Monday, 5th December 2022 01:26
Home / Uncategorized / PCA 2018: Stark edges Peters as bubble day delivers thrills and spills

Day 3 of the $10,000 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA) Main Event was bubble day, and that meant the promise of high drama. We were going to witness the moment in a poker tournament when suddenly everyone joins in a common cause: to ruin someone else’s life.

The rule of bubble play is simple: if it’s not you, it doesn’t matter. Screw him. Today’s bubble took more than two hours to burst, which meant frustration and exhaustion were also tossed into the cauldron as everybody set about the task of earning at least $17,000.

It wasn’t always thrilling, but there were two undisputed highlights. The first was when Barry Greenstein, with two big blinds, rivered a two-outer to survive against pocket aces.

The biggest reaction we have seen from Barry Greenstein in 15 years

The second was when Nikita Neliubin, who had clung on with a similarly tiny stack to Greenstein, couldn’t pull off a similar miracle. Neliubin wore his heart on his sleeve as he departed, head held high, but without a cash.

Nikita Neliubin: This…let me think…yes, this sucks

During all this, the players with the most tournament experience, and the biggest stacks, set about abusing their privilege. The two most emphatic performances came from Karl Stark (1.148 million) and David Peters (1.117 million) and they are the top two overnight.

Karl Stark: Leader!

Stark was aggressive from the off, living up to what would be expected of the lone Swedish player in the field. As for Peters, he is just David Peters. He does what he does. Peters accounted for Greenstein in his surge to the near-summit and will be the favourite among the 43 remaining for when play gets under way again at noon tomorrow.

David Peters: Being David Peters

A couple of words, though, about another couple of players. Firstly, Maria Konnikova continues her incredible hot-streak. Konnikova has already won the National Championship this week and she’s seeking an even bigger score now in the Main Event. She’s 43rd of 43 remaining, but still in.

There’s also no mistaking the presence deep in yet another PCA Main Event field of Team PokerStars Pro Liv Boeree. This is her fourth in-the-money finish in the big dance in the Bahamas, and she’ll be eyeing her first final table.

Liv Boeree: Yet another PCA cash

Also worth mentioning Maria Lampropulos, who spent time on and off of the feature table, looking perfectly comfortable at all times. She has already won a $1 million prize this year and is cruising in search of a second. She was first through the million chips mark, but slipped at the end.

The full chip counts of all the survivors are on the chip-count page. Look at the payouts page for a reminder of what they’re playing for. (Hint: the winner is getting more than $1 million). The seat draw for Day 4 will be on the seat draw page when we have it.

Feel free to flick through all our coverage below the line. It was a hectic day. had cards up coverage of the feature table all day too, so watch their efforts too below.

Join us again at noon tomorrow. — HS

Day 3 coverage archive:

• PLAYERS: 43 (of 582)
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8:50pm: Day 3 concludes

With 43 players left, Day 3 has come to a screeching halt. Back in a few with a final recap of the day, including the big reveal of who ended up on top of the counts. –MH

8:49pm: Last elimination of the day
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

An elimination right at the bell. Calum Deas knocked out Alexander Gambino with jacks against tens. The board came 3K833 to send him to the rail on the last hand of the day. – SB

8:45pm: Two all-ins
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Two all-ins called in quick succession. Amid all the confusion this is how things looked.

In the first Christian Rudolph doubled up through Marco Alves when his QQ held against Alves’s 99 on a board of 23KA4.

Alves has 260,000 now to Rudolph’s 295,000.

On the next table Michael Kamran was all in, but so too was Calum Deas.

Kamran 66
Deas 1010J5A4 to double Deas, who was all in for 63,000. — SB

8:40pm: Greenstein departs, Peters jumps in front
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

After becoming the undisputed star of the bubble period today, Barry Greenstein is now out. He took the long walk in 47th, but will know that his $22,020 payout was way more than he could realistically have expected when he was all in with two big blinds against a pair of pocket aces.

The TV table, from a distance (and from earlier today)

Barry Greenstein was up on the TV table when he was eliminated, which we’re sort of avoiding so you don’t have to deal with too many spoilers. Also, if we step on the stage, we are subject to a summary execution. Or something like that.

Nevertheless, because the stream was delayed, we tried to get ahead of the game and chat with him. After he did his bust-out interview and took some photos with fans, we asked him if he could provide the short version of his elimination.

“I’ll give you the long version,” he said, which meant there was definitely a reason for it. “I was under the gun and was fortunate to pick up two kings,” the story began.

Greenstein had KK and open-raised all in for 42,000 from under the gun. David Peters looked down at AK in the cutoff and chose just to call.

Gleidibe Brito was next to act on the button and three-bet to 112,000 with 77, and when the action returned to Peters he just called.

The flop came 3J9. Peters checked, Brito bet 65,000, and Peters called. The turn then brought the A to put Peters ahead, and he checked again. This time Brito bet 135,000, and Peters called once more, making the side pot 540,000 (way more than the 143,000 in the main pot).

The river brought the Q and both checked, giving Peters the pot and moving him up to 1.18 million while Brito slips to 606,000. –HS/MH/BW

Peters pushes ahead

8:35pm: Battle of the houses
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Patryk Poterek moved up to 310,000 after making a bigger full house than Jason Stemmler, who dropped to 135,000.

Poterek opened from the hijack and was called by Stemmler on the button and the big blind. He continued for 20,000 on the 333 flop and was only called by Stemmler, who called another 26,000 on the 10 turn. Both players checked the J river and Poterek’s 77 had his opponent’s 44 dominated. –MC

8:30pm: Konnikova calls
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

The board read 810QA5 and Aleksandr Milyaev had bet 25,000. The player with a decision to make was Maria Konnikova. It wasn’t a huge pot, but neither player is currently chipped up, so it mattered to them. When you’re short-stacked, every pot is a big one.

Konnikova thought it over, then called. Milyaev showed J9. Konnikova looked briefly at the board again, then mucked. She’s down to around 90,000 now, while Milyaev has 230,000. – SB

8:25pm: Set over set sends out Shabalin, Stark rises to top
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Karl Stark had raised preflop and multiple players came along, but after the 7A6 only Stark and Vladimir Shabalin playing from the blinds were going to be sticking around.

It folded to Stark who bet 30,000, then others scattered before Shabalin check-raised to 80,000. Down to just those two, Stark reraised all in and Shabalin called to commit the 220,000 or so he had left.

When the players showed their cards, lots of “ooohs” came from the others — Shabalin had 66 for a set, but Stark had AA for a better one.

The 8 turn and J river sealed it, and Shabalin is out. Meanwhile Stark is now up around 1.1 million, appearing to have surged out in front of Maria Lampropulos with that one. –MH

8:20pm: Maria’s million
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Maria Lampropulos has become the first player to break through the million mark after winning a pot worth over 300,000 off Michael Kamran.

Lampropulos raised to 14,000 from early position and called after Kamran three-bet to 42,000 from the big blind. The flop fell QKA and Kamran continued for 39,000. Lampropulos tanked to the point that a table mate called the clock on her, which prompted a raise to 120,000. Kamran called and both players went on to check the 24 turn and river.

