Monday, 20th March 2023 19:56
Home / Events / After PSPC bubble bursts, Scott Baumstein leads final 38

What a whirlwind day at the Atlantis. To start with the end-of-day headlines, the $25K PokerStars Players Championship has reached the money. Just 38 players remain. And New Yorker Scott Baumstein leads the way with a big stack of 4.74 million.

Let’s back up to the noon hour, when this exciting, pivotal day in this historic event began.

Day 3 begins

In most tournaments, players min-cashing is, well, kind of a min-story, hardly close to the headlines later to come. But the PSPC is hardly like most tournaments.

Never mind the $26,455,500 prize pool. No, wait… strike that. Mind it. A lot. The top 181 finishers are getting to divide up all those riches, which is enough to make the PSPC something special.

Add to that the fact that nearly a third of those playing this event won their entries over the course of the last year-plus, meaning even a minimum cash of $25,450 would represent something special — in some cases, a poker highlight of a lifetime.

Those factors surely at least partly explain why today’s bubble was so darn difficult to burst. There were 207 returners from the 1,039-player starting field, and it took a little over an hour-and-a-half for 25 of them to be sent railward, with Team PokerStars Pros Celina Lin and Leo Fernandez, Darren Millar, Omar Del Pino, and Frank Ditz among the unlucky.

Ditz went out in a kings-versus-aces scenario — a preview of sorts to how the tournament finally reached the money.

It would be another hour-and-a-half before the next knockout. There were bubble-ups™ to be sure, with J.C. Alvarado, Jacqueline Burkhart, and Andrei Kurov all doubling with 182 left (Burkhart and Kurov both with quads). Finally Paul Leckey of Ireland put his stack at risk versus Tianle Wang.

Alas for Leckey he had kings and Wang aces, and five cards later they’d made it to the money.

Paul Leckey, out in 182nd

Leckey took more than a story away, though, as he was awarded a package for EPT Monte Carlo in the spring for a consolation prize.

The late afternoon and early evening saw bustouts happen at a high clip, during which time start-of-day leader Farid Jattin remained in front for a time, with Luigi Knoppers, Ramon Colillas, and Jason Koonce each eventually taking turns at the top.

Koonce was king of the counts for a while

Then came the night’s pivotal hand (see below, 9:16pm), and the largest pot of the tournament thus far, when Baumstein with pocket queens called start-of-day leader Farid Jattin’s five-bet jam with ace-king, and after the queens held Baumstein was over 4 million. Soon after that Baumstein grabbed the lead from Koonce to bag the most at the finish.

Along the way more than two dozen Platinum Pass winners made the money along with and a host of notables, including all three brothers Greenwood — Luc (98th), Sam (49th), and Max (47th). Two Team PokerStars Online members made it the money as well — Ben Spragg and Felix Schneiders — with both enjoying largest career cashes.

Spraggy made the money…

…as did Felix

Check the payouts page to see who has finished where.

It’s been a long day, lasting more than 10 hours sans dinner break thanks to the lengthy hand-for-hand bubble sequence. It’ll probably be a long night for the final 38, nine of whom are Platinum Pass holders — Ramon Colillas, Mikita Badziakouski, Joao Barbosa, Pedro Padilha, Adrian Echave Samu, Atanas Pavlov, Marc Rivera, Michael Robionek, and Jacqueline Burkhart — eager as they’ll be to come back tomorrow. Click here for a look at everyone’s counts to start tomorrow’s Day 4.

After all, no less than six of them will be earning at least a million dollars this week, and one the trophy and $5.1 million first prize. More than enough to get the mind wandering a bit.

Rested or not, they’ll be back in their seats tomorrow at 12 noon to continue their tourney journeys. We’ll be back then as well. Until then, good night from the Atlantis. –MH

Day 3 coverage archive

• PLAYERS: 38 (of 1,039)
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10:35pm: Final hand bust for Paszkiewicz
Level 24 – Blinds 20,000/40,000 (BB ante 40,000)

With the clock paused and the chip bags ready to go, Platinum Pass winner Dariusz Paszkiewicz got all of his chips in with K♥Q♦. He was called by Julien Martini who had the best of it with A♦J♦.

He really had the best of it after the J♥A♠J♣ flop gave Martini a boat. Drawing dead, the 7♣4♦ turn and river changed nothing, and Paszkiewicz said goodbyes.

Martini’s up to 3.35 million now with a matter of minutes left on the day. –JS

10:30pm: Last three hands
Level 24 – Blinds 20,000/40,000 (BB ante 40,000)

The 39 remaining players are playing the last three hands of the night and then bagging will commence. — HS

10:25pm: West dips south…way south in final minutes of Day 3
Level 24 – Blinds 20,000/40,000 (BB ante 40,000)

Yiannis Liperis just destroyed Jonathan West’s stack on the fourth-to-last hand of the night. With the board reading 9♦T♦6♠K♠, the river came out the 4♦. Liperis took all of his allotted 30 seconds and then announced he was all in for 935,000. West had a decision to make. He had Liperis covered but not by much. After taking his 30 seconds, West couldn’t find the fold. Liperis showed him the notes: A♦5♦. West was left with 300,000. Liperis has nearly 2 million as we prepare to end the night. –BW

10:20pm: Felix Schneiders falls
Level 24 – Blinds 20,000/40,000 (BB ante 40,000)

He may have won the PokerStars red spade last longer, but sadly Felix “xflixx” Schneiders’ PSPC is now over.

Platinum Pass winner Ramon Colillas opened to 85,000 under the gun and it folded to Schneiders on the button. He ripped it in for 505,000, and when Colillas got a count he made the call.

Schneiders flipped over 9♥9♦, proclaiming he had the “Stars nuts”. Unfortunately for him, Colillas had T♣T♠.

Felix Schneiders: Don’t look back in anger

The flop provided some entertainment. It fell 8♠9♣T♦, giving both players a set.

“There’s one nine,” Schneiders laughed. “Now I need another.”

It was always a big ask with only one remaining, and the case nine didn’t appear on the river. Instead, it was the 6♥.

Schneiders cashes for $61,900, almost ten times his total career cashes to date. Colillas is up to 2.5 million now. –JS

10:15pm: O’Brien shoves (eventually) to double up through West
Level 24 – Blinds 20,000/40,000 (BB ante 40,000)

It was one of those hands that got a bit confusing.

First Dan O’Brien appeared to move all-in, but had actually bet 500,000 (leaving himself not much behind). The action folded to Jonathan West who called, thinking he was calling an all-in, before being warned not to show his cards.

Instead they saw a flop: 8♥5♦Q♦

At this point West moved all-in. There was nothing left for O’Brien to do but call, although not until he’d burned through four time-bank cards, on the off chance others elsewhere would bust and move him up the payouts.

“I respect that,” said West, and there followed some good-natured fun until, with second left to count down, O’Brien called.

O’Brien: A♠Q♥
West: A♣K♥

The turn J♦ and river 7♣ kept O’Brien in the tournament, up to around 1 million. West slips to 1.4 million. – SB

10:10pm: Setting the tone
Level 24 – Blinds 20,000/40,000 (BB ante 40,000)

The secondary feature table broke when we got down to 40 players and Jackie Burkhart went to go find her new table.

Her spot was to Griffin Benger’s left and she was under the gun her first hand. She hadn’t even finished setting down her bag when she moved all-in.

“Boom!” Burkhart said. “Like to show you guys what I’m all about. Set the tone.”

Action folded around and Burkhart took down the pot.

Florian Duta then raised to 80,000 from early position the next hand and Burkhart called from the big blind. The flop came K♦7♣2♠ and Burkhart folded to a continuation bet. She’s still short with 560,000, but the tone is set. She’s looking to play. –AV

10:05pm: Jiang busts Celestino, now up to 1.5 million
Level 24 – Blinds 20,000/40,000 (BB ante 40,000)

Sosia Jiang’s run continues. This time it’s Ariel Celestino who she has knocked out (albeit while too afraid to look).

Jiang opened for 85,000 before Celestino shoved for 280,000. Jiang asked for a count, then moved all-in to force out the others.

Jiang: Q♣Q♦
Celestino: A♥7♣

Jiang got up and moved away from the table, focusing on the TV stage rather than her own table. She needn’t have worried.

The board came: 2♣5♦8♠6♣5♣

Celestino is out of the PSPC. Jiang now has 1.55 million. – SB

10pm: Bicknell clings…holds…doubles
Level 23 – Blinds 15,000/30,000 (BB ante 30,000)

“Can we just take the chips back?” Kristin Bicknell said as she tabled her pocket black jacks.

“Yeah,” Luke Marsh said. He was more than willing. He was behind with 8♠9♠. And as walked up as the money went in, we’re not entirely sure how they got it in. Regardless, they did, and Bicknell had immediate reason to feel like she was right about the danger.

Marsh flopped a nine and a spade on a 9♦K♥6♠ board. Then came the flush draw with the A♠. Bicknell looked sick for a moment, but the river was a blank leaving her almost speechless and holding two fingers to her carotid artery. She now has more than 1.6 million. Marsh is down to 1.3 million. –BW

9:50pm: Gregg coolers Padilha
Level 24 – Blinds 20,000/40,000 (BB ante 40,000)

It’s always a good time to find pocket aces. But it’s especially good when an opponent has pocket kings.

Tony Gregg kicked this one off with a hijack open to 60,000, and was then three-bet by Pedro Padilha to 210,000 one seat over. Back to Gregg, he jammed for 675,000 total, and was snap-called.

Tony Gregg and aces: Doesn’t need ’em, but he’ll take ’em

Gregg had A♣A♥ while Padilha was coolered with K♠K♣, and found no help on the 9♦3♠T♣2♠6♥ runout.

Gregg doubles 1.44 million, while Padilha dips top 740,000. –JS

9:45pm: Pavlov purring
Level 23 – Blinds 15,000/30,000 (BB ante 30,000)

Atanas Pavlov, our Platinum Pass holder from Bulgaria, has been quiet of late, but he has just risen to more than 1 million again after winning a pot from Farid Jattin. Jattin, the overnight chip leader, is in a bit of a slump.

Jattin limped the button and Jack O’Neill called from the small blind. Pavlov checked his option in the big blind and the three of them took to the Q♠8♥J♠ flop. It went check, check, then a bet of 35,000 from Jattin. Only Pavlov called.

The 9♦ turn brought another check from Pavlov and another bet from Jattin. This one was 90,000. Then another call, leading to the 6♣ river.

This time they both made cagey checks and Pavlov turned over his J♥4♠. Second pair was good as Jattin mucked.

Jattin is now down to 850,000 while Pavlov moves to 1.1 million. — HS

9:45pm: Speaking of freeroll players
Level 23 – Blinds 15,000/30,000 (BB ante 30,000)

The Russian Cinderella story, Andrei Kurov, busted in 51st place tonight. He won an all-in shootout associated with the Poker in the Ears podcast. He very rarely plays for money at all. Despite his good fortune, no one saw him crack a smile for three days.

“I was afraid to scare off luck after the first day,” he said. Now I can relax and talk. I was very focused on the game. I really liked the process itself, when you need to outwit the opponent. And I can say that I am not completely satisfied.”

Kurov felt like he didn’t play to his full ability and he’s going to sit out the side events for now, or at least until he feels better about the bigger money he could have won and instead focus $69,100 he actually won…money which is, after all, a lot for a freeroll player. –BW

9:42pm: Johnson over Jiang
Level 23 – Blinds 15,000/30,000 (BB ante 30,000)

A double up for Christopher Johnson, whose K♠K♦ stayed good when he got it all in pre-flop against Sosia Jiang’s 5♣5♦. Johnson’s shove was for 380,000, so he now has the best part of 800,000. Jiang has 965,000 still. (The board, for the completists, was 3♣Q♥4♠T♥.) — HS

9:38pm: Sven sacked
Level 23 – Blinds 15,000/30,000 (BB ante 30,000)

Not even Sven McDermott’s opponent wanted to see him go. He’d gone all in for about 350,000 and Jon West called.

McDermott showed 8♥8♠ and West showed A♦Q♥ for a flip. Jackie Burkhart and other tablemates wished McDermott good look. Even West said he’d like to split the pot and see McDermott stay.

“How about a chop?” West suggested. “Something crazy like two, two, two, two, ace.”

Other tablemates suggested ways both players could win and McDermott could stay in the game. The 6♠Q♦2♦T♣7♥ board that fell wasn’t one of them though.

McDermott’s PSPC came to an end while West chipped up to 3.1 million. –AV

9:36pm: Jussi Nevanlinna knocked out by Sosia Jiang
Level 23 – Blinds 15,000/30,000 (BB ante 30,000)

Jussi “Calvin7v” Nevanlinna, who won his Platinum Pass by topping the SCOOP leader board, is the latest to bust the PSPC.

He shoved for 570,000, then covered his face with his t-shirt waiting for what happened next.

Sosia Jiang called, and wasn’t too keen on looking either, spending the rest of the table standing, and looking in the other direction.

Jiang: T♦T♣
Nevanlinna: K♦Q♦

The board came 2♣J♦4♥8♣3♣

Jiang finally looked back and wished Nevanlinna well. He did the same before heading for the rail.

Jiang now has 1.4 million. – SB

9:34pm: Knoppers cuts down Olivieri
Level 23 – Blinds 15,000/30,000 (BB ante 30,000)

Felipe Olivieri is out. His last hand saw the Argentinian all in with A♥8♦ versus the Dutchman Luigi Knoppers’s A♥9♥, and when the board brought no improvement to Olivieri he headed to the payout desk.

