Saturday, 26th November 2022 20:20
Home / Uncategorized / PokerStars Festival New Jersey Main Event Day 1b live update archive


11:40pm: Play has ended for the night

We’ve wrapped up for the night. A full report is here.

11:07pm: Wantman be like wtf?
Level 10 – Blinds 600/1,200 (200)

Sometimes the unorthodox can work out just fine. With around 30,000 in the pot and a complete board of AQ9Q8 on the felt Tyson Apostol’s bet just 2,500. This was met with a raise to 19,000 by Matthew Wantman and Apostol then shoved all-in! He had about 95,000 total, so it was a big shove. Wantman had him covered – he about 115,000 – and he was clearly taken aback at just how much Apostol had bet.

He clearly had a hand and clearly needed to take some time to think about what to do. To the credit of the table they all absolutely realized this. Over three minutes passed and Wantman apologized to the table, even saying that they could call the clock if they wished too. A few more minutes passed and a player at the table did call the clock. As the 60 second countdown ticked ever lower Wantman looked no closer to being able to decide what to do. Eventually the time expired, Wantman’s hand was declared dead and Apostol showed Q8 as he took the pot. Wantman let out a sigh of relief and said that he’d folded king-queen.

That huge pot takes Apostol up to 143,000. –NW

10:57pm: Mike Gagliano sets the trap
Level 9 – Blinds 600/1,200 (200)

Asher Coniff opened in middle position, Chris Dombrowski raised to 6,800 in the cutoff, and Mike Gagliano four-bet to 18,000 out of the small blind. Conniff folded and Dombrowski debated a bit, then called.

The flop fell 955 and Gagliano bet 18,500. Dombrowksi calle,d then both players checked the A on the turn. The river was the Q and Gagliano thought a bit, then checked. Dombrowski took a few seconds, then checked back.

Gagliano turned over QQ for a rivered full house, Dombrowski mucked, and Gagliano raked in another one to move to 155,000.–JW

10:52pm: Myung still among field
Level 10 – Blinds 600/1,200 (200)

John Myung put his last 11,600 in the middle with A9 and Charles Powell was a taker as he’d been dealt QQ.

The A8K flop was good for Myung, as were the 9 turn and K river, and Myung survives with a little over 26,000 while Powell plays 65,000. –MH

10:46pm: Dan Sewnig eliminated by Tyson Apostol
Level 9 – Blinds 600/1,200 (200)

Dan Sewnig was in the small blind and all-in for his last 100 chips when Sean Lango raised to 2,800 from middle position and Tyson Aposotl called from the cutoff.

The flop came 753 and Lango bet 2,600. Apostol called. The turn was the A. Lango bet 4,500 and Apostol called. The river was the 3. Lango checked this time, and it was Apostol who bet 3,000. Lango called and mucked when Apostol showed AQ for aces-up. Sewnig could only muster 310 for a pair of treys. Sewnig exited, while Apostol moved up to 100,000.–JW

10:39pm: Being John Mirkovich
Level 10 – Blinds 600/1,200 (200)

Means no longer being in the tournament, unfortunately, after an all-in confrontation resulted in Mirkovich losing the last of his chips to Randy Lew.

After Lew had raised to 3,000, Mirkovich pushed all in from the next seat over with his short stack and when it folded back to the Team PokerStars Pro Online member he called right away.

Lew had A10 and Mirkovich AJ, which means the latter had the better chance of finishing on top. But no no nanonoko… the board came 851088, giving Lew tens full of eights and chasing Mirkovich.

Lew is up to 145,000 now. –MH

10:33pm: Double for Snider
Level 10 – Blinds 600/1,200 (200)

The blinds had just ticked up but this particular table was still playing level nine blinds and antes so Daniel Sewnig’s raise of 2,300 stood and he picked up three callers. On the 6810 flop the big blind checked, Sewnig checked, Tom Pschar bet 5,000 and Bradley Snider was the only caller.

The 10 hit the turn, Pschar fired out a bet of 9,000 and Snider stacked up his chips and moved all-in for 20,600. There was no immediate action by Pschar, instead he carefully weighed up the equation and then called. Snider showed 66 for a full house, Pschar opened Q10 for trips with a draw to a better full house as well as quads. The J river was a blank though meaning Snider doubled to around 63,000 while Pschar drops to just over 40,000. –NW

10:29pm: Prize pool info
Level 10 – Blinds 500/1,000 (100)

The prize pool information for the Main Event is in. With 208 total entries, the remaining players are competing for a $201,760 prize pool. Thirty-nine players are getting paid with the winner taking home $38,220. –BW

10 600 1,200 200

10:28pm: Perticari doesn’t care for river, Cheung collects
Level 9 – Blinds 500/1,000 (100)

Richard Perticari was beside himself. “Ohhh… that river card!” he exhaled, standing from the table and stepping away before returning to his seat.

With the board showing 974Q10 and a decent pot having developed, the ten on the end hadn’t prevented Perticari from betting 9,300. But Robert Cheung had liked fifth street enough to raise to 25,500, and that’s what had raised him from his seat as well.

Finally Perticari folded, tossing his cards with exasperation. “Good bluff,” he said to Cheung, who saying nothing as he tidied up his stack of 92,000. Perticari has 21,000 as they move into the last level of the night. –MH

10:28pm: Matthew Wantman’s sick read
Level 9 – Blinds 500/1,000 (100)
This was either an epic troll, a remarkable example of metagame, or just plain uncanny.

Tyson Apostol’s table has been particularly chatty. Those who are familiar with Apostol won’t be surprised to hear he has been the life of the party. AS Apostol regaled the table with stories, Matthew Wantman turned to him and said, “You know, you look like you could be on a reality TV show, like on MTV”

Unsure if it was a joke or not, Apostol played it straight. “I was. Not on MTV, but I was on Survivor three times.”

Wantman was floored and told his tablemates how crazy it was. Still unclear if this is some reality TV-level gamesmanship or a genuine pop culture blind spot, one of those were they value betting or were they bluffing situations, if you will.–JW

10:17pm: A four is good
Level 9 – Blinds 500/1,000 (100)

Sean Lango raised to 2,400 from the hijack seat, Tyson Apostol called from the button, and Daniel Sewnig called as well from the big blind.

The flop came 479. Sewnig checked, Lango bet 3,600, and both Apostol and Sewnig called. The K turn then saw it check around to Apostol who bet 2,500, and both Sewnig and Lango decided they wanted to stay to the river.

Fifth street paired the board with the K, and it checked around. All three players hesitated before showing, then Apostol flashed one of his cards — the 4 for fours and kings. At the sight of that Sewnig and Lango successively mucked, and the table chuckled that Apostol had finished best with his hand.

Put Apostol at 104,000 now, while Sewnig and Lango are both hovering right at 45,000. –MH

10pm: Just the nuts
Level 9 – Blinds 500/1,000 (100)

The atmosphere in the tournament room is jovial and nowhere is that more evident that at the table Daniel Sewnig is sat at. The players are happily chatting away about a myriad of topics. “We’re all friends here,” said one player. “There are no friends in poker,” replied the dealer. “Oh man we were trying to make something beautiful and you squashed it,” quipped a player in return.

While that exchange was going on a pot broke out between Sewnig and Bradley Snider, with the former raising from the cutoff and Snider calling from the small blind. On the 10QK flop a c-bet from Sewnig was enough to take the pot down and he showed AJ with a grin as he took the pot. –NW

10:06pm: Tyson Apostol hates the spotlight
Level 9 – Blinds 500/1,000 (100)

There was around 36,500 in the pot and the board read J106K when Matthew Wantman checked from the small blind and Tyson Apostol bet 10,000 on the button. Wantman check-raised to 25,200 and Apostolo folded.

As he mucked his cards, Apostol’s friend and fellow Survivor participant Rob Mariano came over to check on him.

“I’m bleeding man,” Apostol told him. He then noticed a couple of reporters documenting the hand he just played.

“Don’t write that down! I gotta stop playing when you guys are around.”

Now both Wantman and Apostol are sitting on 90,000.–JW

9:56pm: Existential hold’em
Level 9 – Blinds 500/1,000 (100)

“Am I live? Are you live?”

