Wednesday, 29th November 2023 06:32
Home / Events / PCA 2019: Pierre Calamusa bags the lead as Main Event Day 2 concludes

Two full days of poker have been played in the Main Event of the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA) and France’s Pierre Calamusa sits atop the field with the money bubble well behind us and the final table beginning to come into view.

The 330 players who returned to the Imperial Ballroom today saw their ranks slashed dramatically over the course of six levels. Three out of every four players who advanced to Day 2 failed to move on further, including Day 1 chip leader Alexander Kharkov, who fell to Christoph Vogelsang near the end of the night.

The bubble came and went in unusual fashion just after the dinner break. Four tables had an all-in and a call, leaving Stanley Lee, Luc Greenwood, Kristen Bicknell, and Matt Glantz at risk. Lee busted first in 129th place. Greenwood followed him in 128th, guaranteeing everybody else a min-cash. Bicknell and Glantz survived, both of them going on to collect paydays later in the evening.

A mere 79 players remained by the time play wrapped. Class Segebrecht, Brian Altman, Franz Ditz, and Calamusa all spent time at the top of the chip counts throughout the day. Calamusa became the first player to cross the 1-million-chip mark late in the evening. He took the lead from there all the way to the close of play thanks to a late win against yesterday’s $100K Super High Roller champion, Sam Greenwood, that boosted the Frenchman to 1.5 million.

Pierre Calamusa bagged 1.5 million chips at night’s end, good for the chip lead

Calamusa is trailed most closely by Vicent Bosca (1,138,000), Enrico Camosci (980,000), Matthias Eibinger (894,000), Pavel Veksler (808,000), Altman (746,000), and Ditz (732,000).

Others still in contention include Vogelsang (558,000), David Rheem (437,000), Dzmitry Urbanovich (366,000), Matt Berkey (306,000), Maxi Lehmanski (250,000), Elliott Smith (176,000), Ben Yu (167,000), Maria Ho (79,000), and Sam Greenwood (57,000). They’ll be joined tomorrow by two PokerStars Ambassadors, Andre Akkari (309,000) — who lost a flush-over-flush pot to Lehmanski at the end of the night — and Randy Lew (134,000).

Be sure to join us at 12pm ET tomorrow for Day 3, where the plan is to continue until we have 16 players left. Until then, good night from the Bahamas. –JK

• ENTRIES: 79 of 865 (including 94 re-entries)
DOWNLOAD POKERSTARS | Follow @PokerStarsBlog on Twitter

12am: Late knockouts
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (BB ante 5,000)

Both Ken “Teach” Aldridge and Kristen Bicknell were among the late-night bustouts as play is nearly done. Also, Aaron Been went out as well after his pocket nines failed him against Carlos Chadha’s pocket fours. –MH

11:58pm: Greenwood all but out
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (BB ante 5,000)

Sam Greenwood is down to just one 5,000 chip after a big river bluff got picked off.

Greeenwood bluff-jammed the river of a 5♣2♥7♠9♣T♠ board with K♥6♥ and was called by chip leader Pierre Calamusa with Q♥9♥ for second pair.

Calamusa is on around 1.5 million now with just a hand or two left to play. –JS

11:55pm: Vogelsang eliminates Kharkov
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (BB ante 5,000)

Alexander Kharkov ended the first Day 1 flight as the chip leader, but he won’t be seeing the end of Day 2 as he’s just been eliminated by Christoph Vogelsang.

The only details I can provide are that Vogelsang had K♠K♣ and Kharkov had 4♥4♦, and that the community cards kept Vogelsang in front. That’s all that matters, really, right?

Oh, and also that Vogelsang has 440,000 now. –MH

11:53pm: Four more hands
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (BB ante 5,000)

We’re playing four more hands. Then we’ll race off the 500-value pink chips, scope out the counts, and close up shop for the night. –JK

11:52pm: Late night big stack report
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (BB ante 5,000)

There’s about 20 minutes to go in the night, which prompted me to prowl the tables one last night before midnight chimes in order to see who has the biggest stacks. Here’s what I saw:

Pierre Calamusa – 1,220,000
Vicent Bosca – 1,050,000
Enrico Camosci – 990,000
Franz Ditz – 790,000
Brian Altman – 780,000
Matthias Eibinger – 775,000

Consider that a preview of the big late night attraction coming soon, everyone’s favorite — “END OF NIGHT CHIP LEADER”! –MH

11:50pm: German rail
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (BB ante 5,000)

Maxi Lehmanski is up on the feature table, and as a German he has a very talented bunch on his rail. Ole Schemion, Stefan Huber, Martin Finger and Robert Heidorn are all up on the stage rooting for Lehmanski through the last few minutes of the day. –JS

11:42pm: Demolition, by Carlos™
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (BB ante 5,000)

Carlos Chadha was just trying to destroy the very chip stacks he helped build (see 11:25pm).

Picking up the action on a K♣]9♦A♦ flop, Chadha checked it to his sole opponent Enrico Camosci who led for 10,000. Chadha stuck around, but then check-folded to a 50,000 bet on the 2♥ turn.

“There’s only 20 minutes left,” Chadha said, as he dropped down to 310,000. Camosci’s stacks are still very much intact, as he still has 900,000. –JS

11:40pm: Leckey loses chips to Chadha
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (BB ante 5,000)

Paul Leckey, the PokerStars Players Championship bubbler who avoided a similar fate this event, has finally been eliminated.

In Leckey’s last hand he open-pushed his last 90,000-ish over a Carlos Chadha open, and when it got back to Chadha he called and showed T♣T♥. Leckey hoped to get lucky with his 8♥8♣, but the 3♠5♦9♦6♥J♦ didn’t cooperate and he is out.

Chadha is up around 360,000 now. –MH

11:30pm: Bianchi busts Riess
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (BB ante 5,000)

Ryan Riess’s run is done, ended after a hand versus Chase Bianchi.

Riess was all in with a short stack with A♣J♣ against Bianchi’s 8♦7♦. The flop all but ended it for Riess, coming T♣9♠6♦ to give Bianchi a straight. The 4♠ on the turn did end it, making the 8♠ no matter and sending Riess railward.

After adding Riess’s stack to his, Bianchi has 525,000. –MH

11:25pm: Architecture, by Carlos™
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (BB ante 5,000)

Italy’s Enrico Camosci has a lot of chips. 900,000 to be exact. And everything is going great.

The only problem is Camosci didn’t know how to stack them. He wanted to pose for a nice photo, but his “chip porn” skills are a little rusty.

Luckily for him, his tablemate Carlos Chadha was on hand to help him.

“You want them in stacks of 20s, but with some stacks on top for you to play with,” he said.

Eventually Camosci got them set up just the way he wanted.

“Architecture, by Carlos,” said Chadha, who has 250,000. –JS

11:17pm: Adjusting for Calamusa
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (BB ante 5,000)

They’ve brought out racks for Pierre Calamusa in order to facilitate some coloring up. Heck, I just adjusted the column width on our chip count spreadsheet, too, to accommodate what he’s been doing here in the last level.

The Frenchman is the first to reach the seven-figure mark, chip-wise, and now is stacking about 1.18 million with about 40 minutes to go in the night. –MH

Pierre Calamusa, your current chip leader

11:12pm: Vela shoves, survives
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (BB ante 5,000)

Perrault raised to 11,000 and it folded to Matthias Eibinger raised to 30,000 from the button. Michael Vela instantly called all in for 25,000 from the small blind, saying “get the bus ready!” as he did.

Perrault called Eibinger’s raise as well, and those two checked the K♥Q♦J♣ flop. The turn was the 2♣, and when Perrault bet 46,000, Eibinger folded.

“I’ve got the nuts right now,” said Vela as he tabled A♣T♠ for Broadway. Perrault showed K♣Q♥ for two pair, and the A♠ river kept Vela in the game with 85,000. Perrault has 235,000, while Eibinger has just over 750,000. –MH

11:05pm: Leah chips up
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (BB ante 5,000)

Mike Leah opened the cutoff and was three-bet to 48,000 by former chip leader Scott Wellenbach on the button. The blinds got out of the way and Leah made the call to see a flop.

The dealer spread the 6♦A♥7♥ and Leah checked it, letting Wellenbach continue for 50,000. Leah stuck around, bringing the 2♥ on the turn. With three hearts out there Leah now seized the betting lead, firing out 65,000.

Wellenbach eyed up his opponent, then folded, tapping the table. Leah’s up to 355,000 now, while Wellenbach dips to 305,000. –JS

Mike Leah (left) is moving up the chip counts

10:57pm: Ditz busts Luca and clips Vogelsang to take chip lead
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (BB ante 5,000)

A massive pot just played out, with Franz Ditz overtaking Pierre Calamusa at the top of the counts.

Ditz opened to 11,000 in early position which Chino Rheem called from middle position. Ivan Luca then three-bet to 60,000 in the cutoff (leaving himself with 2,500 behind), before Christoph Vogelsang four-bet to 109,000 out of the big blind.

Back to Ditz, he used a time bank before shoving, putting them all at risk. Rheem got out of the way, and Luca let his clock tick down to one second before calling off his 2,500. Vogelsang also folded, losing a big chunk of his stack.

Ditz had A♥K♠ while it was A♦9♦ for Luca. “If the board comes jack-high I’ll have the winner,” said Rheem from the sidelines.

The board did indeed come jack-high, running out J♥7♦5♠Q♠T♥ to give Ditz broadway and the KO.

He’s up to 930,000, more than anyone right now. Vogelsang drops to 270,000, and Rheem has 370,000. –JS

Franz Ditz

10:53pm: Others bust, Bicknell builds
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (BB ante 5,000)

You might recall Kristen Bicknell was one of the four players who was all in on the first hand of hand-for-hand play. Two busted and two didn’t, and Bicknell was one of the ones who didn’t.

More than 30 bustouts later Bicknell is still here, having chipped up to 106,000 since that bubble drama. –MH

10:50pm: Camosci challenging Calamusa
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (BB ante 5,000)

Aaron Been opened for 7,000 and got a call from Enrico Camosci sitting nearby. It folded Chin Wei Lim who then jammed for his last 90,000, and while Been folded Camosci called.

Camosci had 9♦9♣ and Lim 7♣7♦. The runout proved entertaining to watch, as the 6♠T♣8♠ flop gave Lim a gutshot to replace his hopes for a set, then the 9♥ turn filled that draw while giving Camosci a set of nines.

Then came the river… the 8♦! A full house for Camosci, and Lim is out.

Camosci is now up to 805,000, challenging chip leader Pierre Calamusa who returned from the break to a stack of 850,000. –MH

10:44pm: Guerrero gets instant revenge
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (BB ante 5,000)

Just a minute or so after shipping a big chunk of change over to Danny Tang (see 10:40pm), Jimmy Guerrero has doubled up.

It was Tang who did the doubling too, so he’s now down to 220,000 while Guerrero doubles to 150,000. –JS

Jimmy Guerrero: Instant karma got him back into decent shape

10:40pm: Tang rivers it
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (BB ante 5,000)

Danny Tang just hit a miracle river to double up through Jimmy Guerrero.

