PokerStars Championship Barcelona: Adalfer Morales leads Day 1A of Main Event

It's difficult to know where to begin wrapping up the action from a Main Event Day 1A. As always the day started with hope and optimism, with a couple of hundred early adopters (averse to the more fashionable Day 1B), taking their seats. And as always it ended 12 hours later, with half of that crowd remaining, tired and at least a little hopeful, looking ahead to a day off and a seat on Day 2.

It's all straight forward when looked on from a distance, or a few feet away as a tournament reporter. But on the other side of the rail it's a little more complex, as the 213 stories, told by the 213 survivors of the day would confirm. Some of those stories will be relayed at length (and with added drama) in phone calls home, others in brief exchanges over beer at the player party which got underway a little while ago. As we write the musical beats of Zedd are drowning out the bad beats of "A", making Monday night look and sound a lot like Saturday night.

It's not clear which direction Adalfer Morales of Colombia is heading tonight. He leaves the tournament room this evening as chip leader, so has earned a free beer. He seemed surprised that he was top of the pack tonight, but nobody could beat his 192,900. Others came close, including Upeshka Desilva with 183,000, but couldn't beat him. Their counts can be found on the complete list of Day 1A survivors.

PSC_Barcelona17-713_Adalfer Morales Gamarra_21Aug17.jpgDay 1A chip leader: Adalfer Morales

For now, the tournament room goes quiet. We'll be back for Day 1B from the start at 12 noon local time. That's 11am in the UK, and 6am ET. Indications are it will be big. Tune in to find out how big.

Until then check out all the day's coverage below, and send us your comments on Twitter: @PokerStarsBlog.


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11:40pm: Gruissem gone
Level 8 - Blinds 400/800 (ante 100)

We've got some reports from the German contingent of the PokerStars Blog that Philipp Gruissem is out of the main event.

Reports indicate that it was a brutal one-two knockout for Gruissem, who was left with little chance of survival after losing a big flip.

Gruissem called an all-in bet with Q♦Q♣ and was up against A♦K♣. It was bad news for Gruissem the second the T♥T♣K♣ flop hit the board. Things didn't improve for the German player and after the hand played out, h was left with just 5 antes.

Those antes went all-in the following hand with 4♣2♠ and Gruissem got called by pocket tens. Gruissem needed some serious help, but all the help went to the pair tens. That pocket pair turned into quads and Gruissem's tournament came to an end. --AV

11.15pm: Haxton rivers Hallaert
Level 7 - Blinds 300/600 (ante 100)

To be fair to Ike Haxton, every time I've seen him open a hand he's been 3-bet by Kenny Hallaert who is sat directly to his left. I'm not saying that was the cause for this blow up, but here's how it went down...

Haxton opened the action to 1,900 from the cut-off. It was quickly raised by the 2016 WSOP November Niner Kenny Hallaert to 5,500 with action folded back round to Haxton. After some teeth clenching and chip counting, Haxton announced all-in and Hallaert snapped-called.

Hallaert flipped over K♣K♠ and Haxton showed A♦Q♠.

The run-out was looking favourable for Hallaert as it ran 9♠6♣T♣T♥. But then the A♥ hit the river to send Hallaert reeling. The hand sees Haxton back up to over 80,000 and Hallaert down to 42,000. --DJ

9.50pm: Too many outs for Guerrero
Level 7 - Blinds 300/600 (ante 75)

After an action packed pre-flop that saw a giant pot of almost 40,000 brewing in the middle, a hand involving Dario Sammartino and Jimmy Guerrero went heads-up to the flop.

When it landed it did nothing to slow the action down. Almost as soon as the T♠9♠5♦ landed on the felt, all of Sammartino's chips were in the middle and at risk as Guerrero called.

Guerrero flipped his holding of Q♠J♠ first, for an open-ended straight flush draw (and the royal draw!) before Sammartino flipped over K♠K♦ for top-pair and flush blocker.

But as the cards ran out, it turned out to be a case of too many outs for Sammartino as the 3♥ and A♦ landed to double up Sammartino and leave Guerrero crippled. Sammartino is now up around 120,000 with Guerrero down to just under the day's starting stack. --DJ

9.50pm: Lybaert with his hand in the air
Level 7 - Blinds 300/600 (ante 75)

Meet Bart Lybaert. He's a new arrival on table 27, and just took possession of another pint of white wine.
Pint might be an exaggeration -- let's just call it a large plastic glass - but Lybaert has reason to celebrate, having come third in the €1K National Championship earlier today, and he seems intent, and content, to enjoy the last couple of levels left on the day.

A smiling waitress brought over the refreshments. He handed over a ten euro note, she smiled again, and he waved off any thought of change. The two of them have a system agreed on. When he raises his hand and waves his fingers, she brings him a refill. She's been busy and Lybaert's hand aches.

Part of the celebration also involves a massage, which combines for a striking table images. Shirt open, his chest hair on full display, he's having a ball.

Nadia Wanzi was not oblivious to this. She was laughing along with Lybaert, her joy coming from the sheer enjoyment of playing poker. Although her stack of nearly 100,000 might have had something to do with it.

Either way this one is turning into the fun table. All those who agree please raise your hand. - SB

10:30pm: Neuville doubles, still short
Level 7 - Blinds 300/600 (ante 75)

There are only two tables left in the secondary tournament area and Pierre Neuville is still one of the players at them.

The extremely short-stacked Neuville recently scored a double up to become a regular short stack. David Yan raised from under the gun that hand and action folded to Neuville's big blind. Neuville moved all-in for 3,700 and Yan called.

Neuville turned over A♠J♠ while Yan showed K♥T♦. Neuville was already in the lead and improved to a pair of jacks on the 3♣4♠7♦J♦Q♣ board. Neuville doubled up, but he's still short with about 8,000 while Yan is up to about 75,000. --AV

10.20pm: Negreanu busts
Level 7 - Blinds 300/600 (ante 75)

I arrived at Daniel Negreanu's table to see the all-in triangle in front of him and his remaining 14,000 chips laid out on the felt.

The board read 9♠8♠3♠7♠7♥. And Daniel's holding was the 6♣7♣ for runner-runner trips.

