PCA 2019: Tommy Nguyen leads tough final 20 after Day 3 of Main Event

January 14, 2019inEvents

Another six levels are in the books in the PCA 2019 Main Event, and they’ve taken us from 79 players down to 20, all of whom are still in the hunt for the $1.56M first-place prize. None of those remaining will be able to sleep tonight quite as comfortably as chip leader Tommy Nguyen though.

Nguyen wins the day

Nguyen was nearing the top of the counts for the last level, but went on a low-key tear once he sat down on the feature table. Without winning a gigantic pot, he was able to quietly chip his way up to the tournament’s biggest stack, ending the night with 2.7 million.

Just behind Nguyen at the top of the counts is Jeffrey Hakim, who had a day of poker he won’t forget in a hurry. At one point all-in, at risk, and behind with one card to come, Hakim hit a miracle two-outer to double up through Vicent Bosca. A little later he flopped top set with pocket aces, and when Felipe Pantoja rivered two pair all the money went in. Pantoja was out shortly after, and Hakim continued to accumulate, ending the night with 2.64 million.

Daniel Strelitz isn’t far behind either. He won one of the biggest pots of the tournament so far when both he and Aleksandr Gofman made full houses. With three sixes on board, Strelitz had sixes full with pocket kings in the hole. Gofman had ace-queen and when the river came a queen, there wasn’t much he could do. That took Strelitz up to 2.3 million, which would increase to 2.61 million when the bags were brought out.

“Who else is still in?” I hear you cry. Here’s a look at how the final 20 stack up heading into Day 4:

Name Country Status Chips
Tommy Nguyen Canada 2,705,000
Jeffrey Hakim Lebanon PokerStars qualifier 2,640,000
Daniel Strelitz USA 2,615,000
Matthias Eibinger Austria 2,485,000
Brian Altman USA PokerStars player 1,785,000
Matthew Berkey USA 1,570,000
David “Chino” Rheem USA 1,425,000
Mihai Manole Romania 1,325,000
Pavel Veksler Ukraine PokerStars player 1,320,000
Christoph Vogelsang Germany 1,240,000
Scott Wellenbach Canada PokerStars qualifier 1,135,000
Enrico Camosci Italy PokerStars player 1,050,000
Vicent Bosca Spain 965,000
Simon Deadman UK 750,000
Joao Simao Brazil PokerStars qualifier 725,000
Rajesh Vohra USA 585,000
Ami Barer Canada PokerStars qualifier 570,000
Badih Bounahra USA 400,000
Marc-Andre Ladouceur Canada 300,000
Danny Tang UK 245,000

As you can see, we’ve got two Super High Roller regulars remaining in the field in Christoph Vogelsang and Matthias Eibinger, the latter of whom won the €50K at EPT Prague for €653K only last month. While Vogelsang’s stack hovered around the 1.5 million mark from dinner break onwards, Eibinger’s was injected massively when he won a huge pot against Marc-Andre Ladoucer. After flopping trips and check-raising, Eibinger bet big on the turn and river and got paid off on both streets when his hand filled up.

Matthias Eibinger

The Americans are also well represented in high stakes cash grinder Matt Berkey, as well as Brian Altman and David “Chino” Rheem. Berkey doubled through Vogelsang in the last half hour of the day when he flopped a flush and Vogelsang flopped two pair.

Scott Wellenbach was the story for much of today. He’s a translator of Buddhist text from Sanskrit to Tibetan, plus a heck of a nice guy to boot, giving all the €61K he won for a 17th place finish in the 2017 PokerStars Championship Barcelona Main Event to charity. Wellenbach won a few huge pots before the dinner break to shoot up to the top of the counts. He couldn’t finish as strongly though, bagging up 1.13 million when the day was done.

But what of the big names at the beginning of the day? Well, France’s Pierre Calamusa was chip leader to kick things off, and he rode that stack deep into the evening. He’d fall before we got down to three tables though, moving all-in for around ten big blinds with second pair on the flop, and being called by Daniel Strelitz with top pair. Calamusa couldn’t improve, and fell in 25th.

Another deep run for Akkari

Finally, PokerStars Ambassadors Randy Lew and Andre Akkari both made deep runs. Lew fell in 43rd, while Akkari made it down to 24th, shoving with J♠T♠ and failing to best Chino Rheem’s A♠Q♠. Catch up on all of today’s coverage by scrolling down.

Action resumes at 12pm tomorrow, where we’ll be playing down from 20 to a final table of six. See you then. –JS


DAY 3 COVERAGE ARCHIVE

• ENTRIES: 20 of 865 (including 94 re-entries)
CHIP COUNTS | PAYOUTS | SEAT DRAW
WATCH THE POKERSTARS.TV LIVE STREAM
ALL PCA INFO | TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE
DOWNLOAD POKERSTARS | Follow @PokerStarsBlog on Twitter


12:10am: Ladouceur doubles on last hand of the night
Level 22 – Blinds 10,000/20,000 (BB ante 20,000)

Marc-Andre Ladouceur had been hanging on with the shrotest stack for a while, but he built it up a bit more on the night’s final hand. He moved in for 130,000 in the small blind over the top of Matt Berkey’s 40,000 hijack raise and Berkey called.

Berkey: 8♣6♣
Ladouceur: A♣5♥

The 2♥3♦3♥3♣Q♥ board kept Ladouceur ahead. He finishes the day with 300,000. –JK

12:05am: Eibinger tops Berkey’s kings
Level 22 – Blinds 10,000/20,000 (BB ante 20,000)

With about 10 minutes to go in the night, Matthias Eibinger raised to 40,000 from the cutoff, David Rheem called from the small blind, then Matt Berkey made it 175,000 to go from the big blind. Both Eibinger and Rheem called the reraise.

The trio saw the flop come A♠2♥J♣ and it checked to Eibinger who bet 140,000. Rheem folded, but Berkey called. Berkey then check-called another 225,000 bet from Eibinger after the Q♥ turn. The two players, both acting with deliberation, then checked the 9♦ river.

Eibinger tabled A♦3♦ for aces, and Berkey tapped the table saying “good hand” as he showed K♦K♥.

Eibinger is back up to 2.45 million, while Berkey has 1.65 million with just a few hands to go. –MH

12am: Hakim beats Wellenbach
Level 22 – Blinds 10,000/20,000 (BB ante 20,000)

Jeff Hakim just took a decent chunk of Scott Wellenbach’s chips, although the latter might have lost a lot more if he had risked a hero call.

The hand began with Wellenbach opening the cutoff to 50,000 with 9♣T♣ and Hakim three-betting to 165,000 on the button with K♦Q♣. The blinds left them to it and they saw the Q♠T♦J♠ flop. They both checked.

The dealer put the 7♣ on the turn and Wellenbach check-called Hakim’s 175,000 bet. Then the 3♥ fell on the river.

That didn’t help Wellenbach and he check-folded to Hakim’s 350,000 bet. Hakim now has 2.8 million.– HS

11:55pm: Rheem rivers the boat, takes Eibinger for a ride
Level 22 – Blinds 10,000/20,000 (BB ante 20,000)

David “Chino” Rheem opened for 50,000 under the gun and Matthias Eibinger (big blind) was his lone caller. Eibinger check-called 65,000 on the K♠6♦T♦ flop before leading for 85,000 on the turn. Rheem called that bet and Eibinger slowed down on the 3♦ river, checking back to Rheem. Rheem thought for about 15 seconds before betting 230,000. Eibinger didn’t take long to call but mucked instantly when Rheem rolled over K♥T♠ for tens full of kings.

“This is the beauty of Chino,” tablemate Matt Berkey said as Rheem dragged the pot. “No matter how hard he tries, he can’t f— up. He could have a self-destruct button for his life and it wouldn’t work.”

Rheem started laughing. “This from a guy who’s never f—ed up in his life,” Rheem said.

“If you ever need help wedging that horseshoe deeper in your ass, let me know,” said Berkey.

Horseshoe and all, Rheem is now on 1.7 million to Eibinger’s 1.775 million. –JK

11:50pm: Berkey pickes off Simao
Level 22 – Blinds 10,000/20,000 (BB ante 20,000)

Matt Berkey raised to 55,000 from the small blind, then Matt Berkey made it 195,000 to go from the big blind. Berkey called, then both checked the T♠3♠J♠ flop.

The Q♥ turn brought a check from Berkey, and Simao bet 100,000. Berkey called. The 7♠ river completed the board and Berkey checked again. Simao bet 135,000 this time, and Berkey thought a while before calling.

Simao showed he’d been bluffing with 6♥2♥, and Berkey tabled Q♦8♦ for top pair to take the pot.

