PokerStars Championship Barcelona: €50K Super High Roller final table updates

Team PokerStars Pro Igor Kurganov wins Super High Roller for €1,084,100
• Bartlomiej Machon finishes second for €858,700
• Koray Aldemir, Dietrich Fast, Ivan Luca, Christopher Kruk, Bryn Kenney, Stanley Choi final table; Team PokerStars Pro Daniel Negreanu finishes ninth

6:45pm: Igor Kurganov wins Super High Roller (€1,084,100), Bartlomiej Machon runner-up (€858,700)
Level 24 - Blinds 80,000/120,000 (ante 20,000)

A two-hand sequence has brought the PokerStars Championship Barcelona Super High Roller to a fast, dramatic conclusion.

The first hand saw Igor Kurganov raise the button, Bartlomiej Machon call, then a flop come K♥8♠J♣. Machon led for 375,000, Kurganov raised to 1.3 million, and Machon called. The T♦ came on the turn and Machon checked, and Kurganov bet all in to put Machon to the test for his last 2.1 million or so. Machon deliberated for a while, then folded.

(We can reveal what Kurganov told Machon not too much later -- he had king-eight for two pair.)

Machon open-pushed his last chips on the next hand, and Kurganov had an easy call to make. That's because while Machon had Q♥J♥, Kurganov had Q♣Q♦.

The 3♥2♣4♠ flop was followed by the A♦, creating some chop outs for the all-in Machon. Then came the river... the T♦! It was over! Kurganov had won!

8G2A8133_PCBAR2017Igor_Kurganov_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Igor Kurganov - PSC Barcelona Super High Roller Champion

The pair shook hands and congratulated each other, with the talk including that aforementioned revelation about the penultimate hand. Then came more handshakes for Kurganov. Hugs, too, including one from Liv Boeree.

A full recap of today's exciting last day of play comes shortly. Thanks for following our coverage here -- hop over to the Main Event live updates where Day 1A is well underway. --MH

6:30pm: Kurganov flushes the bluff
Level 24 - Blinds 80,000/120,000 (ante 20,000)

There have been lots of small pre-flop pots so far in the heads up (open, jam fold; limp, raise, fold etc.)

But this one was quite significant. Kurganov made it 360,000 and Machon called to see the J♦K♠2♦ flop. Machon check-called a 250,000 c-bet, and that brought the K♥ turn. Both checked.

On the 5♦ river, Machon led out for (what I think was) 1.06 million, and Kurganov snap-called. Machon showed the Q♥7♦ for air, and that meant Kurganov's 9♦8♦ flush was best.

Machon is down to 5.3 million, while Kurganov has three times that. --JS

6:15pm: Here's the deal
Level 23 - Blinds 80,000/160,000 (ante 20,000)

A deal has been made before heads-up play begins. It's a little different from the norm, though not too complicated.

The payout schedule has €1,135,500 for first and €807,300 for second, meaning each player is guaranteed €807,300 at this point and they are playing for the €328,200 difference.

They divided that figure in half, setting aside €164,100 to go to the winner. How much more of the remaining €164,100 the winner will get has been determined by the difference in chips to start heads-up play -- 14.57 million for Igor Kurganov and 6.93 million for Bartlomiej Machon.

If Machon wins, Kurganov will get €112,700 more (on top of second-place money).

8G2A8146_PCBAR2017Bartlomiej_Machon_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Bartlomiej Machon

And if Kurganov wins, Machon will get €51,400 more.

NEIL9419_PCBAR2017Igor_Kurganov_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Igor Kurganov

In other words, here are the two possible scenarios:

Scenario 1 - Machon wins
1st: €1,022,800 for Machon
2nd: €920,000 for Kurganov

Scenario 2 - Kurganov wins
1st: €1,084,100 for Kurganov
2nd: €858,700 for Machon

Got it? All right, then. Let's play some cards. --MH

6pm: Koray Aldemir out in third (€528,500)
Level 23 - Blinds 80,000/160,000 (ante 20,000)

It's heads up time people!

I didn't really see this one coming, to be honest. Igor Kurganov made it 360,000 in the small blind, and Koray Aldemir jammed for around 4.5. million. Kurganov snap-called.

Aldemir: K♦Q♣
Kurganov: A♣Q♦

Aldemir was in bad shape, and couldn't improve on the 6♥9♦4♦9♣A♠ run out. The young German said his goodbyes and went off to the cage to collect more than half a million euros.

