Thursday, 7th December 2023 08:13
Home / Uncategorized / PokerStars Championship Barcelona: Andre Akkari surges ahead to lead final 16

If you’ve ever had the chance to talk to Team PokerStars Pro Andre Akkari about our favorite card game — as we at the PokerStars Blog have many times over the years — you discover the amiable Brazilian inevitably has a cool, almost serene “big picture” view of the game.

Like most pros, Akkari talks a lot about how decisions mean more than results. Choose well on a consistent basis, and over the long term the results will come. That helps Akkari avoid living and dying with every tournament, remaining at ease and on an even keel no matter which way the cards fall.

He’s enjoyed his share of good results over the years, proving that adage about the long term. Today was another good day of poker for him, ending with his claiming the chip lead with just 16 players left in the PokerStars Championship Barcelona Main Event.


Team PokerStars Pro Andre Akkari

Way back, more than 12 hours ago, the last 70 survivors from a massive 1,682-entry field found their Day 4 seating assignments, and immediately the bustouts began in earnest.

Erik Friberg (61st) — who cashed in the first Main Event at Barcelona (on the EPT in 2004) and finished in 41st here last year — was among the first wave of knockouts, with Matas Cimbolas (58th), George McDonald (45th), and Patrick Leonard (39th) following him out the door soon thereafter.

Akkari started the day in the middle of the pack with more than 30 players ahead of him in the counts. But an early double followed by those knockouts of both Friberg and Leonard soon carried the Brazilian into the top 10, and by the day’s second level he was suddenly the leader as they worked their way down to the last four tables.

Nadia Wenzi did well for herself today, getting all the way to 34th. as did Quentin Lecomte (29th), Jackson White (25th), and Igor Dubinskyy (25th). It was with three tables left that start-of-day leader Benjamin Richardson fell in 23rd, and by the time they reached the last level of the night just 20 were left and Akkari was still in front.

A slow final 90 minutes ended with some excitement as Hugo Gomes Andrade (20th) and Nick Petrangelo (19th) were eliminated in quick succession.

NEIL2976_PCBAR2017Nick_Petrangelo_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Another deep run for Petrangelo

Then just before the end of the night two more knockouts occurred. Herorhii Doroshev fell in 18th, then the gregarious Scott Wellenbach’s run ended in 17th after he’d made many friends at the tables along the way.

The bags came out, with Akkari’s 6.15 million good for first position in the counts. Here are the totals for everyone:

Name Country Status Chips
Andre Akkari Brazil Team PokerStars Pro 6,160,000
Brian Kaufman Uruguay PokerStars qualifier 5,480,000
Usman Siddique UK PokerStars qualifier 4,650,000
Mesbah Guerfi France   4,065,000
Albert Daher Lebanon   3,810,000
Lachezar Petkov Bulgaria   3,630,000
Aeragan Arunan UK   3,480,000
Tsugunari Toma Japan PokerStars qualifier 3,440,000
Raffaele Sorrentino Italy PokerStars player 3,000,000
Alex Difelice Canada PokerStars qualifier 2,775,000
Sebastian Sorensson Sweden PokerStars qualifier 2,555,000
Donald Duarte Nicaragua PokerStars qualifier 2,510,000
Rens Feenstra Netherlands PokerStars player 1,565,000
Yaron Zeev Malki Israel   1,510,000
Andrew Hedley UK   1,005,000
Mauricio Salazar Colombia PokerStars qualifier 655,000

As we say, Akkari is a cool customer, at the tables he’s never too high or too low. Finishing Day 4 of the PokerStars Championship Barcelona Main Event with the chip lead, does give a person license to be a little excited, though.

The final 16 return tomorrow at 12 noon, and so will we. Be sure to join us again starting then and we’ll see together who from this group makes Sunday’s final. Until then, buenas noches from Barcelona! –MH


• PLAYERS: 16 of 1,682
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12:15am: That’s it folks
Level 26 – Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

With two quick eliminations on the two remaining outer tables, 16 now remain.

The first saw Herorhii Doroshev get his remaining 1.13 million chips in the middle, only to be isolated by Brian Kaufman just two seats over. It was to be a classic race, with Dorohev holding 44 against Kaufman’s AQ.

It was looking good for him to secure a double with the board running out K1075, until the A landed on the river to send the chips Kaufman’s way.

NEIL3323_PCBAR2017Heorhii_Doroshev_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Doreshev out in 18th

The second elimination came when Scott Wellenbach got his remaining stack in with AJ against the JJ of Albert Daher.

“I always get KO’d with ace-jack. Even if I’m really far ahead,” said Wellenbach. And his prediction turned out to come true, as the board ran out K5Q22 to send the Canadian out in 16th place.

NEIL2758_PCBAR2017Scott_Wellenbach_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Wellenbach out in 17th

The elimination means we’ve now reached the end of play here for the day. They are going to bag up, then redraw for the final two tables. The end-of-day recap is coming shortly. –DJ

12am: Tough choice for Wellenbach
Level 26 – Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

The board was dealt 76K58,and Albert Daher had checked to Scott Wellenbach who had bet 500,000. But now Daher had moved all-in.

It meant a tough choice for Wellenbach, who has shown an ability to lay down big hands. Now he was leaning back in his chair, in that way your teacher told you not to do, and had a decision to make. Eventually he admitted defeat.

“All right,” he said. “Good bluff if that’s what it was.”

He was still talking about the hand several minutes later. –SB

11:55pm: Tough choice for Hedley
Level 26 – Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

Andrew Hedley opened for 115,000 and was minimum three-bet by Sebastian Sorensson from the button to 185,000. Priced in to call, Hedley did so.

The flop came 392 and Headley checked the action over to Sorensson, and he took the opportunity to lead out for 290,000.

It put Hedley in a difficult spot. With just over half a million behind, a call would practically commit him to the pot. But the question was, did he want to commit? He didn’t even know himself.

“I’m sorry I’m going to need a minute here,” he said with his Scottish accent coming through thicker than usual.

“How much to show me your hand if I fold here buddy?” he asked.

“100 euro? 500 euro?” he probed even further.

But Sorrenson — who again was donning his scarf to cover his face — made no reaction.

After about five minutes of deliberating Hedley called the clock on himself. And with around 20 seconds to go he mucked his hand.

“You don’t know how close that was” he said as Sorensson scooped the pot. –DJ

11:45pm: Nick Petrangelo out in 19th
Level 26 – Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

Nick Petrangelo is out of the Main Event, walking straight out of the tournament room after being busted by Raffaelle Sorrentino.

Tsugunari Toma opened for 125,000 before Petrangelo shoved for 715,000. When the action reached him in the big blind Sorrentino moved all-in for about 1.8 million, which prompted Toma to groan, then tank, then fold.

Petrangelo tossed his A8 onto the table, up against Sorrentino’s 99.

The board ran 723QK giving Sorrentino a flush. Petrangelo tossed his player ID card onto the table and left immediately, bypassing the payout desk on his way to the door. A frustrating day for him, out of the Main Event in 19th place. –SB

NEIL3292_PCBAR2017Nick_Petrangelo_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Petrangelo out in 19th

11:40pm: Hugo Gomes Andrade out in 20th
Level 26 – Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

The first elimination of the night’s level has happened, and Hugo Andrade, a.k.a. Cesario Gomes, of Portugal was the unfortunate player to go out in 20th.

It was a standard spot, as they say — an all-in push for 840,000 by Andrade from UTG with AK, a call by Mesbah Guerfi in the big blind with 88, and a seven-high board (37534) adding up to the knockout.

Guerfi is up to 3.45 million now. –MH

NEIL2791_PCBAR2017Hugo_Gomes_Andrade_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Andrade out in 20th

11:35pm: Four-bet earns pot for Duarte
Level 26 – Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

On the feature table Donald Duarte opened for 115,000 from the button, Alex Difelice three-bet to 420,000 from the big blind, then with some deliberation Duarte put in a four-bet to 890,000.

Difelice gave his an opponent a long look, then relented and released his cards.

Duarte bumps up near 2.9 million on that one, just shy of Difelice’s 2.95 million. –MH

11:30pm: Difficult questions
Level 26 – Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

Yaron Zeev Malki limped before Raffaelle Sorrentino in the seat next tot him raised to 180,000. There were some folds before the action returned to Malki who called for a flop of 727.

Malki checked to Sorrentino who bet 155,000. After some thought Malki raised to 480,000, and then stared at Sorrentino like a man demanding an answer to his very serious question.

Sorrentino remained calm, but wasn’t going to call. Pot to Malki. – SB

11:20pm: A big river bet
Level 26 – Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

The board read 610987. A straight.

And Brian Kaufman had checked the action to Raffaele Sorrento on the button.

After some thought, the former PokerStars Championship Monte-Carlo champ threw out a bet of 525,000 into a pot of just under the same size.

To call or not to call, was the question for Kaufman. Was it worth risking that amount of chips for a chop at best? After some deliberation, he didn’t think so and threw his cards in the muck. –DJ

11:10pm: Back and forth
Level 26 – Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

A couple of biggish pots to report from the outer tables.

Sebastian Sorensson first lost a bit against Albert Daher, than won it back against Lachezar Petkov, to get back to where he started.

Then Usman Siddique opened for 115,000 on the button which Petkov called from the big blind.

The flop came 679 which was checked for the 10 on the turn. Petkov bet 105,00 which Siddique called ahead of the 2 river card. Another 255,000 form Petkov this time. Siddique thought for a bit, then called. He mucked when Petkov showed K8 to move up to around 3.1 million. Siddique meanwhile still has around 4 million. –SB

NEIL3203_PCBAR2017Lachezar_Plamenov_Petkov_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Ship it to Petkov

11:05pm: Duarte shoves, collects versus Salazar
Level 26 – Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

A blind-versus-blind battle erupted just now on the feature table involving Donald Duarte (SB) and Mauricio Salazar (BB).

It started with Duarte raising to 130,000 and Salazar called. The flop came A87, and Duarte continued for 130,000. Salazar stared at his opponent for a while before calling.

The A followed, pairing the board, and this time Duarte bet 225,000, and after taking about a minute Salazar called again. With the pot now more than 1 million, the river brought the 10, and Duarte didn’t hesitate before pushing all in.