Maria Lampropulos: Million chips

Kamran opened AQ for two pair but lost out to Lampropulos’ flopped flush with 89. He dropped 440,000 whereas she rose to 1.045 million. –MC

8:15pm: Ruling: When is a raise a call?
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Four saw a flop of 510J in a limped pot. Christian Banz bet 13,000 which prompted two players to fold, leaving just him and Adalfer Gamarra to see the 3 turn. Banz bet another 32,000 and again Gamarra called, fast this time, for the A on the river.

Here’s where things got interesting.

Banz bet 60,000. Gamarra then plonked some chips on to the table, and Banz showed KJ for the nut flush. Gamarra showed AA. Only there was a slight problem with Gamarra’s “call”.

Adalfer Gamarra: Tough tournament decision

As the dealer pointed out, Gamarra had actually “called” with a raise, having put 160,000 into the middle (in the manner of someone calling with a random amount). Now there was an issue. The floor was called when Gamarra took the additional chips back. In the general scheme of things his stack of around 400,000 depended on them.

The floor arrived in the form of Tournament Director Thomas Gimie, who when informed that Gamarra didn’t speak English, slipped into convincing conversational Spanish to explain the situation, which boiled down to rulings being made on actions rather than intentions.

Banz meanwhile was worried he was losing the pot. “With nuts I call,” he said, before being put at ease – he had won the pot, it was just a matter of by how much.

Some lengthy Spanish ensured. The massage therapist, who had been working Gamarra’s shoulders, varied the pressure between soft and hard depending on Gamarra’s agitation. He was insistent he should get the extra chips back. She earned her tip.

Gimie was insistent that this wasn’t going to happen.

“He doesn’t know you can’t call with more chips,” said one player.

“I’m afraid now he knows,” replied Gimie, having exhausted his Spanish.

Gamarra wasn’t happy, but the ruling was made. He paid up, the massage therapist doubled her efforts, and Banz stacked up more than 500,000 chips. –SB

8:12pm: Another double for Chreem
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

After Helio Chreem open-raised all-in from middle position for his last 62,000 with A10, it folded to Ivan Zhechev in the big blind who called with 1010.

Chreem stood and leaned forward, moving his cards around a little as if to position them most effectively to be joined with the community cards. The J4K flop had Chreem patting the table, as though to comfort it to the point of receiving something desirable.

The turn was exactly that for Chreem — the Q — to make a straight, and Chreem pounded the table with glee. The river was the 6, and Chreem survives another all-in to get to 155,000. Zhechev is down to 215,000. –MH

8:05pm: Translator to the main tournament area, please
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Jack Sinclair and Vladimir Shabalin have a bit of a late-day bromance going on. They’re playing lots of hands together. They’re engaging in long stare-downs, dropping sunglasses to the tips of their nose, and staring deeply into one another’s souls. They are also working on their language skills, apparently.

Vladimir Shabalin: Making eyes

When Shabalin was a little bit delayed in rolling his hand over after winning with top pair, Sinclair remarked, “How do Russians say ‘slow roll?'”

“It’s not a slow roll,” Shabalin protested. “I’m scared. I’m scared of everything!” –BW

8pm: Farrow jams, Gambino relents
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Alexander Gambino opened for 15,000 from under the gun and got a single caller in Michael Farrow on his left. Both checked the A7Q flop, then when Gambino led for 45,000 at the 3 turn, Farrow jammed and Gambino quickly gave it up.

Farrow is at 405,000 now, while Gambino is down to 125,000. –MH

7:50pm: Kamran back on the up
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Michael Kamran likes to be in the action and that has been a factor in his swingy day. He’s on an upswing again after winning a chunky pot off Alexander Gambino.

Gambino opened to 15,000 from middle position and called after Kamran three-bet to 40,000 off the button. The flop fell K2K and Gambino check-called a 17,000 c-bet.

The Q turn was checked through to the 5 river where Gambino led for 36,000 and then called after Kamran raised to 92,000.

Gambino snap folded and dropped to 206,000 after Kamran opened AK for trips.

That put Kamran up to 670,000. –MC

7:45pm: Cautious play
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Amid what has become somewhat slower-paced play among the few tables that remain, Karl Stark opened for 14,000 from middle position, Sharman Olshan called from one seat over, and Maria Konnikova called as well from the big blind.

The 269 flop saw Stark c-betting for 18,000, with Olshan calling quickly and Konnikova dropping out. Both remaining players then checked down the 4 turn and 9 river.

Olshan showed her AK first, then Stark turned over A4 to take the pot with fours and nines.

Stark is up to 815,000 now, while Olshan has 266,000. –MH

7:30pm: Milyaev it!
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Hope for Alesandr Milyaev. Down to 80,000 he shoved when he found AK and got a call from Michael Stashin, with QQ.

The board came 7AJ33

That moved Milyaev back up to around 170,000 while Stashin is on 750,000. – SB

7:20pm: Lampropulos busts Schottes
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Markus Schottes had just 37,500, almost the shortest stack of anyone left in the tournament. All of it went in early here in Level 17 behind 33, and Schottes just needed to fade Maria Lampropulos’s AJ.

The small pair held through the 899 flop and 7 turn. But the 7 on the river double-paired the board, turning the pocket treys into a single low kicker and giving the hand to Lampropulos.

Schottes is out, while Lampropulos is up to 820,000 — third in chips at the moment. –MH

7:15pm: Greenwood out, Aldemir up
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Luc Greenwood is the latest faller. He got his last 150,000 in against Koray Aldemir with JJ against Aldemir’s QQ.

The board ran AQ75K to send Greenwood to the rail. Aldemir moves up to around 720,000. – SB

6:48pm: Last break of the day

Back in 30 — SB

6:45pm: Luca and Hadweh bust from the same table
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Ivan Luca and George Hadweh busted from the same table a few minutes apart.

Luca was unlucky after three-betting all-in for 59,500 with AK and losing to the KQ of Christian Rudolph. The latter called the all-in and hit a three-outer on a board that ran Q4234.

Hadweh wasn’t so unlucky. He three-bet all-in for 50,000 with 55 after Keith Nassetta had opened to 12,000 with 1010. The latter called and survived an AJ89Q board. –MC

6:44pm: Dream lives for Chreem
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Brazil’s Helio Chreem opened with an all in push from under the gun for 30,500 and it folded around to Ivan Zhechev of Bulgaria on the button who called. The blinds stepped aside, and Chreem rose from his chair to turn over his 98 while Zhechev remained seated while tabling his 88.

The flop fell 1095, earning a fist pump and shout from Chreem, and after hthe Q turn and 5 river he survives with about 80,000. Zhechev is at 410,000. –MH

6:41pm: Zhou sent to Row Z
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Jean Ateba’s chips are not in even 20s, which means they are very hard to count. It doesn’t help that there are so many of them, but I’d guess they total about 550,000 now after a recent hand that sent Jianguo Zhou to the rail.

This one began with an open from under the gun from Zhou, and then a three-bet to 33,500 from Ateba in the small blind.

Zhou then moved all-in for about 110,000 and Ateba called instantly.

“I knew it!” a table-mate said as Zhou turned over his KK and Ateba exposed his AA.

It was a set-up, and the board was blank meaning Zhou heads home and Ateba repositions himself in the top quarter of the counts. — HS

6:38pm: Tim cries Volf one too many times
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Tim Volf had doubled up earlier in the level but the last time he was all-in, he was out of here.

