PokerStars Championship Barcelona: Main Event Day 1B live updates

Click for the full wrap from Day 1B. All today's scintillating coverage (and some drab stuff too) is below:

12 midnight: That's it folks

That's the end of today's eight levels. A full wrap up of the day is incoming. As we thought, Jose Latorre is way in front. He has 243,800 which is more than a full starting stack more than his closest challenger, Vladimir Geshkenbein. Geshkenbein is signing for 200,000 even tonight.

Approximately 670 survived of the 1,229 who sat down. We'll confirm all this as soon as we know it.

11:55pm: Latorre hits nuts, felts Noubarian, takes lead
Level 8 - Blinds 400/800 (ante 100)

Just as the clock was ticking towards the time that the tournament staff pause it and nominate how many hands more we play before bagging, a huge pot played out between Jose Latorre and Malid Noubarian, which almost certainly sends Latorre into the tournament chip lead.

They played it out through flop, turn and river, when it all went in. And this is pretty gross for Noubarian. On a board of J♣4♣8♦7♣T♦ Noubarian had K♣T♣. But, yes, Latorre had A♣9♣ forthe nuts.

Noubarian had about 115,000 in his stack and he was covered by the 119,000 that Latorre had. That gives Latorre what looks to be the only stack in the room bigger than 200,000.

This will all be confirmed soon, but bagging is imminent. --HS

11:50pm: Late night double for Luca
Level 8 - Blinds 400/800 (ante 100)

Ivan Luca raised to 1,600 from middle position and Julien Sitbon three-bet to 3,700. Luca called and a 7♠T♣2♥ flop hit the felt. Bothplayers checked and a Q♣ came on the turn.

Sitbon bet 2,600 when checked to and then Luca claled. A 5♠ completed the board and Luca fire off a bet of 1,100. Sitbon paused for a second and thne moved all-in. Luca, who only had 9,800 behind, called all-in.

Sitbon showed 9♠6♥ for air and Luca showed a pair of queens with K♥Q♥. Luca doubled to 35,000 while Sitbon is still above average with 76,000. --AV

11:45pm: AA vs KK vs QQ
Level 8 - Blinds 400/800 (ante 100)

What was that hand in Poker Night in America the other day?

It was Daniel Negreanu who had QQ, Antonio Esfandiari with KK and Tom Dwan with the pocket rockets, right?

Well believe it or not, I've just witnessed the very same thing play out here on one of the far tables at the very end of Day 1B. After an open, 3-bet, four bet and shove 3-players had all their chips in the middle. Here's who had what:

Raul Van Boxtel: Q♦Q♥
Georgios Karakousis: K♣K♥
Michael Amato: A♣A♥

However unlike poker-night in America where Dwan scooped the whole lot, this one played out differently. The board ran out 8♦K♦6♠9♥9♠ to see the Kings of Karakousis come out on top. It puts the Greek man back up to over 60,000 and Boxtel and Amato down to just pennies. --DJ

11:35pm: Deyra done and dusted
Level 8 - Blinds 400/800 (ante 100)

French hotshot Ivan Deyra perished just as Day 1B entered its final half an hour. Deyra held fewer than 8,000 chips and pocket fours, but lost a race to Andre Ferreira Paulino's A♠K♣ on a board of 9♠T♦K♠8♦3♣.

I maintain that Deyra is going to have a major tournament victory sooner rather than later. It's just not going to be this one. --HS

11:30pm: Young eliminates Ygborn
Level 8 - Blinds 400/800 (ante 100)

Nestor Ygborn open-raised all in for his last 4,200 from early position and got one caller in Daniel Smiljkovic from a couple of seats over. It folded around to Rory Young in the big blind who sat for a moment, then put in a big reraise and Smiljkovic stepped aside.

Young had a hand worth reraising -- K♣K♦ -- and Ygborn already was out of his seat as he tabled his A♠2♥. The run out of Q♠7♦6♥5♣9♥ did nothing for Ygborn, and he shook hands with Young before departing.

Smiljkovic revealed he had folded ace-eight, then suggested Young might have slow played his cowboys.

"I could have," agreed Young. But he didn't. And he won.

Young has 78,000 now, while Smiljkovic has 60,000. --MH

11:25pm: Tonkaaap down then up
Level 8 - Blinds 400/800 (ante 100)

It was all going so well for Parker 'Tonkaaaap' Talbot when we checked in with him a few moments ago.

He'd ordered a glass of wine that was the size of a pint. He'd scooped a pot with a pair of Aces and a weak kicker. Life was looking grand.

Then, out of no-where, he was down to 17,000 with all his chips in the middle. And to make matters worse he found his A♠8♠ up against Marius Sebu's A♣J♦.

"We're going to need some help" he said when flipping over his cards.

And with that the, 5♠8♣4♦ hit the flop and the rest of the cards ran clean, to double Tonkaaaap back up.

"Help has been received." he confirmed as he stacked his new chips. Talbot is now back up to 28,000 and back in contention. --DJ

11:20pm: Anatski skimming some off Quoss
Level 8 - Blinds 400/800 (ante 100)

Fabian Quoss took a few hits courtesy of Ilya Anatski.

The first one was all preflop. Quoss started things off with a raise to 1,600 and Anatski fired back with a three-bet to 4,600. Quoss wasn't about to slow down though and he reraised to 13,500.

This gave Anatski some pause, but he then went for the five-bet all in. It was too much for Quoss and the German pro let his hand go.

The two players then clashed again a few hands later.

Anatski raised from under the gun that hand and Quoss called, bringing a Q♣5♥4♠ flop. Quoss check-called a bet of 2,700 and a 6♥ came on the turn. Quoss checked again and Anatski upped the bet to 6,600.

Quoss called and then checked one more time when the 9♣ completed the board. Anatski checked behind this time and showed A♦Q♥. Quoss mucked and dipped to 45,000 while Anatski chipped up to 115,000. --AV

11:15pm: Ivan Luca has a bad day now and then...
Level 8 - Blinds 400/800 (ante 100)

He may be a high rolling crusher of the highest calibre, but even Ivan Luca doesn't stampede his way through every tournament he plays.

He's been grinding for a good few hours now, having busted the €25K High Roller earlier today, but all he has to show for it is a stack of 11,000.

Still, he won €322,100 yesterday in the €50K Super High Roller, so swings and roundabouts. --JS

11:10pm: Day 1 goals
Level 8 - Blinds 400/800 (ante 100)

The gregarious Jeffrey Colpitts of Canada just survived an all-in to keep his seat here in the night's last level. His stack having gotten back up over 16,000 (close to 20,000, really), he addressed the table.

"Okay, fellas," he began with a grin. "My goal today was 20 big blinds... I think I'm back to that. I am going to go to sleep."

The table chuckled, knowing full well Colpitts was bluffing. Indeed, he's wide awake and talking through the next hand, too, keeping everyone alert for the final hour of the night. --MH

11:05pm: Engel of attack
Level 8 - Blinds 400/800 (ante 100)

There were two aces on the board. And two players seemingly very intrigued.

The board was A♣K♥A♦4♥J♠, there appeared to be about 40,000 (maybe more) in the middle, with some blue 5,000 chips scattered in there. And after a long tank Antonius Krijn of the Netherlands checked.

Ari Engel sat motionless for a few seconds, calculating in his head the exact amount he would bet, an amount that looked for all the world like it was for value and wanted a call -- 10,500.

ari_engel_psc_barcelona_day1b.jpg

Looking for a call: Ari Engel

Back to the tank for Krijn, who after showing such interest before had to let it go.

Krijn still has 66,000, while Engel has chipped to about 95,000. --MH

11pm: The Siddique technique
Level 7 - Blinds 300/600 (ante 100)

UKIPT6 London winner Usman Siddique has had a good day so far, having built his stack up to 86,000 heading into the final level of the day.

He took down a pot just now from Thomas Scholze that added some extra ammo to his arsenal. Scholze opened to 1,300 on the button, and Siddique defended his big blind. The dealer put out a Q♦T♠8♠ flop and it checked through.

The A♣ turn hit the felt and Siddique checked again. Scholze made a delayed c-bet of 1,400, only for Siddique to raise it up to 4,300. That was enough to get the job done, dropping Scholze to 35,000.

Siddique came close to winning a WSOP bracelet this summer when he finished fifth in the PLO Hi/Lo / Limit Omaha Hi/Lo split event for $39,565. --JS

10:50pm: Tonkaaaap orders pint of wine, scoops pot
Level 7 - Blinds 200/400 (ante 75)

If you order a glass of wine here at the Casino Barcelona, you may be in for a surprise.

Basically, they're ginormous.

Parker "Tonkaaaap" Talbot just ordered one, and had to practically grab the thing with both hands just to take the first sip. Satisfied having done so however, the Twitch-pro defended an open from Gianluca Speranza in the big blind.

Talbot led out on the 7♦K♠6♦ flop with a bet of 3,200. And Speranza called.

When the A♠ landed on the turn, Talbot continued to put on the pressure by leading out with a bet of 6,200.

"Can I see your stack?" Speranza asked, as Parker lifted up his hands to reveal around 26,000 behind. Having done the quick count, Speranza called.

When the Q♣ landed on the river, Talbot bet out an additional 7,500 chips. And Speranza once again called.

Talbot flipped over A♥8♥ and Speranza the A♦5♦, which was out-kicked. It means that Talbot now sits on a stack of just over 70,000 as we approach the final level of the day. #TeamAlwaysLucky --DJ

10:45pm: Van Nunes gearing up
Level 7 - Blinds 300/600 (ante 100)

English player Paul Vas Nunes is here in Barcelona after having made a deep run in the World Series of Poker Main Event last month, making it all of the way to Day 6 to finish 55th. He nearly saw his PokerStars Championship Barcelona Main Event run end much sooner, though managed to survive a big preflop all-in just now.