But it wasn't enough against Liow Ming Kee K♣K♠ for a made flush.

A table-mate went to console Daniel, but he brushed it off.

"Honestly I'm okay!" he said before getting up to leave the table. "I played the €50k earlier and I'm so tired. Good luck everyone". --DJ

10:10pm: Making moves
Level 7 - Blinds 300/600 (ante 75)

There's been a lot of movement after the dinner break.

The two-room tournament is quickly trying to become one. A steady stream of poker players are constantly migrating to the main tournament room through the hallways. They're hoping the migration will bring greener pastures and fishier tables. Others are just quietly grinding away at their tables, trying to build a stack in one of the biggest events of the year.

Thomas Muehloecker has been at the same table all day --table 2-- and he's has more than doubled his starting stack. Muehloecker's table is neatly tucked into a corner, and he's been jabbing away at his opponents all day.

Daniel Lopez raised to 1,600 in one hand and Thomas Muehloecker called from the small blind. Mikhail Rudoy called from the big blind and the three players went to the Q♣3♠Q♥ flop. Lopez bet 1,600 when checked to and only Muehloecker caller.

Both players checked the 7♠ that came on the turn and a J♥ completed the board. Muehloecker bet 5,000 and that was good enough to take down the pot. Muehloecker chipped up to about 70,000 while Lopez was down to about 33,000. --AV

10:00pm: Snake hips
Level 7 - Blinds 300/600 (ante 75)

There's now just a single row of tables in the main tournament room as tables are broken and players are sent to the smaller room that's been packed since the start of the day.

We'll be honest, whole you might not be able to spot the difference, coverage has centered on the bigger room for the simple reason that there's more space to see everything. These glory days will soon be over.

Jake Cody's table is the latest to break and be given their marching orders. They join the crowds in the secondary (arguably now the main) tournament room, where in the words of one member of the tournament staff, you need snake hips to weave your way through. They have a point. - SB

9.50pm: Kanit soul reads
Level 7 - Blinds 300/600 (ante 75)

I think Mustapha Kanit may well be from another dimension after making a soul-read that could have cost him his tournament life.

It started with action opened by Joaquin Walter to 1,200 from under-the-gun. It prompted a 3-bet from Kanit in the next seat over to 3,400. Action was folded back around to the pre-flop aggressor, who re-raised to 7,700. And again, Mustapha called.

8G2A8318_PCBAR2017Mustapha_Kanit_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Kanit knows what you've got

The flop was Q♠2♣A♣ which Walker checked.

It was Kanit who led this time, betting out 5,100. And Walker called.

The 5♦ prompted a donk-lead from Walker, who bet out 5,100. And Mustapha shoved.

"How much more?" asked Walter.

"9 more" said Kanit, before the dealer announced the total bet of 14,200.

Walker reluctantly called, before flipped over the K♣4♣ for a flush draw, and Kanit showing K♠T♣ for a gut-shot straight draw. The river was a relative brick - the T♠, giving Mustapha the win and doubling him up to 45,000. Sick read. -- DJ

9:30pm: We're back
Level 7 - Blinds 300/600 (ante 75)

Play resumes after the break. Two more levels to play tonight before we bag up for the night. -- SB

9:30pm: We're back
Level 7 - Blinds 300/600 (ante 75)

Play resumes after the break. Two more levels to play tonight before we bag up for the night. -- SB

8:20pm: Dinner break

Level 6 has ended, which means the 75-minute dinner break has arrived. Get something to eat yourselves (while watching that eclipse), and we'll see you back here later. --MH

8:20pm: Pollak sticking around
Level 6 - Blinds 250/500 (ante 75)

Few players had a better summer than Benjamin Pollak. He was one of two Frenchmen to make the WSOP Main Event final table and outlasted his countryman Antoine Saout to claim $3.5 million for third place.

Back on European turf, Pollak very nearly had an exceptionally short stay at the PokerStars Championship Barcelona Main Event. He was recently all-in for his last 8,700 and behind Preben Stokkan's K♣9♥.

This was a shove from small to big blind and Stokkan had the chips to make the call. But maybe he wished he hadn't after the board ran Q♠J♣5♥7♦2♦ to double Pollak just before the dinner break. -- HS

8:15pm: GG for Carrel
Level 6 - Blinds 250/500 (ante 75)

Charlie Carrel has just been eliminated.

Picking up the action on an 8♦T♠5♥ flop, Diego Vilela checked and Carrel made it 2,000 to go. That bet was called, and the Q♥ hit the turn.

Vilela checked again and Carrel made it 10,000 this time. Vilela now raised it to 30,000, and Carrel called, leaving himself very little behind.

The river was the 9♦ and Vilela put out enough to put Carrel all in, who snap-called with the K♦K♥. that was no good against Vilela's K♠J♣ though, as he'd rivered a straight.

"GG," said Carrel as he exited. Vilela is on 90,000 now. --JS

8.12pm: Salter faces De Silva
Level 6 - Blinds 250/500 (ante 75)

I entered a packed second room to watch a big hand involving British high-roller Jack Salter, and 2015 WSOP Main Event deep runner Upeshka De Silva.

It began with Salter opening the action to 1250, which was flat called by De Silva on his direct left.

Salter (donning his now customary surgical-mask) checked on T♦Q♥6♠ board, and De Silva led out for 2325.

After calling, the 9♦ turn prompted another check from Salter, and another lead from De Silva - this time for 5275. And again, Salter called.

The 7♣ river didn't slow the action down either. De Silva led out again, this time for 14,225.

Salter re-peaked before shaking his head and open folding Q♦J♦. De Silva let out a knowing nod before scooping the pot and addig the chips to his 82.000 stack. --DJ

8:15pm: Get big or go home
Level 6 - Blinds 250/500 (ante 75)

We're closing in on the dinner break and short stacks are feeling the need to get big or go home.

David Splettstoesser raised to 1,200 from the cutoff and a short-stacked John Juanda moved all-in for 8,425 from the small blind. Splettstoesser had a lot behind, about 95,000.

"I should call," Splettstoesser said, but he ended up folding instead. Juanda survived to see another hand.

