Salazar leads last 300 at PokerStars Championship Barcelona Main Event

Tournament reporters were gleeful last night when Jose Latorre won an enormous pot within the last five minutes of play to soar into the overall chip lead of the PokerStars Championship Barcelona Main Event. It stopped us having to scour a field of more than 650 players to identify who had the biggest stack.

Today was something different entirely. It was something much, much smaller--at least at the end. And it was much, much closer too.

As is customary on Day 2, the six levels today played out like a long gladiatorial battle. At the end of it, only 300 of the tournament's original 1,682 survived. That's pretty close to the money, in fact, which will begin being paid out when only 247 remain.

It was pretty bunched up at the top of the counts as well, as least after Latorre, who clung on to the lead for four levels, emerged from a skirmish with Maksim Prokhorov with about half his stack no longer in his possession.

So if it's not Latorre, who is it? Well, that's close between Mauricio Salazar, Rosen Angelov and Sergey Sergeev. All of those four were tightly-knotted as the day drew to a close, but Sanchez ended up pipping Angelov at the very top when the bags came out.

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Mauricio Salazar: Leader!

As far as we can tell, here's the top five:

Mauricio Salazar Sanchez 507,000
Rosen Angelov 497,500
Sergey Sergeev 470,500
Arezki Belaidi 431,000
Paraskevas Tsokaridis 428,500

paraskevas_tsokaridis_psc_barcelona_day2.jpg

Paraskevas Tsokaridis: Top five (probably)

We also learned today that the winner of this tournament will pick up slightly more than €1.4 million, continuing Barcelona's sensational appeal as host of the biggest tournaments with the biggest payouts this side of Las Vegas.

But it's bad news for many of the game's leading lights, who saw their own hopes snuffed out. All of ElkY, Sebastian Malec, Nic Chouity, Kenny Hallaert, Sergio Aido, John Juanda, David Peters, Ivan Luca, Isaac Haxton, Felipe Ramos, Koray Aldemir, Adam Owen, Paul Berende, Dominik Panka, Dominik Nitsche, Felix Stephensen, Alexandros Kolonias, Marcin Horecki and Kent Lundmark hit the rail. That includes former champions, bracelet winners and some of the top-ranked in the world. But they're not going to win this one.

From Team PokerStars Pro, Andre Akkari (202,500) and Jeff Gross (29,000) remain. Akkari should be confident of a cash, but it'll be tight for Gross when they come back tomorrow. Other big names still with chips include Kyle Bowker (392,500), Dario Sammartino (355,500), Rafaelle Sorrentino (300,000), Adrian Mateos (200,000), Dietrich Fast (124,500) and Nick Petrangelo (80,000).

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Adrian Mateos: Gritty

Tomorrow will be a thriller: they'll burst the bubble pretty soon after play begins, then they'll play through five 90-minute levels at least. Expect the field to be cut in two once again.

As ever, we'll be back to watch it happen, and in the meantime you can check back through today's action in the archive below. The full counts for the remaining players will be on the chip-count page pretty soon. Maybe even now (depending on what time you're reading).

Good night all!


DAY 2 COVERAGE ARCHIVE:


• PLAYERS: 300 of 1,682
CHIP COUNTS | PAYOUTS
ALL BARCELONA INFO | SIDE EVENTS | DOWNLOAD POKERSTARS
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8:15pm: Day is done
Level 14 - Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Bagging has begun at the end of the day. We'll have identities of the chip leaders, and a full report, very soon. -- HS

8:10pm: Doh! Daher's down
Level 14 - Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Arezki Belaidi opened to 7,000 under the gun and Albert Daher called, which brought in Sergey Sergeev from the big blind. They went to a 5♦4♠A♥ and Sergeev checked it, letting Belaidi c-bet for 12,000.

Daher then raised to 33,000, and Sergeev seemed to have a decision. He furrowed his brow before eventually relinquishing his hand, but Belaidi called to see a turn.

It came the T♣ and both players checked it, bringing the 6♥ river. After a long tank Belaidi led out for 40,000, and Daher thought for a while too before making the call.

Belaidi flipped over the A♦T♦ for a turned two pair, and that was good as Daher mucked. He's down to 41,000 now, while Belaidi is up to 410,000.

Sergeev also has a big stack with 395,000. --JS

8pm: Ridgway sent on his way
Level 14 - Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Day 2 is coming near its close, but Benjamin Ridgway won't be around for the bagging.

Ridgway got the last of his chips in with A♥J♣, but unfortunately for him Florian-Dimitrie Duta was his opponent with A♣Q♣. A board of 5♠8♣4♦6♠6♥ spelled the end for Ridgway, while Duta is now up to 188,000.

There are 15 minutes left in the day. --MH

7:50pm: HAND OF THE DAY ALERT!
Level 14 - Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Whew. That was a rough hand for Antonius Krijn just now. He may have saved some chips, actually -- it's hard to say for sure. But he isn't too happy regardless.

I arrived after the river had been dealt, when the board showed K♥8♣5♥8♥6♥. At that point Krijn's hand was tabled as well -- A♥J♠ for an ace-high flush (but not the nuts.) But the betting wasn't done just yet, as his opponent, Aleksey Ponakov, had yet to act.

That's why the floor had been called over.

Reconstructing things with the help of another player at the table, the pair had built a pot of about 40,000 pre-flop, with Krijn in late position and Ponakov on the button. On the flop Krijn had check-called a bet of 90,000. Then on the turn he also check-called a smaller bet of 30,000.

The river brought that fourth heart, giving Krijn his flush, and he checked. That's when Ponakov had lifted his hand up and back down, indicating that he wanted Krijn to move his hands so he could see his stack. But Krijn mistook that action as a check, and tabled his cards.

There was nothing really the floor could do about it -- Ponakov still was able to act. And act he did... announcing he was all-in!

Krijn took several minutes to decide what to do, and when he apologized to the table they were quick to tell him to take his time as it was a very tough decision.

Would Ponakov show, he wondered. No, said his opponent.

Finally he folded, and Ponakov did not show. Then came a little insult to injury -- Krijn received a one-round penalty for exposing his hand before action had completed.

Krijn objected a bit before leaving, but seemed somewhat resigned to what had happened, and perhaps even ready to take a little walk after what had happened. Ponakov told him as he left he'd had eight-six, but Krijn and the rest of us will have to take that as we may.

Krijn still has about 210,000 left, while Ponakov is now up over 450,000. --MH

7:45pm: Colman eliminated
Level 14 - Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

After losing a big pot just a few moments ago (see entry at 7.35pm), Dan Colman has been eliminated.

The US all-time money list No 2 got his remaining chips all-in on the turn holding A♦7♦ on a 3♠5♠6♦4♠ board. His shove had been re-isolated by Gerald Karlic (with one opponent behind) holding A♠T♠ for the nut-flush. -- DJ

7:42pm: Railward bound
Level 14 - Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Former EPT champions Max Lykov, Aliaksei Boika, Nicolas Chouity and ElkY have all hit the rail in the past couple of levels. They're joined there by fellow stars Ivan Luca, David Peters and Bruno "KoolShen" Lopes.

7:40pm: Papadopoulos furrows Teltscher
Level 14 - Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Alexandros Papadopoulos opened for 7,500. The effect this had on Mark Teltscher was profound. His brow took on a deep, deep furrow, as if Papadopoulos has raised using hand drawn bank notes rather than poker chips. In response Teltscher raised to 17,500 which took the action through the blinds and back to Papadopoulos. He called.

The flop came Q♥3♠4♠

Papadopoulos checked to Teltscher who bet another 14,000, which prompted Papadopoulos to move all in for 32,100. Teltscher says a lot with his eyebrows, and they ascended. HE also said "call" and watched Papadopoulos show Q♠J♠.
Teltscher said "Ooof" and turned up T♥T♣.

The turn came 3♣ and the river J♣. Teltscher paid up, his stack down to 98,000.

"Was the play okay?" he said to the players talking through the hand at the end of the table. They went quiet. He smiled. - SB

7:35pm: Colman crushed
Level 14 - Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

After making good strides to get an above average stack, Dan Colman's chances in this Main Event have just slimmed down significantly.