After thinking for more than two minutes, the clock was called on Salazar, and after nearly a minute more he let his hand go.

Salazar has 670,000 left, while Duarte bumps up over 2.5 million. –MH

11pm: Would you fold the nuts?
Level 26 – Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

There’s a joke in the online poker world that pocket nines are the “Stars nuts”, and practically unbeatable on the virtual felt. But out on the real felt, Yaron Malki wasn’t prepared to find out.

After a shove from Herobii Doroshev in early position, Malki looked down at his cards in the big-blind before open folding the 99.

“I don’t like it” he said throwing his cards in the muck.

“Wow” said Doroshev in genuine surprise of the fold. –DJ

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10:35pm: Minten busts in last hand before break
Level 25 – Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

In the very last hand of the level, Niek Minten opened for 85,000 from middle position then Usman Siddique made it 275,000 to go from a couple of seats over. The others folded and non-involved players began drifting away to get the most out of the upcoming break.

Action back on Minten, he thought a few beats and decided to reraise-push all in for about 1.4 million total, and Siddique called in a flash. Showdown.

Minten: A8
Siddique: AK

A tough spot for Minten, and his shoulders slumped a little when the flop came 5J10. The 9 turn did make a straight possible if the river was agreeable, but the K fell on fifth street and Minten won’t be coming back from the break.

Minten finishes 21st, while Siddique looks to have about 4.7 million now. We’ll get updated counts on everyone during the break. Back in a few. –MH

NEIL3164_PCBAR2017Niek_Minten_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Niek Minten out in 21st

10:35pm: End of the Roed
Level 25 – Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

That’s it for Kent Roed.

Roed lost the vast majority of his chips in a hand that started simple enough. Roed raised to 110,000 from under the gun and Raffaele Sorrentino called from the big blind. The flop came J69 and it was a passive check-check.

Sorrentino bet 110,000 after the 8 came on the turn and Roed called. The river brought an A and an all in bet from Roed. Roed smiled, put on his sunglasses and his best poker face while Sorrentino thought.

Sorrentino thought for a while and Roed eventually called the clock. The final ten seconds started ticking by and Sorrentino called. Roed showed KQ for air and Sorrentino showed a pair of jacks with J10.

The stacks were nearly even, but when all was said and counted, Roed had just 40,000 left over while Sorrentino doubled to about 1.9 million.

“You have to know when to fold man,” Roed laughed.

Roed was on the big blind and automatically all in the next hand. Brian Kaufman raised to 80,000 from middle position that hand and Nick Petrangelo threw in a three-bet to 240,000. Roed had no choice but to be all in, but then Kaufman decided to move all in as well. Petrangelo folded and we had a showdown.

Kaufman turned over AK and Roed tabled 54. The board came K10686 and that was it for Roed, who finished in 22nd place. –AV


Roed out in 22nd

10:20pm: Wellenbach shoves
Level 25 – Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

Don’t you just love that feeling when you wake up with a hand in the big blind with a load of action ahead of you?

Well, we don’t actually know that Scott Wellenbach did have a hand, because we didn’t get to see it. What we do know however is that whatever he was holding, he felt it good enough to shove with.

Facing an open to 90,000 and three callers ahead of him, Wellenbach looked down at his cards and announced all-in. Andrew Hedley looked like he might call as he gathered calling chips, only to throw his cards in the muck shortly thereafter. It meant that the short-stacked Canadian picked up around 300,000 chips without even seeing a flop. –DJ

10:15pm: Cold four bet
Level 25 – Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

After Rens Feenstra opened to 85,000 from the hijack, his old sparring partner Tsugunari Toma three-bet to 250,000 from the cutoff. Perhaps sensing that these two were just going through foreplay again before inevitably getting a room (or perhaps waking up with a big hand), Donald Duarte cold four-bet to 630,000 from the button.

He might have had it. He might not. But neither Feenstra nor Toma were prepared to pay to find out. — HS

10:10pm: Petrangelo picking up small pots
Level 25 – Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

Not a lot happening over on Table 2, the outer table where Brian Kaufman is the big stack. Nick Petrangelo has been winning the blinds and antes most often with his opening min-raises, despite being on the short side chip-wise, relatively speaking.

Just now Petrangelo raised again to 80,000 from late position and got a call from Raffaele Sorrentino in the big blind. The flop came 2KK and when checked to Petrangelo bet 75,000, and Sorrentino skedaddled.

Petrangelo has about 1.3 million, which puts him ahead of only Sorrentino with about 600,000 and Kent Roed with about 850,000 at the table. –MH

10:05pm: Petkov getting bigger
Level 25 – Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

A hand to report after a slow period since the last elimination (relatively speaking).

Albert Daher opened for 80,000 in early position, getting a call from Lachezar Petkov, who has big arms and a big stack.

The flop came K56 which Petkov checked before calling Daher’s bet of 50,000.


Lachezar Petkov: Moving in the right direction

The 2 was checked for the 7 river, at which point Petkov bet 235,000. Daher didn’t call immeidately, but did eventually, but mucked when he saw Petkov’s 95.

Daher drops to 1.7 million while Petkov moves up some more to around 3.7 million. – SB

10pm: Good play from Toma, even if he does say so himself
Level 25 – Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

A lovely, and intriguing, hand just played out on the feature table with Tsugunari Toma again proving that everything’s going great when he’s involved.

The short-stacked Rens Feenstra opened to 85,000 from under the gun and Toma called one seat to his left. It was those two to a flop of K65 and Jaime Staples, in the commentary booth, thought they both might have strong hands.

The 9 fell on the turn and Feenstra bet 185,000, which Toma called, further suggesting that Staples was right.

The 3 completed the board and Feenstra bet 400,000 from a stack of 700,000, essentially committing himself. But then when Toma jammed on him, Feenstra suddenly gave it some thought.


Tsugunari Toma puts Feenstra to the test

Feenstra seemed to think about folding, but realised he couldn’t. He called and was relieved to see KQ in Toma’s hand. He had the exact same hand. (Different suits, but the same hand otherwise.)

They chopped it.

“That’s crazy!” someone else at the table said.
“Why crazy?” Toma said. “Good play!”

9:55pm: Richardson railed
Level 25 – Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

For some bizarre reason the scarf conversation (see below) had morphed into a heated discussion headed by Andrew Hedley who couldn’t seem to grasp why baseball players don’t wear scarfs.

I was mid-way through explaining why (“Baseball is like cricket, they only play in the summer”), when I heard an “All-in” and call announced on the table he’d momentarily stepped away from.

Sebastian Sorensson had opened from the cutoff and had been shoved on by Benjamin Richardson the next seat over. With action folded back around to Sorensson, he quickly threw in calling chips.

The short stacked Richardson flipped over A10, but found he was dominated by Sorensson’s AK.


Benjamin Richardson: Plenty of time to stretch out now

The board of 7Q598 ran clean for Sorrenson as Richardson hit the rail. He was the chip leader coming into today, but won’t be seeing Day 5. — DJ

9:50pm: Kaufman coughs some up to Malki
Level 25 – Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

Brian Kaufman raised to 80,000 from under the gun and Yaron Zeev Malki called from the cutoff. The flop came down 499 and Malki fired off a bullet worth 155,000.

Kaufman called and Malki fired off another one of the 155,000 bullets when the 4 came on the turn. Kaufman called again and Malki upped the caliber to 280,000. Kaufman thought for a bit on that one, but called as well.

Malki turned over A9 and it was good. Kaufman mucked and dipped to 3.8 million while Malki chipped up to 1.7 million. –AV

9:45pm: Sorensson scarfs up a few from Hedley
Level 25 – Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

Andrew Hedley is one of those players who makes following a tournament more enjoyable. There are a few like that among the final three tables, actually.

Just now the British player opened a pot for 90,000 from the button, watched Sebastian Sorensson of Sweden call from the big blind. A flop of J47 drew a leading bet from Sorensson of 185,000, who after pushing his chips forward sat as usual with his Miami Dolphins scarf wrapped around the bottom half of his face.

That’s a big bet, I thought.

“That’s a big bet,” said Hedley, who folded. He continued to eye Sorensson warily for a moment afterwards. Then he spoke again.


Andrew Hedley: Keeping the conversation flowing

“Someone get me a scarf,” he cracked. The table laughed.

“That looks like fun,” he added, then asked the tournament director if there might be any PokerStars-branded scarves about that he might be able to use. That led to further fun as they tried to sort out just how exactly a fellow from Sweden came upon a Miami Dolphins scarf.

“Did you order it off of” asked Scott Wellenbach. “I just needed a scarf,” said Sorensson. “So I got one.”

Another good poker lesson for you, dear reader. Preparation is key. –MH

9:40pm: Chop it up dealer
Level 25 – Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

The last time Rafaelle Sorrentino opened, Kent Roed shoved.

That time Sorrentino ended up folding. This time, he didn’t.

Once again Sorrentino opened the action to 90,000 from early position. It was immediately shoved on by the short-stacked Roed who put his remaining 960,000 in the middle.

After getting a count Sorrentino made the call.

Sorrento: AK
Roed: AK


Kent Roed: Going deep again

“Perfect,” said Yaron Malki who was observing the action — and not sarcastically either. It could be one of the sickest coolers of this tournament if the outcome were to be anything other than a chop.

The flop of 922 was about as wet as they come though, and the inconsequential turn confirmed the chop.

“Well that was boring” said Malki, with a little more sincerity this time around. –DJ

9:35pm: Hladilin all-in
Level 25 – Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

Another elimination, this time Mykhailo Hladilin heading for the rail.

He was all in for 380,000 with J10 against the formidable looking AA of Heorhil Doroshev.


Mykhailo Hladilin: Out

The board ran 104252 to send him out in 24th, and leave Doroshev with 1.75 million. – SB

9:30pm: Petkov straightens up
Level 25 – Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

It’s been a double-double kind of day for Lachezar Petkov and he finally abandoned the title of short stack.

In the first few minutes at his new table, Petkov raised to 90,000 from the hijack and Benjamin Richardson three-bet to 230,000 from the button. Action folded back around to Petkov and he moved all in. Richardson snap called and players tabled some big hands.

Petkov showed AK and Richardson tabled KK. The 1056 flop brought little drama, but then the J on the turn made the possibilities of a straight jump to the forefront and there was an audible gasp at the table.