Meanwhile, Kurganov's fellow Team PokerStars Pro (and better half) Liv Boeree was jumping for joy on the rail before coming in for a hug. The two are taking a short break now, but I can tell you that 1. there won't be a deal at this stage, and 2: Kurganov has 14.57 million to Bartlomiej Machon's 6.93 million. --JS

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Bye Koray

5:55pm: Kurganov takes from Aldemir
Level 23 - Blinds 80,000/160,000 (ante 20,000)

Igor Kurganov immediately bounced back from losing the big pot to Bartlomiej Machon by earning a chunk back from Koray Aldemir. This ended up being a good spot for Kurganov as he might easily have been mistaken for a man on tilt. But he had the goods.

Aldemir opened the pot with a raise to 380,000 from the button. Kurganov called in the big blind. The flop brought the 5♠4♣9♠ and Kurganov checked. Aldemir bet 400,000 and Kurganov check-raised to 1.4 million.

Aldemir called.

The 5♥ turned, followed by two checks, then the 6♠ came on the river. Again this was followed by two checks--that river card completed everything--and Kurganov therefore couldn't quite get full value from his well disguised Q♠5♦.

That left Aldemir with 4.6 million to Kurganov's 9.6 million. -- HS

5:50pm: Machon over Kurganov, counts evening up
Level 23 - Blinds 80,000/160,000 (ante 20,000)

After seven relatively small hands -- four won by Bartlomiej Machon, two by Koray Aldemir, and one by Igor Kurganov -- Machon just won a handsome pot off of Kurganov without a showdown, and now suddenly all three players are relatively close in the counts.

The hand started with a Kurganov raise to 360,000 from the button, called by Machon from the big blind. Both checked the A♠3♥Q♦ flop, then Machon again checked after the 6♣ came on the turn. Kurganov bet 280,000, and Machon check-raised to 940,000. That gave Kurganov pause, but eventually he put in the call.

After the J♠ river, Machon used a time bank card before betting 1.675 million, and Kurganov had to use his last time bank card himself as he decided what to do.

"Reeeeally don't believe you," said Kurganov as he leaned forward, clearly hovering right on the line between calling and folding. Liv Boeree had joined the rail and was looking on from not too far away.

NEIL9500_PCBAR2017Igor_Kurganov_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Kurganov contemplates, Boeree observes

Finally Kurganov chose the latter, conceding the pot.

Kurganov still leads, but the gap has narrowed considerably. He has 7.8 million, Machon is now around 7 million himself, and Aldemir has 6.5 million. --MH

5:35pm: Aldemir the spectator
Level 23 - Blinds 80,000/160,000 (ante 20,000)

Koray Aldemir seems more than happy to sit back and let Igor Kurganov and Bartlomiej Machon battle each other.

They've been doing plenty of that these past few orbits.

First Kurganov opened the button to 360,000 and Machon defended the big to see the 7♦7♥5♦ flop. It checked to the 2♦ turn and Machon check-folded to a 420,000 bet.

Then Machon opened to 480,000 from his small blind and Kurganov defended. The flop came 7♥6♣3♥ and Machon opted not to c-bet, letting Kurganov in for a 340,000 bet. Call.

The turn was the 3♦ and it went check check, resulting in the 4♥ river. Both checked that one too, and Kurganov mucked when Machon showed his A♦J♦ for ace high.

Finally, Kurganov opened the button to 360,000 and Machon defended. The flop was the A♦9♠T♦ and Machon check-called 290,000, before check-calling 860,000 on the 4♦ turn.

The K♣ completed the board and both checked. Machon flipped over the 7♠9♦ for a a pair of nines and missed flush draw, and Kurganov's A♥8♣ for top pair was good.

He's up to 10.65 million , while Machon has 4.5 million and Aldemir 6.35 million. --JS

5:25pm: Let's play
Level 23 - Blinds 80,000/160,000 (ante 20,000)

It doesn't look like the remaining three are going to discuss a deal any time soon.

"You want to see the numbers?" asked the shortest stack, Bartlomiej Machon.

"Erm...No, I'd like to play," replied chip leader Kurganov. --JS

5:20pm: Both Aldemir and Machon take from Kurganov
Level 22 - Blinds 60,000/120,000 (ante 20,000)

The last two hands of Level 22 were both three-way pots, with leader Igor Kurganov losing a few chips to each of his opponents.

In the first Bartlomiej Machon raised to 260,000 from the button with both Kurganov (small blind) and Koray Aldemir (big blind) calling. All three checked the 2♠2♣6♥ flop, then after Kurganov checked the 4♦ turn Aldemir bet 380,000, Machon folded, and Kurganov called.

With the other half of the Team PokerStars Pro couple Liv Boeree having arrived to watch from the rail, the river was the J♦ and Kurganov checked. Aldemir bet 1.2 million, and after taking some time to think about it, Kurganov called. Aldemir showed J♣4♣ for runner-runner two pair, and Kurganov mucked.