There had been a raise and call, then another call by the small blind on Van Nunes's right. He then pushed for 8,900, a move that solicited a reraise-push over the top from the original raiser that scattered the other two.

Van Nunes had A♠T♠ versus the other's pocket sevens, and a nice run out featuring an ace on the flop and running tens gave him a winning full house. He's close to 25,000 now after doubling plus adding all that dead money as well. --MH

10:40pm: Small balling with Akkari
Level 7 - Blinds 300/600 (ante 100)

Team PokerStars Pro Andre Akkari has come back from dinner relaxed. He's got his noise-cancelling headphones in, he's casually playing a few small pots and he's well above average with 80,000.

In one small victory, Akkari called a raise to 1,500 from the big blind. The flop came 3♠8♥7♦ and Akkari called another 1,500 bet. That was it for the betting though. Both players checked after the T♣ came on the turn and then checked again when the 8♠ came on the river.

Akkari turned over 4♣3♣ and it was good enough to take down the pot.

Then Akkari lost a bit a few hands later. There was about 3,000 in the pot and Ivan Zhechev checked from middle position. Akkari checked back from the cutoff and a 3♣ came on the turn. Zhechev bet 2,000 that time and Akkari called.

Both players then checked again on the river and Akkari took down the pot with Q♣T♣.

Then Akkari took down the next hand preflop. Janos Nemeth raised to 1,500 from middle position and then Akkari re-raised to 4,200 from the hijack. Action folded back around to Nemeth and he decided he wasn't going to mess with Akkari. Akkari took down that hand and then he won the next.

Akkari raised to 1,500 and Dennis Wilke called from the small blind. The flop came 2♥T♠4♣ and Akkari bet another 1,500. Wilke called and a Q♠ came on the turn. Akkari upped the bet to 3,100 that time and Wilke decided it wasn't worth it.

Akkari then smiled and quickly flashed his hole cards: A♣A♥.

Akkari is now up to about 80,000. --AV

10:35pm: Schuh snaps up a big one
Level 7 - Blinds 300/600 (ante 100)

Snapping. You do it with fingers, or to ankles. To dead twigs, pretzel sticks, a camera. Pencils. In weak moments, our self-control. Glow sticks. Rice Krispies, too, after adding milk.

And the nuts. You snap with the nuts.

That's what Michal Schuh of the Czech Republic just did. Norbert Berent had been the aggressor throughout the hand, betting every post-flop street while Schuh called. Then after Schuh bet the river, the board then showing 4♠J♣5♥K♦3♦, Berent pushed all-in.

And Schuh, having 7♦6♦, did what you would do, too. He snap-called.

Alas for Berent, he'd made a straight on the end, too, with A♠2♠. But it was the wrong end he made on the end, and he tumbles to 12,000.

After snapping up that one, Schuh is almost at 100,000. --MH

10:30pm: It's Jaksland, we're just living in it
Level 7 - Blinds 300/600 (ante 100)

Peter Jaksland has just been on the good side of a big flip to double up through Apostolos Bechrakis.

After John Mooney opened to 1,500 in the cutoff, Jaksland three-bet to 4,500 in the small blind, only for Bechrakis to then four-bet out of the big blind to 11,000.

Mooney made his excuses and left, but Jaksland had a tougher decision. He took his time and enjoyed his massage while coming to the decision that he should shove all-in. That's exactly what he did for his 37,600 stack and Bechrakis quickly called.

Jaksland: T♦T♣
Bechrakis: A♦K♠

Bechrakis couldn't find an ace or king on the 4♦J♦5♠J♣6♥ run out, bringing his stack down to 9,000. Jaksland however is sitting pretty with 77,500. --JS

10:25pm: Not a Freundly flop
Level 7 - Blinds 300/600 (ante 100)

Fernando Rodriguez Risueno opened from early position, then watched Alexander Freund push his short stack in from the button. The blinds folded and Risueno called, showing A♠K♦ while Freund had 9♦9♣.

It wasn't a good flop for Freund, coming 5♠K♠T♦ to give his opponent the better pair, and after the 7♥ turn and 8♦ river, Risueno won the pot and Freund was eliminated. We'll give Risueno 46,000.
--MH

10:20pm: Isildur1 eliminated
Level 7 - Blinds 200/400 (ante 75)

It's all over guys. Why are we even bothering to report anymore?

The man, the myth, the legend Victor "Isildur1" Blom has been eliminated from the Main Event.

We missed the hand but according to a table-mate, Blom got his remaining 14,000 in the middle holding [Ax][Qx]. Pre-flop it dominated Ionel Anton's [Ax][Jx]. But when a jack hit the flop, it was goodbye to Blom. -- DJ

10:15pm: A few more faces
Level 7 - Blinds 300/600 (ante 100)

Here's a look at some others in today's field:

galley_ana_marquez_barcelona.jpg

Ana Marquez

gallery_benny_spindler_barcelona.jpgBenny Spindler

gallery_robert_mizrachi_barcelona.jpgRobert Mizrachi

gallery_juicy_li_barcelona.jpgJuicy Li

gallery_martin_staszko_barcelona.jpgMartin Staszko

gallery_joni_joukhkimainen_barcelona.jpgJoni Joukhimainen

gallery_conan_moriaty_barcelona.jpgConan Moriaty

gallery_andrew_moreno_barcelona.jpgAndrew Moreno

gallery_elky_barcelona.jpgBertrand "ElkY" Grospellier

gallery_dmitry_chop_barcelona.jpgDmitry Chop


10:10pm: More, then less for Moorman
Level 7 - Blinds 300/600 (ante 100)

Chris Moorman was just involved in two big all-in hands in rapid succession. One went well for the all-time winningest online tournament poker star, the other not so much.

In the first Moorman raised the button to 1,300, Rodrigo Zimmermann re-raise-pushed for just over 12,000 from the big blind, and Moorman called. It was A♠J♠ for Moorman and A♦T♥ for Zimmermann, and after the board came 6♣J♦8♣5♠Q♣ Zimmmermann was out and Moorman had earned a boost to his stack.

chris_moorman_psc_barcelona_day1b.jpg

Up and down with Chris Moorman

That boost was soon taken away from him, though, versus another opponent who shoved a 4♦K♣6♣ flop with A♣9♣ for a flush draw and Moorman called with K♦J♥ for kings. A club on the turn gave the hand to his opponent, and Moorman is now down to 33,000. --MH

10:05pm: Stand up and be counted
Level 7 - Blinds 300/600 (ante 100)

Sebastian Malec, the defending champ, is currently sitting with 48,000. Because of that sighting, we went to check out how Adam Owen - the man who finished third the year Malec won - was getting on.

Owen is an online crusher as well as a great live player. In Vegas he finished third in the online WSOP high roller tournament for $136,231. Prior to that trip, he'd made eleven final tables during the Spring Championship of Online Poker under the name "adamyid" for a combined rough total of $160,000.

He's currently playing 76,000 in this Main Event, so he's making good Day 1 strides.

The same can't be said for PokerStars Championship Monte Carlo winner Raffaele Sorrentino, who currently sits with just 20,000. --JS

10:05pm: Lache KOs two, including Pagano
Level 7 - Blinds 300/600 (ante 100)

Three players saw a T♣5♥7♥ flop, and after some heavy action only two were left with Vlad Stefan Lache all-in and at risk as Ji Zhang had him covered. Lache had flopped a set with 7♦7♣ while Zhang was gunning for a flush with A♥4♥. The 3♣ turn and 9♠ river kept Lache in front, and he collected the pot while Zhang slipped to 30,000.

On the very next hand Lache was in another all-in spot versus the short-stacked Luca Pagano. Just like the previous hand it was ace-four against a pocket pair, as Pagano had A♠4♦ and Lache 5♣5♠. The fives held, and Pagano is out.

luca_pagano_psc_barcelona_day1b.jpg

Down and out: Luca Pagano

Put Lache at about 40,000 after those back-to-back KOs. --MH

10pm: Ramos dips
Level 7 - Blinds 300/600 (ante 100)

Panagiotis Matrakas raised to 1,500 from under the gun and Gary Hasson called from middle position.

Felipe Ramos was on the button and called as well. Quentin Lecomte was done with the callers though. Lecomte three-bet to 6,000 from the big blind and got a few folds. Ramos was the only caller and the two players went to the 6♣5♦J♥ flop.

Lecomte bet 5,000 and Ramos thought. A Q♣ came on the turn and Lecomte upped the bet to 10,500. Ramos went back into the tank and a few other players seemed to take interest in what Lecomte was up to. Matrakas, who folded earlier in the hand and is seated to Lecomte's left, started staring Lecomte down.

Other players looked at Ramos while he shuffled his chips and contemplated the call. Ramos wouldn't do it though. The Brazilian player folded wand was left with 34,000 after the hand. --AV

9:55pm: Zinno's paradox
Level 7 - Blinds 300/600 (ante 100)

Three-time WPT champion and WSOP bracelet holder Anthony Zinno is short-stacked, but persevering. Just now he open-shoved from the cutoff over a middle-position open, winning the raise amount plus some blinds and antes. He's still at 12,000, though, meaning even a double-up won't get him back to the starting stack. --MH

anthony_zinno_psc_barcelona_day1b.jpg

Zinno grinding the short stack

9:50pm: Chen stacks up
Level 7 - Blinds 300/600 (ante 100)

Andrew Chen has been gradually chipping away throughout the day and building up a big stack.

You'd walk by Chen without taking a second glance (other than to perhaps to admire his immaculate quiff-cum-mohawk) - but the Canadian is a veteran on the circuit. He came third in EPT Prague in 2008, and second at the EPT 8 stop in Berlin, only to lose heads up to Davidi Kitai.

