Lesson #1: Never count out the underdog.
It took just one day and five heads-up matches for that lesson to ring true. The PokerStars All Star Week Challengers came out of the gates with guns set on auto and the word victory on their tongue. When the day was over, the All Star Challengers had taken down four of the five matches against Team PokerStars Pro.
Match #1 saw Team Pro's Victoria Coren up against Challenger Sumpas. In a no-limit hold'em match that took two hours to play, Coren and Sumpas traded jabs and the chip lead like two foes fighting to the death.
In early action Supas had Coren down to 2800 of her original 5,000 stack. It might have been a rogue phone call that set her off her game. At one point, Coren remarked, "My mum's off the phone, I can concentrate again." She then went to work. It took her more than 100 more hands, but she eventually clawed her way back to the lead. The two opponents sparred back and forth for a bit before Coren bluffed at the wrong time and fell back to under the 3,000 mark. Though she fought hard over the next 60 hands, she couldn't recover.
When it all but over, Coren remarked, "What a game," and put her last chips in.
When the ultimate hand began, Sumpas had Coren outchipped 7625 to 2375. At the 40/80 level, Coren raised the pot to 200 and Supas re-raised to 640. Coren called and they saw a flop of 5♣ 5♦ 3♦. Sumpas bet out 640 and Coren raised all-in. Sumpas called with Q♦ Q♠. Coren was ahead with her 9♠ 5♠ but Sumpas spiked his Q♥ on the turn and that was that.
Lee Nelson's match against against kAmIkAdZeEe was considerably shorter, but still lasted more than an hour. The crippling hand of the match saw kAmIkAdZeEe make Broadway with his A♦ K♣ on a Q♣ J♥ 6♥ 2♠ T♦ board. Nelson never recovered and kAmIkAdZeEe scored another victory for the All Star Challengers.
Although Chad Brown is a fiercely tough opponent in the game of Stud (no one really wanted to play the guy), Bookie1978 drew the job and put Brown down. It took two hours of Seven Card Stud action, but Bookie1978's line was unbeatable.
It took until the fourth match for Team PokerStars Pro to get its first foothold. In the second shortest match of the day, Isabelle "NoMercy" Mercier took it down in just 61 hands. By hand 47, Mercier had ground PKerBL down to fewer than 1,500 chips. The most significant hand had Mercier making a full house with 6♣ 9♣ on a 4♦ 8♠ 6♦ 9♠ 6♥ board. After calling a bet on the flop with second pair, she got in a raise on the turn and a big bet on the river to take a massive chip lead that she never gave up. Finally, score one for the Pros.
That brought us to the final match of the day: Dennis Phillips versus bluffblocker. The match took all of three hands. Phillips was down a few chips from his starting stack and called a min-raise pre-flop. The opponents saw the first three cards: 4♦ 9♥ 5♦. Phillips checked-raised the flop and got re-raised. Phillips raised again, and this time bluffblocker just called. Phillips led on the Q♠ turn and bluffblocker moved all-in. Phillips called to see bluffblocker's 5♠ 4♠ for a flopped two pair. Phillips only held 9♦ K♥. The river blanked and the three-handed match was over.
That ended the action on Day 1 with the All Star Challengers ahead of Team PokerStars Pro 4-1.
While Team PokerStars Pro might have gotten off to a rough start on Day 1, it still has its chance to come back for the win. Be sure to tune in Tuesday when Team PokerStars Pro comes back to avenge Day 1 and tries to get a piece of the $5,000 in prize money up for grabs.
12:00 -- Katja Thater Vs oblowski512
14:00 -- Marcin Horecki Vs kAmIkAdZeEe
16:00 -- Noah Boeken Vs Canuck
18:00 -- Alex Kravchenko Vs VOLCANO360
20:00 -- JC Alvarado Vs 666 INRI
You can find the matches under EVENTS -- SPECIAL in the PokerStars Tournament lobby.
Good luck to all the players.