Once again he was heads up in a pot against Oren Rosen, who opened to 7,000. Colman then popped it up to 17,000 and when it got back to Rosen he took his time before announcing all-in.

As soon as those words left his mouth Colman scrunched his face up and sighed before asking how much it was for. It turned out to be 74,200 total, and Colman started looking for info.

Leaning with his head in one hand and an elbow on the table, he began interrogating Rosen. "Do you have a good hand?" he asked. Rosen put his hands in the air as if to say "Of course!"

Ultimately Colman made the call, but Rosen's T♥T♠ was in great shape against his 9♠9♥.

The 8♦4♦6♠K♥A♦ runout couldn't improve his hand, and he dropped right down to 22,000. Rosen meanwhile is up to 145,000. --JS

7:25pm: A battle of favourite hands
Level 14 - Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

"This is my favourite hand," announced Lauri Varonen as he faced a 36,500 shove over his 6,500 open. "I don't think I can fold."

After a while he threw in a calling chip, before revealing 7♥7♣.

"Wow," responded his opponent Stephan Hirzel. "I have your favourite hand too!" And with that he flipped over 7♦7♠.

The table laughed and the board ran clean to chop the pot. "Nice hand", said Hirzel, further reinforcing his love for the sevens. "Very nice hand." --DJ

7:20pm: Kuipers stacks Salter
Level 13 - Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

EPT10 Grand Final Main Event runner-up finisher Jack Salter is out here at the start of Level 14. He was up on the feature table and was eliminated after succumbing with ace-ten versus the ace-king of Pim Kuipers.

Kuipers, whose last cash was for a 307th-place finish in the WSOP Main Event, is now sitting with around 280,000. --MH

7:15pm: Shehadeh calls shove, Gallego goes
Level 13 - Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

In the last hand of the level, Luigi Shehadeh was in the tank for some time contemplating whether or not to call the all-in push by Raul Martinez Gallego on the turn with the board showing 2♥9♥5♥5♠.

Shehadeh had led out with a just over half-pot bet of 14,600, but the 54,000-chip push by Gallego had given him pause.

At last, though, the pause ended with a call. Gallego exhaled in a manner best transcribed as "pfffft" when he saw Shehadeh table K♥K♠. Gallego had 9♠8♠, and after the 3♦ river the conclusion to his Main Event coincided with the end of Level 13.

Shehadah has 275,000. --MH

7:10pm: A weird one at Table 1
Level 12 - Blinds 1000/2000 (ante 300)

There was a bizarre hand over on Table 1 that involved an out-of-position shove, the floor being called over and a player calling the clock on himself. Here's how it went down:

Erik Friberg opened the action and Mikita Badziakouski elected to defend in the big blind. All fine so far. The 2♥J♥3♦ landed on the flop, Badziakouski checked and Friberg led out for 24,000. Following a call, the same action repeated on the 5♠ turn, with a check and a 24,000 bet.

Then things got weird.

After the 5♥ landed on the river, the dealer skipped Badziakouski (who was first to act) - seemingly presuming he'd checked. It meant that when Friberg shoved, confusion ensued. Eventually after some back-and-forth between the players, the floor was called over.

erik_friberg_psc_barcelona_day2.jpg

Erik Friberg: Is that shove binding?

After acknowledging the dealer's mistake, it was ruled that the bet would stand if Badziakouski did nothing to change the action. But if he bet any amount, the bet would be taken back.

It put Badziakouski in a strange spot and one that he spent a long time deliberating over. The shove was for 75,300 which would take a big chunk out of his stack. After a few minutes of going over his options he told the floor that he wanted to call the clock on himself.

As time ticked down he stood up in his chair and leaned over the table to try and get a read. He didn't get one. He counted down with the floor from five before mucking his hand.

"If that was a bluff it was the best bluff of all time," said 2015 WSOP Main Event winner Ryan Riess, who was watching from Seat 2. But Friberg, who has also been to a WSOP Main Event final, didn't show as he stacked up his new chips. --DJ

7:05pm: Latorre loses a lot
Level 13 - Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

Jose Latorre came into Day 2 with the chip lead and a stack of around 250,000. He then built that up around the 400,000 mark, but he's just lost a big pot to Maksim Prokhorov that has dented his stack significantly.

Action folded to Prokhorov on the button and he opened, before Latorre three-bet from the small blind. Prokhorov made the call to see a flop, which came 2♣4♥4♦.

Latorre led out for 20,000 and Prokhorov called, bringing the 7♠ on the turn. Latorre didn't slow down, making it 61,000 to go. Prokhorov thought for a while but again, he called.

jose_latorre_loses_psc_barcelona_day2.jpg

A hit for Latorre

Finally the 5♠ completed the board and Latorre opted to check. Prokhorov checked it back, and was happy to see Latorre turn over the T♦9♣ for complete air. Prokhorov showed his Q♣Q♠ and increases his stack to 360,000, while Latorre drops down to 290,000. --JS

7:00pm: Sorry, meant to say Pierre Neuville is out
Level 13 - Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

Pierre Neuville busted the main event about 45 minutes ago. We would have reported this news sooner but I got talking to him and, well, suddenly the time had passed.

Listening to Neuville talk about this life, specifically the years before his career as a high stakes poker player, is like hearing the synopsis of a movie biopic, that of a self-professed "Mr Nobody" who just happens to know everybody.

It's enough to make you think you're a kid again reading adventure stories.

pierre_neuville_psc_barcelona_out.jpg

Pierre Neuville: Time flies

Anyway. All of which followed his premature departure from the Main Event, which compared with all of that was a mere blip. Or in this case an opponent's turned nine, a call, and the last of his chips. -- SB

6:55pm: Sammartino in the comfort zone
Level 13 - Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

Dario Sammartino has been looking very relaxed all afternoon. The 30-year-old Italian pro has banked nearly $6.9 million from tournaments before -- one possible cause for such a relaxed look. The other might be the massage he's been getting for much of this level.

In fact, Sammartino was so relaxed, he's invited the massage therapist work on his tablemate to the left for a while, and now he's looking much the better for it. I'd go to the extra effort of getting his name for you, but he looks so at peace right now I really would rather just let him alone to enjoy it.

Oh, one other possible explanation for Sammartino's relaxed look -- he's got just over 360,000 chips right now. --MH

6:40pm: Colman climbing
Level 13 - Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

The 2014 One Drop winner (and collector of millions of dollars and other poker titles) Dan Colman is still alive in this Main Event. He just increased his stack too, taking down a pot against Oren Rosen.

Rosen opened to 5,200 in the cutoff before Colman raised it up to 18,000 out of the small blind. Rosen made the call to see the 2♣4♥2♠ flop.

Colman continued with the aggression and fired 15,000. Rosen considered his options for a while, but decided he wanted no further part of it.

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Daniel Colman: Moving in the right direction

Rosen now has 80,000, while Colman might just be hitting his chip stack peak right now with 92,000. --JS

6:30pm: De Vicente busts Berthomet
Level 13 - Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

Level 13 was unlucky for Frenchman Boris Berthomet as that was where his Main Event run ended.

Berthomet committed his last chips with A♦Q♠ but unfortunately for him ran into Javier De Vicente's A♠K♣. The board ran out 3♣5♦4♦7♥K♥, and Berthomet departed. Put De Vicente on 90,000 now. --MH

6:22pm: Fifth jack fireworks
Level 13 - Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

Michal Lubas made it 5,200 to go from under the gun, which got Gabriel Chiva to call in the cutoff. Adrian Mateos then came along from the small blind, as did the big blind.

They went to a 5♥8♦Q♣ flop and it checked to Chiva, who led out for 12,400. Mateos and the big blind both folded, but Lubas didn't budge.

The turn was then T♠ but that inspired no further action, and nor did the 5♣ river.

Lubas turned over the J♣J♦, and Chiva revealed...

The J♥J♠. Oh well.

"If the fifth jack had hit there would have been fireworks," said another player at the table, and we couldn't agree more. But this time it was just another chop pot.