Chen added even more to his stack just a short while ago, when he called off Denis Pisarev's shove for his remaining 12,000. Chen's A♦K♣ held against Pisarev's A♥Q♠. It means that the Canadian now sits on around 83,000 just after the break. --DJ

9:40pm: Fast vs Obreshkov - Round II
Level 7 - Blinds 300/600 (ante 100)

Having been "read like a book" (his words, not ours) by Dietrich Fast in our 7:55pm post, Stoyan Obreshkov was back for a second shot against the German high roller.

Picking up the action on the turn of a Q♣7♠K♠J♣ board, Obreshkov checked and Fast led for 2,800. The two were staring at each other non-stop just like in the last pot, and in the end Obreshkov called.

That brought a 3♦ river which Obreshkov checked again. Fast took his time but eventually made an 8,200 bet. Obreshkov called pretty quickly, but mucked when Fast turned over the A♠A♦. He's up to 58,000 now, while his opponent drops to 31,500.

Fast 2 - Obreshkov 0. --JS

9:35pm: Mustafa tries, can't send Hollm home
Level 7 - Blinds 300/600 (ante 100)

Several players were still rushing back down the hall from dinner as the first post-break hands were being dealt. Amjad Nader Mustafa of Saudi Arabia was one of those who was in his seat for the first hand of Level 7, although the way it turned out he might wish he'd have been a little late like others.

The hand started with Mustafa raising to 1,500 from the cutoff, and Georgios Karakousis of Greece called from the small blind. The German Sascha Hollm then jammed a squeezy-shove all in over the top from the big blind for his last 20,000-plus, and after a bit of thought Mustafa called. Karakousis quickly folded, and the other two tabled their hands.

Hollm: A♠T♠
Mustafa: A♣K♥

Mustafa's better hand remained better through the 9♣A♦8♠ flop and 7♥ turn, but the J♣ river made a straight for Hollm who could only shrug in response. Mustafa grinned as well, taking the beat in stride, as well as having now to deal with a 22,000-chip stack, while Hollm is up to 46,000. --MH

9:30pm: Back to business
Level 7 - Blinds 300/600 (ante 100)

Dinner is done and it's time for more poker. Players will play through two more levels before play concludes tonight. --MH


Fancy a trip to join the best in the world? Sign up for PokerStars and begin your journey. Click here to get an account.

8:15pm: Dinner time

The sixth level of the day is done and players are now on a 75-minute dinner break. When they return they'll play two more levels before play concludes for Day 1B. --MH

8:05pm: Akkari axes one
Level 6 - Blinds 250/500 (ante 75)

Team PokerStars players have been dealing a lot of eliminations recently and Andre Akkari decided he'd join in on the fun.

He looked down at A♣K♠ from middle position and opened to 1,200. Action folded around to Alex Bilokur on the small blind and he moved all-in for about 10,000. Akkari quickly called and Bilokur was flipping with 9♠9♥.

Akkari hit an ace on the 4♠T♦A♠ flop and then improved to a straight after the J♠ and Q♦ came on the turn and river. Bilokur was out while Akkari chipped up to 68,000. --AV

7:55pm: Fast shows his class
Level 6 - Blinds 250/500 (ante 75)

Tip for any amateur, intermediate, even recently-turned professional poker players: don't try and bluff Dietrich Fast, especially when he's giving you the same look that he was just giving Stoyan Obreshkov.

Picking up the action on a 7♠T♦6♥ flop, Fast check-called a bet (I missed the amount) before the 7♣ hit the felt on the turn. Fast checked the paired board again, before calling 2,200 from Obreshkov.

Finally the T♠ double-paired the board on the river. Fast had been staring down Obreshkov hard all the way through this hand, and he checked it quickly to see what his opponent would do. Obreshkov made it 7,200, and after a little think Fast made the call.

Obreshkov flipped over Q♥J♦ for just queen-high with the board, but Fast showed A♠4♠ and his ace-high plus tens and sevens was good.

"You read me like a book!" said Obreshkov after the hand. "I was just reading the board texture," said Fast.

Hmmmm. We'd say it was both. Anyway, Fast is up to 41,000 now. --JS


8G2A9467_PCBAR2017Dietrich_Fast_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Try if you dare to keep up with Fast

7:50pm: Big stacks
Level 6 - Blinds 250/500 (ante 75)

It's still Day 1 everybody. It's still Day 1. That's your warning that even though these people listed right here have big stacks, they are far from certain to cash:

Krzysztof Dulowski - 130,000
Erik Peters - 128,000
Yaron Zeev Malki - 113,000
Adrian Voiculescu - 115,000
Rafael Bertani - 110,000
Simon Boss - 105,000
Martins Adeniya - 96,000
Rayan Chamas - 95,000

martins_adeniya_psc_barcelona_day1b.jpg

Martins Adeniya: Fast start

Still Day 1. --HS

7:40pm: Konnikova kicks one out
Level 6 - Blinds 250/500 (ante 75)

Beka Iordanishvili raised to 1,400 and Maria Konnikova called from middle position. Patrice Brandt was on the big blind and called as well.

The flop came 4♦9♥4♥ and Brandt checked. Iordanishvili bet 3,300 and Konnikova called. Little did Iordanishvili know that Konnikova had flopped a full house.

Iordanishvili then moved all in when the 7♦ came on the river and Konnikova snap-called. Iordanishvili turned over T♣T♠ for the overpair while Konnikova tabled 9♣9♦ for nines full.

Konnikova then hit an even bigger full house when the 7♠ came on the river. Iordanishvili hit the rail while Konnikova chipped up to 42,000. --AV


konnikova.jpg

Chips for Konnikova

7:30pm: Kitty wounded
Level 6 - Blinds 250/500 (ante 75)

Kitty Kuo just took a big hit to her stack. It came after she shoved over the top of three opponents on a 5♣5♠J♥ board.

Having all of her opponents covered, action was folded back round to Lyudmil Ivanov who called after a long tank.

kitty_kuo_psc_barcelona_day1b.jpg

Kuo cut down

He flipped over 6♥5♦ for a flopped set (despite the tank), and Kuo showed A♣A♠. The runout couldn't save Kuo and she hit sees her stack reduced to just 8,000 chips. --DJ

7:25pm: Onto the next one
Level 6 - Blinds 250/500 (ante 75)

What would you do if you'd just won €67,500? Go for an expensive meal? Start planning a holiday?

For Oleksii Khoroshenin the answer was simple: hop straight into the Main Event.

Khoroshenin finished seventh earlier today in the €2K National High Roller, but there's no rest for the wickedly good. The high roller reg is back in business.

He just lost a small pot to Felipe Costa though. It folded to Khoroshenin in the small blind and he limped, before Costa checked his option. They went to a K♣J♠A♠ flop, and unsurprisingly from the blinds both checked that scary looking board.

That brought the 8♦ turn and Khoroshenin led out for 900. Costa looked confused, but that didn't stop him calling. Both then checked the K♦ river and Khoroshenin flashed what looked like two low red cards at Costa with a shrug before Costa turned over the A♣5♥ for the win.

Khoroshenin is on 33,000 after that one. --JS

7:20pm: Here's your Blom fix
Level 6 - Blinds 250/500 (ante 75)

We know how you get when you haven't had a Viktor Blom update in a while, so here's your fix:

He has 26,500.

Anyway, on his table -- which now features high roller reg Alexandros Kolonias with 18,000 -- there was a bust out. Ionel Anton was all in with pocket nines against Sandro Pitzanti's K♦Q♦, and a queen on the flop sealed Anton's fate.

Pitzanti has 67,000 now. --JS

7:15pm: Level 6 begins
Level 6 - Blinds 250/500 (ante 75)

Hold tight everyone, because we're into Level 6. Who has their eyes on the prize? Stay tuned to find out all that more...

...in Level 6. --JS

7:10pm: Three-handed cooler for Hanowski
Level 5 - Blinds 200/400 (ante 50)

Here's a great hand, particularly if your name is Martin Hanowski.

I think it started with a kiss raise from under the gun from Jorge Cantos, then a call from Hanowski a few seats around. I think Alexander Rocha then three-bet from the big blind, up to 5,300, and both Cantos and Hanowski called. (That's what I think happened, but I've a feeling it's not quite right because the sizing seems off. Anyhow, three players saw a flop.)

The flop was 8♣6♣9♦ and, quick as a flash, Cantos moved all-in for 17,125. Hanowski then moved all-in over the top, for 23,900, and then Rocha, with the covering stack, called and put both his opponents under threat.

This was a very cold deck.

Cantos had flopped best with his 9♥9♠. Hanowski had a pair and a draw with his 6♦7♦ and Rocha was in a spot of bother, even though he'd started with the mighty A♠A♦. (According to the odds calculators, the aces only have a 7 percent chance here; Hanowski's draw is a 27 percent chance; and Cantos is 63 percent favourite.)

The K♦ turned improved Hanowski's draw, giving him a 31 percent chance now. And that was enough. The 4♦ landed on the river. "Oh baby!" he said.

Cantos was toast (but wanted to take a photo of his bad beat), while Rocha slips to around 18,000. Meanwhile Hanowski now has about 83,000. --HS

7:10pm: Gross gets one
Level 6 - Blinds 250/500 (ante 75)

Team PokerStars Pro Jeff Gross raised from under the gun and then Robin Ylitalo moved all-in for 3,6750 from middle position. Action folded back around to Gross and he called. Gross turned over A♦J♥ and Ylitalo tabled K♥Q♥.

The J♣T♣Q♠ flop gave both players a pair and Ylitalo jumped into the lead with his pair of queens. Nothing changed when the 7♣ came on the turn, but then the K♣ on the river improved both their hands.

Ylitalo hit two pair, but it wasn't enough to beat Gross's rivered straight. Ylitalo hit the rail while Gross chipped up to about 40,000. --AV


NEIL0949_PCBAR2017Jeff_Gross_Neil Stoddart.jpg

"Everyone, let me tell you about this hand...!"

7:05pm: Selbst eliminated
Level 5 - Blinds 200/400 (ante 75)

I walked over to Venessa Selbst's table a short while ago, only to find an empty seat.