The next hand started with a Kurganov button raise to 275,000 that was called by both blinds. This time the blinds checked to the raiser after the 5♦9♠2♦ flop and Kurganov bet 300,000. Both Aldemir and Machon called, then after the 6♦ turn they checked around again. Kurganov fired 1.2 million this time and Aldemir folded, but Machon pushed all in for 2.35 million total. Kurganov again tanked a bit, but on this occasion let his hand go.

Kurganov is still tops with about 10 million, Aldemir has about 6 million, and Machon has moved up over 5 million. --MH

5:10pm: Walking dead
Level 22 - Blinds 60,000/120,000 (ante 10,000)

A bit of confusion on the felt just led to an interesting situation, although it was resolved quickly and calmly.

Igor Kurganov had the button, and with the chip lead he opened to 275,000. Koray Aldemir gave up his hand and his small blind, and when it was on Bartlomiej Machon he slowly moved his hand towards the dealer with an expression suggesting he would have liked to play it.

Kurganov then tossed his cards into muck pile, just as the dealer asked Machon if his move was a fold. He said no, and that made Kurganov jolt out of his seat as he went to try and retrieve his hand.

The dealer explained to Machon that Kurganov had raised, as Machon had missed it.

"I thought it was a walk," he said, as he saw his big blind shipped to Kurganov.

Had this not played out as it did, perhaps we could have seen a decent pot, as Machon's reluctance to give up his hand and Kurganov's eagerness to retrieve his from the muck suggested they both had good hands. --JS

5pm: Dietrich Fast out in fourth (€406,790)
Level 22 - Blinds 60,000/120,000 (ante 20,000)

"I wanted the friendship, but I wanted the chips too," Igor Kurganov said to Dietrich Fast. It was effectively the offer of an olive branch after Kurganov had made Fast his latest victim on what seems to be an unstoppable march to this title.

Yes, they're down to three out there with Fast falling in fourth.

Kurganov opened to 260,000 as he has been doing on numerous occasions. Fast then moved all-in from the small blind for around 1.5 million. Kurganov snap-called.

Kurganov: J♦J♥
Fast: 2♣2♥

The sight of the bigger pocket pair prompted Fast to stand up and gather his things. Then when the flop brought a jack, it was even more unlikely that Fast was sticking around. He was drawing dead on the turn.

Kurganov then offered his hand and valedictory message. "You can't have it all," Fast said. "No friendship."


Kurganov will have to make do with 13.5 million. Fast takes €406,790 for fourth. -- HS

NEIL9430_PCBAR2017Dietrich_Fast_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Fast falls in fourth

4:55pm: One for Machon
Level 22 - Blinds 60,000/120,000 (ante 20,000)

Igor Kurganov finally lost a hand. It was a small one, though.

After opening for 260,000 from the cutoff seat, Kurganov watched Bartlomiej Machon call him from the big blind. Both players checked the Q♣K♥T♣ flop and 4♠ turn, then Machon checked again after the J♣ river completed the board.

Kurganov bet 260,000 again, and Machon called. Kurganov tabled 2♠2♥, but Machon had two pair with Q♠J♥ and won the pot.

Kurganov still has more than half the chips in play with 11.6 million, though, while Machon is around 2.4 million. --MH

4:45pm: Kurganov extends lead
Level 22 - Blinds 60,000/120,000 (ante 10,000)

The sole remaining Team PokerStars Pro has tightened his grip on this final table with this last pot.

Bartlomiej Machon limped the small blind, and then called when Kurganov bumped up the price of a flop to 420,000. That more-expensive flop came T♠5♥3♠ and Machon check-called a 300,000 c-bet.

On the T♥ turn things got interesting. Machon opted to lead out for 400,000, but Kurganov sensed something. He popped it up to 1.3 million, and Machon didn't take too long to call.

When the 2♥ river landed, completing any heart flush draws, Machon checked instantly. Kurganov checked it back and was relieved to see his A♥Q♠ was ahead of Machon's 9♠8♠ for a missed spade flush.

Machon is down to 2.3 million now, while Kurganov increases to 11.2 million. --JS

4:35pm: Speeding it up
Level 22 - Blinds 60,000/120,000 (ante 20,000)

Four players remain, but there's a feeling growing that this tournament is entering its final stages. It's going raise/fold or raise/shove a lot pre-flop and it seems any subtlety is gradually being eroded by the escalating blinds. I wouldn't be surprised if the next elimination brings out the tournament director's laptop and a peek at the numbers.

As it is, the players are beginning to speed up things a bit. Igor Kurganov just asked if they could take a quick two-minute toilet break despite there being a scheduled tournament interval in less than half an hour. All of Kurganov's opponents agreed that it was fine--and they went even further. They're abandoning tournament breaks entirely, instead just deciding to take the odd five minutes here and there as necessary. -- HS

4:25pm: Around it goes
Level 22 - Blinds 60,000/120,000 (ante 20,000)

You know that tournament reporting trick when the blogger brings you "an orbit with" this or that famous poker person? Well, they're four-handed now, so an "orbit" doesn't take too long. Let's spend an orbit with all four of our finalists -- Bartlomiej Machon, Dietrich Fast, Koray Aldemir, and Igor Kurganov.