Berkey is up to 2.25 million now, while Simao slips to just over 500,000. –MH

11:45pm: Veksler takes from Rheem
Level 22 – Blinds 10,000/20,000 (BB ante 20,000)

As Matt Berkey was being moved to the other outer table in the seat next to David “Chino” Rheem, Pavel Veksler raised to 40,000 and Rheem called from the big blind.

Rheem check-called 30,000 after the 7♥K♥Q♣ flop, then check-called another 120,000 after the J♥ turn. The river was the K♦, Rheem checked, and Veksler fired another 240,000.

Rheem spent his last time bank card thinking about what to do. “I can only beat like ace-jack with the A♥ or something,” he said before finally folding. Veksler showed one card — the A♥ — and collected the pot.


Pavel Veksler gets the better of Chino Rheem


“You’re still here,” said Berkey to Rheem after the hand. “Nobody fights like you… fighting to every river.”

The two chatted as the next hand was dealt, with Rheem now at 1.3 million and Veksler at 1.1 million. –MH

11:40pm: Oliveira falls to Vogelsang
Level 22 – Blinds 10,000/20,000 (BB ante 20,000)

Action folded to the short stack of Felipe Oliveira on the button. He opened to 245,000, leaving himself just 45,000 behind.

Christoph Vogelsang was in the small blind, and his first instinct was to eye up the stack of the big blind, Enrico Camosci. He did so, then moved all-in over the top. Camosci quickly folded.

Back to Oliveira, he looked behind at the other table to see if there was any significant action. There wasn’t. He started laughing, then called. Vogelsang showed A♥J♦, and Oliveira didn’t want to show his hand. He let Vogelsang turn over one, the J♠, but wanted to keep the other a secret.


Filipe Oliveira: Busts close to the day’s end


Of course, the dealer didn’t allow it, and Oliveira revealed the K♥ too. The 7♥5♥6♣A♦Q♠ board gave Vogelsang top pair and the KO, taking him up to 1.35 million.

“Were you worried he had pocket jacks?” Brian Altman asked Vogelsang afterwards. “No, I don’t think so,” the German replied. –JS

11:35pm: Eibinger eliminates Gofman
Level 22 – Blinds 10,000/20,000 (BB ante 20,000)

Matthias Eibinger just picked up a healthy pot to move back into the top three chip counts and send Aleksandr Gofman on a long walk.

Eibinger called in the big blind after Pavel Veksler raised to 40,000 in the hijack and Aleksandr Gofman called in the small blind. Both Gofman and Eibinger checked the 7♦6♥2♥ flop to Veksler, who continued his line for 55,000.


Aleksandr Gofman: Can be seen no more


Then Gofman raised all-in for 460,000. As soon as the count was confirmed, Eibinger himself moved all-in, chasing Veksler from the pot to set up a showdown:

Eibinger: K♥9♥
Gofman: J♥T♥

The K♠ turn and Q♣ river did nothing to help Gofman, who is now collecting his payout. Eibinger, meanwhile, climbs to 2.15 million. –JK

11:30pm: Rheem chips up, Ladoucer and Tang sub 20 bigs
Level 22 – Blinds 10,000/20,000 (BB ante 20,000)

David “Chino” Rheem has the biggest stack at his table right now, and he’s putting it to good use, opening every chance he gets.

He made it 50,000 from the cutoff and Marc-Andre Ladoucer defended the big blind to bring a J♠Q♥9♣ flop. Rheem won it with a 65,000 c-bet.

Then he made it 50,000 from the hijack and it was Danny Tang’s turn to defend. Both checked the K♥8♥J♥ flop, and when Tang checked again on the 7♠ turn, Rheem made a delayed c-bet of 65,000 and took it down.

He’s up to 1.55 million now, while Ladoucer and Tang both have around 350,000. –JS

11:20pm: Berkey doubles through Vogelsang
Level 22 – Blinds 10,000/20,000 (BB ante 20,000)

It took 30 minutes of play on this level for the players on Table 3 to reach a showdown with more than a few big blinds in the pot. When they finally did, it was worth the wait.

The action folded around to Matt Berkey in the small blind and he raised to 55,000. Christoph Vogelsang was in the big blind and took 25 seconds before raising to 160,000. Berkey gave it a brief think and then called.

Berkey check-called 100,000 on the 9♠6♠K♠ flop and another 225,000 on the 3♥ turn, leaving himself 470,000 behind. He checked a final time on the A♦ river and left the decision to Vogelsang. The German used a time-bank card and eventually declared himself all-in.


Double for Matt Berkey


Berkey snapped off the snappiest of snap-calls and flipped up 7♠5♠ for the flopped spade flush, which had dodged Vogelsang’s full house outs with K♣9♣ to win the pot.

Vogelsang drops to 850,000. Berkey is now playing 1.85 million. –JK

11:15pm: Three sixes for Nguyen
Level 22 – Blinds 10,000/20,000 (BB ante 20,000)

Tommy Nguyen just won a nice pot on the feature table when he hit the perfect card on the river to get paid by Mihai Manole.

Nguyen raised the cutoff with 6♦6♥ and picked up both Scott Wellenbach, in the small blind with A♦4♥, and Manole in the big blind with K♥J♣. Both players in the blinds checked and Nguyen boldly bet 50,000 despite a co-ordinated J♠Q♠T♠ board. Only Manole called.

Both players then checked the 4♦ turn before the dealer gave Nguyen a set with the 6♣ river. Nguyen went for a full pot sized bet — 270,000 — and Manole tank-called.

That cut Manole down to 1.46 million and gave Nguyen 1.55 million. — HS

11:10pm: Some entertainment
Level 22 – Blinds 10,000/20,000 (BB ante 20,000)

Still slow going out there. Here’s one that earned some grins on one of the outer tables.

David Rheem raised to 50,000 from the button and Pavel Veksler called from the big blind.

Both checked the 2♦4♥6♦ flop, then when Veksler led for 35,000 after the 3♣, Rheem folded while showing his K♦T♦. He playfully pleaded with Veksler to show his hand, and Veksler slid his cards over to Rheem saying he could turn over one.

Rheem rubbed the two cards face down on the table for a bit, then flipped one over — the 5♣! “A-ha… the good one,” said Rheem amid the laughter.

“That’s the stuff that keeps me entertained,” said Rheem.

Rheem still has 1.275 million, Veksler 880,000. –MH

11:05pm: Ladouceur looking to spin it up
Level 22 – Blinds 10,000/20,000 (BB ante 20,000)

Short stack Marc-Andre Ladouceur has shoved all in a couple of times here lately — once on the flop against Matthias Eibinger, and another time preflop over a Joao Simao open — earning folds both times.

The Canadian is at 440,000 at present, still 22nd of 22 players in the counts. –MH

11pm: Royal flush draw (but not much more)
Level 22 – Blinds 10,000/20,000 (BB ante 20,000)

Mihai Manole and Daniel Strelitz got to a very pretty flop: Q♥T♥K♥. It only really connected with Manole’s A♥K♣ though, rather than Strelitz’s 6♦6♣. Both players checked it, but Manole bet the 2♠ turn and that was all Strelitz needed to see to fold. — HS

10:55pm: At a standstill
Level 22 – Blinds 10,000/20,000 (BB ante 20,000)

We haven’t seen many chips traded off on Table 2 so far this level. Marc-Andre Ladoucer and Danny Tang played a small pot blind vs blind, but aside from that flops have been few and far between.

The last hand saw Aleksandr Gofman open to 50,000 in the cutoff, which Matthias Eibinger flatted on the button. Chino Rheem looked interested but folded from the small blind, before Joao Simao defended his big blind to bring a flop.

T♠Q♥K♣

It was certainly a board with potential for fireworks. Alas, when Simao checked and Gofman continued for 65,000, both Eibinger and Simao folded quickly. –JS

10:45pm: Ruthless Hakim can do as he pleases
Level 22 – Blinds 10,000/20,000 (BB ante 20,000)

When you have the chip lead, you can do what you want, and Jeffrey Hakim just three-bet Ami Barer off a pot when Barer had the best hand. It happened pre-flop on the first hand back from the break, with Barer opening his button. Hakim three-bet to 150,000 from the small blind and Barer folded. This happened on the TV table so we know that Barer raise/binned his A♠T♥ and Hakim was playing K♣9♣. — HS


Jeffrey Hakim: Our ruthless leader


10:25pm: 22 players return for Level 22
Level 22 – Blinds 10,000/20,000 (BB ante 20,000)

Players are back and with 22 left the plan is to play one more level tonight. Jeffrey Hakim is the new chip leader after earning that big double through eventual 23rd-place finisher Felipe Pantoja. Here’s a look at the top 10 as play resumes:

Name Country Status Chips
Jeffrey Hakim Lebanon PokerStars qualifier 2,935,000
Daniel Strelitz USA 2,680,000
Brian Altman USA PokerStars player 2,000,000
Mihai Manole Romania 1,695,000
Christoph Vogelsang Germany 1,610,000
Matthias Eibinger Austria 1,530,000
Tommy Nguyen Canada 1,480,000
David “Chino” Rheem USA 1,455,000
Simon Deadman UK 1,205,000
Scott Wellenbach Canada PokerStars qualifier 1,190,000

Jeffrey Hakim: Out in front


Alexander Gofman, Bob Bounahra, and Marc-Andre Ladouceur are the current short stacks. –MH

10:20pm: Camosci eats into the break to win one
Level 21 – Blinds 8,000/16,000 (BB ante 16,000)

On the penultimate hand before the break, Brian Altman opened to 40,000 from the hijack and Badih Bounahra pushed for 309,000. Everyone, including Altman, folded.