Then the Q came on the river to make those possibilities a reality. Petkov doubled to about 3.3 million while Richardson was left with just 410,000. –AV

9:15pm: Seating assignments for final three tables
Level 25 – Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

The final 24 players have redrawn and are now seated around the last three tables. Here’s a look at where everyone is, both seat-wise and chip-wise:

Feature Table
Seat 1: Tsugunari Toma – 3.37 million
Seat 2: Donald Duarte – 2.115 million
Seat 3: Mauricio Salazar – 1.55 million
Seat 4: Alex Difelice – 3.525 million
Seat 5: Andre Akkari – 5.57 million
Seat 6: Mesbah Guerfi – 3.05 million
Seat 7: Hugo Andrade* – 1.41 million
Seat 8: Rens Feenstra – 1.105 million

Table 1
Seat 1: Lachezar Petkov – 1.615 million
Seat 2: Sebastian Sorensson – 1.52 million
Seat 3: Benjamin Richardson – 2.08 million
Seat 4: Albert Daher – 2.15 million
Seat 5: Niek Minten – 2.08 million
Seat 6: Scott Wellenbach – 1.38 million
Seat 7: Usman Siddique – 3.38 million
Seat 8: Andrew Hedley – 1.75 million

Table 2
Seat 1: Aeragan Arunan – 1.5 million
Seat 2: Yaron Zeev Malki – 1.74 million
Seat 3: Raffaele Sorrentino – 980,000
Seat 4: Kent Roed – 805,000
Seat 5: Heorhii Doroshev – 1.35 million
Seat 6: Brian Kaufman – 4.6 million
Seat 7: Mykhailo Hladilin – 500,000
Seat 8: Nick Petrangelo – 1.525 million

*One note to add… Hugo Andrade also goes by Cesario Gomes, we’re told (as confirmed by our Portuguese colleagues). –MH

9:05pm: Pause the clock, down to 24
Level 25 – Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

Very quickly after coming back from dinner, players are looking for yet another table. Igor Dubinskyy is the latest to hit the rail in this period of rapid-fire elimination, leaving us with the 24 needed to snugly fill three tables.

Brian Kaufman got him. Kaufman opened, Dubinskyy shoved for 265,000 and Kaufman called from his enormous stack. Dubinsky had the lead with A8 to Kaufman’s QJ but it was over by the turn of a K4910 board.


Igor Dubinskyy: Bad news

That’s that for Dubinskyy. We’ll have redraw details imminently. — HS

9:01pm: Feenstra finds a double through Richardson
Level 25 – Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

It folded around to Rens Feenstra in the small blind who checked his cards, then calmly set forward his remaining chips — around 550,000. Action on Benjamin Richardson in the big blind, he got an idea what the bet was for and then called.

Richardson had an ace with A6, but Feenstra did, too, with A8. The pair started out discussing the possibility of a chop, then after the 2710 flop the conversation turned to how a diamond on the turn would be interesting.

A diamond did come on the turn, the 8 which improved Feenstra to a pair. The J was then safe for him, and now he has about 1.2 million while Richardson slips to 2.05 million. –MH

9pm: Fleur flounders
Level 25 – Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

Alexis Fleur announced all-in over the top of Benjamin Richardson’s open from the cutoff.

But it wasn’t Richardson who ended up making the call. It was Alex Difelice, sat just a few seats over, who re-shoved on the button to put Fleur at risk.


Alexis Fleur: What ya gonna do?

“I really wanted to call this; I have a pair” Richardson said before mucking his hand.

And with that it went to showdown. Difelice flipped over the AK. It dominated Fleur’s KJ as the board ran out Q598K to send Fleur to the rail. — DJ

8:55pm: White runs into Akkari’s kings, out in 27th
Level 25 – Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

Over on the feature table Jackson White came back to a short stack of 500,000, and within an orbit he’d found himself all in before the flop with 77. But unfortunately for White his opponent was chip leader Andre Akkari holding KK.


Andre Akkari and Jackson White

The board was an uneventful A1036A and White finishes in 27th. More for Akkari, who moves up around 5.8 million while increasing his lead. –MH

8:52pm: Feenstra flourishes through Fleur
Level 25 – Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

Rens Feenstra moved in his last 340,000 from the button and Alexis Fleur called from the big blind. Feenstra turned over 1010 and Fleur had an overcard with A3.

The QK445 board kept the short stack in the lead and Feenstra doubled to about 800,000 while Fleur dipped to about 730,000. –AV

8:50pm: Aleksandr Gofman gone in 28th
Level 25 – Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

A quick all-in-and-call to start the post-dinner portion of play as Aleksandr Gofman of Russia got all of his 200,000 or so in the middle but was up against Bulgarian Lachezar Petkov’s QQ.

The 8Q10 gave Petkov a set of queens, but the J turn card opened up some straight possibilities to save Gofman.

Alas for the Russian, the 10 river sealed it and Gofman is out in 28th. Petkov moves up to around 1.2 million after that hand. –MH

8:45pm: Postprandial action
Level 25 – Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

They are back from dinner and readying for two more levels. That should be enough take us down to around the 16-20 players mark, I hope. — HS

7:30pm: Dinner break

With 28 players left they’ve reached the end of Level 24, which means it’s dinner time. Andre Akkari still leads with 5,375,000 — check the updated chip counts here.

Play resumes in 75 minutes. Go get some grub and rejoin us then. –MH

7:20pm: Petkov doubles again
Level 24 – Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

Lachezar Petkov is now closing in on the 1 million mark. He got his most recent double-up courtesy of Aleksandr Gofman.

Action folded to Petkov’s small blind that hand and he moved all in for 440,000. Gofman was on the big blind and called.

Petkov turned over K10 and Gofman showed 77 for the flip. Petkov paired on the turn of the 69810A board and he doubled to 950,000 while Gofman dropped to just 270,000. –AV

7:15pm: Usman the man
Level 24 – Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 4,000)

I’ll be honest. I’m reporting this because I’ve been standing by the table for a while doing nothing. So it’s basically another post about Usman Siddique being merciless at his table, forcing others to fold with big bets. He hovers around the 3 million mark, doesn’t speak, and wears black sunglasses. Seems reckless to take him on. –SB

8G2A1209_PCBAR2017Usman_Siddique_Neil Stoddart.jpg

No-speak Siddique

7:10pm: Toma back at it
Level 24 – Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

After losing the big pot to Albert Daher, Tsugunari Toma set about re-building his stack. Immediately. In fact, he made a point of winning the next two pots.

In the first, Nick Petrangelo opened from early position and Toma called in the big blind. Toma checked the flop of 632, provoking a 65,000 bet from Petrangelo. Toma called.

There was no more betting in this one as the 6 hit the turn and the Q the river. Toma’s 88 were good.

On the next hand, Sebastian Sorensson raised to 75,000 and Toma called in the small blind. Petrangelo was in on this one too. He called in the big blind.

This time they all checked the 627 flop and then it got funky on the 3 turn. Toma checked and Petrangelo bet 150,000. Sorensson ran for the hills, perhaps seeing the intent in Toma’s eyes. He put 500,000 over the line as a big check-raise and Petrangelo quickly checked out. –HS

7:05pm: Lecomte eliminated in 29th
Level 24 – Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

Frenchman Quentin Lecomte has been eliminated from the Main Event in 29th.

His bust-out came after his open wasthree3-bet by fellow Frenchman Mesbah Guerfi on the turn, with a board of 5Q410 laid out on the felt.

Lecomte elected to shove over the top of the raise, and was snapped off by Guerfi. Lecomte showed QQ for a set, but it wasn’t enough against the A9 nut-flush. The river failed to pair the board, so the near million pot went Guerfi’s way and Lecomte headed to dinner early. –DJ

8G2A0624_PCBAR2017Quentin_Lecomte_Tsugunari_Toma_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Quentin Lecomte on the left (has now left)

6:55pm: Daher doubles
Level 24 – Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

Just when you thought he was down, Albert Daher shoots back up.

The most recent installment of the Daher rollercoaster started with an under-the-gun raise to 70,000 from Tsugunari Toma. Daher then re-raised to 200,000 from the hijack and action folded back to Toma.

Toma then moved all in and Daher snap-called. Daher tabled KK and Toma turned over A10. The 88545 board was devoid of any aces or upsets for Daher and he doubled to 2.1 million while Toma dipped to 2.2 million.

Daher’s back on the rise. Will he keep going or is he due for another plummet. Stay tuned for more of the Daher rollercoaster. –AV

6:50pm: Another bump in the road for Daher
Level 24 – Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

There can’t be many more jagged chip-progression graphs in this tournament than that belonging to Albert Daher. He has touched the skies and plumbed the depths, and it’s a miracle he is neither overwhelming chip leader nor out.

He is, however, at another low ebb having just lost a significant race to Hugo Andrade, the same player against whom Daher managed to make a huge fold to conclude the previous level (see below, 5:35pm).

Andrade open-pushed from UTG+1 for 805,000. It folded all the way around to Daher in the big blind who saw JJ and considered it un-foldable given the situation: the big jam and his own stack of about 1.7 million.

He wasn’t in bad shape against Andrade’s AQ, but the flop of 49Q was brilliant and brutal, depending on your allegiances. Daher now had one out, but picked up a couple more after the 8 turn.

However the A river was only good for Andrade, and he now stacks 1.65 million. Daher is down to about 900,000. –HS

NEIL2794_PCBAR2017Hugo_Gomes_Andrade_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Another for Andrade

6:45pm: All quiet on the feature table, until…
Level 24 – Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

Unfortunately for Valentin Anghel, it doesn’t look like it’s going to be the year of Romania — at least not from the perspective of this tournament, anyway.

Things had been going ever so quietly on the feature table, until the Romanian shoved over the top of Raffaele Sorrentino’s 63,000 open and was called by Sorrentino with action folding back round to him.

Anghel flipped over A10 against Sorrentino’s QJ, getting it in good.

But with 40% equity, Sorrentino was live… as the flop proved.

