥ flop hit the board.

Seidel check-called a 15,000-chip bet and a 4♠ came on the turn. Seidel checked again and Badziakouski waited until there was one second left and moved all-in. Seidel called and turned over A♣5♣ while Badziakouski tabled 8♠7♠.

Seidel's ace-high was already in the lead, but then a 2♣ landed on the river to give hima flush. Seidel took down the hand and chipped up to 550,000 while Badziakouski got the boot. --AV

6:35pm: Kanit puts Moraes in the morass
Level 6 - Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Mustapha Kanit took on fellow new-boy (to this tournament) Rafael Moraes in a recent pot and it was Kanit who came out on top, leaving Moraes in some misery not long after sitting down.

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There is only one Mustapha Kanit

Kanit opened the pot with a raise to 6,000 from UTG+1. Moraes three-bet the button, making it 18,000, and Kanit called. They looked at a flop of J♣A♥6♦ and Kanit bet 14,000. Moraes called.

They both then checked the 3♥ on the turn and then saw the A♠ river. Kanit took a fistful of chips and bet 80,000--a nominal amount, given it was designed just to set Moraes all-in.

Moraes didn't want to give up his last 57,500 on this one, so folded and preserved it. Kanit took the pot and has 230,000 now. --HS

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Rafael Moraes: In trouble

6:25pm: Haxton dents Wang
Level 5 - Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

Last level we asked a preposterous question: could Yang Wang lose a hand? The answer, of course, was no.

But now we're doubting that hypothesis. Wang is fallible. Isaac Haxton proved it.

Haxton raised from middle position that hand and Wang re-raised to 16,000 from the cutoff. Haxton the made it 45,000 and Wang through in a five-bet to 121,000. Haxton thought until there was just a few second left and called.

Haxton then checked the 5♠9♦T♣ flop and Wang bet 50,000. Haxton responded by moving all-in and it was too much for Wang.

Wang folded. Yes, you heard me, Wang folded. He lost a hand.

Despite the loss, Wang is still near the top of the leaderboard with 720,000 and Haxton chipped up to about 540,000. --AV


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Wang, bam, thank you man

6:15pm: Whatever "Ouch" is in Spanish
Level 5 - Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

Alex Hernando, who is working here as part of the PokerStars Media team, was straight on his phone tapping out a tweet that began with the word "Ouch". This was bad news for Sergio Aido, and the Spanish poker faithful who are following his progress via Hernando's occasional, partisan updates.

Hernando was reporting the following hand--and remember for every "Ouch" in poker, there's an "Oooh". This time, Mike Watson was the beneficiary.

The hand started with a raise to 6,000 from Watson under the gun. Thomas Muehloecker called from a few seats along and then Aido three-bet to 26,200 from the small blind. Watson moved all-in for 131,000 and although Muehloecker quickly passed, Aido snap-called and showed K♦K♥. Watson turned over Q♣Q♦.

It was looking good for Aido and bleak for Watson, but then the flop brought the A♥J♦Q♥. Aido still had a few outs, but the 6♥ didn't help, and neither did the 8♣, that fell on turn and river.

Hernando snapped a pick and sent the tweet. Meanwhile, Watson built his stack to around 280,000 and Aido nursed 180,000. --HS

6:10pm: The Negreanu/Gruissem twosome
Level 5 - Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

Daniel Negreanu and Philipp Gruissem are seated right next to each other and tangling quite a bit. Gruissem tends to raise in late position and then Negreanu, who's seated to Gruissem's left, throws in a three-bet.

Sometimes it ends there, sometimes it doesn't. Negreanu took down the pot preflop during one of those encounters, but Gruissem took it down on the turn the next.

Gruissem raised to 6,000 from the cutoff that hand and Negreanu three-bet to 16,000 from the button. Action folded back to Gruissem and he called. Both players checked the K♠8♥6♣ flop and a 2♣ came on the turn.

Gruissem checked again and Negreanu bet 20,000. This time Gruissem fired back with a raise to 50,000. Negreanu thought for a bit and then folded.

"King-nine? King-ten of clubs? Maybe you wanna gamble?" Negreanu said, offering his assessment of Gruissem's hand. Whatever it was, it was good enough for the pot. Gruissem chipped up to 310,000 while Negreanu dipped to about 215,000. --AV

6:05pm: Rudoy's Broadway busts Gieles
Level 5 - Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

Luuk Gieles of the Netherlands and Mikhail Rudoy of Russia were sitting side-by-side just now, engaged in a significant hand during which the betting grew serious on the turn.

The board showed J♥K♥2♣T♦, and after some back-and-forthing -- that's a specialized term, by the way, used to describe action in which multiple players show aggression but the reporter has missed betting amounts and/or the progression of bets and raises -- Gieles was all in with A♣A♥.

Alas for Gieles, Rudoy had turned Broadway with A♠Q♦, making the T♠ on the river just a bit of trivia ironically making its way into a hand report missing other relatively significant information.

Gieles is gone, while Rudoy is up to 525,000. --MH

5:55pm: Spelling test
Level 5 - Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

Alexandros Kolonias got involved in a pot against two considerably bigger stacks, but the Greek player ended it with a smile and a seat still in the tournament.

Nadar Kakhmazov open-raised to 5,500 from the button and both players in the blinds came along. They were Mikita Badziakouski in the small blind and Kolonias in the big, and three players retained an interest in the T♣Q♦K♥ flop.