At the same time, one table over, another short stack was doubling up. Dominik Nitsche moved all-in for 5,350 on the turn of a 2♣A♠7♠6♦ board and Jurgen Kammerhofer called. Kammerhofer tabled A♥9♥ for top pair, but Nitsche had a set of sixes with 6♠6♣.

A Q♣ landed on the river and Nitsche doubled up to 16,5000. --AV

8:10pm: An entertaining (if short) show from Thomas Gray
Level 6 - Blinds 250/500 (ante 75)

Thomas Gray is out. I'll admit right up front here I don't believe I'd met Gray before a few minutes ago (although my colleagues have -- see below, 4pm & 6:15pm). But he made an impression.

The British player is a famous YouTube star with a dedicated following, though as a Yank I haven't happened to see him perform. Except for the last 60 seconds or so of his PokerStars Championship Barcelona Main Event.

Before the flop he called all in after Anders Bisgaard had raised, pushing his short stack forward with some amusing animation as a wild, disorganized pile. Bisgaard showed 8♥8♣ and Gray had a chance with J♥T♠, but a board of 9♠5♠3♦Q♥5♥ drew a big "OHHHH!!!" from Gray on the flop as his hand was bested.

"Best of luck, fellas," he said with a grin and went around the table shaking hands.

"How you boys do this for more than four hours, I don't know," he added, earning laughs all around.

It was a brief show, but worth the look. --MH

8:10pm: A Macau flop
Level 6 - Blinds 250/500 (ante 75)

In a fairly small area in the upstairs tournament room you'll find Elliot Smith, the winner of the PokerStars Championship Macau, and Alan Lau, the reigning Asia Player of the Year, who did almost all his best work in the Vegas of the East.

It was only fitting, then, that the first flop I watched up there was 8♥8♦8♣, the kind of board that would have them whooping in delight in the land of the lucky eight.

Neither Smith nor Lau was involved, however. In fact, this pot started with a raise to 1,100 from Sergi Reixach, under the gun, and a three-bet to 3,500 from Darryl Goh. Vasile Rozvan-Crasmaru then also called from the small blind and it went boom, boom, boom. Eight, eight, eight.

Rozvan-Crasmaru checked. Reixach checked. Then Goh bet 2,000. Rozvan-Crasmaru check-raised to 6,000 but then Reizach check re-raised all-in. He had both of his opponents covered. (Goh had 20,000 back; Rozvan-Crasmaru 20,850.)

Goh seemed to give it some thought, but folded. Rozvan-Crasmaru took a while longer, but came to the same decision. Maybe Reixach should think about a trip over to Macau if he liked that flop so much. -- HS

8:05pm: Vogelsang adding to the Angst Count
Level 6 - Blinds 250/500 (ante 75)

Okay, so earlier we said that you wouldn't normally spend as long as ten minutes in that deep agonising thought during a day of play. Obviously, that doesn't include Christophe Vogelsang.

After spending a good seven or eight minutes in the tank earlier on (see 6:30pm) he just spent another 12 or so thinking through a hand against Sam Greenwood.

On a board of A♣8♦T♣9♠ Greenwood checked from the big blind and Vogelsang, in the cut off, bet 5,600. Greenwood called.

On the 6♦ river card Greenwood checked again. Only this time, when Vogelsang bet 9,500, he moved all-in for around 30,000 total.

So Vogelsang started adding minutes to the Angst Count. Everyone seemed to freeze, including Charlie Carrel, although that might have been down to the pressure point his massage therapist had found.

At least ten minutes passed before Vogelsang admitted defeat. For a man with such a tough decision he looked quite calm about it, laughing as he folded his cards. Greenwood didn't flinch, now up to around 60,000. Vogelsang drops to 12,000. - SB

7:55pm: Peters doubles through Papazian
Level 6 - Blinds 250/500 (ante 75)

OK - here's a hand that has NOTHING to do with Nick Petrangelo.

This one starred David Peters and Alex Papazian. Picking up the action on a 9♠Q♦A♦6♥ board, Papazian bet 3,000 and Peters tank called. The river was then the A♠, pairing the board, and this time Papazian sized down and made it 2,000.

Peters went back into the tank. And he stayed there a while.

So long in fact that eventually Papazian called the clock. Peters used almost all of his 60 seconds before moving all in for 18,300. Papazian snap called.

It turned out Peters was tanking with a monster. He showed the 6♣6♠ for a full house, while Papazian could only muster the A♣2♣ for trips. He's down to just 6,000 now, while Peters is on around 45,000. --JS

7:50pm: Something about Sammartino
Level 6 - Blinds 250/500 (ante 75)

Okay, okay... that headline is a bit vague, sure. And when you read this update -- especially if you're looking for hardcore hand reporting -- you might well be tempted to call it nothing much, and not something.

But the "something" intended here has to do with the Italian pro Dario Sammartino's intimidating presence at the table. There's something about his table demeanor -- "nonchalance" is a word that comes to mind but doesn't seem satisfactory -- that helps ensure all who play against him he both knows what he's doing and is confident when going about it.

A track record including nearly $6.9 million in tournament cashes might have something to do with it, too.

In any case, watching him just now getting a massage while calling a river bet on a 7♥J♣4♥K♦3♥ board, then seeing his opponent muck without even showing his cards confirmed the impression. As did his tabling A♠Q♠.

Sammartino's got 55,000 now. And, well... something. --MH

7:45pm: Act IV: A perplexed Petrangelo
Level 6 - Blinds 250/500 (ante 75)

"Show one?" Nick Petrangelo asked after he folded. The pot wasn't that big, put Petrangelo's curiosity was.

"Could you beat jacks?" Petrangelo asked Stefan Vogt, but Vogt just smiled.

Vogt kicked off the action with a raise to 1,100 from the button and Petrangelo re-raised to 4,000 from the small blind. Vogt called and the flop came 3♥2♥7♠. Petrangelo bet 4,500 and Vogt called.

An 8♥ came on the turn, a third heart. Petrangelo slowed to a check and Vogt fired off 9,000. Petrangelo thought, counted some of his chips and thought some more. Then he folded.

"Show one?" Petrangelo asked.

