PokerStars Championship Barcelona: Richardson bags the Day 3 lead

Bubbles, blow-ups and a bundle of bust-outs; what more could you ask for on Day 3 of this enormous Main Event?

The 287 players who returned to action at midday have been reduced to 70 more than 12 hours later. Enormous pots were plentiful. And the chip lead seemed to switch faster than you could say 'Benjamin Richardson', 'Tsugunari Toma' or 'Scott Wellenbach'.

All three of them tussled for the title of chip boss over the last two levels, but in the end it was Benjamin Richardson who topped the lot. He's bringing back 2.8 million, while Tsugunari Toma bagged 2.44 million, and Scott Wellenbach 2.03 million.

NEIL2707_PCBAR2017Benjamin_Richardson_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Richardson's the chip boss

Other big stacks and notables who will be joining Richardson on Day 4 tomorrow include Aleksandr Gofman (1.91 million), Patrick Leonard (1.75 million), the last remaining Team PokerStars Pro Andre Akkari (566,000), Nick Petrangelo (576,000), Albert Daher (1.38 million), Fred Volpe (597,000), and Usman Siddique (1.26 million).

Today the levels moved from 75 minutes to 90 minutes apiece. We got through six of them today - the equivalent of watching six football matches.

(Oh, and speaking of football, Gerard Piqué final tabled the €25,500 Single-Day High Roller today, finishing fifth for €129,350. We spoke with the Barcelona legend earlier - check out that interview here.)

Almost an entire 90-minute level was taken up by a bubble that just wouldn't burst, no matter how are we pricked it. Every all in resulted in a double up - or a bubble up, if you like.

Eventually though we found an elimination. With 57,000 in the middle and the board showing 4♠J♠J♦, Roi Pereira Conde committed his last 103,500 and Alexandros Papadopoulos called him. Conde showed T♠7♠ for a flush draw, but Papadopoulos had a better draw with A♠3♠. The 3♣ turn and K♠ river meant by the end both had flushes, but Conde's wasn't good enough to earn some money.

NEIL2404_PCBAR2017Roi_Pereira_Conde_Bubble_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Conde bubbles

After that though, all of the 247 players still playing were now guaranteed to be €8,740 richer. From there we lost the likes of Sam Greenwood (223rd - €9,400), Dario Sammartino (211th - €9,400), Thomas Muehloecker (198th - €9,400), Jonas Lauck (173rd - €10,270), and Mark Teltscher (110th - €13,380).

One-time chip leader Akin Tuna eventually got canned, as did the newest addition to PokerStars Team Pro Jeff Gross. His ace-king was outdrawn by ten-seven, which made a straight on the turn.

Blow up of the day belonged to Georges Hanna. He bluffed off a near-700,000 stack (which was heaps at the time) with the 8♦4♦ on a Q♠J♥J♠4♣9♦ board against Fred Volpe, who snap-called with his J♣9♣. To read that whole hand, scroll down to 5:45pm.

What else is there to tell you? Well, the key info is that we'll be back tomorrow at 12pm for six more 90-minute levels. The plan is to play down to 16 players, so that we'll be ready to find our final table on Saturday.

You can view all of the chip counts right here, and if you haven't already, have a scroll down and catch up on anything you might have missed.

Te veo mañana. --JS


• PLAYERS: 70 of 1,682
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12:35am: Done for the day
Level 20 - Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

Chips are now bagged. We'll be back with a wrap shortly. --JS

12:25am: Cimbolas looking to jump
Level 20 - Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

Matas Cimbolas looks like he's going to make it through, although right now he's in the bottom half of the chip counts. We discovered the Lithuanian's new hobby earlier this week (see photo); let's see if he can jump up the counts as well as he moved on that fly-board. --JS

NEIL7942_PCBAR2017StarsFun_Watersports_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Cimbolas fly-boarding this week

12:20am: Loeffler goes off for a drink
Level 20 - Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

Another short-stack has been claimed, with the field now reduced to 78 runners.

This time it was the turn of Kilan Loeffler to hit the rail, after he shipped his K♠J♦ in from early position. It was called by fellow German Jan-Eric Schwippert, who flipped over 7♦7♥.

The board ran out T♥Q♥2♠6♦5♥ to send the chips Schwippert's way.

"Enjoy your evening of drinking!" said Schwippert as Loeffler stepped away from the table.

"I will!" responded Loeffler before heading off to, one presumes, go drinking. --DJ

12:15am: Clashing pairs
Level 20 - Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

Five-bet all ins usually mean a decent pocket pair, a snap calling a five-bet all in usually means a better pocket pair.

That's exactly what happend this time.

Mesbah Guerfi started it off with a simple raise from the cutoff and then Arezki Belaidi made it 62,000 from the cutoff. Action folded back around to Guerfi and he reraised to 169,000. Action was on Belaidi and he did the old five-bet all in with K♦K♥.

Guerfi snap-called. Guerfi, of course, had pocket aces with A♠A♣.

The 4♠3♠T♣8♠J♦ board kept Guerfi in the lead and he doubled to about 1.6 million while Belaidi was left with 230,000. --AV

12:12am: Tables turned for Senk
Level 20 - Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

Not so long ago, Jakub Senk was the one clinging on for dear life, winning a number of short-stack double ups. But now he's the one taking speculative punts with king high in the bid to knock out other shorties.

It didn't work, at least not in this pot. Senk opened his button to 26,000 and Nuno Pereira shipped for 108,000 from the small blind. Senk paused for a moment, but then gave Pereira a spin.

Senk: K♥8♠
Pereira: A♥J♦

The flop brought an ace: A♦9♥6♠ to be complete. Then the T♦ turn and T♥ river ended it. That's a double for Pereira.

"We can't get rid of this guy," Yaron Malki said, pointing at Pereira. Senk allowed himself a smirk. That's exactly what they'd been saying about him on another table an hour or so ago.

Senk has 305,000 now. Pereira has 265,000. Malki, for the record, has 1.1 million. --HS

12:10am: Time is ticking
Level 20 - Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

There's only around 18 minutes left to play on the day before the bags are brought out. --JS

12:05am: To be able to fold is to survive
Level 20 - Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

Diogo Veiga just picked up pocket queens and survived a small all-in to get back to 280,000.

On the next hand it was Florian-Dimitrie Duta making it through a three-way all-in as well to get back to 310,000, a hand that saw David Docherty bust.

"I'm not back yet," grinned Duta afterwards. "I can fold some more hands, though." --MH

12:02am: Rolle rolls over a high-roller
Level 20 - Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

Juha Helppi has been eliminated from the Main Event.

The high-rolling Finish all-time money leader got his remaining 88,000 in with K♣T♥, and received a single call from Benjamin Rolle who held K♦Q♦.

It was looking good for Helppi when a ten landed on the flop, but Rolle hit a straight on the turn to send Helppi to the rail. --DJ

12am: Deceptive deuces
Level 20 - Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

Nuno Pereira Ascensao stack didn't really qualify as a stack. It wasn't even a handful of chips worth 16,000.

Pereira, of course, moved his four chips all-in from the hijack. Ricardo Graells then started thinking from the button. Kevin Stani was on the small blind and didn't notice that Graells was thinking.

Stani looked down at his stack and grabbed a big pile of big demonition chips and started moving them towards the bet line when the dealer stopped him. Action was still on Graells.

Graells knew that Stani was ready to play, but so was he. Graells moved all-in and then action went to Stani. For real this time. Stani thought. How strong was Graells? Apparently Stani thought he was too strong and folded instead.

As it turns out, Graells turned over 2♠2♥ and Stani shook his head. Pereira showed J♠T♥ floor the flip and hit both his hole cards on the J♥T♦4♦A♥6♣ board. Pereira chipped up to 65,000 while Graells slightly dipped to 250,000.

Players then discussed the play a bit. Some thought Graells made the right move while others thought it was too risky against Stani. --AV

11:55pm: Midjord meets Main Event end
Level 20 - Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

Up on the feature table just now, Hans Midjord of the Faroe Islands saw his Main Event run come to an end in 82nd place.

Midjord's tournament was surely more interesting than his last hand -- K♦2♦ versus the A♣A♦ of Ramon Miquel, with a runout of T♠3♦2♣J♥5♦ -- but that's the narrative prejudice of tournaments for you, unfairly highlighting the last scene over the many others that came before.

A nice epilogue, though, for Midjord who is at the cashier's desk readying to receive the €15,490 he's earned. --MH

11:50pm: Minten minted
Level 20 - Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

Nearly nine times out of ten I'm sitting here reporting that Juha Helppi has around 800,000 chips and that Niek Minten is out. But this is that one time. (One time? That's catchy. Someone should think about using that in poker.)

This hand began with a raise to 24,000 from Johnny Hansen under the gun. Helppi called from one seat to his left and then Ben Rolle also called on the button.

That's when Minten decided to have a stab from the big blind and jammed for 329,000. Hansen folded, but Helppi called. Rolle had seen enough.

On their backs, prospects were looking bleak for Minten's K♠Q♣ against Helppi's A♣A♥. But if the flop K♦6♠8♦ brought hope, the turn K♥ brought deliverance, and the river Q♠ was taking the piss.

Helppi was left with only 56,000 and a tournament in tatters. Minten is relatively minted with about 700,000. --HS

11:45pm: Toma storms into the co-lead
Level 20 - Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

It's one of the biggest pots we've seen today, and it's given us a runaway co-leader here on Day 3 of the Main Event.

We picked up action on the turn with already over 200,000 in the middle and two players in the pot.

Samuel Vousden had checked on the 4♥5♠7♠2♠ over to opponent Tsugunari Toma who led out for a big bet of 151,000.

After eventually making the call, the J♦ river landed on the felt. Vousden quickly checked over to Toma, who pulled out a big stack of green 25,000 before putting 175,000 in the middle.

Vousden recoiled.

"I don't know how I can fold this", he said.

"I have a straight" he confirmed looking over at Toma for a reaction.

"Can you beat a straight?" he probed further.

But Toma wasn't giving anything away. After a few moments further consideration, Vousden had made his decision. He threw in a single blue calling chip.

"YES!" exclaimed Toma, getting up out of his seat in celebration before even having seen Vousden's holding. He turned over T♠8♠ for the turned flush and scooped the giant pot before pumping both fists in the air.

It means the man from Japan is now sitting on a monster stack of around 2.2 million chips, tying him for the chip lead. --DJ

11:40pm: Senk's aces keep him involved
Level 20 - Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

You really can't sink Senk. We've said it before and we'll say it again. He just got his last 186,000 in the middle pre-flop and Erik Peters called him. This may have been raise, three-bet, jam, call. It may have been an open-push. The bottom line is that all the chips were in.