Such was uttered just now by Charles Powell. No, he wasn’t asking deep questions about the meaning of life, nor the frightening possibility of the lack thereof. Rather, he was speaking of the relative value of both his own and Timothy Polcari’s starting hands, and how they compared to each.

After opening for 2,200, Powell watched Polcari reraise-shove his stack of just under 25,000, and the action returned to Powell. After thinking a short while longer, he shook his head, saying “no” as he slid them forward.

Both players continue to draw live, so to speak, Powell doing so by virtue of the 60,000 or so he has currently and Polcari with his stack of just under 30,000. –MH

9:46pm: Perticari pushes, picks up Cheung’s chips
Level 9 – Blinds 500/1,000 (100)

An opening bet of 2,300 from the button by Richard Perticari earned a single caller in Robert Cheung defending his big blind.

The flop came 29Q. Cheung checked, watched Perticari pitch 3,300 forward, then called without hesitation. The 10 turn card brought another check from Cheung, and this time Perticari set out a column of chips while announcing he was shoving all-in.

Cheung hesitated at that, and after about a half-minute of deliberation he let his hand go.

Cheung keeps his stack of 25,000, while Perticari is on 48,000 now. –MH

9:44pm: Better late than never, Asher Conniff
Level 9 – Blinds 500/1,000 (100)

There was around 9,500 in the pot and the board read Q107A when Mike Gagliano checked the small blind, Asher Conniff bet 3,500 from middle position. Randy Lew folded behind him, Philip Luelsdorfe called on the button, and Gagliano folded.

The turn brought the A and both players checked. The river brought another one, the A, and Conniff bet 6,500. Luelsdorfe folded and Conniff took the pot.

Conniff was basically the last person in this field, signing up during the dinner break and taking his seat a little over two hours ago. Even without time on his side, he is faring well though, as he currently sits on 55,000.–JW

Asher Connif_2016 PSNJ Festival_Giron_8JG5156.jpg

Asher Conniff

9:34pm: Gerald Aiello eliminated by Darren Elias
Level 9 – Blinds 500/1,000 (100)

Darren Elias raised to 2,200 from early position, Gerald Aiello called behind him, and William Draper defended his big blind. The flop fell Q109. Draper checked, Elias bet 3,000, and Aiello instantly flung his remaining 24,300 into the pot, moving all in.

Draper folded, then Elias silently called and turned over KJ. The nuts. Aiello held AQ, which did not improve on the 2 turn or 4 river, so he was eliminated. Now Elias is up to 125,000.–JW

Darren Elias_2016 PSNJ Festival_Main Event Day 1B_Giron_8JG5093.jpg

Darren Elias

9:24pm: Howe’s towers
Level 9 – Blinds 500/1,000 (100)

As the next-to-last level of the night begins, Dan Howe appears to be sporting one of the bigger stacks of those remaining. He’s sitting behind about 167,000 as play resumes. –MH

Dan Howe_2016 PSNJ Festival_Giron_8JG5171.jpg

Dan Howe

9 500 1,000 100

9:05pm: Break time

The remaining players are now on a 20-minute break.

9:00pm: Jesse Elliott hits a lucky king
Level 8 – Blinds 400/800 (100)

Likith Govandaiah had opened in early position and Jesse Elliott reraised from middle position to 4,500. Govandaiah fired back with a four-bet to 13,500. Undeterred, Elliott fired back with a raise to 30,000 total. Govandaiah thought for a couple of minutes, then moved all in, having Elliott’s 61,700 covered by 5,000 or so.

Elliott hesitated for a second, then said, “Okay,call,” pushing his chips into the six-figure pot.

Elliott let out a disappointed “gah’ when he saw his KK was up against Govandaiah’s AA.

Neither player said anything when the flop came K103, giving Elliott top set and the massive advantage in the hand. The two remained silent as the turn brought the 4 and the river the 10. They even remained silent through the lengthy process of counting down both stacks. Now, Elliott is one of the biggest stacks in the field with 130,000, while Govadaiah was left with 5,000.–JW

Jesse Elliott_2016 PSNJ Festival_Main Event Day 1B_Giron_8JG5141.jpg

Jesse Elliot

8:57pm: Gagliano gathers more chips
Level 8 – Blinds 400/800 (100)

It’s been a decent couple of levels for Mike Gagliano and he’s up to 83,000 after eliminating Justin Wong. The latter was down to just 2,400 when he moved all-in and he picked up calls from Gagliano and Randy Lew. On the 23J there was a touch of confusion around if Lew had checked or not, he had and Gagliano bet the flop and Lew released his hand.

Michael Gagliano_2016 PSNJ Festival_Giron_8JG5164.jpg

Michael Gagliano

Wong showed 109 and was behind to Gagliano’s KJ. The K turn and A river didn’t save Wong and he headed to the exit. Despite losing three big blinds on that hand Lew is still very well stacked as he’s playing around 130,000. –NW

Justin Wong_2016 PSNJ Festival_Giron_8JG5163.jpg

Justin Wong

8:53pm: Staples stopped
Level 8 – Blinds 400/800 (100)

Jaime Staples of Team PokerStars Pro Online was nursing a short stack for much of the post-dinner stretch, and here during Level 8 has finally lost the last of his chips to be sent railward. –MH

Pokerstars Team Online Jaime Staples_2016 PSNJ Festival_Main Event Day 1B_Giron_8JG5120.jpg

Jaime Staples

8:45pm: Chen done in by set over set
Level 8 – Blinds 400/800 (100)

Ao Chen raised to 2,100 from early position and only Christopher Dombrowski called him from the cutoff. The flop came J43, prompting a 2,000-chip continuation bet from Chen. The 10 turn then saw Chen betting 5,500, with Dombrowski once more calling.

The river was the 5, and after slowing his pace a little Chen put his last 11,000 forward as an all-in bet. Dombrowski swiftly spilled chips ahead to call, and as Chen showed 33 for trip treys Dombrowski turned over 55 to show he’d rivered a better set.

That’s it for Chen, while Dombrowski stacks just under 65,000. –MH

8:44pm: An ace flop
Level 8 – Blinds 400/800 (100)

How many times have you seen three of the same cards come on the flop? Among the 19,600 different possible flops it’s a rare occurrence. It seems to be even more acute when it’s three aces and that’s what just happened in a hand between Asher Conniff and Manuel Perito.

They both put in 5,500 each pre-flop and were greeted with a AAA flop. Both players checked and the 9 hit the turn, Perito went big, he bet 11,000 and Conniff folded within 10 seconds. After that hand Conniff drops to 26,000 while Perito climbs to 57,000. –NW

8:37pm: Jesse Elliott shoves in the dark
Level 9 – Blinds 400/800 (100)

The player in the hijack raised to 1,800, Rajagopalan Sankaranarayanan called in the cutoff, and Jesse Elliott reraised to 6,500 on the button. William Draper called in the big blind, and both the hijack and Sankaranarayanan folded.

Before the flop fell, Draper checked in the dark. Elliott responded by moving all in in the dark, having Draper’s remaining 16,000 or so covered.

The cards came AK9. Draper thought about it a few seconds, then folded. Elliott then showed his KK for middle set.

After the hand, one of Elliott’s tablemates pointed out how he probably lost out on some value.

“Oh yeah,” Elliott replied. “That was totally a heart move. ‘Oh? You check in the dark? Well I’m all-in!'”–JW

8:24pm: Powers down
Level 8 – Blinds 400/800 (100)

Brian Powers was all-in for his last 18,000 or so with JJ and needing his jacks to hold against Seung Woo Yoo’s AK.

The 66A got in the way of those plans for Powers, though, and after the 10 turn and 6 river he left his seat. Yoo is now nearing the 100,000-chip mark. –MH

8:23pm: Howe do you like that?
Level 8 – Blinds 400/800 (100)

“Last hand at this table,” announced a member of the floor staff as Shankar Pillai and Dan Howe were embroiled in a pot. Howe had raised to 1,800 from under-the-gun and Pillai had called from under-the-gun+1. On the 7Q3 flop, Howe continued for 2,900 and Pillai, who was enjoying a massage, smooth called.