In hand #1, Kurganov raised the button, Aldemir and Fast both called from the blinds, then those latter two checked to the raiser on a K♠T♣2♥ flop. Kurganov continued, and the others folded. (Ho-hum.)

In hand #2, Aldemir raised the button, Machon called from the big blind, then Machon check-folded on a king-high flop. (Meh.)


Mirror man: Koray Aldemir

Hand #3 saw Machon complete from the small blind, Kurganov raise to 370,000 from the big, and Machon call. They checked down the T♦K♥8♦ flop and K♦ turn, then Machon bet big on the Q♣ river -- 700,000. (Hey, this is something.) Kurganov thought about it, then folded. (Ah well.)

Finally came Hand #4, which required a second take after a rare misdeal. The final-draft version of the hand saw Kurganov limp, Aldemir call, checks on the 6♦7♠4♣ flop and J♥ turn, then a bet of 125,000 from Kurganov on the 7♦ river. Aldemir called, Kurganov showed 8♥6♥ for a flopped straight, and the latter won. (Wait... is that it?)

Kurganov still leads with 9.5 million, Aldemir has 4.8 million, Machon is at 4.5 million, and Fast has around 2.5 million. --MH

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The chips (and cards) go 'round and 'round

4:10pm: Machon rivers it
Level 22 - Blinds 60,000/120,000 (ante 10,000)

Bartlomiej Machon opened to 215,000 and Koray Aldemir made the call from the blinds. When the K♠9♦4♦ flop landed, Aldemir check-called a 135,000 c-bet before both checked the 3♦ turn.

The A♣ hit the river and now Aldemir led out for 160,000. However, Machon called it and tabled the A♥2♣ for a rivered top pair. Aldemir had the K♥T♦ and saw his kings had been pipped at the post. --JS

4pm: Fast double
Level 21 - Blinds 50,000/100,000 (ante 10,000)

It's the age-old secret to successful tournament poker: you can lose the small pots so long as you win the big ones. In back to back hands, Dietrich Fast proved the point: after losing some chips to Bartlomiej Machon, he then won them back, and more, from Koray Aldemir.

The first had began with an open to 200,000 from under the gun and a call from Fast in the big blind. They then both checked the 4♣J♥T♠ flop. Fast bet 290,000 on the 2♠ turn and Machon called. That took them to the 2♦ on the river.

They both checked that too, and Machon's K♠T♥ beat Fast's 9♥7♦.

Next hand: Aldemir opened this one with a raise to 225,000 on the button. Fast moved all-in from the small blind, for 1.435 million. Aldemir called and this was a race: Fast's A♠Q♣ was up against Aldemir's 7♦7♣.


Dietrich Fast: Sticking around

Igor Kurganov was certain that Fast would hit a queen, but he actually did it the hard way. The flop came 5♥2♠9♥, followed by the 4♦ on the turn. And then--bink!--the 3♦ river filled Fast's wheel and earned him the double.

He has around 3 million now, while Aldemir is at 5.3 million. -- HS

3:55pm: A few for Fast
Level 21 - Blinds 50,000/100,000 (ante 10,000)

Dietrich Fast raised to 225,000 from UTG, Aldmeir called from the BB, and the flop came K♠Q♦4♥ (uncannily similar to the flop reported just below). Aldemir led for 180,000 and Fast called, then both checked the A♥ turn.

The 7♠ completed the board, Aldemir checked, Fast bet 300,000, and Aldemir folded. Fast remains the short one with around 1.5 million, while Aldemir is on 6.8 million. Kurganov still leads with 8.6 million, and Machon has 4.85 million. --MH

3:50pm: Machon over Aldemir
Level 21 - Blinds 50,000/100,000 (ante 10,000)

Koray Aldemir opened for 225,000 from the button, and Bartlomiej Machon defended his big blind with a call. Machon remained in defensive mode on the Q♣K♣4♦ flop, checking and then calling Aldemir's 300,000 bet. Both then checked down the 7♥ turn and 3♦ river.

Machon tabled 6♥4♥ for fours, but Aldemir's 9♠7♠ made sevens and a better pair. Machon has about 4.9 million, Aldemir a bit more than 7 million. --MH

3:40pm: Ivan Luca out in fifth (€322,100)
Level 21 - Blinds 50,000/100,000 (ante 10,000)

Just four remain, each now guaranteed €406,790.

Ivan Luca is the latest to fall. First he lost a pot to Igor Kurganov, which started when action folded to the Team Pro on the small blind. He made it 275,000 and Luca called to see the 7♥A♦5♠ flop.