The flop brought in the 69J which was of no help to Anghel. The 3 turn and 7 sealed his fate to ship over the 445,000 pot over to PokerStars Championship Monte-Carlo winner Sorrentino. –DJ

6:42pm: Tsokaridis taken out in 31st
Level 24 – Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

Paraskevas Tsokaridis of Greece is the 31st-place finisher after getting his stack in on the flop with the same straight draw as Donald Duerte Sierra. Unfortunately for Tsokaridis his opponent was freerolling with a flush draw, and hit his flush to send Tsokaridis railward. –MH

6:40pm: Double wives
Level 24 – Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

“I’m going to start talking again,” Andrew Hedley said at his table. “It’s more fun that way.”

NEIL2884_PCBAR2017Andrew_Hedley_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Welcome, everyone, to ‘Table Talk’ with Andrew Hedley…

Scott Wellenbach agreed and said someone should come up with a topic.

“Egypt,” Kent Reed said without missing a beat. “And multiple wives.”

It was an unusual topic, but the table proceeded. The conversation went from the amount of Viagra needed to support multiple wives in old age to multiple husbands. It ended with Reed telling Hedley he seemed like a man who’d enjoy multiple wives. Reed, a Scotsman, responded that based on the Scottish women he’s seen, he’ll stick with one.

A few minutes later the poker silenced the conversation. Reed raised to 60,000 from under the gun and Lachezar Petkov moved all-in from the hijack. Mykhailo Hladilin then reshoved from the button and everyone else folded.

Petkov turned over 1010 and Hladilin tabled AJ. Petkov then hit an ace on the turn of a KK8A5 board and doubled up to about 400,000 while Hladilin dipped to 975,000. –AV

6:30pm: Arunan accounts for Mastelotto
Level 24 – Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

Gustavo Mastelotto is out, but he wrung out his elimination hand as long as he possibly could even if it was, on paper, a fairly standard race.

It started with a raise to 65,000 from Aeragan Arunan and a fold from Yaron Zeev Malki to his left. Then the onus was on Mastelotto, but he took so long to make any meaningful declaration of intent that a couple of players at the other end of the table were clearly pondering whether he knew action was on him.

Eventually, Mastelotto cupped his hands around his three towers of blue chips, which, with a few lime chips on top, represented 470,000. But just before shoving them in, he dragged a few back, making it a raise to 430,000 rather than an all-in push.

The other opponents folded around to Arunan, who then indicated that he was going to make Mastelotto play for the Maste-lot. Mastelotto called reluctantly. The dealer had to remind him that he would need to put the rest of his chips over the line, though. They were still in his hands.

He did eventually yield them to the fates, and the cards were exposed:

Mastelotto: 88
Arunan: AK

After all this faffing, the guillotine blade came down with reliable haste. The board ran AQJ37.

With a quick fist bump between the two relevant parties (initiated by the vanquished Mastelotto, in a nice touch), we lost another one and Arunan stacked up 1.7 million. –HS

6:20pm: Sounds familiar
Level 24 – Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

That’s the second time I’ve heard Scott Wellenbach say “nice hand sir… nice hand” and not necessarily mean it.

Not to say that it wasn’t a nice hand, just that he’d rather it hadn’t taken place with him in it.

It involved Usman Siddique again, and a board that read 2JQA3.

Siddique had bet big, Wellenbach had called, but then watched as Siddique turned over pocket jacks. Cue Wellenbach’s now familiar refrain.

Wellenbach drops to 1.7 million while Siddique continues his ascent with 3.8 million. –SB

6:15pm: Sorensson desperate for the new chip
Level 24 – Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

Tournament organisers brought out the black 100,000-denomination chip during the colour up at the last break, and the first deployment came from Tsugunari Toma.

He opened to 75,000 (no black chip necessary) and Nick Petrangelo called in the cutoff and Sebastian Sorensson called in the small blind, too. The three of them admired the beauty of a AQ4 flop.

Sorensson checked, then Toma bet 105,000. He didn’t use a black chip for this actually, but after Sorensson called (Petrangelo folded), the 8 came on the turn and action was quickly back on Toma. Then he brought out the black.

He bet 200,000: one black chip, three lime chips and five blues.

Sorensson really wanted that black chip. With two hands he literally shoved his chips forward. It was a stack of mainly blue, worth about 700,000.

Toma let him have it. Boy, if someone wants it that badly, take the high moral ground.

Toma still has 3.3 million, including a half tower of blacks. Sorensson at least has a start in building his. –HS

6:05pm: Four-bet alert
Level 24 – Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

Benjamin Richardson opened up the action to 75,000, and was quickly three-bet to 190,000 by Alexis Fleur just one seat over.

After some consideration, Richardson stacked up a big ol’ pile of green 25,000 chips and threw them in the middle. The four-bet of around 430,000 was enough to scare Fleur away, and see Richardson scoop the pot. –DJ

NEIL2917_PCBAR2017Benjamin_Richardson_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Richardson four-bets, collects

6pm: Play resumes, 32 remain
Level 24 – Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

The remaining 32 players are back in their seats after another color-up. Goodbye, 1,000-chip!

Andre Akkari leads with nearly 5 million following a fantastic first three levels for the Team PokerStars Pro. Here’s a look at the current top 10 as play resumes:

Name Country Status Chips
Andre Akkari Brazil Team PokerStars Pro 4,970,000
Tsugunari Toma Japan PokerStars qualifier 3,800,000
Brian Kaufman Uruguay PokerStars qualifier 3,700,000
Usman Siddique UK PokerStars qualifier 3,405,000
Alex Difelice Canada PokerStars qualifier 2,975,000
Benjamin Richardson Australia PokerStars player 2,800,000
Nick Petrangelo USA PokerStars player 2,230,000
Scott Wellenbach Canada PokerStars qualifier 2,160,000
Mesbah Guerfi France   2,115,000
Albert Daher Lebanon   2,030,000

They’ll play one more 90-minute level, then go to dinner. The plan will be to play two more levels after that, although they’ll stop sooner if somehow they get down to 16 players. –MH

5:35pm: Daher folds full house to Andrade, is correct
Level 23 – Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

It was the last hand before the break, an innocuous-seeming four-way pot that didn’t promise much at the start. But it ended up lasting five minutes into the break — and it was worth sticking around for, I’m here to attest.

It started with Sebastian Sorensson raising to 50,000 from under the gun and Hugo Andrade calling from the next seat over. Nick Petrangelo came along from the small blind, Albert Daher called from the big blind, and all four checked the 6Q7 flop.

Not much, right? Hang on.

The turn was the J, and after Sorensson checked, Daher bet 138,000. Only Andrade chose to stay in the hand.

The river was the Q, pairing the board, and Daher made a bet of 357,000 — about two thirds of the pot. Andrade waited a few beats, then announced he was all in, and after his stack was counted out it was determined the raise was for 871,000.

Daher was a bit stymied, thinking for a couple of minutes (as the break began), then starting to talk.

“I’m going to take some time,” he said, having already taken more than usual. “I have a full house,” he added. That kept everyone else around to see what might develop.

“Show me?” asked Daher, Andrade stayed mum. Finally after a couple more minutes Daher folded, showing he was telling the truth as he’d had 66.

That drew an “Oooh” from observers. Meanwhile Andrade had already pushed his cards face down forward, but after Daher showed he decided he would, too. He turned his hand over — JJ!

The pair bumped fists, Andrade said “What a fold,” and off they go to break to think further about it, Daher with just about 2 million and Andrade 1.75 million. –MH

NEIL2844_PCBAR2017Albert_Daher_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Nice laydown, Daher

5:32pm: Winning in style
Level 23 – Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

There was more than a little style to Usman Siddique winning the hand before the break against Scott Wellenbach. Even he had to stand back and admire if for a few seconds before admitting defeat.

On a flop of 45K Siddique checked in early position before Andrew Henley bet 76,000. Wellenbach called as did Siddique for the 2 turn card, which was checked all round.

The river card came 6. This would prove a good card for Siddique, who wears a grey Yankees cap and black sunglasses. He bet 265,000 which forced a fold from Henley. But Wellenbach, having asked for a count, called.

With a degree of ambivalence Siddique turned over an unlikely 73.

“Wow,” said Wellenbach, voicing what everyone else was thinking. “Straight to the seven… Nice hand.”

Wellenbach drops to 2.4 million while Siddique is up to 3.5 million. – SB

5:31pm: Anghel doubles…again
Level 24 – Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 3,000)

Velentin Anghel has doubled up again (see entry at 4.30pm), this time against Jackson White.

The Romanian shipped his remaining 13 bigs in with QQ, and was called by White who held AJ. The 210492 was good enough for Anghel to secure the double, and claw his way back up over 20 big-blinds as we approach the break. –DJ

5:30pm: Akkari through half a mil as field thins to 32
Level 23 – Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

We’re down to the last 32, a perfect fit for four tables, which means one of them will have to close. That’s because Jan-Eric Scwippert has been whipped out of the Main Event by Andre Akkari.

Schwippert open-jammed the small blind for 303,000 with A5 and Akkari called in the big, from a stack of 4.7 million. Akkari only had K8, but it managed to out-draw Schwippert’s hand through a board of 4J8KJ.

Schwippert is out in 33rd. They continue to carve through the field, and Akkari builds his stack past 5 million, 10 times what he started with today. — HS

5:27pm: Petrangelo picks some up
Level 23 – Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

Albert Daher and Nick Petrangelo have been getting into kerfuffles on the felt.

Daher tried to bully Petrangelo out of one hand. The 74477 board represented a full house already out there. There was about 120,000 in the pot. Daher bet big and Petrangelo thought. Petrangelo called and they both showed over-cards to chop the pot.

Daher then put another big river bet on Petrangelo a few minutes later with different results. Petrangelo raised to 60,000 from the button and Daher called from the small blind. The flop came K810 and Petrangelo bet 80,000 when checked to.

Daher called and a 7 came on the turn. There was a round of checks and a 5 on the river. Daher bet 375,000 and Petrangelo called the big river bet again.

Daher showed A2 for ace high while Petangelo tabled A10 for a pair of tens. The pot put Petrangelo up to 2.35 million while Daher dipped to 2.5 million.

NEIL2976_PCBAR2017Nick_Petrangelo_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Pot to Petrangelo

After that their battle was put on hold. An elimination on the feature table brought us down to our final four tables and the Petrangelo/Daher table was the one to break. –AV

5:25pm: Allez Papa!
Level 23 – Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

The flop had all ready been dealt 98A when things kicked off.