Knoppers is back to 1.955 million. –MH

9:33pm: Liang falls to Liperis
Level 23 – Blinds 15,000/30,000 (BB ante 30,000)

Patrick Liang is the latest player to depart.

After Scott Stewart opened to 60,000, Yiannis Liperis three-bet to 200,000 on the button. Liang was in the small blind with just 160,000 and called all-in, before Stewart folded.

Liang had the best of it with J♦J♥ versus Liperis’ 4♣4♥. He even stood up for extra equity.

“They say if you stand up, you usually win,” said Liang.

“If you have pocket jacks against pocket fours, you usually win too,” joked Liperis.

This hand was therefore unusual, as the Q♦9♣4♦ flop gave Liperis a set. The Q♥ turn and K♥ river didn’t improve Liang, and he was sent to collect his winnings.

Liperis is sitting with 2.4 million now. –JS

9:26pm: So…about that slow roll
Level 23 – Blinds 15,000/30,000 (BB ante 30,000)

So, back around bubble time, we told you about Michael Robionek and a slow roll…one where he took nearly two minutes to call with aces versus Franz Ditz’s kings. Ditz was understandably perturbed, but we told you to not hold Robionek in too much contempt. Here’s why.

“My strategy to start the day,” he said this afternoon, “was to not be dealt aces before the bubble.”

See, the $25,000 he would get for making it into the money was important. More so than it would be for most folks.

“I had to borrow money to fly here,” he said this morning.

Michael Robionek

Robionek made us promise not to mention any of this until the bubble popped, because he felt certain, if others knew how much he needed the money, they would exploit that fact at every opportunity on the bubble.

Robionek lost his job two years ago. He’s not had much success in finding a steady income since then.

So, why, one might ask, would he be playing poker? Why would someone who didn’t have discretionary cash be in any position to put money into a poker game? Answer: he didn’t.

Until today, Robionek’s lifetime poker earnings were €80, He’d never played anything but freerolls on PokerStars until he won his Platinum Pass in the Human Lie Detector competition. He didn’t make a deposit until that point either.

So, there he was…on a $25,000 bubble and wondering…could he actually afford to lose with aces when waiting just a little bit longer could mean literally life-changing money for him? So, he thought. And he thought some more. And ultimately he decided that if he couldn’t call with aces there, he probably shouldn’t be playing anyway. And so he did. And hence…the slowroll.

Yeah, it sucked for Ditz, who is a genuinely nice guy and didn’t deserve it. In any case, with this info, it’s easier to understand.

Oh, and then there’s this…Robionek is still in with 45 players left and around 500,000 in chips. –BW

9:25pm: Rettenmaier calls well against Liang
Level 23 – Blinds 15,000/30,000 (BB ante 30,000)

Patrick Liang is down to his last 310,000, but as Dan O’Brien noted, he is still smiling. Liang lost a big pot to Marvin Rettenmaier in which the much decorated German player made a shrewd river call.

Liang began proceedings with a raise to 75,000 from early position. Rettenmaier was in the big blind and action folded to him. Rettenmaier called.

They then saw the 2♣J♠A♠ flop and Rettenmaier check-called Liang’s 75,000 bet.

After the 9♠ turn and a check from Rettenmaier, Liang had a peek at his cards. He checked behind.

The 9♣ completed the board and Rettenmaier checked again. Liang bet 100,000 and Rettenmaier thought about it for a while but tossed out a single white chip to call.

Liang showed his Q♠Q♣, which was pretty at the start but was now second-best to Rettenmaier’s A♦5♦.

Rettenmaier has 950,000. — HS

9:19pm: Bicknell doubles
Level 23 – Blinds 15,000/30,000 (BB ante 30,000)

Kristen Bicknell had the Poker Gods to thank after she doubled up through Talal Shakerchi.

Doubling up: Kristen Bicknell

After Shakerchi opened for 65,000, Bicknell shoved from the small blind. Shakerchi called.

Shakerchi: A♦Q♣
Bicknell: A♠T♠

Bicknell’s help arrived on the turn.


Shakerchi, down to 1.3 million, exhaled and shook his head slightly, but that was all.

“Thank you Poker Gods,” said Bicknell, now up to 1.1 million. – SB

9:16pm: Baumstein wins 4 million-chip pot
Level 23 – Blinds 15,000/30,000 (BB ante 30,000)

What was probably the biggest pot of the tournament so far — chip-wise, that is — just played out between Scott Baumstein and Farid Jattin, with all those chips going in the middle before the flop.

The hand began with Baumstein raising to 75,000 from middle position, and the table folded around to Jattin in the big blind who made it 325,000 to go. Action back on Baumstein, he spent a time bank card before four-betting to 755,000. Jattin paused a beat, then announced he was reraising all in and Baumstein called right away to put his entire stack of 1.985 million at risk.

Jattin: A♦K♥
Baumstein: Q♠Q♥

The first four cards were small ones — the 5♣5♥3♦ flop and 7♠ turn — and the Q♣ river only helped Baumstein even more. He’s now sitting at just over 4 million, while start-of-day leader Jattin slips to 1.1 million. –MH

9:13pm: 0.00% Greenwood
Level 23 – Blinds 15,000/30,000 (BB ante 30,000)

The PSPC is now Greenwoodless. The last Greenwood, the one of the Max variety, fell courtesy of Mikita Badziakouski.

There was an under-the-gun raise to 65,000 and then action folded to Greenwood’s button. He moved all-in for 620,000 and Badziakouski re-shoved from the big blind. There was a fold and action went heads-up.

Greenwood turned over A♦Q♣ and Badziakouski showed a dominating A♥K♥. The flop came down 9♥T♣5♣ and Greenwood wiggled his Q♣. Running clubs could still save him. Then the turn brought the 3♥.

Greenwood needed a queen, but the river brought the A♣ instead. The last Greenwood hit the rail while Badziakouski chipped up to 1.6 million. –AV

9:10pm: Sanchez falls to Duta
Level 23 – Blinds 15,000/30,000 (BB ante 30,000)

Joaquin Sanchez’s PokerStars Players Championship run has ended, with the Spaniard’s last hand coming against Florian-Dimitrie Duta of Romania.

Sanchez had put his chips at risk behind 8♠8♣ and was up against Duta’s A♥K♠, but the T♠Q♥J♠ flop swiftly gave Duta a hammerlock on the hand. The A♠ turn opened up the door slightly to a possible chop, but the river was the 2♣ and Sanchez is out in 48th.

Duta is on 1.635 million now. –MH

9:08pm: The field is now just 0.48% Greenwood
Level 23 – Blinds 15,000/30,000 (BB ante 30,000)

We’ve lost another Greenwood.

Sam Greenwood.

He’s one of the toughest players in any tournament, but his run has come to an end late on Day 2. Down to 325,000, Greenwood open-shoved under the gun and was called by Julien Martini one seat over. Everyone else folded.

Greenwood: J♣T♣
Martini: A♦Q♥

Greenwood found some help on the turn of the 2♠4♣5♠T♠, but his hand couldn’t hold through the A♥ river.

Martini’s up to 2.9 million now, and the Greenwood clan now has only Max in the race. –JS

9:04pm: Martini edges past Jattin
Level 23 – Blinds 15,000/30,000 (BB ante 30,000)

Farid Jattin and Julien Martini are jostling for the chip lead on their table, and a recent pot just gave the latter the edge.

It was just the two of them to a flop of J♠7♣9♥ at which point Martini check-called Jattin’s bet of 60,000. (Martini was under the gun and Jattin on the button.)

They both checked the J♦ turn and then Martini bet 260,000 on the 9♦ turn.

Jattin called pretty quickly, but mucked when Martini showed his A♦9♠.

It put Martini up to about 3.25 million, which is a whisker more than Jattin’s 3.15 million. — HS

Julien Martini

9:03pm: The field is now just 0.48% Greenwood
Level 23 – Blinds 15,000/30,000 (BB ante 30,000)

We’ve lost another Greenwood.

Sam Greenwood.

He’s one of the toughest players in any tournament, but his run has come to an end late on Day 2. Down to 325,000, Greenwood open-shoved under the gun and was called by Julien Martini one seat over. Everyone else folded.

Greenwood: J♣T♣
Martini: A♦Q♥

Greenwood found some help on the turn of the 2♠4♣5♠T♠, but his hand couldn’t hold through the A♥ river.

Martini’s up to 2.9 million now, and the Greenwood clan now has only Max in the race. –JS

9:02pm: Baumstein battles Jattin
Level 23 – Blinds 15,000/30,000 (BB ante 30,000)

Scott Baumstein opened to 75,000 and his only caller was Farid Jattin out of the big blind. Jattin checked when the Q♦9♣3♦ flop was dealt, and Baumstein continued for 90,000.

Jattin had a plan though, three-betting to 285,000 and putting the heat on Baumstein. He’d stick around though, and the dealer laid the K♠ turn. Both opted to slow down and check.

The J♥ completed the board and Jattin was done with betting. He checked again, and Baumstein was able to take it down with a 385,000 bet.

He’s up to 2.7 million now, while Jattin dips a little to 3.5 million. –JS

8:57pm: Johnson doubles against aces
Level 23 – Blinds 15,000/30,000 (BB ante 30,000)

Christopher Johnson just cracked aces to stay alive in the PSPC.

He shoved with 3♣3♥ which Ramon Colillas called with A♥A♦. But the board was kind to Johnson.


His shove was for 245,000, which moves him up past 500,000. Colillas drops slightly to 2.4 million. – SB

8:55pm: Benger bings Neves
Level 23 – Blinds 15,000/30,000 (BB ante 30,000)

Griffin Benger raised to 65,000 and then Helio Neves, who was down to 350,000, moved all-in from the button. Action folded back around to Benger and he called with A♠9♥.

Griffin Benger: Happy

Neves showed K♥J♥ and needed to improve, but the 7♠6♠4♦T♥7♦ board didn’t comply. Neves won $69,100 for finishing 50th while Benger chipped up to 1.8 million. –AV

8:45pm: Double for O’Brien
Level 23 – Blinds 15,000/30,000 (BB ante 30,000)

Dan O’Brien started the level as the tournament short stack with 195,000, but doubled it all but instantly.

The hand began with Yiannis Liperis opening to 65,000 under the gun and Mikita Badziakouski three-betting to 195,000. That was precisely O’Brien’s stack, so when O’Brien said he was all-in and the dealer deployed the triangle it was only actually a call.

That’ll do for Dan O’Brien

Liperis didn’t want to tangle and folded. (He had about a million back, which was right about the same as Badziakouski.) So two players started a race for O’Brien’s tournament life.

O’Brien: 6♠6♦
Badziakouski: K♠J♦

There was nothing for the over-cards through a board of 8♦5♠T♦5♥9♦ and O’Brien stays alive. Badziakouski has 850,000 and O’Brien is up to 480,000. — HS

8:35pm: Robionek running well in more ways than one
Level 23 – Blinds 15,000/30,000 (BB ante 30,000)

At the start of the new level, there came an announcement we’ve heard many times already during this tournament. The drawing to see which table would win free 30-minute massages was conducted yet again, and this time Table 3 was the lucky one to be picked.

Of course, now that there are fewer tables, the chances of winning the free massage have gone up considerably for all those left. In fact, Platinum Pass winner Michael Robionek has already won the free massages three times, and his table was giving him some playful grief for having been at the lucky table so often.

The German sat back in his chair with a “what-can-I-say” grin, pointing to his stack of about 650,000 representing his survival in the event.

“A chip and a chair… and a massage,” he laughed. –MH

8:10pm: Break time

The big board is showing just 50 players are left to take what will be the last break of the night, this one for 30 minutes. Stay tuned, as complete updated counts for everyone are on their way. –MH

8:09pm: Shakerchi sends Kurov to the rail
Level 22 – Blinds 10,000/25,000 (BB ante 25,000)

The last hand of the level proved a big one. Andrei Kurov busted and Talal Shakerchi moved up to 1.8 million.

On a board of 2♦T♣T♦8♠ Kurov was all-in with J♦J♣. Shakerchi had A♣T♠

The river was the 9♠ which ended Kurov’s PSPC. – SB

Talal Shakerchi

8:07pm: Koonce crushes Vogelsang and Kanit
Level 22 – Blinds 10,000/25,000 (BB ante 25,000)

A huge, huge hand here at the PokerStars Players Championship (PSPC), not only because of the number of chips in the pot, but also because two of poker’s finest players have been sent packing at the same time.

Both Mustapha Kanit and Christoph Vogelsang have been knocked out in a major skirmish against Jason Koonce. The man once best known for having a name that looked like a typo of another high roller is now leading the biggest tournament of its kind in his own right. Yes, Koonce is not a typo, and neither is this: he has more than 4.5 million now.

The hand played out as follows: Vogelsang open-pushed his last 300,000 or so from early position. Kanit then three-bet shoved his 515,000 from the cutoff. Koonce, in the small blind, looked at his cards and reshoved from a stack already north of 3 million, and after the big blind got out the trio tabled their cards.

Koonce: K♣K♥
Vogelsang: A♥Q♠
Kanit: A♠K♦

The flop kept the leader in the lead, but left Kanit’s outs still live. It came 8♠4♥J♣. Vogelsang actually picked up a chance to win it outright when the 9♦ came on the turn. He could now win with any ten.

Kanit pointed towards his ace, but the dealer could only deliver the 5♣, and that helped nobody but the man with the kings.

And with that, Koonce became the king, vaulting him to the top of the leader board and sending Kanit and Vogelsang out the door. — HS

8:06pm: Burkhart crosses 1 million
Level 22 – Blinds 10,000/25,000 (BB ante 25,000)

“Everyone takes a picture when they get to 1 million right?” Jacqueline Burkhart asked.

