Maxim Lobzhanidze finished Day 1A of the 2013 PCA main event with the chip lead (248,900), one of more than 150 left out of the 320 who started the day.
Scott Seiver triumphed over the $100,000 Super High Roller final table, the only person there who could overcome David "Doc" Sands' gigantic chip lead.
The first major Open-Face Chinese Poker tournament drew 59 entries in its first running and was a surprising highlight of the day.
I get all of that out of the way in the first three sentences, because, simply put: I've never seen a day at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure quite like this one. This is my ninth consecutive PCA, and this one had the PokerStars Blog team running like none before. Folks probably haven't felt this busy since Lee Jones boarded the boat at the first PCA in 2004. This festival has grown to the point that the PokerStars Blog team could have two dozen people working at once and still not see everything that needs to be seen.
Let's set the stage.
Day 1A is always the smaller day of the PCA, so the 320-strong crowd in the first flight of the main event was not a big surprise. It was a field full of faces we have seen at the top of the game. It was also a fine time for the legion of virtual freerollers who are here on vacation and getting to play the tournament for free. It clears the path for what will almost certainly be a gigantic field on Day 1B.
Maxim Lobzhanidze used the day to his advantage. The man from Italy (who to this point has one lifetime tournament cash in Sanremo for $8,000) turned his 30,000 starting stack into nearly a quarter million, the chip lead, and a great day off while the Day 1B runners fight it out tomorrow.
Also heading to Day 2 tonight are Team PokerStars Pros Ville Wahlbeck, Luca Pagano, George Danzer, and Joe Cada. Not too far away is PokerStars SportStar Fatima Moreira de Melo who is still in contention for the PokerStars PCA Last Longer promotion.
We will have a full chip count on our PCA main event live reporting page as soon as it is made available by the tournament staff.
If you do click over to that page, you will see PokerStars flag-bearers Juan Manuel Pastor, Jan Heitmann, Marcel Luske, Barry Greenstein, Lex Veldhuis, Marcin Horecki, Chad Brown, and Randy Lew didn't survive the day. Ordinarily that would be one of January's greatest poker tragedies. In this case, there is a full week of poker left to play and millions left to be won in the side events. Sure, there is nothing happy about busting the main, but life's been worse.
How so? Well, we've also been on top of the PCA side event action, where last year's main event champion John Dibella won the first title of the PCA season last night, and countless other events are already underway or planned for the week.
We also can't let the night pass without congratulating Danny Noseworthy for winning the Canada Cup this evening.
And after that? Well folks, we'll be frank...that's about all we have in us right now. Here's all the Day 1 live coverage if you want a nostalgic look back. If you want, a good read, check out the recap of Daniel Negreanu and Jason Somerville's Q&A on staking from this morning, and don't forget the upcoming lecture series schedule if you're around these parts. Barry Greenstein and Vanessa Selbst are on tap tomorrow.
With that, it's time to cool our jets before kicking in the afterburners tomorrow.
Good night from the city under the sea.
Brad Willis is the PokerStars Head of Blogging