Tang kicked the hand off opening to 10,000 from the lojack, which picked up one caller before Guerrero three-bet to 44,000 out of the small blind. Back to Tang, he jammed for 140,000, which got a fold before Guerrero snap-called,

Tang’s 9♣9♥ were behind the Q♠Q♦ of Guerrero, and the 4♦7♠8♦ flop changed nothing. Tang called for a six on the turn but got the 3♥ instead.

He hit gin with the 9♠ river though.

“Ayy-yahhhhhhh,” groaned Guerrero as he began to count out chips to ship. “I lost queens vs nines earlier too,” Tang said.

He’s up to 300,000 now, while Guerrero’s down to 72,000. –JS

Danny Tang is doing his thang

10:35pm: Ross doubles through Trofimov
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (BB ante 5,000)

On the first hand back from the break, Eli Ross looked down at 7♦7♠ and said “all in” as he pushed forward his last 70,000. It folded to Dragos Trofimov who after getting a count called with K♣Q♣.

The 6♦4♦6♠ flop kept Ross in front, then the 7♣ gave him a hammerlock on the hand to make the river Q♦ too little too late for Trofimov.

Ross gave a little fist bump as he now has 150,000 and brighter prospects moving forward. Meanwhile Trofimov just leaned back to get a look at the tournament clock and current payouts, as he’s down to 17,000. –MH

10:32pm: Let’s knock this day out
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (BB ante 5,000)

We’re back for the final level of the night. And we’re down to double digits with regards to our remaining players. Another 90 minutes (and a currently indeterminate number of knockouts) and we’ll put a bow on Day 2.

Here’s a look at the top 10 chip counts from the break.

Name Country Status Chips
Pierre Calamusa France 850,000
Brian Altman USA 754,000
Franz Ditz Germany PokerStars player 735,000
Vicent Bosca Spain 710,000
Matthias Eibinger Austria 682,000
Enrico Camosci Italy PokerStars player 661,500
Pavel Veksler Ukraine PokerStars player 586,000
Joao Simao Brazil PokerStars qualifier 550,000
Scott Clements USA PokerStars player 520,000
Mihai Manole Romania 485,000


Atlantis at night

10:12pm: Break time

It’s time for a 20-minute break. See you soon for the last level of the night. –JK

10:05pm: Noah’s arc
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (BB ante 4,000)

Having just survived an all-in against Matt Glantz (albeit through a chop pot), Noah Schwartz has just been knocked out by Sam Greenwood.

After a 10,000 open under the gun Greenwood flatted the hijack. Schwartz then jammed the cutoff for 44,500, which shook off the original raiser. Greenwood called with K♦Q♦, and Schwartz had that dominated with A♦K♣.

Until the 6♣3♦Q♠ flop, anyway. There was no ace on the 6♣3♦Q♠6♥4♣ board, sending Schwartz to the cage.

Greenwood’s on 250,000 now. –JS

9:57pm: Lot. Of. Action.
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (BB ante 4,000)

Everywhere you look there’s action right now. A burst bubble will do that to a tournament.

On one table, Noah Schwartz was all-in and called by Matt Glantz. They both had ace-king off though, and neither made a flush. While the dealer chopped it up, Sam Greenwood switched the hands so it looked like it was aces versus kings. Nice try, Sam.

On another table Aleksandr Gofman opened the hijack to 10,000 and the cutoff called before JC Alvarado shoved the button for his last 19,000. Gofman called, but the cutoff folded.

Alvarado’s 5♦5♣ was up against K♦Q♠, but was counterfeited at the end of the 9♠3♥A♦9♥A♠ board. Alvarado let out a groan before heading to the payouts desk. Gofman’s on 240,000 after that.

Finally we saw Ben Yu applying the pressure to Eder Campana. The latter had a bet of 70,000 in front of him–which we can only assume was a three or four bet–and Yu then jammed over the top for 360,000. Campana gave it some thought but let it go and has 380,000 now.

Just ten minutes remain on this penultimate level. After all that, the 20-minute break is much needed! –JS

9:50pm: A Nguyen win situation
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (BB ante 4,000)

Simon Kaiser is out. He open-pushed his last 18,500 just now, then watched Pavel Plesuv raise to 36,000 from the next seat. It folded to Tommy Nguyen in the big blind who called, then the flop came T♣9♣4♦. Nguyen checked, Plesuv bet 30,000 into the side pot, and Nguyen called. Both players then checked down the 2♥ turn and T♥ river.

Nguyen tabled Q♠Q♦, and that was better than either Plesuv’s A♣6♥ or Kaiser’s K♠J♠, and the latter headed out. Nguyen is up to 505,000 now, while Plesuv has 171,000. –MH

9:45pm: Glantz doubles through Greenwood
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (BB ante 4,000)

Matt Glantz has got lady luck to thank for still being in this thing.

He opened to 10,000 under the gun and was three-bet to 25,000 by Sam Greenwood on his immediate left. Back to Glantz, he ripped it in for 79,000 and Greenwood snapped it off.

He had A♥K♦ which had Glantz’s A♦Q♠ dominated. But as Frank Sinatra sang, luck be a lady tonight. The board ran A♣4♦3♥Q♥6♠ giving Glantz two pair.

He’s up to 168,000, while Greenwood drops to 120,000. –JS

9:42pm: This tournament hath no Furey
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (BB ante 4,000)

Paul Leckey busted on the bubble — the stone bubble — in the PokerStars Players Championship a few days ago. But he survived into the money in this event, and in fact he just knocked out someone himself to add a few more chips.

Charles Furey was the victim, getting the last of his short stack in on the turn with A♣T♠ on a 6♦6♥2♥3♥ but unfortunately running into Leckey’s 5♠4♠ making an unbeatable straight. The river J♥ was no matter, and Furey headed over to the payout desk.

Leckey has 130,000 with just under a half-hour to go in Day 3. –MH

9:38pm: Bosca busts Concepcion
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (BB ante 4,000)

Jonathan Concepcion went all in from early position for his last 25,000. Alas for him, he wouldn’t be the only player to go all in before the hand was over — not a good sign in a multi-way spot when others are vying for a side pot.

Mark Radoja called the push from the middle position, then Vicent Bosca called as well from the cutoff. The flop came 9♠2♠6♦, and Radoja led into the side for 30,000. Bosca took 25 seconds and then raised to 92,000, and Radoja took about a half-minute as well before calling.

The 3♥ brought a check from Radoja, and that’s when Bosca pushed all in, forcing Radoja to fold.

Concepcion showed 4♥4♦, and even though Bosca had top set with 9♥9♣, Concepcion wasn’t drawing entirely dead as a five would give him a straight. But the river was the 7♥, and Concepcion is out.

Bosca is up to 515,000 now, while Radoja has 340,000. –MH

Spain’s Vicent Bosca: top set is good

9:35pm: Greenwood and Altman clash
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (BB ante 4,000)

Super High Roller champion Sam Greenwood and current Main Event chip leader Brian Altman just tangled in a big pot.

Picking up the action on the turn of a 2♠J♠6♥T♥ board, there was around 70,000 in the middle and Greenwood led out for 55,000. Altman got a count and then made the call to see the 5♣ land on the river.

Greenwood loaded the gun again and slid out a bet of 91,500, leaving himself just 4,000 behind. Altman called quickly, and Greenwood revealed A♣J♦ for top pair.

Altman had the same hand with A♠J♥ though, so the two chopped it up. Greenwood’s still got 180,000, while Altman’s still leading with 700,000. –JS

9:30pm: Lew KOs Kenney
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (BB ante 4,000)

Bryn Kenney survived the bubble with the tiniest of stacks, and he got it all in again here once they got to the money. The push was for 20,500, and when it folded to Randy Lew in the big blind he called and showed K♠2♦. Kenney laughed as he showed K♣8♥, and it looked for a moment like Kenney might survive a little longer at least.

Bryn Kenney in happier times

The 3♦3♠4♣6♣5♥ runout stopped that from happening, though, giving Lew a straight and bouncing Kenney. Lew is up to 330,000 at present. –MH

Randy Lew and Celina Lin

9:24pm: Grafton’s turn for the worse
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (BB ante 4,000)

Sam Grafton made it into the money, but just got pretty unlucky to bust to Mike Leah.

Leah opened to 10,000 in middle position before Grafton jammed for 39,000 out of the small blind. Back to Leah, he really didn’t like it. Alas, he felt priced in and called.

Grafton had the best of it with A♦T♦ against Leah’s A♥9♦, but the 3♠6♥7♥9♥6♠ board gave Leah the winner.

Grafton said his goodbyes, while Leah stacked up 220,000. –JS

“I’m out, let’s play Werewolf tonight”

9:19pm: Matt “Never loooooooose!” Glantz gets a bubble-up
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (BB ante 4,000)

Matt Glantz was the first to go all-in, but he had to wait for three other hands before the cameras, and Toby Stone, arrived at his table to play out the hand.

It was a long wait, and the bubble had technically burst when the cameras rolled.

Toby Stone checked the names. There was Brian (Altman) and Matt (Glantz).

“First name Matt, second name NEVER LOOOOOOOOOOSE”,” said Noah Schwartz. It was safe to say Glantz had people rooting for him.

Glantz: 9♦9♣
Altman: K♣Q♠

The board came T♥2♦5♦3♥4♣

“Yes!” said Glantz, with a dash of irony. He then started clapping, having just made the money. Then everyone started clapping. – SB

Matt “NEVER LOOOOOOOOOOSE” Glantz survives the bubble

9:18pm: Bicknell survives bubble with aces
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (BB ante 4,000)

After the first two all-ins determined two players had been knocked out (and the bubble would be bursting), it was time to see how Kristin Bicknell would fare in her all-in versus Ramon Miquel Munoz.

The tension wasn’t quite as high as it had been at the other two tables, as Bicknell knew she’d at worst be splitting a min-cash should she not survive the hand.

The hand had begun with Bicknell raising to 17,000 from early position, leaving herself just 8,000 behind. It folded to Munoz in the blinds who called, then after the K♥2♣2♥ flop he bet and Bicknell called all in.

Once it was time to reveal their cards, Munoz showed K♣J♣ but Bicknell had better with A♠A♦. The turn was the 5♥ and river the Q♥, and Bicknell kept her seat with just over 50,000 while Munoz is now at 130,000.

On to all-in #4! –MH

Surrounded by media and players, Kristen Bicknell survives the bubble

9:17pm: Luc Greenwood out in 128th, everyone else gets paid
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (BB ante 4,000)

One of our four players all-in here on the bubble was Luc Greenwood. Mihai Manole had opened with J♣J♠ and called when Greenwood jammed for his last 51,500 with A♦K♥. Play was paused for the TV crew to arrive and when they did, the board ran out Q♥2♥6♥2♦5♦ to keep Manole’s jacks in the lead. With that, Greenwood finished in 128th and popped the money bubble. –JK

Ouch! Luc Greenwood watches the river miss his hand to eliminate him on the bubble

9:05pm: Lee leaves with nothing
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (BB ante 4,000)

The first of four (yes, four!) all-in and calls has played out.