Senk: A♠A♥
Peters: A♣J♠

The flop brought outdraw potential. It came 8♥Q♣9♣. But the 2♠ turn and the 5♦ river kept Senk ahead.

He now sits with around 390,000. Peters remains with 290,000. --HS

11:37pm: Zeng zapped
Level 20 - Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

Players just keep on falling, aided by the big pairs and coolers.

Hugo Gomes raised from the hijack with A♠Q♥ and Shiguang Zeng looked down at Q♦Q♣ from the button. Definitely worth a reraise that hand.

Zeng made it 88,000 and Gomes moved all-in when action folded back to him. Zeng called and players tabled their hands. Zeng was hoping for a queen, but the 9♣7♦A♦2♠7♠ brought Gomes an ace instead.

Zeng hit the rail while Gomes chipped up to about 860,000. --AV

11:35pm: Can't sink Senk
Level 20 - Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

"You can't kill him," said Andrew Hedley.

Hedley was talking about Jakub Senk, who'd just doubled up after Hedley dealt him a heavy blow.

Hedley moved all-in for 266,000 from under the gun that hand and Senk rejammed for about 360,000 from the cutoff. The blinds got out of the way and let the two go at it.

Senk had a slightly larger stack, but a slightly smaller pair with 9♣9♠ to Hedley's T♦T♣. The 2♥8♥J♣K♦4♠ board did nothing to change that hierarchy and Hedley took down the pot. Hedley chipped up to about 600,000 while Senk was left with just about 90,000.

Senk then pushed those chips all in from early position a few hands later. Erik Peters called from the button and turned over Q♠Q♣ to Senk's A♦3♥. Things weren't looking good for Senk and a J♦K♥9♦ flop didn't help much. Then a Q♥ came on the turn to give Peters a set, but it also gave Senk a straight draw.

You know how this ends. River: T♠.

"You can't kill him," Hedley said. The table laughed and Senk lived to see another hand with about 200,000. --AV

11:30pm: Wellenbach completes the canning job on Tuna
Level 20 - Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

Scott Wellenbach is nothing if not thorough, and he has now finished the job he started a little while ago. Akin Tuna is now caught, slaughtered, cooked, shredded, soaked in brine, canned, despatched to a supermarket and shelved, waiting for some mayonnaise and a baked potato.

Tuna had only 112,000 left when he open-pushed from under the gun. A couple of seats around, Wellenbach got a count and called. Everyone else folded.

Wellenbach: A♦K♠
Tuna: A♠T♥

There was very little for Tuna to get excited about as the dealer put down the board of 7♠7♥9♦6♣2♠.

Tuna is now smelly health food. Wellenbach is our first player to trouble 2.2 million, re-taking the chip lead. --HS

11:25pm: Benjamin Richardson pushes ahead
Level 20 - Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

A little while ago (see below, 10:30pm) we noted how Benjamin Richardson had amassed a big stack, cruising past the 1 million-chip mark.

Richardson went relatively deep in the WSOP Main Event this year (finishing 135th) and has cashed in the Main Event in Barcelona in the past as well, finishing 97th in 2015.

The Aussie just won another pot to push his stack even higher, and now appears to have taken over the chip lead here during the day's final level with 1.84 million. --MH

11:20pm: Friberg busts Lunde, continues another Barcelona run
Level 20 - Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

Erik Friberg is in the field and doing well as the field winnows down to the last 10 tables. The Swedish pro who memorably made the WSOP Main Event final table in 2006 (finishing eighth) has a history of doing well here in Barcelona.

He actually cashed in the very first EPT Barcelona event way back in 2004. And he went relatively deep here again in last year's Main Event in Barcelona, finishing 41st.

Just now he opened for 30,000 from the hijack seat, watched the young Norwegian Martin Lunde reraise-push for his last 235,000 from the big blind, then after thinking it through Friberg called with 5♦5♣ and was racing against Lunde's A♦Q♠.

The board went 4♥9♣K♠7♠9♦, the fives held, and Lunde hit the rail. Friberg bumps up to just about 700,000 after that one. --MH

11:15pm: In all of Europe, the Scandis can't shake the reputation
Level 20 - Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

In the grand scheme of things, not much happened in this hand. But there was some good chit-chat, and what are we if not in the business of chit-chat?

Sebastian Sorensson, a PokerStars qualifier from Sweden, called from under the gun. That's where the suspicions started, with the very first action of the pot.

Lithuania's Matas Cimbolas then raised to 39,000 from the cutoff and Hungary's Tibor Nagygyorgy then called in the big blind. All of a sudden, we were spread right across Europe and to all regions of the keyboard.

Then Sorensson sprung a trap. Or so it seemed. He moved all-in for 256,000. Had Super System only just made it to Sweden? Or was this a bluff Doyle Brunson 1979 move?

Cimbolas was very suspicious. Sorensson burrowed deep into his Miami Dolphins scarf and didn't say a word, but even the very top of his head gave him away as an aggro Scandi. He has blond hair in a sort-of pony tail.

Cimbolas took a long time, during which you could clearly see he was desperate to call from a stack of 315,000. But eventually Cimbolas overcame his own instincts to fold.

That then left the same agonising decision with Nagygyorgy, and his stack of 650,000 could afford to take the hit. But he also came to the decision to lay it down, and the whole table breathed out together.

"Show one! Show one! Show one!" Cimbolas started to chant. "Show one! Show one! Show one!" It was like he was a galley master beating out a rhythm to his slaves.

"No way," Sorrensson said. He was unequivocal.

"I wanted to call you because you're Scandinavian," Cimbolas said. "Must be aggressive."

They all chuckled along to Cimbolas's tune. But it's Sorrenson who took this one, and Nagygyorgy who has the most chips. --HS

8G2A0351_PCBAR2017Matas_Cimbolas_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Cimbolas - thumbs up, chips down

11:10pm: Wanzi's nearing the front
Level 18 - Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

There's only one female runner left in the field, and after the last hand she's right up there with the chip leaders.

Online qualifier, Nadia Wanzi opened the action to 31,000 from middle position and was shoved on immediately by Javier de Vincente for his remaining 169,000.

Action was folded back round to Wanzi who gave a big smile. It caused Vincente to smile back, and before long both players were laughing.

"What are you doing to me man?" she asked after the laughter subsided - clearly deliberating over what to do.

"...or rather, what am I doing to you?" she clarified.

After a while she decided to make the call.

De Vicente flipped over Q♣A♥ which dominated Wanzi's K♠Q♠.

But in the end it didn't matter. The flop came 9♥T♦J♣ to give Nadia the straight and send the chips her way. As we reach the last level of the day, she sits on an impressive 1.68 million. --DJ

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Wanzi's comfortable

11pm: Cimbolas cancels Rouxel's run
Level 20 - Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

Julien Rouxel lasted a whole minute in Level 20. Rouxel was down to 129,000 and pushed it all-in with Q♣9♣.

Matas Cimbolas called with a dominating A♣9♦ and improved even more when he hit an ace on the river of a 3♣J♥6♦3♥A♥ board. Rouxel left the tournament in 90th place while Cimbolas chipped up to 330,000. --AV

10:55pm: Last level
Level 20 - Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

Just 90 minutes left on the day - enough for an entire football match.

Speaking of football, Gerard Piqué is currently on the final table of the €25,500 Single-Day High Roller. We spoke to him earlier, check out that interview here. --JS

10:35pm: Last break

Take a 20-minute breather and join us back here around 10:55pm for one more level. --JS

10:34pm: Nagygyorgy shows the bluffy-wuffy
Level 19 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

There were 215,000 chips in the middle and after barrelling on every street, Tibor Nagygyorgy fired a third bullet on the river for 150,000.

The board read T♦9♥8♥8♦5♥.

And it looked scary.

The only other opponent in the pot was Alex Difelice, who had calling chips laid out in front of him. After much deliberation however, and with time going on into the break, he decided to retract the chips and throw his hand in the muck.

"Wow" said Nagygyorgy with some relief, before flipping over A♠4♠ for the stone cold bluff. Ballsy. --DJ

10:32pm: Wellenbach nets Tuna to take chip lead
Level 19 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

NEIL2530_PCBAR2017Scott_Wellenbach_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Wellenbach's the new chip boss

Scott Wellenbach, the scholar of Buddhism we first encountered two days ago when he was in conversation with Moritz Dietrich, is not only still in this event long after Dietrich has departed, but he is now the tournament chip leader with 1.7 million.

He just won an enormous pot from Akin Tuna, leaving Tuna with only 380,000.

Wellenbach projects exactly the kind of calm at the tables you would expect for someone with his extra-curricular interests, and this hand began as he was in conversation with Pim Kuipers as to a potential shared heritage. Kuipers wanted to know if Wellenbach's family had any Dutch history, but Wellenbach said he knew it was just Austria and Hungary, and none further north.

As this conversation was just expanding, Tuna made a raise to 27,000 from the hijack and Wellenbach was the only caller on the button. Wellenbach already had about 1 million at the start of the hand, but his stack was going to get bigger.

The flop fell J♠5♣2♠ and Tuna bet 37,000. Wellenbach called. Then the turn was the 5♥ and Tuna bet 65,000. Wellenbach called.

The river was the 4♥ and Tuna again bet, this time 115,000. Wellenbach then said quietly to the dealer (he's in Seat 1) "Three hundred." He then put out the chips to match.

Tuna thought long and hard about this, seeming incredibly perplexed. But then he called and Wellenbach turned over 9♦5♦, getting a muck from Tuna.

As he stacked his chips, Wellenbach's hands were shaking slightly--a sign perhaps that the thrill of taking the chip lead in a tournament like this can slightly disturb even the most serene inner calm.

A little after that hand, my colleague Martin Harris was passing by the table and overheard what sounded like discussion of the upcoming payouts -- with 91 players left, the next 20 spots all pay the same €15,490. The relative meaning of money came up, and Wellenbach sounded as though he meant to indicate that yes, indeed, he was keeping an eye on the remaining payout schedule.

"I have a job," he said, then stopped to amend his statement. "Sorry... I don't mean to say you guys don't have a job." The table all laughed in response. "I mean I have a job that pays a salary," he continued. --HS

10:30pm: Making mountains
Level 19 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

Pots get big quick and a few streets of betting quickly turns into a mini mountain of chips in the middle of the table.

One such pile went to Benjamin Richardson, who took a big pot off Rosen Angelov. Richardson opened to 23,000 from the cutoff that hand and Angelov called from the button.

The flop came 2♦A♣T♥ and Richardson bet 32,000. Angelov raised to 72,000 and Richardson quickly called. A 2♣ came on the turn and Richardson went for the check. Angelov upped the bet to 124,000 and Richardson thought for a bit and then called.