Jackson White, playing out of the big blind, checked, as did Mesbah Guerfi. Albert Daher then bet 74,000. Usman Siddique called that from the button before White backed out. The action was now back on Guerfi. He shoved.

It was 942,000 in total, which forced Daher to fold. But Siddique, sitting with an almighty stack of more than 3 million, called, turning over A4. Guerfi had A8. Two pair versus a flush draw.

The turn: K
The river: Q

There was an “Allez papa!” from somewhere and Guerfi punched the air. A life line for him, up to more than 2 million. A hit for Siddique, although he still has just short of 2.9 million. – SB

5:20pm: Unanswered questions
Level 23 – Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

The question of who will win the PokerStars Championship Barcelona Main Event will be answered — that we know for sure. Meanwhile many intervening questions regarding the many steps getting us to that conclusion will not.

After an Alex Difelice open to 55,000 from middle position, Aeragan Arunan called from the next seat over and the pair proceeded both to check the 52J flop. The Q turn brought a check from Difelice, and Arunan fired 61,000. Difelice called.


Alex Difelice: Perplexed

The river was the 8 and Difelice checked once more. This time Arunan pushed out a big bet of 225,000, and that perplexed Difelice enough to cause him to tank for three full minutes. The clock was called, and a half-minute later Difelice folded. He’s at 2.75 million at present, while Arunan moves up to 1.25 million.


Aeragan Arugan: The perplexer

After the hand Difelice was quizzing Arunan about what he had, but the latter wasn’t giving up information freely. Difelice suggested Arunan could just answer yes-or-no questions about the matter, but that, too, wasn’t getting Difelice anywhere.

The questions continue — some answered, some not. –MH

5:10pm: Wellenbach’s well and back
Level 23 – Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

What goes around, comes around. Scott Wellenbach lost a massive pot not too long ago. He flopped a full house and Brian Koffman hit a full house on the river.

Now Wellenbach has doubled up after hitting a monster on the flop. He didn’t slow play it this time either.

Wellenbach started off the hand with a raise to 60,000 from under the gun and Aleksandr Gofman three-bet to 160,000 from the hijack. Action folded back around to Wellenbach and he called.

The flop came 467 and players got it all-in. Wellenbach checked, Gofman bet 180,000 and Wellenbach raised to 500,000. Gofman raised all in and Wellenbach snap-called.

Gofman showed an overpair with KK while Wellenbach tabled a set of fours with 44. The turn brought a J and the river was a harmless 2. The flopped monster took it down and Wellenbach doubled to about 2.5 million while Gofman dipped to 840,000. –AV

5pm: Wanzi KO’d after running into kings
Level 23 – Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

Nadia Wanzi’s Main Event run has ended with a 34th-place finish after a pre-flop skirmish with Usman Siddique.

In her final hand Wanzi opened with 99 from the cutoff for 75,000, then Siddique made it 222,000 to go from the small blind. The action back on Wanzi, she jammed for about 1.2 million, and Siddique called in a flash.


Nadia Wanzi’s run ends

Wanzi had 99 but had run into Siddique’s KK, and five cards later — 610JA4 — Siddique’s kings held. Wanzi patted the felt with her hand before wishing the table well and going over to collect her winnings.

Siddique moves up to challenge for the chip lead with that pot — he has around 4.1 million. –MH


Usman Siddique, pictured on Day 1B, is Day 4 leader

4:55pm: Moving Mehamed
Level 23 – Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

Another elimination, this time in the shape of Alan Mehamed who is now heading for the rail.

After an opening raise, Mehamed moved in for 400,000 from the cutoff before Sebastian Sorensson shoved from the button, forcing the blinds, and the original raiser to fold.

Mehamed showed 77 but Sorensson had the advantage, turning over 1010. With the TV people in place (and instructions for the dealer on where exactly to put the flop so it could be seen by the camera) the board was dealt.


Hand-shakes all round and another player departs. – SB

4:50pm: Schwippert slips
Level 23 – Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

It’s been a bad level for Jan-Eric Schwippert.

Having started the level with some 73 big-blinds, he’s now been reduced to around 17.

This time his missed draw river shove was snapped off by Igor Dubinskyy who turned flush.

The board read K4972 with Schwippert holding QJ and Dubinskyy the 57. –DJ

4:45pm: Wanzi and Daher battle
Level 23 – Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

They’ve hit a slow stretch here in Level 23 where there haven’t been any eliminations for a while. There are still 35 players with a shot at the €1.41 million first prize.

Nadia Wanzi of the Netherlands continues to battle at her table where she has the always formidable Albert Daher on her left. A little while ago they played a blind-versus-blind hand in which she check-called her way to the river as the board came 109KQJ, then with that straight on board she fired a decent-sized bet as a lead.


Nadia Wanzi and Albert Daher: Chopping

Daher had to think a couple of beats but he called, then they had a chuckle when she showeed 102 and he 65.

Daher remains among the leaders with 3.25 million and Wanzi is on 1.35 million. –MH

4:40pm: Wellenbach wilted
Level 23 – Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

“Oh my god,” Scott Wellenbach said as the dealer took away nearly 1.5 million from his stack. “Oh my god.”

The chips were being shipped to Brian Kaufman, who moved all-in on the river. Wellenbach quickly called with his flopped full house, only to see that Kaufman hit a bigger one on the river.


Chips coming Kaufman’s way

Kaufman started that hand out with a raise to 57,000 from middle position and Wellenbach called from the button. Aleksandr Gofman called from the big blind and all three players checked the 3310 flop.

Gofman then bet 87,000 when the 6 came on the turn and both players called. Then came the river, a J, and the madness followed.

Gofman checked and Kaufman bet 345,000. Wellenbach then calmly and quietly announced a verbal raise to 900,000 and Gofman couldn’t have folded quicker. Kaufman thought for a while and then moved all-in for 1.45 million. Wellenbach snap-called and turned over 1010 for the flopped tens full of threes, but Kaufman tabled JJ for jacks full of threes.

“Oh my god. Oh my god,” Wellenbach said. That was the extend of his outburst.

Kaufman doubled to about 3.4 million while Wellenbach dipped to 1.17 million. –AV

4:30pm: Anghel doubles
Level 22 – Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 3,000)

Valentin Anghel just received a double courtesy of Jan-Eric Schwippert.

Schwippert opened up the action under the gun and received two callers in Anghel and Dubinskyy.

The flop brought in the 1088, which was good enough for the short-stacked Anghel. He announced all-in for his remaining 119,000. Schwippert called the shove the next seat over and Dubinskyy quickly got out the way.

Anghel flipped over J9 first, and Schwippert the Q9 – both with draws, but Schwippert with the better one.

The 7 landed on the turn however to give Anghel the lead. And the 3 river sealed the deal.

The double sees Anghel now on 428,000 and Scwippert back down to just over 1 million. — DJ

4:25pm: Akkari crushing
Level 23 – Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

Andre Akkari has been moved over to the feature table and sits on a whopping 146 bigs. It’s exactly double that of his nearest competitor on the table in Jan-Eric Schwippert.

Unsurprisingly Akkari has been leading the action since the start of the level. This time he opened the action to 50,000 which was flatted by a short-stacked Jakub Senk in the big-blind.

When the 5108 landed on the flop, Senk quickly got in his remaining 208,000 and Akkari called.

Akkari flipped over 106, which was dominated by Senk’s 109

But Akkari has just been running too hot. The 4, which landed on the turn, didn’t change anything, but the 7 did. It brought in the back-door straight and sent Senk to the rail in 35th as Akkari continues to fly. –DJ

4:20pm: Minten makes some off Richardson
Level 23 – Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

Benjamin Richardson started the day in the lead with a hefty 2.8 million. Things change quick though, we’re just on the third level of the day and the a stack of 2.8 million barely cracks the top five.

But Richardson’s down to 2.2 million now and large blinds make pots balloon up quickly.


Benjamin Richardson: Former leader hitting a downswing

In one, Richardson bet 55,000 from the button and Niek Minten called from the big blind. The flop came down Q84 and a round of checks brought the 6 on the turn. Minten bet 74,000 on that turn and Richardson called after some thought.

A Q came on the river and this time Minten upped the bet to 262,000. Richardson sighed, took off his sunglasses and stared at Minten. He counted out the bet, a call and a loss here would see him dip below the 2 million mark.

Richardson went for the fold and Minten chipped up to 1.4 million. –AV

4:10pm: Ilyukhin busts with jacks
Level 23 – Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

There had been an opening raise when Jackson White three-bet to 135,000 from the button, so when Victor Ilyukhin looked down at JJ in the big blind it appeared he’d found a good spot to jam his last 350,000 or so into the middle (not quite 12 bigs).


Kings good for Jackson White

That was good enough to knock out the opener, but White was eager to stick around with his KK and called. The flop came 778 and when the 9 turn landed that meant a gutshot and four more outs for Ilyukhin. But the river was the K and he’s out.

Bump White back up to 1.1 million. –MH

4:05pm: Wellenbach busts Miquel, approaches 3 million
Level 23 – Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

Soon after players returned for Level 23, Scott Wellenbach opened for 60,000 from middle position and the table folded around to Ramon Miquel in the big blind. Miquel tanked a short while, then announced he was re-raising all-in.


Ramon Miquel: Early faller in Level 23

The push was for a little over 420,000, and soon after the total was confirmed by a count Wellenbach said: “I call.”

Miquel had AQ and needed to improve versus Wellenbach’s JJ. Neither the 492 flop nor 4 brought improvement, though did provide a flush draw to the at-risk player. But the river was the 9, and Miquel is out in 38th.

Wellenbach chips up to about 2.95 million after that one, getting him back inside the top five in the counts. –MH

4pm: Four chip ante!
Level 23 – Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

They’re back, and now posting blinds of 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000).

3:35pm: Break time

They’ve reached the end of Level 22, and it looks like either Andre Akkari or Alex Difelice has the chip lead at the moment — both are around that 3.5 million-chip mark.

Go relax for 20 minutes, and we’ll update all those counts on the other side. –MH

3:35pm: Akkari ascends to the top
Level 22 – Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 3,000)

The rest of the tournament was on break, but there was still a crowd surrounding Andre Akkari.

