Crown Poker Tournament Director Joel Williams just took over the microphone to make an announcement to the room.
“Players, we are one table from the money. That means our ‘First Card off the Deck’ rule and ‘No Headphones’ rule are now both in play,” announced Williams.
Only problem was that with 81 players remaining, we were actually still two tables from the money. A fact quickly pointed out by Joe Hachem.
“I’ve just been corrected by the 2005 World Champion Joe Hachem. We’re actually still two tables off the money,” added Williams. “So put your headphones back in and sit anywhere you like!”
The warning might have been a little premature but it was a good reminder for players of the rule changes here at Crown as the money approaches. The famous “First Card off the Deck” rule caused plenty of heated debate worldwide last year, but it’s pretty well implemented here at Crown.
During the early stages of the tournament, players only have to be in their seats when the last card is dealt for their hands to be live, but when we’re on the bubble, or in the money, they must be seated when the first card comes off. It’s a really useful way to apply the rule. There’s no need for overly-strict interpretations early in the tournament, but when things get serious, and staff need room to move around between tables on the bubble, it’s important to keep players seated rather than wandering around getting in the way.
It looks like we won’t quite reach the money before the abbreviated dinner break. It’s not really a full dinner break, despite a full nine levels being played today, but the next break will be a slightly longer twenty minutes to give everyone a chance to grab a bite to eat.
It’s been a rather eventful end to the level as we’ve seen the fortunes of our two highest-profile players take a nosedive just short of the cash.
Team PokerStars Pro Bryan Huang’s rollercoaster ride has come to an end. After being one of the tournament chip leaders earlier in the day, Huang moved to a new table and lost a chunk of his empire with a big bluff. Huang fired three barrels of fury on a 7♣Q♣5♦9♥8♣ board holding just 4♦2♦ for air, but he was never shaking Corey Kempson from his K♣J♣ flush.
Moments later Huang four-bet jammed his last chips with K♥Q♥ but ran smack bang into Vincent Chua’s pocket aces. There was no help for Huang and his tournament was over.
Also missing the money is 2005 World Champion Joe Hachem. He was battling a short stack for the entire day, but was unable to reach his first career ANZPT cash, eliminated just a few moments ago.
After dinner, we’ll be just moments away from the bubble, so we hope our players get plenty to eat. Otherwise there could be a few nervous stomachs after the break.
Heath “TassieDevil” Chick is a Freelance Contributor for the PokerStars Blog.