Then on the very last hand, Enrico Camosci and Vicente Bosca went at it, with Camosci opening to 32,000 from early position and Bosca calling on the button. Matt Berkey also called in the big blind.

They saw the T♦6♣3♣ flop and Berkey and Camosci checked. Bosca bet 45,00 and only Camosci called.

The K♥ brought another check from Camosci and a bet of 145,000 from Bosca, which was also called.

The last card was the 7♣ and both players checked it. Camosci turned over his T♣9♣ like a man who knew it had won. And he was right!

Players then headed off to the break, and we’ll have their full counts imminently, including those of Bosca and Camosci. Stand by. — HS

10:17pm: Felipe Pantoja falls in 23rd
Level 21 – Blinds 8,000/16,000 (BB ante 16,000)

Scott Wellenbach raised to 40,000 from the button with Q♦9♣, and after Felipe Pantoja reraised all in for 96,000 from the big blind with A♦5♠, Wellenbach called.

The flop came 2♠J♠8♥ and Pantoja was still okay, but the T♦ turn filled a straight for Wellenbach, and the river king was no matter.

Pantoja went around the table to shake hands with everyone before leaving to collect his 23rd place winnings. Wellenbach has 1.19 million now. –MH

Pantoja out in 23rd


10:15pm: Oliveira wins race to survive
Level 21 – Blinds 8,000/16,000 (BB ante 16,000)

Filipe Oliveira won a race and doubled up through Vicent Bosca. Nothing about this was unusual: Bosca opened to 32,000 from under the gun from under the gun and Oliveria jammed for 131,000 one seat along.

Everyone else folded and Bosca called tabling 6♦6♥. Oliveira had A♦T♥ and hit his ace on the flop. The board in full: 8♥A♥9♠5♥4♠.

That put Oliveira up to 280,000 and Bosca is still fine with 700,000. — HS

10:10pm: Andre Akkari out in 24th
Level 21 – Blinds 8,000/16,000 (BB ante 16,000)

David “Chino” Rheem opened to 40,000 in the hijack. PokerStars Ambassador Andre Akkari was next to act in the cutoff, and he moved all in for 270,000. Back to Rheem, he insta-called.

Akkari had J♠T♠ and would need to hit against Rheem’s A♠Q♠. The board ran 7♥6♦K♠K♣5♣, improving neither hand.

Rheem’s up to 1.6 million now. –JS

Another deep run for Akkari


10:05pm: Rheem rivers a double through Eibinger
Level 21 – Blinds 8,000/16,000 (BB ante 16,000)

Matthias Eibinger opened for 35,000 in the cutoff seat and David Rheem made it 100,000 — about a sixth of his total stack — on the button. Eibinger called and the flop was K♥K♦5♦. Both players checked to the J♥ turn, where Eibinger led for 160,000. Rheem used a time bank card and then moved in for 522,000. Eibinger looked like he was trying to find a reason to get away from his hand and then shook his head and placed in the chips for a call.

Rheem: T♥9♥
Eibinger: K♣9♣

Rheem needed a heart or a queen for the win. It was the latter that came in the form of the Q♦, making him a king-high straight to keep his tournament hopes alive. He’s now on 1.3 million to Eibinger’s 1.475 million. –JK

Rheem stays in the game


10pm: Manole flops a set, takes from Wellenbach
Level 21 – Blinds 8,000/16,000 (BB ante 16,000)

Mihai Manole raised to 35,000 from under the gun with 3♠3♥, then Scott Wellenbach three-bet to 9♠9♥ from the next seat over. It folded back to Manole who called the reraise, and the flop came 3♣4♦J♠.

Having flopped a set, Manole checked and watched Wellenbach bet 100,000. Manole just called.

The turn was the A♥ and Manole checked again. Wellenbach bet again, this time 250,000, and Manole just called once more.

The river brought the 7♠, sealing the hand for Manole. This time he bet rather than checked, sliding out a stack of 450,000. Wellenbach slid his cards away.

Manole moves up to 1.75 million, Wellenbach down to 1.1 million. –MH

9:55pm: Eibinger takes huge pot from Ladoucer
Level 21 – Blinds 8,000/16,000 (BB ante 16,000)

Mathias Eibinger is up over the two milly mark after this one.

Marc-Andre Ladoucer opened to 35,000 in the hijack, which got calls from Mathias Eibinger (small blind) and Chino Rheem (big blind). They saw a 2♥8♠8♥ flop fall, and when Eibinger checked Rheem led out for 36,000. Ladoucer called.

Back to Eibinger, he check-raised it up to 140,000, and before he could even slide his chips in Rheem had folded. Ladoucer called again though.

The 3♣ then hit the turn, on which Eibinger continued for 300,000. Ladoucer wouldn’t budge, and this pot was already huge.

The 2♦ completed the board, double pairing it in the process. Eibinger took 100,000 off of his stack, then slid the rest over the line. After dealer Clara counted it out, the total bet was confirmed at 479,000.

Ladoucer thought for his first 30 seconds, then used a time bank to buy himself more time. He stood up to see things more clearly, and eventually he placed in a call.

Eibinger flipped over T♦8♦ for flopped trips which filled up on the river, and Ladoucer could only muck. He’s down to 385,000 now, while Eibinger is cruising with 2.1 million. –JS

9:50pm: Bouhnara doubles through Altman
Level 21 – Blinds 8,000/16,000 (BB ante 16,000)

Brian Altman opened for 40,000 in the hijack seat and Bob Bouhnara jammed almost immediately for 212,000. The action came back around to Altman, who called right away.

Altman: J♦J♣
Bouhnara: A♠K♦

The A♦5♥7♦4♥7♥ board gave Bouhnara a pair of aces and the double to 474,000. Altman is still on 1.95 million. –JK

Big one for Bob Bounahra


9:45pm: Vogelsang flops better than Berkey
Level 21 – Blinds 8,000/16,000 (BB ante 16,000)

Matt Berkey raised to 35,000 in the cutoff and Christoph Vogelsang called on the button. Brian Altman also called in the big blind.

Altman checked the 7♦3♣A♥ flop, but Berkey’s 45,000 bet was called by Vogelsang. Altman didn’t stick around to see the 9♥ turn. Berkey fired again for 130,000 and Vogelsang called. Then they both checked the 2♦ river.

Berkey had J♥J♦ but the jacks weren’t good enough to beat Vogelsang’s A♠J♠. — HS

9:42pm: Hakim gets maximum value with aces versus Pantoja
Level 21 – Blinds 8,000/16,000 (BB ante 16,000)

Felipe Pantoja raised to 35,000 from the cutoff with A♠J♥ and it folded to Jeffrey Hakim on the button who three-bet to 110,000 with A♥A♦.

It folded back to Pantoja who gathered chips together and four-bet to 350,000.

Hakim sat and looked over his stack for a moment, then looked at Pantoja. Finally he decided just to call with his aces in position, making the pot 740,000 when the flop came A♣Q♣4♥.

Pantoja had made top pair, and led with a bet of 250,000. Of course Hakim had that crushed with his set of aces. He took his time, ultimately just calling. Pot 1.24 million.

The turn was the 8♦. Pantoja kept firing, betting 250,000 once again. Again, Hakim just called.

The J♥ river essentially sealed Pantoja’s fate, giving him two pair. He fairly quickly went all in with what he had left, and Hakim called in a flash to win a huge pot.

Hakim is up to 2.89 million after that hand, while Pantoja tumbles all the way to 152,000. –MH

Aces pay off in a huge way for Hakim


9:40pm: Tang trips up
Level 21 – Blinds 8,000/16,000 (BB ante 16,000)

Danny Tang opened to 34,000 from mid position and Matthias Eibinger called two seats to his left. The flop was 4♥8♥7♦ and Tang bet 55,000, which Eibinger called.

The turn was the 4♣ and both players checked, which brought the 5♣ on the river. Tang checked and Eibinger fired 109,000. Tang didn’t think too long before calling and Eibinger’s pocket tens were defeated by Tang’s A♠4♠. — HS

Trips for Tang


9:37pm: Big hand, small pot for Manole
Level 21 – Blinds 8,000/16,000 (BB ante 16,000)

On the feature table, Mihai Manole picked up T♠T♣ in the hijack seat and it folded to Felipe Pantoja in the big blind who flatted with A♣Q♥.