Tim Volf

Michael Stashin opened to 12,000 from middle position and then called after Volf moved all-in for 104,500 from the hijack.

Stashin: JJ
Volf: 99

The board ran K673Q and Stashin moved up to 720,000. –MC

6:34pm: High rollers still in the Main
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

With the tournament down to eight tables, there are still quite a few players in the field we often see populating the super high rollers and high rollers.

Koray Aldemir (480,000), Adrian Mateos (430,000) and Orpen Kisacikoglu (295,000) all have healthy stacks, while Ivan Luca (80,000) has been nursing a short one for a while.

Luca, incidentally, is just a table over from his girlfriend, Maria Lampropulos who keeps adding to her stack — she’s now up around 780,000.

There are more high rollers on the feature table, too — Vladmir Troyanovskiy (on a short stack), Liv Boeree (above the average), and David Peters (way up there). –MH

6:31pm: Koray Aldemir boots Affif Prado
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Affif Prado was ahead pre-flop. At least he can say that. He had KQ against Koray Aldemir’s K10, but by the time we made it to the table, Aldemir had flopped a ten. The money went in after that, and Prado didn’t catch up.–BW

6:28pm: One time only for Gimbel
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Harrison Gimbel’s two-time hopes are over as the 2010 PCA champion is out in 57th. He’ll get $19,760 for his troubles this week, a mere $2,180,240 less than he picked up as champion.

Harrison Gimbel

His final hand was an open-push from under the gun with 35,000 in his stack. It folded all the way to Michael Farrow in the big blind and he called.

Farrow: JJ
Gimbel: AK

The flop of J79 was good only for Farrow, but the Q turn gave a glimmer of hope to Gimbel. It was snuffed out for good on the Q river and that leaves us champ-less in the Bahamas. — HS

6:23pm: All Greenstein, all the time
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

“Barry Greenstein all-in,” the TV producer said into his microphone. But Greenstein wasn’t all-in. Such is the Team PokerStars Pro’s resurgence since his remarkable bubble survival that he could be involved in an all-in pre-flop coup and not be under threat.

Barry Greenstein

Greenstein opened this pot to 11,000 and there was a call on the button before Pedro Leal moved all-in from the big blind with only 25,500 in his stack.

Greenstein four-bet to isolate Leal and the other player stepped aside. That meant Greenstein’s K10 was up against Leal’s 97 for the latter’s tournament life.

There’s no beating Barry Greenstein today. And the 244QK flop spelled curtains for Leal.

Greenstein now sits with around 150,000. — HS

6:20pm: Stark sinks Gruenberger
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Maximilian Gruenberger was just knocked out by Karl Stark.

In his last hand Gruenberger had K7 and there was both a king and a seven among the community cards, giving him two pair. That’s why he called the all-in shove from across the table.

But the Stark reality was his opponent had an ace and a queen for a better two pair. “Nice hand,” exhaled Gruenberger before heading to the payout desk, while Stark added his chips to his stack, now up to 672,000. –MH

6:16pm: Greenstein over 100k
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Barry Greenstein has passed 100,000 after he was all-in with a familiar couple of hands on show.

He raised to 12,000 from early position and was called by Helio Chreem in middle position. The flop spread 7J2 and Greenstein bet 15,000 and called all-in for 37,000 after his opponent shoved.

Greenstein: AA
Chreem: 88

“It’s not over yet, they’ll be an eight on the river,” smiled Greenstein who cracked aces with eights in that was to survive the bubble.

His prophecy didn’t come true as the board ran out QQ. Chreem dropped to 44,000. –MC

6:13pm: Two hands, two down
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

We’re going to have to move our work stations to the actual tables in play…like, literally at the table. We can’t leave to write one bust-out without another happening.

We’ve escaped just long enough to report Florian Buhler got his last 45,500 in against two opponents who checked it down to the river on a QK4105 run-out. At the end, Richard Kirsch bet into the dry side pot and tried to extract a little more from the hand with his rivered set of fives. It was good, and Buhler was gone.

Florian Buhler

On the very next hand at the same table, fives weren’t so good. Roman Wieczorek got 55 all-in vs Koray Aldemir’s JJ and couldn’t manage to out-run him. Wieczorek is gone now, too.–BW

6:11pm: Carlsson done in by diamonds
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

When Daniel Carlsson reraised all in for his last 138,000 or so from the blinds over a Bartosz Stasiewicz button open and the latter called, and Carlsson saw his AQ up against Stasiewicz’s AQ, he recognized that it was pretty unlikely he was playing his last hand.

After all, about 97 percent of the time those two hands end in a tie, and less than 2 percent of the time does AQ manage to win the hand by making a flush.

You guessed it. Here come the diamonds.

Flop… 4J9. Turn… 3. River… 2. Boom.

Carlsson leaves with a cash and a story, while Stasiewicz now has about 425,000. –MH

6:08pm: Schottes in the arm
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

They’re certainly making up for the absence of action during the bubble period. There are called all-ins all over the place.

This one was as standard as they come: Markus Schottes open jammed his button for 37,500 and Michael Stashin said, “I can do that” and called from the big blind.

He couldn’t win, though. Stashin’s 77 didn’t catch Schottes’ JJ and Schottes got the shot in the arm he needed.

Stashin still has 530,000. — HS

6:04pm: Nassetta nourished
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Vladimir Troyanovskiy has been eliminated from the secondary feature table. Check out the Live Coverage of those tables at the link above.

6:01pm: Nassetta nourished
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Keith Nassetta has doubled. He was all-in for about 50,000 with A7 and Richard Kirsch gave him a spin with K8.

Keith Nassetta

No dramas. The A turn sealed it. Kirsch still has 240,000. — HS

5:58pm: What Leo wants, Leo (Mar)gets
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

On the very next hand after Maria Lampropulos knocked out Kliment Tarmakov, she had the chance to send the dangerous Leo Margets to the rail. But after Lampropulos called Margets’s 30,000 shove, Margets whispered to the dealer: “Please.” And what Leo wants, Leo (Mar)gets.

Leo Margets

Actually, Margets was already ahead with her A6 to Tarmakov’s QJ. The flop came 2A7 and that was good for Margets, even if the Q turn gave her pause for thought.

The 7 river was safe and she doubles to 65,000. It was barely a flesh wound to Lampropulos, who is still north of 600,000. — HS

5:55pm: Cacho cut down by Farrow
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Pablo Bolanos Cacho is out in 68th place, having raised a small stack all in from early position with KJ, watched Michael Farrow reraise-shove from the small blind with AK, and the board come 582K2.

Farrow is up to 195,000. –MH

5:52pm: Viebcke and Ramdin depart
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Philipp Viebcke and Victor Ramdin were sitting on adjacent tables and busted within seconds of each other.

Viebcke went first after falling to Florian Maurer. They had made it to the turn of a 9AJ7 board and the chips went in with Viebcke committing his last 125,000 with AQ. Maurer called with AK and survived the 2 river to move up to 470,000.

Victor Ramdin

Ramidin was down to 22,500 when he shoved from the small blind. Vladimir Shabalin was in the big blind and called.