Stanley Lee open-jammed for 60,500 from the cutoff and was called by Javier Zarco in the small blind. Zarco only had 68,500 himself.

We waited for the hands to be revealed, and eventually Lee showed 2♠2♦, crushed by Zarco’s K♣K♥. There was no deuce on the board, and Lee was out.

He’ll be hanging around though, to see if he can chop up a bubble prize. –JS

Stanley Lee waits to see if he will bubble

9:03pm: Dragos drags one, still two off the cash
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (BB ante 4,000)

On the first hand of hand-for-hand play, Ben Yu opened from under the gun, then Dragos Trofimov promptly pushed all in from the next seat over. The table folded around, and Yu was prompt as well with his fold.

Trofimov is up to 156,000, having added chips since the last break, while Yu is at 296,000.

It sounds like there’s a bunch of all-in-and-a-call at the neighboring table. Stay tuned! –MH

8:57pm: Hand for hand
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (BB ante 4,000)

With two players until we hit the money, hand for hand play has started. It will continue like this until we hit 127 players.–BW

Bubble time at the PCA Main Event

8:57pm: Suited like a boss
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (BB ante 4,000)

Just after losing most of his stack in that hand versus Randy Lew (see below), Bryn Kenney ripped his last 20,500 in the middle from under the gun and it folded around to Sven Hansen in the blind who had about 65,000 after posting.

Hansen checked his cards, then when he didn’t act right away Kenney started laughing. “I would call if we weren’t where we are,” said Hansen, also chuckling as he referred to the soon-to-burst bubble.

Finally Hansen folded, and Kenney immediately flipped his hand over — 5♥3♥! The laughter continued from there as Kenney picked up the blinds and big blind ante to move to just over 30,000. –MH

8:56pm: Grafton doubles
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (BB ante 4,000)

A double up for Sam Grafton who got his chips in against Scott Wellenbach.

Grafton: A♥4♠
Wellenbach: 7♦5♠

“It’s the classic confrontation,” joked Grafton as he stood and watched the board.


“You would never have got a birthday card from me again,” said Grafton. He’s up to 45,000. – SB

8:51pm: Lew leaves Kenney with crumbs
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (BB ante 4,000)

Randy “nanonoko” Lew has just made a huge all-in call versus Bryn Kenney. More importantly, he was right and has doubled up on the bubble.

The board read 4♦3♥J♥6♦T♣ and Lew had checked it to Kenney, who then jammed for 121,000. Lew had 100,500 behind and was thinking this one over for around five minutes before he eventually made the call.

Kenney showed K♠7♦ for pure air, while Lew had A♦J♠ for top pair. Kenney is down to just 20,500 now. –JS

8:45pm: Playing with fire
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (BB ante 4,000)

“It’s funny… how we are playing with fire.”

So said a player at the table of Mike Leah and Matt Berkey after the pair just played a hand against one another. With the tournament just four knockouts away from the money, any skirmish has the potential of heating up to uncomfortable levels for someone.

In this hand, Leah had opened for 10,000 from under the gun, then Berkey made it 27,000 to go from the button. Action back on Leah, he examined Berkey’s remaining stack and then set out a column of chips on top of his original raise — what looked like a four-bet to 125,000. Berkey then inquired about what Leah had behind, and after a minute of thought let his hand go.

Leah has about 240,000 now and Berkey just over 200,000 — plenty of fuel to cause some real fires, should either decide he wants to do so. –MH

8:40pm: Quinn all in, and issuing “threats”
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (BB ante 4,000)

Patrick Quinn was all in for about 40,000. He stood up.

“Bedtime for the old man,” he said. “I don’t even deserve to win.”

By now players are familiar with Quinn’s table talk. They also enjoy the hell out of it.

“Just remember, he warned them. Whoever knocks me out won’t win the tournament. I’m putting an Irish curse on you.”

He wasn’t done with his faux threats.

“I won’t make you an offer you can’t refuse,” he said. “I’ll make you an offer you can’t understand.”

Nobody was sold. Everyone folded, and Quinn showed his pocket queens.

“Give it to the big boy,” he said, retaking his seat. – SB

8:30pm: Kempe’s cooked
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (BB ante 4,000)

Rainer Kempe is out in the very first hand back from dinner.

He was all-in for 41,000 with A♣Q♣ against Takashi Murata with A♠2♦. The board ran out 4♦3♥8♣2♥T♦ giving Murata a pair of deuces.

He’s up to 330,000 now. –JS

Rainer Kempe

7:09pm: Bubble Break
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (BB ante 3,000)

Everybody is headed off for an hour and fifteen minutes. Back just before 8:30pm

7:01pm: Weissman all in for 6K
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (BB ante 3,000)

Joey Weissman was down to his last 6,000. He was putting a good face on it.

Playing from the cut off he looked at his cards and after some thought, tossed them into the middle.

Mazin Khoury was in the small blind and started thinking about something. Was this a bid to eat up some time? After all, with around 75,000 left, he wasn’t exactly flush with chips.

No. He was thinking about whether to move all in. He did. Which made it an easier fold for the big blind.

Weissman: A♦7♠
Khoury: K♣T♥

The board came J♥8♦6♠5♥6♣ to double up Weissman, although he’s still in peril with around 15,000 chips. – SB

6:58pm: El-Messiri’s doubles!
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (BB ante 3,000)

You’ll be seeing quite a lot more of Sherif El-Messiri I expect because the TV crew have now located the talkative Canadian and just watched him double up his short stack. Even Alexander Kharkov, who ended up giving about 20,000 of his chips to El-Messiri, was chuckling along with this one.

They got it all-in pre-flop with El-Messiri’s K♣Q♣ hitting two queens on the board to beat Kharkov’s 6♥8♦.

“First PCA, satellited in, I’m going to win it!” El-Messiri said to the cameras. Then, spotting a supporter on the rail, El-Messiri held up his 40,000 chips and said: “Forty k and a dream! This is seventeen-thousand dollars, baby!” — HS

6:56pm: “Right on the money!”
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (BB ante 3,000)

With the bubble looming, the tension is rising just a bit here in the Atlantis poker room.

Patrick Quinn is one of the short stacks with just 42,000. He’s obviously interested in surviving into the cash, but his attention is divided somewhat between the tournament and the NFL playoff game between the New Orleans Saints and Philadelphia Eagles playing on the big screen behind him.

“One time… one time!” said Quinn just now, employing a commonly heard phrase at the poker tables in reference to the game for which his rooting interest is New Orleans.

On the next play, the Saints attempted a long pass into the end zone. “Drill it! Drill It!” cried Quinn, but the ball went off the receiver’s hands to fall incomplete, leaving Quinn mystified.

“Did you see that?” he said to anyone who could hear. “That was right on the money!”

They are almost right on the money here, just six knockouts shy of the bubble bursting. –MH

Patrick Quinn

6:55pm: A lesson from Kaverman
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (BB ante 3,000)

People often say patience is a quality every good poker player must possess. Not only the ability to stay focused during card-dead stretches, but also to know when to slowplay a good hand and get value.

After Arkadiy Tsinis opened to 7,000, Byron Kaverman defended his big blind. As we found out later, he had K♦8♣ and hit top pair on the 2♣K♠3♦ flop. He checked it to the raiser, but Tsinis didn’t bite.

The 6♥ turn saw Kaverman check again. Again, Tsinis didn’t bet and the 6♠ completed the board, pairing it too. Kaverman now decided if he was going to get value from his hand he’d need to make it happen himself. He led out for 28,000 into a pot of just 18,500, and Tsinis snap-called.

Kaverman rolled his hand over and Tsninis mucked, dropping to 155,000.

Kaverman’s on 210,000 now. –JS

6:54pm: Akkari out-Class-ed on the turn
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (BB ante 3,000)

Andre Akkari and Class Segebrecht had two of the largest stacks not only at their table, but in the entire tournament, at the start of this hand. Akkari’s is now a bit shorter.

Segebrecht opened for 6,500 in the hijack seat and Akkari called from the big blind, bringing a T♠3♦8♦ flop. Akkari check-called 7,000 there and then both players checked the 7♦ turn. Akkari checked once more on the 6♦ river and Segebrecht bet 34,000. Akkari took about a minute and a half before deciding to call, only to find out that Segebrecht’s A♦Q♦ had turned the ace-high flush.

Segebrecht is back on 515,000 now, while Akkari dips to 320,000. –JK

Andre Akkari

6:51pm: El-Messiri’s request
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (BB ante 3,000)

Sherif El-Messiri is the tournament short stack with 33,500. Six thousand of that was invested in the big blind and ante and opposite him Alexander Kharkov had his eye on the loose change. Kharkov opened to 7,000 from his 450,000-strong stack and action passed all the way around to El-Messiri.

El-Messiri went into the tank. That’s only to be expected given his chip stack and the state of the tournament. But it did genuinely look as though he was pondering a shove, which would surely have got a call.

After a minute or so, El-Messiri, who was in the one seat, whispered to the dealer to his right: “Hey, could you show me the flop? If I see the flop I’ll know if I should call.”

The request drew chuckles from the table, and then the dealer drew in El-Messiri’s cards, which he eventually tossed away.

Kharkov showed him the A♥ and El-Messiri said he had a pocket pair. “You have to call,” Patrick Quinn said. But El-Messiri wasn’t too sure about that. — HS

6:51pm: Time waits for no man
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (BB ante 3,000)

The dealer leaned forward very slightly, her free hand ready to make a gesture of some kind. One player spotted this and had a hunch what was going on.

She was about to remind Ivan Luca that the action was on him, because Luca looked like a man lost in a daydream.

Luca didn’t seem focused on anything, really. Not his cards, or the action of anyone else. Instead he looked blissfully unaware the world was waiting, and that the action was on him.

But, just before the dealer finished her forward move, ready to say something like “sir, the action is on you,” Luca made his move. He folded. – SB

6:48pm: Vogelsang collects
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (BB ante 3,000)

Christoph Vogelsang just tangled with big stack Michael Gathy in a hand that saw Vogelsang playing from the small blind against Gathy in the cutoff.

On the 4♠5♣3♥ flop, Vogelsang led for 25,000 and Gathy called, then both checked the 3♦ turn.

The dealer put the T♦ out on the river, and Vogelsang licked his lips. I’m just kidding — I don’t know what Vogelsang did with his lips, as he’s got his hood up around his head to show only his eyes and nose.

In any case, Vogelsang was prompted to bet 43,000, and that was enough to get Gathy gone. Vogelsang has 345,000 now, Gathy 522,000. –MH

Christoph Vogelsang

6:42pm: No good
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (BB ante 3,000)

There’s no respect for reputations in this game. If there was, all of Scott Seiver, Francois Billard, Bartlomiej Machon, Kyle Julius, Brian Yoon, Andrew Chen, Dominik Nitsche, Mike Watson and Vojtech Ruzicka would still be in the PCA Main Event. And they’re not. They’re the latest to fall just before the bubble. — HS

6:38pm: Ruthless Kenney picks on Andrejevic
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (BB ante 3,000)

Bryn Kenney is such a tough man to play against, and he just pushed Andjelko Andrejevic out of a pot with a gutsy shove on the river. Andrejevic didn’t show his emotions, but this was a frustrating one for sure.