Richardson checked and this time Angelov checked behind. Richardson showed A♦8♣ for a pair of aces and Angelov mucked. The large pot put Richardson up to 1.1 million while Angelov dipped to 800,000. --AV

10:25pm: Battle of the Germans
Level 19 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

It was a battle of the Germans a few moments ago over at the far end of the Poker room.

After an open in middle position to 23,000, and two calls behind, Kilian Loeffler squeezed it up to 83,000 from the big blind. It was folded all the way back around to Daniel Smiljkovic who flat called.

The flop was the J♥7♣2♦, and Smiljkovic checked as first to act. Sensing weakness, Loeffler continued the aggression he displayed pre-flop by leading out with a bet of 65,000.

After counting up his stack, Smiljkovic shoved. And Loeffler was stumped.

He picked up his stack, looked like he was about to shove before pausing for a few more moments and thinking the better of it. Eventually he folded and the near 200,000 chip pot went Smiljkovic's way. --DJ

10:20pm: Sergeev sunk
Level 19 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

Sergey Sergeev stared down at his chips. There were about 250,000 of them, in shallow stacks surrounding his always present Buddha figurine.

He might have been thinking about a hand from just a little while ago when he'd gotten all in with ace-ten versus ace-king and managed to survive with a chop. In this case he had A♥J♥, though no one else knew that just yet. He'd raised to 22,000 from middle position then watched Valentin Anghel shove over the top from the small blind, Anghel's stack outchipping Sergeev's by just a couple of big blinds.

At last Sergeev looked up, tossing a chip forward to indicate a call. Anghel turned over A♠K♦. "Again," Sergeev might have thought as he stood from his chair.

The 2♠7♠2♦ flop again presented chopportunities for Sergeev, but the 3♦ turn and 8♦ river were no help and he's out in what looks like 93rd place. Anghel has about 550,000 now. --MH

NEIL2490_PCBAR2017Sergey_Sergeev_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Sergeev and the buddha bow out

10:18pm: Prado doubles, Daher dips
Level 19 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

Martin Prado just doubled up and stayed alive, getting a frustrated Albert Daher to call a shove on the turn with a pair and a draw that didn't hit.

Those first four cards were the 3♥4♣J♦5♦ and there was about 100,000 in the middle. Prado, who had A♣J♠, clearly thought the board a bit too wet to allow any more free cards, so he shipped for 100,000 first to act.

Daher had 6♦6♣ and clearly knew he was behind when he slammed calling chips over the line. His draw was live too, of course, but the river bricked and Prado scooped.

That put Prado up to 310,000 while Daher is still huge with 965,000.

Daher had jumped back on the horse after an ultimately disappointing World Series Main Event, where he finished 544th despite having a big stack through the opening stages. Or should we say, back on the pony? No, horse is right. This ain't no dog and pony show. --HS

10:15pm: Krijn canned
Level 18 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

At one point, the madness should stop. Well, at least slow down. But right now there's still a symphony of dealers chirping "all in, call" and "seat open" all around the tournament area.

Blinds are big, lots of stacks are small and a guaranteed €15,490 now that we're down to 92 players makes the pain of busting a bit easier.

One of the more recent eliminations was that of Antonius Krijn, who moved all in with Q♦J♠ for about 140,000. Jussi Nevanlinna had a bit more chips and a much better hand with K♦K♠. Nevanlinna called of course.

The 3♠T♥2♣Q♣5♥ board gave Nevanlinna a pair of queens, but it wasn't enough. Krijn hit the rail while Nevanlinna chipped up to 380,000. --AV

10:12pm: Akkari increases
Level 19 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

Up on the feature table, Andre Akkari just eliminated his fellow countryman Alessandro Piekazewicz. Akkari enjoyed a big blind special, flopping two pair with his 6♣2♣ on a 6♥7♥2♠ flop. Piekazewicz held the 8♥8♦ for an overpair, but couldn't catch up on the 4♣ turn or J♥ river.

The Team Pro is up to 484,000 now. --JS

10:10pm: Toma doubles Veiga, still leads
Level 19 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

The rise of Tsugunari Toma to the top of the chip counts has the PokerStars Blog recalling having covered his deep run in the 2012 Asia Championship of Poker in Macau where he ultimately finished sixth. The Japanese player has continued to collect cashes regularly since then, including many more in Macau, on the European Poker Tour, and in the U.S.

Just now Toma suffered a small setback after open-pushing with K-T from the small blind to put Diogo Veiga of Portugal sitting in the big blind. Veiga woke up with A-Q though and called, and after a T♦4♦8♣Q♦3♣ runout Veiga doubled to about 330,000.

Toma is still doing fine, though, with 1.445 million -- still the leading stack with 95 players left. --MH

8G2A0493_PCBAR2017Tsugunari_Toma_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Toma gives it the thumbs up

10:05pm: Algarra triples; Cvach falls to the rubber elephant
Level 19 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

They continue to hit the rail here in Barcelona, although Giuliano Bendinelli had to make do with only one player being eliminated in a recent hand when there were good prospects for two to be sent home at once.

Three of them got it all-in pre-flop with Bendinelli's stack of around 500,000 covering those of Jan Cvach, who had about 200,000, and David Algarra, who had 121,000.

Bendinelli (which means "rubber elephant" in Italian, I'm pretty sure) had J♦J♣ and was ahead of Cvach's 9♠9♥ and Algarra's A♦K♠.

But this was a pretty good spot for Algarra, and it was the Spanish player left rejoicing when an ace hit the river on an otherwise dry board.

"Some profit?" Bendinelli enquired politely of the dealer. Yes, some profit. Algarra tripled up to around 380,000, but Bendinelli took the side pot. For Cvach, however, the day is done. --HS

10pm: Prokhorov eliminated
Level 19 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

It's official. We have less than 100 runners remaining in the Main Event.

One of the most recent to depart was Russian qualifier Maksim Prokhorov who piled in his remaining 180,000 chips under-the-gun. It was folded all the way around to Alex Difelice on the button, who was the sole caller.

Prokhorov turned over T♦T♥ and Difelice the K♥K♣. The board ran clean for Difelice to hold, and add the 180,000 to his now 1.3 million stack. --DJ

9:55pm: Three way madness
Level 19 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

Carlos Lopez moved all-in for 139,000 from under the gun and Alexandros Papadopoulos called from middle position. Then Rens Feenstra decided to re-raised all-in from the hijack. Action folded back around to Papadopoulos and he called.

Lopez: J♦T♦
Papadopoulos: A♣J♣
Feenstra: K♥K♣

Papadopoulos had both players covered, but Feenstra was in the lead with pocket kings. Then the 7♦J♦K♦ flop gave him a set. Lopez jumped into the lead with a flush when the Q♦ came on the turn, but then a 7♠ landed on the river to give Feenstra a full house.

Lopez hit the rail, Papadopoulos dipped to 190,000 and Feenstra more than doubled to 520,000. --AV

9:50pm: Keeping Hedley above water
Level 19 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

Andrew Hedley pushed his last 118,000 forward from the hijack seat and after it folded to Daniel Smiljkovic in the big blind Hedley waited it out while Smiljkovic weighed the pros and cons. The cogitating ultimately tipped in the calling direction for Smiljkovic who tabled Q♣T♦ while Hedley had A♥6♣.

The board came 7♦[10d]7♥K♥4♦ -- safe for Hedley. Afterwards Hedley told Smiljkovic he agreed with the call. "It was close," said Hedley, and Smiljkovic nodded in agreement.

Hedley now has 260,000 while Smiljkovic has 790,000. --MH

9:45pm: Gilbert gone
Level 19 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

Action had been folded to a short-stacked James Gilbert in the small blind who shoved blind-on-blind.

After placing his 140,000 chips in the middle, Mihails Morozovs looked down at his cards in the big-blind and let out a laugh. He leant back in his chair, knowing that he could be up against anything and that he had the kind of holding that he could either fold or go with depending on his mood.

After a short while he decided he was in the mood to give it a stab. He called before flipping over 4♣4♦, and Gilbert showed 8♥J♠. The board ran clean for Morozovs to scoop the lot, as an embarrassed Gilbert flipped his cards back over before quickly departing the poker room. --DJ

9:40pm: Va va Vousden
Level 19 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

You'd always, always, always rather be lucky than good, and although Samuel Vousden's decent batch of results on PokerStars tours suggests he's more than competent, he'll be the first to admit he got a blessings from the gods in this hand.

Diogo Veiga opened the pot with a raise to 22,000 from the button. Vousden then pushed from the big blind, for 298,000. Veiga snapped him off and was way ahead with Q♦Q♠ to Vousden's 2♠2♥.

Over to the dealer. He got started with a 6♦J♣3♦ flop. Fine. Next? The K♣. Okey-dokey. The river? 2♦.


Veiga punched the table in disgust and a smile crept across Vousden's visage. He then began counting up a stack of more than 600,000 while Veiga is going to have to rebuild from 180,000. --HS

9:35pm: Going well for Wellenbach
Level 19 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

Scott Wellenbach was chatting a little earlier during the pauses between hands on the bubble with last December's EPT Prague Main Event champion Jasper Meijer van Putten. The pair had played together earlier in the day but that table had busted, and they were touching base once again to wish each other luck going forward in this one.

Both made the cash, and Meijer lasted a while longer before busting in 160th. Meanwhile Wellenbach continues to persevere, and just now survived a postflop all-in versus Akin Tuna to earn a healthy boost to his count.

The board read 9♣7♦6♠, and while I can't tell you how exactly it happened the important part of the story is that Wellenbach was at risk with J♥J♣ (an overpair) versus Tuna's 8♣7♣ (a lesser pair, an open-ended straight draw, backdoor flush draw). The turn was a friendly J♠ for Wellenbach, and the 9♦ river improved him to a full house as he survived.

Both Tuna and Wellenbach have nearly identical stacks now of about 790,000. --MH

8G2A0390_PCBAR2017Akin_Tuna_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Chips to the Tuna of 790K

9:30pm: Wanzi winds up Fleur
Level 19 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

Nadia Wanzi has right around 1 million now after a hand in which she tormented Alexis Fleur - but drew back from a threat to haunt his dreams.

The pair had built a pot of around 200,000, button (Fleur) to Wanzi (big blind) by the time the river card was out. Those table positions widen ranges and that fits given what then happened.

The board read 6♦3♦5♦4♥Q♣ and Wanzi checked. Fleur bet 160,000 and Wanzi moved all-in. Wanzi had about 650,000 behind the line in her stack, while Fleur had an additional 530,000 after the bet. He was, in essence, facing a decision for his tournament life; they'd have needed a count to determine who had the covering stack.

