Chips. Position. Cards. All matter in no-limit hold’em tourneys — three tools of the trade, so to speak — though none to the exclusion of the other two.
The big stacks were in bullying mode to start the PCA Main Event’s final day, using leverage provided by the ability to eliminate their opponents to increase their advantage still more.
Chip leader Chance Kornuth double-barreled with eight-high versus Diego Ventura, pushing the Peruvian off his better hand. Then preflop aggression from Kevin Schulz with king-queen in a multi-way hand enabled him to make Juan Martin Pastor fold ace-queen.
The trend continued thereafter as Schulz (holding king-eight) pushed Pastor (with ace-deuce) off a hand.
Later a button raise by Kornuth with 7♣5♦ was called by Ventura in the big blind with A♠Q♣, and the flop came to order for the latter — J♦10♦K♠. Both checked that flop and then the 10♥, too, then a K♦ river double-paired the board, causing Ventura to check a third time.
At that Kornuth made a half-pot stab, and Ventura called. “I play the board,” said Kornuth, and while Ventura had better, being out of position the Peruvian’s profit was petite.
Meanwhile Rami Boukai began the day as the short stack. For him, necessarily, the cards mattered most.
An all-in by Boukai with ace-king early went uncalled. Then Boukai risked his sub-12 big blind short stack with pocket treys versus the ace-queen of Hambitzer. An ace came among the community cards, and Boukai busted in sixth.
Even with five better-paying spots to go, Boukai’s cash of $285,740 still exceeded his career-best score of $244,862 earned when winning a WSOP bracelet ($5K PLO/PLH) in 2009.
Schulz and Kornuth continue to enjoy the most chips. But the advantage of position will be evenly shared by the remaining five. And the cards continue to provide the unknowable variable.
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Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.