Kurganov continued for 150,000 and that got called, taking them to the J♦ turn. Both checked, and they'd do the same on the A♥ river. "Seven," announced Kurganov, and his 9♣7♦ was good as Luca mucked.

Two hands later and Luca open-jammed for 1.3 million. Koray Aldemir looked him up with the A♥T♥ and that was ahead of the Argentine's A♠9♣. The board ran out 8♦2♥Q♣6♣A♦ meaning Aldemir's kicker played, and that increases his stack to 6 million.

Luca said his goodbyes, and went to collect his €322,100. --JS

8G2A8159_PCBAR2017Ivan_Luca_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Luca falls

3:35pm: Christopher Kruk out in sixth (€251,900)
Level 21 - Blinds 50,000/100,000 (ante 10,000)

It was a fairly straightforward final hand for Christopher Kruk: an open-shove from the button and a call from the chip leader with a better hand in the big blind.

Kruk's push was for 1.6 million and Igor Kurganov looked at his own hand and said, "Two picture cards." Kruk responded: "Exciting."

But Kurganov wasn't referring to his own hand. He was actually psychically predicting what he was up against. And he was right.

"Call," Kurganov said, and turned over his A♥5♥. Kruk had K♥Q♣. "I don't know how I knew it was two picture cards," Kurganov said.

"You should check that drink," Kruk said.

The dealer didn't delay and deposited the 6♠7♦9♣4♠A♣ on the felt, condemning Kruk to a sixth-placed finish and €251,900.

Kurganov has 8.15 million. -- HS

3:30pm: Machon takes cut from Kruk
Level 21 - Blinds 50,000/100,000 (ante 10,000)

Bartlomiej Machon opened from under the gun and Christopher Kruk defended his big blind with a call. The K♥J♠8♠ flop saw Kruk check-call a c-bet of 125,000 from Machon, then both checked the 4♥ flop.

The river was the 5♦, and Kruk fired 540,000. Machon called with A♠J♦ for jacks, and that was better than the busted straight draw Kruk had with T♦9♦.

Machon is right at 5 million now, while Kruk slips to 1.6 million. --MH

3:25pm: Fast keeps shoving, Kurganov keeps folding
Level 21 - Blinds 50,000/100,000 (ante 10,000)

Dietrich Fast has added a few chips to his stack after playing just two hands in two orbits, both of which were from the big blind.

In both cases, Igor Kurganov had raised from middle position before Fast three-bet shoved. Kurganov said he'd gotten closer to calling the second time, but resisted again.

Fast moves back up around 2 million, while Kurganov still leads with about 6.5 million. --MH

3:15pm: Playing poker
Level 21 - Blinds 50,000/100,000 (ante 10,000)

This short flurry of hand reports should give you an idea of how things are progressing at this stage:

Igor Kurganov opened to 225,000 from the cutoff and picked up two callers: Koray Aldemir in the small blind and Dietrich Fast in the big. After a low flop, 3♦5♦2♥, Kurganov responded to two checks with a 300,000 bet and won.

Igor Kurganov opened to 225,000 from the hijack and when it got round to Dietrich Fast in the small blind, he moved all-in for 1.365 million and got Kurganov to fold.

Koray Aldemir opened to 250,000 from the cutoff and Bartlomiej Machon three-bet to 925,000 from the big blind. Aldemir folded.

Dietrich Fast open shoved for 1.9 million and won.

The short version is that there are three players with the stacks to raise/fold and a couple who have no such luxury. -- HS

3:10pm: Kurganov senses weakness
Level 21 - Blinds 50,000/100,000 (ante 10,000)

Bartlomiej Machon came in for a 200,000 min-open in the cutoff and Igor Kurganov was on the button.

"How much do you play?" asked the Team Pro, referring to Machon's chip stack rather than the volume of sessions he puts in at the felt.

"Around 4.7," came the reply.

Kurganov then called. His reason? "That was a weak saying of the numbers," he joked.

The two saw an A♥8♠3♥ flop on which Machon continued for 200,000 again. Call.

The 9♥ hit the turn and this time Machon checked. Kurganov led out for 400,000, and that got a fold. --JS

2:30pm: Bryn Kenney out in seventh (€198,200)
Level 20 - Blinds 40,000/80,000 (ante 10,000)

We've all seen Bryn Kenney rise from a short stack to win a Super High Roller tournament...but not this time. Kenney is now on the rai, perishing at the hands of Christopher Kruk.

Kenney had 860,000 in his stack, including the 40,000 small blind and the 10,000 ante, when action folded to him. He shipped it in with only Kruk still sitting with cards.

Kruk took a peek, then called from a stack of about 2.6 million. Kenney's K♠7♦ was trailing Kruk's A♠2♥ and it never caught up.