According to a tablemate, the Team PokerStars Pro got her remaining chips in with a flush draw on the turn, holding A♠T♠ with two spades on the board. Unfortunately for her, she ran into the full house of Luca Falco sat two seats to her left, and she is out near the end of the fifth level. --DJ

7pm: Malec misses
Level 5 - Blinds 200/400 (ante 50)

Sebastian Malec raised to 850 in the last hand of the level and got three callers.

All four players went to the 4♣6♥6♠ flop, but only two would keep going. Malec bet 1,050 when checked to and only Corey Kempson called.

This brought the 8♥ on the turn and a round of checks. The river brought another low card, the 3♦. This prompted another round of checks. Both players were no doubt hoping for a big flop as they both showed face cards.

Malec tabled K♣J♣, but Kempson had him beat with A♠K♥. Kempson took down the pot and chipped up to 45,000 while Malec has about double the starting stack with 62,000. --AV

6:55pm: Friendly game?
Level 5 - Blinds 200/400 (ante 50)

There are no friends preflop.

"You're not my friend," Jose Obadia said. "Every time you raise my blind."

Obadia was on the big blind and his accusations of anti-friendliness were against Maksim Pisarenko. Pisarenko had gotten frisky on the button before, and now he raised again, to 1,000. The small blind folded but Obadia stood his ground.

Obadia called and the checked the A♦8♣8♥ flop. Pisarenko bet 800 and Obadia called. Both players checked when the 5♠ came on the turn and then checked again when the 4♦ completed the board.

"You have an eight?" Pisarenko smiled and Obadia laughed.

Perhaps friendship is possible on the river. Obadia turned over 9♣2♣ and raked in on the pot.

But a few tables over Parker "Tonkaaaap" Talbot was also having a preflop feud. Marco Regonaschi raised to 1,000 and Talbot re-raised to 3,100. Action folded back around to Regonaschi and he thought for a bit before making it 9,700.

Very unfriendly. Talbot folded.

"So big," Talbot said. "Did you bet 97 because you have nine-seven?"

Regonaschi smiled. Friendship restored. --AV

6:50pm: Ruzicka doubles
Level 5 - Blinds 200/400 (ante 50)

Over at Vojtech Ruzicka's table I heard the dealer announce "All-in" and rushed over to find the man himself with all his chips in the middle and the triangle in front of him.

The Czech 2016 WSOP November Niner had his hole cards laid out in front of him -- T♣T♠ -- with the board showing 6♠T♥6♥K♦2♦.

The full house was good enough to secure the double and scoop opponent Victor Herrezuelo's remaining chips. Ruzicka is now sitting on 24,000, just under the day's starting stack. --DJ


NEIL9191_PCBAR2017Vojtech_Ruzicka_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Vojtech collects

6:45pm: When did he get here?
Level 5 - Blinds 200/400 (ante 50)

Did anyone else notice that over in the far right corner of the main tournament room a certain French Team Pro with a one-word nickname had entered this event?


PSC_Barcelona17-801_ElkY.jpg

What's his name, again? Antoine? Jean-Paul...?

No, us neither. Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier is indeed in the mix, but how long he's already been playing we've got no idea. However, we do know he's chipped up a little and currently sits with 37,000.

In his latest pot he defended his big blind to a 1,200 button open from Raoul Refos to see a 3♥3♠9♥ pot. That went check check and the turn came the 2♠. ElkY then led out for 1,100, and Refos gave it up. --JS

6:40pm: JMVP: the MVP again?
Level 5 - Blinds 200/400 (ante 50)

Poker reporters' notebooks are full of abbreviations: SB, BB & BTN, for example, and you can usually add the occasional SOD or AMD* if you're covering a high roller.

At the last ever European Poker Tour Main Event in Prague in December, we also had to get used to a JMVP. That was when Jasper Meijer Van Putten came from nowhere to win the title. He's been a fixture at PokerStars events ever since.

JMVP is here in Barcelona, too, and he's just doubled up to around 55,000 chips as well. It happened in a pot against Dariusz Szoen.

Picking up the action on the turn, there was about 10,000 already in the pot and a board of 8♣T♠5♣7♥ exposed. Szoen checked and Meijer Van Putten bet 6,300. After carefully counting both of the stacks still in play, Szoen moved all-in. He had determined that he had Meijer Van Putten covered by 13,300.

Meijer Van Putten snap-called and the cards were on their backs: Meijer Van Putten had Szoen drawing dead with 7♣7♦ to Szoen's K♥T♥.

The dealer placed the meaningless 8♦ on the river, then set about determining that Meijer Van Putten had 22,200 behind. The last Prague champion therefore is in the hunt to be the first PokerStars Championship Barcelona winner.

*Steve O'Dwyer and Adrian Mateos Diaz, for the uninitiated (the "D" has stuck even though he's long been just Adrian Mateos). --HS

6:30pm: Clashing into kings
Level 5 - Blinds 200/400 (ante 50)

It's only fun to run into kings when you have aces.

Unfortunately for Aleksandr Nemtcov, he ran into them when he was holding pocket eights. Robert Heidorn raised from middle position with K♥K♣ and Nemtcov moved all-in for 8,075 from the big blind.

It was an easy call for Heidorn.

Heidorn turned over his pocket kings while Nemtcov tabled 8♥8♦. Nemtcov didn't get any help on the 2♥5♣J♠Q♣K♠ board, but Heidorn did improve to a set of kings on the river. It was a final needle for Nemtcov as he hit the rail.

Eliminations are picking up a bit, but there are still more than 1,000 players in the tournament. Players are still trickling in and they will for the rest of the day. We're currently closing in on 1,200 players for Day 1B, but Nemtcov is no longer among them. --AV

6:25pm: Malec off to a flyer
Level 5 - Blinds 200/400 (ante 50)

Last year's Main Event winner Sebastian Malec has been in the tournament for a mere hour, and is already sitting on an impressive stack.

I walked over to his table to see the young wizard (suggested by both his appearance as well as his clear skill at the table) in a hand with three players to the flop.

When the J♣A♦5♦ landed, it was pre-flop aggressor Nicholas Storm who continued the aggression by leading out. And Malec was the only one to come along.

Storm continued on the Q♦ turn by betting out 4,200. And again, Malec called.

When the 4♦ landed on the river, Storm slowed down by checking after clearly much deliberation. Malec took the opportunity to take the lead by betting out 8,250.

After another long tank, Storm open folded A♣Q♣.

Malec now sits on just over 70,000 and is off to a flyer. --DJ


PSC_Barcelona17-798_Sebastian Malec.jpg

Last year's champ, doing champ things

6:20pm: One short of a family
Level 5 - Blinds 200/400 (ante 50)

There's an empty seat on Table 15 (once occupied by Rocco Palumbo) and seven of the eight remaining players all recently saw a flop. They're playing home-game poker over there.

Mattias de Meulder started it with a raise to 1,000 from UTG+1 and everyone who still had cards wanted to keep hold of them.


8G2A9341_PCBAR2017Matthias_De_Meulder_Neil Stoddart.jpg

"Doesn't anyone fold in this game?" wonders de Meulder

As a grizzled veteran once told a $2-$4 hold'em game, "How do you know you're not winning if you don't see the flop?"

That flop was T♣A♠4♣ and, true to form for the $2 betting round, everyone checked.

The 8♦ came on the turn and Saman Nakhjavani broke cover from the big blind with a bet of 2,200. Bjorn Nyman called in the hijack, as did Thomas Mercier on the button -- the only two to call.

Everyone ducked below the parapet again after the J♥ river and Nakhjavani showed the A♣6♠. Nyman mucked, but then Mercier showed his A♣Q♦ and that was best. --HS

6:15pm: (Not so) buenos, Dias
Level 5 - Blinds 200/400 (ante 50)

Brazil's Bernardo Dias is a very good player, and he's having an excellent 2017. He notched 10 cashes at this year's World Series of Poker, most notably finishing runner up in the $3,000 six-max for $308,166.

However, Dias just found himself in a very tricky spot for a large chunk of his stack. With a 2♥5♥T♠7♦K♥ board and a large pot already out there, Dias led into Pawel Brzeski for 14,000.

Brzeski tanked for a while before eventually moving all in for 38,700. Dias began counting out his stack to see how much he'd be left with, and ended up contemplating his decision for around two minutes.

Finally he folded, and Brzeski was very careful not to show his hand as he slowly and meticulously pushed it towards the dealer.

He's up to 65,000 now, while Dias leaves himself with 43,000. --JS

6:05pm: Former champion in the house. And...
Level 5 - Blinds 200/400 (ante 50)

It was slim pickings on a recent sweep of the room, but I did see Kent Lundmark and a pair of breasts. They were on a film being watched on an iPad. That's the breasts, I mean. Lundmark is here. --HS

5:55pm: Back at it
Level 5 - Blinds 200/400 (ante 50)

Level 5 has begun and players are back in their seats, ready to play two more 75-minute levels before the dinner break will arrive. There are around 1,200 of them registered so far, with late registration open until the start of Day 2. --MH


Fancy a trip to join the best in the world? Sign up for PokerStars and begin your journey. Click here to get an account.

5:35pm: Break it up

They've reached the end of Level 4, which means it is time for another 20-minute break. --MH

5:35pm: Nearly is not good enough
Level 4 - Blinds 150/300 (ante 50)

Earlier, we mentioned that good bluffs, by their nature, go unseen. And the same can be said for good folds. Unfortunately for Andres Jeckeln, he only almost made what would have been an absolutely great fold. But almost isn't good enough.

I saw none of the hand except for its final five seconds. And that's precise, because a member of the tournament floor staff was on a countdown, the clock having been called on Jeckeln's decision. He was looking at a board of J♥Q♠Q♣A♦2♥ and had bet 5,100, only then to be faced with a shove from Levente Szabo for 24,500.