That took the pair to a 9 turn, Howe bet again, this time 11,500. Pillai riffled some chips and took a couple of minutes to come to a decision. When he arrived at his decision, it was to move all-in for 25,800. Howe instantly called.

Pillai: QJ
Howe: 77

The Q fell on the river making Howe a full house and eliminating Pillai. –NW

Shankar Pillai_2016 PSNJ Festival_Main Event Day 1B_Giron_8JG5098.jpg

Shankar Pillai

8:19pm: A world of problems
Level 8 – Blinds 400/800 (100)

Yesterday, it was the World Series of Poker causing problems. Today, it is baseball. The tournament staff appears to have learned their lesson from yesterday and moved the Main Event field to the opposite side of the room, where TVs can be changed away from the tournament clock and onto channels, something many of the sets in this room are not capable of doing.

Problem is, the two rows of four tables apiece containing the Main Event field are having some perception problems. The single TV with the game on is situation in front of four of the tables, but the other quartet only has a view of the tournament clock.

Even the tables by the TV are having some trouble, as tournament staff, masseuses and media members wandering about, just about anyone standing in the tournament area is obstructing the view.

On the far side, Asher Conniff is taking matters into his own hands. He found a tournament director and asked her to reposition the TV slightly so it is angled a little more towards the other half of the field. Misunderstanding his request, she assumed he meant the TV right next to it, which sports some arguably more relevant information–the tournament clock.

Conniff was quick to stop her and she obliged, saying, “Oh! You want to watch *this*.”–JW

8 400 800 100

8:02pm: Dombrowski makes a great call
Level 7 – Blinds 300/600 (100)

A pre-flop raise from Ao Chen was called by Christopher Dombrowski and the two saw a 823 flop hit the felt. Dombrowski check-called a bet of 2,200 and off to the K turn they went. Chen bet exactly double his flop bet, and Dombrowski called the 4,400.

On the 2 river Chen fired his third and final barrel, it was 8,100 for Dombrowski to call and that’s what he did. Chen was reluctant to show his cards but flashed J10, Dombrowski, it turns out, had made an excellent call with AQ and won the pot with ace high. –NW

8:00pm: Aymerich gets richer
Level 7 – Blinds 300/600 (100)

William Foxen is out, having committed the last of his short stack with AK and unfortunately for him run into the AA of Mathieu Aymerich.

A board of J533K left Foxen the the worse two-pair hand, and he’s out. Aymerich meanwhile is nearing 70,000. –MH

Alex Foxon_2016 PSNJ Festival_Main Event Day 1B_Giron_8JG5054.jpg

Alex Foxon

7:58pm: Mike Gagliano Still Rolling
Level 7 – Blinds 300/600 (100)

Chris Dombrowski raised to 1,400 from under the gun, a player in middle position called, and Mike Gagliano reraised to 4,600 behind him. Both Dombrowski and the middle-position player called.

The trio checked the AJ2 flop, then the turn brought the 5. Dombrowski checked, the next player bet 6,300, Gagliano called, and Dombrowski folded.

The river was the 3 and Gagliano’s opponent bet 7,200. Gagliano instantly called with AQ, which could easily best the “seven-high” his opponent announced. Gagliano is now up to 65,000.–JW

Michael Gagliano_2016 PSNJ Festival_Main Event Day 1B_Giron_8JG5059.jpg

Michael Gagliano

7:57pm: Bielan squeeze nets chips
Level 7 – Blinds 300/600 (100)

Sitting in the big blind, Atlantic City and Philadelphia area regular Judith Bielan watched as Nicholas Aguilera opened for 1,500 from middle position, Andrew Glauberg called from the hijack seat, and Jaime Staples called as well from the button.

It folded to Bielan, and after looking over her glasses and surveying the scene around the table, she gathered chips for a reraise to 7,000.

Aguilera? He winced, riffled, and folded.

Glauberg? He rechecked, then folded.

Staples? Just folded.

Bielan collected the pot, and is now stacking about 55,000. –MH

7:51pm: So what are you doing tonight?
Level 7 – Blinds 300/600 (100)

It’s a beautiful night here in Atlantic City as our photographer Joe Giron found out on a little stroll outside Resorts. Wanna come?

Resorts Casino Hotel_2016 PSNJ Festival_Giron_7JG9833.jpg

7:41pm: Wang wamboozled
Level 7 – Blinds 300/600 (100)

How many big blinds is too many to shove? Like a lot of answers in poker then the answer is probably ‘it depends’. For Zhaoxing Wang the number is north of 27 as he shoved all-in for 16,400 from the button. That equated to 27.33 big blinds but that didn’t deter Likith Govindaiah from calling.

Wang: 66
Govindaiah: AK

The JA7 flop put Govindaiah into the lead, the 4 sealed the deal and the 10 completed the board. After that hand Govindaiah is up to 44,000. –NW

7:34pm: Gags stacks Shahade
Level 7 – Blinds 300/600 (100)

Jennifer Shahade opened for 1,500 from middle position and got a single customer in Michael Gagliano calling out of the big blind. So far so ho-hum.

The flop came 10109 and both players checked. Hmm… wonder what’s happening over at the neighboring table….

What’s that turn card? The 7? A-ha… Gagliano bet 3,100, and Shahade called. Let’s see where this goes.

On the river fell the Q, and after waiting a bit over a half-minute, Gagliano pushed all-in. Shahade went deep into the tank, thinking for over a couple of minutes. Finally she emerged with a call, and Gagliano swiftly showed his hand — 86 for a turned straight.

Shahade mucked and she’s out, while Gagliano is up to 51,000. –MH

PokerStars MindSports Ambassador Jennifer Shahade_2016 PSNJ Festival_Main Event Day 1B_Giron_8JG5080.jpg

7:31pm: Katie Stone Eliminated by NJCOOP Champ Jesse Elliott
Level 7 – Blinds 300/600 (100)

Jesse Elliott completed the small blind and Katie Stone moved all in from the big blind for her last 6,100. Elliott thought for a minute, then called with A2. Stone trailed with Q4.Elliott improved to flush on the KQ8A9. Stone was eliminated and Elliot moved to 59,500.

If Dan Sewnig is New Jersey royalty, Elliott is at least in gubernatorial territory, winning the NJCOOP Main Event on Monday for over $38,000. The victory capped off a hugely profitable NJCOOP where he made a deal heads-up with Chris Moneymaker in a $350 buy-in tournament and final tabled the $100 Big Ante tournament on Monday as well to pocket a total of almost $60,000.

Now let’s see if his big fall can continue in this event.–JW

Jesse Elliott_2016 PSNJ Festival_Main Event Day 1B_Giron_8JG5143.jpg

Jesse Elliot

7:25pm: Costello cut down
Level 7 – Blinds 300/600 (100)

Arriving on a J410 flop, Kevin Costello was firing a bet of 3,000, then after John Mirkovich raised all-in, Costello called the push. Mirkovich had two pair with J10 while Costello had flopped both straight and flush draws with his KQ.

The 4 turn and 3 river both missed for Costello, though, and while Mirkovich jumped up around 35,000, Costello was suddenly down to just 2,600.

It all went in on the next hand for Costello with queen-eight, and when an opponent with king-jack called and the community cards proved unamenable for Costello, he hit the rail. –MH

7:15pm: Finne felted
Level 7 – Blinds 300/600 (100)

The cards were already on their backs by the time the PokerStars Blog arrived at the table but with a 542 flop on the felt Tim Finne was all-in with 1010 for what looked to be around 17,500 and Robert Cheung had him at risk with 32. The 3 turn was bad news for Finne and the outlook didn’t improve for him on the 7 river and he was eliminated. –NW

7:12pm: “How did that feel, Randy?”
Level 7 – Blinds 300/600 (100)

Soon after play resumed, Randy Lew opened for 1,300 from middle position and it folded around to Sergio Vigano in the cutoff who made it 2,700 to go. Action back on Lew, he asked to get a look at how much Vigano had behind, then called the three-bet.

The flop came 55J, and after Lew checked Vigano bet 2,400 and Lew called. The 8 turn brought another check from the Team PokerStars Pro Online member, and when Vigano bet 5,100, Lew paused a couple of beats before sliding out chips as a 11,500 check-raise.