Lubas has 145,000, Chiva has 80,000, and Mateos sits with 210,000. --JS

6:20pm: Stani stacks
Level 12 - Blinds 1000/2000 (ante 300)

EPT 7 Tallinn winner Kevin Stani has just doubled up. He's one of fewer than 400 now remaining in the Main Event.

It came after he shoved on the turn 2♥8♥T♠3♠ against Brian Esposito. It looked like a draw shove, but I guess that's what he wanted it to look like. He flipped over K♠K♣ which was more than good against Esposito's 9♦9♥. The inconsequential K♥ landed on the river to confirm Stani's win and take him back up to 112,400. -- DJ

6:15pm: Malec out
Level 13 - Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

It's official: we're going to have a brand new champ here in Barcelona as last year's Main Event winner Sebastian Malec has been felted. --JS

6:05pm: Storaakers all-in, then out (all and all)
Level 13 - Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

Following some pot-building preflop action, the board showed 3♥K♥4♠ and Vladimir Geshkenbein led for 9,000. Sitting to his left, Johan Storaakers made it 26,000 to go, a bet representing well over half his remaining stack. Geshkenbein leaned forward to get a look at his opponent's remaining chips.

"What do you have, all in all?" asked Geshkenbein.

"All in all?" replied Storaakers, who held his hands out to show the 15,000 or so behind.

The pair laughed as Geshkenbein decided to re-raise-push, and Storaakers quickly called to show K♣Q♠ for top pair. "Ah, raising to induce!" grinned Geshkenbein as he turned over J♥T♥ for a flush draw.

The turn then brought the 9♥ to fill the flush and make the river no matter. The pair shook hands as Storaakers left, and Geshkenbein stacked up what is now around 315,000. All in all, that is. --MH

5:41pm: Break time

That's the end of another level. Players are now on the last break of the day before returning to play two more levels tonight. -- SB

5:40pm: Muehloecker takes from JNandez
Level 12 - Blinds 1000/2000 (ante 300)

Over on the "toughest table" in the house (see post at 5.10pm), Fernando 'JNandez' Habegger and Thomas Muehloecker were battling it out.

The board read 4♠6♠T♠5♥ and Habegger's 9,500 open had been three-bet by Muehloecker to 25,500. After some thought, Habbeger elected to call, before the A♥ landed on the river.

Habbeger, a PLO specialist, quickly checked action over to Muehloecker who announced all-in after a quick count of his chips. With a stack that covered Habegger's, it didn't take too long for Habegger to fold.

Muehloecker raked in the pot of more than 62,000 and added it to his stack of a litte more than 110,000. --DJ

5:36pm: Abdulaziz Abdulaziz takes takes from from Teltscher Teltscher
Level 12 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (ante 300)

We've got a new frontrunner in the 'best name' category, and it's an old favourite: Abdulaziz Abdulaziz.

That name is so good you gotta say it twice. He just picked up some chips without showdown in a hand against EPT2 London winner Mark Teltscher.

Teltscher opened to 4,500 and one player called before Abdulaziz Abdulaziz defended his big blind. The flop fell Q♦9♦6♦ and it checked through to the K♠ turn. Again, there'd be no more betting. This hand was beginning to seem like a bust.

Then the 7♣ river hit and Abdulaziz Abdulaziz checked again. Teltscher chose to lead out 18,000, getting one fold but putting Abdulaziz Abdulaziz in a tricky spot.

He tanked for a good couple of minutes before eventually tossing in a chip for a call. Teltscher began nodding, and then mucked his hand face down. That meant Abdulaziz Abdulaziz never had to show his hand.

Teltscher is now on 53,000, while Abdulaziz Abdulaziz is up to 62,000. --JS

5:35pm: Jubilation, horror, back to jubilation
Level 12 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (ante 300)

Russia's Artem Noritsyn open-pushed for 7,700 and Mihai Manole called from one seat to his left. That, however, opened the door for someone to try and raise to isolate, picking up dead money, and Fabrice Maltez obliged. He put out 18,500.

With the all-in Noritsyn rendered impotent, Manole was next to act. And all of a sudden it looked like he had been laying a trap. He said he was all-in for at least 100,000.

Maltez had this sussed out. He folded and showed A♠K♠, much to the table's surprise. Manole couldn't help but admire the side-step, though, as he turned over A♣A♦.

Maltez high-fived his neighbour in celebration at the disciplined fold. But after Noritsyn exposed his A♥J♣, the dealer put a flop of Q♠4♠8♥ on the table. Maltez, who would have picked up the nut-flush draw, quickly looked a little horrified.

It did not come, however, after the 5♥ turn and K♦ river and, pointing to Noritsyn wandering away from the table, Manole said, "He saved you. You would have seen the flop and then..."

Manole probably had a point. He is now closing in on 200,000, the same as what Maltez's disciplined fold preserved in his stack. -- HS

5:30pm: What might have been versus what absolutely was
Level 12 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (ante 300)

The cards were dealt, and Chris Moorman had just put in a raise from under the gun when it was noticed the button was in the wrong place. The floor came over and ruled just one raise wasn't yet significant action, so a misdeal it was and they tried it again. Moorman just smiled and showed the A♥K♠ that no longer mattered.

Sascha Hollm -- down to a short stack -- was saying something about what might have happened had the hand not been nixed as the cards were dealt anew. Then when folded to, Hollm open-raised a short stack all in from middle position and got one customer in Alexandr Merzhvinskii.

Hollm had 7♠7♦ and Merzhvinskii 6♣6♥, and while the flop brought a six it brought a seven, too, coming 7♣K♠6♦. The 5♦ turn and 8♥ river made a straight for Hollm, and he bumped up to 55,000 -- just about what Merzhvinskii has now. --MH

5.25pm: De Silva down
Level 12 - Blinds 1000/2000 (ante 300)

I arrived at table one to see the all-in triangle in front of Mikita Badziakouski, and big stack of chips in the middle (over 92,000 to be precise).

His all-in had been called by 2017 WSOP bracelet winner Upeshka De Silva, and the board read 8♥9♣4♣5♣7♣.

It's unclear on which street players got it all-in on (we reckon the river), but De Silva had 6♦7♦ in front of him for the straight and Badziakouski the A♠Q♣ for a rivered flush. It means Badziakouski is up to around 100,000 and De Silva back down to around the same. --DJ

5:15pm: Rebel Buddha at peace at the poker tables
Level 12 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (ante 300)

Taken in isolation, this pot is all but meaningless, but it was the ironic celebration at the end of it that seemed to tell a wider story.

It started with Max Lykov (still the only EPT Kyiv winner) thinking for a long time before folding, then action passed to Moritz Dietrich on the button. He made a raise to 5,000 and Scott Wellenbach was the only caller in the small blind.

Wellenbach is a PokerStars qualifier from Halifax, Canada, with only three modest recorded cashes to his name, all at the PCA. According to a quick Google search, he is also known as "Rebel Buddha" and is "a translator of the buddhadharma from Sanskrit and Tibetan for more than thirty years as a member of the Nalanda Translation Committee". I'm going to stick my neck out and say he's the first player on the PokerStars Championship circuit ever to have that on his CV.

Anyway, Wellenbach has so far translated his 30,000 starting stack into something more like 285,000 here and is absolutely cruising. The two players took a flop of 8♣K♦9♣ and Wellenbach check-folded to Dietrich's continuation bet of 8,000.

At that point, Dietrich hoisted his arms above his head in mock celebration. Wellenbach chuckled away and the pair continued what was obviously an ongoing conversation. Dietrich's evident joy at picking up that small pot seems to suggest that he's had a very tough job in winning anything from Wellenbach this afternoon; that's the kind of ironic jubilation that greets a pot won after 10 have been lost.

Dietrich shouldn't worry. He still has 175,000 and one of the best games around among young guns. A major breakthrough is surely imminent for a man with several very deep runs in big tournaments (Dietrich was ninth in Monaco in May and has an eighth-placed finish at a WSOP $10,000 event too).

It's a tough table actually. Lykov has 50,000 and Amon Hata, with 140,000, is on the other side of table captain Wellenbach. -- HS

5:10pm: Toughest table?
Level 12 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (ante 300)

With so many runners remaining, you usually find the most well-knowns peppered around the room. But this one is certainly up there as one of the toughest tables in the room.