Jeckeln didn't have much more in his stack and so this was a huge moment. He had clearly taken so long that someone had called the clock, and it was down to its final second when Jeckeln reasoned he just couldn't fold.

He called, and Szabo revealed the hand that a small part of Jeckeln's mind had clearly predicted it was facing: A♣A♠. Jeckeln turned over his own J♠J♣.

It was very nearly a tremendous fold of the third nuts. But he couldn't get away. That gave Szabo 50,200 and left Jeckeln with only 5,100. --HS

5:30pm: Brazilians only
Level 4 - Blinds 150/300 (ante 50)

I caught Team Pro Andre Akkari in a hand, and then decided to do a quick sweep of the well known Brazilians in the near vicinity.

Akkari opened to 700 in the cutoff and was flatted by Ryhor Karapanau on the button. Aleksandr Nemtcov then defended his big blind and they were off to a flop.

That fell 5♣A♥7♠ and it checked to Akkari, who continued for 1,400. Karapanau folded, but Nemtcov came along to see the 9♦ turn. Check check.

The 4♠ completed the board, but there'd be no more betting. Nemtcov rolled over the A♦T♠ and that was good for the pot, bringing Akkari down to a still healthy 45,000.

Next up was former WSOP November Niner Bruno "Foster" Politano (just in action a moment ago in a hand below). He opened on his table to 800 only to get three-bet to 2,100 by Abdelhakim Zoufri on the button (these two just tangled in the post below). Georgi Sandev called from the big blind, too, and the three saw a 7♠3♣5♥ flop.

Both checked to the A♣ turn, and they'd both check that too. There'd be no more betting on the 3♥ river, and Politano's Q♣J♥ was behind Zoufri's T♦5♦. Politano is now on 40,000.

Finally, I checked in with Team Pro Felipe Ramos, but couldn't catch him in a hand. Mojave has 26,000. --JS


PSC_Barcelona17-805_Felipe Ramos.jpg

There's Felipe

5:20pm: To call, or not to call?
Level 4 - Blinds 150/300 (ante 50)

It's always tricky knowing whether to call a bet when there's a full house on the board. Do they have the over-pair? Will it just be a chop? Am I ever good here?

This was the exact position Abdelhakim Zoufri found himself in when facing a bet of 10,500 on a 4♦T♦4♠4♣T♣ board after checking the action over to Bruno Politano.

The Brazillian and former November Niner, Politano had been leading the action all the way to the river, with a fairly substantial 20,000 in the middle.

After some thought, Zoufri elected to call. But Politano wasn't holding an overpair or a hand to chop it with. He was holding the 4♦ for turned quads.

Ouch.

Politano is now up to 45,300 and Zoufri back down to 40,000. --DJ


PSC_Barcelona17-765_Bruno Politano.jpg

Bruno Politano uses the fours

5:10pm: Zedd and gone
Level 4 - Blinds 150/300 (ante 50)

The star of last night's party, the internationally renowned DJ known as Zedd, was only a supporting cast member in today's Day 1B spectacle as he has lost the last of his stack already.


8G2A8848_PCBAR2017Zedd_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Zedd zeroed

Also eliminated today are Peter Eichhardt, Rocco Palumbo, Aleksandr Denisov, Denis Timofeev, Niall Farrell, Jason Wheeler, Jeff Sarwer, Ana Marquez, and Alexander Debus. --MH

5:05pm: Suspicious straight
Level 4 - Blinds 150/300 (ante 50)

Pim Kuipers was smiling and shaking his head.

He knew he had a straight and he knew Vanessa Selbst had one, too. The question was whether or not one of them might have one that beat the T♥Q♥K♣J♣9♥ on the board. Selbst bet 2,800 into the pot. Selbst had also been the initial instigator, having raised from the button and Kuipers called from the big blind.

Kuipers then check-called a bet of 700 on the flop. Both players checked the turn and then Selbst bet again on the river. Kuipers kept smiling and shaking his head, he counted some chips but eventually went for the fold.

"You got a straight?" Selbst asked him after he folded. Kuipers laughed again.

"I didn't think it was good," Kuipers said.

"I had a straight," Selbst said. "You should've called."

Selbst then took down the following hand as well. Selbst raised to 800 from the cutoff and Andrius Bielskis three-bet to 2,600 from the button. Selbst called and the dealer fanned out a 4♣Q♥6♠ flop.

Selbst checked, Bielskis bet and the Selbst raised to 7,200. There wasn't a straight on the board this time, but there was a straight draw. Whatever Selbst had, Bielskis was done with the hand and folded.

The two hands put Selbst back up to 27,000. --AV

4:55pm: Kamel on the button, beats lion and others
Level 4 - Blinds 150/300 (ante 50)

This had the makings of a huge multi-way skirmish. What transpired was a multi-way fizzle out. But once you've written it down, it feels a shame to waste it.

Francesco Favia raised to 700 under the gun and Siarhei Chudapal called a couple of spots around, as did Tamer Kamel on the button, as did Diego Gomez in the small blind. (Those last two have both made finals on the European Poker Tour. Gomez came to his wearing a lion suit.)

But all this calling just prompted Peter Patricio to go chasing dead money and he raised to 2,800 from the big blind.

Favia folded, but then Chudapal called and so did Kamel and Gomez, who popped a peanut M&M in his mouth for sustenance. (Did we mention the lion suit?)

The flop fell A♣4♥8♠ and there were three checks. This was probably a dream scenario for Kamel, who had position on the lot of them. He was able to bet 6,000 and pick up the pot there and then. That's how to play your button. --HS

4:40pm: Silva catches Caza
Level 4 - Blinds 150/300 (ante 50)

By their very nature, the best bluffs don't get the credit they deserve. They pass unseen. But sometimes you can admire a bluff even if it goes awry, but then you're also required to celebrate the call that sniffed it out.

Here's one. It's pretty small, but that's the stage of the tournament we're still at.

Marco Caza put out a 1,000-denomination chip and told the dealer, out of my earshot, precisely the size of the raise. But it didn't matter because Miguel Silva, on the button, three-bet to 2,300 and Caza called that.

After the flop of 9♥3♦A♥, Caza checked and Silva bet 1,600. Caza called. The turn was the Q♥, which both players checked, and then the Q♥ completed the board.

Caza bet 2,225 fairly quickly, and action then slowed for the first time as Silva pondered his options. He really looked like he might be about to fold, but after an knotty pout, lips shifting left and right, he put one 25-denomination chip in his hand and delicately placed it over the line.

"Call," the dealer clarified.

Caza quickly turned over 9♣5♣--third pair that very nearly had earned a fold. However, he likely knew this could't win the hard way. He was right. Silva had made a very nice call with his J♦J♠. --HS

4:35pm: Tonkaaaap in the house
Level 4 - Blinds 150/300 (ante 50)

Another recent arrival for Day 1B is that of Twitch legend, Parker "Tonkaaaap" Talbot. A quick glance at his Hendon Mob shows he's had a few decent runs here in Barcelona, including a €160,000 cash for his seventh-place finish in the 2016 €25,000 High-Roller.

He's been involved in a few early skirmishes and blind-on-blind confrontations so far, but nothing major and/or unlucky yet. --DJ

4:30pm: A handful for Horecki
Level 4 - Blinds 150/300 (ante 50)

Team PokerStars Pro Marcin Horecki raised to 800 from middle position and Eli Shimon three-bet to 3,150 from the small blind.

Horecki called and the flop came 8♣6♣A♠. Both players checked and then A♦ came on the turn. Action checked to Horecki and he bet 3,125. Shimon thought for a while and then called. The 9♣ completed the board and Shimon thought again. This time Horecki upped the bet to 7,000 and it was too much for Shimon.

Shimon folded and Horecki chipped up to 45,000. --AV


PSC_Barcelona17-754_Marcin Horecki.jpg

Marcin along

4:25pm: Isildur1 update
Level 4 - Blinds 150/300 (ante 50)

We'd love to be writing updates on Victor 'Isildur1' Blom every three minutes, bringing you the precise details of every single hand, but the truth is, it's been a quiet day so far for the online legend.

He's been sitting on an average stack for most of the day, which at the start of Level 4 just a few moments ago was 36,200 chips -- bang on average. We'll continue to keep a close eye on him and update you with any antics and action when we see them. --DJ


8G2A8908_PCBAR2017Viktor_Blom_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Thanks for following "The Blom Report"

4:20pm: Not Tom Hall at all
Level 3 - Blinds 100/200 (ante 25)

There are two British poker-playing Tom Halls: one, known as "Hong Kong Tom" is a cash-game reg in the Asian card-rooms, the other has no nickname, but is one of the winningest players on what was the UKIPT and now on the PokerStars Championship/Festival circuit.

Update: Actually, this is nonsense. This was a case of mistaken identity, being changed a day late. The player in this hand was Tom Ward, as Ward kindly pointed out this afternoon. Ward and Hall are good friends and apparently, "this happens quite often". But I got Ward and Hall confused, so am belatedly setting the record straight!

Here's a pot featuring the latter Ward. (Anything involving the former can only be viewed after uttering six passwords and passing through several chambers of Asian mansions.)

This seemed to have gone raise-call pre-flop between Hall Ward and Grzegorz Grochulski, which brought them to a 6♠4♥J♥ flop. Hall Ward bet 1,400 and Grochulski called.

The turn was the J♠ and both players checked. That then brought the Q♥ on the river. Hall Ward checked and Grochulski cut out a bet of 4,600. Hall Ward took a moment, but then called. It was a "just" call, when perhaps he had been pondering a raise.

Grochulski showed 9♥7♥ and Hall Ward had A♥6♥. The paired board meant it wasn't the nuts, but ace-high flushes don't come around that often.

As it is, Hall Ward moves up to 38,000. --HS

4:15pm: Queens in the hole, kings on the board
Level 3 - Blinds 100/200 (ante 25)

Team PokerStars Pro Andre Akkari might've wanted a nice small pot when he opened to 525 from early position, but he ended up folding to a four-bet instead.