Vigano tanked for over a minute, then announced he was all-in for the 25,000 or so he had left behind, and Randy called in a snap. Vigano had KK, but Lew had crushed those cowboys with 53 for trips. The 8 fell on the river, and Vigano is out.

“How did that feel, Randy?” asked Tyson Apostol of Lew as he finished stacking his chips, and Lew nodded that it felt pretty good, indeed.

Lew has a good-feeling 92,000 now. –MH

Team PokerStars Pro Randy Lew_2016 PSNJ Festival_Main Event Day 1B_Giron_8JG5021.jpg

Randy Lew

7:14pm: The biggest name wins a big pot
Level 7 – Blinds 300/600 (100)

Rajagopalan Sankaranarayanan raised to 1,300 from the button and Katie Stone reraised to 3,600 total out of the big blind. Sankaranarayanan called and the flop came 855. Stone bet 3,500 and Sankaranarayanan called.

The turn was the 2. Stone moved all in for around 23,000 and Sankaranarayanan did not hesitate before calling all in for his last 14,600.

Sankaranarayanan showed 88 for a full house, Stone could only show AQ for overcards, and the river Q on the board sent the pot to Sankaranarayanan, who is now up to 45,000.–JW

7:02pm: Full bellies, hydrated Apostol
Level 7 – Blinds 300/600 (100)

“Last night I was forced to drink tap water!” Tyson Apostol called to some friends as he ran back to his table.

He couldn’t find bottled water last night, and this morning woke up feeling less than hydrated. So, today’s he’s filling up on good water.

Why is this important? Well, right now, he’s got a massive stack headed into the last four hours of the night. Those hours start right now with the first hands after the dinner break.–BW

7 300 600 100

5:35pm: Dinner time

They’ve gotten through six levels, and now it’s time for an 80-minute break to get some food. Take a break yourselves, and come back after for the rest of Day 1B from the Resorts Hotel Casino. –MH

5:26pm: Spoiler alert — Tyson Apostol is holding on to his chips
Level 6 – Blinds 250/500 (75)

If you were waiting with bated breath to hear about Tyson Apostol’s untimely demise, he has even more chips than our last pass through the field. You might think a celebrity in a field with several accomplished pros at a table with the likes of Darren Elias and Randy Lew would be tentative, perhaps outmatched. But when you consider the nature of a show like Survivor, it makes a certain amount of sense that Apostol, winner of the popular televised mind game, would take to another mind game.

Just now Apostol raised from middle position to 1,250 and Elias defended his big blind. This had apparently been happening with some frequency, as Apostol remarked, “dancin’ again,” before the two saw the J96 flop. Elias checked, Apostol bet 1,250, and Elias called.

The turn was the K. Elias checked, Apostol bet 2,500 this time, Elias gave it up, and Apostol moved up to 120,000. –JW

5:23pm: Lew takes from Elias
Level 6 – Blinds 250/500 (75)

Two of the biggest names in the field today are Randy Lew and Darren Elias. Between them the two have over $6,000,000 in live earnings and they just clashed in a pot.

It was Lew who got this party started, he raised to 1,150, Elias made it 2,800 to play, Lew four-bet to 7,000, and Elias made the call.

So a big pot was brewing and the QJJ flop looked like it might prove to be a pot builder. Lew bet 5,800 and Elias again called. The K fell on the turn and there was no let up from Lew — he bet 10,000 and Elias had seen enough to figure he was beat as he folded. –NW

5:15pm: Typhoon Tyson
Level 6 – Blinds 250/500 (75)

There’s a strong wind blowing through this tournament room and his name is Tyson Apostol.

“You’ve got all the chips man,” said Lee Jones to the Survivor winner as he stopped by the table. “I hope I’ve still got them when Jason gets here,” responded Apotsol.

Tyson Apostol_2016 PSNJ Festival_Main Event Day 1B_Giron_8JG5138.jpg

Apostol, not just surviving, but thriving

The former professional cyclist was referring to Jason Somerville. The two are good friends and the Team PokerStars Pro is due in town this evening.

As of now Apotsol has 110,000. Will he hold onto them? Well, he is a survivor. –NW

5:09pm: Jamie Staples is here
Level 6 – Blinds 250/500 (75)

Jamie Staples was one of the first people in the tournament area this morning, but he only recently took his seat in the Main Event. Staples and fellow Team PokerStars Online Pro Kevin Martin were Twitching with Lee Jones early this morning and, rather than hop right into the field, both decided to take a little break before taking their seats.

Jamie Staples_Kevin Martin_2016 PSNJ Festival_Main Event Day 1B_Giron_8JG4971.jpg

On the stream: Staples, Jones, and Martin earlier today

Martin arrived a little while ago, and has already departed. But Staples only recently joined this still-growing field and has gotten involved right away.

Pokerstars Team Online Jaime Staples_2016 PSNJ Festival_Main Event Day 1B_Giron_8JG5128.jpg

Staples starts with the stack-building

Just now William Foxen raised to 1,000 in middle position, and Staples reraised to 1,600 on the button. Craig Mason then called in the big blind and Foxen called as well.

The flop came down 953 and the players all checked. The turn brought the Q. Mason bet 1,700 and both Foxen and Staples called.

The river was the J. Action checked to Staples, who bet 6,425. Both players folded and Staples took the pot. –JW

5:05pm: Looking down on creation
Level 6 – Blinds 300/600 (75)

A quick review of the field shows a few stacks battling for the chip lead after five-and-a-half levels of play.

Dan Sewnig, Anthony Garofalo, and Tyson Apostol are all sitting toward the top of the leader board with more than three times their starting stacks with four-and-a-half levels left to play tonight.–BW

Daniel Sewnig_2016 PSNJ Festival_Main Event Day 1B_Giron_8JG5010 (1).jpg

Sewnig owning

4:58pm: Woo-hoo for Woo Yoo
Level 6 – Blinds 250/500 (75)

A flurry of preflop raises ended with Matthew Zambanini all-in for around 18,000 with QQ and Seung Woo Yoo looking to eliminate him with AA.

The 357K10 board meant Woo Yoo improved to the nut flush, meaning Zambanini is out while Woo Yoo is up to 66,000. –NW

4:50pm: Perito powers on
Level 6 – Blinds 250/500 (75)

As the players move into the sixth level of the day, Manuel Perito is the man to catch. He already had a stack of some 85,000 and just boosted it further by winning a pot against Jennifer Shahade.

The action was started when an unknown player moved all-in for 2,350, a bet that would prove a sideshow to the main event. Shahade called this bet and Perito, who was in the big blind and closing the action, also called.

So it was three to a 334 flop and we soon had a side pot. Shahade bet 3,200 and Perito called. On the 2 turn Perito check-called a further 6,000 and the 2 completed the board. On this street Perito elected to lead and he bet 13,000. It was a bet that amounted to about half of Shahade’s remaining stack, and after a couple of minutes she folded. Perito opened 53 for a full house and the all-in player simply mucked.

After that hand Perito is up to around 110,000. –NW

Manuel Perito_2016 PSNJ Festival_Main Event Day 1B_Giron_8JG5135.jpg

Perito pushes ahead

4:48pm: Tyson Apostol and Randy Lew clash again
Level 5 – Blinds 200/400 (50)

Gabriel Gonzalo Diaz Hurtado raised to 1,000 from early position, Sergio Vigano called from middle position, Tyson Apostol called from the hijack, and Randy Lew reraised to 4,100 out of the small blind. Aposotol was the only caller.

The flop came 1072 and Lew bet 3,550. Apostol tried to raise to 7,000, then was required to make a minimum raise to 7,100. But the confusion was all for naught, as Lew folded, telling Apostol, “Ace-king,” before sliding his cards into the muck.

Lew was down to 32,500 after the hand, while Apostol chipped up to 60,000.–JW

4:40pm: Chris Dombrowski vs. Jennifer Shahade
Level 5 – Blinds 200/400 (50)

The table featuring Jennifer Shahade and Mike Gagliano seemed stacked early in the day, especially when they were joined by Nachman Berlin and Vinny Pahuja. Both of the latter players were moved away to new tables as the field grew, but it wasn’t like the replacements were any easier. Longtime player Theo Tran is now seated there, as is WSOP bracelet winner Chris Dombrowski.