Christopher Kruk accounts for Kenney

The board ran 5♥4♣9♦8♠5♣ and that was the end of that for Kenney, who finishes seventh for €198,200. Kruk has 3.3 million now. -- HS

2:25pm: Stanley Choi out in eighth (€154,900)
Level 20 - Blinds 40,000/80,000 (ante 10,000)

Igor Kurganov now has his second victim at this final table - Mr. Stanley Choi.

The Team Pro opened to 175,000 under the gun and got a call from Koray Aldemir, before it folded to Choi in the big blind. He jammed for 1.305 million, and after some thinking Kurganov tossed in a single chip indicating a call. Aldemir let his hand go.

Kurganov: A♣K♣
Choi: J♥J♣

NEIL9372_PCBAR2017Stanley_Choi_Igor_Kurganov_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Yelling match

The race heated up on the T♦A♥7♠ flop. "Jack!" yelled Choi. "QUEEN!" yelled Kurganov, louder.

It ran out 5♦ then 5♣ and the two shook hands and fist-pumped before Choi made his exit. Kurganov is up to 6 million now. --JS

NEIL9379_PCBAR2017Stanley_Choi_Igor_Kurganov_Neil Stoddart.jpg

No joy for Choi

2:15pm: 2017, baby. The year of Kenney?
Level 20 - Blinds 40,000/80,000 (ante 10,000)

With around $5 million in tournament winnings since January alone, you could say that 2017 is the year of Bryn Kenney. That good streak might continue here, as he just trebled up when he was way behind.

Igor Kurganov opened to 180,000 and was three-bet to 505,0000 by Koray Aldemir. Over to Kenney in the big blind, he called all in for his last 300,000, before Kurganov raised again to 1.48 million. That shook off Aldemir.

Kurganov: K♠K♣
Kenney: K♦T♠

Kenney was in very rough shape, but the Q♣9♣8♣ flop gave him hope. He'd need a jack that wasn't the J♣, and he hit the gin card with the J♠ on the turn to give him a straight. The river was the 7♥ and that was that.

Kenney started chuckling aloud to himself, before Christopher Kruk referenced his run-good. "2017 baby!"

"Yeah, it doesn't even surprise me!" replied Kenney.

He's up to 900,000 now, while Kurganov is still very healthy, picking up the side pot. --JS

2:10pm: "Time flies when you're having fun"
Level 20 - Blinds 40,000/80,000 (ante 10,000)

Koray Aldemir is enjoying himself at the final table of this "shot clock"-driven Super High Roller. Just now he was involved in another hand -- a blind-versus-blind one versus Ivan Luca on his right -- and like many hands in this event it ended well for Aldemir.

It started inconspicuously with Luca limping from the SB, Aldemir checking the BB, and the flop coming A♠K♠T♦. Luca led for 80,000 and Aldemir called, but Luca checked after the T♣ turn. Aldemir took that opening to bet 250,000, and Luca called.

The 4♥ river completed the board and Luca checked again. Aldemir took his time -- almost the full 30 seconds, in fact -- before bombing with a big 1.2 million bet.

Luca folded, then wondered a little about the "shot clock" having wound down to zero. It was explained to him how Aldemir had made his bet announcement just in the nick of time, and Luca nodded.

"Time flies when..." started Dietrich Fast, and Christopher Kruk helped complete the phrase. "When you're having fun,"

As noted, Aldemir is certainly having fun. He's at 5.3 million now, while Luca sits with 1.55 million. --MH

2pm: Aldemir continues to apply the pressure
Level 20 - Blinds 40,000/80,000 (ante 10,000)

Koray Aldemir's stellar performance continues here and he has just applied the pressure on Ivan Luca to pick up a pot.

It started with a raise to 180,000 from under the gun from Aldemir, which Luca called in the big blind. Luca checked the flop of K♠7♣4♣ but called Aldemir's 155,000 c-bet.

Both players checked the J♠ turn and then the 5♠ appeared on the river. Luca checked, Aldemir bet 650,000 and Luca let it go. -- HS

1:55pm: Daniel Negreanu eliminated in ninth (€117,700)
Level 19 - Blinds 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

Having lost that previous pot, Daniel Negreanu was soon among the action again.

Dietrich Fast open-jammed for 790,000, and it folded to Negreanu who moved all in over the top for 835,000. Nobody else called and the cards were flipped.

Negreanu: A♥K♠
Fast: 7♣7♠

The two were flipping with almost identical stacks, but Negreanu could find no help on the 9♦2♠5♣6♦J♥ runout.

With just 45,000 left and in the small blind the very next hand, Igor Kurganov opened, Negreanu was all in, and Bartlomiej Machon called the big blind.