She whipped out her phone, put up a Snapchat story and asked Felix Schneider to take another picture of her.

Burkhart doubled up not too long ago, but then she took down back-to-back pots and chipped up to 1.1 million.

Ariel Silveiro raised to 55,000 from under the gun the first hand and Burkhart called from the button. The blinds folded and the flop came A♥9♦6♠. Silveiro bet 40,000 and Burkhart called. The turn brought the 3♦ and a check from Silveiro. Burkhart bet 175,000 and it was good enough to take down the pot.

Samuel Tsehai raised to 55,000 from middle position the following hand and Burkhart called from the cutoff. Silveiro did the same from the big blind and that flop came down 8♠4♦2♥.

Tsehai bet 80,000 when checked to and both players called. The A♦ came on the turn and this time action checked to Burkhart. She bet out 225,000 and, once again, her turn bet took down the pot.

Burkhart is now up to 1.1 million. –AV

8:05pm: Liperis leaves Li with little
Level 22 – Blinds 10,000/25,000 (BB ante 25,000)

Talk about an action flop.

Yan Li and Yiannis Liperis just clashed in an enormous all-in pot, with Li just covering Liperis. She had Q♦J♦ while Liperis held A♠T♠, and the flop read 5♣Q♠J♠. Li’s top two pair needed to dodge a spade or king, but the 9♠ turn meant it was now her who needed help.

She found none on the K♥ river, and drops from around 900,000 down to just 65,000.

Liperis is up to 1.95 million now. –JS

7:59pm: Walk like an IrEgption
Level 22 – Blinds 10,000/25,000 (BB ante 25,000)

Patrick “IrEgption” Tardif’s tournament just reached its end.

Adrian Echave opened the betting for 50,000 in the hijack seat and Damien Le Goff moved in for exactly 100,000 in the cutoff. Then Tardif jammed for 320,000 on the button, clearing out the blinds, and Echave called quickly. They turned up their cards:

Echave: J♦J♣
Le Goff: A♥K♥
Tardif: 7♣7♦

The board ran out 3♥4♦T♠K♦8♠ and Tardif’s stack was split between his two opponents. Echave is now on 1.1 million; Le Goff, 350,000. –JK

Echave-in’ a lot of chips

7:54pm: Baumstein up to 1.8 million
Level 22 – Blinds 10,000/25,000 (BB ante 25,000)

Dariusz Paszkiewicz opened for 55,000, which Bryan Piccioli called in the cutoff. Julien Martini was in the small blind and also called.

That left Scott Baumstein in the big blind, who announced a raise to 225,000. All but Paszkiewicz called for a flop of T♦3♣9♥.

Martini checked and Baumstein bet 335,000 this time, which was good enough to force the others out and take his stack up to 1.8 million. – SB

7:52pm: Colillas takes Dix out
Level 22 – Blinds 10,000/25,000 (BB ante 25,000)

Michael Dix is out and Ramon Colillas is flying high. These things are related.

In a recent pot, the already big-stacked Colillas opened the cutoff, making it 60,000 to play. Dix moved in for 250,000 from the button and the blinds folded. Colillas shrugged and called.

Dix: A♦Q♥
Colillas: A♣8♠

So Dix had the dominant ace, but the dealer was in dastardly mood. She put the 2♥8♦7♥9♠6♠ board down there and the eight was a dagger to Dix’s heart.

Colillas, a Spanish Platinum Pass holder, moves up to 2.5 million. Dix will get $56,800. — HS

Ramon Colillas keeps collecting

7:49pm: Dix doubles
Level 22 – Blinds 10,000/25,000 (BB ante 25,000)

Mark down a double up for Michael Dix.

Down to just 125,000, he was all-in holding K♦2♦ against Andrei Kurov’s A♣J♥.

The 4♠4♦6♠ flop didn’t help him. Nor did the 9♣ turn.

But the K♥ sure did, doubling up Dix and taking Kurov down to 800,000. –JS

7:45pm: Benelli busto in PP vs. PP cannibalism
Level 22 – Blinds 10,000/25,000 (BB ante 25,000)

Two of the remaining Platinum Pass holders just went to war, with Mark Rivera coming out on top and sending Andrea Benelli home.

Rivera opened to 50,000 from under the gun and Benelli shipped for 230,000 when action got to him. Rivera quickly called and turned over K♦K♥. Benelli winced as he revealed his K♣Q♣.

The board was no help. It ran J♣4♠9♦9♥J♠. And that was the end of that for Benelli.

It was good to see him back at the tournament tables, though. He was a stalwart of the very earliest seasons on the EPT, and won his Platinum Pass here by winning a last longer at the Italian Poker Open. Benelli has still got it, even if this run ended in 66th place. — HS

7:38pm: Jattin back to the top
Level 22 – Blinds 10,000/25,000 (BB ante 25,000)

Farid Jattin is up to 3.6 million chips. That’s a lot. — HS

7:37pm: Burkhart stands to double
Level 22 – Blinds 10,000/25,000 (BB ante 25,000)

Jacqueline Burkhart may be new to an event like this, but she’s not without knowledge of certain tricks of the trade, especially when it comes to moving all-in.

Like standing up, for example, and putting your backpack on.

Ariel Celestino had shoved with J♠J♥ before Burkhart called all-in with A♠K♦.

“Wait,” she said. “I have to put my backpack on first!”

She stood and did just that, assuming that the poker Gods would accept this sign of humility and give her good fortune. It worked a treat, as the board came A♣8♠6♦8♥T♥.

Burkhart allowed herself some gentle celebrations as she removed the bag, and sat back down. She’s up to 675,000. Celestino, perhaps wishing he’d done the same, is down to 260,000. – SB

7:35pm: Greenwood gains through Badziakouski
Level 22 – Blinds 10,000/25,000 (BB ante 25,000)

Since informing us that his brother Luc was out (see 5:44pm), Max Greenwood has more than doubled his stack.

He just added a few more courtesy of this encounter with the ever-dangerous Mikita Badziakouski. Greenwood made it 50,000 from the cutoff and Badziakouski called from the small blind. The big blind came along, too, but wouldn’t get past the K♠5♠K♦ flop. It checked to Greenwood and he continued for 30,000 which only Badziakouski called.

The J♥ hit the turn and both checked, leading to the 9♦ river. Badziakouski used a time bank card before eventually checking, while Greenwood checked back quickly. Badziakouski showed A♦7♦ for just ace high, no good against Greenwood’s T♠T♣.

Greenwood’s on 780,000 now, while Badziakouski has 1.14 million. –JS

7:32pm: Bicknell in high gear
Level 22 – Blinds 10,000/25,000 (BB ante 25,000)

Kristin Bicknell is picking spots to pick on her opponents right now. It’s a strategy that’s working out pretty well.

First I watched the action fold to her in the small blind. She thought for just a moment and then moved in for 570,000, putting Yan Li to a decision in the big blind. Li thought for a few minutes and folded, saying she had “a very, very small pair.” Bicknell then turned over the A♠.

Two hands later Bicknell was back at it again. This time she jammed in the hijack seat over the top of Luke Marsh’s 50,000-chip opener. Prompt folds all around.

Bicknell is now on around 730,000. –JK

7:30pm: Grynechko sticking around, one time-bank card down
Level 22 – Blinds 10,000/25,000 (BB ante 25,000)

Andrii Grynechko had only 65,000 left and did a cheeky time-bank shove from early position. By that, I mean he waited longer than 30 seconds, spending one of his time-bank cards, before he pushed.

Everyone folded around to Joep Raemaekers in the big blind, and Raemaekers had a peek before deciding he had enough to call. Raemaekers’ K♣6♣ was behind Grynechko’s A♥Q♥, but this was far from a done deal.

The 8♥2♠7♦ flop had nothing interesting on it. The 7♣ turn was a blank too. And the emergence of the 2♥ on the river meant Grynechko had dodged all the bullets and lives to fight another day. — HS

7:28pm: Polychronopoulos busts
Level 22 – Blinds 10,000/25,000 (BB ante 25,000)

Athanasios Polychronopoulos just busted in a hand against Jussi Nevanlinna.

Polychronopoulos was all-in for 295,000. Nevanlinna also moved in, forcing out the player between them.

Nevanlinna: T♦T♣
Polychronopoulos: Q♠A♠

The board ran Q♣T♥J♣9♠3♠.

Polychronopoulos was out, but not before shaking the hand of everyone at the table, starting with Nevanlinna. “A pleasure,” he said.

Nevanlinna now has a million. – SB

Adios, Athanasios

7:25pm: You want a miracle, Swains? We’ll give you a miracle!
Level 22 – Blinds 10,000/25,000 (BB ante 25,000)

At 6:58pm, my colleague Howard Swains wrote of Sven McDermott: “McDermott is looking for a miracle with 20,000 to his name.” That came after getting sickly counterfeited by Talal Sackerchi. Well, here’s your miracle, Swains.

Over the next 20 minutes, McDermott all but erased his losses on that hand. Under the gun, he put in his last 20,000 with A♣Q♥. The queen capped the high end of a four-card straight on the board. Next up, he was in the big blind and got it in with A♦3♦ vs A♠K♠. An ace flopped, a three came on the river, and McDermott was up to 195,000.

Next hand: play folded to McDermott in the small blind. He jammed the 195,000 with K♠Q♣. And who was in the big blind? Well, Sackerchi, of course. He called with K♦6♥. In the window… 6♦. And then Q♠K♣K♥9♥. Now McDermott is on 400,000 and ready to work this miracle in the fashion of a true Platinum Pass winner. –BW

7:22pm: Jattin jettisons Delmas
Level 22 – Blinds 10,000/25,000 (BB ante 25,000)

Farid Jattin is still on the raise. He’s now up to 2.35 million after taking out Adrien Delmas.

Delmas was down to about 250,000 and moved all-in with Q♥J♥. Jattin called with 9♥9♥ and the board ran 7♠2♥K♣5♣T♦ to keep him in the lead. Easy game.

Delmas won $45,700 for finishing 73rd while Jattin is near the lead again.

7:20pm: Duta doubles, Montes hit
Level 22 – Blinds 10,000/25,000 (BB ante 25,000)

Jose Montes just gave away almost all of the chips he once had, leaving himself with a mere 70,000 after losing a huge one to Florian Duta. Duta, meanwhile, has north of 1.8 million now.

It’s actually pretty difficult to know who was levelling whom in this hand, and there’s a good chance the winner was far from sure he was winning. At least that’s what it seemed as Duta took a decent while to call for the last of his chips on the end.

The details: Duta opened to 40,000 under the gun and Montes three-bet to 125,000 from one seat along. Everyone else left them to it, and Duta called.

The dealer put the 9♠5♥7♦ on the flop and Duta checked. Montes bet 95,000 and Duta called.

The turn was the K♥ and the pattern repeated. Duta checked, Montes bet 180,000 and Duta called.

Then the Q♠ river completed the board and Duta checked for a third time. Montes then moved in for 720,000, which covered Duta’s 655,000. Duta thought, thought and then called.

Montes rolled over T♣T♠. Duta then showed his 5♦5♣ and his flopped bottom set was good. — HS

7:13pm: Adeniya busts Pesh for pole position
Level 22 – Blinds 10,000/25,000 (BB ante 25,000)

Martins Adeniya has become the first player to eclipse the 2 million-chip mark, having just won a big flip against Upeshka De Silva.

We missed the pre-flop action, but De Silva was all-in with J♦J♥ against Adeniya’s A♦K♦. The board read 9♠5♣A♥7♦2♣, pairing Adeniya and sending De Silva out.

Adeniya’s on 2.3 million, good for the chip lead. –JS

7:10pm: Sivinov out against Badziakouski
Level 22 – Blinds 10,000/25,000 (BB ante 25,000)

It’s the end of the PSPC for Ivaylo Sivinov. He shoved with 9♥K♠ and got a call from Mikita Badziakouski with A♠5♠.

The board ran 6♥A♣Q♦7♠4♥ to bust Sivinov. Badziakouski is up to 950,000. – SB

Badziakouski booming

7:05pm: Three’s company, but there can be only one…
Level 21 – Blinds 10,000/20,000 (BB ante 20,000)

What looked almost sure to become an enormous pot ended up being merely sizable at Felix Schneiders’s table.

Felipe Olivieri opened the betting for 45,000 in the lojack seat and Schneiders called in the cutoff. Then Luis Faria re-raised to 155,000 in the small blind. Olivieri thought for about 15 seconds and called, and Schneiders quickly came along.

Then the flop came A♠A♦A♣ and threw the brakes on the action. All three players checked the flop, though each of them thought a bit before doing so. Faria checked again on the T♥ turn and this time Olivieri, who’d looked thisclose to betting on the flop, bet 75,000. That was good enough to take down the pot.

Olivieri is now on 750,000 to Schneiders’s 600,000 and Faria’s 1.01 million. –JK

Schneiders still grnding

7pm: Victor vanquished for 16th Bahamas flag
Level 21 – Blinds 10,000/20,000 (BB ante 20,000)

Victor Ramdin has been coming to the Bahamas to play poker for 11 years now. In that time, he’s locked up 15 cashes, according to Hendon Mob.

Today he got no. 16. But of course, the fact we’re telling you that now means his tournament has come to an end.

Action had folded to Jose Montes on the button and he opened to 45,000. Ramdin quickly jammed for around 355,000 from the small blind, and when it folded back to Montes he called quickly.

Ramdin was fighting for his tournament life with A♥J♥, flipping against Montes’ T♦T♠. Ramdin couldn’t find any help on the Q♦7♦7♣8♠2♦ board, though, taking Montes’ stack up to 1.1 million.