Dombrowski and Shahade recently tangled when he raised to 1,000 in early position and she defended her big blind. The flop came J62 and Shahade checked. Dombrowski bet 800 and Shahade called.

The turn was the 9. Shahade checked, Dombrowski bet 1,600, Shahade folded, and Dombrowski took the pot. After the hand, he was up to 23,000, while she sat on 32,000. –JW

4:33pm: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome Boston Rob… check that…
Level 5 – Blinds 200/400 (50)

With word that Boston Rob Mariano had arrived in the field, we dispatched to his table to see how he was doing. First, however, we went (and, let’s clarify this… *I* went) to the bathroom. That was a mistake.

Upon my return, Mariano was already MIA. I blamed fellow reporter Jessica Welman who today (though some weird black magic that may be associated with a magnetic kidney) might have been solely responsible for knocking Ari Engel out of the tournament (she wasn’t, but there is no law saying we can’t blame her).

Boston Rob Mariano_2016 PSNJ Festival_Main Event Day 1B_Giron_8JG5109.jpg

Boston Rob Mariano,
as photographed by Joe Giron who did not visit the bathroom

ANYway… we had to check in with Mariano’s table regardless, and we asked Dan Sewnig what happened. The story apparently involved a board featuring 3-4-5-Q, and Mariano held queen-six.

He had three-four,” Sewnig said pointing at Nicholas Palma.

“And clubs!” Palma declared. “I was feeling frisky on the button!”

“He’ll tell you all about it,” Sewig said. “He’ll tell you how good, he is.”

Nick Palma_2016 PSNJ Festival_Main Event Day 1B_Giron_8JG5102.jpg

Nick Palma, the responsible party

There was no time for that. Palma was settling in for a massage with Mariano’s chips. –BW

4:29pm: Stein busts Bartley
Level 5 – Blinds 200/400 (50)

A pot of some 21,000 had been built by Jeremy Stein and Bartley Downling. They’d reached the turn of a 7810K board and Downling now shoved for a shade over 9,000. Stein stared at the board and the pot and then made the call.

Downling: 84
Stein: JJ

It was a nice call from Stein. The J river further strengthened his hand, and he eliminated Downling. –NW

4:23pm: Rajagopalan Sankaranarayanan doubles up
Level 5 – Blinds 200/400 (50)

Rajagopalan Sankaranarayanan moved all in for his last 7,725 from middle position, then Mohammed Farah reraised all in for 21,925 total. Everyone else folded and Sankaranarayanan showed 99 to Farah’s AK. The nines held on the QJ384 board and Sankaranarayanan doubled up. –JW

4:16pm: That’ll do, pig
Level 5 – Blinds 200/400 (50)

Matthew Zambanini opened to 1,025 in early position and got one call before it got to Stephen Buxton on the button. Buxton made it 3,300 to play. Back to Zambini, the bet climbed to 11,000. The player in the middle folded, but Buxton shoved all-in. Zambini wasted no time getting in himself for a shot at the 50,000+ pot.

Zambini: QQ
Buxton: AK

The flop changed nothing: 8104. The turn then brought the Q, killing Buxton’s overcard outs but giving him the jacks. Zambini didn’t have much to worry about. He made quads with the Q on the river.

That’ll do just fine. –BW

4:10pm: Pay that man his money
Level 5 – Blinds 200/400 (50)

There were three players still in the pot as the dealer fanned a Q64 flop. Gregory Donatelli checked, Craig Mason did likewise, then Payman Azizoghli bet 2,400. Both players called and the 3 fell on the turn. Again the action was checked to Azizoghi, and once more he bet with 5,200 finding it’s way into the pot. There was no call from Donatelli this time, though, as he check-raised to 12,800 total. That took care of Mason right away, but Azizoghli tanked for a long time before also folding.

As he took the pot, Donatelli said to Mason that he could turn over one of his hole cards and he picked the A. “I had ace-five of diamonds,” said Donatelli as he stacked the chips. He’s up to 38,000, while Azizoghli is down to 29,300. –NW

4:06pm: John Tavss shoves on Randy Lew
Level 5 – Blinds 200/400 (50)

There was around 10,000 in the pot and the board read A106 when the small blind checked and Randy Lew bet 3,700 from middle position. John Tavss called on the button, and the small blind folded. The turn brought the 8. Lew bet 12,800, then Tavss shoved all in for around 29,000. Lew folded and Tavss moved up to around 50,000.–JW

3:54pm: Martin eliminated
Level 5 – Blinds 200/400 (50)

Down to just 3,175, Kevin Martin three-bet all-in over the top of Daniel Sewnig’s opening raise of 1,000. It folded round to the one seat and an unknown player then four-bet shoved for around 20,000 total. Back to Sewnig he made the call and it was time for a three-way showdown:

Martin: KQ
Sewnig: AK
Unknown: KJ

“Queens are live,” said Martin as he waited for the community cards. The 872510 runout meant Sewnig scored a double-elimination and is up to 62,000.–NW

Pokerstars Team Online Kevin Martin_2016 PSNJ Festival_Main Event Day 1B_Giron_8JG5046.jpg

Martin moves on

3:48pm: James D’Agostino eliminated by Eli Kim
Level 5 – Blinds 200/400 (50)

Robert Marsh raised to 800 from the hijack, then James D’Agostino moved all in from the small blind for 8,850. Eli Kim was in the big blind and called. Marsh thought it over, but folded, telling the table, “I better not see my queen.”

It was a flip, as D’Agostino held AJ and Kim showed 77.

The flop did bring what Marsh expressly didn’t want to see, but it also came Q76, giving Kim middle set. The turn brought the case 7 to improve Kim to quads and, with the J on the river, D’Agostino was eliminated. –JW

5 200 400 50

3:23pm: Let’s take another break

They’ve made it to the end of Level 4, which means it’s time for another 20-minute break. –MH

3:20pm: Haberman over Sankaranarayanan
Level 4 – Blinds 150/300 (25)

Following a mid-position raise to 700, four players called including Michael Haberman sitting a seat over and, playing from the button, the player we’ve determined to be the biggest name in the tournament…

Rajagopalan Sankaranarayanan.

Rajagopalan Sankaranarayanan_2016 PSNJ Festival_Main Event Day 1B_Giron_8JG5085.jpg

Sankaranarayanan, a.k.a., “Control-V for Victory”

The flop came 325 and it checked to Haberman who bet 1,325, getting two callers including Sankaranarayanan. With the 4 turn it checked around to Sankaranarayanan who fired 2,500, and only Haberman stuck around.

The river was the 3, and when Haberman checked again, Sankaranarayanan warily checked behind.

Haberman turned over 44 — he’d turned a set, then rivered a full house and had checked hoping Sankaranarayanan would bet. Sankaranarayanan meanwhile had 86, meaning he’d turned a straight but resisted betting after the board paired.

Haberman jumps to 30,000 with that pot. Sankaranarayanan still has the biggest name in the field, but one of the shorter stacks now with about 6,000 as the next break nears. –MH

3:17pm: Can Matthew Wantman win with one card?
Level 4 – Blinds 150/300 (50)

Matthew Wantman raised from middle position and Kevin Martin made it 2,300 to play on the button. Wantman called, then both checked the K52 flop. The turn was the 9. Wantman checked, Martin bet 2,200, and Wantman check-raised to 6,300. Martin thought a bit, then called.

The river was 9. Wantman bet 13,000, which comprised the bulk of Martin’s remaining 17,675 chips. After a couple of minutes thinking, Martin called and Wantman flipped over… the 8.

The table collectively remained silent, waiting for the second card to be revealed. No one moved, though. Eventually the dealer reached forward to pull the eight back and reveal the other card, but even after a couple of shakes, it appeared only the 8 was there. Eventually, Wantman reached over and managed to slide his top card back to reveal the 7 for a flush. Martin mucked, then the table proceeded to laugh and joke that even they could beat the eight of diamonds. –JW

Matthew Wantman_2016 PSNJ Festival_Main Event Day 1B_Giron_8JG5105.jpg

Matthew Wantman

3:14pm: Acosta, Aeillo, and aces
Level 4 – Blinds 150/300 (25)

When the hand was well and truly done, Jason Acosta told his end of the table he’d had aces. It seemed like he probably did. 