The flop came down 9♣7♦J♥, Kurganov bet 80,000, and Machon folded.

Kurganov showed the Q♣J♦ for top pair, and Negreanu squeezed his cards and saw that he had a pair with his 7♠5♣. He had hope, but the A♦ turn and 3♥ river were no help.

"Good luck guys," Negreanu said as he left. "That's three for three Igor! Every final table!"

Kurganov explained that each time the two had got to a final together, he was always Negreanu's executioner. While Negreanu went to collect his money, Kurganov stacks up 4.55 million now. --JS

8G2A7983_PCBAR2017Daniel_Negreanu_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Ninth for Negreanu

1:45pm: Luca takes from Negreanu
Level 19 - Blinds 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

Daniel Negreanu opened for 135,000 from middle position and got two callers in Ivan Luca (button) and Dietrich Fast (big blind). A flop of 3♦3♣7♣ followed, earning a check from Fast, a continuation bet of 200,000 from Negreanu, a call from Luca, and a Fast fold (and it was fast, too).

After the 8♠ turn Negreanu checked and studied Luca as he thought a while and checked behind. The river was the 5♥ and Negreanu checked once more, his brow fully furrowed now.

Luca made things even more uncomfortable for the Team PokerStars Pro by betting 900,000 -- a little more than what Negreanu had left. After thinking through almost half a minute, Negreanu folded.

He keeps about 875,000, while Luca now has 1.95 million. --MH

1:40pm: Age is a state of mind
Level 19 - Blinds 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

It's a relaxed atmosphere at the Super High Roller final table, despite the high stakes. Igor Kurganov was just quizzing the table about their birth years. Daniel Negreanu confirmed his to be 1974. Stanley Choi -- the only other player at the table older than Negreanu -- was asked the same question, and he grinned before responding he was born in 1999.

The table chuckled at what will surely be one of the more transparent bluffs of the day. --MH

1:35pm: What do Katy Perry and bitcoin have in common?
Level 19 - Blinds 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

After winning the big pot from Christopher Kruk, Bartlomiej Machon went on a mini-tear, winning the next two hands too.

In the first of those, he three-bet jammed from the small blind after Daniel Negreanu opened his button to 135,000. Machon carefully examined the stacks to his left and right (Negreanu's and Stanley Choi's, respectively), then ripped it in. He got folds.

Then the next hand, Machon opened his button to 135,000 and the blinds folded.

As is customary at this high buy-in final tables, there's plenty of table talk. Igor Kurganov, Dietrich Fast and Negreanu are the most vocal, but everyone is chipping in. They were talking recently about who had the most Twitter followers--not in poker; that's clearly Negreanu, but in the real world. That's what led them down a path via Ariana Grande and Taylor Swift to Katy Perry. After a couple of minutes, Negreanu was able to drop the bomb: "I was in her music video," he said. "Waking up in Vegas."

He's right too, as this screenshot can attest.


They then moved on to the subject of cryptocurrency, a favourite conversation topic among poker players.

"You got any crypto, Bryn?" Negreanu asked of Bryn Kenney.

Kenney said that he had some bitcoin.

"How much is one bitcoin?" Negreanu said.

"Four K," Kenney said.

As they discussed how staggering the price was, Christopher Kruk chimed in. "You know the bad news?" Kruk said. "You don't even get a coin." -- HS

1:20pm: More for Machon
Level 19 - Blinds 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

It's been all Bartlomiej Machon so far at this final table. Late last night, when the final nine took their seats around the table, Dietrich Fast asked Machon: "Is this your first big final table?"

Machon nodded.

"Oooo shaky hands!" Fast joked. "Congratulations!"

You wouldn't guess it was though by his performance thus far. He just opened to 125,000 under the gun and it folded to Christopher Kruk in the small blind who called, as did Daniel Negreanu in the big blind.

The flop fell J♣2♠4♦ and it checked to Machon, who put out a 210,000 c-bet. Only Kruk matched it, so it went heads up to the turn.

That came the A♠ and Kruk checked again. Machon let his 30 seconds tick all the way down to zero before announcing "275", and that's what he made it. Again, Kruk called pretty quickly.

Finally the 2♦ completed the board, and putting a pair out there. Both checked and Kruk announced "queen jack" before showing the Q♠J♠. That was no good against Machon's K♠K♥.

Machon isn up to 4.2 million, while Kruk is playing 2.475 million. --JS

1:10pm: Machon takes chips from Choi
Level 19 - Blinds 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

For the second hand in a row, Stanley Choi opened for 130,000. The first time he won the blinds and antes, but the this time he was UTG and Bartlomiej Machon called from the big blind.

Both checked the 9♥Q♦9♦ flop. The 4♦ turn then earned a bet of 325,000 from Machon, called by Choi.