You've got Predan Stokkan, sitting with around 150,000. Then you've got Fernando 'JNandez' Habegger with 82,000. Then there's Thomas Muehloecker with 135,000.

And finally there's Patrick Leonard to Muehloecker's left; a talented player we've somehow completely ignored this entire day so far.


8G2A9720_PCBAR2017Patrick_Leonard_d2_23Aug17.jpgFrom out of nowhere: Patrick Leonard

Whatever he's been up to, it's been working. Leonard is playing a 320,000 stack right now. --JS

5:05pm: Welcome Martin Lunde
Level 12 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (ante 300)

"Welcome to the table."

So said one of Martin Lunde's new tablemates following his recent arrival. The 21-year-old Norwegian had just made himself quite welcome, indeed, after knocking out Andrei Konopelko in an all-in preflop confrontation.

The hand saw Konopelko all in for considerable chips with A♥K♦ but at risk to Lunde and his Q♣Q♥. The flop came A♦3♣5♣, and it looked like Konopelko would be keeping his seat. But the Q♦ came on the turn, prompting a grunt of displeasure from Konopelko. The 4♠ river sealed it, and Konopelko is out.

A former youth football star, Lunde now works as an agent to a Norwegian footballer when he's not at the tables. He's already collected a half-dozen cashes in European events since the spring, including cashes in both the PokerStars Championship Monte-Carlo Main Event and this week's PokerStars Championship Barcelona National High Roller. He's up to 265,000 now. --MH

5.00pm: Malec loses a little
Level 12 - Blinds 1000/2000 (ante 300)

Sebastian Malec is wearing the same yellow hoodie he wore last year when he won this event (see post at 2.25pm). It's made spotting him in the crowd very easy, but it doesn't seem to be bringing him quite the same luck.


sebastianmalec_d2_23Aug17.jpgSebastian Malec

Over on his table, he just defended a 4,000 button-open from Cosmin Joldis in the big-blind.

On the flop of K♦4♦3♣, he called Joldis' bet of 4,200. Action was checked on the 2♦ turn, before Joldis led out again for 11,200 on the river.

This time, Malec 3-bet the open to 30,000. A big bet, which Joldis was visibly displeased by. But he had too good a hand to fold.

Joldis threw in calling chips before showing 8♦6♦. The flush was more than good against Malec's 4♣6♥ bluff, which sees Malec's stack reduced to just shy of 62,000. -- DJ

4:55pm: Recent eliminations
Level 12 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (ante 300)

I'm sorry, if you're names on this list you can't come back in...

Andres Allsalu, Arkady Kilman, Denis Noykin, Ihar Soika, Eugene Todd, Leo Pietila, Dany Parlafes, Cezar Chivulescu, Gavin Cochrane, Adria Balaguer, Jan Bendik, Nan Hong, Kelvin Kerber, Zhong Chen, Joep Van Den Bijgaart, Basem Hamed, Arthur Chan, Anders Bisgaard, Nicola Basile, Tamas Adamszky, Yury Zinkevich, Yehia Said, Christian Elgstrom, Aurelien Guiglini, Artem Nosach, Martins Adeniya, Israel Carriazo, Stefan Gheorghe, Ambrose Ng, Maksym Bidiuk, Jukka Koskela, Oswin Ziegelbecker, Manuel Henares, Isaac Haxton, Alexander Roumeliotis, Rafael Ramos, Andrey Shatilov, Thomas Pettersson, Tatiana Zheglova, Serafim Kovalevskiy, Ognjen Sekularac, Henri Franche, Paul Leckey, Laszlo Bujtas, Bekim Murtezi, Francesco Delfoco, Shinobu Tanaka, Barry Shulman, Jose Triana, Apostolos Bechrakis, and Khaled Gutierrez... are all out of the Main Event. -- SB

4:50pm: Big blind blunder
Level 12 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (ante 300)

Luc Greenwood just found himself in an unfortunate situation that cost him his big blind in more ways than one.

Greenwood was indeed in the big blind, and when both his cards had been dealt to him they remained out in front of his chips (i.e. he hadn't pulled them in to look yet). As the under the gun and UTG+1 players folded their hands by pushing them out in front of them, the dealer dragged in all the cards she presumed to be mucked - including Greenwood's.

By the time he realised the error had been made, it was too late. Greenwood asked for the floor, and although he got bad news I must say he handled the situation very well. He has a decent stack of around 105,000 so it's not going to hurt him too much, but it must be frustrating to just give up your big blind, and your chance to play his big blind hand.

The floor ruled that as the hand was irretrievable from the muck pile, his hand was dead. There had already been action too (a player opened to 3,600), and that was that.

Unfortunate, yes. But just one of those things. --JS

4:45pm: Greenwood's aces help eliminate Miskei
Level 12 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (ante 300)

Peter Miskei open-raised his last 28,100 from under the gun and it folded around to Sam Greenwood in late position. Greenwood pondered, gathered, and called with a stack that nearly matched Miskei's. Everyone else skedaddled, and Miskei turned over K♠J♥, well behind Greenwood's A♠A♥.

The flop came 7♦6♠K♥ to give Miskei a pair with which to start, but the T♠ turn and Q♣ river didn't help him and suddenly he was down to just 2,000. Greenwood, meanwhile bumped up to about 58,000.

Miskei survived one hand after that, doubling through Greenwood, in fact. But on the next he lost his stack and departed. --MH

4:40pm: KK+KK = GGG
Level 12 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (ante 300)

Nick Petrangelo laid down some pain on a board of 9♣Q♠5♣Q♣5♥, moving all-in on the river even though there was only about 11,000 in the pot. Petrangelo covered his opponent, Kelvin Kerber, and Kerber must have thought he was facing only an aggressive bully with a bark worse than his bite.

That would have been an incorrect assumption. Kerber called with his K♥K♣ and Petrangelo showed his Q♦2♥. "Good game guys," Kerber said on his way out. Petrangelo continued with his massage as he stacked up around 130,000 chips. -- HS

4:30pm: The Tilt King
Level 11 - Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

Pete Chen wears a patch on his shirt that reads 'Tilt King'. After losing this pot, we better hope that's just a brand rather than his nick name.

There was around 50,000 in the middle by the time it got to the river. The board showed 9♦4♦5♥K♥T♠ and Tomas Macnamara checked it to Chen. He led out for 12,000, only for Macnamara to tank-shove for around 44,000.

Chen went into the tank himself, and kept looking at the tournament screen. Whatever he was looking at - the €1.41 million first place prize perhaps - it made him decide on a fold, bringing his stack down to 32,000.

Meanwhile, Macnamara - who finished 89th in this event last year and then went on to final table the EPT13 Malta Main (finishing sixth for €76,790) - is up to around 95,000. --JS

4:25pm: The piechart
Level 11 - Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

From Jordan to Malaysia, the Faroe Islands to Sierra Leone, they have come far and wide to play the PokerStars Championship Barcelona. Of the 1,682 total, an incredible 33 percent of the field have hopped on the first flight from Other to Spain to play this event. It's a busy flight.

The French contingent is the largest, comprising 8 percent of the field. Then it's Germany, UK, Russia and Spain. If only there was some way to represent exactly how the field breaks down...

PSC_Barcelona_2017_Main_Event_player_nationalities.JPG

(Click to enlarge)

4:20pm: Good call, Nordbo, but (alas) gg
Level 11 - Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

It was the right decision, but the wrong result for Thore Nordbo. So, the wrong result.

The board was 3♥T♦5♣J♥, and after a long tank punctuated by the calling of the clock and 50-plus seconds more of thinking, he finally called Juri Mereu's river shove.

Mereu had Nordbo covered, and the latter was committing his last 24,200 with A♥5♥ -- third pair plus a flush draw. Mereu showed his hand, and Nordbo saw he'd made a good call as Mereu had no pair, a gutshot straight draw, and a lesser flush draw with 8♥7♥.

Hang on a second... let's plug that in the hold'em calculator. Okay... here we go -- 35 outs for Nordbo (79.5 percent), and nine for Mereu (20.5 percent).