Both Badziakouski and Kolonias checked, which drew a c-bet of 8,000 Kakhmazov. (Those neglected regions of the British keyboard are getting a rare workout in this hand report, I have to say.) Badziakouski called, but that then prompted a check-raise-squeeze to 36,000 from Kolonias.

Kakhmazov folded, but Badziakouski called and that brought the 6♣ on the turn. Badziakouski checked, but then Kolonias picked up everything he had--65,100--and plonked it forward.

Badziakouski didn't fold immediately. In fact, he took 1 minute 29 seconds, which cost him a time-bank card. But he did eventually fold.

It left Badziakouski with 205,000 and put Kolonias up to 185,000. --HS

5:45pm: That's how the story crumbles
Level 5 - Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

Dietrich Fast raised from early position, but whatever plans he might have had after that were stymied somewhat by the all-in big blind push from John Juanda.

Fast thought while Juanda finished the last of his dinner, chewing quietly as his opponent contemplated the situation. Finally Fast folded, and Juanda collected the pot.

"John," said Fast afterwards, sounding somewhat stern. Your humble scribbler leaned forward to listen.

Fast then touched his chin mysteriously, as though sending some sort of coded messages. Looking over to Juanda, Fast's meaning instantly became clear.

Juanda had a bit of food on his chin.

Juanda cleaned up, and after stacking shows 145,000 while Fast is now at 360,000. --MH


8G2A7013_PCBAR2017Dietrich_Fast_Neil Stoddart.jpg

"Honestly, John, the crumb on your chin was this big..."

5:35pm: Colman making moves
Level 5 - Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

Daniel Colman raised from middle position and Nadar Kakhmazov threw in a three-bet to 12,000 from the button. The blinds folded and Colman made it 45,000 to go.

Kakhmazov called and an 8♥J♦6♣ flop hit the table. Colman kept the action going with a 28,000 bet and Kakhmazov called. An 8♦ came on the turn and Colman bet 80,000. Kakhmazan then called, at least he thought he did, with 55,000. He'd apparently misread the bet and was forced to put in the extra 25,000.

A 3♥ completed the board and Colman, who had Kakhmazov covered, moved all-in. The big red triangle is hard to miss and it was too much for Kakhmazov. Kakhmazov folded and was left with 150,000 while Colman chipped up to around 530,000. --AV

5:25pm: Ace for Aldemir busts Badziakouski
Level 5 - Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

Following a Koray Aldemir open to 5,500 from the button, Manig Loeser called from the small blind, then Mikita Badziakouski went into the tank. Just as his allotted 30 seconds was about to expire, Badziakouski pushed all in, and the action was back on Aldemir. He thought for a short while, then reraised over the top, and Loeser got out of the way.

Badziakouski had T♣T♥ and needed his hand to hold against Aldemir's A♦T♦, and through the 4♥2♠K♣ flop and 9♦ turn it appeared his hand would do just that. Badziakouski in fact pointed a finger gun at the spot where the river card would be dealt in anticipation of a friendly finish to the hand.

Alas for Badziakouski, the river was the A♠ to give Aldemir a better pair and the hand, and with a smile and shrug Badziakouski departed. Aldemir now has about 280,000. --MH


8G2A7026_PCBAR2017Koray_Aldemir_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Aldemore for Aldemir

4:50pm: Break time

They've reached the end of two more levels, meaning players are off again on another 20-minute break. --MH

4:50pm: Mateos wins big one on brink of break
Level 4 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (ante 300)

Adrian Mateos took a big chunk from Sylvain Loosli just before the break. Details are scant, but it seems that Mateos turned a set of sevens and rivered a full house and got plenty of value.

The flop was A♣J♠2♦ and they both checked. The turn was the 7♥ and it went bet, raise, call from Loosli, Mateos, Loosli. Then the A♥ came on the river and it went check, bet, call from Loosli, Mateos, Loosli again.

Mateos showed his 7♣7♠ and Loosli mucked. This hand is brought to you by tournament photographer Neil Stoddart, who does a very good job of photographing cards at showdown, but doesn't note betting amounts. And why would he? It's not his job description. You don't get a photographer to count chips. You get Alex Villegas for that. --HS


8G2A7049_PCBAR2017Bryn_Kenney_Adrian_Mateos_Neil Stoddart.jpg

"Pretty cool hand, yea?"

4:45pm: Troyanovskiy gets short with Khanghah
Level 4 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (ante 300)

We're not sure how it happened, but Vladimir Troyanovskiy found himself very shortstacked and moved all in for his last 35,000 or so from middle position. Ahadpour Khanghah made the call to his left and everyone else got out the way.

It was the K♥Q♥ for the Russian, and A♦7♥ for the Iranian. The flop fell A♣T♥9♠, but there was still hope for Troyanovskiy. He'd need a jack, and he found one on the river after the 2♣ and J♥ completed the board.

"Ayyyy!" said Negreanu, rooting for Troyanovskiy in that one. He was still in, but just two hands later he battled with Khanghah again.

Troyanovskiy limped under the gun, before Khanghah made it 7,000 to go. It folded back to the limper and he called. They went to a 5♣4♦A♣ flop and both checked, before Troyanovskiy led out for 5,000 on the 4♠ turn. Call.