Ramdin: A2
Shabalin: A5

The board ran 3941010 meaning the five played. Ramdin was wondering how he didn’t find a chop to survive. –MC

5:49pm: Ave Maria
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

This is a good week to be named Maria.

Alongside Maria Konnikova’s continuing exploits, Maria Lampropulos remains in this tournament too and she just made a good call to knock out Kliment Tarmakov.

They had built a pot of around 200,000 as the board emerged 4J10K2 and Lampropulos checked. Tarmakov moved all-in for 130,500 and that set Lampropulos thinking.

She spent a good long while pondering her move here. The call would be for about half her remaining stack. But she emerged with a decision: call. And she was right.

Tarmakov looked distraught as he turned over his A6. Lampropulos had QK for the win.

Tarmakov departs and Lampropulos now stacks 680,000. — HS

5:47pm: Olshan doubles through Sinclair
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Sharman Olshan just doubled her stack through her table neighbor Jack Sinclair in what appeared after the fact to have been a blind-versus-blind battle between the pair.

To offer a couple more specifics, Olshan had KK and the board was jack-high.

Meanwhile, Jack’s stack is less high now at 370,000, and Sharman’s up around 305,000 following that skirmish. –MH

5:45pm: Greenstein on a charge, kind of
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Watch out field, Barry Greenstein is coming for you! He’s up to 50,000 after almost tripling-up with jack high.

Barry Greenstein

Ivan Zhechev raised to 15,000 from the button before Greenstein raised all-in for 18,500 and Steven-John Jost called all-in for 11,000. Zhechev called the extra and the cards were tabled.

Greenstein: J9
Jost: 23
Zhechev: 107

The board ran K6QQ4 and Greenstein scooped as Jost hit the rail. –MC

5:42pm: Bader runs into kings
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Brett Bader is hosed. He got his last 33,000 in as what looked like a pre-flop under-the-gun push with 66 and he almost got away with it. However Lachezar Petkov found KK in the big blind, and there was absolutely nothing peculiar about the flop, turn or river.

Petkov has 260,000 while Bader is looking for his $17,500 payout. “Good game guys,” he said. — HS

5:38pm: When I find myself in times of trouble, pocket aces come to me
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Anyone wondering how to pronounce Gleidibe Brito’s first name should stick around his table for a while. If he wins a hand, especially one for a decent-sized pot, he’ll sing it for you.

Gleidibe Brito

Just now we came upon a hand involving Brito in which he and Keith Lehr had gotten involved in some preflop back-and-forthing, with Brito finally raising all in and Lehr thinking a while before calling off for his last 175,000 or so.

Lehr had 66, but Brito had AA and five cards later — 7232Q — Lehr was out and Brito up to a little more than 920,000.

“Gleid-i-be… Gleid-i-be… Gleid-i-be… Gleid-i-be…” he sang afterwards, adding in further lyrics in Portugeuse regarding his hand having held.

If you wish to sing along (and pronounce Brito’s name correctly), you’ve probably guessed the tune already — the Beatles’ “Let It Be.” –MH

5:35pm: King on the river, yes!
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Markus Schottes had to wait until the river before he got the card he needed to double up. He lived every moment as the board ran out and was elated when a king fell on the river.

Karl Stark opened from the cutoff and called after Schottes moved all-in for 54,000 from the big blind.

Schottes: KJ
Stark: 107

The board ran 10483K. Stark dropped to 407,000. –MC

5:32pm: Gamarra accounts for Potashnik
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Brian Potashnik is out. He had 45,000 at the last break, but those chips now belong to Adalfer Gamarra. This one played itself, with pocket nines plenty good enough for Potashnik to go with, but Gamarra finding pocket queens and turning a queen to seal the deal.

Gamarra is up to 500,000 now. — HS

5:30pm: Gimbel doubles to survive
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Harrison Gimbel, the last remaining former champion in the field, is still breathing. He was moved down from the TV table at the last break but brought only 28,000 with him.

Harrison Gimbel

He got it all-in with A3 and Calum Deas called him with K9. After a board of 2684A, Gimbel was doubling up. — HS

5:25pm: Play resumes
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Okay, here we go. Two more levels to play. We’re into level 16.

5:05pm: Break time

We’re going to go wash off this bubble plasma and we’ll be back in 20.

5:04pm: Galanek departs
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Artur Galanek has also been swept away in the tidal wave of the post-bubble period.

His elimination came at the end of a pretty complicated hand, but I think this is how it went.

Galanek shoved for about 20,000 and both Lachezar Petkov and Christian Banz called, meaning there was still side action after the JJ9 flop. Banz bet 25,000 and Petkov called, then they both checked the 9 turn.

The 5 fell on the river and Banz checked. Petkov pushed 120,000 into the middle and Banz called instantly. Banz then turned over AJ.

Petkov went to muck, but they had to see it and he had made a gutsy play with a missed straight draw. His Q10 was a loser.

However it was Galanek who had to leave as his hand was also inferior, though it was swept up before I got to see it.

That frenzy brings us to the break. Petkov sits with 210,000 to Banz’s 405,000.– HS

5:02pm: Small victory for Victor
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Just before the break, Victor Ramdin open-pushed all in from early position with Q10 for his last 15,500, then it folded around to Jack Sinclair in the big blind who took a short time before calling with 22.

“You should snap with that!” Ramdin grinned, and Sinclair chuckled in response. The board rolled out J1047K to give Ramdin the better pair and the hand, and he takes about 35,000 to the break while Sinclair still has 365,000. –MH

5:00pm: Didukh doubles through Konnikova
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Oleksandr Didukh had been one of the players most curious about the other short stacks in play during the extended bubble. Thus was the Ukrainian most relieved to have survived to make the cash.

He was similarly pleased to look down shortly afterwards at 99, then to see Maria Konnikova making an early position raise ahead of him to 9,000. His turn to act, he pushed for 26,000, and after getting a call from the blinds Konnikova shoved to force out the middle man.

Konnikova tabled AK, but the 492A3 board gave Didukh a set on the flop and sealed it on the turn.

Didukh more than triples there, and now has around 85,000, while Konnikova is still plenty healthy with 290,000. –MH

4:58pm: O’Rourke falls to Peters
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Gavin O’Rourke is out in what looks to be 85th position. He got the last of his chips in on a flop of 865 with Q6. However David Peters had 1010 and the 8 turn and 8 river made Peters a bigger boat.

Peters had an absolutely superlative bubble period, relentlessly applying the pressure on the short stacks at his table. He has about 700,000 and is looking in awesome form. — HS

4:57pm: Hadweh’s adventure continues
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

As far as George Hadweh is concerned, this is a day of jubilee.

Hadweh spent the two-hour bubble – all 24 hands – as one of the short stacks. When hand for hand play started he had enough to let other worry about it. Then his stack got shorter and shorter.

So when the Greenstein all-in came he fist pumped when the turn card was announced. The odds were against Greenstein, until the river saved him. Hadweh’s face had dropped. He’d tempted fate and now looked likely to pay the price.

But then the actual bubble occurred. Hadweh, keeping the first pumps to himself this time, now embraced friends, looking like a man who had appeared safely at the other side of a desert he’d had to cross. Part exhaustion, part euphoria, part relief.