He’d raised from early position to 700, as one would do with aces. But alas for Acosta, no less than five players called, meaning more players at the table were in the hand than were not.

The flop came 4102 and it checked to Acosta, who, like someone with aces might do on such a board, bet 1,500. It folded around to Gerald Aiello in the cutoff. We, nor Acosta, knew what he had, but whatever it was he raised to 3,000. That scattered the others, but Acosta stuck around. After all, he had aces.

The turn was the 7, and Acosta check-called a bet of 6,000 from Aiello. Then after the 3 river, Acosta checked again, and Aiello pushed all-in.

Acosta thought. And thought. As one would do with aces. It’s a hard hand to fold.

But fold he did, and while Aiello never showed, he insisted he had aces easily beaten and would’ve liked a call. In any case, Aiello is up around 34,000 while Acosta preserved his 18,000. –MH

3:06pm: Azizoghli gives up on the river
Level 4 – Blinds 150/300 (25)

By the turn of a 2862 board a pot of some 10,000 had been created. Payman Azizoghli bet 3,200, Justin Chmielarz called, and the button folded.

On the 5 river Azizoghli thought for about 15 seconds before checking and Chmielarz checked behind. Azizoghli opened A3 for ace-high, while Chmielarz had 99. He’s up to 49,000 as a result. –NW

3:00pm: How to get the clock called on you
Level 4 – Blinds 150/300 (25)

So, it’s been a long time since you had the clock called on you. You’re bored. You’re feeling unnoticed. You want the Tournament Director to take you to the verrrrrrrrry…brink of killing your hand before you make a decision. What do you do?

We have the answer in the form of a hand Christopher Choy just played with Alex Foxon.

We picked it up in the middle of a raising war. Foxon was UTG+1. Choy was on the button. By the time the dealer burned the first card, both players had committed around 7,600 to the pot.

The flop came out 4J4, and Foxon led for 6,200. Choy thought for a little bit before making the call.

On the K turn, Foxon didn’t wait long before pushing out enough chips to put Choy all-in — somewhere in the neighborhood of an effective 25,000.

That’s when Choy tanked. He stared woefully at the board, counted his chips, apologized to his opponents, and eventually promised he’d make a decision “in just about another minute.”

They gave him just that long, but when the 60 seconds had passed, somebody called the floor for a clock. Within a minute or so, the floor had arrived and put Choy on the clock. Choy took every second of his last minute of deliberation. With 0.5 seconds left on the TD’s countdown, Choy let a small noise escape his mouth and weakly pushed his cards toward the dealer. –BW

2:51pm: Stover runs into the nuts
Level 3 – Blinds 100-200 (25 ante)

With a bet of 850 on the felt, along with a 9KJ flop, John Mirkovich check-raised to 5,000, or at least part of it, as there was a single blue 5K chip in front of his cards.

The action was then on Elena Stover. She moved all-in for 17,575, the original bettor got out the way, and Mirkovich snap-called all-in for about 13,000.

“I think we have the same hand,” he said, showing Q10. Indeed they did as Stover showed Q10. There was a backdoor diamond draw, for Mirkovich but the 6 turn ensured the pot would be chopped. –NW

2:45pm: But how good does he think he is?
Level 4 – Blinds 150/300 (50)

Many players in the field have been discussing how new WSOP main event Qui Nguyen played at the final table last night, but one group is much more interested in how he thinks he played.

The table boasting Nachman Berlin, Jennifer Shahade, Mike Gagliano, Vinny Pahuja, and others has been discussing the new champ and just how much the poker world will see of him in the future.

Some, like Gagliano, think by this time next year, Nguyen could very well be off the face of the poker planet. Berlin, on the other hand, expects to see him in every big buy-in tournament for the next couple of years.

“He thinks he is great now,” Berlin explained. “In his mind, he’s the best player in the world.”

The rest of the table fell a little more in the middle when it came to an opinion on Nguyen, which led to the compelling question: Would Nguyen play a $100,000 buy-in event sometime in the next three months?

Gagliano predictably said no, Berlin took yes, and Shahade could only posture, “that is a very interesting question.” –JW

2:35pm: Jennifer Shahade’s fast start
Level 4 – Blinds 150/300 (50)

Jennifer Shahade, who recently joined the field, raised to 800 from middle position, Paul Scaturro called in the cutoff, and the player on the button called.

The trio saw a flop of QQ8 and they all elected to check. The turn was the 2. Shahade bet 2,000, Scaturro called, and the player on the button folded.

The river was the J. Shahade bet 3,500. Scaturro mulled it over for nearly two minutes before calling and mucking when Shahade showed AA. –JW

PokerStars MindSports Ambassador Jennifer Shahade_2016 PSNJ Festival_Main Event Day 1B_Giron_8JG5080.jpg

Ready, set… Shahade!

2:30pm: Seat for (nearly) two, please
Level 4 – Blinds 150/300 (50)

PokerStars Mind Sports ambassador Jennifer Shahade has taken her seat here in the Main Event. She does so just two months short of the due date for her first child. Not too long ago, we asked her how, if at all, her pregnancy had affected her poker game.

“About half the stuff I read about pregnancy was completely wrong for me, and it’s hard to anticipate how I’d feel and how much travel/poker I’d wanna do,” she said. “I always like to focus on the positive though, because I think if everyone says pregnant women are emotional and exhausted and throwing up/peeing all the time, it becomes even more of a reality than it may actually be, because it’s dramatic and colorful and fits in with some old-fashioned attitudes toward motherhood and women. Overall, I’ve found myself more stable and generally happy since pregnancy especially in regard to poker.”

With that in mind, she’s here and ready to play. What’s more, she’s hosting a pretty cool chess and poker event this weekend. You can read about that here. –BW

4 150 300 50

2:22pm: Lew hurts Hurtado
Level 3 – Blinds 100/200 (25)

It’s funny how often in a poker hand that the guy who starts it all off plays the most insignificant part in the hand. In this case, it was Tyson Apostol who played that role. He raised to 500, Randy Lew flat-called, Gabriel Gonzalo Diaz Hurtado three-bet to 1,700, and Lew was the only caller as Apostol stepped aside.

On the K3A flop, Diaz Hurtado c-bet 1,900, Lew check-raised to 4,500, and Diaz Hurtado made the call. On the 5 turn a bet of 6,800 from Lew was called, then the 6 completed the board. After a few seconds, Lew moved all-in — it was an effective 17,400 as he was the covering stack. It took Diaz Hurtdao a couple of minutes to make his decision, but he settled on a fold and Lew took the pot.

He’s up to around 46,000 as a result of that hand. –NW

2:17pm: Kevin Martin is here
Level 3 – Blinds 100/200 (25)

Team PokerStars Online Pro Kevin Martin wasted no time making his presence known in the field.

Pokerstars Team Online Kevin Martin_2016 PSNJ Festival_Main Event Day 1B_Giron_8JG5047.jpg

Martin makes a reraise

Dan Sewnig raised to 500 from middle position, the player in the hijack called, and Martin reraised to 1,450 from the cutoff. Both of his opponents called, then the flop fell AAQ. Action checked to Martin, he bet 2,000, and that was enough to take down the pot. –JW

2:09pm: This hand is PG-13. Parental guidance suggested.
Level 3 – Blinds 100/200 (25)

The board read 45AJ. Stephen Gepp had pushed all-in. Anthony Garofalo came all-in behind him.

Jose Serratos started with the easy words.


He then moved on to others, none of which we can print. He went through three or four different ones, before peeling up his hands to look at his cards again. He had 109 for the flopped flush.

Ahead of him sat approximately 55,000 in all-in bets, in addition to what was already in the pot. Serratos was nonplussed. And profane.

Before long, his consideration forced him out of his seat. He picked up his cards and began waving them around. His intention didn’t seem to be to pick up any tells. It was almost as if they were stuck to his fingers and he was trying to shake them off.