GG Victor. –JS

Ramdin cashes

6:58pm: McDermott counterfeited
Level 21 – Blinds 10,000/20,000 (BB ante 20,000)

Urgh. Busting poker tournaments is always grim, but this pot — which will all but seal the fate of Sven McDermott, the Platinum Pass holder from Ireland — is up there among the worst.

McDermott opened the pot to 40,000 from the cutoff and Talal Shakerchi, on the button, three-bet pushed for 450,000. The blinds folded and McDermott called. He had less than 500,000 in his stack, so this was pretty much tournament defining for both of them.

McDermott tabled 9♣9♥ and was in good shape against Shakerchi’s K♠5♦.

Not much changed after the A♠4♣Q♠ flop, but the A♣ turn now gave Shakerchi a few nasty counterfeit outs. And then there was one of them, the Q♦ on the river. McDermott was playing two pair on the board with a nine kicker, where Shakerchi had a king.

Neither man really showed any emotion, with McDermott muttering something about having seen it coming after the turn card. Shakerchi was 29 percent to win pre-flop, 21 percent after the flop, and still only 13 percent after the turn, but he got there.

So it is that Shakerchi has 920,000 now, while McDermott is looking for a miracle with 20,000 to his name. — HS

6:50pm: Tazelaar taken out
Level 21 – Blinds 10,000/20,000 (BB ante 20,000)

That’s it for Justin Tazelaar’s Platinum Pass ride. The Dutch player won his pass in a VIP giveaway and was able to turn that into an 80th-place finish worth $45,700.

Tazelaar had been riding a short stack for some time and then moved all-in for 170,000 from the small blind after Christoph Vogelsang raised to 45,000 from middle position. Vogelsang called and showed a dominating A♣T♦ to Tazelaar’s A♠9♦.

Tazelaar was hoping for a nine, but the 2♦J♦2♣Q♥T♠ brought none. Tazelaar won $45,700 for making it to 80th while Vogelsang chipped up to 735,000. –AV

More for Vogelsang

6:47pm: Dietrich’s done
Level 21 – Blinds 10,000/20,000 (BB ante 20,000)

Another one bites the dust up on the secondary feature table.

When Pedro Padilha opened to 45,000, Michael Dietrich jammed for his 300,000 stack. It folded back to Padilha and he snap-called, holding A♥K♣ against Dietrich’s K♠J♠.

The A♠9♥2♥ all but ended it for Dietrich, who was already out of his seat saying goodbye by the time the 5♥ hit the turn. An inconsequential T♦ river meant Dietrich was done, and took Padilha up to 1.35 million. –JS

6:45pm: Adeniya’s boat sets Hajiyev sailing home
Level 21 – Blinds 10,000/20,000 (BB ante 20,000)

Ramin Hajiyev was at or around the chip lead for much of last night and the early stages today. But now he is out, having just lost a big one to Martins Adeniya.

I only saw the very latest stages, by which point Hajiyev’s A♠T♠ had flopped a flush, but had then been viciously outdrawn by Adeniya’s J♥J♣. The board, you see, read K♠5♠J♠7♦7♣.

It would have made most sense if this had all gone in on the flop, but I can’t be sure of that. All I know is that the dealer picked up Hajiyev’s last 400,000 and thumped them in front of Adeniya, who also scooped what was in the middle.

Adeniya now sits with 1.7 million, while Hajiyev heads to the payouts table. — HS

Hajiyev hits the rail

6:42pm: Dix doubles
Level 21 – Blinds 10,000/20,000 (BB ante 20,000)

Michael Dix just doubled up through Sven McDermott, shoving with Q♣8♣ for 375,000.

McDermott called with A♥Q♠ but it was pretty much over on the flop as the board came 5♣6♣2♣7♣7♥.

“Thank you for no sweating on the flop,” said Dix to the dealer. He’s up to 625,000 now. McDermott drops to 555,000. — SB

6:40pm: Make that six stacks of high society for IrEgption
Level 21 – Blinds 10,000/20,000 (BB ante 20,000)

Twitch streamer Patrick “IrEgption” Tardiff just found a double at Joep Raemaekers’s expense.

Tardiff moved in for his last 150,000 under the gun. “Three stacks of high society,” he said. Nobody else wanted anything to do with that bet except Raemaekers, who thought for about 10 seconds before making the call with A♣3♦. Tardiff’s 3♥3♣ had the edge and held up when the board came 6♠4♠5♠J♥4♣. He’s now on 320,000. –JK

6:38pm: Back-to-back beats bust Marquez
Level 21 – Blinds 10,000/20,000 (BB ante 20,000)

Jason Koonce raised from the cutoff and Ana Marquez threw in a three-bet to 120,000 from the button.

Koonce moved all-in for 570,000 and Marquez quickly called. Koonce showed 7♥7♣ and Marquez was in the lead with J♥J♣. But things change quickly. Koonce hit a set of sevens on the 7♦T♠5♥ flop and suddenly Marquez was the one drawing slim. The K♦ and 5♣ completed the board and Koonce double to about 1.1 million while Marquez was left with just 115,000.

Those chips went in the following hand and Marvin Rettenmaier rejammed from the small blind. The big blind got out of the way and Marquez tabled Q♦9♠ to Rettenmaier’s Q♣J♠.

The J♦3♦8♦3♠4♥ board kept Rettenmaier in the lead and Marquez hit the rail while Rettenmaier chipped up to 750,000. –AV

6:35pm: It means a lot more to Ruzicka than Jattin
Level 21 – Blinds 10,000/20,000 (BB ante 20,000)

Farid Jattin momentarily peeked over the 2 million chip mark, but he then lost a pot to Vojtech Ruzicka that cut him back to about 1.8 million. It won’t mean a huge amount to Jattin, who is back to being chip leader (or thereabouts), but it was a lifeline for his Czech opponent, who doubled to stay alive.

They got it in pre-flop, with Jattin opening his button and Ruzicka three-bet shoving for 205,000 from the big blind. Jattin was priced in and called and over the cards went.

Jattin: 5♣6♣
Ruzicka: A♦7♣

The dealer put an ace in the window, with the final board reading A♠K♥2♣6♠T♠. And with that Ruzicka pushes to about 420,000. — HS

6:32pm: Piccoli doubles through Liperis
Level 21 – Blinds 10,000/20,000 (BB ante 20,000)

A double up for Bryan Piccoli through Yiannis Liperis to tell you about.

Piccoli was all in for 200,000 with A♥T♠ against Liperis’s K♦Q♦. Piccoli was saved by the river on a board of Q♥5♠J♦8♠K♠.

He let out a whoop, then a couple of expletives, before returning to his seat. Everyone saw the funny side. Except maybe Liperis. – SB

Bryan Piccioli liked that one

6:30pm: Drinks on Stewart
Level 21 – Blinds 10,000/20,000 (BB ante 20,000)

Just a couple of minutes after he felted Dan Wilson, Scott Stewart has now busted another player.

Jonathan Abdellatif is the unfortunate one, all-in for 300,000 with 2♦2♠ against Stewart’s A♣K♠. “I’m going to stand up for extra equity,” said Abdellatif as the dealer prepped the flop, which came 9♦9♠J♠.

That was all good so far, but the A♠ turn left him needed one of the two ducks in the deck. He didn’t find one on the 6♣ river, and Abdellatif said his goodbyes.

Stewart, who’s now up to 830,000, had a few parting words:

“See you at the pool buddy. Drinks on me.” –JS

6:28pm: Guice gone
Level 21 – Blinds 10,000/20,000 (BB ante 20,000)

Tracey Guice’s PSPC just ended after she shoved with 9♦9♣ and got a call from Victor Nicolato with A♥J♣.

The board ran Q♣J♦J♥T♥7♠ to send her to the rail, and leave Nicolato with around 600,000. — SB

Level 21 – Blinds 10,000/20,000 (BB ante 20,000)

Dan Wilson’s tournament is at its end. He ended up all-in for his last 175,000 before the flop with 7♥6♥. His opponent was Scott Stewart, who held A♠8♣. The T♣9♣9♦A♦J♦ runout gave Stewart aces and nines (and a 540,000-chip stack) and Wilson headed for the payouts desk.

He’ll either earn $39,500 or $45,700 — it’s not clear which just yet because players are still falling quickly and there was only one more payout to go before the jump. –JK

6:20pm: Action flop
Level 21 – Blinds 10,000/20,000 (BB ante 20,000)

Marius Gierse had A♣2♣ and Marc Perrault had J♣T♣. The dealer delivered arguably the most action of all action flops when she put the 5♣T♦4♣ out there.

They got it all-in — it went bet (Perrault), raise (Gierse), shove (Perrault), call (Gierse) — with Gierse’s final call worth 360,000. He was the effective stack. Of course, that’s when we ended up seeing what their cards were.

So it was top pair and flush draw vs. nut flush draw and inside straight draw, which is a 51.3% vs. 48.49% coup. The dealer quickly finished what she had started when she put the 3♦ on the turn.

That meant a full double for Gierse, who now has 860,000. Perrault is still one of the big stacks, with 1.2 million. — HS

6:15pm: Time bank cards earn Kerber an extra $5,000
Level 21 – Blinds 10,000/20,000 (BB ante 20,000)

Kelvin Kerber is out, but not before a clever display of time bank management.

He’d raised from the cut off, before Scott Baumstein moved all-in, easily covering Kerber.

Kerber, aware that a pay jump was moments away, then paused, turned to look at this clock, and spent all three of his time bank cards.

It was during the third that the clock ticked down to 95 players, which was worth another $5,000 to Kerber, who pushed the rest of his stack forward.

Kerber: T♥T♣
Baumstein: J♥J♣

The board ran K♦6♠Q♠J♠2♥

Kerber wished everyone good luck, leaving Baumstein (who later commented that it was a good use of the time bank) with a stack of more than 1.3 million. — SB

No hurry, no worry for cashing Kerber

6:10pm: Secondary spotlight
Level 21 – Blinds 10,000/20,000 (BB ante 20,000)

“Why the secondary feature?” Mustapha Kanit asked. “Why not the main? You think there’s a better table than this?”

Kanit had a point, his table is pretty interesting. Aside from Kanit theres Jack Salter, Sam Greenwood and Jackie Burkhart. They were all moved to the secondary feature table at the start of this level and they’ll be playing with RFID cards.

“You scared?” Kanit asked Burkhart. “You don’t want us to see your hands?”

“No,” Burkhart said. “I do weird stuff.”

Soon you’ll be able to see that weird stuff too. Check out the livestream, which is on a 30-minute delay, to check out more hands from the main and secondary feature table. –AV

There is only one Mustapha, and there is only one Kanit

6:05pm: Back at it
Level 21 – Blinds 10,000/20,000 (BB ante 20,000)

Players are back and play continues with 96 players still in the hunt. –MH

5:45pm: Break time

Players have reached the end of their 20th hour of poker, and those who remain are now enjoying another 20-minute break. –MH

5:44pm: Luc leaves the 3 percent
Level 20 – Blinds 8,000/16,000 (BB ante 16,000)

Sorry to say, we’re a Greenwood down. Luc Greenwood was knocked out towards the end of the last level, leaving only brothers Max and Sam in the field as Level 20 begins.

We’d been getting pretty excited about Greenwoods comprising 3 percent of the total field, but Max let us know that one of his brothers was out.

As for Max himself, he’s got about 350,000. “Got ’em right where I want ’em,” he said. Max doesn’t play a huge amount these days. He said this was only his fourth poker tournament in more than a year. But he’s picked a good one to run deep. — HS

Luc Greenwood (now out) with Victor Ramdin (still in)

5:42pm: Liperis moving up
Level 20 – Blinds 8,000/16,000 (BB ante 16,000)

Yiannis Liperis is near the top of the chip counts after a hand with Ivaylo Sivinov.

Liperis opened the action for 35,000 in the hijack seat and Sivinov (big blind) was the only caller. Sivinov took the lead for 40,000 on the 4♠7♠6♣ flop and Liperis thought for a bit before calling. Sivinov fired again on the A♠ turn and Liperis used up his shot clock before calling.

The river was the A♣ and this time it was Sivinov who used up his shot clock, making a bet of 90,000 just as it ran out. Liperis cut out the chips for a call, riffled them once, and then tossed them in middle. Sivinov sheepishly opened Q♥J♥, which lost out to Liperis’s pair of sevens with J♦7♦.

Liperis holds 1.51 million now, which looks like a top-five stack as we head to break. –JK

5:35pm: Adams falls to Adeniya
Level 20 – Blinds 8,000/16,000 (BB ante 16,000)

He ended last night as one of the biggest stacks, and that saw him through to the cash. But that’s as far as Brandon Adams’ PSPC goes. He’s now out.

Martins Adeniya opened to 35,000 and Adams defended his big blind to see a J♦3♥4♦ flop. That proved to be a very enticing one for Adams, who check-jammed over a 25,000 c-bet for his remaining 120,000 stack. Adeniya snap-called.

Adams: 5♦6♦
Adeniya: K♥K♣

Adams had flopped an up-and-down straight draw plus a flush draw – some might saw that’s “too many outs”.

Indeed it was, as the 4♠ turn and J♣ river changed nothing. Adams is gone, Adeniya’s up to 1.36 million. –JS

Kings serve Martins Adeniya

5:30pm: Some weirdness with Abdellatif and Hinkle
Level 20 – Blinds 8,000/16,000 (BB ante 16,000)

There are more questions than answers where this hand is concerned, but the fact is that Jonathan Abdellatif just doubled up to around 290,000.

I arrived when the flop was out — it was 2♦3♥9♣ — and there was about 250,000 in the pot. This was in neatly stacked piles, which is unusual for a pot in an unfinished hand. Usually they’re strewn all around. What was also unusual was the fact that Abdellatif, with cards in his hand and whose turn it was to act, was not really looking like a man with a decision.