River time -- 7♣. Boom.

Nordbo audibly exhaled before leaving, while Mereu was all smiles stacking up what is now 130,000. --MH

4:15pm: Juanda eliminated
Level 11 - Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

2015 Barcelona Main Event champ John Juanda has just been eliminated.

His bust-out came after defending a min-open from Nikolaos Triantafullou in the big-blind.

After barrelling on all three streets, including a river shove on the 9♣K♦6♦J♠J♣ board, Triantafullou was screaming strength. But Juanda decided to make the call anyway.

"Straight" said Triantafullou, flipping over the Q♦T♣ immediately. Juanda nodded, before showing K♣T♥ for top pair, and hitting the rail. --DJ

4:10pm: Eight, eight, eight
Level 11 - Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

Chris Moorman wears a logo on his sleeve that we can't talk about at the ever-partisan PokerStars Blog. We put our blinkers on concerning logos that look like Moorman's--and, after the following pot, one suspects Moorman himself is going to look at that logo and wince.

There was about 11,000 in the pot pre-flop, suggesting a late-position raise from Moorman and a call on the button from Brazil's Francisco Pinho Correia. The two of them then saw the flop fall 6♥Q♠8♥.

Moorman bet 5,000 and Correia called, which brought the 3♦ on the turn. Moorman eased up through the gears, bombing a little more now. He put 18,500 out there. Correia called.

The river was the 8♦ and Moorman then moved through the gearbox again, hitting 39,100. Correia called quickly, and Moorman turned over K♥K♦.

Correia flipped over his A♠8♠--three eights on the river. Three of a kind beats two pair.

Moorman silently licked his wounds, counting up a stack of 50,000 left. Correia now has about 140,000. --HS

4:05pm: Stokkan stackin'
Level 11 - Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

A recent hand between Preden Stokkan and Thomas Muehloecker went to the river. One way of describing the board would be to say it started out on all fours, then went clubbing.

That would be a terrible and corny way to describe it, though, so we'll be more specific. The board was 4♠4♦4♣T♣6♣.

There was about 55,000 in the middle, and Stokkan had made a bold all-in push for almost that. Muehloecker tanked and tanked, carving out calling chips and looking over everything a few times before finally calling.

Stokkan quickly turned over J♣J♥ for fours full of jacks, and Muehloecker patted the felt to indicate the hand was good.

Stokkan jumps to 105,000, while Muehloecker still has about 160,000. --MH

3:55pm: There's no eclipsing Sun
Level 11 - Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

Liwei Sun made it 3,200 to go from under the gun and that got a call from the big stack of Aleksandr Gofman. It then folded to the big blind of Pawel Kapczynski and he three-bet squeezed to 13,200, only for Sun to jam for 43,800. Gofman got outta there, but Kapczynski called quickly.

Sun shone brightest with his A♥A♣ over the A♠K♠, and the 4♥4♦Q♣7♦8♥ board kept the pocket rockets out front. Sun is up to around 89,000 now, while Kapczynski drops to 17,000.

Gofman bests them all right now though; he's got 270,000. --JS

3:50pm: ElkY eliminated
Level 11 - Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier was up on the feature table today. The past tense is required here, as he's no longer there, having been eliminated a short while ago.

Grospellier is trying not to be results oriented, but we can't avoid it. We're all about results here at PokerStars Blog. --MH


8G2A9658_PCBAR2017Elky_23Aug17.jpgElkY: OuT

3:45pm: Ullman chips up
Level 11 - Blinds 800/1600 (ante 200)

Online qualifier Nino Ullmann has just eliminated Canadian Ryan McEathron.

I arrived at the table to see McEarthron call Ullmann's all-in on the river. The board read 7♠K♣3♥9♦Q♣. With around 50,000 in the middle and 20,000 behind for McEarthron, the Canadian shrugged before throwing the chips in, realising he was technically priced in to call.

Ullmann flipped over 3♠3♣ for bottom set and McEarthron the K♦T♦ for top pair. Ullmann is now up to 82,700. --DJ

3:40pm: Guerfi gets Piesiewicz
Level 11 - Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

Happening upon Mesbah Guerfi's table, the scene was a little out of the ordinary to a passerby.

Guerfi's hand was tabled -- A♦A♥. But his was the only one. And no, the hand wasn't over, as Bartosz Piesiewicz was still involved and with chips. And Piesiewicz's cards were face down.

What gives?

It was easy enough to surmise that preflop machinations had resulted in a big last bet from Piesiewicz that Guerfi called, with the latter thinking Piesiewicz was all in when in fact he still had a few chips behind -- just 1,650. Guerfi had exposed his hand, then, when the 6♣2♣7♣ flop fell, and as he was first to act he tossed out enough chips to put his opponent all in.

It was a spot where despite the huge pot odds Piesiewicz could theoretically fold in the face of those aces. But he had K♥K♣ and a flush draw, so calling was the play.

The turn was the 6♠ and river the 4♥, meaning the aces held and Piesiewicz is out. Guerfi is back to around 175,000. --MH

3:35pm: Salter doubles just in time for the prize pool
Level 11 - Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

Aleksandr Ovechkin had opened in the lojack and Jack Salter moved all in for his last 28,100 from the cutoff. Ovechkin made a quick call and the cards were on their backs.

Ovechkin: J♥J♦
Salter: K♠K♣

Just as they were waiting for the board, a voice over the microphone proceeded to announce the prize pool.

"Details of the prize pool have been confirmed and we can now announce..."

Flop: 3♥T♦9♥
"A total of 247 players will make the money..."

Turn: 9♥

"...And the winner will receive €1,410,000."

River: Q♠

Salter gave a wince on the turn as he saw his opponent pick up a flush draw, but in the end his kings held up, much to his relief.

Upon hearing the first place prize, Salter seemed impressed. "Nice!" he said, presumably referring to both the massive potential payout, and the fact he was still in the tournament. He's up to 60,000 now. --JS

3:30pm: Bully the bully
Level 11 - Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

Jose Latorre has continued building on yesterday's late surge and still sits pretty at the top of the counts, with around 400,000. How to stop him? Well, the oldest playground maxim possibly holds true: if you encounter a bully, fight back.

Just recently, Latorre opened a pot with a raise to 3,700 from mid-position. Action folded to Leo Margets on the button and she re-popped it to 12,000. What do you know? Latorre shied away. -- HS

3:25pm: Stuer stops Luca
Level 11 - Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

Ivan Luca of Argentina was a late addition to the field, but has become an early exit after he was elminated by Julian Stuer of Germany.

In his last hand Luca three-bet pushed with A♠J♣ only to run into Stuer's Q♣Q♥, and five cards later -- J♦7♠8♣2♣Q♦ -- Luca is out while Stuer bumps up to 80,000. --MH

3:20pm: David Peters out
Level 11 - Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

David Peters has run out of chips here in Level 11 following a climactic hand versus Alessandro Giordano.

After reraise-pushing for a total of 28,500, Peters saw Giordano snap-call him with J♠J♣. The board came T♣8♠A♣Q♠K♠, meaning Giordano finished with a straight and Peters was just plain finished.

Giordano has 90,000 now. --MH

3:15pm: Behbehani doubles through Cowan
Level 11 - Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

Robert Cowan opened to 3,600 and it folded over to Salman Behbehani in the small blind. He took a peek at his cards and three-bet to 10,500, before Cowan put him all in.

There was a bit of confusion around Behbehani's call (I think he was double checking that Cowan had jammed, or he was playfully slow-rolling by asking how much it was for), but in the end he did call it off and flipped over the A♣A♥.

Cowan held the K♣J♦ and the board ran out Q♠7♣3♦T♠T♦ keeping the aces in front. That brings Cowan down to just 7,500, and Behbehani up to 99,000. --JS

3:10pm: Eights bigger than sevens
Level 11 - Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

Must be nice to come back from the break to a stack of around 90,000, find pocket sevens and flop a set, right? Wrong, actually. That was worse case scenario for Eyal Alksnis, who is now on the rail.