Kenney opened the pot to 7,000 from UTG+1 and Andrejevic called one seat to his left. Randy Lew called in the big blind and they were three way to the 2♣K♣8♠ flop.

Both Lew and Kenney checked and Andrejevic bet 10,000. That shed Lew from the pot, but Kenney called.

The turn was the 9♥ and both players checked it. Then the 4♥ appeared on the river.

Kenney checked again, but Andrejevic bet 30,000. After pausing a few beats — actually, probably about a minute — Kenney moved all-in, covering the 108,000 Andrejevic still had in his stack.

Andrejevic must have been fearing that precise move and he thought a good long while before dejectedly throwing his cards away. We are only six off the money, so Andrejevic was vulnerable. Kenney exploited that like the true beast he is. — HS

6:31pm: Tsinis bullies dos Santos
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (BB ante 3,000)

Ivan Galinec (UTG+1) opened the action for 6,000 and Victor Pedote dos Santos (hijack) re-raised to 19,500. Then Arkadiy Tsinis four-bet to 42,000 on the button, clearing out the blinds and Galinec and leaving dos Santos with a big decision.

It was so big a decision, in fact, that dos Santos disappeared into the tank for a good three minutes before one of his tablemates called the clock on him. The floor arrived and announced that he would have 30 seconds to make a decision. dos Santos agonized the whole time and eventually had his hand declared dead.

Tsinis climbed to 191,000 without having to show his cards. dos Santos immediately open-shoved from the lojack seat on the next hand and got no callers, picking up about a third of the chips he lost with his previous three-bet. He’s now on 75,000. –JK

6:31pm: Seeing is believing
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (BB ante 3,000)

After an all-spade 5♠7♠Q♠ flop, a leading bet of 7,000 was called by Joao Simao, then Ken Aldridge raised to 15,000 to push out the initial bettor. Simao called the raise, then checked after the Q♣ turn. At that Aldridge set all of his remaining chips forward, and Simao quickly folded.

Aldridge decided to show his hand — A♠2♠ — prompting his neighbor to comment that it had been a good flop for him. “He just didn’t believe me!” smiled Aldridge. “Oh, I believed you,” said Simao with a grin as well.

Simao still has a healthy stack of 388,000, while Aldridge has about 130,000 right now. –MH

Joao Simao

6:30pm: Hunter catches Seiver
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (BB ante 3,000)

Scott Seiver is out, just seven players from the money bubble.

Down to 23,000 he was all-in with Q♣T♣, in rough shape against Ian Hunter’s K♥K♣ which held up. Seiver made a speedy exit, and Hunter is up to 240,000 now. –JS

6:21pm: Berkey tempts fate, doubles
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (BB ante 3,000)

A double up for Matthew Berkey.

He shoved for 49,000. Rajesh Vohra tanked before calling. Berkey, with a recklessness towards fate that some would flinch at, said “thank you” and turned over A♣Q♣

Vohra had A♠J♠

The board came Q♥8♥K♣9♣3♦ to double him to around 100,000. – SB

6:19pm: Leckey looking to avoid being unlucky
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (BB ante 3,000)

A few days ago I found myself standing a few feet away from Irish player Paul Leckey when he bubbled the $25,000 Poker Players Championship, unfortunately running pocket kings into an opponent’s pocket aces to be the last player out before the $26 million-plus prize pool began to be divided.

As a consolation prize, Leckey received an nice EPT Monte-Carlo package including entry into the Main Event in Monaco. But you had to feel for him having come so close to the money before falling in the PSPC.

Leckey is back in the Main Event, and with now only eight eliminations until the money he looks like he might be in better shape as the bubble nears. He’s sitting with 110,000 chips — about 36 big blinds — and so would seem to be set to cash here when the time comes.

If another kings-versus-aces situation doesn’t arise, that is. –MH

6:17pm: Schwartz is staying
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (BB ante 3,000)

He’s still short stacked, but Noah Schwartz has a bit more breathing room now having doubled up 11 spots from the money.

Action had folded to Matthew Wantman on the button, and with the two short stacks in the blinds he set them all in. Schwartz woke up with K♦J♥ in the big blind and called off his last 23,500, in great shape versus Wantman’s K♥5♣. The board improved neither player, and Schwartz now has 51,500, good for 17 bigs. –JS

6:15pm: Julius comes up short
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (BB ante 3,000)

Kyle Julius lost his last 22,000 to David Olshan, who was also quite a short stack. Julius’s king-ten didn’t hit against Olshan’s A♠Q♠ and that was that for the former PCA runner up. Olshan now has about 80,000. — HS

6:14pm: Mirror man Zhang takes from Seiver
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (BB ante 3,000)

Scott Seiver raised to 7,000 from the hijack seat, then Yang Zhang three-bet to 20,500 from the button. Zhang wears eyeglasses and has a studious look about him, but when it folded back to Seiver and he called, Zhang pulled out a brilliant pair of mirrored sunglasses and put them on over his usual eyewear, suddenly transforming his image into something perhaps more formidable.

When Seiver checked the T♦T♥3♣ flop, Zhang continued for 14,000 and Seiver called, then both checked the Q♣ turn. Seiver then bet 9,000 the 2♥ river, sounding like he was saying something like “I’m going to try something when he did.”

Zhang tried something himself, though, making a genuinely formidable raise to 70,000. Seiver talked through the situation for a while, looking over at Zhang to try to get a read. Alas for Seiver, he could only see himself in those glasses.

Finally Seiver folded, telling Zhang nice hand and rapping the table as he did. The sunglasses then came off and were replaced in their case. Zhang has 195,000 now, Seiver 104,000. –MH

6:08pm: Bicknell takes another hit
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (BB ante 3,000)

Kristen Bicknell just took another knock. She’s now down to 77,000 after a hand against Joao Barbosa.

The board read 8♣A♠7♦6♣Q♦

There had been betting from Barbosa and calling form Bicknell all the way. On the river Barbosa made it 21,000 which Bicknell called.

Barbosa turned over 9♣5♣. Bicknell paused for a second as the hand registered. Then she mucked.

Barbosa the beneficiary. He’s up to 127,000 with 141 players remaining. – SB

6:06pm: On the grind with Grafton
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (BB ante 3,000)

Sam Grafton’s doing work.

First he three-bet Scott Wellenbach’s 7,500 open to 28,000 and got a fold.

The next hand Mazin Khoury opened to 6,000 in the +1 seat and it folded to Grafton in the small blind. He came along, as did Joey Weissman in the big blind. They saw a 6♦J♦T♣ flop, and all three checked.

That took them to the T♠ turn. Grafton took a peek at his cards and then led out for 7,000, which shook off Weissman. Khoury stuck around though, and the 3♦ completed the board.

Grafton fired again for 21,000, giving Khoury a decision. He picked up his cards like he was about to muck, but actually held onto them for 20 seconds or so. Eventually he would release them into the muck, dropping to 80,000.

Weissman has 160,000, Wellenbach’s on 577,000, and Grafton’s up to 141,000 now.

Coincidentally, that’s also how many players are left: 141. –JS

6:05pm: Wellenbach is well and back
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (BB ante 3,000)

Scott Wellenbach has been here before. The PokerStars qualifier from Canada was among the big stacks for long periods at EPT Barcelona in 2017, and he is flying even higher here this week. According to the latest chip counts, gathered at the most recent break, Wellenbach has 560,000 and the biggest stack in the room. — HS

Scott Wellenbach

6:02pm: Kings for Von Toperczer
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (BB ante 3,000)

On a flop of Q♠8♣K♣

Sebastian Von Toperczer checked to Kristen Bicknell who bet 7,000. Von Toperczer called.

Both checked the 7♥ turn for the 8♦ on the river. This time Von Toperczer did the betting, making it 13,000. After checking the amount Bicknell paused for more than a minute before calling. She watched Von Toperczer show K♦6♦ and then mucked her cards.

Bicknell down to 120,000 while Von Toperczer moves up to 140,000. – SB

6:01pm: Bouhnara vs. Grafton
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (BB ante 3,000)

Bob Bouhnara opened for 6,500 in the lojack seat and Sam Grafton re-raised to 21,000 in the hijack. Bouhnara called and checked to Grafton on the A♥3♣4♠ flop, called Grafton’s 16,000-chip bet, and then checked down the 7♠ turn and 9♥ river with his opponent. Bouhnara tabled A♦T♦ for a flopped pair of aces and Grafton mucked, dropping to 110,000 as Bouhnara climbed to 140,000.

Meanwhile, Vojtech Ruzicka and Daniel Dvoress have departed the tournament from other nearby tables. –JK

5:59pm: So near, but yet…
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (BB ante 3,000)

The 2019 PCA Main Event will go down as a near miss for all of: Alexandre Reard, James Frangoulidis, Matt Moss, Rustam Hajiyev, Steffen Sontheimer, Jonathan Roy, Chris Hunichen, ikhail Sokolovskiy, Paul Newey, Andre Niebler, Andreas Eiler, Ole Schemion, Gianluca Speranza, Will Failla, Upeshka De Silva, Jeremy Ausmus, Daniel Wilson, Alex Keating, Cassio Kiles, Guillaume Nolet, Fernand Ferreira, Rui Sousa, Oscar Quijada, Sven Reichardt, Ryan D’Angelo, Paul Vas Nunes, Nathan Amar, Blake Bohn, Michael O’Sullivan, Christopher Frank, Luke Marsh, Dylan Wilkerson, Ariel Celestino, Tyler Bonkowski, Jean-Noel Thorel, Maxim Toldin, Tomas Jozonis, Gauthier Brugnooge, Renato Kaneoya, Gary Hasson, Pablo Cabrera, Thomas Muehloecker, Kane Kalas, Grayson Ramage, Robert Heidorn, Griffin Benger, Michael Soyza, Paul Michaelis, Victor Begara and Daniel Dvoress.

They are all now out. — HS

5:50pm: The head of the Claas
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (BB ante 3,000)

With the board showing 4♣7♦K♦6♣, Class Segebrecht led for 27,000 then watched Viet Van Vo jam all in for his last 90,000 or so. Segebrecht was quick to call as he had 8♦5♦ for a straight, a hand Vo was sorry to see as it confirmed he was drawing dead with K♣T♥ for top pair. The 4♥ meaninglessly completed the board, and Vo is out.

Segebrecht chips up to 515,000 on that, which means the German is challenging for the chip lead with 145 players left. –MH

5:45pm: Ship it to Seiver
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (BB ante 3,000)

Scott Seiver’s level is off to a nice start. He opened to 7,000 in the hijack, which both the cutoff and button called. Anthony Zinno was in the small blind and he came along too, as did Kevin Andriamahefa in the big.

Five ways to the T♦T♥7♦ flop, Zinno checked and Andriamahefa led out for 12,000. Seiver made the call, and it folded to Zinno who matched it.

The turn was the 4♣ and when Zinno checked again Andriamahefa opted not to continue. Seiver then announced he was all-in, which got two instant folds.