Instead he was turned towards the tournament information screen, watching the clock count down, possibly trying to figure out if he could make a money jump or something. Ah yes, this is the other important piece of information: Abdellatif only had 16,000 behind. So there was pretty much no way all the money wasn’t going in. (His opponent, Blair Hinkle, had him covered by a long way.)

After spending at least two, and maybe three, time-bank cards, Abdellatif slapped his last chips down and Hinkle immediately called. Abdellatif showed his 7♦9♦ and had flopped top pair, with Hinkle’s 5♥5♠ behind.

The dealer put the 8♣ and K♥ turn and river down, which meant the big piles of chips were heading to Abdellatif. I really don’t know anything else about how this obviously weird hand happened, but that’s what I saw. — HS

5:26pm: Barbero busts
Level 20 – Blinds 8,000/16,000 (BB ante 16,000)

Jose Ignacio Barbero was down to about 400,000 and got it in good. He got it in with the best hand actually: A♠A♣.

Luke Marsh had a bit more than Barbero and a worse pair with T♥T♣. But the 6♣T♦7♦5♠6♥ board brought Marsh a set and he chipped up to about 900,000 while Barbero busted. –AV

The end of the road for Barbero

5:21pm: Scott Margereson hits the rail
Level 20 – Blinds 8,000/16,000 (BB ante 16,000)

That’s the end of the line for Scott Margereson. He was in second position and moved in for his last 29,000 with J♣5♥; a five on the flop gave him the pot to defeat his opponent’s K♣8♠. He then moved in under the gun with J♥T♦ on the next hand and ended up facing off with Q♣5♥. Margereson did get a sweat after the 9♣K♦6♠ flop, but the 5♠ turn and 4♠ put the cap on his tournament. –JK

5:19pm: Felix Schneiders blowing up
Level 20 – Blinds 8,000/16,000 (BB ante 16,000)

There was a point a couple hours ago that we weren’t sure if Felix Schneider’s would make the money. Now he has…(checking our German dictionary…) yes…it appears he has 873K in chips…that’s better than average. Felix, what are you even DOING? –BW

5:17pm: Picking on the chip leader
Level 20 – Blinds 8,000/16,000 (BB ante 16,000)

Luigi Knoppers has the second-biggest stack in the room, and the biggest at his table. But that makes him a target.

Luigi Knoppers

Scott Baumstein just jammed over the top of Knoppers’ latest 118,000 open, putting his 327,000 stack at risk, and Knoppers used a time-bank card before he folded. Knoppers still has 1.55 million, while Baumstein is up to 450,000. — HS

5:16pm: More-than-triple for Grynechko
Level 20 – Blinds 8,000/16,000 (BB ante 16,000)

Platinum Pass winner Andrii Grynechko survived the bubble on a super-short stack, and just now he survived another near-knockout after pushing all in for his last 40,000 from middle position and getting called by fellow Platinum Pass winner Darek Paszkiewicz (button) and Joep Raemaekers (big blind).

The other two checked down the Q♦4♣T♠3♥3♠ board, and Grynechko quickly tabled his A♥T♥ for a pair of tens. That beat Paszkiewicz’s K♣J♠ and Raemaekers’s 9♠7♥, and Grynechko survives.

“Triple up,” said someone. “More,” correctly clarified another. Grynechko has 150,000, Paszkiewicz has 390,000, and Raemaekers 510,000. –MH

5:12pm: Boutin tries to boot out Barbosa
Level 20 – Blinds 8,000/16,000 (BB ante 16,000)

EPT5 Warsaw champ Joao Barbosa was all-in for his last 62,000 with Q♣T♥, up against Boutin Louis with a slightly superior K♥9♠. By the end of the 4♠8♥8♠J♠9♣ board, Barbosa had made a straight.

He’s up to 164,000, while Louis dips to 450,000. –JS

5:08pm: Burkhart doubles Silvestri
Level 20 – Blinds 8,000/16,000 (BB ante 16,000)

Jacqueline Burkhart raised to 35,000 from early position and action folded around to Mario Silvestri on the button.

Silvestri moved all-in for 271,000 and Burkhart called. Silvestri turned over T♠T♣ and Burkhart showed a lower pair with 7♦7♣.

“I’m rooting for ya,” Burkhart said. “Ten in the window.”

“It’s only fair,” Silvestri said. “You got a lot more people rooting for you.”

While there was no ten in the window, Silvestri did take down the hand after the board ran 2♣J♥K♥8♥K♦. Silvestri doubled to about 550,000 while Burkhart dipped to 350,000. –AV

“I’m rooting for ya,” says Burkhart

5:05pm: Lucky double for Dan
Level 20 – Blinds 8,000/16,000 (BB ante 16,000)

Dan O’Brien has just got pretty lucky to double up through Bulgaria’s Ivaylo Sivinov. He was all-in for 245,000 with A♣J♣ versus Sivinov’s A♥K♦, and hit a jack on the turn of the 8♣4♥Q♦J♦7♦ board.

Sivinov’s down to 735,000 now. –JS

5:02pm: Olisar toast
Level 20 – Blinds 8,000/16,000 (BB ante 16,000)

Ryan Olisar is now on the rail, while Farid Jattin moves back to about 1.4 million thanks to a pre-flop, big hand skirmish.

Jattin opened to 37,000 in the hijack and Olisar three-bet his button to 110,000. Action passed through the blinds and Jattin moved all-in, covering the 440,000 effective stack in front of Olisar.

Olisar called and showed his A♦Q♣ but he was a crucial pip behind Jattin’s A♥K♠. After the T♦J♠6♠2♠3♣ board, Olisar was out. — HS

4:59pm: Colillas keeps collecting
Level 20 – Blinds 8,000/16,000 (BB ante 16,000)

Ramon Colillas is a Platinum Pass winner from Spain. By finishing in first on the CEP Leaderboard, the 30-year-old won his entry into the event — a prize worth more than three times anything he’d ever won previously in a poker tournament.

He’s made the most of the opportunity so far. In fact, Colillas is leading another leaderboard right now, as he has accumulated around 1.8 million in chips by Level 20. –MH

4:55pm: Checkmate for Sheaves
Level 19 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (BB ante 12,000)

A heartfelt “gg” to one of the nicest guys in poker, Warren Sheaves who has gone bust in 121st place for $35,000. Short all day, he battled unafraid through the bubble.

Sheaves is a well-known player in America where he won the WSOP Global Casino Championship in 2018. Late last year, Sheaves won a Platinum Pass after coming out on top of Jennifer Shahade’s Poker Chess comp in which he created the best fusion of poker and chess. Congrats on a a good run, Warren. See you soon. –BW

4:51pm: Margereson doubles through Wilson, Chaves doubles through Salter
Level 19 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (BB ante 12,000)

Two simultaneous double ups from two different tables to tell you about.

On one table, Dan Wilson opened to 30,000 from the cutoff and Scott Margereson moved all-in out of the big blind for around 90,000. Wilson called with Q♠J♣, up against Margereson’s A♣9♠. Ace high remained good after the 3♠2♣4♥2♥4♦ runout.

“Easy,” laughed Wilson, as he slid over his chips and dropped to 167,000. Margereson has a little more now with 180,000.

On the table next door, Sam Greenwood had kicked things off opening to 25,000. Jack Salter then three-bet the button to 70,000, and Pedro Padilha shoved the small blind for around 150,000. It folded back to Salter and he used a time bank before calling.

Salter had A♠J♣ against Padilha’s T♣T♥, and Salter would take the lead on the 5♦A♦K♥ flop. The Q♣ turn gave Chaves more outs though, and he’d hit one on the J♥ river, making a straight.

The two fist bumped, and Salter now has 450,000 to Padilha’s 320,000. –JS

4:49pm: Schneiders lasting even longer
Level 20 – Blinds 8,000/16,000 (BB ante 16,000)

Another double up for Felix Schneiders. He open pushed pocket nines in first position (“Stars nuts”), Ramin Hajiyev isolated him with a re-push out of the small blind and pocket queens.

The flop and turn didn’t help Felix but he hit a nine on the river and is now up to 325K. – RS

4:47pm: My heart will go on
Level 20 – Blinds 8,000/16,000 (BB ante 16,000)

Right about the time Upeshka Desilva backdoored that straight to keep his seat in the event (see below, 4:39pm) — it might have been just before, actually — Tim Reilly was busted from the same table by Ariel Celestino.

Now if you’ve been following the coverage closely, Reilly was in possession of a knitted heart he had received from Jennifer Carter yesterday shortly after busting her. Carter had made it and gave it Reilly upon his elimination, and he said he intended to pass it on to whomever knocked him out (see below, 1:21pm).

Tim Reilly passing on the heart

But after busting Reilly, Celestino didn’t want it, claiming it might actually be less than good luck. Enter Desilva, who took it and now has it with his stack — and who also earned that double-up thanks to a fortunate runout. –MH

4:44pm: Harder doubles, Reichard busts
Level 19 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (BB ante 12,000)

Christian Harder raised to 28,000 from the cutoff and then Joshua Reichard re-raised all-in for 250,000 from the small blind. Action folded back to Harder and he thought for about one timebank card and then called.

Harder turned over K♠Q♠ while Reichard tabled A♠J♥. The Q♣K♦9♣ flop gave Harder a pair of pairs, but Reichard had also picked up a straight draw. But the 6♣ on the turn and the 2♥ on the river changed nothing.

Harder doubled to about 500,000 while Reichard was left with just 12,000. Reichard put those in two hands later with Q♠J♥ and Kilian Kramer called with T♥T♣. The 5♠8♠8♣5♥5♣ board brought all low cards and Reichard hit the rail while Kramer chipped up to 200,000. –AV

4:42pm: Shout out to Tardif’s mom
Level 19 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (BB ante 12,000)

Jared Palmer had moved all-in for 110,000 in the UTG+1 seat, and was called by Patrick Tardif in the hijack. Everyone else folded, and the cards were flipped:

Jared Palmer: A♣Q♦
Patrick Tardif: J♥J♣

“A classic flip,” proclaimed tablemate Lawrence Bailey, as the dealer began to work her way through the 2♦4♣T♦6♦2♠ board, keeping Tardif’s jacks in front.

Palmer said his goodbyes, and Tardif now stacks up 582,000.

Bailey then began to tell us how famous Tardif is. He’s known as “IrEgption” on the Twitch streets.

“Oh yeah, just write my name and everyone will know me,” Tardif told us with his tongue firmly in his cheek. “Just ask my mom, she’ll tell you.” –JS

4:41pm: Schneiders lasts longest
Level 19 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (BB ante 12,000)

Felix “xflixx” Schneiders just doubled against Anthony Gregg and won the Team Pro last longer after Ben Spragg busted.

Felix Schneiders lasting longest

Gregg (Cut-off) opened for 27K, Felix (Button) pushed his last 65K with A♥K♥. Gregg made the call with J♣9♦ and the flop Q♦9♥2♥ gave him a air. But the K♦ on the turn was good for Felix and after the 3♦ on the river he doubled to 150.000. — RS

4:39pm: Backdoor straight keeps Desilva in the game
Level 19 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (BB ante 12,000)

Upeshka Desilva was just all in and at risk for his entire stack of almost 250,000 with K♠K♦, needing only to fade Felipe Hernan Olivieri’s A♠Q♣.

The Q♦Q♠T♠ flop wasn’t very agreeable for Desilva, though, giving his opponent trips, and the 9♦ turn kept him behind. But the river was the J♠ to make a backdoor straight for Desilva, and he raised a fist in response, glad to keep his seat.

Desilva is up to 490,000 after that, while Olivieri skips to 440,000. –MH

4:35pm: Payouts!
Level 19 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (BB ante 12,000)

We are just about keeping up with eliminations from the field. And if your player isn’t yet on the prizewinners page, they’re probably still in the tournament. Head over there regularly to see who has won what. — HS

4:32pm: Like Perkins, like Lewis
Level 19 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (BB ante 12,000)

On the same table that Bill Perkins was ousted by four to a flush, Toby Lewis has just met the same fate.

After Farid Jattin opened to 28,000 under the gun, it folded to Marc Perrault who called. Lewis then jammed for 152,000 out of the big blind, and when Jattin folded Perrault called quickly.

Lewis had Q♦Q♣ up against Perrault’s 9♦9♠, and was in good shape for a much-needed double up.

The Poker Gods had other ideas though. The board ran out T♣A♠2♠3♠Q♠ giving Perrault a backdoor flush, sending Lewis out.

Perrault’s up to 1.2 million now. –JS

4:30pm: Knoppers knocks out another
Level 19 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (BB ante 12,000)

Luigi Knoppers just keeps steamrolling ahead here on Day 3. He just knocked out Diogo Veiga in a hand that evolved into a three-way affair before the flop before the third player dropped out and Veiga showed A♥J♠ versus Knoppers’s K♠K♦.

The board came 5♣2♥7♥7♣T♠, keeping Knoppers’s kings in front and sending Veiga to the payout desk.

Knoppers’s big day continues, as he now sits with about 1.7 million, having moved into the chip lead with 133 players left. –MH

4:27pm: Rivera chipping up
Level 19 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (BB ante 12,000)

Platinum Pass winner Marc Rivera has just gained 85,000 after eliminating Derik Tat Wak Li.

Rivera had A♣A♥ up against Li’s 7♥7♠, and the 4♣3♦T♦K♠9♣ board kept the pocket rockets in front. Li headed to the payouts desk, while Rivera now sits with 410,000. –JS

4:24pm: So long, Spraggy
Level 19 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (BB ante 12,000)

Ben Spragg’s short-stacked, post-bubble adventure has reached its end.