"I had a good hand," Vogt said. That was the only information he'd give. Despite losing the hand, Petrangelo is still standing strong with close to 95,000. --AV

7:35pm: Petrangelo part three
Level 6 - Blinds 250/500 (ante 75)

As mentioned below, Nick Petrangelo has made a flying start today and has built his stack up to around 100,000. But he's not getting all that much respect from his opponents--at least not based on the evidence from a recent hand.

Petrangelo opened from the hijack and picked up calls from button (Maxim Panyak), small blind (Emin Aghayev) and big blind (Roman Emelyanov). They saw a flop of K♣Q♦5♥ and, after two checks, Petrangelo bet 2,000. Both Panyak and Aghayev called.

The turn was the 9♠ and three players checked. The river was the 5♠ and they all checked again.

Aghayev showed his hand first. He had Q♣3♣. Petrangelo mucked, but Panyak then showed what he had: Q♠3♠. So there you have it. A stack of 100,000, plus a reputation as one of the world's finest tournament players, can't buy you a fold of queen-three suited. -- HS

7:35pm: Even more for Petrangelo, takes two from Aghayev
Level 6 - Blinds 250/500 (ante 75)

Nick Petrangelo is continuing to crush here today, and the person he's been beating up of late is Emin Aghayev.

In the first hand, we picked up the action on a T♥7♥7♦ flop and Petrangelo led out for 3,500. Maxim Panyak got out of the way (returning to his game of Pineapple OFC on his phone) but Aghayev raised it to 8,000. Call.

The J♣ landed on the turn and Petrangelo turned back on to the aggressive path, leading out for 10,000. Aghayev asked for a look at Petrangelo's stack, who began counting. "I've got way more than 50,000 back," he told Aghayev, who then made the call.

The river came the 8♦ on which Petrangelo jammed, effectively betting 38,000 as that's what Aghayev had behind. He tanked for a while before folding.

Then in the very next hand, it folded to Aghayev in the cutoff and he min-opened to 1,000. Petrangelo defended his big blind and saw the 8♣A♠Q♦ flop, before check-calling a 1,500 c-bet.

Petrangelo then led out again 2,000 on the 8♦ turn, and that got a call. But when the 5♥ river arrived, Petrangelo led out for a tiny bet of 1,000. Aghayev began laughing, as if he couldn't believe he was about to fold to such a tiny bet.

But that's exactly what he did. Petrangelo is sitting with 100,000 now. --JS

7.30pm: Petrangelo's overbet perplexes
Level 6 - Blinds 250/500 (Ante 75)

The hand was playing out so normally.

It started with a standard open from Petrangelo, a couple of standard calls from Steve Warburton and Maxim Panyak, and a round of standard checks on the turn.

And then boom, out of nowhere... the river over-bet.

It came from Nick Petrangelo who went from leading on the T♠5♣5♥ board with a bet of 1,400, to checking on the K♠ turn and leading out with a whopping 14,000 bet on the 9♥ river.

It had his two opponents visibly perplexed, but un-tempted as both snap folded and Petrangelo scooped. --DJ

7:20pm: Tens work for Raven
Level 6 - Blinds 250/500 (ante 50)

Benjamin Raven checked the 2♥7♣9♥ flop and watched Lingfan Chen take a few from his big stack to bet 2,200. Raven then check-raised all in for 13,825 total, and after a bit of thought Raven called.

"Tens," said Raven, holding up his T♦T♠, and Raven tabled Q♦9♦ for a lesser pair. The turn was the 6♣ and river the A♦, and Raven doubles back to nearly 30,000. Chen is still sitting in good shape with about 110,000. --MH

6:55pm: A five bet. That's more like it.
Level 5 - Blinds 200/400 (ante 50)

Sometimes a hand doesn't have to get to show down to be a good one, like the one a few moments ago featuring Stephen Chidwick, Jans Arends and Joaquim Walter.

Walter, a new arrival, opened for 800 in early position which Chidwick raised to 2,400 in the cut off. Waiting in the big blind was Arends, who tanked before four betting 5,500.

The action was back on Walter who thought for a moment until he was interrupted by a waitress bringing him coffee to go with the large packet of biscuits on the table next to him. Everyone waited while he sorted that out. Ready again, he five bet to 9,000.

That made it an easy fold for Chidwick but Arends wasn't going anywhere in a hurry. He tanked for a minute or so, Walters taking a sip of coffee, and then folded. A good start to the day for him. - SB

6.45pm: Coleman vs Staples
Level 5 - Blinds 200/400 (ante 50)

Jaime Staples has entered late into Day 1A, alongside another recognisable face in Dan Coleman.

The two faced off when Staples min-opened in middle position (32,000), and action folded to Coleman in the big blind (17,000).

After electing to defend, both players checked on the 9♦Q♦K♠ flop.

On the J♣ turn however, Staples led out with a bet of 1,500. And was quickly called by Coleman.

The river was the 4♠ which Staples led out on again by betting 4,000. And Coleman snap called.

Staples flipped over T♣9♣, and Coleman T♦7♥. Chop it up please dealer! --DJ

6:30pm: Hours of boredom interspersed with moments of...
Level 5 - Blinds 200/400 (ante 50)

If you make it through the whole of Day 1A today it means you'll have played for a total of 8 levels, which amounts to 600 minutes. But you'd be unlucky to spend even ten of those in the type of agony Christophe Vogelsang just endured in a hand against Charlie Carrel.

The board was already dealt 7♣8♥7♥4♣J♦ and Vogelsang had checked to Carrel. His response though was a bet of 20,000, about twice what was already in the pot.

This made things uncomfortable for Vogelsang who had got to this point holding A♠A♣. The question was now what Carrel had.

Carrel sat deadly still as Vogelsang went through a difficult mental process. He looked at his cards every minute or so, rubbed his eyes, spoke words that nobody could understand, this for the seven or eight minutes the pause took. Others adjusted their headphones or read things on devices, oblivious to his pain, before Vogelsang cracked.

"Nice hand Charlie, I'll show if you show..."

Carrel, grinning, then began nodding maniacally. When he saw Vogelsang's aces it was clear why, his busted flush of A♥3♥ had become a winner.