He pulled his phone out of his pocket and opened the camera app on it, perhaps to record this moment, the one that might define his entire tournament.

“I’m so bad,” he said for all to hear.

Finally, he shook the cards off his hands and muttered, “I’m folding.”

His opponents’ hands went on their backs.

Gepp: A5 — a flopped two pair
Garofalo: 76 — a smaller flopped flush

Serratos’ obscene soliloquy continued as he looked across to Garofalo. “[Gepp] saved you, bro. He wasn’t even supposed to be in here. He saved you for sure.”

Garofalo conceded the fact. Gepp’s all-in had likely saved him.

Serratos watched the big pot get pushed Garofalo’s way, and muttered one last time, “Un…believable.” (Or, something like that, but a little more profane.) –BW

Jose Serratos_2016 PSNJ Festival_Main Event Day 1B_Giron_8JG4991 (1).jpg

Serratos, allowed to steam

2pm: Tyson Apostol tries to outwit, outsmart, outlast Randy Lew
Level 3 – Blinds 100/200

The player under the gun raised to 450, Tyson Apostol of Survivor fame called behind him, the player in the hijack called, and Randy Lew made it 2,500 to play from the cutoff. Apostol quickly called. The other players folded.

The flop fell 765 and Apostol checked. Lew bet 2,150, Apostol quickly folded, and Lew took the pot. Not long after sitting down, Apostol is down to 14,500. –JW

Tyson Apostol_2016 PSNJ Festival_Main Event Day 1B_Giron_8JG5033.jpg

Apostol, in a different kind of obstacle course

1:55pm: Ante up Randy
Level 3 – Blinds 100-200 (25 ante)

A decent start for Randy Lew who is up to around 31,000 here in New Jersey. What’s most noticeable about his stack though is that he’s got around 40 of the T25 chips in his stack. Each one of those chips represents an ante, so it appears as if Lew’s won a few pots this level. –NW

Team PokerStars Pro Randy Lew_2016 PSNJ Festival_Main Event Day 1B_Giron_8JG5022.jpg

Randy is coming for your ante

1:49pm: Survive this…
Level 3 – Blinds 100/200 (25)

Hey, Survivor fans. Heads-up. Your people are here.

One of the new entries to Day 1B of the Main Event includes Tyson Apostol.

Apostol, a former pro cyclist turned reality TV star, won a million bucks on Survivor and has since been a familiar face among Jason Somerville’s Run It Up crew.

We’ve also seen another $1 million Survivor winner, Boston Rob Mariano, milling around Resorts, and we hear he’ll be showing up a little bit later today to play the Main Event. –BW

1:45pm: The show one game
Level 3 – Blinds 100/200 (25)

There was heavy action on the 3810 flop between Payman Azizoghli and Pasquale Caruso. It was Azizoghli who was first to act when he checked. Caruso then bet 2,000, Azizoghli check-raised to 5,000 total, and Caruso made the call, leaving himself with about 9,200 back.

The J fell on the turn and Azizoghli looked at Caruso and smiled. He sat aside a stack of 9,000 and then contemplated his next move for a while. Eventually he settled on betting, and pushed out the stack. “You have queens?” asked Caruso to Azizoghli, who didn’t reply.

A few seconds passed and Caruso mucked. “Show me one,” he asked. His opponent obliged and asked Caruso to pick one, with that decision made Azizoghli showed the A as he took the pot. –NW

1:38pm: Ari Engel Eliminated
Level 3 – Blinds 100/200 (25)

Ari Engel raised to 525 from the cutoff and Daniel Sewnig reraised to 1,300 behind him. Action moved back around to Engel, who tossed his remaining 1,000 chips in the pot, four-betting to 7,525 and leavin just small chips behind. Sewnig reraised all in and Engel called.

Engel turned over A10 and Sewnig was out front with KK. The Q3244 board was no help to Engel, who was eliminated early in Level 3. Sewnig is up to 45,000. –JW

Ari Engel_2016 PSNJ Festival_Main Event Day 1B_Giron_8JG4985 (1).jpg


1:28pm: Govindaiah beats Bees with A’s
Level 3 – Blinds 100/200 (25)

Likith Govindaiah opened for 500 from early position and got a single caller in Michael Bees playing from the cutoff.

Govindaiah continued for 600 after the 796 flop and Bees called. The turn was the 6 and Govindaiah fired another 1,000, and Bees stuck around again.

The river was the 6, putting a devilish-looking trips on the board, and Govindaiah tossed out a blue chip saying he was betting 3,500. Bees eyed Govindaiah suspiciously before calling, but Govindaiah had the goods, showing AA, and Bees mucked.

Govindaiah climbs back to around 16,000 while Bees is playing 20,000. –MH

3 100 200 25

1pm: Break time

With the end of the second level, players are off on their first 20-minute break of the day. –MH

Stacking Chips_2016 PSNJ Festival_Main Event Day 1B_Giron_8JG5020.jpg

The Festival continues

12:58pm: One for Lango
Level 2 – Blinds 75/150

David Inselberg raised to 400 from early position, Sean Lango then three-bet to 1,200 from the button, Andrew Fleming cold-called from the small blind, and Inselberg called the extra as well.

On the K82 flop, Lango c-bet 1,500 and Fleming was the only caller. A bet of 3,500 from Lango on the 7 turn was also called, but Fleming folded after the Q river when Lango moved all-in for 7,850, showing a K as he did. “Nice bet,” he said and Lango took the pot. –NW

12:54pm: Everyone loves a chopped pot… wait, this is stupid
Level 2 – Blinds 75/150

In his own defense, Gerald Aiello said, “I DID raise it.”

Nevertheless, on a board consisting of two deuces, two kings, and one three, the pot was a three-way chop.

And not for the reason you’re thinking.

No, not one of them had an ace.

The three hands in the pot:


“And none of us bet,” said one of the three, “like a bunch of…”

Well, you can fill in the rest. –BW

12:48pm: Mike Gagliano vs. Nachman Berlin
Level 2 – Blinds 75/150

Mike Gagliano raised to 400 from early position, Nachman Berlin called in the hijack, the small blind called, and Paul Scaturro defended the big blind.

The flop fell 862 and action checked to Berlin, who bet 775. The blinds got out of the way, then Gagliano called.

The two players checked the 7 on the turn, then the river brought the Q. Gagliano bet 2,100 and, after over a minute of deliberation, Berlin called.

Gagliano showed AJ for ace-high. Berlin bested him with 97 for a pair of nines to take the pot. –JW

12:37pm: No, this is not a re-entry
Level 2 – Blinds 75/150

Bradley Snider knows this tournament is not a re-entry event. He now has double the starting stack, in part, perhaps, due to the fact that his most recent opponent hadn’t bothered to confirm the tourney structure one way or the other. Maybe. It’s really hard to say.

The only clear things here:

1) Snider flopped two pair with KQ
2) He got all his chips in the middle. 
3) His opponent had a jack and ten for the open-ender, and didn’t hit his draw. 
4) It was a 50,000-chip pot at the 150 big blind level.  
5) His opponent stood, said, “This isn’t a re-entry, right?”
6) He left before anyone could get his name.

The point here is, Snider is now among the chip leaders and won’t have to worry about the fact he cannot re-enter the Main Event. –BW

12:35pm: Just the one table today
Level 2 – Blinds 75/150

Team Pro Online’s Randy “nanonoko” Lew is used to playing many tables at once, but today he’s settling for just one, the Main Event. He’s just taken his seat here and folded the first hand he got dealt. –NW

12:25pm: David Levitch doubles through Ari Engel
Level 2 – Blinds 75-150

There was more than 9,000 in the pot by the time David Levitch and Ari Engel reached the river of a 38Q22 board.

It was Levitch who was first to act, and he threw out a single blue chip. “Bet of five thousand,” said the dealer as Engel considered his action. A few seconds passed and Engel then raised to 15,500, which was almost enough to set Levtich all-in, and it didn’t take Levtich too long to decide that’s what he was going to do.

