The afternoon is edging away here at the Atlantis. The once-packed Imperial Ballroom is still active with remaining side events and our two marquee final tables. But time is running out in Paradise.
Unfortunately for two of the final five in the PCA Main Event, their days have concluded, leaving but three to battle for the trophy and $1,491,580 prize.
Down under 20 big blinds, Juan Martin Pastor at last found what appeared a prime spot with A♣K♦, but alas for the Argentinian Kevin Schulz woke up with A♥A♦ on the button. Five cards later Pastor’s PCA Main Event had moved into the past tense, with $380,720 his prize for finishing fifth.
How was the often-smiling Pastor afterwards? Still smiling.
“I’m happy,” he said, referring in particular to all of the encouragement he received during his run both here and online. “I love when people are supporting me.”
Pastor had a significant crowd here cheering him on, and while they didn’t quite match the loudness of those at the end-of-year party marking his achieving Supernova Elite we were chronicling a couple of days back, they nonetheless added some revelry from the rail.
Online the tweets and messages were constant this afternoon for Pastor, in part because he sold 1% of his action to close friends and students he coaches. “I received like millions of messages supporting me,” he grinned, then explained how he’ll be found back on the LAPT as well as online playing cash games — “which is my job.”
The hand extended Schulz’s lead, but soon after the German Niklas Hambitzer surged ahead of Schulz not long after a clash between them in which an ace in his hand and two more on the flop proved a Hambitzer helper.
Diego Ventura then doubled a short stack through Chance Kornuth, continuing to chip up thereafter. Kornuth responded by claiming more four-handed pots, moving back to the top of the counts while Hambitzer slipped back again to become fourth of four, then Schulz pushed back ahead — becoming the first to 10 million.
The back-and-forthing continued, with Kornuth consistently the most active and agressive. Not to keep drawing on the obvious pun, but with the hindsight benefit of delayed cards-up coverage, it was Chance taking the most chances — such as when hero-calling with queen-high a river bet by Schulz.
Before long Schulz was over 14 million, nearly three times that of his nearest foe. Kornuth then doubled through Hambitzer, his ace-seven fading the latter’s king-jack. There was drama, though, as both a king and seven flopped, but a lucky seven fell on fifth street to save Kornuth.
A Ventura open and a button call from Schulz then elicted a squeeze-shove from Hambitzer, and only Schulz came along. The German’s ace-queen appeared solid versus Schulz’s queen-nine, but two nines by the turn left Hambitzer drawing dead, and the last European of the tournament was out in fourth for $482,820.
It was a hard-luck end for Hambitzer, although for just his second live tournament it had to be a satisfying result.
While anything can happen, Schulz’s big advantage positions him well with three to go.
Meanwhile on the neighboring table, Schulz’s roommate here in the Bahamas, Faraz Jaka, is still battling at the High Roller final table.
Our Sarah Herring spoke with Jaka about his journey from the bottom of the counts to start the day to average-stack status to begin the High Roller final table, as well as his support of Schulz over in the Main. Take a look:
Follow all the action from the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure on PokerStars Blog. Everything from the Main Event is on the Main Event page and check out High Roller reports here on the PokerStars Blog as well. Follow the live stream, too, at EPT Live.
Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.