Carrel moves up to 60,000 while Vogelsang drops to 28,000. - SB

6.15pm: Gray doubles for the lads
Level 5 - Blinds 200/400 (Ante 50)

In case you missed our updates earlier, YouTuber Thomas Gray (see "Stag Do" and "Ladventures with Thomas Gray") is playing in today's flight. His progress has been closely monitored by a film crew, as the YouTuber has been battling it out with the regs.

Gray, who had been holding onto a dwindling stack for most of the afternoon, just got is remaining 1.5 big-blinds in (chip and a chair, lads) as we went four ways to a flop.

When the 9♥K♥A♣ landed he got out of his seat, let out a "DAMN" and hit the table... not a good sign.

Daniel Negreanu (directly to his left), let out a laugh. "In poker that's what we call a tell", he joked.

8G2A8184_PCBAR2017Thomas_Gray_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Thomas Gray, ultimate lad

"Yeah... or is it?" Gray responded as Daniel continued to laugh.

Following two further streets of betting from the remaining opponents, the board ran out Q♣T♦ and it was time to flip the cards. And remarkably, Gray was good.

He flipped over J♥4♠ for the back-door straight before jumping out of his seat and punching the air.

"Wow, you know the odds of that are happening are very, very small" Daniel told him after giving a cheer.

Sure... but at least he'll have a story to tell the lads over a cold one. --DJ

6:10pm: Kruk busts one, buys into another
Level 5 - Blinds 200/400 (ante 50)

Christopher Kruk had a tough elimination today. He moved all-in with K♥Q♣ and got called by Igor Kurganov and his A♥5♥.

Kruk didn't get any help on the flop or turn, and then the river brought Kurganov an ace. That was it, Kruk was out. But that wasn't this event, that was in the €50,000 Super High Roller. After two full days and a bit more, Kruk's Super High Roller came to an end in 6th place. While it wasn't the result he wanted, it was a strong finish that came with a €251,900 payday.

Some people would be happy to call it a day after winning a quarter-million euros, but not Kruk. He wasn't ready to stop playing.

Kruk bought into the €5,000 Main Event and now he's got a bit more than average with 37,500. Some of those chips came courtesy of Dylan Coppola.

Coppola raised to 800 from early position that hand and Kruk called from the big blind. Kruk then checked in the dark and Coppola checked back after the dealer fanned out the Q♣6♣2♣ flop. An A♦ came on the turn and Coppola bet 800. Kruk called and a 6♥ completed the board. Both players checked and Kruk turned over A♥Q♦.

It was good. Coppola mucked and Kruk chipped up to about 37,500. --AV

5.55pm: DNegs arrives
Level 5 - Blinds 200/500 (Ante 50)

Having busted from €50K Super High Roller in ninth just a few hours ago, Daniel Negreanu has made a move to the other side of the Poker room to enter Day 1A of the Main Event.

He arrived at his table jubilant as ever, before acknowledging his lateness.

He's joined by a whole host of new entrants that include WSOP Main Event Champ Martin Jacobsen, fellow November Niner Pierre Neuville, online crusher Conor Beresford and high-roller Canadian Sam Greenwood. --DJ

5:30pm: Break time
Level 4 - Blinds 150/300 (ante 50)

We're on the second break of the day. Players and avid PokerStars Blog readers can now take a well-earned 20-minute break to do whatever they please --as long as it's legal.

5:20pm: Watson doubles through Margets
Level 4 - Blinds 150/300 (ante 50)

There were four players on a Q♠5♠6♣ flop and Mike Watson bet 2,400 into a pot with 5,000 already in it.

The bet got two folds and a call from Leo Margets. Watson then bet 5,000 after the 5♥ came on the turn. Margets thought for a minute and then raised to 25,000. Watson moved all-in and Margets quickly called.

Margets turned over A♠Q♥ for queens and fives, but Watson had a full house with 6♥6♦. The river brought a 4♣ and Watson doubled to 47,000 while Margets dipped to about 43,000. --AV

4:55pm: Luca and La Vuelta
Level 4 - Blinds 150/300 (ante 50)

Part of the Day 1A struggle is keeping yourself occupied in those uneventful moments between hands. Luca Giovannone has a solution however, and is avidly watching La Vuelta a Espana on his iPad, perched on the empty chair next to him.

La Vuelta (the Tour of Spain), the final Grand Tour of the year, is in its third stage today, passing from France (where it started in Nimes on Saturday) through Andorra, and into Spain, racing as close to Barcelona as it will get during three weeks of racing. Giovannone glanced at it from time to time as riders tackled the day's big climb of the Coll de la Rabassa.

As I stood looking over his shoulder, the race was entering the critical stage - poker was the last thing on Giovannone's mind. So when he looked up from the small blind facing a three bet, who raised to 8,500 total to win the hand there and then. No messing about. Everyone folded.

There's more uphill to come for the riders in La Vuelta. The same goes for Giovannone. But for now he's freewheeling.

4.45pm: The Bust-outs begin
Level 4 - Blinds 150/300 (Ante 50)

As we kick-off Level 4 the Board reads 400 entrants, with 370 remaining.

The few we've lost over the last few minutes include Canadian pro Daniel Dvoress, Chinese crusher Ben Lai and 2017 PokerStars Championship Bahamas final table bubble boy Marcin Kapkowski. -- DJ

4:35pm: Bluff call? We'll never know
Level 4 - Blinds 150/300 (ante 50)

The old bluff-call is a bold move that rarely, if ever, works. We've never seen it in person, but it's been hypothesized that the move works by calling a river bet with garbage, but do so so confidently that your opponent throws their hand into the muck and --this part is optional-- run away from the table in horror. We're not sure if it actually happened this hand, but it could've, and that's what counts.

Jannis Brauer started the hand off with a raise to 700 from the cutoff and Jake Cody called from the big blind. Cody then checked the K♣2♦A♦ flop and Brauer bet 1,500. Cody called and a 4♦ came on the turn. There was another bet and another call, this time worth 5,200.

This brought us to the river and the potential case of the bluff-call. Brauer bet 17,500 and Cody quickly called. Brauer instantly through his hand into the muck and Cody followed suit. It's possible that a master cardsman like Cody had just pulled off the theoretical bluff-call but we'll never know. We choose to believe though.