The flop came 7♠6♥7♣ and both checked. The turn was the T♥, making a full house for Manole. Pantoja checked, and Manole bet 65,000. Alas for him, Pantoja folded.

Manole has 1.325 million now, Pantoja 1.575 million. –MH

9:35pm: Final three tables
Level 21 – Blinds 8,000/16,000 (BB ante 16,000)

Here’s the seat draw (plus chip counts) for the final 24 players. –JS

TABLE 1 (FEATURE TABLE)

Rahjesh Vohra – 764,000
Tommy Nguyen – 1.255 million
Daniel Strelitz – 2.943 million
Mihai Manole – 1.217 million
Scott Wellenbach – 1.485 million
Ami Barer – 789,000
Felipe Pantoja – 1.658 million
Jeffrey Hakim – 1.465

TABLE 2

Danny Tang – 610,000
Aleksandr Gofman – 435,000
Matthias Eibinger – 1.15 million
David “Chino” Rheem – 530,000
Andre Akkari – 240,000
Joao Simao – 1.02 million
Pavel Veksler – 500,000
Marc-Andre Ladoucer – 1.37 million

TABLE 3

Simon Deadman – 1.1 million
Vicente Bosca – 830,000
Filipe Oliveira – 285,000
Matt Berkey – 1.035 million
Christoph Vogelsang – 1.473 million
Enrico Camosci – 785,000
Brian Altman – 2.26 million
Badih Bounara – 242,000

9:30pm: KK vs. QQ means big double-up for Pantoja
Level 21 – Blinds 8,000/16,000 (BB ante 16,000)

There’s been some fun banter at Table 3 where three Brazilians — Andre Akkari, Felipe Pantoja, and Joao Simao — are sitting.

Akkari is short-stacked and has shoved twice over there with no callers, and Bob Bounahra also went all in preflop but got no takers. Meanwhile amid the table talk Scott Wellenbach noted how he should go to Brazil and play sometime, referring to how enjoyable the play was going.

“Yeah… come to Brazil and crush us!” laughed Simao, indicating Wellenbach’s big stack and how he’s been doing quite well playing with them tonight, and more laughter ensued.

A short while after that Felipe Pantoja opened for 40,000, Wellenbach three-bet to 120,000, and Pantoja called. The flop came 2♥5♠7♣, and more betting ensued with Pantoja eventually getting his remaining 689,000 in the middle.

Wellenbach had Q♥Q♦, but Pantoja had picked up K♥K♦. The turn was the A♣ and the river the 2♣, and suddenly Pantoja is up around 1.65 million now while Wellenbach has slipped to 1.47 million.

With 24 left, the redraw is coming. –MH

9:25pm: Calamusa falls in 25th
Level 21 – Blinds 8,000/16,000 (BB ante 16,000)

Daniel Strelitz raised to 27,000 from the cutoff and a short-stacked Pierre Calumusa called from the big blind. The flop came A♥6♦T♠, and when Calumusa pushed his last 170,000-ish in the middle, Strelitz called.

Calamusa had T♥4♦ for tens, but Strelitz had the better pair with A♦6♠ for aces. The turn was the 8♠ and river the 7♥, and start-of-day chip leader Calmusa is out in 25th. Strelitz now has 2.94 million.

They’ll redraw now to get new seats around the last three tables, but first it sounds like there’s something happening on the neighboring outer table that’s going to have to be settled first. Stay tuned. –MH

Calamusa out just shy of last three tables


9:20pm: Strelitz takes Gofman for close to 3 million
Level 21 – Blinds 8,000/16,000 (BB ante 16,000)

A massive pot just played out between Aleksandr Gofman and Daniel Strelitz that left the former with a lot of re-building to do and Strelitz near the top of the counts. It was a hand that seemed possibly to be a levelling war, but they both ended up having something worth going all the way with.

Matthias Eibinger started it with an open to 35,000 from the cutoff and Gofman then three-bet the button to 100,000. Strelitz then four bet to 275,000 from the small blind, and this so easily could have represented nothing more than Gofman knowing Eibinger is opening often, the Strelitz knowing that Gofman knows that.

Eibinger cut and ran, but Gofman called and the dealer put the 6♣6♠2♦ flop out there. Strelitz bet 150,000 and Gofman called.

The 6♥ came on the turn and Strelitz bet 225,000 now. Gofman called again. This was now getting big.

The Q♥ came on the river and Strelitz moved in for 621,000. Gofman wanted the count and then he threw in the call, learning with disgust that Strelitz had K♠K♥, ie., a real hand. Gofman tried to muck his cards but the dealer made him show them: A♣Q♣.

That boat over boat skirmish means Gofman now has 2.3 million and the chip lead. — HS

9:10pm: Question time
Level 21 – Blinds 8,000/16,000 (BB ante 16,000)

Danny Tang is an inquisitive guy. After Matt Berkey asked whether Tang’s accent was English or Australian (answer: English), Tang turned the focus back to Berkey.

“Do you do anything other than poker?” he asked. “What do you mean?” Berkey replied.

“Well, are you a pro?” Tang continued. “Yeah!” said Berkey.

“Oh. I didn’t know if you were like a business guy that got so good at poker you stopped doing the business,” Tang added. “God, I wish,” said Berkey, before entering this next hand.

Pavel Veksler opened under the gun and Christoph Vogelsang called out of the small blind. Berkey defended the big blind, and it went three-ways to the 4♥6♠3♣ flop. Everyone checked to the A♦ turn, and they also checked that street through too.

The 8♦ completed the board and when it checked to Berkey he led for 115,000. Veksler made the call while Vogelsang folded, and Berkey flipped Q♠8♥ for a rivered second pair. Veksler had that pipped with his 9♠9♣, and took down the pot.

Tang then turned his attention to Vogelsang.

“How old are you?” he asked. “I’m 33,” replied Vogelsang. “I actually started playing poker pretty late, when I was 24 or so. But I started playing high stakes pretty quickly. I got lucky.”

Vogelsang’s the “luckiest” in this thing at the moment, sitting with 1.5 million to Berkey’s 1.1 million, Tang’s 660,000, and Veksler’s 600,000. –JS

9:05pm: Three for Hakim
Level 21 – Blinds 8,000/16,000 (BB ante 16,000)

Jeffrey Hakim has been having his way over the most recent stretch at Table 2. He’s won the last three pots in a row over there — none too large, but all helping him increase his stack. He’s up to 1.4 million at present. –MH

9pm: Two big cards and a fold
Level 21 – Blinds 8,000/16,000 (BB ante 16,000)

Ami Barer opened for 35,000 in the cutoff and chased off everyone but Pavel Veksler, who announced himself all-in. Barer immediately asked for a count — Veksler’s bet was 305,000. And then he began the process of deciding what he wanted to do.

About 45 seconds in Barer began to grin. Veksler grinned too. Then he asked Barer, “What do you have?” “Two big cards,” said Barer. They both grinned again. Barer continued his think for a full minute and a half — the call represented close to half of his remaining chips — and then folded his hand.

Move Veksler up to 380,000 if you’re keeping score at home. Barer drops to about 780,000. –JK

8:50pm: Ditz dusted
Level 21 – Blinds 8,000/16,000 (BB ante 16,000)

Franz Ditz was chip leader not so long ago, but now he is out, losing the last of his chips to Felipe Pantoja. The way they got it in was a little weird, with Ditz nearly, but not quite, shoving and Pantoja calling and then turning over his cards. Officially it wasn’t an all-in situation, so Pantoja had shown his cards out of turn, but common sense ended up prevailing.


Felipe Pantoja: No photos please!


Ditz saw Pantoja’s A♥Q♠ and the dealer made a ruling on the fly that Ditz could still fold if he wanted after the flop. That flop came 9♣2♦2♠ and Ditz committed the last of his chips with his K♠J♦.

The 3♥ turn and 8♣ river changed nothing, and sent Ditz to the rail. — HS

8:45pm: Pantoja came to play
Level 21 – Blinds 8,000/16,000 (BB ante 16,000)

Felipe Pantoja has returned from dinner with some pep in his step. Even more so now that he successfully bluff-shoved chip leader Brian Altman.

Picking up the action on a 3♥K♠2♥ flop, Altman check-called Pantoja’s 30,000 bet before both checked the T♠ turn. The 6♥ river completed the board, putting three hearts out there.

Altman now led for 100,000 only for Pantoja to shove over the top. Altman asked for a count — 446,000 — but then folded.