The problem was that at the very same time, Vladimir Lappo had pocket eights, a similar stack, and also flopped a set. I don't know when they got all the money in, but Alksnis had to hand over 88,400 for the set-over-set skirmish.

That left Alksnins with about 2,000 in chips--one big blind--and he lost those to Saar Wilf's pocket fives on the next hand. -- HS

3:05pm: Pray silence please...
Level 11 - Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

It's very rare for the entire tournament room to fall silent, but the announcement of the prize-pool usually does it. So it was in Barcelona as the crucial information was read over the microphone:

Players: 1,682
Prize pool: €8.1 million
Places paid: 247
Min-cash: €8,740
First place: €1.410 million

The full breakdown is over there on the payouts page.

2:40pm: Break-time audit
Level 10 - Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 200)

That's the first break of the day as Level 10 draws to a close. The following won't bother returning as they have been knocked out:

Simon Mattsson, Felipe Ramos, Vasili Firsau, Winfred Yu, Jonthan Roy, Martin Finger, Osman Mustanoglu, Koray Aldemir, Pablo Gordillo, Andre Difelice, Georgios Zisimopoulos, Jaroslaw Sikora, Georgios Karakousis, Giada Fang, Paul Berende, Adam Owen and Rui Milhomens.

Current count shows 620 players remaining. -- HS

2:49pm: Midjord between a rock and a hard place
Level 10 - Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 200)

Bekim Murtezi opened with a raise from the hijack seat, one of the few times he had been active during the first two levels today. It would be post-hand conversation that revealed Murtezi had been rock-like so far today, but let's not get ahead of ourselves.

Next to act, Hans Midjord raised to 6,200, then it folded to Gerald Karlic in the small blind who put in a big four-bet, making the situation a bit more hard for Midjord. Making it even more difficult -- Murtezi shoved all in!

Midjord exhaled and with a shrug let his hand go, and Karlic called right away, tabling A♦K♥. Meanwhile Murtezi had K♦9♦, and after the T♦3♥2♣3♦T♠ runout he headed to the exits.

"I did not expect that," said Midjord afterwards with a laugh, revealing he'd had jacks. "I was in an impossible spot," he continued. "He's actually not played any hands all day, so I thought, 'okay, he's strong!'"

Midjord would have won that hand had he stuck around, but he's clearly okay with having made what seemed a reasonable fold. He's got 70,000, Karlic 105,000, and the break is almost here. --MH

2:36pm: Tonkaaaa Issss Outttt
Level 10 - Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 200)

Parker Talbot, aka Tonkaaaa, was just seen walking the halls with a film crew.

Either he's out, or the Twitch star felt this latest vlog couldn't wait another couple of minutes until the break.

Our guess is he's out...and this would prove our hunch correct:

--JS

2:35pm: Mateos takes no prisoners
Level 10 - Blinds 600/1200 (ante 200)

Adrian Mateos is in all-out assault mode.

I arrived to see the Spainard scoop a pot of over 40,000 chips having rivered a straight against Zachary Schwartz.

The very next hand he three-bet an open from Ihar Soika, directly to his right. Soika called, and called again when Mateos c-bet for 7,500 on a 8♠2♣J♥ flop. The turn brought the Q♠, and it didn't slow Mateos down. He led for 35,000, and again Soika came along.

The 6♠ river did slow things down, with both players checking. Each revealed their cards at the same time, with Mateos flipping over K♦K♥ and Soika A♠Q♥. It means Mateos is now sitting on a stack of 115,000. --DJ

2:30pm: Ramos outdrawn
Level 10 - Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 200)

We're sad to report that friend of the Blog and Team Pro Felipe Ramos has been eliminated.


felipe_ramos_23Aug17.jpgOut: Felipe Ramos

We caught up with Ramos in the hallway and he told us that a guy had called his 40,000 shove with queen-jack, which eventually sucked out on his ace-king.

Unlucky Felipe. --JS

2:25pm: Malec mellow in yellow
Level 10 - Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 200)

Young Sebastian Malec memorably won last year's Main Event in Barcelona, occasionally wearing a red hoodie along the way but having donned a bright yellow one at the final table, as captured in many photos taken that day (including his winner's photos).

sebastian_malec_last_year.jpg

Sebastian Malec: Last year's model

An observer stepping into the tournament room today immediately notices Malec, once more wearing yellow, the color standing out as the only yellow in that entire half of the tournament room. It's almost like the Tour de France where as the previous winner he's been designated as such by wearing yellow this time.

Malec is coolly pedalling along at 95,000 at present, playing quietly -- a contrast for those who recall his manic performance during heads-up play a year ago. His stack of 95,000 means he's keeping pace above the average right now with 660 players remaining. --MH

2:20pm: Brian Exposed? Not really
Level 10 - Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 200)

Esposito is the fourth most common surname in Italy, and it's one that belongs to Uruguay's Brian Esposito. The name literally means "to expose", but in this last hand we couldn't expose what Esposito had even if we wanted to.

Picking up the action on the turn of a J♥5♣6♥9♠ board, Kevin Stani led out in the small blind position for 3,800 only to be raised to 18,000 by Terry Nichols. Over to Esposito, he thought for a while before calling, while Stani got out the way.

The river came the T♠ and Nichols went in the tank. Eventually he emerged with a 27,000 bet, and Esposito thought for about half a minute before announcing he was all-in.

Nichols snap-folded and dropped down to 77,000, while Esposito increased to 180,000. Would anyone care to expose what they think Esposito held there? --JS

2:15pm: No flinching
Level 10 - Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 200)

Aleksandar Zuberovski's body language suggested he knew the writing was on the wall.

He was all-in for his last few thousand and had only A♣8♣. To make matters worse he got a call from the player opposite: last year's champion Sebastian Malec.

For his part Malec, who plays one-handed, his other hand gripping his chair, called with J♥9♥. He didn't flinch when the nine hit the flop. Neither did Zuberovski. - SB

2:10pm: "Bluff Jam"
Level 10 - Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 200)

"Bluff Jam" sounds like the title of a 17-minute improvisation by a progressive rock trio, a fan favorite of live performances when the band's frequent transitions suggest all sorts of melodic and rhythmic themes but never quite follow through on any of them.

The hand that just took place between Markus Leikkonen and Nicholas Chouity didn't take 17 minutes, only about three or four. And in fact we're only reporting the finish, a fast fade for Leikkonen.

The board was 3♣7♣7♠T♠6♣, there was around 35,000-ish in the middle, and Leikkonen (playing from the small blind) had open-pushed for 57,900. Chouity tanked, called, and when he saw Leikkonen turn over 4♦4♥ he knew he was good with his A♠A♣.

Leikkonen's bluff jam proved the last thing he played in this tournament. Meanwhile Chouity has 170,000 now. --MH

2:05pm: Bust-outs
Level 10 - Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 200)

Not going to lie, there have been tons of bust-outs already today. We've lost close to 100 people, and that'll probably be about 120 by the time you're reading this.

The following are among those washed away: Alexander Haber, Oliver Huber, Toby Lewis, Dominik Nitsche, Oliver Weis, Jimmy Guerro, Marcin Horecki, Ari Engel, Bryn Kenney, Darie Vlad, Joao Vieira, Alexandros Kolonias, Pete Chen, Massimo Di Cicco, Felix Stephensen, Kent Lundmark, Uri Reichenstein, Christian Grundtvig and Harry Lodge.

Still lots left though:

busy_tournament_room_barcelona_day2.jpg

2pm: No moans from Merone
Level 10 - Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 200)

Italy's Antonio Merone may have lost a small pot to Kenny Hallaert, but he followed that up quickly with a bigger win.

Merone opened the UTG+1 seat to 2,600 and it folded around to Hallaert in the big blind who defended. The two checked it all the way down the J♣8♠J♠6♠9♣ board and Hallaert quickly flipped over the Q♠3♠ for a big blind special flush.

Merone mucked, but flashed the A♠ as he did so. "Were you calling a river bet?" Hallaert asked. "Probably!" Merone answered. Hallaert now has 21,000.

The Italian got straight back to work the next hand, opening under the gun to 2,800. It folded to Yin Zhang on the button and he shoved for his last 19,000 or so, and when it folded back to Merone he snap-called.