After a minute or so of thought, Fleur began chatting. "I think I had the winning hand on the flop," Fleur said.

8G2A0461_PCBAR2017Alexis_Fleur_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Fleur fishes for info

Wanzi gave him some chat back, asking if that was still the case now.

"I think I have the winning hand now," Fleur said.

"Well then you'd call," Wanzi said. "Keep it simple...You didn't have it on the turn?"

This back and forth continued, before Fleur asked the age-old, "Show if I fold?"

Wanzi said: "I'll show you one. You can pick. I'll tell you the other one after. I don't want to keep you awake at night."

This was the deal they struck. Fleur folded, and Wanzi offered her cards to him. He picked one and saw the 6♠.

"I know what was the other one," he said.

With that, Wanzi moved into the seven-figures club, while Fleur has about half of that. Still plenty of time for both to continue building. --HS

9:25pm: A tale of two tens
Level 19 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

Tens are a robust pair. They're not the strongest, but they're strong enough to inspire confidence when you're a short stack looking to double up.

Carlos Lopez raised to 20,000 with T♦T♥ from the hijack and Gustavo Mastelotto re-raised to 55,000. Lopez called and the dealer fanned out a 4♠8♣2♠ flop. Lopez moved all-in for about 200,000 and Mastelotto called.

Lopez turned over his tens, but Mastelotto turned over a higher pair, Q♥Q♦.

A 3♥ came on the turn and then an A♣ on the river gave Mastelotto the victory. Lopez hit the rail while Mastelotto chipped up to 550,000.

Then, a table over, a different pair of pocket tens ended with a different result.

Alexander Gross moved all in for about 180,000 with A♠J♣ and David Docherty called with T♣T♦.

The board was a lowly 6♥6♠9♣2♣4♣ and pocket tens came out victorious. Gross was out and Docherty's stack grew to 580,000. --AV

9:15pm: Latorre scores a small double
Level 19 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

The table folded to Nuno Pereira Ascensao in the small blind. He eyed the stack of his neighbor to the left, Jose Latorre, and saw he had but 114,000 left after posting the big blind. Ascensao then raised all in, and Latorre called showing that he'd picked up A♦T♥.

Ascensao had 9♦7♠, and the 3♥5♥6♦ flop added a little extra excitement to the situation, not that Latorre enjoyed it. The A♥ turn was better for him, though, and the 5♦ river secured him the double to about 240,000. Ascensao now has 222,000. --MH

9:10pm: Baron busts
Level 19 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

Canadian Alexandru Baron made it all of the way to 11th place in the Main Event in Barcelona last year, He cashed again this time around, though a bit farther out as he was knocked out in the first hand back from the break.

Baron's all in with ace-king failed to work out for him versus the pocket eights of Hugo Gomes Andrade of Portugal, and so Baron falls just a little shy of the top 100 finishers this time around. --MH

9:05pm: Back to work
Level 19 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

Play has resumed. There'll be two more 90 minute levels before the bags are brought out. --JS

7:45pm: Dinner break

The remaining players have reached the end of the level and now have a 75-minute break to nourish themselves. There are 107 of them left, and the chip counts have been fully updated. Everything is going great for new leader Tsugunari Toma -- here's a look at the current top 10:

Tsugunari TomaJapanPokerStars qualifier1,640,000
Albert DaherLebanon 1,304,000
Fred VolpeBrazilPokerStars player1,300,000
Arezki BelaidiCanadaPokerStars qualifier1,200,000
Jonathan ProudfootUKPokerStars qualifier1,200,000
Patrick LeonardUK 1,159,000
Alex DifeliceCanadaPokerStars qualifier1,100,000
Akin TunaGermany 1,100,000
Brian Kaufman EspositoUruguayPokerStars qualifier1,000,000
Rosen AngelovBulgaria 950,000

See you back here on the other side. --MH

7:42pm: Bowker grabs a double
Level 18 - Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

Carlos Lopez open-jammed from the small blind, sending the big blind Kyle Bowker into the tank for a spell before he called to put his last 198,000 at risk.

Lopez had A♦9♠ and the preflop edge versus Bowker's K♠Q♣. But a runout of Q♠Q♥2♣J♥6♠ gave Bowker trips and renewed tourney life.

Bowker bumps up around 410,000, while Lopez slips to 135,000. --MH

7:40pm: Fleur takes all the chips from Chimkovitch
Level 18 - Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

Anthony Chimkovitch had to be glad to see he'd been dealt A♠K♥ given his short-stacked status. But had to be less so when he saw once his chips were in the middle he was up against Alexis Fleur's A♦A♣.

The J♦4♠Q♥ flop probably made Chimkovitch a degree or two better about things, given that it gave him a few extra outs with which to avoid elimination. But the 2♦ turn and 9♠ river ended those hopes and he's out. Put Fleur up to about 900,000 as the break nears. --MH

7.35pm: Akkari doubles
Level 18 - Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

Over on the feature table, Team PokerStars Pro Andre Akkari just secured a much needed double up.

It came when Mark Teltscher shoved over the top of Akkari's 18,000 open, and was called.

Akkari flipped over 6♦6♣, with Teltscher showed the A♥K♠ for a classic race.

The board ran 4♠J♦8♣3♠3♦ to ship 147,000 over to Akkari. The Brazillian is now back up to a decent 35 bigs as we approach the dinner break. -- DJ

PCBAR-2017-Monti-Andre Akkari-2734.jpg

Akkari holds

7:30pm: Nikolaev notches a double
Level 18 - Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

You have a sub-10 big blind stack. It folds around to the small blind who open-jams and has you covered. You look down at A♥J♦. That's what happened to Pavel Nikolaev just now. And he called to put his last 119,000 at risk.

Rens Feenstra had been the one jamming, and he had A♠2♦. The board came 4♥J♥5♣8♦Q♠, and now Nikolaev has a little more breathing room with about 250,000 while Feenstra is at 180,000. --MH

7:25pm: Everyone's all-in
Level 18 - Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

The jump in blinds between Level 17 and 18 is actually quite big.

Just half an hour ago the big-blind and ante cost 7,000. Now it's shot up to 9,000.

I guess that explains why we're hearing a lot of "All-in's" and "Call's" ringing around the section of the room where the Main Event is being held.

I heard about 3 "all-in's" shouted at once, but only had time to watch one. It came from Quentin Lecomte who'd shoved his remaining 156,000 with K♥J♠. It was called by Piotr Wroblewski who held J♣J♦.

The board ran clean to send the chips Wroblewski's way, and Lecomte to an early dinner. --DJ

7:22pm: Surefoot Proudfoot
Level 18 - Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

Juri Mereu is busto after sticking his last 115,000 in the middle with A♦J♣ and getting a call from Sebastian Ruiz Figueroa with A♦J♣. There was nought but blanks for Mereu a board of 9♦6♠6♦8♠6♥.

Over on a neighbouring table, it was a good deal more complex in a hand between Denmark's Johnny Hansen and Jonathan Proudfoot, with the latter making a call he can be very proud of.

Proudfoot opened the pot to 18,000 from UTG+1 and Hansen three-bet to 42,000 from next door. Proudfoot called, taking them to a flop of 6♦T♣7♣. Proudfoot checked, Hansen bet 42,000 and Proudfoot called.

They both checked the 9♥ turn and then Proudfoot also checked the 7♠ river. Hansen bet 77,000 and after a little while to think about it, Proudfoot called.

"Ace high," Hansen said.

Proudfoot turned over Q♣Q♥ and built his stack to 970,000 as a result. Hansen slips to 280,000. --HS

7:20pm: Latorre's kings get cracked
Level 18 - Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

Jose Latorre spent a large part of Day 2 in the lead, but now he's down to about 188,000.

Latorre found himself on the button with K♣K♦ and Hugo Gomes had just raised from early position with Q♥Q♣. It didn't take long for them to get it all in.

The 6♥3♠3♥ flop kept both players in their seats, but then a Q♦ came on the turn and Gomes jumped out of his chair and cheered. An A♥ came on the river to seal the double-up for Gomes, and he chipped up to 880,000 while Latorre dropped to 188,000. --AV

7:15pm: Nice catch for Cvach
Level 18 - Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

Jan Cvach just found a perfect spot for a double-up. Action folded to him in the cutoff and he jammed for his 149,000 stack with T♥T♠, and lucky for him Julien Perouse found 8♠8♦ in the small blind. Perouse isolated with a shove of his own before the two revealed their hands.

The board ran out 3♦9♠7♠J♠6♠ and while both made flushes, Cvach's was best. He's up to 305,000 now, while Perouse is down to 70,000. --JS

7:10pm: Rodriguez is busto
Level 18 - Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

Jose Calvo Rodriguez, who got lucky when his A♠6♠ cracked K♣K♠ on the direct money bubble earlier today, has now been eliminated.

Rodriguez got his remaining 16 bigs in pre-flop with K♣T♦. It was snap-called off by Arezki Belaidi who held A♠K♦. The board ran K♥5♥4♥4♦J♣, to send even more Belaidi's way. The Canadian is sitting on a stack of around 1.4 million chips -- easily enough to place him among the top 3 chip leaders. --DJ

7:05pm: Angelov over a million
Level 18 - Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

Rosen Angelov was laughing and raking in a giant pot.

After he was done smiling and piling, Angelov was left sitting with slightly more than 1 million chips.

The chips that pushed him came courtesy of Aymon Hata and a busted flush draw. The board on that hand read J♣5♣T♦K♦5♠ and Hata moved all in with Q♣4♣. Angelov called with A♠T♣ and was rewarded with a pot worth about 600,000 while Hata hit the rail. --AV

7:02pm: Must be the money
Level 18 - Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

As the field gets smaller and smaller, it becomes easier to pick out the notable faces left in the crowd. Nick Petrangelo stands out, because -- and correct me if I'm wrong -- none of our remaining players have won as much money in tournament poker as he has.

His resume boasts almost $9 million and counting, and you can now add a Barcelona Main Event cash to that amount, too.

Petrangelo just collected a few more chips, three-betting Panagiotis Matrakas's 20,000 open to 55,000 on the button and getting everyone to fold.

That brings Petrangelo up to 505,000. --JS

7pm: A new millionaire
Level 18 - Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

Juha Helppi is going about his business with characteristic silent efficiency. But the Finn just made a mis-step in a pot against Brian Kaufman Esposito, paying off a polarising river bet.

Helppi was in the hijack to Esposito's big blind and they had built a pot of around 110,000 by the time the dealer had laid down the 9♠6♠9♥3♥T♦ board.

Esposito led out for 150,000, all in the lime green 25,000-denomination chips. Helppi took a while to make his decision, but called and quickly mucked upon being shown the A♥9♦ in Esposito's hand.