He’s up to 170,000 now, while Zinno has 145,000 and Andriamahefa’s on 160,000. –JS

5:40pm: One more before dinner
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (BB ante 3,000)

The remaining 146 players are back in their seats and we’re playing one more 90-minute level before a dinner break. We will have full counts for all the players left in a moment. — HS

5:17pm: End of the level

Players are now on a 20 minute break.

5:20pm: Schwartz should’ve walked more slowly
Level 13 – Blinds 1,000/2,500 (BB ante 2,500)

Noah Schwartz was just moved into the big blind at Ivan Deyra’s table, and Deyra immediately got the best of him. Deyra jammed for 28,000 in the small blind, holding Q♦Q♣, and Schwartz called with A♥3♣. The board didn’t do anything to help Schwartz, dropping him to 70,000. Deyra’s now on 58,000.

“I knew I should’ve walked slower to this table,” said Schwartz as he turned his attention back to the Eagles-Saints game. –JK

5:16pm: Roy do you do?
Level 13 – Blinds 1,200/2,500 (BB ante 2,500)

Jonathan Roy was playing on barely more than ten big blinds, so when he was first to act pre-flop and picked up to T♦T♣. He shoved it all in and got folds all around to Scott Seiver who, out of sheer courtesy, acted so quickly with a call that the dealer thought he had folded…until she saw his K♦K♥. The board ran out fine for Seiver, and Roy hit the rail. –BW

5:15pm: A tale of two Greenwoods
Level 13 – Blinds 1,000/2,500 (BB ante 2,500)

Chase Bianchi opened to 7,000 under the gun, only for Luc Greenwood to shove one seat over. Bianchi asked for a count (49,500), but opted to fold.

Those two were battling the next hand too. Greenwood opened under the gun and Bianchi defended his big blind to see a Q♥T♣qs] flop. Bianchi check-called a 5,000 c-bet, but then folded to a 12,500 bet on the 5♣ turn.

Meanwhile on a nearby table, Luc’s twin brother Sam Greenwood was busy eliminating his fellow Super High Roller Steffen Sontheimer.

Sam’s on 260,000, Luc’s on 67,000, and Chase has 220,000. –JS

Luc Greenwood

5:12pm: Ditz makes a bet Rheem cannot call
Level 13 – Blinds 1,000/2,500 (BB ante 2,500)

Franz Ditz just moved up over the half million-chip mark after winning a big pot against David Rheem with the end of the level drawing near.

Franz Ditz

I got there on the river, with the board showing 6♥6♣4♦8♦2♣ and a big pot of more than 150,000 piled in the middle. Ditz had placed two big columns of blue chips before him, enough to cover the 180,000-ish Rheem had behind, and Rheem went deep into the tank for several minutes to decide what to do.

“Okay… what can we beat?” Rheem finally asked himself before apologizing to the table for taking so long. “We don’t mind, take your time,” said Shaun Deeb sitting in between Ditz and Rheem. “I don’t know what to do,” Rheem responded before taking a couple more minutes.

Finally after rechecking his cards a couple of times Rheem folded, and Ditz just smiled when Deeb goaded him to “show the bluff.”

Post-hand conversation found Ditz guessing Rheem had jacks or tens (“something like that,” said Rheem), and Ditz continuing to resist revealing what he’d had.

“Well played, whatever it was,” said Rheem who keeps his 180,000. Ditz, meanwhile, jumps atop our current chip count page with 510,000. –MH

5:08pm: Nguyen’s aces earn heaps from Kuhnen
Level 13 – Blinds 1,000/2,500 (BB ante 2,500)

Tommy Nguyen and Markus Kuhnen just played a huge pot. It ended set-over-set, but it was actually five-bet all-in pre-flop, with Nguyen’s A♠A♦ besting Kuhnen’s T♦T♥.

The board ran Q♣A♣3♥T♠6♣ and Kuhnen had to send 150,000 of his stack in Nguyen’s direction. Nguyen now has 300,000 while Kuhnen has 50,000 and a broken heart. — HS

5:06pm: Quinn doubles through Altman, stays dressed
Level 13 – Blinds 1,000/2,500 (BB ante 2,500)

Patrick Quinn’s stack is a little bigger than it was moments ago.

The besuited Canadian opened for 7,000 under the gun and only Brian Altman (big blind) called. Altman checked the 5♠6♦K♦ flop and Quinn immediately moved all-in. Altman asked for a count — 43,500 — and then called. His top pair with K♠7♥ was out-kicked by Quinn’s K♣Q♠, and the K♥ turn and T♠ changed nothing in that regard, giving Quinn the win for 120,000. Altman still has 400,000.

Patrick Quinn: Sticking around

It’s getting hot in here, so take off all your clothes,” sang Quinn, covering Nelly, as he stacked up his new chips. “I am getting so hot, I wanna take my clothes off.

Maybe stop after the suit coat, Mr. Quinn; this is a family establishment. –JK

5:04pm: Martinez flops well
Level 13 – Blinds 1,000/2,500 (BB ante 2,500)

Manuel Martinez doubled up, taking a chunk from Maria Ho’s stack in the process. It was a fairly standard spot: an open push of Martinez’s 33,000 stack and a call from one seat to his left from Ho. Martinez’s [qv]T♣ flopped far better than Ho’s 8♥8♦. In fact, the Q♥A♣7♣ flop left only one out for Ho.

Maria Ho

It wasn’t the K♠ turn nor the 7♦ river. Ho has 90,000 left, while Martinez is working with about 72,000. — HS

5:02pm: Yu flopped it
Level 13 – Blinds 1,000/2,500 (BB ante 2,500)

Building a big stack when you’re approaching a bubble is a pretty solid strategy. We recommend it.

Ben Yu does too, and just won a very nice pot against Dragos Trofimov. We only caught the river action, but with a 4♥6♣4♣A♥J♥ board out there, Yu made a bet of 55,000 and was called. He then flipped 4♠6♥, showing he’d flopped a full house.

Yu’s up to 300,000 now, while Trofimov drops to 115,000. –JS

5pm: Lose some, win some for Yan
Level 13 – Blinds 1,000/2,500 (BB ante 2,500)

A quick up-and-down sequence for Yan Li just now.

In the first hand she called an opponent’s raise from position, then called increasingly big bets on every post flop street as the board ran out 8♠T♠8♣3♠J♥. Her opponent then showed A♣J♠ to reveal he’d paired up on the end, and she mucked having been knocked down to 82,000.

On the next hand Li open-raised all in from the cutoff with 8♥8♦ and was called by Ralph Wong in the big blind with A♣K♥. The Q♠8♥7♥2♠6♠ board went Li’s way, giving her a set and the pot.

The table broke right after that hand, meaning Li carried 170,000 in her rack to her new table. Meanwhile Wong got a rack as well, even though he only had 3,000 to take with him. –MH

4:56pm: Aldridge clings on
Level 13 – Blinds 1,000/2,500 (BB ante 2,500)

The dealer just tossed Kenneth Aldridge a lifeline and he seized it, even though Aaron Been was trying to tug it away. Aldridge open pushed for 43,000 from early position and Been called in the big blind with A♣Q♠. Aldridge, however, had A♠K♦ and following a low flop the K♥ on the turn locked it up for the man from North Carolina.

It gives Aldridge 90,000, but cuts Been down to 82,000. — HS

4:54pm: Been doubles
Level 13 – Blinds 1,000/2,500 (BB ante 2,500)

Aaron Been just doubled up through Robert Mizrachi. The board showed 6♣Q♥T♦kh] and Mizrachi set Been all-in, which he called with K♣J♠ for top pair and a straight draw. Mizrachi had Q♦J♦ and couldn’t improve on the 5♣ river.

Both have around 120,000 now. –JS

4:50pm: Sweating with the sweater
Level 13 – Blinds 1,000/2,500 (BB ante 2,500)

Christoph Vogelsang’s sweater is becoming his trademark. You’ll know the one when you see it: it’s not quite a hoodie, but has a neck long enough to stretch over his head.

At the beginning of this hand Vogelsang was just in a t-shirt. There was an 8♣4♠J♥ flop out there and it had checked to Tommy Nguyen who led for 6,000. Vogelsang was the only caller to the 5♣ turn, on which Nguyen checked. Vogelsang fired 21,000 after a minute or so of thinking. Call.

The 6♣ completed the board, putting three to a flush and four to a straight out there. Nguyen checked again, and Vogelsang took his time before leading for 66,000. Nguyen only had 110,000 behind, and went deep into the tank.

After a couple of minutes Vogelsang pulled out the sweater. He put it on, instantly pulling the neck up over his head.

Another minute went by, and he went one step further, pulling it over his entire face so you couldn’t even see his eyes.

Vogelsang could see through the fabric though, because when Nguyen eventually folded he quickly pulled it back down so that he could rake in the pot.

He’s up to 300,000 now. –JS

4:45pm: Dvoress chips up
Level 13 – Blinds 1,000/2,500 (BB ante 2,500)

Daniel Dvoress has a little more room the breathe after a win against Ricardo Souza.

Souza opened for 6,000 on the button and Dvoress called in the big blind. Dvoress checked the 5♣J♦Q♣ flop and Souza almost instantly tossed out a single blue 5,000 chip. Dvoress thought briefly and raised to 12,000; Souza called.

The turn was the A♣ and this time Dvoress led for 18,000. Souza thought for about 30 seconds and called, bringing the A♥ on the river. Dvoress led again, this time for his last 26,500. Souza didn’t look thrilled with this development. He cut out the chips for a call and held them in his hand for more than a minute but ultimately decided against continuing for one more street.

Souza slides to 66,000 with that loss, while Dvoress is back up to 105,000. –JK

4:42pm: Kuhnen collects from Hunichen
Level 13 – Blinds 1,000/2,500 (BB ante 2,500)

It’s easy to be fooled into thinking each individual hand is a discrete event — that once a hand is over, it belongs to the past and what happens next entirely eclipses it from view.

In truth, hands overlap with each other. Each one reaches back and involves memories of actions and decisions made earlier. And once a hand is done, the players involved keep right on “playing” it to themselves and sometimes with each other, even if the pot has already been awarded.

For example, just now Markus Kuhnen raised from middle position, then saw Chris Hunichen three-bet to 16,500 from the button. When the action got back to him, Kuhnen reraised all in and after a long think the “Big Huni” let it go.

Both had been thinking about the others’ holdings while that played out, but as the next hand played out, both were still wondering aloud to each other about what each had — a kind of dialogue, though without directly communicating or answering each other’s queries. Kind of like a poker hand.

Put Kuhnen up to 275,000 now, and Hunichen down to 75,000. –MH

4:40pm: Come on over
Level 13 – Blinds 1,000/2,500 (BB ante 2,500)

Our chip-count page is in pretty good shape at the moment, reflecting most of the big stacks. Why not take a quick look over there. Here’s a preview of the current top five:

Name Country Chips
Alexander Kharkov Russia 500,000
Philipp Kaempf Germany 450,000
Chase Bianchi USA 425,000
Joao Simao Brazil 420,000
Franz Ditz Germany 400,000

4:37pm: Kamphues clips Eiler
Level 13 – Blinds 1,000/2,500 (BB ante 2,500)

Andreas Eiler started off well but by the end of the hand Timo Kamphues had dropped his stack to 20 big blinds.

