About an hour and five-five minutes ago, 12 players remained in the Main Event. Everyone in the media was dreaming of an early evening with a meal and some drinks in Parque Lleras, the hip neighborhood of Medellin.
The short stacks laughed at that dream.
Precisely two players have been eliminated in that time. Matias Menendez had been on the edge a few times, including once when he was all in with pocket kings against Weider Gutierrez’s 4♥7♥. Gutierrez flopped a straight flush draw but didn’t get there.
Still, Menendez’s luck couldn’t hold forever, and it didn’t. He was crippled by Juan Manual Pastor in a battle of dueling medium aces, then taken behind the shed and sent off to his next tournament life by Pablo Luzardo.
Luzardo, by the way, is the closest thing the tournament has to a chip leader. He’s sitting behind about 1.65 million in chips, chewing on the same plastic straw that he’s been chewing on for the last three days (or so it seems). His stack represents 55 big blinds.
That’s the issue the remaining 10 players are now facing. Because they’ve done such a good chip spreading the chips around – nobody has fewer than 15 big blinds and only Luzardo has more than 40 big blinds – no one is driving the action. It doesn’t help that the short stacks seems to be winning more than their share of all in battles.
Consider a recent hand between then-short-stacked Miguel Moscoco and Angel Guillen. Moscoso open-shoved for 336,000 with A♦10♠ and ran into Guillen’s pocket kings. An ace from space on the river doubled Moscoso up to about 700,000 and left Guillen as the outer table’s short stack with around 500,000.
The upshot of all this is that the tournament is likely to reach the 60-minute dinner break at the end of this level well short of the required eight players for tomorrow’s final table. That means they’ll have an hour to stew about all of the various beats that have taken place this afternoon.
Team PokerStars Pro Cristian “El Grillo” de Leon may want one back. After doubling up earlier with aces against ace-king, Grillo found himself with aces against ace-king a second time. Alejandro Arrubarrena let out an audible sigh when he saw Grillo’s red aces, then tabled his own A♠K♠.
“You have to win that one every time, right?” Grillo later told me.
Apparently not. Arrubarrena flopped a royal flush draw, 6♠Q♠10♥, giving Grillo much more of a sweat than I’m sure he would have preferred. The turn was a blank but the river was a spade to double up Arrubarrena. Grillo’s stack has bounced a bit since — he was short for a while after doubling up Arrubarrena — but now finds himself with about a million as the field goes to dinner.
Yesterday I wrote about how the wait between getting all in and seeing the board can seem interminable. Tonight I think most of the 10 players are going to find the hour-long dinner break to be an eternity.
Dave Behr is a freelance contributor to the PokerStars Blog.
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