Helppi still has 445,000 to work with, but Esposito is only a few thousand either side of 1 million. -- HS

6:55pm: Strong as Metaal
Level 18 - Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

No one could ever accuse Govert Metaal of lacking balls. He just went at a pot against Jan-Eric Schwippert, of Super High Roller fame, and Akin Tuna, who is wielding one of the biggest stacks in the room. It ended after some heavy duty flop betting, with Metaal out-muscling both of them.

PSC_Barcelona17-954_Govert Metaal.jpg

Pedal to the Metaal

Metaal opened his button, making it 18,000 to go and Tuna, sitting behind a stack of 1.25 million, called. Schwippert, with about 110,000, also called in the big blind.

They then saw a flop. I must confess, I saw the flop, too. But here's the really heroic thing about this hand report. I didn't write down the flop. My notebook is flop-less. Yet I'm publishing this hand report, anyway. That takes balls.

Whatever the flop was, both Tuna and Schwippert checked, but Metaal bet 26,000. Tuna then check-raised to 58,000, persuading Schwippert to fold, but taking it back round to Metaal. He then three-bet to 141,000.

Tuna thought long and hard about four-betting. He stared at Metaal, his neighbour, for a good couple of minutes. But then he pump-action folded, allowing Metaal to build his stack up to 570,000.

Tuna still has about 1.18 million.

(Note to self: write down flops.) --HS

6:50pm: Lebedev leaves
Level 18 - Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

Alexis Fleur raised to 18,000 from the hijack and Albert Daher called from cutoff. Sergey Lebedev was on the button and moved all-in for 175,000.

Action folded back around to Fleur and he called. No Daher though. Two players went to battle and it was an old-fashioned race.

Fleur showed A♠Q♦ and Lebedev tabled 6♠6♣. The A♥7♦2♥3♦K♥ board fell in Fleur's favor and he chipped up to 585,000 while Lebedev hit the rail. --AV

6:45pm: Revenge for Matrakas
Level 18 - Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

The last time I walked over to this table about half an hour ago, I saw Panagiotis Matrakas get rivered by Joni Johkimainen for a 200,000 pot. On a king-high board, his K-J had run into Johkimainen's K-2, with a deuce landing on the river to give Johkimainen two pair.

So this one was personal.

I arrived at the table to hear "all-in" announced, with Matrakas pushing his chips forward. And Johimainen had called.

The board read 9♣9♠8♠3♣J♥, and Matrakas threw over 6♦9♦ for a flopped set.

But it was no good against Matrakas' T♣5♦ for a rivered straight.

Sweet revenge.

Matrakas is now back up to 318,000 as we move deeper into Level 18. -- DJ

6:40pm: Good enough to shove
Level 18 - Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

Action folded to Alex Spencer on the button and he looked down at K♠7♥. With only 83,000 to his name, that looked good enough to jam with, and that's exactly what he did.

The only problem was that James Gilbert then re-shoved from the small blind. The big blind let his hand go, and Gilbert revealed his A♥9♥.

The 6♦6♥J♦2♦A♣ meant Gilbert won with two pair, bringing his stack up to 330,000. --JS

6:35pm: Belaidi flushes two out
Level 18 - Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

This hand had it all. Tension, drama, cracked aces and a three-way all in.

Klaus Pautrot moved all-in for 126,000 from under the gun and Arezki Belaidi called from early position. Action folded to Saar Wilf's button. He looked down for a moment and then moved all in for an extra 185,000.

The blinds got out of the way and Belaidi called.

Pautrot: K♠J♠
Belaidi: Q♦Q♥
Wilf: A♦A♠

It went from bad to worse for Wilf. The K♣7♥J♥ flop gave Pautrot two-pair, but Wilf was still in the lead for the side pot. Then a T♥ came on the turn to give Belaidi a flush draw and an 8♥ on the river completed it.

Belaidi took out two players with one flush and chipped up to 1.16 million. --AV

8G2A0378_PCBAR2017Saar_Wilf_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Wilf has been felted

6:30pm: Get 'em in
Level 18 - Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

It's pretty hilarious how often poker players come back from a break and immediately get all of their chips in the middle. It happens mostly, of course, during the opening levels of a new day, but it's also true after regular tournament breaks. Players come back to meagre stacks and think, "What the eff. Let's gamble."

Vladimir Lappo got his last 114,000 in pre-flop after action folded to him in the small blind. Correctly deducing he was facing an opponent whose range was "any two", Julien Rouxel looked down on K♠9♥ and called.

Rouxel was miles ahead of Lappo's 4♣9♣, but a board of 6♥7♦4♦4♠7♠ changed that. Lappo doubled to about 140,000, while Rouxel slips to 130,000.

A couple of tables away, Miltiadis Kyriakides jammed for his last small pile of chips with 4♠4♦ and, after being called by Romania's Gabriel Chiva with J♥J♦, barely hung around to even see if he could pull off the outdraw. Kyriakides was a good two metres from the table when the board completed 8♥2♣K♠K♣Q♦ and had to be called back in order to get a payout.

They came back with 149 players, but we'll be lucky if 120 make dinner. -- HS

6:25pm: Rise and Shine
Level 18 - Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

Ireland's Cathal Shine has just eliminated Tobias Peters courtesy of a gin turn card.

The two got their chips in pre-flop with Shine's A♥J♥ going up against Peters' Q♣9♣, and the 8♣9♠7♣ flop was music to Peters' ears. With top pair and the flush draw, he was in very good shape.

Until the T♠ turn. That gave Shine a straight and it would need to be a club or a jack on the end to improve Peters. Instead it came the 2♦ and Peters hit the rail.

Shine is up to 370,000 now. --JS

6:20pm: Minten keeps eliminatin'
Level 18 - Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

Every time I've been over to Niek Minten's table he's knocked someone out of the tournament.

This time he called off a 85,000 blind-on-blind shove from Martin Stausholm.

Martin held A♦9♣, and Minten the J♥T♥. The flop of 8♥2♣4♥ brought in a sweat for Stausholm, who was still safe with ace-high. But it was all over when the T♦ landed on the turn to send Stausholm to the rail. --DJ

6:15pm: Play resumes, Fred Volpe leads final 150
Level 18 - Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

They're back at it, and as promised before the break all of the counts of the remaining 149 players have been updated -- check them all over on the chip counts page.

Fred Volpe comes back to the lead -- and to towers of chips adding up to 1.5 million.

NEIL2459_PCBAR2017Frederico_Spilimbergo_Volpe_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Volpe vaults to top of counts

Here's the current top 10 to start Level 18, for those keeping score at home:

Fred VolpeBrazilPokerStars player1,500,000
Akin TunaGermany 1,268,000
Mauricio Salazar SanchezColombiaPokerStars qualifier1,170,000
Patrick LeonardUK 993,000
Dirk GerritseNetherlands 940,000
Aleksandr GofmanRussiaPokerStars player865,000
Nadia WanziNetherlandsPokerStars qualifier860,000
Tsugunari TomaJapanPokerStars qualifier825,000
Jonathan ProudfootUKPokerStars qualifier780,000
Arezki BelaidiCanadaPokerStars qualifier712,000

After this 90-minute level there will be a dinner break, then two more levels after that. --MH

Ready to embark on your own poker adventure? Sign up for PokerStars and begin your journey. Click here to get an account.

5:55pm: Break time

They've made it to the end of Level 17 and players are enjoying another break. Chip counts for every single one of them coming during this one -- including exactly how many red-hot Fred Volpe has -- so stick close. --MH

5:50pm: Volpe swipes another one
Level 17 - Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Fred Volpe had barely finished stacking up his chips after calling off Georges Hanna's massive bluff when he eliminated another player.

Sergio Alonso got it all in for 120,000 with A♣K♣ and Volpe called with T♦T♠. In normal circumstances this would be a flip, but Volpe's on a heater.

The board was a lowly 4♦2♦3♥4♥6♣ and pocket tens took it down. Volpe knocked out another player and extended his lead to 1.6 million.

"I feel like your luck should start coming counter-clockwise," the player on Volpe's right said. But for now, it's still on Volpe. --AV

5:45pm: Hanna blows up for almost 700K, gives Volpe the chip lead
Level 17 - Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

A huge pot just broke out which has seen Fred Volpe catapult up the chip counts courtesy of a full-blown blow up by Georges Hanna.

The hand started with an open from Hanna which Volpe called on the button, as did Dimitrios Michailidis in the big blind. They saw a Q♠J♠J♥ flop and it checked to Hanna, who continued for 25,000. Only Volpe called.

The turn was then the 4♣ and this time Hanna checked. Volpe led for 75,000, only for Hanna to raise it to 200,000. Volpe called.

The 9♦ completed the board and Hanna thought for a while before announcing all in for 445,000. Volpe snap-called.


Hanna smacked the table with full force in frustration as the realisation of what just happened sunk in. He'd bluffed off his big stack with the 8♦4♦, while Volpe made the call with the J♣9♣. Hanna couldn't believe it.

While he paced around visibly sick with himself, all his chips were shipped to Volpe, who now sits with a chip-leading stack of 1.4 million. Hanna hit the rail -- probably best to avoid him for a while. --JS

NEIL2447_PCBAR2017Frederico_Spilimbergo_Volpe_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Big stack for Volpe

5:35pm: Sorensson's not sorry
Level 17 - Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

After a raise to 13,000 from Asi Moshe in early position, Sebastian Sorensson threw a single 1,000 chip in the middle.


The dealer was confused. Moshe was confused. Heck, even Sorensson was confused.

After some discussion with the floor staff, Sorensson explained the chip was thrown in accidently (presumably with him assuming he hasn't put in his ante). He apologised for any confusion and play continued.

The confusion didn't seem to bother Aeragan Arunan directly to Sorensson's left, who raised it up to 51,000.

Action was folded back round to Sorensson who put his remaining 117,000 in the middle. And Arunan called.

Sorensson flipped over A♥A♦ and Arunan Q♣Q♦. The board ran clean to double up Sorensson and leave Arunan with just under 100,000. --DJ

5:30pm: Three-way all in
Level 17 - Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

David Algarra is a very happy man right now. The reason? He's got three times as many chips as he had a minute ago.

The hand started with an under-the-gun shove of 50,000 from Diego Valadares. Algarra then jammed over the top for 80,000, only for Erik Walfridsson to go all in too on the button for 146,000. The blinds folded and the cards were flipped.

Valadares: 8♥8♠
Algarra: T♠T♥
Walfridsson: A♣K♣

"Oh good, it's live!" said Walfridsson, as he saw any ace or king would suffice.