Zhang had the A♣K♦, but that was in rough shape against Merone's A♦A♥. Zhang let out a sigh but Merone reassured him.

"I play online," he said. "I've seen it all!"

The dealer then spread a T♣Q♣4♣ flop, giving Zhang a flush draw. "There you go boy!" said Merone.

The board then ran out 3♦ and 8♦, meaning the aces held up. Zhang was eliminated, and Merone stacks up around 115,000.

Lose the small ones, win the big ones. We like Merone's strategy. --JS

1:55pm: Guerfi's stack grows
Level 10 - Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 200)

A drama in one act, starring two poker players, a mess of chips, and playing cards.

Josip Vidovic tried to jump start his tournament with an all-in push of his short stack with A♠J♦, but unfortunately for him Mesbah Guerfi was next door holding A♦K♥ and ready to rumble.

The T♥6♦Q♣ flop tried to introduce some intrigue into the plot.

The 6♥ turn wandered onto the stage, meaninglessly.

And the 4♣ river might as well not even have tried.

Vidovic is out, while Guerfi is a big stack now with 205,000. --MH

1:45pm: Luca doubles through Kavrakov...again
Level 9 - Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

Poor ol' Atanas Kavrakov.

Not only were his aces cracked by Ivan Luca a few moments ago (see post at 1.25pm), Kavrakov got it in good again against Luca just a few moments ago only to get cracked again.

After three-betting Luca's open, all the chips were in the middle pre-flop. Kavrakov flipped over the K♦K♥ and Luca held the A♠J♠. It just seems too easy for Luca, as the A♦ landed on the flop to double him up once more. He now sits on 57,400 and is right back in it. --DJ

1:40pm: Lebed Kruked
Level 9 - Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

Christopher Kruk sat waiting. Ezequiel Lebed was two seats along in the big blind and was midway through that familiar period players might recognise, whereby you listen to your subconscious talk you into calling, or folding.

The board was all dealt: J♦2♣2♠4♠A♣.

Kruk, playing from the button and with his arm resting across the table, had bet 17,600. Finally, after a few minutes, the voice in Lebed's head stopped talking, and he called.

Kruk immediately said: "Ace king". He turned over A♦K♥.

At which point we can only assume the voice in Lebed's head that told him to fold shouted square in the face of the voice that had got him into this mess.

He mucked, leaving Kruk with a stack of 85,000. - SB

1:30pm: Noritsyn felts Difelice
Level 9 - Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

The table folded around to Russia's Artem Noritsyn in the small blind who, with some deliberation, raised to 2,700. Noritsyn is doing most things with deliberation these days as he has a cast on the middle finger on his right hand, adding an extra bit of awkwardness to the handling of cards and chips.

The action was on Andre Difelice of Canada sitting to Noritsyn's left, and after checking his cards he put his stack of about 17,500 forward as an all-in push. Noritsyn had to think about it, as it was clear his hand put him squarely on one of those call-or-fold lines that can be... you know... awkward.

Finally Noritsyn called, showing K♦J♦ and Difelice turned over his A♠T♦. The A♣2♦Q♦ flop improved the latter to a pair of aces, but also provided both a flush draw and a gutshot to Broadway for Noritsyn. The 5♣ landed on the turn, and Difelice was still good. But the T♥ on the river was not.

Noritsyn turned to Difelice and gave a little shrug. Yeah, maybe it seemed a little awkward. But Difelice quickly stood and shook hands with Noritsyn -- left hands, being less awkward -- and wish him good luck.

Noritsyn has about 110,000 now, a stack size well above the average and not awkward at all. --MH

1:25pm: Luca holds on
Level 9 - Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

Ivan Luca has had a cracking week so far. He came third in the €10,300 single day event and fifth in the €50,000 Super High Roller for €322,000.

Back over in the Main Event, however, and fortune hasn't favoured him today. When I walked over to his table he had only 9,000 behind. But that didn't stop him defending a bet of 2,200 from Atanas Kavrakov on the button.

With a board that read T♠2♥9♦, both players eventually got it all-in on the K♣ turn.

Kavrakov flipped over A♥A♠, but Luca showed K♣T♣ for a turned two-pair. He's just about alive and sitting on 23,200. --DJ

1:20pm: Akkari takes a knock
Level 9 - Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

Of all the PokerStars Team Pros who made it through to this Day 2, none had a bigger stack than Andre Akkari. He came into play with 123,300, and despite just losing a healthy-sized pot, he still has more than he took out his bag an hour ago.

There was already a 5♥2♣T♦ flop out there when we arrived, and Akkari was heads up against Ireland's Jamie Whyte in a small blind vs big blind pot (the button was dead).

andre_akkari_day2_barcelona.jpg

Small dip for Akkari

Akkari led out for 1,800 and Whyte called. The turn then came the K♦ and the Brazilian continued for 3,700. Call.

Finally the 4♦ completed the board and Akkari fired once more for 8,500. Whyte snap called and saw his K♥9♠ was outkicking Akkari's K♠3♦.

Whyte increases to 63,000, while Akkari dips to a still-very-healthy 127,000. --JS

1:10pm: Anonymous action
Level 9 - Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

There were rumblings coming from Table 74, so we went over to see what was happening. Two players were arguing, then the floor got involved, and here's what went down.

First off: we didn't see any action, and we were told the action was "pretty inconsequential" anyway. It's what happened after the pot that mattered.

Secondly: everyone at the table requested to stay anonymous. So I'll do my best to honour that request.

"This is one for the Blog!" the guy in Seat 6 called over to me. I went over to get the details.

"Off the record, off the record," he then said, as he wasn't involved in the pot. "If you have to say who told you, say it was this guy," he added, pointing to the seven seat.

"Seat 1 laid his hand down in a pot, and lifted his hand up to show his opponent in Seat 2, who won the pot," we were told.

"Seat 2 then peeked back at his own hand, just enough so that only he could see it. He had no intention of showing. But when he let go of his cards, seat one reached over, grabbed them and flipped them over without Seat 1's consent."

Wow. We're not surprised Seat 2 was angry!

Seat 1 is currently facing a one orbit penalty, and Seat 2 is calming himself down. Seat 6 continues to chuckle, and Seat 7 still has nothing to do with it.

Hopefully you guys appreciate us honouring the request by the players for anonymity.

On an unrelated note, you can check out the full Day 2 seat draw here complete with player names, tables and seats. --JS

1:05pm: Tens fail Fernandez
Level 9 - Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

Alex Fernandez is out, running T♣T♠ into Christian Jeppsson's A♣A♦ then failing to receive any improvement to his hand from the community cards. Jeppsson steps up to 75,000.

The tournament clock shows 790 players remaining. --MH

1pm: Defending champion moving up
Level 9 - Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

Sebastian Malec isn't short of words, either on or off line. How are you getting on today, Seb?

1pm: Joao's jacks smack back Jack
Level 9 - Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

The clock had been called on a motionless, silent Joao Vieira, and having reached the last few seconds the tournament director standing behind the dealer softly intoned the final countdown as he continued to decide.

The board showed 7♠K♠2♠T♦T♣, and Jack Salter had put in a final bet that more than covered Vieira's remaining short stack. The TD got down to "one" in his countdown, and Vieira startlingly flipped a chip over to indicate a call.

Salter let out a quick, humorous exhale. It was a little like someone might do after being punched in the stomach in a way that was more surprising than hurtful. Vieira tabled his hand first -- J♦J♠ -- and Salter had a wide grin on his face as he pushed his cards face down toward the dealer. It was an all-in situation, though, so his cards had to be shown, and everyone his J♥3♥ airball.

Vieira hangs in with 26,000, while Salter still has 64,000. --MH

12:56pm: Panka perishes
Level 9 - Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

There'll be no Main Glory for Dominik Panka here in Barcelona. The 2014 PCA Main Event winner was just seen making his way out of the tournament room. --JS

12:55pm: Greenwood gets there
Level 9 - Blinds 500/1000 (ante 100)

Two of the Greenwood brothers are in town and playing the Main Event - and for part of Day 1A, Sam and Lucas were even sat at the same table.