Kamphues opened the action on the button for 5,500 and Eiler thought for a bit before he re-raised to 18,000. Kamphues called to see the 3♣7♣6♣ flop and both players checked. Eiler led for 16,000 on the 8♣ turn and Kamphues called, and then they both checked the 2♦ river. Eiler rolled over A♦Q♦ for ace-high but Kamphues had him with Q♥8♥ for a pair of eights.

Eiler is now down to 50,000, while Kamphues climbs to 320,000. The table broke immediately after the hand. –JK

4:35pm: Two with Trofimov
Level 13 – Blinds 1,000/2,500 (BB ante 2,500)

Dragos Trofimov has been very active this orbit. We arrived to see a 2♥J♦K♦ flop, and Eder Campana checked it. Trofimov fired 26,500 and was called, before both checked the 5♥ turn.

The K♣ river completed the board and Campana checked once more. Trofimov sized down to 10,500, but quickly folded when Campana jammed. He’s up to 215,000 now.

The very next hand saw Eli Ross open under the gun to 5,500 and get called by Alexander Kharkov in the +1 seat. Campana also called from the hijack, followed by Ben Yu in the cutoff. Trofimov was on the button, and with so much out there already he squeezed to 35,000. Everyone folded.

Trofimov’s up to 200,000 now. –JS

4:32pm: A set for Sontheimer
Level 13 – Blinds 1,000/2,500 (BB ante 2,500)

Steffen Sontheimer was sitting quietly, twirling his ID card in his hands. That’s because he had no chips to riffle, having bet them all on the flop in a hand versus Davidi Kitai.

I arrived shortly before, seeing the K♠5♠3♣ board, the approximately 20,000 in the middle, and what looked like a situation in which Sontheimer had checked from the cutoff, Kitai bet 12,500 from the button, and Sonthemier jammed for his last 38,000.

Kitai took long enough to have the clock called, then he called to show A♠J♦ for ace-high. Sontheimer had that crushed as he’d flopped a set with 5♦5♥, and after the runout of 7♥ and 2♠, Sonthemier now has around 100,000 chips to riffle. Kitai, meanwhile, is at 264,000. –MH

4:30pm: What to do, what to do
Level 13 – Blinds 1,200/2,500 (BB ante 2,500)

Aleksandr Gofman had come in for a raise to 6,000. James Frangoulidis sat on the button and put his remaining 41,000 in. The next thing he knew Dzmitry Urbanovich woke up in the small blind and just called. Back over to Gofman who fell into the tank for a couple of minutes Ultimately, he decided to shove all-in for 126,000. Urbanovich studied the amount and mucked his hand. Cards on their backs showed Frangoulidis held two red tens to Gofman’s A♥Q♣. The board came out clean for Frangoulidis and he tripled to 125,000. Gofman fell down to 80,000. Urbanovich said he had folded ace-queen, as well.

Dzmitry Urbanovitch

Noah Schwartz, amused by the hand and how confused each player looked throughout it, chirped, “Nobody knew what to do!”

Frangoulidis raised his head over the chips he was stacking. “I knew what to do,” he said. –BW

4:20pm: Kaempf on the rise
Level 13 – Blinds 1,000/2,500 (BB ante 2,500)

Germany’s Philipp Kaempf is now a real challenger in this one, sitting with 450,000. That’s still a little bit behind Alexander Kharkov’s 500,000, but Kaempf only started today with 68,000 so the momentum is all with him. He just knocked out Argentina’s Oscar Hilario Quijada in a nice aces vs. kings encounter. Well, it was nice for Kaempf but not so much for Quijada, who is on the rail.

Barry Greenstein is also now out. — HS

Barry Greenstein: Out of the Main Event

4:17pm: Speranza sent to the rail
Level 13 – Blinds 1,000/2,500 (BB ante 2,500)

Italy’s Gianluca Speranza won’t be adding anymore to his $2.3 million career earnings in this PCA Main Event. He’s out, around 50 spots from the money.

Speranza opened from middle position and was three-bet to 18,000 by Michael Gathy in the big blind. Back to Speranza, he jammed for 67,000 and Gathy made the call.

A classic flip was presented: A♥Q♥ for Gathy, and T♣T♦ for Speranza. An ace appeared on the flop, and Speranza found no help on the turn or river.

Gathy is up to 350,000 now –JS

4:15pm: Two pair wins one for Strelitz
Level 13 – Blinds 1,000/2,500 (BB ante 2,500)

Daniel Strelitz keeps chipping up. After starting the day with 127,800, he’s up to 245,000 now after taking a pot off of Pavel Veksler.

Strelitz check-called a bet from Veksler after the turn with the board showing 2♣7♠T♣Q♥, then both checked the 8♠ river. Streltiz tabled 8♣7♣ for a flush draw that became two pair on the end, and Veksler, now down to 195,000, mucked.

Those two are both comfortably above the chip average of about 147,000 at present, though at their table Christoph Vogelsang (260,000) and Markus Kuhnen (225,000) are also lurking. –MH

4:12pm: Roy doubles through Zhang
Level 13 – Blinds 1,000.2,5000 (BB ante 2,500)

Jonathan Roy just found a crucial double at Yang Zhang’s expense. Roy open-shoved for his last 36,000 on the button and Zhang, after some consideration, called in the small blind. Zhang’s Q♣J♠ was in rough shape against Roy’s K♠J♦ and didn’t improve after the board fell 8♦9♠7♠8♣2♦.

Roy is up to 77,000 now, while Zhang slips to 100,000. –JK

4:07pm: Sontheimer gathers no Moss
Level 13 – Blinds 1,000/2,500 (BB ante 2,500)

Matt Moss will be sticking around a bit longer in this one.

After Sam Greenwood opened to 6,000 in middle position, Moss jammed the hijack for 37,000. It folded to Steffen Sontheimer on the button and he just called, and when it got back to Greenwood he let it go.

Moss showed 8♥8♦ and was in bad shape against Sontheimer’s J♠J♦ (Greenwood flashed king-queen off-suit when folding). The flop fell 7♣6♠T♦ giving Moss a gutshot, but the 4♦ turn didn’t improve him.

The 9♣ river sure did though, giving Moss a straight and doubling him up to 86,000. Sontheimer drops to just under that with 84,000, while Greenwood’s playing 126,000. –JS

4:02pm: Zinno all set
Level 13 – Blinds 1,200/2,500 (BB ante 2,500)

Anthony Zinno just managed to double up through PokerStars qualifier Yang Zhang. Zinno flopped a set of threes on a king-high board and Zhang couldn’t get away from a pair of jacks. Zinno is up to 200,000. Zhang has dropped down to 100,000–BW

Anthony Zinno

3:55pm: Grafton clips Bohn
Level 13 – Blinds 1,000/2,500 (BB ante 2,500)

Sam Grafton just knocked out Blake Bohn. It started when Kristen Bicknell opened to 5,500 from the cutoff and Grafton called on the button. Bohn then moved all-in for 59,000 from the cutoff and Bicknell folded. Grafton called.

Grafton: A♠T♣
Bohn: A♥5♦

The board was a Bohn dry 8♦Q♠3♠4♦3♦. — HS

3:50pm: New level
Level 13 – Blinds 1,000/2,500 (BB ante 2,500)

Players are back from the break and into Level 13.

3:30pm: Bust outs before the break
Level 12 – Blinds 1,000/2,000 (BB ante 2,000)

Two eliminations before the break, although no details to go with them.

First Renato Kaneoya departed, embracing Mike Leah on his way to the rail. Then on the same table Maurice Hawkins was eliminated with around 200 players left as players take a 20 minute break. – SB

Maurice Hawkins on his way to the rail

3:20pm: Lew on the up
Level 12 – Blinds 1,000/2,000 (BB ante 2,000)

Randy Lew started today with 43,500 and now has 150,000. Good for nanonoko. — HS

Randy “nanonoko” Lew: Three times

3:15pm: Bad news for fans of…
Level 12 – Blinds 1,000/2,000 (BB ante 2,000)

The first three names on tickets on the bustouts table were all particularly notable. Previous PCA champions Dimitar Danchev and Maria Lampropulos are both now out of this one, as is former WSOP champ Joe McKeehen.

Other eliminations include: Peter Vitantonio, Ian Simpson, Martijn Gerrits, Dan Shak, Julien Martini, Allon Allison, Guilherme Campos, Ambrose Ng, Lawrence Bayley, Mark Ioli, Florin Pandilica, Cary Katz, Jeff Gross, Andrew Wilson, Enio Bozzano, Zach Donovan, Jeremey Grayson, Edward Hislop, Victor Choupeaux, Souprayenmestry Jean, Joseph Couden, Johannes Becker, Ben Heath, Emil Patel, Julian Parmann, Teymur Valiyev, Jacques Der Megreditchian. — HS

Julien Martini: PSPC runner up out of PCA main

Jeff Gross, also gonzo

3:08pm: Dead end for Allison road
Level 12 – Blinds 1,000/2,000 (BB ante 2,000)

Allon Allison has been doing everything he can to survive with a short stack here today. He first doubled through Matt Glantz with 5♠2♦, making two pair against Glantz’s K♦Q♠. That got him back to up 20,000. He then managed to get A♠K♠ all in against A♦J♣ and 8♥T♥. His chance for a triple fell apart when the board came jack-high. He was out on the next hand with only 200 or so players left on the board. –BW

3:05pm: Small hit for chip leader
Level 12 – Blinds 1,000/2,000 (BB ante 2,000)

There’s always something pretty funny about soaraway chip leaders getting irritated when they finally lose a pot. Part of a successful poker player’s psyche demands that they want to win everything, so even minor setbacks hurt. However, even after losing a flip, Alexander Kharkov has 444,000 in this event, so we won’t be weeping for him just yet.

He had marginally more than 500,000 when he opened to 5,000 from the cutoff seat. Eder Campana three-bet shoved for his last 68,000 from the small blind and Kharkov called with what we soon learned was 8♦8♥.

Alexander Kharkov: Wants to win them all

Campana had A♣J♠ and after the T♠Q♣Q♦ flop hit the A♠ on the turn. Kharkov tutted and rolled his eyes and expressed his frustration in all the ways he could (without, I must note, being rude or anything about it).

The 9♦ river completed the board and that was a double for Campana. Kharkov is denied his position as the first half-million chip man, but it surely won’t be long until he’s back there. — HS

3pm: Kitai gets the better of Sontheimer
Level 12 – Blinds 1,000/2,000 (BB ante 2,000)

On a flop of J♣Q♣4♥ Davidi Kitai, playing from the small blind, bet 3,500. Steffen Sontheimer was the only player left in the hand, playing from the big blind. He called.

The turn came 6♦

Kitai made it 9,000 this time. Again Sontheimer called.

Now the river card 2♦

Kitai took a little longer, but bet 15,000. Sontheimer called and watched Kitai turn over A♥A♣. Sontheimer smiled, and mucked.