Instead the board ran out 3♦6♦9♥7♠4♦, keeping Algarra's tens in front. He let out a big cheer when the news hit home, and now sits with 240,000. Valadares was eliminated, and Walfridsson is down to 66,000. --JS

5:25pm: News from the field
Level 17 - Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

These days, everyone with a phone is a reporter.

TeamPokerStars Pro Andre Akkari remains among those still in contention for the PokerStars Championship Barcelona Main Event, as he reminded his followers just now:

As Akkari also reports, you can follow him and others up on the feature table on the PokerStarsLive stream right here.

PCBAR-2017-Monti-TV Set-1009.jpg

Poker on the main stage

Thanks for the update, AA. --MH

5:25pm: Wish fulfilment?
Level 17 - Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

There's a player in today's field using a small genie's lamp as a card protector. Imagine my glee upon learning his name is Aladin.

That's not a tall tale either. His name is Aladin Reskallah and he has a genie lamp as a card protector. And they say this game has no personalities anymore.

Anyway, he just gave that lamp a (metaphorical) rub when he pushed all-in over a raise and a call. Usman Siddique was the man who had raised, making it 14,000 from under the gun, then Kyle Bowker called on the button.

Reskallah jammed for 114,000 and Siddique had to try to figure out what he was wishing for: a call or a fold. Sitting with about 650,000, Siddique had the luxury of knowing that a mis-step wouldn't cost him too dearly. But he folded anyhow.

Bowker also folded and so Reskallah could stack about 130,000 alongside the lamp. How many of his three wishes has he used to get this far? --HS

5:20pm: 180 left
Level 17 - Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

They are down to 180 players now, with Dmitry Chop, Stefan Huber, Gavin O'Rourke, and Maria Lampropulos among the latest knockouts. Check the constantly updated payouts page to see who makes what. --MH

8G2A0376_PCBAR2017Maria_Lampropulos_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Maria Lampropulos

5:15pm: Champs share the blinds
Level 17 - Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Jasper Meijer Van Putten, who won the final event under the EPT branding, is still clinging on in this PokerStars Championship Main Event. He is seated today alongside Raffaele Sorrentino, who won the third tournament in this new world, in Monaco in May.

Sorrentino had the chance to eliminate Meijer Van Putten moments ago when the two saw a flop from the blinds. Sorrentino made a small raise small-to-big and Meijer Van Putten called out of a sub-100,000 stack.

They looked at the flop of 7♠9♣6♦ and Sorrentino's check provoked a shove, of about 60,000, from Meijer Van Putten. Sorrentino instantly folded.

Meijer Van Putten is short, but not out. Sorrentino is also not out. He has 520,000. --HS

5:10pm: Where's the value?
Level 17 - Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Not the biggest pot you're going to read about today, nor the most exciting. But it does show how two players with identical hands perceive things differently. And hey, that's quite interesting.

Rens Feenstra opened to 13,000 and got one caller: Philippe D'Auteuil in the small blind. They went to a T♣7♦9♠ flop, and both checked.

The dealer burned and turned the 7♣, pairing the board. D'Auteuil chose to lead out for 12,000, and Feenstra flatted.

Finally the A♦ landed on the river and D'Auteuil checked. Feenstra thought for a moment before checking it back, and instantly you could see D'Auteuil's disappointment.

The reason he was disappointed was he'd rivered top pair with his A♥Q♦ and he was hoping Feenstra was going to bet it.

Feenstra then flipped his hand over -- A♠Q♠. D'Auteuil looked shocked. Why didn't he bet to try and get value from his top pair? That's what I'm guessing D'Auteuil was thinking.

Anyway, they chopped it up and D'Auteuil has 520,000 while Feenstra has 180,000. --JS

5:05pm: Minten is minted
Level 17 - Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Is it a coincidence that Niek Minten has a pack of Smint's right next to his chipstack?

We don't know.

What we do know, is that he just eliminated Gerald Karlic a few moments ago.

We arrived to see Minten call Karlic's shove on a 3♣3♥5♥6♥ board.

Karlic flipped over the J♥J♦ for the over-pair, but Minten held the T♥9♥ for the turned flush. The river was the 5♦ -- a brick. Minten now sits on a stack of 364,000. --DJ

5pm: Straight beats a set
Level 17 - Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Mihai Manole, who finished fourth here in 2009 when the buy-in was €8,000, will have to make do with a more modest return this time out. He has just been eliminated in something like 170th place, making what you could probably label a "disgust call" to end his tournament.

The board was all the way to the river -- 4♣K♠5♠3♥7♥ -- and Manole had made some kind of bet. Ramon Miquel Munoz then moved all-in over the top, covering Manole. Manole knew the game was up, but figured he couldn't fold and tossed in a handful of chips that couldn't have amounted to much more than 50,000.

Manole showed his 5♦5♣ and nodded grimly when Munoz showed 6♣6♠. A straight beats a set. Manole is mullered. --HS

4:50pm: Carry on Carriere
Level 17 - Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

There were three false starts, then the real deal--assuming you consider the "real deal" to be a short-stack being knocked out of a poker tournament.

Almost simultaneously, on three different tables, Maria Lampropulos, Govert Metaal and two others (whose identities I don't know) were all-in. Lampropulos ended up chopping with ace-queen vs. ace-queen, Metaal got folds from his two opponents (his was a cold four-bet jam) and the other two both had ace-ten and chopped.

And then Philipp Lutkemeier got his last 63,000 in with 9♥8♥ and slammed into Xavier Carriere's J♥J♠. The board only made the best hand better. It came 2♠5♠6♠A♠2♥.

Carriere, who was chip-leader at the end of Day 1A, continues his strong tournament with 350,000. -- HS

4:45pm: Fast exit
Level 17 - Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Dietrich Fast has been eliminated from the Main Event. We didn't see the action, but we did see him making his way towards the €25,500 Single-Day High Roller. Expect to see him hop in that one soon. --JS

PCBAR-2017-Monti-Dietrich Fast-2833.jpg

Fast falls

4:40pm: She ain't showing
Level 17 - Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Nadia Wanzi is up to 690,000 now, so naturally she's pretty pleased. Just don't ask her to show her hand.

She'd checked an 8♦J♠T♥ flop over to Tibor Nagygyorgy and he made a 52,000 bet. Wanzi then moved all in with the biggest stack, meaning Nagygyorgy would have to call off his 187,000 he had behind.

He tanked for a while and eventually the clock was called. With around 10 seconds to go he reluctantly let his hand go.

"Show one," asked Aeragan Arunan.

"I'm not showing you anything!" she replied. --JS

8G2A0363_PCBAR2017_Neil Stoddart.jpg

What will you see if you ask to see Nadia's hand? Nada.

4:35pm: Back at it, less than 200 remain
Level 17 - Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

You read the headline. You know the score. Akin Tuna has been reeling in the chips, and is the only player with more than 1 million with 199 remaining.

Let's play some poker. --MH

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4:01pm: Break time

They're off on a 30-minute tournament break while the staff do a colour up.

4pm: Mandic down
Level 16 - Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Just before the end of the level, Goran Mandic was knocked out in a hand versus Ukraine's Mykhailo Hladilin.

Mandic's last hand was A♣2♣, behind which he committed on a 2♠J♦7♣ flop. Hladilin had a commanding K♣K♠, and after the Q♦ turn and 7♦ river Mandic headed to the exits ahead of everyone else about to go on break. Hladilin has 290,000 now. --MH

3:55pm: Big names falling
Level 16 - Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Here's an update of three of the more well-known players out in the field:

Adrian Mateos is down to 35,000, having just doubled up a player for more than 100,000.

Thomas Muehloecker is on 27,000, and from what we can tell has been nursing a short stack for a while.

Dario Sammartino is out. He came into the day with a 350,000 stack but has been eliminated by Jackson White. We didn't see the action but by the end Sammartino had the K♦Q♦ against White's 7♥7♠ and the 7♦J♣9♠6♦K♠ board meant White's set was good. He's up top 470,000 now. --JS


Dario Sammartino: Time to relax

3:50pm: Greenwood gone
Level 16 - Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Sam Greenwood has just been eliminated from the Main Event.

The Canadian got it all-in with 4♣4♦ for his remaining 112,000. The shove was re-isolated by Jordan Westmorland in the big-blind who held 9♠9♦.

"Well at least I made the pay-jump," Greenwood said, pointing at the board and getting out his chair (players are now guaranteed at least €9,400). The 9♣ landed on the board to seal Greenwood's fate, and send him to the rail. -- DJ

3:45pm: Who knows what Jonathan Proudfoot had?
Level 16 - Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Sounds like the title of a children's book. You know, like one of those little 32-pagers that asks the question over and over again with various animals of the forest taking turns speculating what the answer could be.

Lucky for you, I don't have a whole book to write here, just a summary of the end of a poker hand. The pot was a big one -- a big mess of chips adding up to more than 250,000, it appeared. Jonathan Proudfoot of the U.K. had set out a column of chips (kind of proudly, now that I think about it) as an all-in bet, and Mihai Manole of Romania had to think about it a long time, mulling our titular question over in his head as he did.

Finally he folded, showing his K♠K♦, preserving his 185,000 while Proudfoot chips way up to 525,000. What did Proudfoot have (asked Manole)?

Who knows? --MH

3:35pm: Tuna takes the lead
Level 16 - Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

This hand is a little odd, and we're still trying to process if all of this action is correct. But here's what we know of how Akin Tuna became the chip leader.

Jaromir Hanel opened pre-flop (with what he says was ace-queen) and Tuna and Rafael Bertani both called. The flop came 5♥2♥7♦, and it checked to Tuna who led out. Bertani mad the call, and Hanel folded his ace-queen.

The turn was then the A♦, and Tuna bet again when it checked to him. Bertani called.

Finally the river was the T♥ and Bertani decided to lead out for 85,000. Tuna then shoved for 220,000, and Bertani called off his entire stack.

"Good call," said Tuna, revealing he was bluffing.

Or was he? Tuna showed 6♦6♥, but shockingly that hand was actually good! Bertani had called off his tournament life with just 4♦4♠.

He hit the rail, while Tuna stacked up 980,000. We've since been informed that Tuna won another big pot, and is now up to 1.1 million. --JS

8G2A0370_PCBAR2017Akin_Tuna_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Akin makin' moves

3:30pm: Roth swatted down by Nikolaev
Level 16 - Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Unsurprisingly, a torrent of eliminations have followed the bubble's bursting. I'd be tempted to say they are dropping like flies, but then I'd stop and think about how flies never really drop now do they I mean they just fly around and sometimes land on your desk am I right I mean really what the heck is that all about anyway.

The most recent player to lose his stack is was Antal Roth of Hungary who got it all in behind Q♦Q♥ but unfortunately got a caller in Pavel Nikolaev who held A♠A♦. The K♠4♦2♣T♣A♣ runout added up to a much of nothing for Roth, and he finds himself the 230th-place finisher.