The Brazilian Team Pro was in a hand against Quentin Lecomte and Akkari announced all in on the river. The cameras were there, fans were there, Bruno Politano was there live streaming it to his fans in Brazil.

The hand started when Akkari raised to 45,000 from the cutoff and Lecomte three-bet to 145,000 from the small blind. Akkari called and then they both checked the JA9 flop. This brought an 8 on the turn and a bet. Akkari bet 110,000 when checked to and Lecomte called.

A 9 completed the board and Akkari moved all-in. Lecomte had about 450,000 behind while Akkari had millions. Lecomte let it go and was left with his 450,000 while Akkari neared the lead with 3.5 million. –AV

3:33pm: Rolle gets steam-rolled
Level 22 – Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 3,000)

On the last hand before the break, Benjamin Rolle has been eliminated from the Main Event.

Following an open from Nadia Wanzi to 57,000 and a flat from Usman Siddique, Rolle elected to get his remaining 18 bigs in with A6. It was called by Siddique following a fold from Wanzi, who flipped over 55.


Benjamin Rolle: Rolled over

The board ran K35K to send the 733,000 pot Siddique’s way, and Rolle to the rail. –DJ

3:30pm: Schwippert up to 1.8 million
Level 22 – Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 3,000)

A big pot between Raffaele Sorrentino and Jan-Eric Schwippert. We joined it on the river with the board dealt J10J76 although we know that on the turn the action was checked to Sorrentino who bet 79,000 before Schwippert check-raised to 223,000.


Jan-Eric Schwippert: Check-raiser

On the river though Schwippert came out betting 520,000 (into a pot of around 600,000). This put Sorrentino in the tank for several minutes. He had a little more than a million behind and eventually pushed forward a tower of greens.

Schwippert immediate turned over 77. Sorrentino didn’t say anything, but you could tell a voice in his head had just said, “Dammit”. His stack was cut in half. Schwippert meanwhile is up to 1.8 million as the end of the level approaches. –SB

3:20pm: Akkari axes one… again
Level 22 – Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 3,000)

Patrick Leonard and Andre Akkari gave each other a fist bump.

“Chop?” Leonard asked.

It wasn’t likely. Leonard had QQ and was flipping against Akkari’s AK. Akkari raised to 40,000 from under the gun that hand and Leonard three-bet to 125,000. Akkari then thought for a bit and moved all in. Akkari had about 2.5 million and would survive no matter the result, Leonard on the other hand was at risk with about 620,000.

Leonard quickly called and players flipped. The JJ10 flop added a straight draw to Akkari’s list of possible outs. The 7 wasn’t one of them, but the K that came on the river was.

Leonard was eliminated in 40th place and Akkari chipped up to 3.1 million. –AV

NEIL2723_PCBAR2017Patrick_Leonard_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Leonard leaves, 39 remain

3:15pm: They sometimes lose, too
Level 22 – Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 3,000)

It’s pretty clear that Tsugunari Toma hasn’t been making many missteps in this tournament, but it’s also fair to say that I haven’t seen him laying many hands down. From the small sample size represented by one reporter’s field of vision, he seems to always show up with the best hand (or the best bluff) when he gets involved.

That’s why it was good to see him making what seemed to be an agonised fold, at least to confirm that he probably does know how to wriggle away from a beaten hand too.

I don’t have an enormous amount of detail, but Toma and Alan Mehamed were at a flop of J6K. There looked to be only about 160,000 in the pot, which makes it slightly odd that Toma had 176,000 over the line in front of him, and the red triangle was out in front of Mehamed.

Mehamed had 524,000 total, so maybe Toma had check-raised, then been faced with a jam.

As it was, he pondered long and hard, getting a count, but then opting to fold. He has 2.8 million in his stack still, so fair enough.

Speaking of players who I haven’t seen lose a pot, I also just witnessed Scott Wellenbach take a small hit.

In the hand in question, Aleksandr Gofman opened to 45,000 from under the gun and Wellenbach called in the small blind. Tibor Nagygyorgy called in the big blind too and the three still had cards to try to match with the 96A flop.

Both players in the blinds checked and then Gofman bet 77,000. Only Wellenbach called. After the 2 turn, Wellenbach checked again, but then called again after Gofman bet 166,000.

The A completed the board and it went check, check. Wellenbach showed up with 1010 but he lost to Gofman’s A5.


Aleksandr Gofman: Takes one from Wellenbach

Wellenbach, by the way, built his stack close to 3 million in the early stages today, away from our view. But Andrew Hedley asked him about it when Wellenbach moved to sit next to the British player. “It was a set over set situation,” Wellenbach said, with slight embarrassment. “He flopped it, I turned it. I had no idea.” –HS


Going well for Wellenbach

3:05pm: Papadopoulos popped
Level 22 – Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 3,000)

Getting tired of alliteration yet? Too bad.

Alexandros Papadopoulos was down to just about 180,000 and moved all in from under the gun. Action folded to Gustavo Mastelotto on the button and he thought. He looked down at his stack and measured out a big pile. Then he started counting again and moved the vast majority of it in the middle.

The blinds folded and Mastelotto went heads-up against Papadopoulos. Mastelotto turned over AJ while Papadopoulos showed AJ for his tournament life.

The 557A8 board only brought improvement for Mastelotto, who was already in the lead. Papadopoulos was eliminated in 41st place while Mastelotto chipped up to about 700,000. –AV

3pm: Thrilling inaction
Level 22 – Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 3,000)

The pace has been relatively quick so far today, with the field already reduced to 43. But that still leaves space for periods of inactivity.

Nick Petrangelo was getting a massage. The therapist was trying her best to apply pressure with her elbow to his lattismus dorsi, but kept slipping on the carpet, unable to gain traction. Meanwhile he bet 45,000 from the button and then again on the flop of 57A after Sebastian Sorensson had called from the big blind.

Sorensson, who wears a Miami Dolphins scarf (raising the question does it ever get cold in south Florida), raised, prompting a quick fold from Petrangelo.


Sebastian Sorensson: Does it get cold in Florida

Tsugunari Toma got involved in the next hand, calling a raise from the big blind and winning the pot with a bet on the flop, showing AJ. He liked that and grinned.

Meanwhile a big pot had developed a table along.

Andrew Hedley had a decision to make, having got to a river on a board of 3AK62. Aleksandr Gofman had bet 255,000 into what looked about a 400,000 pot, leaving himself 1.8 million behind.

Hedley though was unsure, and ran through various scenarios in his head, eventually folding.


Andrew Hedley: Lays it down

“Nice hand,” he said. “It was close… very close. If it was a bluff, well played.”

Gofman is up to 2.6 million. –SB

2:55pm: Hansen hosed
Level 22 – Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 3,000)

Denmark’s Johnny Hansen was playing on the EPT before most of today’s opponents were out of high school. But his blast-from-the-past run has now come to an end in something like 44th place.

Hansen open-shoved for 265,000 and Jan-Eric Schwippert re-jammed, getting folds from Andre Akkari and Patrik Leonard to his left. Hansen’s AQ had plenty of equity against Schwippert’s 88, but the pair strengthened on the eight-high flop, and was unassailable by the turn. –HS

2:50pm: George gets got
Level 22 – Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 3,000)

Brian Kaufman raised to 45,000 from the hijack and George Mcdonald moved all-in for 424,000 from the cutoff.

You’ve read the headline, you know how this ends.

Action folded back around to Kaufman and he called. Kaufman showed 77 and Mcdonald tabled KQ. Again, you know how this ends, but you don’t know the details. Kaufman improved to a set on the turn of a 34107J board and Mcdonald was eliminated in 45th place.

Kaufman on the other hand chipped up to about 900,000. –AV

2:45pm: Akkari builds beyond 2.5 million
Level 22 – Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 3,000)

Details are scarce of the most recent massive pot that Andre Akkari won, but he is now up to 2.5 million after winning a blind-versus-blind confrontation against Patrick Leonard.

Akkari, who was in the small blind, had 75 and the board was a very friendly A3689. Leonard clearly had less than Akkari’s straight and now has only 600,000 left. –HS

2:40pm: Two-time Rafa?
Level 22 – Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 3,000)

It took… what was it? 948 EPT Main Events until someone won two of them? But there’s still hope that we’re going to see a two-time PokerStars Championship winner within the first season.

That’s because Raffaele Sorrentino, Championship champion in Monte Carlo, is now sitting with a 1.4 million stack after winning a massive flip against Nuno Ascensao. The latter is now out as Sorrentino’s stack was marginally larger.


Raffaele Sorrentino: Two time?

They got it all-in pre-flop: Sorrentino’s AQ racing Ascensao’s 77. This time the over-cards proved potent as the board ran KQ2JJ.

Sorrentino had 680,000 in his stack at that point, to Ascensao’s 620,000. Ascensao had already weighed this up as he was half-way to the payouts table by the time the tournament officials had confirmed his elimination. –HS

8G2A0388_PCBAR2017Raffaele_Sorrentino_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Raffaele Sorrentino (from Day 3)

2:37pm: Ruiz wrecked
Level 22 – Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 3,000)

Sebastian Ruiz had been short-stacked for a while, but every time he found a double-up and plowed ahead.

That’s all come to an end now, though.

Ruiz was back to to 156,000 and moved all-in from the cutoff. Benjamin Richardson was on the button and called. Richardson showed KQ and Ruiz turned over A5 for his tournament life.

Both players got a slice of the 95Q flop, but Richardson’s queens were in the lead. Then Richardson hit a third queen on the river and chipped up to 2.7 million while Ruiz’s main event run came to an end. –AV

2:35pm: Another former champ flattened
Level 22 – Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 3,000)

After clinging on for a while now, EPT 7 Tallinn winner Kevin Stani has been eliminated.

It came when his AJ ran into Albert Daher’s AA. Daher is now up to a whopping 2.63 million as the knockouts keep on coming through thick and fast. –DJ

8G2A0403_PCBAR2017Kevin_Stani_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Kevin Stani (from Day 3)

2:30pm: Two more down; Akkari surging
Level 22 – Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 3,000)

Boom, boom. Another two down. Here’s a double-elimination to tell you about, albeit on two different tables. But the hands took place absolutely simultaneously, with one dealer’s shout of “All in, call!” overlapping with her neighbour’s in (less than) perfect polyphony.