Pantoja flipped over A♥J♦ for just ace-high, showing he had the blocker to the nut flush. He’s on 710,000 now, while Altman has 2.4 million. –JS

8:40pm: Manole vs. Berkey
Level 21 – Blinds 8,000/16,000 (BB ante 16,000)

Two of our larger-than-average stacks just clashed on a board that shut down what could have been a lot more action.

Matt Berkey opened for 40,000 in the lojack seat and was reraised to 120,000 by Mihai Manole in the cutoff. Berkey called and both men checked the K♠2♠9♥ flop. Berkey checked again on the 9♣ turn and this time Manole bet 115,000. Berkey thought for about 15 seconds and called. Then came the K♣ on the river. Both men checked and turned over big pocket pairs — J♠J♣ for Berkey and A♣A♥ for Manole.

The win moves Manole up to 1.45 million, while Berkey slips to 1.3 million. –JK

8:37pm: Segebrecht out in 27th
Level 21 – Blinds 8,000/16,000 (BB ante 16,000)

After a Simon Deadman open from under the gun, Claas Segebrecht called from the small blind and the pair saw a flop come J♠9♣Q♣. At that Segebrecht pushed all in for 175,000 from the big blind and Deadman called.

Segebrecht had Q♥7♠ for queens but Deadman had K♥Q♦ for the same pair and a better kicker. The T♠ and 9♦ runout didn’t help Segebrecht and he’s out in 27th. –MH

Claas Segebrecht’s run comes to an end


8:35pm: All ins all the time
Level 21 – Blinds 8,000/16,000 (BB ante 16,000)

Franz Ditz came back to the shortest stack of the final 27. The first hand back saw Scott Wellenbach open-raise all in from the small blind, forcing Ditz to fold. Then on the second hand it was Ditz open-raising all in from the small blind, and Andre Akkari — also on the short side — folding the big.

Meanwhile on the neighboring table, Jeffrey Hakim opened and Pierre Calamusa three-bet jammed, earning a fold as well. –MH

8:30pm: Back at it
Level 21 – Blinds 8,000/16,000 (BB ante 16,000)

The 27 remaining players are back from the dinner break and Level 21 has begun. Brian Altman returns to the chip lead with just a little over 2.6 million, with Scott Wellenbach his nearest challenger with a touch more than 2 million.

Altman setting the pace


Take a look below at the current top 10.

Name Country Status Chips
Brian Altman USA PokerStars player 2,601,000
Scott Wellenbach Canada PokerStars qualifier 2,062,000
Matthew Berkey USA 1,447,000
Tommy Nguyen Canada 1,442,000
Jeffrey Hakim Lebanon PokerStars qualifier 1,362,000
Christoph Vogelsang Germany 1,334,000
Daniel Strelitz USA 1,295,000
Vicent Bosca Spain 1,294,000
Aleksandr Gofman Russia PokerStars qualifier 1,288,000
Matthias Eibinger Austria 1,284,000

Team PokerStars Pro Andre Akkari is still in as well, albeit with a short stack of 256,000. Below him in the counts to begin Level 21 are Pierre Calamusa (244,000), Claas Segebrecht (223,000), and Franz Ditz (148,000). –MH

7:25pm: Dinner!
Level 20 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (BB ante 12,000)

Off they go for a 75-minute break. The full chip counts are available on the chip count page. — HS

7:20pm: Barer takes one from Tang before dinner
Level 20 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (BB ante 12,000)

Enrico Camosci opened for 24,000 under the gun and got a call from Danny Tang in the lojack seat before Ami Barer made it 85,000 to go in the hijack. Camosci folded and Tang called.

Tang check-called 70,000 on the K♦K♥A♣ flop and then he and Tang checked through the 2♦ turn, bringing the Q♠ on the river. Tang used a time bank card before checking, which prompted Barer to bet 240,000. Tang went deeper into the tank this time, using three time bank cards as the rest of the field went to dinner. And then he folded.

That moves Barer up to 831,000 and drops Tang to 653,000. See you in 75 minutes. –JK

7:15pm: Bounhara doubles
Level 20 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (BB ante 12,000)

Badih Bounhara has been looking for a chance to move in for a while. He finally found one. Felipe Pantoja did the calling.

Bounhara: K♥Q♦
Pantoja: A♣J♠

The flop kept Pantoja’s hopes alive, but eventually doubled Bounhara. It came: K♠Q♠2♠9♥K♦

Bounhara is alive and well on around 350,000. Pantoja drops to about the 500,000 mark. – SB

7:13pm: Resigned to defeat to huge sigh of relief
Level 20 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (BB ante 12,000)

Jeffrey Hakim’s emotional state went through the wringer in this latest pot.

He opened to 27,000 under the gun holding Q♦Q♠, before Vicente Bosca three-bet to 100,000 in the hijack. Back to Hakim, he clearly felt confident with the queens, and why wouldn’t he? It’s the third best hand you can get, after all.

He raised to 525,000, leaving himself 98,000 behind.

His confidence may have been shattered when Bosca set him all-in though. Hakim sat there, shaking his head and staring up at the tournament screen. (It’s worth noting there’s a pay jump following the next elimination.)

He used one of his time banks, and confirmed with the dealer he had another behind. It didn’t matter though; he called before he needed to use it.

He tabled his pocket pair and saw Bosca roll over A♣K♦. With the made hand and the mathematical advantage, Hakim must have felt good once again.

Until the 5♦4♥A♦ flop landed, pairing Bosca’s ace. Hakim looked heartbroken, but he held it together while the dealer finished her job. She laid the T♠ turn, and Hakim was ready to collect his belongings.

Then the river was the Q♣.

Hakim had hit a set to retake the lead, and he let out a huge sigh of relief as the pot was pushed his way. He’s up to 1.28 million, while Bosca slips to 1.62 million. –JS

7:11pm: Segebrecht has aces cracked, survives
Level 20 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (BB ante 10,000)

Claas Segebrecht survived with aces when they were cracked by Simon Deadman, and he has just cracked Chino Rheem’s kings to double and stay alive with 424,000. They got it all in pre-flop and Segebrecht’s 9♦9♥ flopped a set, slicing Rheem back down to 429,000. — HS

7:10pm: Eibinger makes the call, collects
Level 20 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (BB ante 12,000)

Matthias Eibinger raised to 26,000 from under the gun and it folded around to Pierre Calamusa in the big blind who called.

The flop came 3♦7♥J♣. Calamusa checked, Eibinger continued for 35,000, and Calamusa called. Both checked the 4♣ turn.


Matthias Eibinger: Calling well


The river was the 9♥. Calamusa checked again, and this time Eibinger bet 118,000. After sitting quietly for a moment Calamusa pushed out a couple of columns’ worth of chips for a check-raise to 325,000. Eibinger thought about it, then called and showed K♠J♦ for top pair. It was good, as Calamusa had but 6♦4♥ for a pair of fours and busted gutshot draw.

Eibinger chips up once more to 1.32 million, while Calamusa slips back to just about 200,000. –MH

7:05pm: Segebrecht has aces cracked, survives
Level 20 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (BB ante 10,000)

Claas Segebrecht and Simon Deadman just played an extraordinary hand on the PokerStars.tv feature table, where somehow they didn’t get their chips all-in.

Segebrecht opened under the gun, Deadman three-bet UTG+1 and Segebrecht called, with everyone else leaving them to it. Because this was being streamed, we could see that Segebrecht had A♣A♠ and Deadman had A♣A♠, and that made the K♦J♣T♠ flop incredibly dangerous. But they both checked it.


Then Deadman moved into the lead with the K♥ turn, though they both checked again. Segebrecht only moved for chips after the low river card. He bet 113,000. Deadmen just called behind, and somehow this stayed relatively small despite their premium holdings. — HS

7pm: Vogelsang wins another
Level 20 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (BB ante 12,000)

Pavel Veksler opened for 26,000. Danny Tang called on the button and Christoph Vogelsang did the same on the big blind.

The flop came 3♥5♦5♠

Vogelsang checked to Veksler who bet 25,000. Tang called. Vogelsang, who by now had pulled up the neck of his hoodie to leave only his eyes and hair exposed, raised to 80,000.

Veklser folded, as did Tang a moment later. Vogelsang is up some more to 1.25 million. – SB

6:55pm: Gofman gathering
Level 20 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (BB ante 12,000)

Aleksandr Gofman has been steadily accumulating today. He just won consecutive hands, one versus Daniel Strelitz and the other against Matthias Eibinger, and now sits with a handsome stack of 1.325 million. Meanwhile Strelitz is at 1.025 million and Eibinger 790,000. –MH

6:53pm: In the vault with Pantoja
Level 20 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (BB ante 12,000)

In this latest pot, Felipe Pantoja wasn’t just in the time bank, he was trapped inside the vault and desperate to escape.

With a 5♦J♦5♠ flop on board, Pantoja checked to Brian Altman who bet 33,000. Pantoja called to see the K♣ turn, then check-called a 160,000 bet after using a time-bank card.