The river was the 6♣ and Troyanovskiy fired 5,000 again. This time though Khanghah raised it to 18,000, and Troyanovskiy snap-called.

Khanghah showed the 7♦8♦ for a straight, and Troyanovskiy mucked, showing the 3♠. He's still stuck on 44,000, while Khanghah is up to 410,000. --JS

4:40pm: Carrel losing chips, calories
Level 4 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (ante 300)

Here's an interesting hand but -- spoiler warning -- we never find out who had what, so you may want to skip it if you're a hole-cards only kind of poker-watcher.

It featured Bryn Kenney, who is one of the United States' finest, going up against Charlie Carrel and Patrick Leonard, two of the United Kingdom's best. Spoiler warning: Chalk this one up for Uncle Sam.

Leonard started things off with a raise to 4,500 from under the gun. Kenney called in the small blind and Carrel interrupted his own monologue to three-bet to 18,000 from the big blind. Actually, I say "interrupted" but that's not true. He carried on.

Anyway, both Leonard and Kenney called the three-bet and so this was three-way to a flop of Q♥9♦8♣. Kenney checked, Carrel bet 17,000 and Leonard quickly called.

It also didn't take long for Kenney to check-raise, making it 52,000 and putting the squeeze on both his opponents. At this point (ie, with all that money already out there), Carrel had 135,000 back, Leonard had about 370,000 back and Kenney had around 145,000. Not much fold equity for Carrel if he fancied putting the rest in.

He didn't. He folded. As did Leonard with a sigh. So that puts Kenney up to around 320,000 and continues Carrel's downward motion. Not that you'd know it. He carried on chatting about a health food shake he's been trying out recently.

"It's pretty good, but it's difficult to get enough calories," he said. --HS

4:40pm: Where there's a will, there's a Wang
Level 4 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (ante 300)

There's been one question we've been asking ourselves all level: Can Yang Wang lose a hand?

Our hypothesis is no, and so far, all the evidence is pointing to that being correct. Wang keeps throwing chips from his mountainous stack just to see them return in greater numbers. In his most recent win, Wang opened to 4,500 from under the gun and Nada Kakhmazov called from the hijack.

Stefan Schillhabel was on the big blind and feeling mighty with his short stack. Maybe he could take on this goliath. He three-bet to 24,000 and both players called.

A 4♦T♥T♦ flop hit the board and the Schillhabel fired another rock from his slingshot, a bet worth 25,000. Wang called, Kakhmazov folded. Both checked the 4♠ turn, then a J♠ completed the board. Schillhabel slowed to a check and then Wang moved in with all his might. Wang's all-in dwarfed the 90,000 Schillhabel had behind and Schillhabel decided this gambit wasn't worth it anymore.

Schillhabel folded and was left with his 90,000 while Wang rose to about 900,000. --AV


8G2A7074_PCBAR2017Yang_Wang_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Yang Wang, early leader

4:30pm: Yan finally moving in the right direction
Level 4 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (ante 300)

David Yan was the first man knocked out of this tournament today, and the first man to re-enter. His second bullet wasn't going especially well either, but Yan is a talented man. One sweetly paid pot against Stefan Sondtheimer, and Yan is now heading in the right direction again.

Sondtheimer started it with a raise to 4,500 from UTG+1. Yan called in the big blind, and those two alone were interested in the 7♥Q♣T♠ flop. Yan checked, Sondtheimer bet 4,000 and Yan called.

Both players quickly checked the 8♠ turn, which brought the A♥ on the river. Yan checked for a second time, and Sondtheimer, who had been staring at his opponent as the dealer put the last card down, now belatedly saw the ace.

Sondtheimer bet 12,500. Yan spent some time in the tank, but then surprised all of us with a check-raise to 47,500. Sondtheimer looked perplexed, but called. Yan solved the mystery by exposing the 9♦6♥ for a turned and slow-played straight.

Yan has 275,000 now. Sondtheimer has 270,000. --HS

4:25pm: Schillhabel does an Unger
Level 4 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (ante 300)

Earlier on, we brought you a story that Daniel Negreanu told about Stu Unger (scroll down to 3:25pm to read that one). Fast forward to the now, Stefan Schillhabel just resembled Unger in a hand against Dan Colman.

The German opened to 5,000 and was three-bet to 16,000 by Colman. Everyone else got out the way and Schillhabel called to see a 5♦Q♠T♠ flop. He then checked, and Colman put in a 15,000 c-bet.

Schillhabel wasn't done though; he raised it up to 42,000. While Colman was thinking what to do, Eric Seidel took his seat at their table just in time to see Colman call.

The 2♣ then completed the board and Schillhabel checked a final time. When Colman opted to check it back, Schillhabel quickly mucked his hand, so certain was he that he was beat. That meant Colman didn't even have to show his holding to win the pot.

He raked in the chips and now sits with 310,000, while Schillhabel has slipped to 165,000. --JS

4:20pm: Another win for Wang
Level 4 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (ante 300)

Yang Wang just keeps on playing big and winning big.

Wang's most recent victory started when Kahle Burns opened to 5,000 from under the gun and Wang three-bet to 15,500 from the small blind. Nadar Kakhmazov called from the big blind and all three players went to the 8♣A♣5♦ flop.

Wang kicked things off by betting 35,500 and Kakhmazov folded. Burns thought until the four-second mark and called. A T♣ came on the turn and both player checked. That brought a 6♠ on the river and another bet from Wang.