After the 2♠ river, Machon was betting again -- 650,000 this time -- and after a short think Choi released his hand.

Machon is up around 3.3 million now, while Choi has 1.55 million. --MH

1:05pm: Luca collecting blinds and antes
Level 19 - Blinds 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

Short stack Ivan Luca has picked up a few more chips with two more uncalled preflop all-ins -- one from the cutoff, then from the hijack. The Argentinian is now up close to 850,000. --MH

1pm: Two shoves, no calls
Level 19 - Blinds 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

These blinds are getting pretty big, and that's forced a couple of shoves in the past orbit. In back-to-back hands, Ivan Luca and Dietrich Fast were all-in: the first an open-shove from the small blind, which got a fold from Koray Aldemir; the second a three-bet jam from the big blind after Bartlomiej Machon opened to 125,000.

Machon also didn't call, so Luca is up to 600,000 and Fast has 1.1 million. -- HS

12:55pm: Prize chat
Level 19 - Blinds 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

In between a pot, the players started taking a closer look at the final nine payouts, displayed prominently on the tournament clock next to the table.

"The difference between second and third is very big," said Igor Kurganov. "But between first and second is small."

He's talking about €528,500 (third), €807,300 (second), and the €1,135,500 first place prize.

"That's what it would be like AFTER a deal!" joked Negreanu.

"Yeah, they should take €40K off of second and add it onto first," added Kurganov.

Who knows? Maybe we'll have the first nine-handed deal made before this level is out. --JS

12:50pm: Machonwards and upwards
Level 19 - Blinds 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

It's Bartlomiej Machon who has taken the first significant pot of this final table, at the expense of Christopher Kruk.

Kruk opened to 135,000 on the button and Machon defended his big blind, resulting in a flop of 9♥4♣6♠. Machon checked to the raiser, and Kruk made a c-bet of 130,000. But Machon had a plan; he check raised to 380,000, yet Kruk didn't budge.

On the J♠ turn, Machon continued to fire and bet 550,000. A little surprisingly, Kruk folded instantly, prompting a little glance from Daniel Negreanu in Kruk's direction. --JS

12:45pm: First hand, final day
Level 19 - Blinds 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

The final day of the PokerStars Championship Barcelona €50K Super High Roller has begun. Just prior the first hand being dealt, the two Team PokerStars Pros engaged in a little pregame talk, with Negreanu reminding Kurganov how when he and Liv Boeree won the $10K Tag Team event at the WSOP this summer, he'd knocked Negreanu and his team out in third.

The first hand then saw Kurganov opening for 135,000 from middle position, challenging Negreanu's big blind. When folded to Negreanu thought a moment, then folded.

"Would you have called with ten-nine of spades?" asked Negreanu. "You'd have been flipping," said Kurganov.

"Ten-nine of spades is not all that," Kurganov added with a grin.

Players noted how they were on a bubble of sorts to start play today -- ninth place pays €€117,700, while the player finishing eighth will get €154,900. Of course, there will be a pay jump after every knockout from here to the end, all of the way to that €1,135,500 first prize. --MH

12:40pm: Away they go
Level 19: Blinds: 30,000/60,000 (ante 5,000)

A few photos, a bit of chit-chat, and now they're off. --HS

NEIL9356_PCBAR2017Final_Nine_Neil Stoddart.jpg

The final nine

12 noon: Race to the champion

Good noon all and welcome back to Barcelona for the conclusion of the first flagship event of this PokerStars Championship festival. It's final table time in the €50,000 Super High Roller, and what a show we have in store.

Two Team PokerStars Pros entered this event and both are at the final table. There's Igor Kurganov, Russia's all-time money-list leader. And then there's Daniel Negreanu, who is not only Canada and North America's leader, he is the global leader in poker tournament winnings.

But guess what: Negreanu has never won a major tournament on a PokerStars sponsored tour. Is today the day?


Igor Kurganov and Daniel Negreanu: Team Pros gunning for the top prize

It is, as you might expect, a very tough field. It's headed by the young German Koray Aldemir who yesterday admitted he has modelled his game on Fedor Holz. Holz won this tournament last year. There's also the big-stacked Canadian Christopher Kruk, who has been crushing this tournament for days.

Bartlomiej Machon is playing his first Super High Roller event, but is clearly to the manor born. Then there's Dietrich Fast, Ivan Luca and Bryn Kenney, who are fixtures at the final tables of such events.

That leaves Stanley Choi. You might think the Hong Kong-based player is a wildcard, or an unknown quantity. But put his name into a poker database and look at his career live earnings. You'll soon learn.

We'll play from nine to a winner this afternoon and even. Stick with us for exclusive updates from the tournament floor. -- HS

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 and Howard Swains. Photography by Neil Stoddart.

Live reporting team
@PokerStars in Barcelona