Back to today though, and Lucas was just involved in a big pot with Vadzim Lipauka. We arrived at the table to see around 30,000 already in the middle with Greenwood first to act on a 2♦7♠6♥ board. He bet out 8,500, and was quickly called by Lipauka.

Action slowed down on the 9♦ turn, with both players checking. It picked up again when the Q♠ landed on the river, with Greenwood leading out with a whopping bet of 25,000. After some deliberation, Lipauka threw in a single calling chip. Greenwood flipped over A♣Q♦ for a rivered top pair, which was enough to scoop the lot. -- DJ

12:50pm: Two more to the list
Level 9 - Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

It turns out that both Bryn Kenney and Emil Patel also slipped into the Day 2 field just before registration closed today. Tournament officials are putting together our full confirmed list, and the prize-pool announcement will follow that. -- HS

12:45pm: Horecki in the dangerzone (again)
Level 9 - Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

Team Pro Marcin Horecki returned today with only 15,300, but he must have got off to a good start. Even after losing this pot he has more than what he started with, but with an sub- 20 blinds stack he's still got work to do.

Picking up the action on a Q♦6♣4♦ flop, Horecki checked to his sole opponent Hirokazu Kobayashi. The Japanese player led out for 2,600 and Horecki called.

That brought a T♥ turn, which both checked. Finally the 7♥ completed the board and Horecki led out for 5,000. Kobayashi snap-called and was best with his K♦T♣ for second pair to Horecki's J♦5♦ for a busted flush draw.

Horecki now has 17,000, while Kobayashi is up to 64,000. --JS

12:40pm: ElkY hits the ground running
Level 9 - Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

Team PokerStars Pro Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier was a late arrival by a few minutes today. We saw him hustling down the hall toward the tournament room, eventually making it to his seat up on the feature table to try to spin his start-of-day stack of 57,700 upwards.

elky_psc_barcelona_day2.jpg

ElkY, on the TV table

ElkY is looking to keep his hot 2017 going after notching a couple of PokerStars Championship Main Event deep runs -- 12th in Monte-Carlo in April, and 13th in Sochi -- then earning a career-high score of over $2.27 million for a runner-up finish in the High Roller for One Drop at the WSOP in early June.

Soon enough Grospellier picked up two black aces and managed to double that stack through Fabian Quoss, and now ElkY is up over the 100,000-chip mark. --MH

12:38pm: Andronache doubles through Roovers
Level 9 - Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

It's always a great feeling when you can get a double up early on. "Start as you mean to go on" and all that.

Romania's Adrian Andronache is experiencing that rush right now courtesy of some chips from Dutch player Mark Roovers.

Andronache opened to 2,400 under the gun and was immediately three-bet to 6,000 by Roovers in the UTG+1 seat. Everyone else folded (including Sergio Aido in the small blind) and when it was back to Andronache he called.

They saw a 5♣6♦8♣ flop and it checked to the last aggressor. Roovers continued for 7,000, only for Andronache to raise it to 17,000. It wasn't quite an all-in, as Andronache left himself around 3,000 behind.

Still, Roovers announced all in and Andronache quickly called.

Andronache: Q♣Q♥
Roovers: T♥T♦

The board ran out with the 2♥ and K♣ and that meant a double for the Romanian. "I guess I was never folding," Roovers said as he handed over the chips.

He's down to 42,000, while Andronache is up to 53,000. --JS

12:36pm: Lakemeier sunk
Level 9 - Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

There are no shortage of all-in clashes happening all around the tournament room. Just now there occurred one more involving two of them -- Jens Lakemeier of Germany and Anvar Muratov of Russia.

After Lakemeier open-pushed from middle position with A♦T♦, Muratov re-raise-pushed over the top from the button with 9♥9♣ and the blinds stepped aside. The board came 2♦5♣5♦8♥2♥, the nines held, and Lakemeier is out. Muratov is still short, though, with about 30,000. --MH

12:35pm: Geshkenbeinomics
Level 9 - Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

He didn't finish with as much as the chip leader last night, but Vladimir Geshkenbein finished the day just as well, eliminating a player and boosting his stack to around 200,000.

That was a rough figure, the adrenaline of a big win on the penultimate hand of the day doing away with any need for precision, and he certainly didn't seem to care.

"My lucky day!" he said, having just instigated a nightmare for the player he despatched with a flopped nut straight.

The Russian former EPT Snowfest winner, now living in Switzerland, is making a rare appearance on the European poker scene, having taken a break from the final year studying economics, he's doing what he always seemed to do, winning. (He also won the ACOP Main Event in Macau last year.)

"I can get a student job or play poker," he said as he bagged-up, suggesting he was more than familiar with the basics of his chosen subject. - SB

12:30pm: Mateos doubles early
Level 9 - Blinds 500/1000 (ante 100)

Spain's all-time money-list #2, Adrian Mateos just secured an early double up. Having won €122,000 for his seventh place finish in last night's €25,500 Single Day High Roller, he only registered for the Main Event today and is already off to a flyer.

When we arrived at his table he was all-in holding A♠5♠ against opponent Goran Mandic's T♣T♠. It was looking good for Prokhorov with only a 5♣ on the board to worry about, until the A♦ landed on the river to send the chips Mateos's way.

Mateos now sits on just over 80,000. --DJ

12:25pm: It's over for Konnikova
Level 9 - Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

Author, podcaster, and poker player Maria Konnikova came back for Day 2 with just a 15,700 stack. A friend of the Blog, she clearly got involved early on today as we've just seen her making her exit through the hallways. GG Maria. --JS

12:20pm: Juanda's running late
Level 9 - Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

John Juanda won this very event in 2015, so it's understandable that he wants to be in his seat for every hand. However, he arrived at Casino Barcelona a little today, and was in a rush to find his chips.

"Anyone know where table six?" Juanda asked the closest table as he dashed into the room.

"There's a chart there," replied a player.

"Ah very good idea!"

Juanda found his table (Table 6) and quickly jogged through the throng. When he got there he found 23,200 stack, and table-mates including high roller regular Alexandros Kolonias.

Still, if Juanda isn't able to make a deep run in this one he's still had a pretty solid year. Like "$2 million in tournament winnings" kinda solid. --JS

12:15pm: One and done for Assoulin
Level 9 - Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

Avraham Assoulin came back to a short stack to begin Day 2, and after one hand his tournament run is over.

Assoulin looked down at K♥J♥ in the cutoff and put his last 9,700 forward, then watched as Georgios Karakousis three-bet from the small blind to isolate with A♦K♠.

A board of 7♦4♦6♣9♠7♠ was of no use to Assoulin, and he's out. --MH

12:10pm: Newbies
Level 9 - Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

It looks like 11 players sneaked in at the death:

Georgios Vrakas
Adrian Mateos
Emanuel Kristan
Ambrose Ng
Alexander Petersen
Broskij Krijn Michiel
Tino Lechich
Raul Martinez Gallego
Pedro Marques
Sergio Aido
Marko Neumann

We'll confirm that as and when we get it rubber stamped.

12:05pm: Day 2 begins
Level 9 - Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

The registration door has slammed shut on PokerStars Championship Barcelona. It's like the big stone that descends gradually, threatening to trap the heroes the wrong side. We'll soon have the list of people who just rolled under it at the last minute: Indiana Jones is one, but who else?

11am: Welcome back to Barcelona

The sun is shining, the temperature is pushing 30 degrees, and the ice cream store just opened. It's a beautiful day to move indoors and watch some poker.


NEIL6862_PCBAR2017Festa_Major_De_Gracia_23Aug17.jpg

It's Day 2 of the Main Event, when the number on the tournament clock starts to go down rather than up. Play starts at noon at Casino Barcelona with live updates on the Blog through to the end tonight. You can also watch the action for yourself as the PokerStars Live broadcast starts today. You'll find that by clicking here (when coverage goes live).

More details to follow of what's in store. Kick off is less than an hour away. -- SB


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

PokerStars Blog reporting team on the €5,000 Main Event: Howard Swains, Jack Stanton, Stephen Bartley, Martin Harris and Alex Villegas. Photography by Neil Stoddart.


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Live reporting team
@PokerStars in Barcelona