Ryhor Karapanau reraised to 1,600 from middle position and then Alexander Ivanov threw in the four-bet to 3,700 from the hijack. The blinds folded and Akkari decided to do the same.

Kapranau checked the K♦3♣K♥ flop and Ivanov bet 1,600. Kapranau -- who was seated right next to Ivanov -- gave him the stare down. Kapranau didn't like the kings, but his stare ended with a call and a 2♣ came on the river. Kapranau check-called again, but this time the bet was for 5,700. A 4♠ came on the river and this time both players slowed to a check.

Kapranau turned over Q♠Q♦ and Ivanov mucked. Kapranau chipped up to 62,000 while Ivanov dipped to 18,500. Akkari, meanwhile, remains at around 30,000. --AV


PSC_Barcelona17-757_Andre Akkari.jpg

Akkari holding steady

4:10pm: Carlino a spectator in a small one
Level 3 - Blinds 100/200 (ante 25)

Joseph Carlino likes the spotlight. The all-singing, all-dancing, all karate-kicking Frenchman has made an EPT final table in his time, and was also an ever-present on the rail as his countrymen Antoine Saout and Benjamin Pollak made the final table of the World Series of Poker this year. Carlino conducted the choir as they sang La Marseillaise from the bleachers.

In some ways, it's surprising that Carlino plays poker. So much of your time is spent doing nothing, watching others go about their business instead.

Carlino was the unwilling sandwich in a recent pot that took place between Alexandru Baron, to Carlino's left, and Abou Saleh Elias, to his right. It wasn't a big pot, but it took some time, and it left Carlino slumped back in his chair as though he'd fallen asleep in front of some late-night TV, remote control slipping from his hand, red wine spilled into his lap.

Carlino folded under the gun, then Baron began proceedings with a raise. Elias called in the big blind and those two took to a flop of 6♦K♦A♥. Elias checked. Carlino slipped a little down in his chair, and Baron bet 400. Call.

They both checked the Q♠ turn. Carlino slipped a little further down in his chair. Then the 3♠ came on the river.

Elias bet 1,100, but Baron then raised to 3,500. Carlino was practically horizontal as Elias mucked. That brought Carlino back to the land of the vertical. He'll see some more cards! --HS

4:10pm: Selbst stumbles
Level 3 - Blinds 100/200 (ante 25)

One gets the feeling it's been a frustrating first few hours of play for Venessa Selbst. Every time I've walked past the Team Pro's table she's been shaking her head and/or grimacing.

She just lost another small one on a 2♠8♠6♣A♦A♥ board, with around 6,000 in the middle.

Selbst led out with a bet of 3,500 on the river, and it was snap-called by the only other opponent in the pot to her left, Andrius Bielskis.

Bielskis flipped over A♣Q♠ for a set. Selbst allowed another shake of the head before throwing her cards in the muck. It means she's now back down to the 30,000 with which she started. --DJ


PSC_Barcelona17-740_Vanessa Selbst.jpg

Back to the start for Selbst

4:05pm: You are here
Level 3 - Blinds 100/200 (ante 25)

When you enter the main tournament room -- a huge space -- you're met with a television screen showing you where the 100 or so tables are in the room. At the bottom of the screen the legend "YOU ARE HERE" is included to help the viewer with orientation.

Occasionally a person will stop and look at the screen, momentarily blocking the entrance for others. Not too big of a problem, really, but one that occasionally suggests to the mind of the person waiting "Hey... YOU ARE HERE... and IN MY WAY!"

Just now Guillaume Blanchi was in a hand with Jerry Wong, and by the end it looked like Blanchi was making a similar sort of mental note to himself. He didn't say it out loud, but it appeared he could have been thinking Wong was here and getting in his way, too.

The board showed 6♥2♦4♥4♣A♣ and Wong had led with a 5,000 bet. The pot looked to be a bit over twice that, so we almost might characterize as a "blocking bet." But really, not knowing other information -- including Wong's cards -- we can't say for sure.

Blanchi didn't know Wong's cards, either, of course, and that uncertainty led him to fold and keep his last 12,000. Wong is at 42,000. --MH

4pm: Ramos sneaks in, too
Level 3 - Blinds 100/200 (ante 25)

If the PokerStars Blog bosses are reading, they'll be glad to know that this reporter was so engrossed in covering the following hand that he entirely missed the fact that Team Pro and good friend of the Blog Felipe "Mojave" Ramos was sat at the same table.

When we eventually clocked each other, a fist pump was exchanged and that hand came to an end. Here's what was going down.

Quentin Lecomte opened to 500 only to be three-bet to 1,850 by Panagiotis Matrakas. Lecomte made the call to see a J♠Q♥9♦ flop, and that went check check.

The turn came the T♣ and Lecomte check-called a 3,100 delayed c-bet. Finally the 9♥ completed the board, pairing it too. Both decided to check, and Matrakas flipped over the K♠9♠ for a straight (his trip nines didn't matter). Lecomte also had a straight with his K♣J♣.

Chop it up. Oh, and Ramos is on 26,700. --JS

3:55pm: Malec takes a seat
Level 3 - Blinds 100/200 (ante 25)

Last year's winner of this very event for €1,122,800 Sebastian Malec has taken a seat here for Day 1B. That was his second cash in two tries in the Main Event in Barcelona. Will he make it three cashes in a row? --DJ

3:50pm: 1,000 (so far)
Level 3 - Blinds 100/200 (ante 25)

The tournament clock is showing 1,000 entrants so far today. It's a nice, round number, and almost assuredly not accurate as the newcomers keep newly coming. --MH

3:45pm: Gross gets some
Level 3 - Blinds 100/200 (ante 25)

Erik Seidel's height is only eclipsed by his poker accomplishments. They're so strong that they form a type of rungood aura that rains down luck on anyone he touches.

Seidel recently went over to Jeff Gross's table to talk about--we assume--the secret meaning of poker and, unsurprisingly, Gross won a hand after that.

It started with a raise to 550 from Fahredin Mustafov and Gross called from the button. Marius-Catalin Pertea threw in another call from the small blind and the three players went to the J♥2♣5♣ flop. Action checked to Gross and he bet 700. Pertea called, Mustafov folded and a 6♣ came on the turn.

Both players checked and then checked again when the 3♠ came on the river. Pertea turned over A♣T♦ for ace high while Gross turned over 8♠8♦ to take down the pot. Gross is now at about starting stack with 30,000, but the Seidel spirit is now with him. --AV

3:40pm: 810ofclubs sneaks in
Level 3 - Blinds 100/200 (ante 25)

One player who seems to have snuck into the Main Event as-yet-unnoticed is Toby Lewis.

The man known online as 810ofcubs took down EPT7 Vilamoura in 2010, and has since been to the final of plenty of high rollers, finished fourth in the 2016 PCA Main Event, and won millions of bucks online.

Speaking of winning millions online, Lewis's good friend and the man who has won more than anyone on the virtual felt, Chris Moorman, is a table away from Lewis.

On a K♥6♦T♦ flop, Mikhail Zavoloka checked to Moorman who led out for 1,600. Zavoloka made the call to see the 9♣ turn, and both players checked bringing the 7♣ river.

Zavoloka checked once more, and Moorman decided to check it back. Zavoloka turned over the Q♣Q♠ and the online king mucked. He's sitting with 37,000 now, while Lewis is on the starting stack of 30,000. --JS

3:30pm: Spillover room news
Level 3 - Blinds 100/200 (ante 25)

A check back over in the second "spillover" room shows there are still nine Main Event tables in action up there.

We'd noted before a killer table among the group including William Foxen, Eugene Katchalov, Chris Moorman, and Simon Trumper. Strike the first two names off that list, as the seats of Foxen and Katchalov are both empty now.

Meanwhile on the other side the €25K Single-Day NL event is up to 85 entries now where Level 6 has begun. --MH

3:25pm: Spinning stories
Level 3 - Blinds 100/200 (ante 25)

A hand between Vladislav Donchev and Apostolos Bechrakis had drawn some attention. It ended with a board of Q♣Q♦J♥J♠4♠, a decent-sized bet of 5,525 from Donchev, and a call from Bechrakis.

Donchev had a jack with J♦2♦, and Bechrakis had to muck. (Both are in the 30-35K range after that one.)

"Yeah, great story," I'm hearing you say, cracking wise. "You can really spin a yarn."

During the hand, though, Elie Maroun had the button and though not involved was spinning the clear circular object about repeatedly. Once the hand ended the button moved to his neighbor John Mooney, and they joked about Maroun no longer having an outlet for his nervous energy.

That led to talk of fidget spinners, of which we've seen a couple being used as card protectors, those multi-lobed toys with a ball bearing in the middle that can be idly spun. Such spinners have become quite popular over the past few months, genuinely used by some as a means to calm down and focus.

For most of us though, just watching the bets and cards go round and round is enough to keep on an even keel. --MH

3:20pm: Gross loses, but feels like a win
Level 3 - Blinds 100/200 (ante)

Recent arrival to the PokerStars Team Pro gang, Jeff Gross, has taken a seat for Day 1B here in Barcelona.

Gross was involved in a hand with a 5♦Q♦J♦T♠ board, and around 9,000 in the middle. Following a check from Gross, his only opponent Michael Sklenicka announced "Four!" before throwing in a blue 5,000 chip.

"Four hundred bet," the dealer clarified.

"No, I meant 4,000" Sklenicka replied.

"You have to say 4,000. The bet stands at 400."

Sklenicka let out a tut and Gross a smile. "Well, I'm getting a good price I guess.... you just have ace-king so often though."


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New Team Pro Jeff Gross

But, after a while, it seemed the price was just too good for Gross, and he threw in calling chips.