His all-in bet was 17,075, Angel called the extra and showed KK for an overpair to the board. However, Levtich had him beat with 88 for a full house. He’s up to around 43,000 while Engel drops to 5,300. –NW

12:20pm: Big decisions early
Level 2 – Blinds 75/150

With the proliferation of re-entry tournaments in the US, particularly in the Northeast, the freezeout is a change of pace for players who may not be used to making decisions which could leave them on the outside looking in with nothing to do about it just a couple of hours into the tournament.

Tournament Area_2016 PSNJ Festival_Main Event Day 1B_Giron_7JG9807.jpg

Day 1B action

That might explain why, when facing an all-in bet for 13,300 from Shawn Dullavin worth roughly the size of the pot, Sean O’Callaghan stared at the J5292 board for several minutes before calling with AJ.

Dullavin had him bested with QQ and doubled, but O’Callaghan still has time to turn things around, as he was left with around 4,000. –JW

12:08pm: New Jersey royalty arrives
Level 2 – Blinds 75/150

Though he refuses the title we have tried many times to bestow upon him, the King of New Jersey Poker has joined us here on Day 1B of the Main Event.

Dan Sewnig was the very first person to win a live event associated with PokerStars here in New Jersey. That happened last spring when he won Jason Somerville’s Run It Up Resorts Rumble on PokerStarsNJ.

Then, a few weeks back, Sewnig was also the very first person to win a seat to this PokerStars Festival.

Daniel Sewnig_2016 PSNJ Festival_Main Event Day 1B_Giron_8JG5010.jpg

King Senwig

We are still a few days away from determining who will win this first Main Event, but if Sewnig gets anywhere close, we’re putting a crown on him before he leaves Resorts this week. –BW

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11:58am: We have a double
Level 1 – Blinds 50/100

There was around 2,000 in the pot and the board read Q65 when Anthony Garofalo bet 1,000 from the button and Travis Glynn check-raised all in for 8,400 total. Garofalo called with AJ for the nut flush draw. Glynn held 66 for middle set.

Glynn’s hand held on the 7 turn and 2 river and he doubled up to move back towards starting stack.–JW

11:55am: Glynn gets some back
Level 1 – Blinds 50/100

Gerald Aiello limped from under the gun and Travis Glynn, who was to his immediate left, min-raised to 200. Glynn had taken an early hit and was down to just 6,000 at his point. The action passed to Jose Serratos, he made it 550, and both opponents called.

On the 39Q flop it was checked to Serratos and he bet 700. Neither opponent budged and all three saw the 2 fall on the turn. They all checked and the 8 completed the board. Aiello checked, Glynn bet 2,000 and both players folded. Pot to Glynn. –NW

11:53am: Players continue to arrive
Level 1 – Blinds 50/100

As the first level of the day nears its end more players keep arriving, with nearly 70 in action so far. Dealers at nearby tables are at the ready as new tables open up.

Tournament Prep_2016 PSNJ Festival_Main Event Day 1B_Giron_7JG9793.jpg

Bring it

Late registration lasts through the start of Level 7 (after the dinner break). –MH 

11:53am: Another one for Souza
Level 1 – Blinds 50/100

With 1,400 in the middle already the dealer fanned a J6J flop. Bartley Downling checked from the big blind, Agenor Souza bet 600, and Joseph Sanfilippo was the only caller. On the 2 turn Souza fired again — this time the bet was 1,400 and again Sanfilippo stuck around.

The 2 fell on fifth street and Souza emptied the clip betting 4,000 this time. A brief dwell from Sanfilippo was followed by a call and Souza showed AJ to win the hand. He’s up to 35,000, while Sanfilippo drops to 18,500. –NW

11:48am: Souza calls, collects
Level 1 – Blinds 50/100

It began with a limpede. Robert Marsh started it from under the gun, Agenor Souza called from the next seat over, then Christopher Choy completed from the small blind. Joseph Sanfilippo decided to buck the trend, though, by raising to 625 from the big blind, with Marsh and Souza calling and Choy stepping aside.

The flop came 5Q3, and Sanfilippo’s c-bet of 1,025 was called by both of his opponents. The A turn earned another bet of 1,500 from Sanfilippo, again called by both Marsh and Souza.

With the J river, Sanfilippo fired 2,000 and Marsh decided to step out of the way. Souza called, though, and when Sanfilippo showed A2 for aces Souza said “two pair” as he tabled QJ. –MH

11:42am: Ari Engel loses one
Level 1 – Blinds 50/100

Ari Engel has been doing what he tends to do in tournaments. Sitting up straight, arms propped on the rail, he makes polite conversation with his tablemates as he unceremoniously rakes in pot after pot uncontested. It seemed like Engel couldn’t lose, but Daniel Sewnig fought back.

David Levitch raised to 250 from middle position and, once again, Engel reraised, making it 800 to go from the cutoff. Sewnig called behind him and Levitch came along as well.

The flop fell A52 and the trio checked. The turn brought the J. Levitch and Engel checked again, then Sewnig bet 1,225. Levitch folded and Engel called.

The river paired the board with the A. Engel checked and Sewnig bet 3,200. For the first time all morning, Engel sat back in his seat. His arms came off the table. He shuffled chips, he muttered to himself and, unlike most other hands that Engel took to a flop so far, he elected to fold.

He is not too worse for the wear though. Engel is still above where he started, sitting on 29,000.–JW

11:34am: You bet? I call
Level 1 – Blinds 50/100

John Mirkovich opened for 300 from the button, and Robert Huber sitting in the small blind to his left called the raise. Huber then check-called successive bets from Mirkovich on all three postflop streets, acting quickly each time, calling for 225 on the 5A9 flop, 1,500 on the Q turn, and 2,000 on the 5 river.

That river helped Huber, as his A2 had been outkicked the whole way until then by Mirkovich’s A10, but the pair on the board plus the overcard to both players’ kickers meant a chop. –MH

11:24am: The other Main Event
Level 1 – Blinds 50/100

A common topic of conversation at the tables this morning, unsurprisingly, is the conclusion of that other Main Event — the WSOP — which actually only ended a few hours ago in Las Vegas.

Players are recounting hands and in some cases their experiences playing with some of those who made this year’s WSOP final table. At one table Gerald Aiello is mentioning how he’s played with eighth-place finisher Jerry Wong. Meanwhile at a neighboring table a player is telling the table “that guy who won… played with him all the time at the Bellagio,” alluding to champion Qui Nguyen.

Whether playing for millions or matchsticks, it’s all one big game, really. –MH

11:20am: Aymerich in the thick of the action
Level 1 – Blinds 50/100

There was no time for Mathieu Aymerich to feel his way into this poker tournament as in the opening orbit he was involved in two significant pots. He lost the first of those to James D’Agostino when the latter made top pair on a king high board.

In the second Robert Marsh opened to 250 and Aymerich called. On the 925 flop Aymerich check-called a bet of 275 and the Q landed on the turn. That slowed the action down with both players checking. On the 5 river Aymerich led for 1,125, Marsh couldn’t quite see how much Aymerich had bet, but once he had he made the call, but mucked when Aymerich showed Q9 for two pair. –NW

11:05am: Engel-ing for more
Level 1 – Blinds 50/100

There are a number of short-handed tables in play here at the start. On a first pass through we recognize Ari Engel among those who made it on time today.

Engel is looking to add yet another accolade to an extensive career résumé including nearly $4 million in career earnings. This year alone he has a victory in the 2016 Aussie Millions Main Event, good for AU$1.6 million (or about $1.12 million USD), victories on the WSOP Circuit and at the Seminole Hard Rock, plus nearly three dozen other cashes at the WSOP, on the EPT, and elsewhere.

Engel has gotten things started right away today, three-betting from the button following a cutoff raise from Tom Pschar, then taking down a pot with a flop continuation bet. –MH

11:00am: Day 1B play underway
Level 1 – Blinds 50/100

After 81 players turned into 25 on Day 1A, the PokerStars Festival New Jersey Main Event Day 1B flight is underway. Stay here for live coverage and updates all day long.

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PokerStars Festival New Jersey live reporting team: Martin Harris, Jessica Welman, Nick Wright, and Brad Willis. Photography by Joe Giron.

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