Sitting under the gun, Spraggy didn’t have enoguh to cover the ante on the next hand. He spoke with the dealer briefly and then tossed his remaining 6,000 chips in the middle. Then Kristen Bicknell raised to 25,000 and Victor Begara called in the big blind, bringing a T♠K♦K♣ flop. Check, bet, fold, and Spraggy’s 6♥4♦ was heads-up with Bicknell’s 2♦2♣. That was probably as good a situation as the Platinum Pass Ambassador could have hoped for, but the J♥ turn and 7♣ river didn’t provide enough help.

A disappointing end to a hard-fought tournament, to be sure, but there was a silver lining: from the time he was left with those 6,000 chips until the moment he lost them, enough players busted on other tables to allow him to win $35,000 instead of the $25,450 he would’ve received for busting earlier.

Congrats on the cash, Spraggy. –JK

4:20pm: Kerber wins four-way all-in
Level 19 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (BB ante 12,000)

I just saw an all in and a call and a call and a call. Or was it an all in and an all in and an all in and a call?

Max Greenwood. One of three Greenwoods still in the PSPC

I can’t say, to be honest, but there were four players who’d done all the betting they could before the flop. Here’s what they showed:

Mark Radoja: J♣9♠
Max Greenwood: A♣5♥
Vlad Tatu: A♦T♥
Kelvin Kerber: T♦T♠

“Jack is live?” asked Rodoja incredulously. Indeed it was, but in the end the only made hand — Kerber’s tens — ended as the best as the board came K♠7♣2♥9♦Q♠ to miss everyone else. Both Radoja and Tatu hit the rail, while Kerber chips up to 465,000 and Greenwood maintains his seat with 355,000. –MH

4:17pm: If you guessed A♦K♠, you could be a winner
Level 19 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (BB ante 12,000)

This morning Bill Perkins announced a giveaway on his Twitter page:


If your guess was A♦K♠, then hold tight, because you could be off to Vegas come June.

Perkins open-jammed with that hand from the cutoff for 90,000, and Max Greenwood called with A♥Q♦ out of the big blind.

“Don’t do it,” said Perkins, as the dealer was about to spread a K♥3♣7♥ flop.

“Ahhh. Now I feel better about my hand,” he added when he saw the cowboy. The Q♥ turn was bad news though.

“Not so much now,” Perkins’ running commentary continued, as any heart would now give Greenwood a flush.

The river? T♥.

“I gotta get a picture of this one,” he added. “People love a bad beat story.”


Greenwood now has 590,000, and we’ll now wait to find out who will be playing the WSOP Main Event because of him. –JS

Bill Perkins

4:14pm: Amateur player/Pro chef Filippo Filardo makes the money
Level 19 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (BB ante 12,000)

Nine months ago, chef Filippo Filardo thought he was being scammed when he got an email telling him he was going to play in a $25,000 tournament. He’d won an all-in shootout on PokerStars and earned his Platinum Pass. He lives near Monte Carlo, so we brought him to town during the EPT event, let him drive a Ferrari, and then he asked to cook us dinner. (See the video below for the whole story).

Today, he was jubilant as he won more than $25,000, an amateur in the biggest $25,000 poker tournament in history.

Alas every story has to come to an end, and his just did. Victor Ramdin came in for a raise, and Jackie Burkhart three-bet from the button. Filardo was sitting in the small blind and put the rest of his short stack in. Ramdin agonized but eventually folded nines…only to see Burkhart’s pocket threes and Filardo’s ace-jack. The threes held up, Burkhart moved up to 757,000, and Filardo went to cash in for $25,000.

Congrats for the great year and story. And we’ll eat your shrimp risotto anytime. –BW

4:11pm: Time to relax! Patient Paul Macneil rewarded with min-cash
Level 19 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (BB ante 12,000)

Paul Macneil of Canada won his Platinum Pass in a Monthly Sunday Cashers All-In Shootout. “I
didn’t even really know about it,” he explained. “They sent me a message after I won.”

Indeed it was about a month after the event Macneil got the news. And now, after two-and-a-half days of grueling poker — including Macneil showing some serious patience here at the end of it — he is walking away with a nice cash prize for having made it into the money here today.

“It was tough folding a lot of good hands,” Macneil explained. Indeed, with less than 100,000 for most of the day, Macneil necessarily had be careful about getting involved.

Finally once the bubble burst, Macneil watched Tomas Jozonis open from the cutoff for 27,000, then looked down at Q♦9♦ in the big blind. He counted out his remaining stack — about 65,000 — and called the raise, then after the flop came 7♣Q♣3♣ to give him top pair, Macneil went all in and Jozonis called.

Macneil showed he had made a pair of queens, but Jozonis had K♦K♥ and two cards later — 2♠, then 3♥ — Macneil was headed to the payout desk.

“It was good, interesting,” said Macneil just afterwards, still obviously recovering from the fatigue of what he’d been through. “It was tiring playing that much poker,” he added. “But it was fun stuff.”

With the rest of the week to go here at the Atlantis, Macneil is looking forward to some family time.

“I’ve got two girls here,” he said, alluding to his daughters. “We’ll go check it all out and walk around,” he said, obviously looking forward to enjoying some sunshine. “I’ve been in here for three days. We’ll probably do that and then head back home.”

Kudos to Macneil, who well earned a couple of days of waterslides and relaxing by the pool, as well as the $25,450 payday for his finish. –MH

4:07pm: Letting go
Level 19 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (BB ante 12,000)

Short stacks were holding on for dear life throughout the bubble.

Charles Alex-Barton was down to two chips for most of it, a green 25,000 chip and a blue 5,000 chip. He managed to squeak through and then the blinds brought him down to 13,000 after the bubble burst.

It’s easier to shove your chips in the middle when you’re guaranteed $25,450 instead of a whole lot of nothing. And shove Alex-Barton did.

He moved all-in with 8♠8♣ and got called by Justin Yong, who was holding J♣J♥. Alex-Barton actually survived that hand after the 2♠7♥8♦9♠K♦ board brought him a set of eights.

Alex-Barton went all-in again the following hand, but things didn’t go so well.

Tony Gregg was on the button that hand and bet enough to put Alex-Barton all in. Alex-Barton called and showed a dominating A♣9♦ to Gregg’s Q♥8♥. Alex-Barton was a big favorite but his luck had run out. Gregg hit a queen on the 3♠2♥Q♠4♦2♦ board and Alex-Barton’s tournament finally came to an end. –AV

4:05pm: Wang’s arrangement
Level 19 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (BB ante 12,000)

There was surely a fairly big chance that Platinum Pass holder Haoxiang Wang was our bubble boy today. He was getting his chips in very frequently early in proceedings, and he has never shown any fear about being knocked out in any tournament I’ve seen. But as it happens, he managed to cling on — spending the last period of bubble play arranging his chips into a flat, single-tier floor covering.

Haoxiang Wang’s chips

When the bubble went pop, Wang was still there, and was busy texting friends about his success. Come on Haoxiang! Let’s spin it up. — HS

4:04pm: The Greenwood report
Level 19 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (BB ante 12,000)

As we reported a few minutes ago, all three Greenwood brothers have cashed in the PSPC. There’s a fourth Greenwood in the room too, with the brothers’ dad cheering them on behind the rail.

Here’s how they stand right now:

Max Greenwood – 500,000
Sam Greenwood – 350,000
Luc Greenwood – 127,000. –JS

4:02pm: Spraggy on life support
Level 19 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (BB ante 12,000)

Ben Spragg’s stack was cut down severely during bubble play. Then, on the first hand after the bubble, he moved in from the small blind with J♦9♥ and Markus Durnegger called in the big blind with A♥7♦.

Durnegger caught an ace on the flop and a seven on the river, and when his chips were counted it was revealed that Spraggy had him covered by a mere 6,000.

Two chips and a chair — I’ve seen bigger comebacks before. Let’s go Spraggy!–JK

4pm: Guerrero hits the rail
Level 19 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (BB ante 12,000)

Jimmy Guerrero was one of at least two players who could not afford to pay the blinds and antes, should they have been required to during the bubble period. He folded his way into the money, but now he’s out.

He got his last chips in with K♠5♦ and Marc Perrault called with A♠5♠. The board ran 7♦4♥J♣4♣A♣ and that was it for Guerrero. — HS

3:56pm: Two percent of the field is Greenwood
Level 19 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (BB ante 12,000)

The post-bubble rush of eliminations has duly arrived, but all of Sam, Luc and Max Greenwood are still seated. So that’s three brothers, three stacks, three dreams — and 2 percent of the PSPC field that is Greenwood. — HS

3:54pm: Burkhart past the bubble
Level 19 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (BB ante 12,000)

“I’m hyped,” said Jacqueline Burkhart. “It’s fun. I’m feeling great. Now I have a lot of work to do.”

Burkhart and the rest of the 181 players in the PSPC had finally made it into the money and are now guaranteed $25,450. While it’s a decent chunk of change, it’s not the largest Burkhart has ever cashed for. Back in 2015 she finished 45th in the WSOP Monster Stack Event for $29,710.

A 45th place finish here would net Burkhart $69,100, but she only needs to make it to 151st to secure her largest cash ever. –AV

3:52pm: Grafton’s gone
Level 19 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (BB ante 12,000)

Sam Grafton is one of the first to fall, post-bubble. He was all-in with J♥T♣ against Tomas Jozonis’ A♠J♠, and couldn’t improve. –JS

3:50pm: Ustad delight at bubble’s burst
Level 19 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (BB ante 12,000)

Norway’s Stian Ustad, one of our Platinum Pass holders at this event, has just secured by far the largest cash of his tournament career. Prior to today, his biggest win was €5,480 and his total recorded earnings are $12,460. But now he is guaranteed at least $25,450.

“Good,” he said, offering the fairly obvious response to a question of how it feels. “It took far longer than I was expecting.”

He was one of the short stacks during the painful bubble play, but said he had absolutely no tough decisions, no marginal hands that he contemplated getting his chips in with. Sometimes it can be good to be card dead.

Ustad is still short, but the pressure is lifted off his shoulders. (Not only that, actually, but this is the first day of the event he’s actually been feeling OK. He’s been suffering with a cold for the past few days.)

Nice one Stian. Hope you stick around. — HS

3:44pm: Bubble bursts! Paul Leckey out shy of the cash
Level 19 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (BB ante 12,000)

Soon after play resumed, the action folded around to Paul Leckey and after checking his cards he announced he was raising all in with the 260,000 he had behind. Next to act was Tianle Wang, and after a look at his cards he said he was reraising all in over that, and everyone else folded.

Leckey — who won his seat into the event in a satellite the night before the tournament began — stood from his chair, but the subsequent wait for other tables to complete their hands was long enough for him to sit back down again. Minutes passed, and while Leckey sat motionlessly, Wang held his cards face down just slightly above the felt, his hands trembling ever so slightly.

Paul Leckey all in on the bubble

At last the tournament director arrived, and he instructed Leckey to show his hand first. He had K♠K♣, then another few seconds passed before Tianle was told to turn his cards over. Everyone leaned forward an inch or two to see him show A♠A♣.

“No flush draw,” said Leckey, and the two players shook hands as they awaited the board cards.

The 3♦7♣T♠ flop kept Wang’s hand in front, as did the 5♣ turn. Then came the river… the 6♠!

A roar erupted from those standing around the table, and it spread throughout the room as everyone realized they’d made the cash. Leckey and Wang shook hands once more.

Leckey gets some consolation for finishing outside the money — an EPT Monte Carlo package worth more than $11,000

Wang has about 400,000 now. Leckey wins something, too, as he was awarded an EPT Monte Carlo package for coming one spot shy of the money. –MH

3:38>pm: Kassela lets ’em go
Level 19 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (BB ante 12,000)

I showed up to past WSOP Player of the Year Franck Kassela’s table to see a T♦9♠8♦ flop already dealt and about 140,000 chips in the middle. Ajay Chabra had checked from middle position to Kassela, who bet 60,000 in the cutoff seat. Then Chabra check-raised all-in. He had Kassela covered, which made it a tougher decision than normal. Eventually Kassela let his hand go and a conversation ensued.

“I’m really not good enough to make that fold,” said Kassela.

“Neither am I,” said Chabra.

“I had jacks,” said Kassela.

“Really?” asked a clearly surprised Chabra.

Kassela confirmed it. “It was a really good flop for my hand. But I know he had me beat. 100 percent. I’m not known for folding, so he had to have me beat!”

“I’m not known for folding either,” said Chabra. “You and I are going to get it in sooner or later!”

Kassela now has 185,000. Chabra is up to around 800,000. –JK

3:33pm: New level
Level 19 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (BB ante 12,000)

We’re playing again, and into the new level. We’re still one off the bubble.

3:08pm: Two hours…still on the bubble
Level 18 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (BB ante 10,000)

Alright…well, we’re two hours into hand-for-hand play. The players need a break, so we’re on a 20-minute respite. Back at 3:30pm for a new level and the bubble. –BW

2:57pm: Another bubble double
Level 18 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (BB ante 10,000)

Another giant crowd of cameras and spectators, another big river bet and another bubble double up.

The board read Q♠7♠K♣7♦5♣ and there was about 125,000 in the pot. It was Andrei Kurov versus Michael Dattani and Kurov moved all-in for 233,000. Dattani called and action froze while the rest of the tables finished their hands.

Then players showed their cards. K♥Q♣ and two pair for Dattani, but Kurov showed 7♥7♣ for quads. Kurov doubled to 610,000 while Dattani dipped to 290,000. –AV

2:45pm: Shorties
Level 18 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (BB ante 10,000)

This bubble has gone on for ages, but it cannot last much longer. Here are some of the short stacks, and something will give very soon.