They're flying out of here, man. Like flies! --MH

3:20pm: They are in the money as Roi Pereira Conde last to fall outside cash
Level 16 - Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

It took some time, that that stubborn bubble has finally burst.

Gabriel Chiva had just survived his simultaneous all-in at a table across the room. I say "survived" but really, there wasn't much of a sweat going on over there. His chips went in on a K♦7♣7♦ flop versus Preben Stokkan, and went it came time for the reveal Chiva was so relaxed he couldn't look up from his phone right away, prompting his neighbour Sergey Sergeev to turn his cards over for him -- K♣K♠.

Stokkan had but K♥J♠, so that was a bit of an anticlimax.

The climax soon followed, though, at the table of Roi Pereira Conde. With 57,000 in the middle and the board showing 4♠J♠J♦, Conde had committed his last 103,500 and Alexandros Papadopoulos had called him. There was genuine suspense there, and it continued after Conde showed T♠7♠ for a flush draw, but Papadopoulos had a better draw with A♠3♠.


Roi Conde: Stone bubble

That meant Conde wanted to pair one of his hole cards, not make the flush. But the 3♣ turn didn't help and the K♠ river was no good for Conde either. He's the last man out without cashing, meaning the remaining 247 are all in the money. --MH

3:10pm: Just one away...
Level 16 - Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Three all-ins were announced at once with 249 left.

I caught the second one. It involved Diego Ventura and Diogo Veiga, with Ventura at risk. The board read A♣Q♠6♣ and the floor was called over for show down.

While waiting, Nick Petrangelo who was spectating at the table was probing for information.

"You have it?" he asked Veiga.

Veiga nodded.


He shook his head.

"Queens?! Holy shit"

He smiled and nodded before flipping over Q♣Q♦.


Diego Ventura: Out just before the bubble

Ventura grimaced when he saw it before showing K♦A♦. The K♠ turn gave Ventura outs, but the 4♦ bricked the river to send Ventura out in 248. And now we're just one away from the bubble bursting. --DJ

3:05pm: They made it!
Level 16 - Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

The bubble has now burst (updates incoming) and I'm happy to say that the two shorties we mentioned earlier both survived.

Markus Garberg is playing 7,500, while Kjell Ove Dyb has 7,000. --JS

Kjell Ove Dyb_bubble_survivors.jpg

Kjell Ove Dyb: Survivor!


Markus Garberg: Survivor!

3pm: Those most likely
Level 16 - Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Yep - we're still on the bubble with 249 remaining.

The two players most likely to bubble right now are Norway's Markus Garberg, who just folded his 5,000 big blind leaving himself with 11,000 behind.

And then there's another Norwegian, Kjell Ove Dyb, who has just 8,000 right now. --JS

2:50pm: A retrospective: Bubbles past
Level 16 - Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

They're still on the bubble. This venue has form in this respect. Take a trip down memory lane...

2:50pm: Yet another bubble up
Level 16 - Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

When will they end?

We broke through the crowd at to see the all-in triangle in front of Dirk Gerritse, and the decision on Usman Siddique. The board read 4♦7♣9♣A♥5♣.

With Gerritse having him covered and there being around 126,000 in the pot, it took Siddique some deliberation before eventually making the call.

He flipped over 5♠5♦ for a set, and Gerritse was forced to show his bluff of K♥J♦. It means Siddique bubbles-up to around 387,000. -- DJ

2:40pm: Bubble up, blinds up
Level 16 - Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Yet another double up on the bubble to tell you about. It's not very exciting though I'm afraid.

Philippe D'Auteuil was all-in for his last 22,500 on a 6♠T♥5♣ flop, and was called by Kyle Bowker. After a long wait the hands were flipped, and it was the Q♥Q♦ for D'Auteuil against Bowker's A♣J♠.

The turn came the K♦ and the river the 9♥, meaning the queens held up. Still 249 remaining.

After this hand the blinds officially went up. Level 16 begins! --JS

2:30pm: Still on the bubble
Level 15 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

What can I tell you, folks? We're still on the bubble. -- HS

2pm: Bubble-up frenzy: All the all-ins survive
Level 15 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

On the last hand of Level 15 with 249 players left -- two from the cash -- there were no fewer than four all-in-and-call situations. But all four of the at-risk players made it through to the next level.

In one it was Juan Tome Perez all in for his last 125,000 with A♠A♣ versus the 8♥8♣ of Carlos Lopez. Perez avoided the fate of Upeshka De Silva (see below) and his aces held through a 5♥T♣K♥Q♦5♣ board to enable him to keep his seat.

In the second one that was dealt there was already a pot built when Daniel Smiljkovic was all in with 78,500 on a 6♣A♥5♦A♣8♥ board versus Jordan Westmorland. When the showdown came Smiljkovic had A♠Q♠, better than Westmorland's K♠Q♥, and Smiljkovic survived.


Daniel Smiljkovic: Fist bump for the bubble up

Mikhails Morozovs was also all-in with A♠K♦ versus an opponent's pocket queens, and a king on the board helped him through. Then Jose Calvo Rodriguez was at risk with A♠6♠ against another's pocket kings, and an ace gave him continued tournament life.

Off to break then, all 249 players. When they return 247 will be cashing. --MH

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1:55pm: Upeshka out
Level 15 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

"I got the nuts," Upeshka De Siva told a spectator while he was waiting for his fate to be dealt.

Only 250 players were left and Ramon Miquel Munoz raised to 10,000 from middle position and De Silva re-raised to 53,000 from the hijack. Action folded back around to Munoz and he called.

Then came the waiting. The other hands played out, the other all in resulted in a double up and now it was De Silva and Munoz's turn.

"Do you have an ace?" De Silva asked. "Please have an ace."


Upeshka De Silva: It is not always coming seven

Munoz didn't. De Silva turned over his A♥A♦ and Munoz showed 9♥9♠. De Silva was smiling and laughing, but the T♠8♠9♦ flop crushed his cheeriness. Then the 6♠ on the turn brought it back.

"Seven!" De Silva shouted. "Seven!"

The river didn't oblige and brought a J♥ instead. De Silva was out in 250th place for a grand total of nothing and Munoz chipped up to 30,000. --AV

1:50pm: Another bubble up
Level 15 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Stefan Huber (not to be confused with Hubert "The Hube" Matuszewski) is our latest player to double up on the bubble.

The bubble up occurred when Huber's all in with the K♦K♣ was called by Yaron Zeev Malki with the A♥K♥. The flop came Q♥Q♠J♥, giving Malki a royal flush draw. But the 4♦ turn and 9♦ river changed nothing.

Huber now sits with 210,000, as everyone at his table told him "It's never easy!" --JS

1:45pm: In case you're not using the correct term...
Level 15 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

The poker dictionary reveals the following definition:

bubble-up [buhb- uh l uhp]-- n. (poker terminology): a player who doubles up when all-in on the bubble of a tournament.

It's coming in useful right about now. -- HS

1:30pm: Bubble up for Erik Peters
Level 15 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

We're still during the pre-bubble-slash-real-bubble period when every time there is an all-in-and-call situation play is halted so the cameras can get to the table to chronicle the result.

Thus after Asi Moshe shoved the river and after a long tank Erik Peters finally decided to call with the 40,500 he had left, the pair had to wait another minute or two before revealing their cards. Since they were sitting next to each other, they passed the time with some meaningful talk about what was about to occur.


Erik Peters, left, with the bubble-up

The board showed 3♣T♠4♠K♥5♣, and when Peters called he immediately leaned over and said, somewhat worryingly, "Ace-king?" Moshe shook his head, letting him know he had ace-ten. "King?" asked Moshe, and Peters confirmed he had one in his hand to match the one on the board.

They still hadn't shown their cards, though, which led Peters to think of another thing to worry about.

"If you didn't... that would be reeeally brutal," he said with a big grin, and Moshe smiled, too, at the thought of such a cruel pre-showdown needle.

But when the cards were finally tabled, they showed both were to be trusted -- Moshe had A♣T♣, Peters had K♠J♠, and the latter survives with about 150,000 while Moshe still has 275,000.

The bubble continues. --MH

1:25pm: Bad break for Badziakouski, out shy of cash
Level 15 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

During the first "two-hand-for-two-hand" sequence a few players off the bubble, Aleksey Ponakov raised then watched Mikita Badziakouski re-raise to 53,000, leaving about that much behind. Action back on Ponakov, he had just started to think about what to do when Badziakouski started talking.

"I really respect bubble," he said. "I will show my hand," he added by way of further confirmation that his three-bet wasn't performed lightly.


Mikita Badziakouski: Respects the bubble (pictured during Super High Roller)

Ponakov nodded then said he was all in, and Badziakouski called off the rest. Badziakouski did have a decent hand -- J♦J♣ -- but Ponakov had better with Q♦Q♥. The T♦K♠2♥ flop and A♦ turn had Badziakouski calling for a queen, but the river was the 6♦ and Badziakouski is out.

Ponakov has 320,000 now as they're one step closer to the cash. --MH

1:22pm: More missing the money
Level 15 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Joining Jeff Gross in falling agonising short of the money are these folk: Joni Jouhkimainen, Morten Klein, Moshe Refaelowitz, Durdy Babylov, Denys Shafikov, Ivan Gabrieli. Shafikov was chip leader going to the final two years ago, but he's out this time. -- HS


Joni Jouhkimainen: Falling short (pictured yesterday)

1:20pm: Gross gone
Level 15 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Now we know what Jeff Gross's range is on the bubble of a major event: ace-king.

A small swarm of cameras was buzzing around Gross as his stack slowly dwindled. When he was down to 18,000, Gross moved all-in from the cutoff and Christian Jeppsson called from the big blind. Gross turned over A♥K♥ and Jeppsson tabled...A♣K♠.

The 8♦2♣T♣ gave the possibility of a club flush draw, but a Q♦ on the turn guaranteed a chopped pot.


A series of ace-kings not good for Jeff Gross

Gross would live to see another ace-king.

Next time Gross was on the hijack he moved all in for about 12,000 with A♦K♣. Action folded around to Jakub Wojtas on the big blind and he called blind.

Wojtas turned over a weak-looking T♠7♣, but it suddenly became quite menacing for Gross when the flop came 5♥6♥9♠. Then an 8♠ came to give Wojtas a straight and Gross was eliminated from the tournament. --AV

1:15pm: I'll never get those ten minutes back
Level 15 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

In hindsight, I 100 percent completely regret the decision I made to begin watching and reporting on this hand. Life is short and precious, and I'll never get the time back.