He had five time-banks cards remaining, and that became very relevant, as when he checked a third time Altman fired big: 450,000. Pantoja immediately tossed out three of those cards, and we settled in for what was guaranteed to be a long decision.

As the third time bank was about to expire, he placed his final two in as well.

A minute later the dealer was giving him a ten-second count down. Pantoja had calling chips counted out, but when the clock ticked down to zero his hand was dead.

The dealer took his cards and left him with 700,000, while Altman is up to 2.5 million now. –JS

6:50pm: Manole handles Ho
Level 20 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (BB ante 12,000)

Maria Ho’s run in this PCA Main Event is at its end.

She opened the action with a raise to 140,000, leaving herself just 6,000 behind. Mihai Manole called in the cutoff and the flop came Q♥T♥9♥. Ho checked and Manole bet exactly 6,000. Then Ho used her last three time-bank cards. It looked like she might pull the same move that so many of our high rollers have been using lately, folding with just a few chips remaining, but she ended up calling with 7♣7♠.


No more Maria Ho


That was in trouble against Manole’s 9♠9♣, which held on the 2♠ turn and 4♦ river to eliminate Ho in 29th place. –JK

6:45pm: Clements out. Altman up to 1.8 million
Level 20 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (BB ante 12,000)

Scott Clements is out. We don’t have the details of the pre-flop action but it was fairly self-explanatory after it. Clements had pocket kings, while Brian Altman had A♠Q♣.

The board made a flush for Altman: 7♣6♠4♣2♣9♣

That sent Clements out of the Main Event. Altman has more than 1.8 million now. – SB

6:43pm: Urbanovich busts to Barer
Level 20 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (BB ante 12,000)

After Dzmitry Urbanovich lost that pot to Pavel Veksler (see just below), soon after he managed to get more than half of his stack in before the flop versus Ami Barer.

The first three cards came T♣9♦8♣, and after Barer led with a small bet Urbanovich raised all in for his last 45,000 or so and Barer called.


The dangerous Dzmitry Urbanovich departs


Urbanovich had two over-cards with A♥Q♠ while Barer had made a pair with his A♦8♦. The turn was the 7♥ and river the 2♣, and Urbanovich is out in 31st place. Put Barer up to 720,000 now. –MH

6:40pm: Berkey busts Bianchi
Level 20 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (BB ante 12,000)

Chase Bianchi came back from the break with 44 big blinds. He now has zero big blinds.

He opened the hijack and got calls from Filipe Oliveira on the button and Matt Berkey in the big blind. The flop fell T♦Q♥4♠ and it checked to Bianchi, who continued for 35,000. Both players called.

The turn was the J♥ and Bianchi didn’t slow down. After Berkey checked Bianchi continued for 80,000, and again both Oliveira and Berkey stuck around.

That took them to an innocent looking 2♦ on the river. Berkey checked a third time, and Bianchi shoved for 300,000. Oliveira didn’t like to give up his hand but did so, and Berkey thought about it for a time bank before making the call.

Bianchi flipped A♥4♥ for just a pair of fours and a missed flush draw, and was already out of his seat before Berkey revealed Q♠J♠ for top two pair. Oliveira said he had folded queen-ten after the hand was done.

Bianchi’s tournament is over, but Berkey’s is just beginning with a new 1.6 million stack in front of him. Oliveira’s on 600,000 after that one. –JS

6:38pm: Veksler vexes Urbanovich
Level 20 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (BB ante 12,000)

The action folded to Dzmitry Urbanovich in the small blind and he announced himself all-in. Most of the time that’s an easy win, but not when the big blind wakes up with A♥Q♠. Pavel Veksler called with that hand, which had Urbanovich’s K♥Q♦ in rough shape. The board came 8♦5♥9♣A♦3♣, Veksler doubled to 400,000, and Urbanovich dropped to 129,000. –JK

6:35pm: Radoja shoves. Called.
Level 20 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (BB ante 12,000)

Mark Radoja is down to 170,000 and looking for a double up. He found A♠K♠ and thought he’d found it, so shoved.

Rajesh Vohra came in with the call. He also had A♣K♥, which brought Radoja’s hopes of a double up to a halt.


Mark Radoja: Chopping, surviving


The board ran out a harmless T♦4♦3♥T♠J♦. Radoja is still on 170,000. – SB

6:30pm: Simao doubles through Clements
Level 20 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (BB ante 12,000)

Joao Simao and Scott Clements just got into a heavy bit of pre-flop back-and-forthing, starting with Simao raising from the button, Clements re-raising back from the small blind, and eventually the pair got all of Simao’s 516,000 in the middle.

Simao had J♥T♣ which turned out to be two overcards versus Clements’s 9♦9♠. The K♦A♦A♥ flop and 8♥ turn kept Clements ahead, but the Q♣ landed on the river to make a straight for Simao and he earned the big double.

Simao has 1.06 million now, while Clements has slid down to 165,000. –MH

6:25pm: Should-a could-a would-a
Level 20 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (BB ante 12,000)

“I should fold,” said Enrico Camosci. “I know it.”

“But…!”

With position the young Italian had called a pre-flop open from the German Christoph Vogelsang, then made it to the river with the board filling out T♠4♥8♣6♠K♥. That’s when Vogelsang led for 135,000, a bet representing a little more than what was in the middle, sending Camosci into an extended period of contemplation.

Camosci would use three time bank cards while talking out loud about the situation, then finally did call the bet, and when Vogelsang turned over A♠A♥, Camosci saw he had been right. And wrong.


Christoph Vogelsang: Moving into contention


Vogelsang is up to 1.175 million now, while Camosci has 865,000. –MH

6:20pm: Gofman up to 600,000
Level 20 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (BB ante 12,000)

Aleksandr Gofman just shoved on the turn to boost his stack to around 600,000.

He opened for 28,000 and got a call from Daniel Strelitz in the seat next to him. The flop came 3♦4♠T♦.



Gofman check-called Strelitz’s bet of 55,000 for the 5♠ on the turn. Then he shoved, all in for 320,000. Strelitz folded. — SB

6:15pm: Conversing with Camosci
Level 20 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (BB ante 12,000)

Ami Barer opened to 30,000 from the UTG+1 seat, and it folded around to Pavel Veksler in the small blind. He clearly had a decision–one he’d use two time banks for–but opted to lay his hand down.

Over to Enrico Camosci in the big blind, he called instantly and the dealer laid a 5♣Q♥K♠ flop. Check, check. Both checked the Q♠ turn too, and this pot seemed to be going nowhere.

Then the 7♥ river landed. Camosci began staring up into the sky, with a puzzled look on his face like someone just asked him to divide 83,989 by 67. After 20 seconds or so he fired out a bet of 26,000. Barer bumped it up to 95,000.

Camosci started smiling and laughing to himself, before he laid it down. “It remembers the action against Sam,” he said.

Barer took out his earbud so he could talk. “What did you say?”

“He means it reminded him of the action against Sam,” chimed in Christoph Vogelsang, correctly correcting Camosci’s statement.

“Yes, yes, it reminds me of the action against Sam. I told you about it. Remember?”

We’re not sure if Barer did, to be honest.

“Oh yeah…yeah I remember,” he replied anyway.

Who is Sam? And what was the action? We don’t know.

All we do know is that Camosci still has 850,000, while Barer’s up to 615,000 now. –JS

6:10pm: Altman gets Ditz, surges into the lead
Level 20 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (BB ante 12,000)

Brian Altman and Franz Ditz just tangled in what started off looking like a pretty innocuous pot and ended up becoming one of the biggest of the tournament so far.

Altman opened for 25,000 under the gun and Ditz called in the big blind, bringing a J♦7♥2♣ flop. Ditz check-called 20,000 and the turn was the 2♦. Then things went wild.

Ditz checked and this time Altman overbet the pot for 150,000. Ditz took most of his shot clock and then called. The T♣ river brought another check from Ditz and another overbet from Altman — this time for a whopping 600,000. Ditz went deep into the tank, using four time-bank cards as the TV crews gathered around and trained their cameras and boom mics on him. In the end he made the call, only to muck when Altman showed down A♥2♥ for trip deuces.

Ditz is left with 150,000, while Altman retakes the chip lead with 1.8 million. –JK

6:05pm: Berkey collects big one from Bianchi
Level 20 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (BB ante 12,000)

The board read T♦9♦5♥2♥ when the announcement of “all in and call” came from Chase Bianchi and Matt Berkey’s table. Bianchi had been the one pushing and Berkey the one calling, with the latter player being at risk.

Bianchi had A♠9♥ for a pair of nines while Berkey tabled K♣K♥ for an overpair to the board. The river was the 2♣, and Berkey is now sitting behind a stack of 780,000 or so. Bianchi is on 530,000 now. –MH

6pm: Akkari takes chips from Manole
Level 20 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (BB ante 12,000)

A cagey hand between Andre Akkari and Mihai Manole adds chips to the Team Pro’s stack.