Jimmy Guerrero: 29,000
Anton Sulymka: 29,000
Charles Alex-Barton: 30,000
Stian Ustad: 47,000
Felipe Meister: 50,000
Parker Talbot: 50,000
Thiago Crema: 51,000

2:43pm: Alin goes all in, gets no takers
Level 18 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (BB ante 10,000)

Alin Grasu, one of the Platinum Pass winners still in the event (EPT Barcelona Crazy Pineapple Hand Challenge), had been folding steadily for most of the day today until just now finally open-raising all in for 99,000 total from middle position.

Christoph Vogelsang was next to act, and after checking his cards he sat and eyed Grasu for some time before finally pushing his hand away. The others folded, too, and Grasu is at 124,000 now.

After the hand both players made claims. Grasu’s that he had aces was somewhat convincing, given how tight he’s been all day. Vogelsang’s that he had kings was perhaps less so — Grasu certainly didn’t believe it. Vogelsang insisted he did, though, saying Grasu’s timing and appearance seemed “more like aces than queens” so he folded.

Vogelsang was smiling, though, when making his case. Grasu’s smiling, too, having survived the ordeal. The bubble continues. –MH

2:238pm: Charette finds the only hand he’ll shove with
Level 18 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (BB ante 10,000)

Duff Charette moved all-in behind a raise from Patrick Liang.

The action was folded back to Liang who thought for a minute, then folded K♦Q♦ face up. In repsonse Charette showed A♥A♦.

“I’m not shoving anything else!: he said. – SB

2:30pm: Dirksen ships, Pollak folds
Level 18 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (BB ante 10,000)

Dustin Dirksen just put himself at risk, moving all-in from the big blind after Benjamin Pollak made it 20,000 to play from the cutoff.

Dirksen’s shove was for around 290,000 and that was right about what Pollak was playing too. After a decent while in the tank, during which Dirksen talked about “Queens?” and “Kings?” Pollak folded.

Dirksen then showed his T♥T♦ as he pulled in the pot. Pollak didn’t let on whether he was happy or sad about his fold. On we go. — HS

2:22pm: Big bubble river bet
Level 18 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (BB ante 10,000)

There was a swarm of cameras, so you knew something was going on. There was a giant pile of chips worth more than 250,000 in the middle and a 6♦J♦8♣Q♠7♦ board on the table.

Action was on Mikita Badziakouski. He was deciding whether to call a 149,000 bet that Samuel Tsehai put out. Badziakouski thought for minutes and the crowd kept growing with each second.

Someone called the clock and then Badziakouski called in the last few seconds. Tsehai tabled A♦8♦ for the nut flush and Badziakouski mucked. Badziakouski dipped to 550,000 while Tsehai is now near the top of the leaderboard with 1.12 million. –AV

2:15pm: Hour 2 of hand for hand
Level 18 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (BB ante 10,000)

We have now entered our second hour of hand for hand play.

2:05pm: Hang in there, Spraggy
Level 18 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (BB ante 10,000)

Ben Spragg is on the secondary feature table today and he’s seen his stack dip down to just 78,000 — just under eight big blinds at this point. But his spirits are still high.

“This is the greatest tournament in the history of poker,” Spraggy told me moments ago, citing the looser atmosphere created by the presence of so many casual and recreational players in the field. “Well, in a few minutes I might not feel that way.”


“Actually, I’ll be fine.”

And then it was time to play the next hand as we wait to see who will bubble the biggest $25K tournament in poker history. –JK

Spraggy with Lex Veldhuis

2:04pm: Jattin back in front
Level 18 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (BB ante 10,000)

Farid Jattin has just taken down a huge pot during the bubble to reclaim the chip count top spot.

Jattin opened to 24,000 under the gun and it folded to Jonathan West on the button. He three-bet to 55,000, and Jattin made the call to bring a 6♣A♠9♣ flop. West c-bet for 40,000 when checked to, and Jattin stuck around.

The dealer burned and turned the 5♥ and when it checked to West again he fired 125,000. Again, Jattin didn’t budge, and the T♦ hit the river. Jattin checked a final time, and West slid out a bet of 200,000.


West turned over A♣K♠ for top pair top kicker, but Jattin had that beat, flopping two pair with his A♦6♦.

Jattin’s up to 1.38 million now, while West drops down to 290,000. –JS

2:01pm: Alvarado doubles on the bubble
Level 18 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (BB ante 10,000)

Ryan Olisar opened for 23,000 from middle position. J.C. Alvarado was next to act, after a check of his cards he reraised all in for 83,000 total. The table folded around, and without too much hesitation Olisar called the shove.

JC Alvarado


Once the other tables had completed their hands, the tournament director gave the go-ahead and Olisar showed 7♠7♣ while Alvarado turned over A♣K♥.

Alvarado already looked plenty comfortable, and that look didn’t change as the flop came J♠A♠A♥ to give him trip aces. Alvarado maintained the lead through the 8♣ turn and 4♦ river, and he survives with about 190,000 while Olisar now has 465,000.

With the bubble intact, play continues. –MH

1:48pm: Raemaekers and Wang up to shenanigans
Level 18 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (BB ante 10,000)

The stone bubble is where you’re supposed to play tight. But even in these heightened circumstances, there are a couple of players out there determined to have fun.

One of those is Joep Raemaekers, who has moved all-in twice in succession, both as three-bet shoves. He got folds on both occasions, but Damien Le Goff made him sweat. Le Goff really looked like calling actually — he had opened to 22,000 and Raemaekers’s shove was for 168,000 — but Le Goff folded. Raemaekers then offered Le Goff the chance to look at one card, which he took. He exposed the 3♣.

Over on a neighbouring table, things were pretty similar. Tracey Guice opened to 25,000 and Jussi Nevanlinna called. Then action passed to the unpredictable Haoxiang Wang in the small blind. Wang three-bet to 91,000.

As Guice thought about her decision, Wang said: “Just fold. I don’t want a call.” Guice obeyed, but Nevanlinna pushed, covering the 100,000 Wang had back. Wang chuckled and folded immediately.

“Nice hand,” Wang said. “I’m bluffing.” He showed the 3♦. Nevanlinna offered the chance for someone to look at one of his cards, and the A♦ appeared on the felt.

Wang is now pretty short as we remain on the stone bubble. — HS

1:47pm: Bubble quads for Burkhart
Level 18 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (BB ante 10,000)

“Good luck me,” said Jacqueline Burkhart. She had just got into a pot with Christoph Vogelsang.
She would indeed get pretty lucky.

Vogelsang raised to 20,000 from middle position that hand and Burkhart called from the big blind. The flop came down 8♦7♣8♣ and Burkhart check-called a bet of 15,000.

Quads for Jacqueline Burkhart

The 8♠ came on the turn and both players checked. The 4♦ completed the board and Burkhart bet 25,000. Vogelsang thought for a bit and called.

“Quads,” Burkhart said and turned over 8♥5♥. “Show, for the fans.”

Vogelsang turned over pocket sixes for a full house.

“No big deal,” Burkhart said. “Just quads. I only play quads.”

The pot put Burkhart up to almost 400,000 while Vogelsang dipped to 515,00. –AV

1:45pm: Del Pino eliminated, 182 remain
Level 17 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (BB ante 8,000)

Omar Del Pino, a Platinum Pass winner from Spain, looked down at a good hand from under the gun and jammed all in for his last 145,000 or so, and it looked like the raise was going to get through until the Belarusan Mikita Badziakouski chose to challenge him from the small blind.

Mikita Badziakouski

After the long wait to get the cameras in place and make sure all the other tables had completed their hands, Del Pino showed A♦K♦ and was disappointed to see Badziakouski table A♥A♣.

The 7♣Q♥J♥ flop brought lots of murmurs from the surrounding crowd, having introduced a way for Del Pino to escape his difficult situation. But the 6♦ turn and Q♠ river didn’t help him, and he’s out in 183rd place. Badziakouski meanwhile is up around 750,000 now.

That’s the last hand of Level 17, as the clock turns over to the next level with just one elimination to go until the cash. Stay tuned! –MH

1:22pm: Fernandez cracked
Level 17 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (BB ante 8,000)

Team PokerStars Pro Leo Fernandez was down to just 53,000 and looked down at a hand every short stack wants to see, pocket aces.

Leo Fernandez

Fernandez moved all-in from middle position and action folded around to Bart Lybaert’s big blind. Lybaert looked down at Q♠Q♥.

Easy call.

Things were looking good for Fernandez, but then the river of a J♠J♣5♥4♣Q♣ board brought Lybaert a set of queens.

That’s it for the Team Pro. Lybaert on the other hand is now up to 280,000. –AV

1:21pm: Have a heart
Level 18 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (BB ante 10,000)

Amid all of this heart-stopping suspense here on the bubble, here’s a little heart-warming anecdote to soothe us as we wait to see who makes it to the cash.

You might recall the “knitting lady,” Jennifer Carter, who after busting yesterday gave a knitted heart to Tim Reilly who knocked her out. Reilly has brought back the heart again today and has it by his stack, and he was just explaining how he intends to pass it along to the person who knocks him out of the event.

Tim Reilly, the current holder of Jennifer Carter’s heart

Which means, of course, if that person continues to do the same as well as everyone after that, we should see the knitted heart at the final table and maybe even in the winner’s photo, right? –MH

1:19pm: Bubble-up for Sanchez
Level 17 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (BB ante 8,000)

After David Laturo opened for 18,000 from the button, Joaquin Sanchez reraised all in for about 180,000 from the small blind and when the action returned to Paredes he called.

Sanchez had T♦T♠ and Laturo 9♥9♦. The board rolled out A♦7♣5♠, then 4♥, then J♠, and Sanchez let out a big “whew!” as his hand had held. He bumps up around 370,000 after that hand, while Laturo now has 180,000.

The big board says 186 players left at present — five eliminations until the money. –MH

1:10pm: Hand for hand begins
Level 17 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (BB ante 8,000)

Hand for hand play has begun.

1:05pm: He had to try
Level 17 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (BB ante 8,000)

“I gotta try something here,” said John Esposito. But what was he going to try?

Well, Platinum Pass winner Andrii Grynechko was taking a long time to act. Like, a long time. It was pre-flop, and as we get ever closer to the $25,450 bubble, tensions are running high and the potential for stalling is becoming more appealing to the shorter stacks.

Esposito was looking for a way to goad Grynechko into acting. He thought he’d found it:


Grynechko is sporting the same Toronto Maple Leafs jersey he’s been wearing throughout this event. But Esposito’s insult didn’t seem to break the shell.

“Compared with the Golden Knights, anyway,” Esposito added.

Eventually the clock was called on Grynechko. The floor came over, and the countdown began.

“C’mon man, you can’t win by folding,” said Esposito. “Get it in there!”

With three seconds left on the clock, Grynechko jammed for around 80,000. It folded around to Esposito in the big blind.

He folded. –JS

12:52pm: Asaka sacked
Level 17 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (BB ante 8,000)

Yuka Asaka won the Manila Super Series Main Event and came oh-so-close to making the money here in the PSPC.

Asaka started the day with 109,000 and clung to her stack for as long as she could. She shoved when she was whittled down to 69,000 and moved all-in from under the gun. Blair Hinkle called from middle position and action folded around.

Asaka turned over A♣4♣ and Hinkle showed a dominating A♥K♥. The A♦8♥Q♥J♣A♠ board brought a pair of aces and Hinkle’s king kicker took down the pot. Asaka hit the rail less than nine players away from the money while Hinkle chipped up to nearly 500,000. –AV

12:49pm: Perkins doubles
Level 17 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (BB ante 8,000)

Bill Perkins lives on after a double up with A♥Q♥.

He was all-in for 51,000. Max Greenwood, with A♣K♠, came in with the call.

Bill Perkins doubling up

“Queens and hearts,” said Perkins as they watched the flop.


That was no good. But the turn came Q♦

“Dodging bullet!” he said as the 8♠ came on the river.


Perkins is still in, which is good news to him. Not so much for his twitter follower who predicted he’d go out with ace-queen. He’s giving away a WSOP seat to the follower who predicts his exit hand.

“Still in!”

— SB

12:48pm: Pavlov in the box seat
Level 17 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (BB ante 8,000)

It’s been a terrific start to the day for Atanas Pavlov, our Platinum Pass holder from Bulgaria. Pavlov has built his stack to more than 600,000 and that’s allowing him to play bully at his table thanks to the approaching bubble.

During a recent passage of play, Pavlov opened from mid-position to 16,000 and had to wait for five opponents to very slowly fold. It was painful enough that Pavlov unconsciously picked up his phone and checked WhatsApp, like someone absent-mindedly waiting for a bus. The dealer reminded him that he can’t do that with live cards, and Pavlov quickly apologised and put it down again.

Eventually Pavlov was put out of his misery and received the blinds and ante. He won’t mind too much. It’s far better to be in his seat than one of those players for whom agonised stalling is clearly the correct play. — HS

12:47pm: Guice sends Srinivasan packing
Level 17 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (BB ante 8,000)

Shyam Srinivasan just had his kings undone by the aces of Tracey Guice.

That was it in terms of fanfare. The board didn’t change that. Srinivasan left quietly. Guice, who stacks her chips unconventionally, is up to something like 400,000. – SB

12:41pm: Cooler between two German Platinum Pass winners…and a slow roll
Level 17 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (BB ante 8,000)

Franz Ditz, winner of a Platinum Pass he picked up in a live satellite in Monte Carlo, opened for 16,000. Michael Robionek, winner of the Human Lie Detector contest, was on the button and three-bet to 35,000. Ditz shoved for 250,000, and Robionek…tanked. For nearly two minutes.