The advice came from the rail – you’ve got nothing to lose. So when he looked down at an ace he figured he’d shove without looking at the other. When he was called by KQ he looked at the other card, a 2 and shrugged contentedly. More so when the board doubled him up, coming Q5A84.

Out of the desert, so to speak, but now with a mountain to climb. But Hadweh plays on. – SB

George Hadweh

4:50pm: Another double for Greenstein
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Barry Greenstein is staying alive. He just doubled up again and left Gianluca Speranza in real trouble.

Greenstein had 11,500 in his stack when action folded to him in the small blind and he pushed it in. Speranza had only about 30,000 in the big blind, but still figured the circumstances made it a mandatory call.

Speranza was gutted to see Greenstein’s KK though. The 43 in Speranza’s hand was not good enough through a 29877 board.

Greenstein is on an uptick. — HS

4:42pm: Aces versus kings in the other all-in
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

After Nikita Neliubin was confirmed as out, Thomas the floor person called out the all-in and call at the next table.

Uladzimir Anoshka had moved all-in for 134,500 from the button and was called by Oliver Weis in the big blind.

Anoshka: AA
Weis: KK

The hand was a pretty big cooler for the bubble period, but no bad beat followed as the board ran 53Q57. Weis dropped to 335,000. –MC

Uladzimir Anoshka

4:40pm: And then he wheeled away, head in hands
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

The bubble is finally burst, and it’s Nikita Neliubin who is the last to leave with nothing. He has played tournament short stack with great humour despite clear anxiety, and he gave us the full complement of reactions as his fate was sealed.

Really, the nail was driven into his coffin when Barry Greenstein pulled off a remarkable bubble-up a moment ago, leaving Neliubin with only 5,000 and the blinds coming round fast to him.

He didn’t quite let them swallow him up. He open-shoved (if you can consider an under-raise to be a shove) for 5,000 from under the gun and Luc Greenwood three-bet to 15,000 with the intention of isolating.

It worked as everyone else folded.

There then followed the expected delay as hands finished elsewhere and all the TV crew blockaded the table in question. And then the cards were on their backs.

Neliubin, who has turned wheeling away, head in hands, into an art-form today, wheeled away, head in hands. His A3 was dominated by Greenwood’s AK.

The dealer was eventually given permission to put a flop out there, and Neliubin wheeled away, head in hands as he saw the KK9 emerge.

He was being consoled by a friend on the rail as the turn came out. But it was good for him. The 4 gave him a flush draw. It meant he wheeled back to the table with renewed enthusiasm, only for the 3 river to give him reason to wheel away one last time and know he cannot come back.

There was another called all-in on a neighbouring table, so Neliubin was told that he may yet get a chop of the money, but we’ll go over to Marc Convey for that hand update. Unfortunately, Nuliubin’s ride is over. You can see it from beginning to end in this series of photos from Joe Giron. — HS

All-in…I guess

Crowd in close enough to smell the fear!

This…let me think…yes, this sucks

I’ll stand over here where I can’t see the end of the world

Wait…I can still win? I’m back, baby!

Nope…still sucks

4:30pm: Sit rep 23 hands in
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Not a hand to report, just a general pattern of what’s taking place on one table, where two short stacks are being followed by, what to them at least, must feel like a pack of media vultures.

Artur Galand and George Hadweh are short. Of the two Hadweh looks the most likely to have a go, with Galand possessing the look of a man who would fold aces if he were lucky enough to see them.

Hadweh though looks thoughtful, although the pattern remains the same. An opening bet, usually by the same player (Blanco I think), and then the action reaches Hadweh, who looks, thinks, agonizes, and then folds.

Rinse, repeat.

So they’re short, but I’m not convinced this is where the bubble will burst. We play on. – SB

4:30pm: Boeree’s on four-fiddy

Liv Boeree

Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Liv Boeree moved up to 450,000 after winning a battle of Britain versus Phillip Corion.

Scott Wilson started the hand by raising to 10,000 (with only 21,500 back) from under the gun. Boeree flatted from the next seat before Corion reraised to 20,000 from the small blind. Wilson decided to wait for as better spot but Boeree called to an AA4 flop that was checked through. Corion check-called 23,000 on the 4 turn before check-open-folding KK on the 7 river when Boeree bet 48,500. He dropped to 350,000. –MC

4:25pm: All-in time looming Neliubin
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

As the bubble continues to resist bursting, sitting mere feet away from Barry Greenstein at the neighboring table is Nikita Neliubin, the PokerStars qualifier from Russia who after folding yet another hand finds himself with just 6,000 now — i.e., the equivalent of a small and big blind.

Neliubin may well have been the most disappointed of anyone when Greenstein caught that river eight a short while ago to stay in the game.

There are still a couple of hands to go before the blinds reach Neliubin, but he’s already attracted a fair share of attention from both reporters and other players scouting about for the short stacks. –MH

4:10pm: The Sequel: Eight on the River?
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

It took maybe 80 minutes on this wretched bubble before we even had a called all-in. Now we’ve had one. And we’ve had a…well, read on.

Barry Greenstein had 8,000 in his stack and was in the big blind, so half of it was out there already. Brian Potashnik raised to 15,000 from mid-position and everyone got out the way to put the decision on Greenstein.

Ahead of the bubble period, Greenstein’s Team Pro colleague Victor Ramdin had come over and said, “Don’t gamble, Barry!” Greenstein hadn’t gambled at all to this point. He’d folded all his previous cards since they went hand-for-hand, which was why he had two big blinds left.

Greenstein, however, looked at his cards this time and felt he had to go with them. He committed the extra 4,000. The buzz of excitement shot around the room, as a small army of television crew swarmed to the table, as well as a few railbirds and other players.

One of them was Nikita Neliubin, who said, “Look at my stack.” He pointed at the 7,000 he had left on a neighbouring table. He was absolutely praying for Greenstein to bust.

After all hands finished across the room, they were allowed to turn the cards over. And, boy, this looked bleak for Greenstein. Greenstein had 88 but Potashnik turned over AA.

“Dead man’s hand, right there,” whispered a noted poker historian.

So Greenstein was looking for two outs, and the K64 flop didn’t contain either of them. Neither did the 3 turn. That meant that the man who wrote a book called Ace On The River was praying for a low-rent version. He needed an eight on the river to stay alive in the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure.

“Get ready for reaction,” a TV producer whispered to his cameramen, not quite remembering who they were dealing with here. (Greenstein is nothing if not stoic.)

The dealer wrapped her fist on the table and turned over the river card. And there it was! The 8, like a golden ticket.

Neliubin span away in despair, his head in his hands. Potashnik began counting out the one big-blind penalty for the outdraw. Greenstein, meanwhile, well, he sat silently and almost motionless. Just another day in the life of a poker rounder who has seen it all before.

So we have our first called all-in, and our first bubble-up. This is a heck of a long bubble, and shows no sign of bursting even yet. — HS

The biggest reaction we have seen from Barry Greenstein in 15 years

3:50pm: Titov closing in on a million
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Oleg Titov has moved up to 980,000 after a big river over-bet with the nuts got him paid.