This time he made it 65,5000 and it was too much for Burns. The Australian player folded and Wang took down the pot and chipped up to about 820,000 while Burns dipped to about 190,000. --AV

4:15pm: They keep on coming
Level 4 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (ante 300)

We got a few more big names in the field as if there weren't enough already.

Three of the most recent additions to the super high roller include Argentina's first WSOP bracelet winner, Ivan Luca; 2014 Big One for One Drop champion Dan Colman and eight-time WSOP bracelet winner Erik Seidel. --AV

4:10pm: Peters's first stack swallowed by Kakhmazov
Level 3 - Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

We've just lost David Peters, but he'll no doubt be back.

Picking up the action on a 5♥3♥Q♦ flop, Alexandros Kolonias and Stefan Schillhabel both checked to Peters, who made it 8,700. Nadar Kakhmazov was the only caller, so it was heads up to the turn.

That came the 2♣ and Peters fired again, this time for 25,000. Kakhmazov didn't budge and the river was the J♣. Peters let his time bank count all the way down to one second before announcing he was all in, and Kakhmazov snap-called, turning over 5♦3♦ for a flopped two pair. Peters sheepishly showed his 4♦4♥, and made an exit. Kakhmazov is up to 340,000 now.

On our way out the room, we could see that Ben Tollerene (whose elimination you can read about just below) was already back in the queue to re-enter.


PCBAR-2017-Monti-David Peters-1173.jpg

Peters will be back

Dan Colman, Philipp Gruissem, Ivan Luca, Mustapha Kanit, and Dario Sammartino are also among the recent entries. --JS

4pm: Loeliger licks Tollerene
Level 3 - Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

Linus Loeliger was down to about 135,000 -- at least that was what was in his stack, but he was also in a pot, so there was some more in the middle of the table. And by the time that pot was over, he had 360,000... and one fewer opponent with whom to contend.

They seem to have got plenty in pre-flop and then the rest of it in on a flop of 6♥7♥8♦. Tollerene put the last of his chips in and Loeliger had to decide whether to call for almost all of his own. But Loeliger did made the call with T♣T♦ and was up against a draw. Tollerene had 5♦5♣.

The turn was the T♠, which didn't actually change a massive amount. It only took away the two fives as outs for Tollerene. The 7♦ on the river was the nail in Tollerene's coffin, however, and he departs. Loeliger scooped in the lot. --HS


8G2A6890_PCBAR2017Benjamin_Tollerene_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Tollerene, pre-felting

3:55pm: Wang wins a big one off Kakhmazov
Level 3 - Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

There was about 140,000 in the pot and the board read J♠5♦K♣8♥Q♠. There'd been some big bets to get to that point and they were about to get bigger.

Nadar Kakhmazov was on the big blind and bet 33,000 on that river and Yang Wang thought past his allotted 30 seconds. He threw in a time bank card and then almost immediately raised to 150,000. It was Kakhmazov's turn to think and throw in a time bank card.

Before the time was up, Kakhmazov called. Wang turned over A♦T♦ for the broadway straight and Kakhmazov mucked. The hand put Wang up to a whopping 750,000 while Kakhmazov dipped to about 210,000. --AV

3:50pm: Kruk crushes
Level 3 - Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

If you follow online tournament poker closely, chances are you've heard of the screen name 'Apotheosis'.

The player has two Super Tuesday titles in 2017 alone, and also finished third in the prestigious $25K High Roller during the 2017 SCOOP, good for a career best score worth just under $400,000.

Christopher Kruk is the guy behind the name, and he's a recent addition to today's field. He's already managed to increase his stack by 30,000 or so in just a couple of hands.

In the latest one, Ben Heath opened and Kruk three-bet to 12,000 on the button, which was called. A Q♠K♣9♦ flop was spread, and Kruk took it down with a c-bet when it checked to him. --JS


PSC_Barcelona17-373_Christopher Kruk.jpg

Some for Kruk

3:40pm: Loeser prompts dealer, provokes Aldemir, wins
Level 3 - Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

Manig Loeser pointed suggestively at the shot-clock. It was a gentle reminder that the dealer should have set it going after action had folded around to Koray Aldemir in the big blind, following Loeser's raise to 5,000 from under the gun.

It was a timely reminder as Aldemir had indeed already taken about 15 seconds to make any motion since action had landed on him. But no sooner were the red digital figures set flicking downward than Aldemir made a three-bet, to 15,800. Now the decision was quickly back with Loeser.

Loeser called.

So they saw a flop of Q♠8♥5♠ and Aldemir quickly bet 12,000. Loeser called, bringig the 6♣ on the turn. There was no more betting, though, even after the J♠ on the river.

Aldemir went to muck, but then thought better of it and waited for Loeser to table his T♦T♥. Then, yes, into the muck went Aldemir's cards. --HS

3:30pm: Helppi moving on up
Level 3 - Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

Juha Helppi has pushed up to around the 350,000 mark now, winning two back-to-back pots without the need for a showdown. In fact, the first pot didn't even need a flop.

Orpen Kisacikoglu started it with a raise to 4,000 from the hijack. Vojcech Ruzicka three-bet to 14,000 from the cutoff seat and correctly deducing that this meant absolutely nothing in terms of what cards these late-position aggressors held, Helppi four-bet his button to 37,000.