The smaller skirmish was the culmination of the Jonathan Proudfoot/Alex Difelice war that broke out towards the end of the last level. Proudfoot’s A8 couldn’t beat Difelice’s QQ when they got it in pre-flop. Proudfoot had only about 160,000 and so the hands played themselves. The board was dry.

The pot was bigger next door. Over there, James Romero open-pushed for about 400,000 and it folded round to Andre Akkari in the big blind. The Team Pro had a quick glance at his cards, then snap, one-chip called, without requesting a count, the sure indication of a big hand.

Akkari: AK
Romero: KQ

This board was also as parched as a hangover mouth and Romero headed to the payouts table on the heels of Proudfoot. Akkari meanwhile now has 2.1 million. That’s a four-fold increase on his starting stack today. –HS

2:27pm: Double KO for Siddique
Level 22 – Blinds 8,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

There was a three-way all-in over on the feature table just moments ago.

After around two minutes of tanking (presumably because of a €4k money jump), Philippe D’Auteuil raised to 84,000 from under the gun. It was a virtual all-in for the Canadian, who had less than that behind. Just one seat over, and Jamie Whyte was quick to get his remaining 30 big blinds (or 543,000) in the middle.

Action was then folded to Usman Siddique in the small blind who re-isolated by announcing all-in for his 1.14 million. It was then folded back around to D’Auteuil who obligingly called. The hands?

D’Auteuil: AK
Whyte: AQ
Siddique: JJ

“A queen would be outstanding dealer,” said Whyte as the dealer went to lay out the board.

The desired card didn’t come for Whyte, or for D’Auteuil for that matter. The 7396J board was enough to see Siddique scoop the lot. –DJ

2:25pm: Moving up
Level 22 – Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 3,000)

Slowly, and as if his plan were to bet without anyone noticing, Arezki Belaidi moved 40,000 chips forward to open the pot. The action was folded around to Brian Kaufman in the big blind. He looked at his cards, then at Belaidi’s stack, and hen called.

The flop came 96Q which Kaufman checked before calling Belaidi’s bet of 50,000. On the Q turn both checked for a 6 on the river. At this point Kaufman, with around 335,000 behind, announced he was all-in. Belaidi didn’t react immediately and took several minutes to fold. He’s down to 235,000 while Kaufman moves up to 540,000. –SB

2:20pm: Duta ducks out
Level 22 – Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 3,000)

Florian-Dimitrie Duta found himself down to 355,000 with 77 on the cutoff and got it all in against Alex Fleur. Fleur was on the button with AJ and players flipped for Duta’s tournament life.

Fleur paired his jack on the flop of a 10J10Q3 board and chipped up to 1.44 million while Duta hit the rail. –AV

2:15pm: A comeback?
Level 22 – Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 3,000)

After losing a massive hand to Alex Difelice at the end of the last level, Jonathan Proudfoot returned to a stack of just 130,000. He moved it all in early in Level 22 and got called by the start-of-day leader, Benjamin Richardson.

Richardson was on the big blind and it took him a while to call. We saw why when he turned over his cards.

Proudfoot showed A7 for a respectable short stack jam while Richardson tabled 65. Proudfoot improved to a pair of sevens on the 792 flop and hit a third seven on the river.

Richardson dipped to 2.35 million while Proudfoot doubled to about 260,000. Is this the start of a proud Proudfoot comeback? –AV

2:10pm: The Toma secret… there is no secret
Level 22 – Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 3,000)

Tsugunari Toma rose back to the top of the chip counts in the day’s opening level, and the secret of his success is pretty simple: he plays a lot of pots, and he wins most of them. Here’s a case in point early in Level 22.

NEIL2746_PCBAR2017Tsugunari_Toma_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Tsugunari Toma, staying involved

Toma opened from the hijack to 46,000. Paraskevas Tsokaridis called instantly from the cutoff and his haste made it seem as though Toma is doing this almost every hand. Everyone else at the table folded.

The flop was low. It came 643. Toma fired 66,000 at it and Tsokaridis called.

After the 2 came on the turn, Toma checked and Tsokaridis took over the betting. He put 70,000 forward and Toma called.

The J and two checks took them to the reveal: Toma showed K6 and Tsokaridis mucked.

That’s how you do it. Play a lot of pots and win them. Easy. –HS

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1:40pm: A break

Oh, and that’s a break. Back in 20. –HS

1:40pm: A tale of two houses
Level 21 – Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

Clashes between great houses aren’t just restricted to Game of Thrones.

The house of Proudfoot recently collided with the house of Difelice. Both houses were full.

Jonathan Proudfoot started things off with an open from early position and Alex Difelice called from the big blind. The flop came A103 and both players had flopped big. Proudfoot hit a set of tens with 1010 and Difelice got two pair with A3.

Players kept things small. Difelice checked, Proudfoot bet 27,000 and Difelice called. Then an A came on the turn to give both players a full house. That’s when the fireworks started.

Difelice checked again and Proudfoot bet 86,000. Difelice raised to 290,000 and Proudfoot thought for a bit before calling. Then a 6 came on the river and Difelice moved all-in for 852,000.

It was a big bet with a big hand. Proudfoot’s proud house of tens filled with aces couldn’t fold. Proudfoot called and his broken house left him with about 150,000 while Difelice doubled to 2.5 million. –AV

1:35pm: Old rivalry
Level 21 – Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

Andre Akkari and Patrick Leonard spent the whole of yesterday on the TV table. Now they’ve been reunited on one of the outer tables, and just played a small pot against each other.

Akkari opened for 35,000 in the hijack. Leonard was in the cut off and called. The flop came 8J7. Both checked. The turn came 9 and that was checked too, as was the J river.


Patrick Leonard: Facing Akkari again

66 for Akkari. [KJ and the pot for Leonard. – SB

1:33pm: Lesson 1
Level 21 – Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

It’s one of the most basic elements of the live game but still one that can be done wrong, especially if you’re new to the live poker scene. Covering up your cards.

So when Andre Akkari noticed that he could see what Nuno Ascensao had two seats away, he told him. Not that he could see exactly, but being able to distinguish face cards from others can be enough.

Ascensao got the message, and appreciated it too. Lesson learned. – SB

1:29pm: D’Auteuil d’own again
Level 21 – Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

No sooner did Philippe D’Auteuil double up than he was cut back down again. On the very next hand after his pot against Usman Siddique, D’Auteuil jammed the button with only two short stacks in the blinds to his left.

Jamie Whyte took some time over a decision for his last 294,000 but then called all-in. And it turned out to be a good call: his 77 was ahead of D’Auteuil’s KJ and stayed there through a dry board.

That cut D’Auteuil back down to 158,000–fewer than 10 big blinds–and put Scotland’s finest Whyte up to 620,000. — HS

1:26pm: D’Auteuil d’ouble
Level 21 – Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

The swashbuckling Philippe “D’Artagnan” D’Auteuil just swished his way to a double-up, spiking an ace to beat Usman Siddique. Siddique opened, D’Auteuil jammed for 212,000 and Siddique called.

Siddique’s 99 was ahead of D’Auteuil’s A6 but the flop brought an ace and nothing else mattered.

It left Siddique still with 1.15 million and D’Auteuil with 454,000 — HS

1:25pm: Three all-ins
Level 21 – Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

Brian Kaufman just passed on a chunk of chips to Mykhailo Hladilin whose 34 looked good against Queens on a board of 2K4A5.

At the same time at the adjacent table Ricardo Graelis was heading for the rail.

He was all in with J8 against the pocket sevens of Valentin Anghel. The flop of 278 was interesting, giving Graelis flush options, but neither came on the 3 turn or 5 river. Anghel now has around 570,000.

As that was playing out there was another all-in called on the table along.

Matas Cimbolas was all in with pocket fives and standing up. He’d been called by Igor Dubinskyy with AJ.

“I’m ahead!” said Cimbolas, before calling for a five on the flop.

The flop: A8Q

No five.

The turn: A

Still no five.

The turn: 10

Cimbolas was out.

“Good game guys. There was a five somewhere in that deck.”

Dubinskyy now up to more than 1.3 million. – SB

1:20pm: Fleur doubles through Leonard
Level 21 – Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

Alexis Fleur just got his stack in the middle again. And once again he survived doing so, gaining chips as a result.

This time Patrick Leonard opened for 40,000 from the button, Fleur re-raised to 121,000 from the small blind, Leonard jammed, and Fleur called all in for 446,000 total.

Fleur had QQ and Leonard AK, and an eight-high board with no hearts on it meant the queens held up.

Put Fleur up to 925,000 on your scorecards, and move Leonard down to 1.05 million. –MH

1:15pm: Petrangelo doubles
Level 21 – Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

Nick Petrangelo is still in the Main Event — and his chances of a deep run here have improved after eliminating Markus Grabher a few moments ago.

Petrangelo called the blind-on-blind shove in the big-blind holding Q10 against Grabher’s 109.

The board ran JA1064 to secure Petrangelo a near-double. He’s now back up around half a million as the field continues to be reduce rapidly. –DJ

1:10pm: Battle of the short stacks
Level 21 – Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

Benjamin Richardson is the 1 percent at his table, the elite, the untouchable. The rest of the short stacks are fighting for scraps.

They’re really going at it too. There’s been at least three short stack clashes at the table, but none of them have been eliminated. They’re a feisty bunch the 99 percent.

Alexandros Papadopoulos called Niek Minten’s 270,000 all-in with QJ, but Minten had him dominated with KQ. Minten then hit a king on the turn of a 6A2K2 board and doubled to 540,000 while Papadopoulos dipped to 170,000.

A few hands later Sebastien Ruiz raised from early position and Giuliano Bendinelli moved all in for 192,000 from the small blind. Ruiz called with AQ and Bendinelli was flipping with 99.

The 57327 board missed both players and the pair of nines took it down. Bendinelli chipped up to 220,000 while Ruiz was left with just 93,000.

Then Papadopoulos got a double up of his own. Short stack survival. Papadopoulos moved all-in from under the gun and Alex Difelice reshoved from middle position.