He raised from under the gun and was called by Andriy Lyubovetskiy in the hijack. The flop came KQ4 and Titov continued for 11,000. Call. Both players checked the 10 turn before Titov bombed the 6 river for 110,000. Lyubovetskiy quickly re-checked his cards and called. Titov opened ace-jack for the nuts and Lyubovetskiy mucked to drop to 195,000. –MC

Oleg Titov

3:28pm: Clinging to life
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Currently on the razor’s edge: Barry Greenstein with 14,000 and Nikita Neliubin with 18,000. –BW

3:28pm: Math and stuff
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

While players were told they would get a shorter day with four levels instead of five, the current duration of this bubble all but guarantees the day will be just as long as scheduled. Bubble math is hard.

3:12pm: Leal’s aces hold
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

This bubble period is unusual even by the nervy standards of other high-pressure, high stakes, high money-jump tournaments. We’re on the fifth hand and haven’t seen a single called all-in, which means neither a bubble-up nor an elimination.

We did see the following pot, however, which in other circumstances might have got out of hand.

Pedro Leal opened to 9,000 from under the gun and David Peters wanted to see his stack. Leal had 170,000 behind, while Peters had about 580,000. Peters called.

The dealer put the 623 on the table and Leal bet 12,000. Peters called. The turn card was the 7. Leal bet 15,000 and Peters called again, taking them to the 8 river.

Leal now slowed to a check, which allowed Peters the chance to pinch it. He bet 25,000. Leal tossed in a single-chip call, the price to see Peters show his 1010.

Leal tabled his AA and the aces had held.

We’ve seen plenty of bubbles burst by players holding aces, but Leal does not join their number today. At least not yet.

On they go… — HS

David Peters

3:06pm: What they are playing for
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

In addition to more than $1 million, they also get a sweet trophy and a PSPC Platinum Pass. What’s that? Well, it’s the same thing Thai Ha won yesterday. Go read about that here.

PCA Main Event trophy

2:55pm: One more hand, please
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

We haven’t left you. We promise. We’re all just posting up at the tables to find the unfortunate soul who will leave here with nothing but a story (and not a happy one). –BW

2:34pm: Pure bubble
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

We just had one bust off the TV table. Down to 88 players. Next one out gets nothing. Everybody else gets paid.

2:33pm: Fiedler soft bubbles Main Event
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

“Ahhh!” said Bjorn Fiedler after was made to wait before finding out his fate after his all-in was called by Andriy Lyubovetskiy. The floor staff wanted to double-check the players left in the field and it was confirmed as 89.

Lyubovetskiy had opened to 9,000 can called after Fiedler moved all-in for 295,000.

Lyubovetskiy: 33
Fiedler: AQ

The board ran a blank 9810K5 to send Fiedler on his way just two short of the money. Lyubovetskiy moved up to 295,000. –MC

Bjorn Fiedler

2:32pm: NikkyMouse scurries away
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Popular German Twitch streamer Niklas Ehrenholz (you may or may not know him as “Nikky Mouse”) is out, the latest to fall just short of the money.

He open-pushed his last 34,000 from UTG+2 but couldn’t get the shove through Brett Bader. Bader called and the race began. Bader had 1010 and Ehrenholz had AK.

There was a lot of paint on the J8Q flop, but only pain for Ehrenholz through the 3 turn and 3 river. Ehrenholz leaves us in 89th and Bader now has about 140,000 to play with. — HS

Niklas Ehrenholz

2:30pm: Brito back
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Relief for Gleidibe Brito (and his friends on the rail) as he doubled up through Michael Stashin, who loses his first pot for what must feel like a long time.

The board was dealt to the turn 3A5Q when Brito raised to 70,000, Stashin raised all in and Brito, after some thought and the arrival of three cameras, called.

Brito: 55
Stashin: A3

The river came 2 to keep Brito alive. He let out a series of staccato yelps in celebration, then stacked up 540,000. Stashin drops a little, but only as far as 750,000. – SB

Gleidibe Brito

2:22pm: Simao loses classic race
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Joao Simao is out, leaving us with 90. He lost poker’s most classic race and saw his chips shipped to the unstoppable Michael Stashin, who is knocking on the door of 1 million. (He’s not quite there yet. He’s in the high 900s.)

Simao limped from under the gun and Stashkin made it 16,000 in the hijack. Uladzimir Anoshka called from one seat over, and action made its way back to Simao. The Brazilian high roller jammed for his last 80,000.

Stashkin called. Anoshka passed.

Stashkin had AK and needed to hit against Simao’s QQ. And hit he did on the K109 flop.

The 7 turn and 7 river ended things and that sent Simao out short of the money. Shashkin has 980,000.

(Simao may well end up in the $25,000 High Roller, for which registration is still open.) –HS

Joao Simao

2:17pm: Balancing on the bubble
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Our videographer Nick Coole has been out on the bubble with the players. Here’s what it looks like.

2:15pm: Aldemir leaves Rudolph with a red nose
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

There’s no way that Christian Rudolph is unaware of Koray Aldemir’s reputation. Rudolph and Aldemir are both Germans, where it’s well-known what a boss Aldemir has become over recent years. (His reputation is growing in the US too.)

However, Rudolph still tried to get the best of Aldemir in a recent blind-on-blind pot. It didn’t go well for him.

It began with a limp from Aldemir in the small blind, which prompted Rudolph to take his option to raise. He made it 14,500. Aldemir called.

A pattern quickly established itself after the 7Q4 flop. Aldemir was going to check-call; Rudolph was going to bet. On the flop it was 14,000. On the turn 4 it was 46,000. And then the river was the 6.

And now they both checked.

Aldemir turned over A10, calling with ace high and the nut flush draw. He missed, but was still good as Rudolph mucked.

Aldemir is now up to 370,000 while Rudolph slips to 295,000. — HS

Koray Aldemir

2:10pm: Speranza doubles
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Gianluca Speranza was all in. Wait… no he wasn’t. He decided to keep 500 behind for insurance.

Adalfer Gamarra called, and then on the 106A the last of the chips went in.

A9 for Speranza
KQ for Gamarra

The turn and river came 73 to double Speranza, who climbs up to 55,000. Gamarra drops to 150,000. – SB

2:05pm: Bohlman battling back
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Scott Bohlman entered this level knowing he might have to make a move. He was fifth last in chips with 56,500, too short a stack to rely on five others to bust to get him into the money.

He found a spot pretty quickly, picking up AQ on the button and facing a middle position raise from Vladimir Shabalin. He moved all-in and was called.

Shabablin: A9
Bohlam: AQ

The board ran 23686 and Bohlam’s smile was as wide as the sky. –MC

1:35pm: Break time…and, hey, short day!

Players are on a break, and they have learned they are only playing four levels today, which, depending on how long the bubble takes, could be just as long as five. It’s science.

1:33pm: Hunichen bluffs his way to the rail
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Chris Hunichen has fallen in 93rd place after he bluffed off his stack to David Peters.

We picked up the action on the turn where the board read 435Q. Hunichen checked from the big blind to see Peters bet 20,000 from second position, before he raised all-in for 101,000. Peters tank called.

Hunichen: J5
Peters: Q8

The 6 river failed to improve Hunichen’s pair or flush draw and his break will be an extended one. Peters, meanwhile, moved into third on the counts with 560,000. –MC

Chris Hunichen

1:35pm: Stashin beginning to dominate
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

It’s now obvious to say so, but Michael Stashin is oozing confidence right now and dominating his table.