He’s down to 125,000 while Kitai is now on around 280,000. – SB

2:55pm: Could be ace-king (it’s not)
Level 12 – Blinds 1,000/2,000 (BB ante 2,000)

Cary Katz thought it was possible Byron Kaverman could fold. (Kaverman couldn’t).
Cary Katz thought he could make a successful move against Kaverman’s representation of a big hand (Katz could’t).
Katz, after moving all-in with 5♥6h], getting snap-called, and seeing Kaverman’s two black kings, said, “Could be ace-king.” (It’s not.)
Katz hoped his hand could outrun the kings. (It couldn’t.)
Katz could still be in this tournament. (He’s not.)–BW

2:45pm: Deeb doubles through Kenney
Level 12 – Blinds 1,000/2,000 (BB ante 2,000)

Bryn Kenney and Shaun Deeb are two of the biggest names left in today’s field, but neither is among the biggest stacks. It’s advantage Deeb between the two of them at the moment too after he just doubled through his fellow New Yorker.

Doubling up: Shaun Deeb

Kenney opened the pot with a raise to 4,500 but Deeb quickly pushed all-in over the top from the next seat. He had 47,000. Everyone else cleared out the way and Kenney tanked for a bit before calling.

Kenney: K♦Q♥
Deeb: A♥T♦

The T♥8♦2♦J♣2♥ board didn’t hurt Deeb and he moves up to about 110,000. Kenney is going to have to rebuild from about 70,000. — HS

2:35pm: Zinno draws level with Hunter
Level 12 – Blinds 1,000/2,000 (BB ante 2,000)

Anthony Zinno and Ian Hunter have almost identically sized stacks — about 130,000 each — but only after Zinno just won a pot from his neighbour.

Hunter started the hand with a raise to 5,000 from UTG+1 and Zinno, one seat along, three-bet to 15,000. Everyone else at the table left them to it (including Pavel Plesuv, who has 155,000 and Yang Zhang, who has 290,000).

They both checked the 6♠5♦8♥ flop but Hunter had a 10,500 stab at the J♠ turn. Zinno called, leading to the 7♦ river.

Hunter checked and Zinno’s bet of 17,000 persuaded Hunter to let it go. With that, parity was reached between the two. — HS

2:30pm: Ladouceur up to 200,000
Level 12 – Blinds 1,000/2,000 (BB ante 2,000)

Guilherme Campos opened for 4,500. Sitting opposite was Marc-Andre Ladouceur on the button, who raised to 12,000.

Marc-Andre Ladouceur

Campos thought things through for a minute, then four bet to 25,500. Ladouceur called.

The flop came A♥T♠6♦

Both players checked for the K♣ turn, and again for the 4♣ river. They checked that too.

Campos: Q♠Q♦
Ladouceur: A♠5♠

Ladouceur’s ace was good. He now has 200,000 to Campos’s 57,000. – SB

2:26pm: Bad news for fans of…
Level 12 – Blinds 1,000/2,000 (BB ante 2,000)

…these folks. They are out:

Michael Esposito, Ana Marquez, Daniel Zack, Carlos Branco, Nauvneel Kashyap, Sebastien Garrasi, Alex Foxen, Kevin Killeen, Abdelhakim Zoufri, Nicholas Palma, Martin Finger, Siyou Cao, Dan Ott, Aditya Agarwal, Diogo Veiga, Ryan Hughes, Giuliano Bendinelli, Paul Fisher, Alcioni Pollermann, Peter Jetten, Allan Barnes, Rafael Da Silva Moraes, Ema Zajmovic, Kelvin Kerber, Dietrich Fast, Samuel Tebege, Timothy Adams, Luis Faria, Ryan Smith, Luke Graham, Julian Stuer, Adrien Delmas, Mustapha Kanit, Graydon Kowal, Harry Lodge, Joao Vieira, Pedro Chaves, William Batista, Jake Cody, Franco Spitale, Koray Aldemir, Sylvain Loosli, Thiago Crema, Arthur Conan, Frederic Delval, Christian Almiron, Tobias Peters, Tim Reilly, David Fuss, Michel Dattani, Carlos Levy, Steve O’Dwyer, Narcis Nedelcu and Damien Le Goff. — HS

Jake Cody

2:17pm: Agarwal departs
Level 12 – Blinds 1,000/2,000 (BB ante 2,000)

Aditya Agarwal came back from the break with 31,000. He now has nothing. We didn’t see Agarwal’s final hand, but suffice to say he will not become India’s first PCA champion. — HS

Aditya Agarwal

2:15pm: Simao continues the cruise
Level 12 – Blinds 1,000/2,000 (BB ante 2,000)

Joao Simao’s day started well and continues to get better. He knocked out Jake Cody towards the end of Level 11, and he just also won a pot from Carlos Branco to move up to about 450,000.

Branco is coming fresh from his magnificent fifth-placed finish at EPT Prague, but he couldn’t get this bluff past the Brazilian Simao.

Joao Simao: Boss-man

Simao started the pot with a raise to 4,500 from mid-positon. Both blinds called, with Branco in the small. Three players therefore saw the 2♣8♣9♦ flop and checked it.

Branco bet 10,500 at the 4♠ turn and only Simao called, leading to the 3♥ on the river. Branco had another stab, for 21,000, and Simao thought about a minute before calling.

Branco showed his K♣T♣ for king high, and that meant Simao’s 6♦6♣ was good. — HS

2:11pm: Where y’all from?
Level 12 – Blinds 1,000/2,000 (BB ante 2,000)

Now that we’ve got our prize pool information in, let’s take a look at where all these folks came from, shall we?

2:11pm: Kaneoya down to 64,000
Level 12 – Blinds 1,000/2,000 (BB ante 2,000)

One minute Renato Kaneoya is winning chips, the next he’s losing them.

He opened for 4,500 in late position before Scott Clements moved all-in for 32,000 on the big blind. Kaneoya called.

Kaneoya: A♦9♠
Clements: A♣J♣

The board came 7♠T♠T♣6♠5♦

A double up for Clements. Kaneoya drops to 64,000. – SB

Renato Kaneoya

2:07pm: Grafton gets Williams again

At the very beginning of the last level, Sam Grafton needed to double up or be gone, and he did so by outrunning Jeremiah Williams in a classic coin flip. At the very beginning of this level, he’s done it again, although in a slightly harder fashion. He got it all in with 5♥6♥ pre-flop. Williams one again looked him up with A♣T♥. The first two cards on the flop were a five and six. Grafton needed nothing else to double up once again. He’s back around 43,000.–BW

Sam Grafton

2:05pm: Kaneoya up to 90,000
Level 12 – Blinds 1,000/2,000 (BB ante 2,000)

Renato Kaneoya opened in early position. He got calls from Maurice Hawkins in the cut off, and Mike Leah on the button. Justin Ouimette also called from the big blind.

The flop: A♦A♣6♦

Kaneoya bet 5,000, which forced folds from everyone but Leah.

The turn came 5♥

That was checked both ways for the 9♥ river card.

Kaneoya bet another 9,000, which Leah called.

Kaneoya showed A♥6♥ which Leah grinned at as if it was so far ahead of what he had it’s was comical. He mucked.

Kaneoya moves up to 90,000 now. – SB

2pm: Let’s start again
Level 12 – Blinds 1,000/2,000 (BB ante 2,000)

The pink 500 chips are no more as the blinds now rise to 1,000/2,000. As we see it, these are the top five counts at this stage:

Name Country Status
Alexander Kharkov Russia 489,000
Joao Simao Brazil 370,000
Brian Altman USA 320,000
Chino Rheem USA 310,000
Christoph Vogelsang Germany 280,000

Chino Rheem

1:55pm: Hype man: Mike Ward

Mike Ward was unimpressed with his field’s reaction just before the break when he started to rattle off the prize pool information, so as the field returned he got on the mic and did it again, imploring them to accept that a $1.5 million payday “is not a bad day!” This time the crowd seemed to get into it and gave Ward the reaction he was looking for. –BW

1:54pm: Back from break

Everybody’s back in their seats. It’s time to play another level.

1:36pm: Break time

That’s the end of Level 11 and they’re taking a break. There are 272 players remaining. — HS

1:35pm: Your prayer mileage may vary
Level 11 – Blinds 800/1,600 (BB ante 1,600)

Patrick Quinn was commiserating with a friend on the rail, one who probably just told him a bad beat story. “Oh, I know!” Quinn said. “It never ends. Boat under boat. Set under set!”

Quinn raised an arm and his eyes to the sky, “You want to look up and say, ‘why me?””

The bad beaten on the rail nodded, as comforted as he could be by this commiseration.

Quinn thought again. “You know what you should do?” He raised his eye to the ceiling again. “You should look up to your mum.”

The guy on the rail nodded again and then said, “But, my mum is still alive.”–BW

1:30pm: Simao crushing
Level 11 – Blinds 800/1,600 (BB ante 1,600)

Joao Simao has shot up the counts in the first level today and now proudly sits behing 370,000 chips. That’s the lead and no mistake.

Meanwhile, at the other end, Canada’s Ema Zajmovic has just been knocked out. She lost the last of her chips to her countryman Erik Lemarquand. Zajmovic hit two pair on the 2♣7♠5♦ flop with her 7♣5♥. But Lemarquand ended with a straight with his A♣6♣ when the 4♦ turn and 3♥ river completed the board. — HS

1:25pm: Kerber all in for not a lot
Level 11 – Blinds 800/1,600 (BB ante 1,600)

Kelvin Kerber is the latest faller.

He moved in on the button with A♣K♠ and was called by Daniel Zack with 2♠2♣

The board ran 9♠7♦3♥7♥T♣ to send Kerber to the rail, and leave Zack with 35,000. – SB

1:20pm: Simpson uses “skill” to bust Loosli
Level 11 – Blinds 800/1,600 (BB ante 1,600)

Sylvain Loosli just busted. He three bet kings into Ian Simpson’s pocket eights, for around 30 big blinds.

Simpson called, and got there.

“Skill game,” Simpson said. – SB

1:15pm: Kitai moving all in against Greenwood
Level 11 – Blinds 800/1,600 (BB ante 1,600)

We caught up with this hand on the turn. The board was dealt:


Davidi Kitai, playing out of the small blind, had bet 12,500. Sam Greenwood (Winner of the $100K Super High Roller yesterday), had called.

That brought the river card T♦

Kitai paused a few moments and announced he was all in. Greenwood folded immediately.

Kitai is up to 170,000. Greenwood is on 37,000. – SB

1:10pm: 2019 PCA Main Event Payouts

The tournament staff have just released the payout table for this 2019 PCA Main Event. With 865 entries (including 94 re-entries) and a total prize pool of $8,395,500, the Main Event will pay 127 players with a min-cash coming in at $17,620 and the winner taking $1,567,100. Tournament officials expect we’ll hit that money bubble tonight. You can find the full payout schedule here. –BW

The payouts hit the big board

1pm: Fisher doubles through Sontheimer
Level 11 – Blinds 800/1,600 (BB ante 1,600)

Steffen Sontheimer opened for 3,400 before Paul Fisher plonked his chips in with gusto, 10,000 in total. This was a fraction of Sontheimer’s stack, and he called.