The hand left Brauer with 18,800 while Cody chipped up to nearly 60,000. --AV

NEIL9444_PCBAR2017Jake_Cody_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Did you really pull it off Jake Cody?

4:25pm: Carrel cruising
Level 3 - Blinds 100/200 (Ante 25)

Charlie Carrel is known to have a soft spot for live reads.

He does everything he can to get a read, in fact. He leans over the table, gives his opposition the stare down, and says whatever he things will prompt a reaction before making his decision.

So it came to be when Ema Zajmovic opened the action on the button to 600 into Carrel's big blind. Charlie defended and called a c-bet on a 2♦T♥K♦ board. He called another c-bet of 1,600 on the 6♦ turn and went into the tank after a 5,000 bet on the J♣ river.

"You're smiling so you're bluffing!" accused Charlie.

"I did not just peel the flop and turn a set just to fold here. Or did I?" he continued, after a long stare-down.

"But you could have a higher set though?" he questioned aloud.

After a while of probing and continued staring from Carrel, Zaimovic called the clock.

After being told he had one minute to make a decision, Charlie lit up. "1 minute? Great, that's ages!" as he continued to probe. When the countdown reached 10 seconds he made the call.

Zajmovic: A♦9♠
Carrel: 6♣6♠

"Nice." said Carrel. It sees Zajmovic now down to 23,000 and Carrel up to 44,000. --DJ

4:20pm: Two can toucan
Level 3 - Blinds 100/200 (ante 25)

Weird thing at Fatima Moreira de Melos table. She and Aaron Rivero Daly seem to be wearing the same shirt. Or would be had Rivero's shirt had toucan's on, as well as a jungle theme. Steven Warburton noticed this and pointed it out to the pair of them. Moreira De Melo joked that no one would wear a shirt exactly like hers.

Also at the table is Mathew Moss who just won a pot. For the record his shirt is also bird themed, featuring flamingos.

He opened for 450 in early position which was called by Valerii Lubenets in the small blind, and Alexis Urli in the big.

The flop came 6♣6♥7♥ which was checked to Moss. He bet 850 which was called by Lubenets only. On the 9♥ turn the same pattern ensued. Lubenets checked before Moss bet 2,100 this time. Again Lubenets called, then checked the Q♦ river card.

Moss bet one more time, 6,300. This time it was enough. Lubenets nudged his cards forward, conceding the pot to Moss. - SB

4:00pm: Gray gets some
Level 3 - Blinds 100/200 (ante 25)

There are a few cameras following a player around today and if you spend time on the internet --which I know you do, because you're reading this on the internet-- you might recognize him.

Thomas Gray, from internet hits like "Stag Do" and "Ladventures with Thomas Gray," is in the tournament with a small posse of cameraman filming him for, we assume, some other internet thing. He also just doubled up.

There were four players in that hand, a T♠6♥7♥ flop and about 2,700 in the pot. Gray checked from the small blind, the big blind checked as well and Igor Yaroshevskyy did the same from the cutoff. Sachin Joshi bet 2,000 from the button and only Gray and Yaroshevskyy called.

The turn brought a K♠ and a bigger bet from Joshi. Joshi made it 6,500 and Gray called, leaving himself with just 300.

Those chips went all in after the J♣ came on the river and Joshi called. Joshi turned over T♣7♣ for tens and sevens, but Gray showed a better two-pair with K♣T♣.

Gray doubled to 15,000 while Joshi was still left with a sizable 66,000. --AV

3.45pm: Cody and Baumann battle it out
Level 3 - Blinds 100/200 (Ante 25)

Team PokerStars Pro, Jake Cody has taken his seat here in the Main Event over at Gaelle Baumann's table. And right from the off he found himself in a pot with the French pro.

With action folded around to him, Jake opened the action in middle position to 625. It was quickly raised by Baumann to 1550 just two seats over. And Cody called.

He checked on the 5♣2♠8♣ board, as Bauman continued to put on the pressure by betting 1,500. After some thought, Jake called a and action went to the flop.

8G2A8025_PCBAR2017Gaelle_Baumann_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Gaelle Baumann

The A♦ hit the felt and Jake checked again. This time however, Baumann let out for a pot sized bet of 7,550. Cody gave a small shrug before throwing his cards in the muck. --DJ

3:35pm: Pot to Lobach
Level 3 - Blinds 100/200

Andrey Lobach just won a decent sized pot that featured Daniel Dvoress up to the turn.

Bahram Chobineh opened in early position which Lobach called in the cut off. Dvoress called on the button.

(Hands up. It's possible Chobineh limp-called pre-flop)

The flop came J♥A♥6♣ which was checked to Lobach who bet another 1,100. Dvoress called. Chobineh called, and they saw a 4♣ turn card.

Chobineh checked again and Lobach bet again, 2,600 this time which forced Dvoress to fold. Chobineh called and then had a decision on the 5♠ river. He checked. Lobach checked, and showed A♠Q♥. Chobineh looked again, seemed disappointed, and then folded.

Lobach back up to 24,000. - SB

3:25pm: More in, one out
Level 3 - Blinds 100/200 (ante 25)

Poker players are unpredictable creatures, but they do tend to like showing up late. That's why late registration is open all the way up until the start of Day 2.

Some additions to today's field include Ryan Riess, Mustapha Kanit, John Juanda, Daniel Dvoress, and PokerStars Championship Macau champion, Elliot Smith.

8G2A8128_PCBAR2017Elliot_Smith_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Elliot Smith

But while they are all just taking their seat, some have already departed. Brazil's Vivian Saliba is out walking the hallways and her seat is chipless and Saliba-less. --AV

3:15 pm: Kaverman can't beat ace high
Level 3 - Blinds 100/200 (ante 25)

Byron Kaverman has taken a seat in the main event and he's dipped a bit below starting stack.

Kaverman raised to 525 from under the gun one hand and Denize Stephane called from the big blind. Kaverman bet 600 on the 8♦8♠4♣ flop and Stephane called. The 3♣ on the turn brought another Kaverman bet, this one worth 2,100. Stephane called again and both players checked after the Q♦ came on the river.