Kisacikoglu pause-folded. Ruzicka's fold was a snap.

Next hand: Kisacikoglu again raised, again to 4,000, and Helppi called in the cutoff. The dealer was this time called into action and he put the 7♦4♦K♠ on the table. Kisacikoglu bet 3,500 but Helppi pushed it up a bit, asking for 11,500. Kisacikoglu wasn't up for that. He folded. --HS

3:25pm: Negreanu, Unger, and the crazy call
Level 3 - Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

An interesting hand just played out between two Daniels -- Dvoress and Negreanu. But arguably more interesting was the story Negreanu told afterwards, one involving another legend of the game, the late, great Stu Unger.

In this hand, Dvoress had opened to 4,500 in the cutoff, and Negreanu and Patrick Leonard called from the blinds. They saw a 5♦4♣6♣ flop, on which Negreanu decided to lead out, making it 6,500. That shook off Leonard, but Dvoress called.

The turn was the Q♠ and now Negreanu decided to check to the initial raiser. Dvoress fired for 13,000 but that bet was called. On the A♥ river both decided to check.

"Pair of fives," announced Negreanu, before Dvoress tabled his J♠6♠ for a pair of sixes. Negreanu's 7♠5♠ was no good, and he followed up with a "Dang it!"


8G2A6770_PCBAR2017Daniel_Dvoress_Neil Stoddart.jpg

More for Dvoress

"I was thinking, "Maybe I should bet the ace, that will look believable," Negreanu joked. "You could maybe have ace five," replied Dvoress. "Yeah, or ace-eight of clubs," Negreanu added.

The two then started talking about how if Dvoress had bet and Negreanu just called, Dvoress might have mucked his hand. That discussion was what reminded Kid Poker of an old Stu Unger story.

The three-time WSOP Main Event winner was playing heads up seven-card stud.

"When Stuey was called on the river, he would not show his hand, he'd always muck if he thought he was beat. And his opponent knew it, so in one hand Stuey had open sevens [two sevens face up] and bet them on the river. His opponent couldn't even beat the pair of sevens but just called, knowing that Stuey might muck, and he did! It was one of the best crazy plays."

Back to this tournament, though. Negreanu now has 120,000, while Dvoress is up to 305,000. --JS

3:15pm: Kolonias gets Burnsd
Level 3 - Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

Alexandros Kolonias can't help getting himself into big pots every level.

He lost a big one in the first level of play against Nadar Kakhmazov and then doubled up against David Peters in the second. Now Kolonias is back to a five-digit chipstack after running into Kahle Burns's pocket aces.

Burns started that hand off with a raise to 4,000 from the button and Kolonias, who was next to act, reraised to 12,000. Action folded back around to Burns and he four-bet to 29,500.

Kolonias thought for a bit -- though not more than 30 seconds, of course -- and called. The flop came T♦Q♦2♥ and Burns bet 18,500. Kolonias thought again and then called. Both players checked after the 3♥ came on the turn and a K♦ completed the board.

Burns bet 25,500 on the river and Kolonias threw in a single 25,000 chip for the call. Burns turned over A♥Q♦ and Kolonias mucked and flicked in the extra 500 chip. The hand but Burns up to 240,000 while Kolonias dropped to 72,000. --AV

3:05pm: Flush for Fatehi
Level 3 - Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

As Level 3 begins the big board shows 49 entries so far, including the one re-entry (David Yan). Late registration remains open all day today and up until the start of Day 2 tomorrow.

Isaac Haxton and Ali Reza Fatehi are among those competing today, and just now they returned from the break to compete against each other for a small pot.

The board was about as coordinated as it could be -- 6♦5♦3♦9♦4♣ -- and Haxton took a stab from the blinds with a close-to-pot-size-seeming bet of 19,000. Fatehi called, and Haxton showed K♣4♠ for a pair of fours. Fatehi's K♣8♦ made a flush, and he took the pot.

Both players are at about 290,000. --MH

2:40pm: Break time

Players are taking their first 20-minute break of the day. Back at 3pm.

2:40pm: Negreanu doubles Papazian
Level 2 - Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 200)

Romania's No 1 all-time money winner Alex Papazian has just doubled up, courtesy of another famous Romanian (via Canada), Daniel Negreanu.

Picking up the action on a 5♠T♣J♠ flop, Daniel Dvoress was first to act and he led out for 6,000. Papazian then popped it up to 21,000 from the hijack position, and Kid Poker called from the cutoff. Dvoress got out of the way.

The turn was the 7♣ and Papazian didn't slow down, continuing for 57,000. Negreanu took a good look at Papazian's stack and saw he had 100,000 behind, so he moved all-in. After a little bit of thinking, that bet was called.

Negreanu rolled over the A♣J♥ for top pair, but that was no good against Papazian's 5♦5♣, who had his opponent drawing dead. The inconsequential 2♥ river was put out, and Papazian is now up to 370,000 while Negreanu drops to 115,000. --JS

2:35pm: Juanda arrives thirsty
Level 2 - Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 200)

EPT12 Barcelona Main Event champion John Juanda has arrived, looking to add to his more than $20 million in tournament winnings.

As Juanda was led to his seat, the tournament director let him know the schedule and how there would be no dinner breaks. She also mentioned how the players are welcome to free drinks as they play.