Sontheimer: A♠8♥
Fisher: A♣Q♠

The board ran Q♥2♠4♣6♥8♠

Sontheimer nodded, as if he considered the result more than fair, and Fisher doubled up. – SB

12:50pm: The long walk
Level 11 – Blinds 800/1,600 (BB ante 1,600)

When you’re knocked out of the tournament today, there is no way back. And the following are now confirmed as non-winners of the 2019 PCA Main Event. They have all been knocked out in Level 11.

Michael Telker, Nelson Resendiz, Jose Montes, Fabiano Kovalski, Shyngis Satubayev, Jouni Kauppila, Alexander Rocha, Stephen Chidwick, Nadja Magnus, Ramin Hajiyev, Stefan Jedlicka, Sirzat Hissou, Jesus Cortes, Ognyan Dimov, Brock Wilson, Artem Kobylinskiy, Leandro Bustillo, Steven Van Zadelhoff, Yen Han Chen, Ben Keeline, Anthony Diotte, Alin Grasu, Lester Edoc, Stoyan Obreshkov, Alexander Greenblatt, Lijo Lander, Liv Boeree, Manig Loeser, William Givens, Daniel Rezaei, Fabio Freitas, Matas Cikinas, Donald Duarte, Josh Zucchet, Kelly Becker, Sean Winter, Jerry Robinson, Adrian Mateos, Pal Zagreda, Pablo Brito, Adrien Allain, John Andress, Padro Marques, Andrei Boghean, Russell Crane, Daniel Negreanu, Rony Halimi, Julien Perouse, Jay Romano, Dennys Ramos and Nick Petrangelo.

12:45pm: “My name’s Maurice, and I’m sorry”
Level 11 – Blinds 800/1,600 (BB ante 1,600)

We’ve all heard players getting too friendly with dealers. Maurice Hawkins had tolerated it enough.

“I want you to stop telling jokes,” he said to one player at his table. “You think you’re funny, you’re not. I know I’m not funny. You’re not funny.”

Maurice Hawkins: Not funny and knows it

The player took it well and it was good-natured stuff. A dealer change also meant the object of the funny man’s affection had since moved on, replaced by a dealer from Germany.

Hawkins then mentioned his own trip to Berlin.

“The loneliest place I’ve ever been,” he said. “Nobody talked to me. All I was able to say was ‘My name is Maurice, and I’m sorry.'” – SB

12:40pm: Negreanu lasts two hands
Level 11 – Blinds 800/1,600 (BB ante 1,600)

It was a no brainer to put Daniel Negreanu and Maria Ho on the feature table today. But sorry to say, Negreanu was one of the first players out, losing the last of his chips on the day’s second hand.

The TV cameras only picked up the action on the turn, with Negreanu’s chips all in the middle behind A♥3♥ and the flop showing 8♣2♥8♥. Brazil’s Felipe Pantoja had K♦8♦ so was ahead, though Negreanu had the nut flush draw.

Daniel Negreanu: A blink-and-you’ll-miss-him day for Kid Poker

The 3♣ was essentially meaningless, even though it paired Negreanu. And the A♠ river also wasn’t enough. Negreanu had three pair, but it doesn’t beat three of a kind. That meant Kid Poker’s day was quickly done. — HS

12:38pm: Only in America
Level 11 – Blinds 800/1,600 (BB ante 1,600)

For reasons that probably only make sense to me, I tend to associate the PCA with Maurice Hawkins and Don King. I once rode on a plane to the PCA with King, who exited the plane carrying a small American flag, a small symbol of the phrase, “Only in America,” so often attributed to the boxing promoter. Meanwhile, back in 2005 when I covered my first PCA (the second overall and the first here at Atlantis), Maurice Hawkins was in the field on the bubble. In a story I’ve told countless times before, Hawkins was a different player than he today. He was so worried about not making the money, he refused to play on the bubble, instead walking around and telling anyone who would listen that he wasn’t going to let cracked aces cost him the min-cash. (Spoiler from 2005: he cashed.)

So, fast forward about 14 years to today, my 15th consecutive PCA, and Maurice Hawkins is in the field here on bubble day. He’s got Mike Leah to his left, a tough player that Hawkins gave the side-eye after Leah raised to 4,000 pre-flop. Hawkins called out of the big blind for a K♥6♣J♣ flop. He then check-called Leah’s 4,500 continuation. The turn came out as the 8♥. Now, Hawkins decided to lead out for 3,100. Leah smelled a rat and ultimately folded. Hawkins responded both by raking the pot in and declaring, arm raised in the air, “America!” I’m going to see if I can find him a small flag to carry around.–BW

12:35pm: Boeree back to swimming with the pigs
Level 11 – Blinds 800/1,600 (BB ante 1,600)

It was a very short day for Liv Boeree, who is now heading back to her room (or to the water slides, or to sit on a beach with a pig, or whatever people do in these parts after they’re knocked out).

In what proved to be her final hand, Boeree opened to 3,600 from the cutoff, then watching Dzmitry Urbanovich three-bet to 11,800 from the small blind. Tim Reilly folded his big blind and the decision was back on Boeree. She moved in for about 85,000.

Liv Boeree didn’t last long

Urbanovich snap-called and was dominant with A♥K♠ to Boeree’s A♠5♠. The board bricked for Boeree. It was 4♠6♦9♦8♦A♦ and that was the last she saw.

The ever dangerous Dzmitry Urbanovich

Urbanovich, meanwhile, is up to 260,000. — HS

12:33pm: Time called on Lampropoulos
Level 11 – Blinds 800/1,600 (BB ante 1,600)

The floor had been called on table 35, with a board already showing Q♠7♠T♥9♦T♦ and a player all in.

The floor was called because it was Maria Lampropulos who was thanking over her decision whether to call or not.

The clock counted down three, two, one, and without Lampropulos even flinching, her hand was declared dead. – SB

12:30pm: Heath shoves, Sontheimer calls
Level 11 – Blinds 800/1,600 (BB ante 1,600)

Stephen Chidwick opened for 3,200 in early position. Ben Heath took a break from his oatmeal and pushed his chips forward, all in for 52,000.

Steffen Sontheimer asked for a count, and then he shoved, for around 100,000, which forced Chidwick to fold.

Heath: A♣K♥
Sontheimer: A♠K♦

The board brought no surprises, coming as it did 5♥8♣Q♠4♣6♦

They both took their chips back. – SB

12:28pm: Two more entries under the wire
Level 11 – Blinds 800/1,600 (BB ante 1,600)

In the last seconds before registration closed today, we saw two more entries slip in. Daniel Rezaei and William Givens have joined us, fashionably late but just on time.–BW

12:25pm: Becker lasts 15 minutes
Level 11 – Blinds 800/1,600 (BB ante 1,600)

Of the 17 people who bought in at the start of Day 2, Kelly Becker is the first to exit. Each of the new entries had just short of 19 big blinds. Becker got his stack in just now with a pair of sevens. The UK’s Andrew Wilson played K♣9♦ against him on a king-high flop to give Becker a very short day in the Main Event.–BW

12:23pm: New comers
Level 11 – Blinds 800/1,600 (BB ante 1,600)

In addition to the aforementioned Viet Van Vo, the following also registered for play today:

Chris Furbert
Nirath Rean
David Scatchard
Mark Davidoff
Andjelko Andrejevic
Jesus Cortes
Timothy Adams
Kelly Becker
Emil Patel
Ambrose Ng
Alexander Rocha
Chris Hunichen
Steve O’Dwyer
Ryan Riess
Benjamin Keeline
Martin Zamani
Daniel Rezaei
William Givens

They get the 30,000 starting stack, which is 19 big blinds. — HS

12:20pm: Va va Vo
Level 11 – Blinds 800/1,600 (BB ante 1,600)

There are a lot of chips on Table 20 where Dominik Nitsche (152,400), Brian Altman (236,100) and Danny Tang (136,000) occupy three of the seats. Tang, however, has taken an early hit when he doubled up a delighted Viet Van Vo.

Vo only sat down for the first time at start of play today, and found pocket nines on the button. That was good enough to get his full stack in over Tang’s under-the-gun open. Tang called and was ahead with Q♦Q♠ but the board was J♠9♣4♥8♥5♠ and that connected for Vo.

With that, he is up to around 60,000, while Tang slides to 100,000. — HS

Viet Van Vo

12:10pm: Two double ups in the first few minutes
Level 11 – Blinds 800/1,600 (BB ante 1,600)

First hand first double up for two players.

In the first Christopher Johnson got his chips in with T♥T♣ and got a call from Alcioni Pollermann with K♥J♥.

The board came 6♥8♦T♦7♦4♠ to keep Johnson’s tournament hopes alive.

In the next it was Richard Seymour’s tournament at stake.

Mikita Badziakouski raised to 3,300 before Seymour moved all-in for around 6,200 in the cut off. Badziakouski called.

Badziakouski: K♠7♠
Seymour: J♠9♠

The board came A♠2♣J♣3♠4♦ to keep Seymour in the tournament with 19,000. – SB

12:05pm: Grafton doubles early
Level 11 – Blinds 800/1,600 (BB ante 1,600)

It’s the opening hands of the day and Sam Grafton decided it was double or get out early. He put all but 700 of his 21,500 in the pot with a flick of his wrist. Jeremiah Williams decided to look him up from the big blind. Grafton said, “I still have seven behind,” and before the cards came out, he and Williams completed at tacit agreement to get those chips in, too. Williams had 5♦5♣. Grafton flipped over K♥J♠. The dealer put out the K♦ in the window, and Williams didn’t manage to catch back up. Grafton is back up to 44,200.–BW

12:01pm: Sit down, play
Level 11 – Blinds: 800/1,600 (BB ante 1,600)

Players are all seated — well, most of them — and cards are just about hitting the air. — HS

Registration to bubble in one day

Good morning all, and especially good morning to the 330 players returning for Day 2 of the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA) Main Event. After a couple of punishing opening flights, we’re now promised arguably the most punishing day of them all: bubble day.

It’s important to note that the bubble is not certain to burst today, but our friends in the STAFF polo shirts, who crunch the numbers, reckon we’ll be paying about 130-140 players in this one, and that the field will be slimmed to that number at some point during the fifth or sixth level they play today.

PCA flop

Absolutely no one is guaranteed a cash yet, not even the chip-leading Russian Alexander Kharkov. What we do know for sure is that we will be playing six 90-minute levels to get us very deep into this tournament. Registration is still open at time of writing — it closes at noon — but by midnight there are going to be a number of broken dreams.

Stick with us. What’s more fun than watching dreams broken?


Buy-in: $10,000 + $300 fee
Re-entry: Single re-entry allowed
Registration: Open for new players and re-entries until start Day 2
Schedule: 6 x 90-minute levels
Breaks: 20 mins after every level
Dinner: 75 mins after Level 14
Starting stack: 30,000
Day 2 starting blinds: 800/1,600 (BB ante 1,600)

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

PokerStars Blog reporting team on the $10,300 Main Event: Stephen Bartley, Martin Harris, Jason Kirk, Jack Stanton, Howard Swains and Brad Willis. Photography by Neil Stoddart and Carlos Monti.

Related Articles

Latest Articles

Study Poker with Pokerstars Learn, practice with the PokerStars app