Stephane tabled A♠K♥ and Kaverman mucked. The pot put Stephane up to 19,500 while Kaverman dipped to 25,700. --AV

3:05pm: Carrel arrives
Level 3 - Blinds 100/200 (Ante 25)

When I walked into the Main Room to see a man with a full head of hair, sporting a bright orange psychadelic tie-dye t-shirt and trousers that look like they've been purchased from an ashram in Goa, I knew who it was before I'd even seen the face.

Charlie Carrel has just taken a seat here in the Main Event, and is sitting two seats over from Chris Vogelseng.

I walked over to see him closely observing a hand Vogelseng was involved in that had been checked down to the river. Vogelseng's opponent flopped over 3♠3♣ on a Queen high-board with a small pot in the middle.

"Argh" said Vogelsang in frustration as he mucked his hand.

"You know what..." Charlie spoke out.

"That was the first bit of emotion I've ever seen from you. I've seen you bust 100k's and now show that much emotion!"

"Of course!" said Vogelsang. "I was convinced Ace high was good!" --DJ

2:40pm: Break it up
Level 2 - Blinds 75/150

The first two levels of play are done and we're on our first 20-minute break of the day. Go to the bathroom, go on a run, or watch some things on the internet for a bit and then come back for more PSC Barcelona updates.

2:30pm: To be number one you have to think about number 1. And number 2.
Level 2 - Blinds 75/150

As the break approached conversation turned to the essentials on Fatima Moreira de Melo's table.

Bathroom breaks are notoriously difficult to judge in a tournament life this, with several hundred people trying to use the facilities in the same 20 minute period. The conversation between Moreira de Melo and Steven Warburton seemed to centre on when to take them, and how to limit what you take on, to avoid having to spend too much time, err, processing things.

Warburton suggested he'd rather dash off in level 2 than wait for the break, given the crowds lining up to use the facilities, before telling a story of how he taunted his roommate with the room key when his friend was in desperate need of somewhere, err, private.

Anyway, the point is that it's the break, and a lot of people need to use the bathroom. - SB

2:15pm: Battle of the Brits
Level 2 - Blinds 75/100

Over on Fatima De Melo's table and it was a battle of the Brits which saw Matthew Moss up against 2015 Main Event runner-up Steve Warburton.

Moss opened the action in early postion to 450, and Warburton defended in the big-blind.

After a check from Warburton, Moss continued the pressure on the 3♥Q♣T♥ board by leading out for 450. And again, Warburton called. The turn brought the A♦ which didn't slow down the action. Moss led out for 1,100 and was called again.

8G2A8014_PCBAR2017Steven_Warburton_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Steve Warburton

Moss took another stab on the river, betting out 2,800. It prompted Warburton to peek at his cards again before announcing, "I have a very good hand". With that he thew calling chips in the middle and flipped over A♠T♦ for two pair, as Moss showed A♣K♠. Warbuton is now sitting pretty on 44,000 as we approach the break. --DJ

2:10pm: Margets pays Paygusov, Paygusov passes it on
Level 2 - Blinds 75/150

There was 975 in the pot and a 9♥T♥2♦ flop on the table. Leo Margets was up against Alexander Paygusov and Margets checked from the big blind. Then she raised to 1,500 after Paygusov bet 500.

Paygusov called and a Q♣ came on the turn. This elicited a round of checks, but the river brought some more bets. Margets bet 2,300 and Paygusov raised to 7,700. It was too much for Margets and she laid down her hand.

Then Paygusov gave a few of those chips to Georgios Zisimopoulos the following hand. Paygusov raised to 450 from under the gun that hand and Suham Cumhur called from early position.

Zisimopoulos was on the big blind and went along for the ride too. Zisimopoulos checked the 2♦3♥8♦ flop and Paygusov bet 500. Cumhur folded, Zisimopoulos raised to 1,575 and Paygusov called.

A 3♠ came on the turn and Zisimopoulos bet 2,000. Paygusov called and a 5♦ completed the board. Players weren't up for betting and they both checked instead.

Zisimopoulos showed T♣8♠ for a pair of eights and Paygusov mucked. --AV

2:00pm: More familiar faces arrive
Level 2 - Blinds 75/150

It's getting busier and busier by the minute here in the Poker room at the Casino Barcelona.

Every time I walk through I spot a new face, which I excitedly jot down.

Steve O'Dwyer's here. He's joined by England all-time money #2, Stephen Chidwick just a few tables over. The runner up of this very event in 2015 - Steve Warburton - is also among the field. As is French pro Gaelle Baumann, Romanian number #1 Alexandru Papazian and Russian legend Valdimir Troyanovskiy. --DJ

1:45pm: Papazian pops in, Mayorga makes some
Level 2 - Blinds 75/150

Alexandru Papazian has joined the field, and he's also lost about half his stack so far.

In one of his recent defeats, Papazian raised to 300 from under the gun and Fabian Mayorga called from the cutoff. The rest of the table folded and players got dealt a 5♣7♠K♣ flop.

They both checked and then Papazian bet 1,250 when the 2♠ came came on the turn. Mayorga called and a 3♥ completed the board. Papazian led out again, this time for 3,000. Mayorga thought for a bit and called.

Papazian turned over K♥J♠ for top pair, but Mayorga had two little ones with 5♦2♦. Two-pair took it down and Papazian dipped to 15,700.

Mayorga then took down the following hand as well. Mayorga raised from the hijack that hand and got calls from Petrica Ioan in the small blind and Papazian in the big blind.

Three players went to the 4♥Q♣4♣ flop, but just two made it to the turn. Mayorga bet 375 when checked to and Ioan raised to 1,000. Papazian folded, Mayorga called and a T♣ came on the turn. Ioan upped the bet to 2,000 this time and Mayorga called.

A K♠ came on the river and Ioan bet 2,000 again. Mayorga then threw in a raise to 5,500 and it was good enough to take down the pot. Mayorga is now up to about 38,000. --AV

1:30pm: Petrangelo punishes
Level 2 - Blinds 75/150

Nick Petrangelo has just arrived, and has already been involved in a monster pot.

We picked up action on the T♥7♠K♥ board, with Petrangelo betting out 800 from the cut-off. It was quickly called by Ricardo Tavares on the button and Liem Huynh directly to his left, before being re-raised by Francois Corouge to 3,100.