It started with a 9,000 open from Dmitry Yurasov. That folded to Maria Lampropulos on the button who made it 22,000 to go, leaving herself 48,500 behind. Patrick Caveriviere then tanked for a couple of minutes, and finally a frustrated David Splettstoesser called the clock.

That sped Caveriviere up, but his action slowed the hand down. He put in 31,000, which prompted the floor over. The ruling was made that the minimum raise Caveriviere could make was to 35,000. So that's what he did, after a while.

Yurasov then folded quickly (God bless 'im), and the tanking began again. Lampropulos had just 13,000 to call, but only 48,500 behind. She tanked. She looked at the tournament screen and saw they were ten from the money. Then she tanked some more.

Eventually the clock was called on her too. And eventually, with just a couple of seconds remaining, she announced all-in.

"Can I get an exact count please?" asked Caveriviere. But after another minute or so he eventually let his hand go. Lampropulos is on 112,000 now.

Thanks for reading. You'll never get that time back. --JS

1:10pm: Seven off, two-hand-for-two-hand
Level 15 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Seven off the money here in Barcelona, tournament organisers have decided to do two-hand-for-two-hand. It's like hand-for-hand, but two of them. -- HS

1:05pm: De Silva wounded
Level 15 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Upeshka De Silva, who won a WSOP bracelet this summer, has just taken a big hit to his stack.

Following an early-position open to 10,000, De Silva three-bet to 27,500. It was then folded to Mihai Manole who cold four-bet to 67,000 with a little less than 50,000 behind.

Action was folded back round to De Silva who announced all-in. And it was snapped off by Manole.

"You have aces, right?" De Silva asked before Manole flipped over A♥A♠.

"Yep, felt like aces" confirmed De Silva as he showed K♥K♦.

"Fun," joked De Silva as the board ran clean to send 162,000 chips Manole's way. De Silva is now down to just 12,000 chips around 10 from the money. -- DJ

1pm: Still EGG-cellent for Toma
Level 15 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Look out side events, Andrius Bielskis, Adrian Veghinas, Abdelhakim Zoufri, Lauri Varonen, Hans Sybrandi, Lee Hon Cheong, Jorgen Schjetne, Boris Kolev, Per Hildebrand are heading your way. Their Main Event excursion is over. -- HS

12:55pm: Still EGG-cellent for Toma
Level 15 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Just below my colleague told you how "EGG" for the amiable Tsugunari Toma of Japan. Well, soon after those two hands Toma won another pot -- a bigger one -- to continue his good Day 3 start.

After opening to 10,000 from the button, Toma watched Luigi Serricchio re-raise-push for 128,000 from the small blind, and when folded back to Toma called. Serrichio had A♠Q♠ and Toma 7♦7♠, and Toma stood from his chair nervously sweating each street while asking for a seven, a seven, a seven....

The board rolled out 6♠8♣8♥, then 3♥, then 9♠, and Serrichio is out. Toma could finally breathe, and as he sat back down Mikita Badziakouski piped up from across the table.

"There was no seven," he said, and Toma and the table laughed.

As noted, everything is going great for Toma. He has 425,000. --MH

12:50pm: EGG for Toma
Level 15 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

We've got a saying here at the PokerStars Blog: "Everything's going great" or "EGG" for short. It's applied to players who keeps winning pots at will.

Well, everything's going great for Tsugunari Toma right now. The man from Japan came into the day with 311,500 but is already pushing towards the 400,000 mark.

First he opened and got three-bet to 23,000 by Macedonia's John Sarailis. Back to Toma, he four-bet to 61,000 and after a little tanking Sarailis made the fold.

"Deuce!" called Mikita Badziakouski, hoping Toma would show a duck for essentially a bluff. Toma smiled back but didn't show. "Nice hand," said Sarailis.

Then in the very next hand, Toma got a walk in the big blind. This time he did show the 2♦ but he had the A♥ to go with it. --JS

12:45pm: Sergeev distracted by Buddah
Level 15 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Sergey Sergeev took quite a while to stack his chips at the start of play today.

Play had kicked off, and he had managed to stack around half of them in a circle around his card protector -- a smiling Buddha -- but the rest of his chips lie in untidy piles all over the felt.

He didn't have time to finish arranging them before opening a hand in early position to 9,500. It received a call from the button and a defend in the big-blind. So concerned was Sergeev about arranging his chips meticulously around his beloved Buddah, he ended up opening the action out of turn on a board of 2♠K♥8♥.

"Whoops," he said after realising his mistake. Before he had time to pull back his 9,500 chips, however, he received a call from Martin Lunde to his left. It meant that the first to act player became the last to act, and he mucked with a little frustration.

When the 5♣ landed on the turn, Sergeev continued with a 17,000 lead. And it was called by Lunde.

Sergeev barrelled again on the A♦ river for an additional 27,000. And again, Lunde called.

"Nine high," said a smiling Sergeev. "You're good," he said to Lunde as he flipped K♣Q♥. -- DJ

12:40pm: Button to button and a bit more with Jeff Gross
Level 15 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Team PokerStars Pro Jeff Gross came into Day 3 short stacked with 29,000.

He was almost late for play, but sprinted from his hotel to the casino to make it in time. Gross took a seat at his new table and drew the button. Action folded to him and he decided to open with a bang and moved all-in.

The blinds folded though and Gross took down that hand.

There was a middle position raise to 8,000 the following hand and Gross thought for a bit when he looked at his cards. It wouldn't be two all-ins in a row though. Gross folded and then folded the next three hands fairly quickly as well.

Then Gross was on the big blind and Anthony Chimkovitch raised to 8,500 from under the gun. Action folded around to Gross and he thought. Then he shuffled and thought some more. That too, wasn't Gross's spot. He went for the fold instead.

That would be his go-to move for the next few hands as well. Aleksandr Gofman raised to 10,000 from the button when Gross was on the small blind and Gross folded that one too. Gofman got frisky again the next hand and Gross let that one go.

He folded the next three hands as he patiently waits to run his remaining 26,000 back up. --AV

PCBAR-2017-Monti-Jeff Gross-2804.jpg


12:35pm: Early departures
Level 15 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

It's adios within the opening level to: Aleksandr Ovechkin, Andrew Moreno, Jose Nunez, Georgios Sotiropoulos, Stephan Hirzel, Krzysztof Dulowski, Davide Suriano, Shawn Buchanan, Najib Kamand, Pedro Cabeca, Michal Rudnik, Roman Emelyanov, Alexander Gross, Steve Van Zadelhoff, Tatjana Zizic, Patrick Caveriviere.

12:30pm: Helppi helps self to Fernandez's stack
Level 15 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Jose Nunez looked down at T♠T♥ and open-raised his last 90,000 or so from middle position. Alas for Nunez, Juha Helppi saw he'd been dealt J♣J♦ a few seats over and decided to re-raise push. The board came 5♥A♦5♦8♦K♥, and Fernandez is out.

Helppi moves up to 415,000. --MH

12:25pm: Mateos at work
Level 15 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Adrian Mateos has had a pretty fast start to the day, but it's seen his chip stack dwindle.

First he opened to 9,000 in middle position and got one caller: Julien Perouse in the big blind. The flop came down Q♠4♣T♥, Perouse checked, and Mateos continued for 9,000 again. That got a fold. Easy game.

A couple of hands later and Mateos opened to 9,000 again, this time from the UTG+1 seat. Victor Ilyukhin made the call, as did Perouse and Rustam Hajiyev. They saw a 2♥T♥6♣ flop and Mateos continued for 17,000 when it checked to him. Only Ilyukhin called.

The turn was the 7♦ and that prompted Mateos to bet big. He made it 60,000, but Ilyukhin then shoved for 260,000 total. Mateos grimaced as he saw the bad news, and swiftly laid his hand down.

Mateos is on 150,000 now. --JS

12:20pm: Geshkenbein gets some from Fast
Level 15 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Vladimir Geshkenbein appeared to be in a bit of distress, caused by an action by Dietrich Fast sitting on his left. That's the way things appeared at first glance, anyway, but whether that was indeed the case is hard to say.

It was a blind-versus-blind situation, and only arriving after the flop I can only tell you the board read 2♠4♦5♥ and Geshkenbein had led for 12,000. Fast then raised to 48,000, which is what seemed to vex Geshkenbein.

"You don't have ace-three, right?" he asked. "Five-four or something?"

Despite such concern, Geshkenbein eyed Fast's remaining 42,000 and announced he was all-in, and Fast quickly folded. "Wow," said Geshkenbein, showing one card -- the 9♠ -- before collecting the pot. He's at 315,000 now. --MH

12:10pm: Caveriviere cut down, good start for Petrangelo
Level 15 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

There were 287 players to start today -- 40 off the cash. They are at least one knockout closer to the money after Hand #1, a pre-flop all-in encounter between Patrick Caveriviere and Nick Petrangelo.

Caveriviere open-pushed 48,500 from late position with A♦T♦ and Petrangelo went all in over the top from the small blind with J♠J♥. The flop fell J♣9♥9♣ to give Petrangelo a full house, then the 6♠ turn meant no river could help Caveriviere who exits shy of earning a payday.

Meanwhile, it's a nice start for Petrangelo who bumps up close to 130,000. --MH

12:05pm: Change to the schedule
Level 15 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

To nobody's surprise, tournament organisers have looked at the bumper field and changed today's schedule: we're actually now going to play six 90-minute levels, instead of the advertised five, and there will be a dinner break at the end of the fourth level of play. -- HS

12pm: Off they go
Level 15 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Let's burst this bubble shall we. -- HS

11:30am: Play starts at noon
Level 15 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Good afternoon and welcome to Barcelona for Day 3 of the €7 million guaranteed Main Event. We're in for a big one today as the remaining field battle their way into to the cash. With 247 paid and just 287 left, we're expecting the bubble to burst very shortly into play. A min-cash here is worth a tidy €8,740, but I'm sure most are setting their sights beyond that to the whopping €1.41 million first-place prize.

Play kicks off here at noon and we'll be playing a full day of five 90 minute levels--at least, there's a possibility of more--with a few short breaks wedged in too. As ever, our team will be out in the field bringing you the details of the bubble burst, as well as every sick beat, cunning bluff, mega pot, and the occasional fashion disaster to boot.

Stay tuned to see how it all pans out. -- DJ


Take a look at the official website of PokerStars LIVE, with tournament schedule, news, results and accommodation details for the PokerStars Championship 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 €5,000 Main Event: Stephen Bartley, Dan Jones, Alex Villegas, Jack Stanton, Howard Swains and Martin Harris. Photography by Neil Stoddart and Carlos Monti.

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Live reporting team
@PokerStars in Barcelona