He just took down a big hand against Keith Lehr, who opened, got raised by Stashin and then four bet to 53,000. Stashin called for a flop of 3Q2.

Lehr bet again, 67,000 this time, which was called. The 3 turn was checked both ways for the J river. Lehr, sitting with about 270,000 behind, bet 170,000 of it.

Stashin, sounding pretty authoritative, said “count”, but the dealer hadn’t even begun when he made the call. Lehr didn’t even dhow. He pointed at Stashins’s cards to say whatever they were they were good, and mucked.

Stashin flexed, lobster style, reaching the top of this particular dominance hierarchy, stopping only to show his KK.

“I assumed you were going to show,” said Lehr, down to 100,000. Stashin took a minute or so to stack his 900,000 chips. – SB

Michael Stashin stares down Keith Lehr

1:33pm: Liv heads north as Jonathan heads West
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Team PokerStars Pro Liv Boeree is having a very profitable play so far. She just won a big pot off Jonathan West to see her stack grow to 390,000.

We picked up the action on the turn where the board read 982K. Word on the street was that West had raised preflop then c-bet into two players. Only Boeree called and she called another 30,000 on the turn. The Q completed the board and Boeree treated West’s 30,000 bet to a raise up to 120,000. He called and mucked upon seeing her J10 for a straight. –MC

Liv Boeree

1:16pm: Stashin stashing chips after three way pot
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Not an all in, but a big three-way hand.

Michael Stashin opened for 7,000 in middle position before Oliver Weis raised to 22,000 on the button. Then Gleidibe Brito four bet from the small blind, making it 62,000. Stashin called. Weis did too.

The flop came Q25

Brito was first to act and bet another 43,000. Stashin called but Weis stepped aside before the 6 turn card which was checked. On the 5 river Brito checked again. It didn’t take long for Stashin to do the same. He then showed KK. Brito mucked.

Stashin made some Biblical references, adding “that was very confusing.” Brito said nothing, down to about 200,000. Stashin is in the ascendency though, up to around 600,000. – SB

1:15pm: Wieczorek sets the trap
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

We are six players off the money, which means the major slowdown has begun. This hand is comparatively tiny but took an age to play out, and since I’m never getting these five minutes back, the least you can do is give it a skim read to keep some meaning in our lives.

It began with a pause. And then a button raise to 7,000 from Ivan Luca, whose 83,000 stack is one of the shortest in the room.

It was followed by a pause, and then a call in the small blind from Roman Wieczorek, then a pause-call in the big blind from Affif Prado too.

So four players went to the flop: KQ4. Pause-check, pause-check, pause-check.

The 10 came on the turn. There was a slight variation here. It went pause-bet 9,000 from Wieczorek, a fold from Prado and then a slow call from Luca.

The 7 completed the board and this one was also checked through, but only after due deliberation. Wieczorek turned over his 44, likely hoping to lure Luca into a trap.

But Luca wasn’t to be ensnared. He tank-mucked.

Wieczorek now has about 160,000, around double Luca’s stack. — HS

1:10pm: Oleg Titov re-takes lead
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

He had fallen off it a bit, but Oleg Titov is back in the lead with 680,000.–BW

Oleg Titov

1:07pm: Jacks so close to the money is a no thank you
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Pocket jacks has the reputation of being a tricky hand to play at the best of times. Negotiating playing them with a short stack so close to the money takes playing them to a whole new level. Just ask George Hadweh.

He raised from the cutoff and called after Lachezar Plamenov Petkov three-bet to 21,000 from the next seat. The flop fanned 735 and Hadweh led out for 12,500. Call. The turn was the 6 and Petkov bet 23,000 when the action was checked to Jim. Hadweh called to leave himself with 60,000 and his opponent asked him a question for the lot on the 7 river.

He went in the tank, picked up his cards and fumbled them so they became exposed – JJ. The he mucked them and was shown the 9 by Petkov who added, “If you shoved preflop, I would’ve folded.” –MC

1:00pm: Gruenberger celebrates early and…gets away with it
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Karl Stark has been bludgeoning through the early stages today and was up to about 550,000. He just took a stab at knocking out Maximilian Gruenberger too, but Gruenberger spiked the card he needed on the turn to stay alive.

The hand began with a mid-position open to 8,000 and then Stark three-bet to 24,000. Gruenberger moved in for his last 36,000 and after the original raiser folded, Stark called for the handful more.

Stark: 55
Gruenberger: AK

The 662 flop helped no one but the big stack. However the K turn brought a fist-clench, a sibilant “Yesssss” and a high-five from a friend on a neighbouring table from Gruenberger.

He wasn’t over the line just yet, and had to survive the river. The dealer burned and turned the 4, and Gruenberger was let off the hook for his potentially premature celebration.

He’s still alive with about 85,000, while it was barely a scratch to Start. — HS

12:58pm: Zhou faces Stark reality
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Here’s a big hand that has put Sweden’s Karl Stark right among the leaders and left China’s Jianguo Zhou with 140,000 to rebuild. It might have been even better/worse (depending on your loyalties) but Zhou decided to back down when it got really tasty.

Patryk Poterek started the ball rolling with a mid-position raise to 7,000. Zhou called from the hijack and it passed through to Stark in the big blind. He pushed things up, making it 28,000 to play.

Poterek didn’t want to meddle further with the other big stack at the table, but Zhou called and the two of them saw the 1054 flop. Stark didn’t let up and led 22,000. Zhou called.

The 4 fell on the turn and Stark had another crack, this time betting 55,000. Zhou called, which bought the 6 on the river.

Stark continued and said that he was all-in, covering the 140,000 that Zhou had behind with his 360,000-ish stack. Zhou took a long while to make up his mind, prompting the full complement of cameras and sound recorders to swarm the table. But then he grimaced and folded.

Stark has around 440,000 now. — HS

12:57pm: Popescu flushed away
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Septimiu Popescu has hit the rail after a preflop all-in short stack duel with Vladimir Shabalin.

The cards were already on the table as we arrived but a bit of reverse engineering told us that Shabalin had raised from under the gun and called after Popescu had moved all-in from the big blind.

Popescu: JJ
Shabalin: AK

The board ran 3106105 to make Shabalin a flush ad he moved up to 110,000, giving himself a great chance of making with money. — MC

12:52pm: All-ins called
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

More all-ins, this time a double up for Brett Bader against Christian Banz.

Bader 1010
Banz 99

The board ran 52A3J

Elsewhere a board of 36A73 prompted Villu Metsur to bet 25,500 in a pot against Bartosz Stasiewicz. Metsur was holding AJ for top pair, but watched as Stasiewicz announced all-in for another 112,000.

Metsur thought for a while, holding the chips that it would take to call in his hand. Then, he placed them in the middle.

When he saw Stasiewicz turn over 33 Metsur made a familiar Biblical statement, and folded his cards face up. He drops to 133,000 while Stasiewicz climbs to 320,000. – SB

12:50pm: Andy Philacheck eliminated
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Caught up in this maelstrom of bust-outs is Andy Philacheck. He’s gone just short of the money.

Andy Philachack

12:49pm: Zhou faces Stark reality
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Here’s a big hand that has put Sweden’s Karl Stark right among the leaders and left China’s Jianguo Zhou with 140,000 to rebuild. It might have been even better/worse (depending on your loyalties) but Zhou decided to back down when it got really tasty.