Michael Robionek

This is going to sound pretty horrible here.

Franz K♠K♦
Michael A♦A♣

Ditz was understandably upset about the slowroll, and he remained so as the board ran out T♣8♣5♣3♦6♠. Robionek is now up to 549,000.

Franz Ditz

Don’t hate too much on Robionek. We have some private and inside information we can reveal later that will make this seem…well, not as bad as it does now. –BW

12:43pm: Schwartz doubles through Veksler
Level 17 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (BB ante 8,000)

A double up for Jake Schwartz through Pavel Veksler.

Schwartz shoved after Veksler opened for 18,000. The call didn’t take long.

Veksler: T♠T♥
Schwartz: Q♥Q♦

The board came 2♥4♣6♦8♥7♥

Veksler paid up. He’s on 430,000 now. Schwartz moves up to 310,000. – SB

12:42pm: Bubble tension
Level 17 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (BB ante 8,000)

Dealt Q♦Q♣ in the cutoff, Taylor Black pushed his short stack all in and after a tense few moments waiting out what the remaining players were going to do he received no callers, showing his hand before collecting his pot. He’s at 110,000 now.

At a nearby table, Vlad Tatu had opened and then Brandon Hall reraised all in for just 46,000. It folded back through the blinds, with Toby Lewis (small blind) and Mark Radoja (big blind) both taking a short while before letting their cards go. Action back on Tatu, Hall smiled and said “You can fold” before Tatu grinned back and tossed in a chip to call.

Tatu had 9♦9♠ and Hall K♦K♥, and the 4♥A♥T♣8♥7♦ runout was safe for Hall who now stacks 102,000.

Bill Perkins, sitting next to Hall, congratulated him for the double. “I’m playing to win, man,” Hall said while exhaling. –MH

12:42pm: Kanit into seven figures
Level 17 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (BB ante 8,000)

The PSPC, which will eventually crown six millionaires, has its first chip millionaire. That man is Mustapha Kanit, whose ace-king hit against Adriano Dias Marques’s queens on one of the first hands of the day.

Marques, a Platinum Pass winner from Brazil, had 177,000 at the start of the day, and when you add them to Kanit’s stack, Kanit now sits prettiest of them all with 1.05 million. — HS

12:41pm: One step forward, two steps back for Paszkiewicz
Level 17 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (BB ante 8,000)

Dariusz Paskiewicz started off well today. Then he ran into Sosia Jiang.

Step forward: Paskiewicz, last year’s EPT Barcelona Cup champion, opened for 18,000 in the hijack seat and got a call from Taylor Black in the big blind. Black check-folded to Paszkiewicz’s bet of 15,000 on the queen-high flop.

Step back: The next orbit saw Sosia Jiang call in the small blind and Paszkiewicz check in the big to bring a 4♥2♦9♠ flop. Jiang check-called 20,000 there and the turn was the J♥. Jiang checked again, Paszkiewicz bet 40,000, and Jiang called.

Jiang checked one more time on the K♥ river and Paszkiewicz continued to barrel, this time for 65,000. Jiang gave it a good 30 seconds before making the call and Paszkiewicz immediately passed his cards face-down to the dealer.

Paszkiewicz now sits on 240,000 to Jiang’s 750,000. –JK

12:41pm: Platinum Pass journey ends for Brankin
Level 17 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (BB ante 8,000)

We’ve lost another of our Platinum Pass winners early on here today. The UK’s Peter Brankin came into the day short with just 112,000, and couldn’t find a spin.

He open-jammed for his last 85,000 from the UTG+1 seat, before the USA’s David Key re-shoved from the hijack. Key only just had Brankin covered, and when everyone else folded the cards were revealed.

Brankin was in bad shape. His A♦J♥ was dominated by Key’s A♣K♣, but he would find some help on the board by the turn. With the 2♦T♠Q♦9♦ out there, he could hit any diamond, any eight, or any king to win.

The 3♠ river was none of those things. Brankin departed, shaking everyone’s hand as he went, while Key now stacks up with 175,000.

The PSPC dream might be over, but Brankin’s free vacation in the Bahamas sure ain’t. Go grab a cocktail, Peter. –JS

12:40pm: Kurov KO’s Millar
Level 17 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (BB ante 8,000)

Darren Millar couldn’t make it to the money. The Irish Platinum Pass winner got it in with K♥K♦ and got called by Andrei Kurov, who was holding A♥2♠.

Millar needed to dodge an ace, or two deuces. The 2♥4♠2♦Q♦4♦ board brought the the latter and Kurov filled up. Millar hit the rail while Kurov, a Russian Platinum Pass winner, is up to 380,000. –AV

Team Ireland’s Darren Millar gets coolered

12:32pm: Insta-fun
Level 17 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (BB ante 8,000)

While we’re providing live text updates and photos here, don’t miss the fun at our PokerStars Instagram account.

12:32pm: Gregg’s got the goods
Level 17 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (BB ante 8,000)

Tony Gregg already has one KO under his belt just 15 minutes into the day.

Vladas Tamasauskas opened to 16,000 from the lojack, and it folded around to Gregg in the big blind. He asked Tamasauskas how much he started with (119,000), then defended.

A Q♠8♥K♣ flop was dealt on which Gregg checked to the raiser. Tamasauskas declined to c-bet though, bringing the 6♥ on the turn. It checked to Tamasauskas once more, and now he made a delayed c-worth 19,000. Call.

The T♦ completed the board and when Gregg checked a third time Tamasauskas jammed. Gregg took a quick peek back at his cards, then made a quick call.

Tamasauskas revealed A♥7♥. He’d turned the nut flush draw, but when it bricked on the river he turned his hand into a bluff. Gregg had the goods though, flopping a set with his 8♦8♠.

Early showers for Tamasauskas then, who departs before the money. Gregg is up to 420,000 now. –JS

12:30pm: Lin breathes her last
Level 17 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (BB ante 8,000)

Ah well, she gave it her best shot, but Celina Lin is now out.

The Team Pro from China did indeed get her table move, but landed directly into the big blind first hand. Michel Dattani opened from the cutoff, making it 16,000, and Lin had to call give that about two thirds of her stack was already in the middle paying the big blind and the ante.

Lin had Q♠9♦ to Dattani’s A♠6♥. But after the A♥Q♣4♥3♥K♠ board, Lin had to head out the door. We are down to 195 players now, and the stalling has well and truly started. — HS

Randy Lew and Celina Lin

12:29pm: “That wasn’t stalling”
Level 17 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (BB ante 8,000)

Platinum Pass winner Tzai Wei Phua was hunched forward, head down, staring straight ahead over the stack of chips he’d pushed forward as an all-in river bet. The board had three queens, showing 2♥Q♦Q♣8♠Q♠, and Phua’s action had sent Jack O’Neill deep into the tank.

The bet represented more than the 195,000 or so O’Neill had behind, and so to call or not was a momentous decision — momentous enough to take more than several moments as O’Neill thought hard about what to do. Finally the clock was called, and after a 30-second countdown O’Neill’s hand was declared dead. Phua showed one card — the 6♦ — and claimed the pot.

The tournament director reminded players that stalling would not be allowed as the bubble approaches, and others at the table quickly defended the time O’Neill had taken. “That wasn’t stalling,” they said, noting how the decision O’Neill had faced had been genuinely tough one.

Chatting continues about the hand, as Phua is now stacking 425,000. –MH

12:28pm: Karakousis on the rail
Level 17 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (BB ante 8,000)

Georgious Karakousis is the first player to bust on table 2.

He shoved once (with no reply) and then shoved twice, with 98,000. This time Pavel Veksler was ready to call, and was ahead.

Veksler: A♠K♣
Karakousis: A♣Q♦

Karakousis’s frustration was obvious. He’d need another queen.

The board ran 3♣6♦4♠8♠J♠ bringing nothing to improve either hand. That send Karakousis to the rail, and Veksler up to 550,000. — SB

12:23pm: Burkhart ready to burst the bubble
Level 17 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (BB ante 8,000)

Platinum Pass winner Jacqueline Burkhart is feeling good.

She finished day 2 with 285,000, right in her comfort zone. She woke up and did some yoga at the Atlantis fitness center and got some oatmeal to start her day.

She introduced herself to the table and sat down next to two other Platinum Pass winners.

“How’d you get yours?” she asked her tablemates. Alin Grasu won his after winning a tournament in Barcelona and Filippo Filardo won his in an online shootout.

“I’m rooting for you guys,” Burkhart said. “Can’t say I’m rooting for the whole table, that’d be disingenuous.

Then she asked Christoph Vogelsang how he won his Platinum Pass.

“I bought in,” Vogelsang said.

“I’m kidding, I know who you are,” Burkhart said.

Burkhart’s known the game for a while. She started playing as soon as she learned how to shuffle at the age of 9, the sole requirement to play at her family’s home game. That and a few coins at least.

The game has never left her life since, and her story is quite literally how she ended up here at the PSPC. Maria Konnikova hosted an essay contest to giveaway a Platinum Pass and Burkhart’s poker story topped the field of 86 entries.

There were four other finalists too, and Burkhart has offered them all a 1 percent piece of her winnings, winnings that are now in sight. Players are less than 20 eliminations away from hitting the money and that won’t just spell money for Burkhart and the other essayists, but for the Alzheimer’s Association as well since Burkhart has pledged 10 percent of her winning to the association.

Burkhart’s mother was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s, a condition Burkhart and her sister started noticing when she would forget rules during their home games. But puzzles and mindgames help keep the mind sharp and poker isn’t just a way of life for Burkhart, it’s a way of keeping family and memories together. –AV

Jackie Burkhart

12:16pm: Lin breathes again
Level 17 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (BB ante 8,000)

There are comebacks, and then there’s what Celina Lin is going to have to do today. After a disastrous last level yesterday, the Team Pro ended the day with only one-and-a-half big blinds, and that’s not really going to be enough to inch into the money.

But at time of writing, Lin remains in the tournament having secured an early double up. In fact, it was the second hand of the day. Lin open-pushed from UTG+1 and Max Greenwood called on the button. Actually, he couldn’t only call, he raised to 20,000. That pushed the blinds out of the way and the cards went on their backs.

“I’m ahead,” Lin said to her rail (Randy Lew) as she table A♣7♥ to Greenwood’s K♥8♥. But Greenwood overtook her after the 8♣6♠4♥ flop. The 9♠ turn was a blank but then, bink, the A♠ river brought a huge smile to Lin’s face.

As Warren Sheaves noted, Lin’s table is first to break today so she may be able to get a fortuitous new assignment, and move away from the big blind. But even that’s probably a step too far at the moment. She just needs to keep praying for the miracle. — HS

12:13pm: #thinkpositive
Level 17 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (BB ante 8,000)

With less than 30 eliminations to the money, you’d think players would be tense at this stage, especially those who won Platinum Passes for whom a min-cash would represent a significant bounty.

For instance, at Table 20 there are three such winners — Jacqueline Burkhart (starting with 285,000), Filippo Filardo (280,000), and Alin Grasu (126,000). But the table is quite chatty as play begins, with Christoph Vogelsang leading the conversation involving those three, Jonathan Abdellatif, and Darren Elias while the first hand is being dealt.

Perhaps they’ve been influenced by another Platinum Pass winner, Asif Warris, who visited the table just before the start and wish everyone good luck. Warris busted yesterday, though you wouldn’t be able to tell from his smile and “#thinkpositive” cap. –MH

12:09pm: Christou crushed
Level 17 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (BB ante 8,000)

Platinum Pass winner Georgios Christou came into the day as one of our shorter stacks, leaving him with essentially one decision to make: when will I move all-in?

The answer, it turns out, was on the first hand of the day. Joaquin Sanchez opened the betting for 17,000 in the hijack seat and Christou jammed for his last 63,000 in the cutoff seat. The action folded back to Sanchez, who thought for just a few seconds before calling with A♦T♥. That was racing with Christou’s 8♠8♣. The 9♦5♦7♥ flop was safe for Christou, but the T♠ on the turn gave Sanchez a pair of tens. There were still plenty of outs in the deck for Christou headed to the river, but the 7♦ that came wasn’t one of them.

So long, Georgios — it was fun following your progress. –JK

12:07pm: Shuffle up and…don’t bubble!!

Alright, folks. We’re off. We’ll be hitting the money at some point early this afternoon. Anybody else feeling jittery?–BW

11am: Welcome to Day 3

Good morning from Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas, where we’re getting ready to start the third day of the PokerStars Players No Limit Hold’em Championship, the largest $25,000 poker tournament the world has ever seen.

Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas, home of the PSPC

Only 207 players remain from the starting field of 1,039 pros, grinders, freerollers, recreational players, and adventurers of all stripes. Regardless of their backgrounds, they’ll have two goals as we get back underway.

The first goal is to survive through the money bubble at 182nd place. Everybody beyond that point will be guaranteed a cash of at least $25,450. Then comes the second goal: outlast the remaining field to claim the $5.1 million winner’s prize. And if they can’t make it that far, well, finishing somewhere between second and sixth place will still be good for at least $1 million.

Sound like fun? Then you’re in the right place. We’ll be here all day following the action, from noon when the cards get in the air until the end our eighth level of play.

Download the PokerStars LIVE! app with all tournament information. Available for IOS and Android.

PokerStars Blog reporting team at the PSPC: Stephen Bartley, Martin Harris, Jason Kirk, Jack Stanton, Howard Swains, Alex Villegas and Brad Willis. Photography by Carlos Monti and Neil Stoddart.

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