Sklenicka flipped over J♣J♥ for a set of jacks. Gross shook his head before quickly flashing T♥T♣ for a lower turned set.

"Would you call 4,000?" probed Sklenicka as he raked in his winnings.

"Well, I wouldn't have liked it, but..." Gross replied, shaking his head from side.

Not a big hit to Gross's stack (27,000), as play continues. -- DJ

3:10pm: New deck's good for Panka
Level 3 - Blinds 100/200 (ante 25)

"Floor please!"

Whenever a dealer calls that out and you're not in the middle of reporting on a hand, it's usually a good idea to head over and see what all the commotion is about.

Occasionally, though, it's just for something as dull as a deck change. Still, I found Dominik Panka at the table so decided to stick around.

It folded to the 2014 PCA winner and he opened to 500 from UTG+1. Govert Metaal was the only caller on the button, and the two saw a 2♦7♥5♦ flop. Panka continued for 1,000, and Metaal called.

The turn was then he 6♦, and Panka didn't slow down. He fired again for 2,200, and that was enough to get a fold.

Panka's still down a little on the day, currently sitting with 27,000. --JS


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Panka in action

2:50pm: Break time!

The corridors are now flooded with people and the men's bathroom floor is now flooded with...let's leave that there. It's a break is the main point. --HS

2:45pm: Another batch
Level 2 - Blinds 75/150

High rollin' Vojtech Ruzicka is now in the field, as is UKIPT6 London champ Usman Siddique. Russia's Roman Koronev and Canada's Troy Quenneville are also out there battling. --JS

2:40pm: A couple that plays together, stays together
Level 2 - Blinds 75/150

We recently told you that Kitty Kuo is out in the field, but did you know her husband is too?

Kuo's beau Russell Thomas is playing just a few tables away from his wife, seated with Martins Adeniya. You might remember Thomas from his 2012 fourth-place finish in the WSOP Main Event for $2.85 million.

Just this month he took down a HK$50K High Roller in Macau for US$160,000. It would be pretty interesting if Kuo and Thomas end up on the same table at some point. --JS

2:35pm: Grafton slips a little further
Level 2 - Blinds 75/150

Things have gone from bad to worse for Sam "The Squid" Grafton.

I arrived to see him put in a raise after a bet from Francisco Correia on a 5♣T♣9♣J♦ board. Grafton made it 3,100. Correia called.

The 5♥ river paired the board, and this time Correia checked it over to Grafton. After some thought, Grafton led out for 8,500 - about half his remaining stack.

And then Correia went into the tank. After a decent amount of time, Grafton called the clock. It wasn't until 10 seconds remained that Correia made the call.

Grafton flipped over A♣4♥ for the nut-flush blocker. But it wasn't enough against Correia's K♣Q♠ for a turned straight. Grafton is now down to just over 10,000 as players near their first break of the day. --DJ

2:25pm: Brereton over Wyrzykiewicz; or, thank goodness for Ctrl+V
Level 2 - Blinds 75/150

Remi Wyrzykiewicz of Poland has a tricky last name to spell. He was just in a tricky spot in a hand versus the UK's Luke Brereton as well. (Come to think of it, Brereton is a challenge to type out, too.)

Only arriving on the river with the board showing 5♣4♠K♥9♦4♣ and a little under 5,000 in the middle made a reconstruction of how they got there also tricky for your humble scribbler. Wyrzykiewicz was deep in the tank, because (as it appeared) he had 10,000 sitting in front of him and Brereton had raised all-in for 16,300 total. (Don't know how many river bets got them there.)

Eventually Wyrzykiewicz called, and when Brereton turned over K♠K♣ for kings full of fours, Wyrzykiewicz mucked. Wyrzykiewicz is down to just 7,000 now, while Brereton has about 37,000. --MH

2:20pm: Field gets stronger
Level 2 - Blinds 75/150

Add Dominik Panka, Kitty Kuo, and Anthony Zinno to the list of Day 1B players.

Panka, of course, is the young Polish player who won the 2014 PCA Main Event for more than $1.4 million. Kuo of Taiwan has a sixth-place finish at the 2016 APPT Aussie Millions Main Event for nearly $190K among her many cashing credits. And Zinno has three WPT titles and a WSOP bracelet among his accomplishments. --MH

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Hello, Kitty

2:10pm: No Main for Kurganov
Level 2 - Blinds 75/150

ICYMI: Team PokerStars Pro Igor Kurganov took down the €50K Super High Roller around dinner time yesterday for a massive €1,078,000.

Instead of hopping into the Main Event late in Day 1A, Kurganov instead chose to hit the gym, have dinner with friends, and head out to the player's party. And who can blame him?

He's also chosen to skip Day 1B for now, instead opting to play in the €25K Single Day High Roller. There's 63 players in that one at the time of typing, and there's been one elimination: Daniel Dvoress.

Of course, if Kurganov ends up busting that one he can still hop into the Main Event at any point today until the start of Day 2 tomorrow. --JS

2:05pm: The same but different
Level 2 - Blinds 75/150

Sergey Sergeev is always easy to spot in a crowd, with his jovial demeanor. His card protector -- a similarly smiling Buddha -- has also become familiar to tournament watchers.

Just now Sergeev raised and got Michael Murphy as caller, then continued with bets on the 3♦5♣3♣ flop and T♦ turn, with Murphy sticking around both times. The pair checked the 6♥ river, and Murphy said "tens" while showing Q♣T♣.

"Same," said Sergeev, but in truth their hands were the same in the way his two names are the same -- close, but not exactly. That's because Sergeev's A♦T♥ gave him tens as well, but with a better kicker to earn him the pot.


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Sergey Sergeev: The old trickster

The dealer did a double take for a second, then they chuckled as she pushed the chips Sergeev's way. --MH

2pm: Yu may remember him from such cash games as...
Level 2 - Blinds 75/150

We all know the biggest cash games in the world take place over in the Vegas of the east, Macau, and near neighbour Manila. That's the reason the likes of Phil Ivey, Tom Dwan, Andrew Robl and Dan "Jungleman" Cates spend so much time over there.

One of the men who not only plays in the biggest games but is also partly responsible for putting those games together is Winfred Yu, who has made the trip to Barcelona with his friend Stanley Choi. Choi made the final table of the €50K Super High Roller yesterday and had Yu on his rail, but now it's time for Yu to get among the action himself.

Or at least it's almost time. Yu is currently wandering the halls with his registration slips in hand. He's not quite ready to take his Main Event seat just yet, but we'll check in with him when he does. --JS

1:55pm: A bluff gone awry
Level 2 - Blinds 75/150

I'll admit I didn't see all the action.

All I saw when I arrived at table 79 was a pile of chips in the middle (around 22,000) and an all-in triangle in front of satellite qualifier Anatoly Korochenskiy.

The only other player in the hand was Frenchman Thomas Aunave who had a decision to make. And it didn't take him all that long to make it. He threw his remaining 20,000 in the middle to make the call, and players flipped their cards.

Korochenskiy showed A♠K♦ - a bluff. A surprised Aunave showed K♠K♣ and scooped the giant pot. Aunave now sits on around 64,000. --DJ

1:50pm: Another level, more familiar faces
Level 2 - Blinds 75/150

They've moved into Level 2 without a break, and now most of those previously empty seats are filled in the main tournament room -- including some by more familiar folks.

Bruno Kawauti is here, the Brazilian who finished 15th in the 2013 WSOP Main Event.

Juan Pastor of Argentina is now in action today as well. We remember seeing him here in Barcelona last year, but know him even better for his online success and his fifth-place showing in the 2015 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Main Event worth $380,720. We know Pastor well from online play, too.

Also here Japan's Tsugunari Toma, another player we've grown accustomed to seeing at events here in Europe and elsewhere, including Macau where he earned his career-best score in the Asia Championship of Poker Main Event in 2012 where he finished sixth, earning a prize worth about $122K USD.

There was a Benny Spindler sighting in the corridor too. --MH


Fancy a trip to join the best in the world? Sign up for PokerStars and begin your journey. Click here to get an account.

1:45pm: More names for the list
Level 2 - Blinds 75/150

While his brother Jack went deep in the €50K Super High Roller on Sunday night (and we presume is playing today's $25K Single Day High Roller), Louis Salter is repping the Salter family here on Day 1B.

Salter (Louis, that is) has had plenty of success in his own right. He won the Eureka High Roller in Prague back in 2014 for €124K; he finished second in the Asia Championship of Poker Warm-up the month before that for $154K; he final tabled events in Australia and Asia this year for a combined $140K; and most recently he finished runner up in the WPT Amsterdam Main Event this year for €106K.

Martins Adeniya and Paul Vas Nunes are also out in the field, as is PokerStars Team Pro Marcin Horecki and Ana Marquez.

Marquez was busy just now; not in a hand, but catching and returning blown kisses from across the room. Jose Chocron called over from a few tables away: "Ana! Ana!"

The two are clearly friends and Marquez was more than happy to blow a kiss back and wish her friend luck. --JS

1:30pm: The Squid Slips
Level 2 - Blinds 75/150

After a good few weeks (see below) Sam Grafton's day hasn't got off to the best of starts here in Barcelona.

I walked over to see a pot of around 10,000 in the middle, with Grafton checking action over to opponent Manuel Oshea. The board read 3♣8♣6♠8♦7♦, with Oshea leading out for an additional 3,000.

After some consideration, Grafton made the call. Oshea flipped over 5♠4♠ for the backdoor straight, and Grafton mucked. The Squid is now down to around 21,000. --DJ

1:20pm: More champs get chips
Level 2 - Blinds 75/150

EPT12 Grand Final Main Event winner Jan Bendik is now among the Day 1B throng. That €961K win is still the biggest of the EPT veteran's career.


PSC_Barcelona17-725_Jan Bendik.jpg

Bendik is back

And then there's MonteDam Swing winner Andreas Klatt, who has also taken his seat. Klatt not only won the PokerStars National Championship in Monaco this year for €151K, but just a couple of days later he finished runner up in the Main Event too for €402K.