"Like all the cocktails," deadpanned Juanda with a grin. "Awesome." --MH


8G2A7151_PCBAR2017John_Juanda_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Cheers, says JJ

2:30pm: Muehloecker and Aido at it again
Level 2 - Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 200)

Thomas Muehloecker and Sergio Aido have been butting heads frequently early on today, and they were just now battling again for another pot.

Arriving to see the dealer had spread an 8♦2♦4♥ flop, it appeared as though Aido probably opened pre-flop and Muehloecker defended his big blind (perhaps with a pot-building three-bet). In any case it was Muehloecker taking the initiative at this point, firing 16,5000 with Aido calling.

The turn brought the 2♥ and another bet from Muehloecker, this time for 47,000, and Aido called once more. Then after the 5♠ river completed the board Muehloecker shoved with his last 125,000 or so, and after a half-minute tank Aido stepped aside.

Muehloecker is at about 305,000, while Aido has 160,000. --MH

2:25pm: LLinusLLove
Level 2 - Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 200)

Linus Loeliger might be a new name for you high roller railbirds, but trust us when we tell you that this guy is a crusher.

Playing on PokerStars under the name LLinusLLove, the Swiss player is considered one of the very best online no limit hold'em cash game players in the world right now, and regularly battles against the likes of OTB_RedBaron.

Loeliger is in the field today, and despite a rocky start he just took down a nice pot. Ben Tollerene opened to 3,400 on the button and Sylvain Loosli called from the small blind. Loeliger then three-bet squeezed from the big to 18,000, but neither budged. After two calls, it was flop time.

The dealer spread the 6♦5♦Q♥ and it checked through, taking them to the 8♥. Loosli checked again, and it was here that Loeliger decided to overbet jam for around 125,000. Tollerene snap-folded, while Loosli gave a wry smile and let his hand go.

Loeliger is up to 180,000, while Tollerene has 200,000 and Loosli 215,000. --JS

2:20pm: Kings for Kolonias
Level 2 - Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 200)

Alexandros Kolonias lost a huge portion of his chips early in the day when he clashed with Nadar Kakhmazov, but now he's scored a double up with a set of kings.

Kolonias raised to 3,000 from early position and David Peters re-raised to 10,000 from the small blind. Kolonias quickly moved all-in for 75,400 and Peters snap-called.

Peters turned over Q♥Q♠ and Kolonias tabled a superior K♥K♣. The K♠6♥4♣ flop gave Kolonias a set of kings and then an A♠ came on the turn to seal the deal. The river was a J♥ and Kolonias doubled to about 160,000 while Peters dropped to 110,000. --AV


8G2A6802_PCBAR2017Alexandros_Kolonias_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Kolonias collects

2:10pm: Carrel barrels
Level 2 - Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 200)

With three players involved and the board showing 4♣5♠J♦8♣, it checked around to Charlie Carrel who bet 20,000. Kahle Burns called from the small blind and Alexandros Kolonias folded from the big. Put the pot at around 75,000.

The river was the 4♠ and Burns checked, and Carrel bet an even 100,000. Burns thought about it but folded, and with a mischeivous-looking grin Carrel collected yet another pot.

Carrel has already more than doubled the starting stack, having built up to 525,000. --MH

charlie_carrel_chips_psc_barcelona_day1_shr.jpg

Charlie Carrel: Building an early stack

2:05pm: Thorel's moving on, Kurganov's moving up
Level 2 - Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 200)

"Oh no! He just got here! He just got here!"

That was the cry from Vladimir Troyanovskiy, who was jokingly referring to the fact that businessman Jean-Noel Thorel was being moved from his table.

Thorel has bounced around a lot in this event already (on to his third table now), and while some of the players may welcome him at their table with open arms, he's not to be messed with. His $2.2 million in career earnings prove that.

Meanwhile, Igor Kurganov was picking up a pot on the adjacent table. As Thorel walked past, Ben Heath made it 3,000 to go and got three callers in Quan Zhou (button), Ahadpour Khanghah (small blind) and Kurganov (big blind). They saw a J♠A♥6♠ flop, and it checked to Kurganov.

The Team Pro led into the pre-flop raiser for 5,400, and Heath gave it up. Zhou and Khanghah called though, and the turn came the 7♠. Kurganov bet 12,000 when it checked to him, and that was enough to take it down. --JS

1:55pm: Don't blink
Level 2 - Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 200)

Shot clocks have definitely sped up the game. If you don't pay attention for a second, you might miss a full street of action.

"What happened on the river?" Charlie Carrel asked after one hand. He was in it up until the turn, but after a quick peek at his phone it was over.

The hand started when Nadar Kakhmazov raised to 2,600 from under the gun. Carrel re-raised to 8,000 from the button, David Peters called from the big blind and Kakhmazov came along as well.

All three players checked after the K♣6♥9♥ flop hit the board and a J♥ came on the turn. Kakhmazov bet 15,000, Carrel folded and zoned out for a bit while Peters called.

Both players checked on the river, Peters turned over K♦Q♦ and Kakhmazov mucked all without Carrel noticing. Peters then updated Carrel while he raked in the pot.

Kakhmazov is still near the top of the leader board with about 415,000 while the pot put Peters up to 170,000. --AV

1:50pm: Leonard chooses correctly with river call
Level 1 - Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

In the last hand of the first level, PokerStars Championship Panama Super High Roller winner Ben Tollerene raised to 2,300 from middle position, and it folded around to Patrick Leonard who defended his big blind with a call.