Akkari limped in the small blind and Manole, in the big, checked for the 3♦5♠Q♦ flop.

Akkari checked, then called Manole’s bet of 15,000 for the 8♠ on the turn. Again Akkari checked, then called Manole’s bet of 25,000, for the 8♣ river card.


Andre Akkari: Cagey, but a win’s a win


Both checked this time. Akkari turned over A♠K♣. Manole winced very slightly, and mucked his cards. Manole is down to 1.1 million. Akkari back up a little to 550,000. – SB

5:45pm: Beresford busts first hand back
Level 20 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (BB ante 12,000)

In the first hand of Level 20, Connor Beresford looked down at A♣5♣ under the gun and raised all-in for 72,000 or exactly six big blinds.

It folded around to Jeffrey Hakim in the small blind who paused a beat and called the push, and after the big blind folded he turned over A♦7♦.

The K♠6♥Q♣ flop brought “chopportunities” for Beresford, as you might hear said on the PokerStars.TV live stream. Then the 7♣ turn paired Hakim’s kicker to remove those split outs but introduce some flush outs for Beresford to stay alive.

Alas for him, the river was the T♥ and Beresford is out in 34th. Hakim now has 740,000. –MH

5:22pm: That’s that for Level 19

It was nice knowing you, Level 19. Back in 20 for 20. — HS

5:22pm: Vogelsang takes another
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (BB ante 10,000)

The last hand before the break took a bit and so the tournament clock was paused. That means everyone who needed some extra time should thank Christoph Vogelsang, who took this one down.

Pavel Veksler opened for 21,000 under the gun and got calls from Vogelsang (button) and Dzmitry Urbanovich (big blind). The flop was Q♠J♦J♠ and Urbanovich checked, as did Veksler; Vogelsang bet 31,000, Urbanovich folded, and Veksler called. Then Veksler and Vogelsang took the full 30 seconds on each action as they checked down the 9♥ turn and 7♠ river. Veksler showed T♦9♦ for jacks and nines, but Vogelsang’s A♥Q♥ took the pot with queens and nines.

Vogelsang climbs to 927,000, Veksler slips to 285,000, and the tournament goes on break. –JK

5:21pm: Urbanovich dwindling
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (BB ante 10,000)

Dzmitry Urbanovich is now one of the tournament short stacks after losing another small sliver of his chips to Ami Barer.

The two went to a flop for a single raise, with Barer under the gun and Urbanovich in the cutoff. Barer stabbed 29,000 at the 8♣5♦5♠ flop but didn’t shed Urbanovich.

Barer checked the 4♣ turn, which prompted Urbanovich to bet 60,000. Barer called for the 3♠ river.

Both men tapped the table and Barer, who goes by “UhhMee” online, said: “Four.” Urbanovich, whose “colisea” alter-ego has likely done battle with UhhMee online, mucked.

That leaves Urbanovich with 310,000 while Barer has 480,000. — HS

5:19pm: Bosca bounds up the leaderboard
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (BB ante 10,000)

Vicent Bosca of Spain is now challenging Scott Wellenbach for the chip lead after busting Michael Stembera from the tournament.

Bosca open-jammed from the button with 2♥2♠, and Stembera chose to call all in from the small blind with his A♦T♠. The board ran out eight-high — 6♥4♦3♦6♦8♥ — missing both of Stembera’s cards and the American hits the rail.

That puts Bosca at about 1.75 million, which is just about where leader Wellenbach was the last time we looked. –MH

5:17pm: Hunter becomes the hunted
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (BB ante 10,000)

Ian Hunter’s day just ended early at the hands of Christoph Vogelsang.

Danny Tang opened for 22,000 under the gun, the third straight hand he’s raised to that much. The other two were wins for him, but no such luck this time — Vogelsang made it 60,000 in the lojack seat and Hunter then jammed for 96,000 in the big blind. Tang got out of the way, leaving Hunter’s dominating A♣J♦ heads-up with Vogelsang’s J♣9♣. Then the board came K♣9♦7♦9♥Q♥ to give the German high roller trip nines and send Hunter to the payout desk.

Vogelsang is now on 905,000. –JK

5:15pm: Eibinger busts Gomez
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (BB ante 10,000)

The flop had come Q♥T♣4♥, and after Javier Gomez checked, Matthias Eibinger bet 30,000. Gomez then pushed all in for 254,000, and after about 10 seconds’ worth of thought Eibinger called the shove.

Gomez: K♦J♣
Eibinger: A♥3♥

Both players had draws, and Eibinger’s got there on the turn as the 8♥ landed, making the K♥ river a formality. Gomez is gone, while Eibinger now has around 1.2 million –MH

5:14pm: Kaverman KO’d
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (BB ante 10,000)

Byron Kaverman has been hanging around with a short stack for much of the day. He just found a good spot to get it in, but couldn’t win a coin flip to survive.

He jammed for 137,000 under the gun with A♥K♠, and Brian Altman woke up with J♥J♠ one seat over and callled. Everyone else folded, and Kaverman found no help on the 3♠2♦2♥9♣9♦ board.

Altman’s up to a million in chips now. –JS

5:09pm: Three-way monster
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (BB ante 10,000)

Chips are flying in at the moment, and Chase Bianchi is the principal profiteer. He is now up to more than 1.5 million after winning an almighty three-way pre-flop showdown.

It went down like this: Javier Zarco opened to 125,000 from UTG+1, which was a virtual (but not quite) shove. Vicent Bosca then called from one seat over, and Javier Gomez three-bet to 300,000. Action folded to Bianchi in the small blind, who moved all-in for 634,000.


Javier Zarco


Zarco couldn’t fold and tossed in the shrapnel he had left. Bosca, who covered everyone at the table, wanted a count of Bianchi’s shove. But he folded. Gomez, with about 900,000 in his stack, called.

Zarco: A♦8♦
Gomez: A♥K♠
Bianchi: K♦K♣

Bianchi confessed that he was terrified when Bosca asked for a count, fearing the aces were out there. But they were still in the deck as the dealer began to deal the flop. Thankfully for Bianchi, they did not arrive through a 3♦2♥J♥K♥J♣ board.

That meant Zarco was eliminated, Gomez was cut down to 290,000 and Bianchi soars to 1.55 million. — HS

5:04pm: Big slick for Ditz
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (BB ante 10,000)

Franz Ditz opened for 21,000 from the cutoff and only Pavel Veksler called from the big blind.

The flop came Q♦9♥7♥. Veksler checked, Ditz bet 20,000, and Veksler called. Both checked the 3♠ turn, then after the A♥ river Veksler led with a big bet of 80,000.

Ditz called fairly quickly, turning over A♦K♠ for a rivered pair of aces, and Veksler showed he’d taken a stab with K♥T♣.

Their table broke just after, with Ditz carrying 1.25 million to his new seat and Veksler 340,000. –MH

5:01pm: Urbanovich sees off Murata
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (BB ante 10,000)

Eder Murata is outta here following a blind vs blind clash with Dzmitry Urbanovich.

Murata limped the small blind and Urbanovich checked his option, taking them to a 9♦2♣T♥ flop. Murata led out for 15,000 and Urbanovich didn’t budge, bringing the K♦ on the turn. Murata then checked, and Urbanovich fired out 38,000.

Murata moved all-in for 169,000, and Urbanovich–who only had 180,000 himself–had a big decision. He used a time bank, and eventually called with K♠3♦ for top pair. Murata was drawing with Q♦3♦, and the 9♣ river didn’t improve his hand.

Urbanovich is up to 450,000. –JS

4:54pm: Lew’s luck runs out in 43rd place
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (BB ante 10,000)

Randy Lew has taken his leave from this PCA Main Event. Down to his last 6,000, he called all-in under the gun. Ami Barer raised to 21,000 in the cutoff and Maria Ho called in the big blind. Ho check-called 25,000 on the J♣9♥7♠ flop but folded to another 41,000 on the 2♠ turn.

“Jack,” said Barer, turning up Q♥J♠. That left Lew’s 7♦6♠ in need of another seven or a six to keep him in the tournament. Alas, the river was the 3♥.

“Nice playing with you, Randy,” said Glenn Miller as the PokerStars Ambassador collected his things.

“Cheers,” said Lew. Ho is down to 180,000 now, while Barer climbs to 380,000. –JK

4:51pm: Great call from Clements checks Altman
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (BB ante 10,000)

It’s been pretty-much plain sailing for Brian Altman through this tournament, but he just lost a pretty huge pot to double up Scott Clements. They played it through all streets as the dealer put the 6♠7♦T♥J♣6♦ board out there, at which point they got the rest of their chips in the middle. (It looked like Altman jammed and Clements called.)