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Andreas Klatt: Monte-Dam swing winner (pictured in Monaco)

He then went on to Amsterdam for the WPT event, where he final-table bubbled for yet another cash. We've since seen Klatt at the WSOP and the PokerStars Festival in Bucharest, but he hasn't been able to replicate his April/May success just yet. --JS

1:15pm: News from Room No. 2
Level 1 - Blinds 50/100

A quick trip to the second, smaller tournament room finds about 10 tables from the Main Event in action with a few familiar faces among them.

William Foxen, Eugene Katchalov, Chris Moorman, and Simon Trumper are all seated at the same table, making theirs stand out from the group.

On the other side of that room the first of two €25K Single-Day events is getting started as well, where 34 players are registered thus far less than an hour into play. --MH

1:10pm: Who's in the house?
Level 1 - Blinds 50/100

We're always amazed by who turns up at these PokerStars Championships. And it's fair to say it's a typically diverse crowd out there today.

We've already mentioned the usual handful of Team Pros (including Vanessa Selbst, Jeff Gross and Andre Akkari), and other famous poker faces (Victor "Isildur1" Blom, Sam Grafton, Niall Farrell, etc.) And we also mentioned Maria Konnikova.

But it's not just them. Over on one of the far tables, tucked in the corner, sits one of the biggest DJ's in the world, Zedd. He rocked the PokerStars players party last night, but has taken a seat in a more sedate environment today.


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Zedd in poker action

barcelona_party_zedd.jpg

Zedd fills the Opium nightclub

Stay tuned to see if any more notable names turn up as play continues. --DJ

1pm: The scenes from stage right
Level 1 - Blinds 50/100

Just to the right of the TV stage (which will be streaming the action from tomorrow onwards) a bunch of well knowns can be found scattered across the tables.

There's Fabian Quoss, who with almost $10 million in live earnings is easily one of the most accomplished players in the field. Quoss's last big win came at the EPT12 Grand Final in Monaco, when he beat Ole Schemion to take down the €50K Single Day High Roller for €849,000.


PSC_Barcelona17-736_Fabian Quoss.jpg

Quoss on a new quest

Then there's EPT12 Malta Main Event winner Niall Farrell. The man known online as Firaldo87 has $3.5 million in live earnings and millions more online, but that doesn't make him impervious to making the wrong call from time to time.

Action folded to Andreas Berggren in the small blind and he made it 300 to go. Farrell defended his big blind and the flop came 5♣6♠3♥, which both checked to the A♣ turn. They checked that one through too, and the J♠ river completed the board. Berggren made it 400, and Farrell tanked for a bit with his on his forehead before tossing in a call. He'd muck when Berggren showed the A♦T♠.

Well-known author Dr. Maria Konnikova, a good friend of PokerStars Blog, is also sat in that area, as is Hubert "The Hube" Matuszewski, who took down the last ever Eureka Poker Tour in Prague in December 2016.


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Maria Konnikova: More research

Oh, and Sam Grafton has just taken his seat too. The Squid has been on a heater of late, winning the PokerStars Festival Bucharest last month for €117K, and following that up with a Big $55 win on PokerStars for $17K just a few days later. --JS

12:55pm: Fear of quads?
Level 1 - Blinds 50/100

Clemont Richez bombed the river with a big bet and Jiri Horak had to think about it. And think and think and think. Clock!

The board showed 9♣7♦7♣A♦7♥. Circumstantial evidence made it certain he didn't have the last seven, and strongly suggested an ace among his hole cards. Horak couldn't be sure about Richez's holdings, though, and after 59 more seconds of thought let his cards go.

The pair were still chatting about the hand as the next one was dealt. Richez has around 45,000, while Horak is left with lingering doubts and 15,000. --MH

12:40pm: Best hat in a supporting role
Level 1 - Blinds 50/100

We're looking at the usual assortment of baseball caps today, worn both traditionally and turned around. Lots of hoods, of course, as well as a few relatively dapper-looking straw hats of the Panama style.


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Jean Junior Guimaraes: Wolf-man

It's early, but we're gonna go ahead and give the award for best head gear to Brazil's Jean Junior Guimaraes -- a large furry wolf's head cap rising up out of the crowd with comic menace. Guimaraes has ensured we won't be able to avoid noticing whether or not he emerges as the big dog here today. --MH

12:35pm: Aspire to be as cool as Akkari
Level 1 - Blinds 50/100

Me: "Andre Akkari is so cool..."

You guys: "How cool is he?"

Me: "Andre Akkari is so cool that he makes ice cubes jealous."

You guys: "BOOOOOOOOOOOO."

Me: "Andre Akkari is so cool that he gave the sun a brain freeze."

You guys: "BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO."

Me: "Andre Akkari is so cool that he just called three streets with pocket threes as an underpair to the board."

You guys: "Yeah, he's pretty cool."


andre_akkari_psc_barcelona_day1b.jpg

Andre Akkari: Pretty cool

Indeed. Akkari was in a pot against Alexander Ivanov, and check-called 250 on an 8♦8♥5♦ flop. Then 450 on the J♦ turn. And finally 825 on the Q♣ river.

Ivanov turned over the A♠9♣ for just ace high, and the PokerStars Team Pro revealed his 3♦3♣ for the win, and a tap on the table from Ivanov. --JS

12:25pm: Arrive early and accumulate
Level 1 - Blinds 50/100

Arriving on time to play the first hands of Level 1 isn't necessarily viewed as essential to some tournament players. However, when you see experienced, accomplished pros like Vanessa Selbst, Dermot Blain, and others here at the very beginning, you realize there's something to the strategy of accumulating early.

Ari Engel is another example. With more than $4.8 million and a current No. 4 ranking in the Global Poker Index, the well-traveled pro from Toronto can be found nearly every week somewhere in the world playing a tournament, and usually from the beginning of Level 1.

We just saw Engel pick up a pot at his short-handed table after defending his big blind with four-trey suited, making it to showdown with a small pair to win. As he well knows, the small ones add up. --MH


PSC_Barcelona17-755_Ari Engel.jpg

Engel, with WSOP bracelet winner Andras Korn on his right

12:20pm: Isildur1 takes one down
Level 1 - Blinds 50/100

As mentioned, Isildur1's here, and he's taking things nice and slowly at this early stage of the day...

Who are we kidding? We're only minutes into Level 1 and he's playing like a man possessed.

Viktor Blom, as he is otherwise known, opened the action in early position to 300, only to face a squeeze from Ionel Anton in the cut-off to 800. Not one to just flat call, Blom re-raised to 2,600. And Anton called.


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Viktor Blom: A face in the Barcelona crowd

Blom continused his assault on the J♦3♠4♣ flop following a check from Anton - leading out for 2,800. Once again, the Romanian Anton obligingly called.

When the 3♦ hit the felt, Anton checked once again. Blom paused, before throwing a further 6,400 in the middle. Anton gave a scratch of the neck and shake of the head before throwing his cards in the muck. And with that, Blom is already up to 38,000. --DJ

12:15pm: Get to know your dealer
Level 1 - Blinds 50/100

"How many do we need to start?"

So asked Andrea Galan of his dealer over at Table 96. "Three," was the answer, and as there exactly three players seated at Table 96, the first hand is being dealt there.

Most tables are in action at the start today, although in a few cases only one or two players are seated, meaning they'll have to wait to play their first hands.

Marco Caza, a familiar face at PokerStars' European events, is one of the players in that situation. All alone at his table, he's engaged in conversation with his dealer to pass the time. Same goes for Joes Jaraiz Lopez and Alex Brand, also seated by themselves at the moment. If those three could get together, they could play some cards, but for now they'll have to wait.

Actually it's pretty much assured they won't have to wait long. Nor will there be many empty seats soon, as the entire main tournament room is going to be in action, and there won't be time for players to spend getting to know their dealers. --MH

12:10pm: Isildur1 in the house
Level 1 - Blinds 50/100

We've already clocked a bunch of notables in the main tournament area, including Luca Pagano, Bruno Politano, Dermot Blain and Ari Engel. But arguably the most exciting early starter here today is Viktor "Isildur1" Blom.

The online legend, known for his extreme swings against the best players in the history of online poker, is perhaps at his most comfortable in these early stages of tournaments. After all, the stacks are incredibly deep like they are in cash games, and as players are still arriving that means he's playing short-handed with just three players at his table.

He just took down an early pot too. Lauri Saaskilahti opened the button to 300 and Blom raised his big blind to 1,000. Saaskilahti made the call to see a Q♣T♦4♥ flop, on which Blom continued for 1,250. That got a fold. --JS

12pm: Off and at 'em
Level 1 - Blinds: 50/100

There's nothing that quite gets the pulse racing like Level 1 of a poker tournament, amirite? Everyone starts with a 30,000 stack, representing 300 big blinds. The race is on to see who can dust it off quickest.

There's a very strong probability that 1,000 players or more will come through the door today joining what is always a monstrous field. They will intend to play eight 75-minute levels, with a dinner break after Level 6. We'll be here all day, so stick around.

Cards are in the air! --HS

11am: Day 1B ready to begin

Day 1B of the 2017 PokerStars Championship Barcelona Main Event will begin at noon. Live coverage will appear here. In the meantime, read up on how Igor Kurganov became the first millionaire of the festival when he won the €50,000 Super High Roller event, and how players on Day 1A of the Main Event fared.


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Take a look at the official website of PokerStars LIVE, with tournament schedule, news, results and accommodation details for the PokerStars Championship in Barcelona and all other Festival and Championship events.

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

PokerStars Blog reporting team in Barcelona: Stephen Bartley, Martin Harris, Dan Jones, Jack Stanton, Howard Swains and Alex Villegas. Photography by Neil Stoddart.

Live reporting team
@PokerStars in Barcelona