Papadopoulos showed 77 and Difelice turned over AJ. No ace, no jack, no straight, no nothing for Difelice on the 68[9ds]8Q board and Papadopoulos doubled to about 400,000 while Difelice was left short. –AV

1:05pm: Senk sinks Bowker
Level 21 – Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

Kyle Bowker has been eliminated in 61st place after a preflop all-in confrontation with Jakub Senk.

Bowker went to battle with only 260,000 or so and 108 while Senk was better armed both chip-wise and card-wise, having Bowker covered and holding AK.

I’ll admit I don’t know when the chips went in, which makes the final board of 562K2 suggest various possibilities. But the outcome is the important thing — no flush for Bowker and he’s out, while Senk has 515,000 now. –MH

1pm: Friberg falls to Akkari
Level 21 – Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

Team PokerStars Pro Andre Akkari is now closing in on the 2 million mark.

The Brazilian pro got a big chunk of chips after he won a flip to knock out Erik Friberg. Akkari raised to 35,000 from middle position that hand and Friberg went all-in for 404,000 from the big blind.


Andre Akkari: Big climber early on Day 4

Akkari quietly dropped one chip in the pot to announce the call and we had a showdown. Akkari showed AQ and Friberg turned over 1010. There was no ace for Akkari, but he did pair his queen on the river of a 8342Q board.

Friberg hit the rail in 62nd while Akkari chipped up to 1.8 million. –AV

12:55pm: Andrade rips with fours, and it works out
Level 21 – Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

Sitting in middle position, Hugo Andrade checked his cards and knew what he wanted to do, although the decision would perplex others left to act. He raised all in for 556,000 — nearly 35 big blinds.

Action reached Scott Wellenbach who clearly had been dealt something decent, but facing such a large open he had a confession to make.

“I have no idea what to do,” he said with a slight grin. “I fold.”

Now it was Tibor Nagygyorgy’s turn to act, and he, too, appeared quite the quandary. He sat with his eyes closed in thought for a while, at one point wondering out loud if Andrade could possibly have made such a raise with aces or kings.

Finally Nagygyorgy called, showing QQ. Then Andrade showed what hand had inspired his bet… 44!


What you got down there, Hugo? Pocket fours?

Now Andrade was the one sitting with his eyes closed, peeking just a bit to see the 6A10 flop. Then came the turn….

The 4!

The A river sealed it, and Andrade survived the hand with a stack of 1.15 million. Nagygyorgy took it all in a very amiable way, smiling despite the hit as he stacked up what is now just 360,000. –MH

12:50pm: Fast and Fleur-ious
Level 21 – Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

Patrick Leonard opened for 35,000 from middle position, then Alexis Fleur re-raised all-in for about 350,000 from the next seat over in the hijack.

Next to act in the cutoff, James Romero thought for more than a minute before calling Fleur’s push, and everyone else including Leonard stepped aside.

Fleur had 88 while Romero showed AK, and Fleur expressed excitement that he was flipping. He was even more pleased after the 2Q8 flop made it much less of a flip for him, and after the queen turn improved him to a full house the hand was already decided.

Fleur bounces back to 765,000, Romero slips to 180,000, and Leonard still looks to have about 1.8 million. –MH

12:45pm: More busts
Level 21 – Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

More eliminations happening all around, as Gabriel Chiva, Fred Volpe, and Pim Kuipers are among the recently fallen. They are down to 64 now, evenly spread about eight separate eight-handed tables. –MH

12:40pm: Big anti-climax. No point reading.
Level 21 – Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

I’m going to tell you now that this hand turns out to be a bit of an anti-climax. It’s better to know this up front rather than finding out for yourself in about a minute from now.

It started with an opening bet from Tibor Nagygyorgy for 41,000. This was then called by Hugo Andrade on the button before Rens Feenstra of the Netherlands three-bet from the small blind, making it 170,000 total.

The big blind folded, leaving Nagygyorgy with the decision – which he handled quite well all things considered, four-betting to 391,000 total.

Andrade took this badly. He recoiled in his seat, exhaling, then rubbing his face, trying to wipe away his initial reaction. We’d later find out he had queens, but right now he had to decide whether to stake what would be his tournament life on them. He’d eventually fold, but that high pitch scream you can still here is Andrade getting over it.

Through all of this Feenstra had been waiting, dead still, but with eagle eyes darting one way and then the other. He kept things simple, moving in for 649,000, which the dealer counted out in a deliberate and clear voice: “Five… six… six-forty… six-four-seven”.


Feenstra moves all in

As if he hadn’t already spent several minutes thinking about everything already, Nagygyorgy not had to go through the same process again. It was at this point that Andrade, who had stood up to walk off the hand, looked over at someone and whispered something, what exactly we won’t speculate. Finally Nagygyorgy called.

Feenstra turned over AK. Nagygyorgy responded with AK

“Chop chop,” he said, possibly relieved that the drama might not be so threatening after all.

Only Andrade suffered from the hand. They were his chips that they divided up. They were his queens that would have tripled him up. – SB

12:35pm: Daher felts Latorre
Level 21 – Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

The first runaway chip leader of this tournament–Jose Latorre, who crushed Day 1B–is now on the rail having lost a massive flip against Albert Daher.

This one took place on the feature table, and began with a raise from Nadia Wanzi a call from Daher and then the two men getting involved in an appendage measuring contest with a series of raises after Wanzi left them to it.

Latorre had AK. Daher had 1010. And the pair held against the over-cards.

It was a 2 million chip pot, and that’s what Daher now sits with. Latorre is looking for alternate entertainment. — HS

12:30pm: A pair of doubles
Level 21 – Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

Plenty of people came to Day 4 short and lots of them came ready to run it up or go home.

Diogo Veiga started the day short and dipped down to 91,000 before he moved all-in from middle position. It was nothing to our massive chip leader, Benjamin Richardson, who re-raised from the button with his stack of 2.8 million.

The blinds folded and players tabled their hands. The short stack had a big pair with KK and Richardson showed 66. The 310A98 brought no upsets for the short stack and Veiga doubled to 220,000. Richardson’s stack took a hit, more of a dent, but it’s still the largest at about 2.7 million.

Then Liow Ming doubled to 450,000.

Sebastian Sorensson called from the cutoff that hand and Ming moved all-in from the small blind. Mauricio Salazar re-raised from the big blind and Sorensson got out of the way.

Ming showed AQ and was flipping against Salazar’s 1010. The 9A785 board fell in Ming’s favour and he doubled to 450,000 while Salazar dipped to 950,000. –AV

12:25pm: Asmar out in three-way all-in, Lecomte leaps up
Level 21 – Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

A big three-way all-in over on Table 9 has resulted in another elimination and left a former chip leader down to crumbs.

The hand began with Hady El Asmar pushing all-in for his last 170,000 or so from UTG+1, then when the action reached Quentin Lecomte on the button he re-raise-shoved for 528,000. It folded to Fred Volpe — leader for a while yesterday — in the big blind, and he also went all in for just a little more than Lecomte. The reveal…

Volpe: AK
Asmar: 1010
Lecomte: QQ

The board ran out 5J58Q, meaning Lecomte won it all with queens full of fives. Asmar goes out in 68th, Volpe is now down to 30,000, and Lecomte up around 1.15 million. –MH

12:15pm: Early double for Tsokaridis
Level 21 – Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

Just like a hearty breakfast, it’s good to start your day with a balanced double up.

Paraskevas Tsokaridis called from the small blind in the first few minutes of the day and Gustavo Mastelotto raised to 52,000. Tsokaridis promptly moved all-in and Mastelotto called.

Tsokaridis showed AJ for his tournament life and Mastelotto turned over a dominating AQ.

Things were looking dicey for Tsokaridis until he hit a jack on the river of a 92107J board. Tsokaridis doubled to about 800,000 while Mastelotto dipped to 270,000. –AV

12:10pm: Janin falls in day’s first hand
Level 21 – Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

“Shuffle up and deal,” announced the tournament director, and moments later it was France’s Gregory Janin looking down at his hand under the gun and open-raising all in for his last 206,000.

It folded around to Richard Graells of Switzerland in the small blind and after checking his hand he looked over at Janin.

“Had a good breakfast?” he grinned. Janin sat quietly. Graells then folded, but Nuno Ascensao then called from the big blind, showing A10 while Janin had A9.

The 655 flop provided hope in the form of a flush draw for Janin, but nothing materialised for him as the turn was the 10 and river the 7, and he’s out. Ascensao ascends up the counts a bit and is now stacking 470,000. –MH

12:05pm: Play begins!
Level 21 – Blinds: 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

Away they go in the quest to cut this field down to about 24. How long will it take? How long is a piece of string? You can be sure, however, that we’ll be here for the duration. — HS

11am: Welcome back to Day 4

Welcome back to the PokerStars Championship Barcelona Main Event. Play starts at 12 noon today when the remaining 70 players will play what we expect, but can’t confirm just yet, six more level of play (five are on the schedule but we’ll stick our necks out here and say they’ll add another). It’ll be a long day but an exciting one. By the end of it we’ll know who the real contenders are for the title.

stay_puffed_marshmallow_man.jpgNot a chirros bar but, when cooked, perhaps the next best thing…

We’re actually not quite ready to start our coverage yet. In fact we wrote this a while ago from a hotel room to give us more time to spend at the chocolate and chirros bar at breakfast. Nobody’s reading this bit already, are they? Anyway, once we’ve wiped the chocolate from our faces we’ll have live updates from the start all the way through to the finish, whenever that is.

You can also watch live coverage on PokerStars Live. You’ll find that by clicking the relevant link in the top right hand corner of this screen, or in the selection of articles at the top of the blog’s homepage.

While you’re doing that drop us a line on Twitter. We’re alawys happy to answer questions or provide any information that might help you follow the action. Find us @PokerStarsBlog. — SB

Ready to embark on your own poker adventure? Sign up for PokerStars and begin your journey. Click here to get an account.

Take a look at the official website of PokerStars LIVE, with tournament schedule, news, results and accommodation details for the PokerStars Championship Barcelona and all other Festival and Championship events.

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

PokerStars Blog reporting team on the Main Event: Stephen Bartley, Dan Jones, Alex Villegas, Howard Swains and Martin Harris. Photography by Neil Stoddart and Carlos Monti.

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