Leonard is still riding a rush of sorts after having won no fewer than three tournaments in the space of one week in Las Vegas in mid-July, earning more than $1.25 million for doing so.

The flop fell 8♦2♥Q♦ and Leonard check-called Tollerene's continuation bet of 12,000. Both players then checked the 9♥ turn.

The river was the 6♦ and Leonard checked once more, and Tollerene put him to the test with a big bet of 70,000. Leonard thought about 25 seconds before tossing out a chip to call, and Tollerene quickly turned over A♠3♣ to show ace-high. Leonard had K♣K♠, and after choosing correctly collected the pot to move up around 355,000. Tollerene now sits with 190,000. --MH

1:45pm: New plan for Yan
Level 1 - Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

David Yan has made a quick return, and wasted no time putting his second bullet to use.

After Mikita Badziakouski opened to 2,200 in the hijack, Yan quickly three-bet to 7,800 from the cutoff and when it got back to Badziakouski he made the call.

They went to a 5♥8♥8♠ flop, and it checked to Yan who made a 5,000 c-bet. Badziakouski made the call and the turn came the 4♠. Both checked.

They saw the T♠ complete the board, and Badziakouski let his 30-second time bank tick all the way down before checking. Yan almost did the same, but with five seconds to go he reached for chips and tossed out 21,000. That got a sharpish fold. --JS

1:40pm: Rapid-fire Negreanu
Level 1 - Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

Daniel Negreanu hasn't stopped since he took a seat at his table. Then he got moved to a new seat and picked up the pace.

"Nick Petrangelo," Negreanu said while players were taking a seat at the newly-formed table. "How're you doing? Let's go, I raise."

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Fast-talking start from Daniel Negreanu

"How much blow have you done?" Ike Haxton asked. Neither Negreanu nor Petrangelo were in a hand. Negreanu was actually doing a fair bit of folding, it was his table-talk that was in rapid-fire mode.

"I don't even drink caffeine," Negreanu told Haxton. "Just natural plant energy."

"Coca plant?" Haxton asked.

Negreanu laughed and blamed his excess energy on the gym. Then he moved on to say that exercise isn't necessarily always the best move. One time he sacrificed sleep to wake up early and work out, but that affected his game. Then in the matter of a minute he talked about high roller events at the Aria, slow players and a new round-for-round system their trying out and Kevin Hart.

Negreanu folded his way through his monologue, but there are bound to be fireworks with the likes of Petrangelo, Haxton and Thomas Muehloecker at his table. --AV

1:35pm: Two players, two pair, two winners
Level 1 - Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

There are five full tables in play now, with more players streaming in as the first one-hour level comes to a close. Sitting across from one another at one of them are Sergio Aido and Thomas Muehloecker, and those two got involved in a pot just now that went to a river showdown.

They'd built a pot of 85,000 by the turn with the board showing 9♥8♠3♦6♥, then on the 4♣ river Aido bet 53,000 and after a pausing a few beats Muehloecker called. Aido tabled 9♣8♥ to show he'd flopped two pair, but Muehloecker responded by turning over 9♦8♦ that he'd done the same and they chopped it up. Both still sit with right around the 250,000-chip starting stack. --MH

1:25pm: More names flood in
Level 1 - Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

Team PokerStars Pro Igor Kurganov has just entered the room, and is waiting to take his seat. Meanwhile, he's chatting in Russian to fellow high roller reg, Mikita Badziakouski.

We've had a bunch of new players enter in the last orbit too, including David Peters, Nick Petrangelo, Patrick Leonard, Scott Margereson, Jean-Noel Thorel, Dietrich Fast, Vojtech Ruzicka, and Vladimir Troyanovskiy. --JS

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Dietrich Fast

1:20pm: Call a Yanbulance
Level 1 - Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

David Yan is the first casualty of this high roller field, and Charlie Carrel is the man who has collected his chips. We didn't see the hand, but Yan made his exit and Carrel now sits with 480,000, almost double the starting stack, and therefore the average stack. --JS

1:15pm: Carrel bombs river, collects from Heath
Level 1 - Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

Ben Heath opened for 2,500 from the cutoff seat and it folded around to Charlie Carrel who defended his big blind.

After a flop of K♣7♠4♥, Carrel checked, Heath continued for 3,000, then Carrel raised to 7,000. Heath hesitated, then called the raise. Heath called again after Carrel fired another 15,000 on the T♠ turn.

The river was a small card -- the 2♥ -- but inspired a big bet from Carrel of 115,000. Heath used up most of his 30 seconds before releasing his hand, and Carrel collected the pot.

Carrel chips up around 300,000 with that pot while Heath has 210,000. --MH

1:10pm: Don't hate the eight
Level 1 - Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

Players haven't been shying away from big pots early in the day. Some players are doing it with strong hands while others are getting lucky on the river.

In one hand, Stefan Sontheimer raised to 2,500 with A♠K♦ from the hijack and Christoph Vogelsang called from the big blind with K♠8♥.

Both players paired their king on the K♥T♥9♦ flop and Vogelsang started his series of calls. First Sontheimer bet 4,000 on the flop, call, and then upped the bet to 16,500 after the 4♣ landed on the turn. Vogelsang called again and that's when the tables turned.