Patryk Poterek started the ball rolling with a mid-position raise to 7,000. Zhou called from the hijack and it passed through to Stark in the big blind. He pushed things up, making it 28,000 to play.

Poterek didn’t want to meddle further with the other big stack at the table, but Zhou called and the two of them saw the 1054 flop. Stark didn’t let up and led 22,000. Zhou called.

The 4 fell on the turn and Stark had another crack, this time betting 55,000. Zhou called, which bought the 6 on the river.

Stark continued and said that he was all-in, covering the 140,000 that Zhou had behind with his 360,000-ish stack. Zhou took a long while to make up his mind, prompting the full complement of cameras and sound recorders to swarm the table. But then he grimaced and folded.

Stark has around 440,000 now. — HS

12:45pm: Bad timing costs Yaroshevskyy
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Igor Yaroshevskyy was down to 32,000 and found a good spot to get his chips in after the action folded to him in the small blind. He made his move but Patryk Poterek was sat in wait with a pair in the big blind.

Yaroshevskyy: J10
Poterek: 77

The board ran a blank 8A2A6 and Poterek moved up to 380,000. Just 96 players remain and tension is steadily building. –MC

Igor Yaroshevskyy

12:42pm: Two down
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

We have lost both Marco Del Pino and Horea Serban, who departed within a few minutes of one another.

Del Pino went first. He was on a pretty big spin-up here in the Bahamas, having won his seat in a last-longer at the PokerStars card-room in the Hippodrome Casino, London.

Del Pino explained yesterday how he finished as runner up in a tournament in the Leicester Square casino, but the champion hadn’t entered a special PCA last-longer at the same event, offering a package to this tournament in the Bahamas. So he took his second-place money and packed his bags.

But, alas, he has become the victim of Jean Ateba today in a blind-on-blind confrontation. De Pino open-pushed from the small blind with around 30,000 left and Ateba called in the big blind with a covering stack.

Del Pino was ahead with A8 to Ateba’s KQ but the K9JJK ended up giving Ateba a boat. Ateba now has 160,000.

On the next table along, Oliver Weis opened to 7,000 and Serban moved all-in for his last 37,000. Weis tank-called and they were racing: Weis’s 33 took a decisive lead against Serban’s AK when the flop brought the 3 beside the J and the J. Seban was dead on the 8 turn.

Weis has around 250,000 now. — HS

12:36pm: Hobbs falls to zero
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

It’s the end of the road for Kevin Hobbs after he lost a race to Ramin Hajiyev.

The latter opened to 7,000 from early position and then made a considered call after Hobbs moved all-in for 50,000 from the next seat.

Hajiyev: 77
Hobbs: AQ

The board ran 82842 to improve neither player. Hajiyev moved up to 170,000. –MC

Kevin Hobbs bids the Main Event goodbye

12:33pm: A lesson for us all?
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

I’m going to thread carefully with this one, but there’s something in the tournament room that I’ve never seen before.

A young woman, here with one of the Main Event players, is currently reading a Bible, one of those zip-up portable versions that fits into a small bag. It’s out on one of the empty tables, and she’s reading it with her back to the tournament room, the tables not six feet behind her.

I’ve seen people reading before, even players reading to pass the time (I mean a book, not a cell phone). But never the Bible.

Which raises the question. Is she praying for help for the player she’s with, and is it working? We’re curious to find out. – SB

12:25pm: Three bets getting it done
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

In recent moments all of Luc Greenwood, Brian Hobbs and Ivan Luca got three-bets through, the latter two were shoves for everything they owned.

Greenwood’s, though, was a 17,500 raise on the button after Nikita Neliubin made it 6,500 from the cutoff. Neliubin possibly scented that his 85,000-strong stack was going to be under jeopardy at some point in this pot, so he folded and a long few minutes of torment. — HS

Luke Greenwood

12:23pm: Someone call the Doctor!
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

“Call the doctor for that guy!” mused Septimiu Popescu after his tabel mate Markus Schottes survived a three-way all-in to triple up.

Tony Philips had opened to 65,000 from early position and was called by Jack Sinclair (cutoff) before Schottes squeezed all-in for around 50,000 from the big blind. Both opponents called and then slowly checked down the 3A595 board.

That ace was a scare card for all three but mostly to Schottes seeing as he was the all-in player. He opened QQ and his pain soon turned to relief as Philips tabled 1010 and Sinclair JJ. –MC

12:21pm: Marco vs. Marco
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

It’s not all about eliminations. Sometimes it’s a double up. Marco del Pino just experienced this, moving in with 1010 for 14,000 and getting a call from Marco Alves. De Pino wished the other Marco good luck, buying himself some karma ahead of a board of 83762.

Del Pino tapped the table in controlled celebration, doubling to more than 30,000. – SB

12:16pm: Olshan fast out the blocks
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Here’s an early double up for Sharman Olshan. It couldn’t be earlier, in fact. It was the first hand of the day.

Action passed to Scott Wilson on the button and he opted to call the 3,000. Olshan was in the small blind and completed, which presented a perfect chance to Niklas Ehrenholz to raise from the big blind.

Ehrenholz’s 188,500 stack comfortably covered both Wilson’s 51,500 and Olshan’s 58,500. Wilson wasn’t up for any more, but Olshan called and the blinds were therefore left to see the A2Q flop. Check, check.

The turn was the 8 and Olshan now pushed her 55,000 over the line. Ehrenholz checked his cards and called, and we learnt that though the hand may have played out like this with very different holdings, nothing that had happened so far was actually out of line.

Olshan had K8 and had therefore turned two pair. Meanwhile Ehrenholz’s AK certainly warranted an open raise pre-flop and a call of this jam, with the nut flush draw and top pair.

The 7 river missed Ehrenholz, however, and so Olshan is moving in the right direction with a newly-minted 120,000 stack. — HS

12:07pm: Smith first out
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

First player out today is Ryan Smith, which is hardly surprising given he was the shortest stack coming back today with 19,500.

He moved in with AK and got a call from Alexander Gambino with 47. Smith was ahead, until the flop, with the board coming 445810.

Down to 100. – SB

12:06pm: Play underway
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Here we go. Thirteen off the money. It’s bubble time! –BW

10:30am: Welcome back to Day 3

Well, credit to you. You’re here early. Play doesn’t start for another 90 minutes, but we can’t blame you for wanting to get a head start.

Today is Day 3 of the Main Event. That means the drama of the bubble, as well as the anticipation of which of the day’s survivors is best place for a run on this year’s title.

Play starts at 12 noon, when the remaining 101 players will set about making the money and then complete five levels of play. We’ll have live updates from that point, through to the end of play at around 9pm tonight.

Don’t forget, along side out coverage, the crew is screening a feature table cards-up on a 30-minute delay.

The full chip-counts at this stage are on the chip-count page. Meanwhile you’ll find a one-stop shop for everything you need for coverage of the day below:


PokerStars Blog reporting team on the $10,000 Main Event: Stephen Bartley, Marc Convey, Howard Swains, and Brad Willis. Videos by Nick Coole. Photography by Neil Stoddart and Joe Giron/

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