Not content to call, Petrangelo elected to raise it up to 8,100. Tavares tank-folded, as did Corouge. And Huynh called.

The turn was the 2♣ which prompted a check from Huynh.

"You've got 3 blues?" probed Petrangelo pointing at the 5,000 chips laid out in front of Huynh.

Hynh acknowledged this be holding up the chips, before Petrangelo led-out with a huge bet of 19,000. It was an effective all-in with less than 3,000 behind.

"Sick. Very sick" Huynh said before tank-folding.

Sick for him, but not so sick for Nick, who is now up over 42,000.


1:20pm: Enter Thor
Level 1 - Blinds 50/100

Thor Hansen has arrived and has just arrived for the Main Event, which is like watching poker history nod in your direction on its way to taking a seat. That's about my level of buzz. I like to leave the water skiing and €200 flip outs to everyone else.

Mr Hansen (it seems right to refer to him this way) smiled at everyone as he sat down. He's in summer mode, with shorts on and a shirt. His game face consists of putting his reading glasses on. Old school perhaps, but it's a game face that works. - SB

1:15pm: Free entertainment
Level 1 - Blinds 50/100

"This is going to be a fun table," Federico Quevedo said.

A small hand had just played out at his table, but it was big in laughs and over-the-top intensity. The hand started with an under-the-gun raise to 300 from Gaelle Baumann. Yinfeng Jin called from the cutoff and Quan Zhou did the same from the button. Terry Nichols then three-bet to 1,650 from the small blind and got a pair of folds from Baumann and Jin.

"I win," Nichols said. "I know you're folding here."

The table laughed and then Zhou menacingly grabbed a bunch of chips, but he went for the call instead.

"Now I know what you have," Nichols said and the table laughed again.

A J♣6♥T♥ flop hit the board and then Nichols bet 2,000. Then he covered his face with his shirt, pulled his hat down to cover what was left of it and leaned away from Zhou. There was another round of laughs and this time Zhou went for the fold.

"I knew that was coming," Nichols said and raked in the pot. --AV

12.50pm: Vogelsang takes a few
Level 1 - Blinds 50/100

Christopher Vogelsang is off to a flyer.

I walked over to the German's table to see him with not one, not two, but three hands in a row - the last of which he took down with just Queen-high.

With around 2,000 in the pot, action was checked to the river on a 7♠4♠6♠4♣K♦ board. As first to act, Vogelsang was first to show.

"Queen, eight wins" he said confidently as he turned over Q♥8♦.

"What?! No, it doesn't..." retorted opponent Steven Arsne, who unbelievingly flipped over Q♠2♠ for a weaker kicker.

"Well... I had a reserve flush draw" laughed Arsne, as Vogelsang scooped the pot. Vogelsang is now up around 36,000 as we approach the end of Level 1. --DJ

12:40pm: Coming in from afar
Level 1 - Blinds 50/100

Guess what? There are more players trickling into Day 1A. I know, it seems farfetched, but it's true. We're now up to 266 players and some of the most recent additions have made the trip from other continents to take their shot at the PSC Barcelona Main Event.

Brazil's Vivian Saliba is now in the field. Saliba has scored a number of cashes in Brazil and the United States --including an 11th place finish in this year's WSOP $10K PLO 8-Max event-- and is hoping to score her first cash on European soil.

We also have a contingent of Asian champions. China's Quan Zhou and Hong Kong's Alan King Lun Lau are in the field. Both Zhou and Lun Lau have won major tournaments in Macau this year. Zhou won a HK$200,000 NLHE event at the PSC Macau for nearly $470,000 while Lun Lau won $420,802 for winning the MPC Red Dragon event in February. Now they're looking to add a PSC Barcelona event to their already extensive resumes. --AV

12:25pm: Big names trickle in
Level 1 - Blinds 50/100

As we move deeper into Level 1, players are slowly making their way to the tables. And already there are a few notable faces with bums in seats.

Christopher Vogelsang is one of them. The German 2nd all-time money leader and winner of a cool $6,000,000 at this years' Aria Super High Roller Bowl is sat at his table, cloaked in one of his signature scarfs.

Also among the field of mostly 4-handed tables are Team PokerStars Pro Fatima De Melo, WSOP Main Event final table man Kenny Hallaert and British high-roller Matthew Moss. - DJ

12:10pm: Let it begin
Level 1 - Blinds 50/100

There was a brief delay while the tournament staff tried to co-ordinate the start.

There are still several tournaments going on in the convention area and the Main Event is split into two rooms today. After a few minutes of back-and-forth communication, cards are now in the air.

"Worst possible hand on the first hand," Roy Bitton said after he folded seven-deuce offsuit. "Can only get better from here."

There's plenty of optimism and a few big players in the secondary room including Leo Margets and Paul Newey. It's still relatively empty though, a few tables only have two players but several more are starting to flood in. --AV

11:30am: Play starts at noon
Level 1 - Blinds 50/100

Welcome to Barcelona for the opening day of the Main Event at Casino Barcelona. The Super High Roller (along with a record breaking field in the National Championship) has hogged the attention so far, but now the curtain is pulled back on the principle attraction of the week.

Play starts in about half an hour when the first of two opening flights gets started. We'll be playing a full day of eight levels with a dinner break, so settle in for a long day of refreshing. And if you happen to be reading this at work we'll do our best to make the coverage look like some vital information you needed for your job, or something. We're on your side.

If you like your Main Event with a side order of Super High Roller then you can follow updates from the final nine of that event by clicking here. We'd advise a twin tab option, with updates from this and that event just a ctrl-tab away. All that button pressing is going to make a good impression on your boss. Unless you're a surgeon, in which case leave the computer alone and get back to work.

Barcelona is typically the biggest field of the year and if the National Championship is anything to go by we may come close to that again this week. Either way we'll have a winner by this time next week - given it's usually a late finish on Sunday night, the winner may quite literally be walking form the Casino to breakfast in exactly seven days from now.

There's a lot to cover in between, so let's begin. -- SB


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

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PokerStars Blog reporting team on the $5,000 Main Event: Stephen Bartley, Dan Jones and Alex Villegas. Photography by Neil Stoddart and Carlos Monti.

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Stephen Bartley
@StephenBartley in Barcelona