An 8♣ came on the river and gave Vogelsang two pair. Sontheimer's ace king was now the second-best hand but he kept firing away. Sontheimer bet 28,500 and Vogelsang quickly called.

Sontheimer confidently announced ace-king and turned over his A♠K♦. Vogelsang then showed his hand and Sontheimer just laughed as the pot got pushed to his opponent. The hand put Vogelsang up to about 300,000 while Sontheimer dipped to 200,000. --AV

1:05pm: Two of Spain's finest
Level 1 - Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

Adrian Mateos and Sergio Aido, who sit at No 2 and No 3 on Spain's all-time money list (behind only Carlos Mortensen), have just entered the poker room to wild cheers and a standing ovation.

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The Spanish cavalry arrives

OK, that didn't actually happen, but they have now taken their seats, and joining them are Juha Helppi and Thomas Muehloecker. --JS

1pm: Chip shuffling 101
Level 1 - Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

Charlie Carrel is an excellent poker player. We all know that. But did you also know that he runs a course on how best to shuffle your chips?

"I find that with stacks of six and six, it takes ages to get back around to the order your started with," he told his tablemates, including Daniel Dvoress, Ben Heath, Sergey Lebedev, and David Yan.

"But seven and seven is great."

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Charlie Carrel: Pictured riffling in Barcelona last year

He then proceeded to take a pot from Yan with a large river overbet. Yan had opened to 2,700 on the button after it folded to him, and Carrel defended his big blind to see the 3♠7♠K♣ flop. That went check-check, as did the Q♠ turn.

The 3♦ completed the board, and paired it too. Carrel then led out for 15,000, and the overbet took it down. --JS

12:55pm: Kakhmazov wins early clash with Kolonias
Level 1 - Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

Less than five minutes into the very first level, there was already a huge all-in situation on one of the three tables in action at the start.

Catching up with the situation on the river, the board was nine-high -- 9♦8♦6♣8♣3♣ -- and something close to 150,000 chips were already in the middle. Alexandros Kolonias had first a bet of 40,000, and after a short pause to look at his opponent Nadar Kakhmazov pushed all in behind him.


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Kakhmazov considers

Kolonias went deep in the tank, burning through all three of his time bank cards allotting him extra time to think. Finally he folded, and Kakhmazov jumps to the top of the leader board with around 360,000 while Kolonias slips to 150,000.

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Time bank cards

That reminds us: this is a shot-clock tournament, where players get 30 seconds for each decision and then an extra one minute for each timebank card.--MH

12:50pm: Bumper numbers
Level 1 - Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

Registration for this event is open until the start of Day 2, so a full headcount will not be known until then. (It's an unlimited re-entry event too, so there should be a few more thousand euro in the prize-pool come the end.)

However, early indications are good that numbers are buoyant in Barcelona. The €1,000 PokerStars National Championship attracted 4,557 players and generated a prize-pool of more than €4.4 million. The winner will get €575,000. That's from a €1,000 buy-in event.

The equivalent event last year, which was the €1,000 Estrellas Main Event won my Mohamed Samri, drew 3,447 players. So we're 1,000 up on last time out.

12:45pm: Lights, camera, action as Negreanu makes his entrance
Level 1 - Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

Whenever Team PokerStars Pro Daniel Negreanu enters a poker room, particularly one that isn't just full of high rollers (as is the case today; the National Championship is taking place in the same room), he always makes heads turn.

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Daniel Negreanu has made his annual pilgrimage to Barcelona

The fact that he's being followed by a camera man here today just added to the hubbub.

Kid Poker has now taken his seat, and we've got a few more names for your list too. Australia's cash game beast Kahle Burns is in the house, as are regulars such as Steffen Sontheimer, Manig Loeser, Sergey Lebedev, and Alexandros Kolonias. --JS

12:35pm: Early birds
Level 1 - Blinds: 500/1,000 (ante 100)

Play hasn't started quite yet, though a few of the usual suspects are already seated and ready to go. Isaac Haxton, Paul Newey, Charlie Carrel, Ben Tollerene, Daniel Dvoress, and Ben Heath are all at their respective tables. Steve O'Dwyer is being handed his seat assignment. And Orpen Kisacikoglu is entering the tournament room in time for the start of Level 1. --MH


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Orpen is now here

12:30pm: Time to play
Level 1 - Blinds: 500/1,000 (ante 100)

Eleven tables have been set up in the upstairs tournament room awaiting the deluge of players with fat wallets. They get 250,000 starting chips for their €50,000. Blinds begin at 500/1,000 with a 100 ante. And cards will be tossed in the air any moment. --HS

12pm: Thirty minutes to lift off

Good afternoon all and welcome to Barcelona for the start of our coverage of the PokerStars Championship.

The festival here in Barcelona is already in full swing, but the big boys are now in town to play the €50,000 Super High Roller event, which gets started at 12:30pm at Casino Barcelona.

This is always one of the most popular events on the global poker calendar and it is certain to be packed. Cards will be in the air at 12:30pm local time, and they'll continue to filter to the tables throughout the eight one-hour levels scheduled for the day.

Registration is open until the start of Day 2, but there's going to be a lot of poker to be played today. There's plenty of anticipation in the air. This event always delivered. Stick with us: we're the only English-language live coverage outlet for this one.

It's exclusive!

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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 in Barcelona and all other Festival and Championship events.

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

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

Live reporting team
@PokerStars in Barcelona