Altman had Q♥K♦, which meant Clements made a terrific call with T♣8♦.

Clements now has 1 million, while Altman is down to 555,000. — HS

4:48pm: Tang’s aces ends Azzaro’s run
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (BB ante 10,000)

Following a Danny Tang open, Michael Azzaro jammed his short stack and when it got back to Tang he called right away.

Azzaro had a good starter with T♣T♥, but Tang had a better one with A♥A♣. The 5♥A♠6♠ improved Tang to a set, and by the 9♣ turn Azzaro was already drawing dead.

Azzaro finishes 44th, while Tang is now up to 945,000. –MH

4:43pm: Clements pushed off twice
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (BB ante 10,000)

Scott Clements has been fairly active this past orbit. Unfortunately for him, he’s been forced to fold twice after betting.

The first hand saw Joao Simao open to 22,000 under the gun, which Clements called one seat over. Felipo Pantoja called too on Clements’ left, and the three went to a 7♥8♦J♣ flop when it had folded around.

Simao opted not to c-bet, letting Clements in for a 55,000 bet. Pantoja then popped it up to 225,000, which saw a quick fold from Simao. Clements would eventually fold too.

He was back in action the next hand though, opening to 25,000 under the gun. Scott Wellenbach–now sitting with a huge stack–called in the hijack, and Simao defended his big blind. The dealer spread a 2♣T♠K♣ flop, and Simao checked it to the raiser.

Clements continued for 40,000, only to get raised again by Wellenbach to 130,000. Simao was done with the hand, but Clements stuck around.

The A♣ landed on the turn, putting three clubs on board. Clements now checked it, and folded when Wellenbach set him all in.

Clements is down to 550,000 now, while Simao has 730,000 and Pantoja’s on 900,000.

Wellenbach leads them all with 1.76 million. –JS

4:39pm: Chip-leading Wellenbach has a new favorite dealer
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (BB ante 10,000)

Scott Wellenbach is on one hell of a rush. It’s pushed him into the chip lead with more than 1.5 million. You can read back through the last fifteen minutes you’ll see how he’s gone from 500,000 to more than million more in just a few hands.


Chip leader: Scott Wellenbach


The most recent hand ruined Rex Clinkscales day. Sitting on around 600,000 himself, Clinkscales picked up Q♦Q♠. After getting all of those chips, Wellenbach looked like he was afraid he was getting colored against aces, because he himself had K♥K♦.

“Oh, God,” he said. “I have to call.”

If Clinkscales though he’d been nit-rolled, he didn’t say anything. He took his medicine and departed. Meanwhile, someone called to Wellenbach, “Slow down over there. It’s a five-day tournament.”

“No,” Wellenbach said to the man in the dealer’s box. “We’re finishing it today! This is my new favorite dealer.”

Wellenbach paused a moment as he stacked his chips, and then said as an afterthought, “Usually my favorite dealers are women, but I’m changing.”–BW

4:36pm: Calamusa leaves Lew looking for the Lazarus act
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (BB ante 10,000)

Randy Lew has done some extraordinary things in poker, but he’ll have to pull of his best trick yet if he is to progress much further in this tournament. Lew has only 6,000 left after a massive blind-on-blind skirmish with Pierre Calamusa.

Maria Ho open-limped 10,000 from the button and Lew then shoved for around 180,000 from the small blind. Pierre Calamusa had 170,000 in his stack and used up two time-bank cards as he thought what to do.

As it turned out, that “thinking” was merely an act to try to persuade Ho to call after Calamusa jammed. Ho was wise to it and tossed them away, leaving Lew’s A♥Q♦ in bother against Calamusa’s K♥K♥.

Lew picked up some additional outs after the first four cards off the deck were J♥3♦7♣T♠. One of the two other kings would now help nanonoko. But the 5♥ river was a fat blank and Lew has less than one big blind. At least he now has the button and isn’t due to pay anything for eight hands.– HS

4:33pm: Zinno down to zero after Clinkscales binks flop
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (BB ante 10,000)

There was about 60,000 in the middle and the board read 7♠8♥7♦ when Rex Clinkscales checked, and Anthony Zinno bet 25,000. Clinkscales check-raised to 55,000, and after pausing a short bit Zinno jammed for just over 245,000 total and Clinkscales called right away.

Clinkscales: K♠7♥
Zinno: Q♦Q♠

Bad news for Zinno as Clinkscales had flopped trips. The K♦ turn and K♣ river only improved Clinkscales further, and Zinno was eliminated.


Anthony Zinno


Clinkscales chips up to about 625,000 after collecting that pot. –MH

4:29pm: Not so happy Kamphues
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (BB ante 10,000)

Timo Kamphues has just been eliminated by Danny Tang. We arrived to see Kamphues all-in and at risk for his 155,000 stack with A♦2♦ against the A♣Q♣ of Tang, and which held up after a 9♠8♣6♦9♦J♠ runout.

Tang’s on 700,000 now. –JS

4:27pm: What a life for Bosca
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (BB ante 10,000)

We came up on Max Lehmanski standing from his chair and heading for the rail, his A♦J♦ clearly no match for Vicent Bosca’s Q♥Q♠. “You raise four times in a row and get paid,” André Akkari said admiringly from across the table. “What a life!” –BW


Vicent Bosca


4:25pm: Zinno doubles through Wellenbach
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (BB ante 10,000)

Anthony Zinno and Scott Wellenbach have clashed again, and this time it resulted in a double up for the former.

Zinno was all-in on the button for 125,000 with A♣4♠ and Wellenbach called with K♦T♠. The Q♣J♥6♥ flop gave Wellenbach all sorts of outs, but he could’t find any on the 7♠5♣ turn and river.

Zinno’s on 265,000 now, while Wellenbach drops to a million. –JS

4:24pm: No drinkin’, lots of thinkin’
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (BB ante 10,000)

“Cocktails!” The waiters are circling our remaining tables looking for customers. “If you ain’t drinkin’, you ain’t thinkin’!” But these players are indeed thinking — so much that they’re taking very few unnecessary risks at the moment. Take this orbit of hands as an example.

Matthias Eibinger opened the first hand for 20,000 on the button and called when Vicent Bosca re-raised to 80,000 from the big blind. Bosca fired 60,000 on the K♥Q♠3♦ flop and Eibinger folded.

Andre Akkari opened for 21,000 in the hijack on the next hand. Chase Bianchi called in the hijack, then folded along with Akkari when Javier Zarco moved all-in on the button.

Bianchi opened the next hand for 20,000 under the gun. Michael Stembera called in the big blind, then check-folded to a 20,000 bet on the 4♣9♠3♦ flop.

Javier Gomez made it 20,000 on the button on the next hand and Akkari called in the big blind. Then Akkari check-folded to a 17,000 bet on the Q♦3♣4♦.

Vicent Bosca raised to 20,000 in the hijack on the next hand. Gomez called in the cutoff and then they both folded when Stembera jammed for 159,000 on the button.

Bosca tried again on the next hand, making it 20,000 in the lojack, and Bianchi called in the big blind. They checked down the entire 5♥Q♦8♦7♠9♦ board and Bosca’s Q-T beat Bianchi’s T-8 for the tiny pot. And then Andre Akkari took the next pot with a 21,000 raise in the cutoff. –JK

4:23pm: Wellenbach is well and back
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (BB ante 10,000)

I make no apology, I’ve used that precise headline before. But the reason for the repetition is a huge hand between Scott Wellenbach and Joao Simao that has put the man from Halifax, Nova Scotia — who spends most of his time translating Buddhist teachings from Sanskrit and Tibetan into English — up over 1 million in chips.

Wellenbach opened the pot to 25,000 and Simao three-bet the button to 130,000. Wellenbach moved in for 526,000 and Simao called.

Wellenbach’s K♦K♥ merely needed to dodge an ace as Simao had A♦K♠. The board was dry as red-wine drinker’s 7am mouth, and Wellenbach doubled. Simao is down to 785,000. — HS

4:21pm: Wellenbach never shows
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (BB ante 10,000)

Anthony Zinno opened to 22,000 under the gun and picked up a caller in Scott Wellenbach in the hijack. It then folded to Joao Simao in the big blind who defended, bringing a 9♠J♠4♣ flop.

Zinno continued for 40,000 when it checked to him, and Wellenbacj stuck around. Simao stepped aside leaving them heads-up to the 4♠ turn. Zinno then checked it, and Wellenbach leant out to get a good look at Zinno’s stack behind. He had 150,000, and Wellenbach wanted to play for the lot.

He shoved, and Zinno used two time banks before laying it down.

“You got away with one there,” said Rex Clinkscales on Wellenbach’s left. “Show one!”

“I never show!” Wellenbach replied. “But I’ll tell you what I had at the break. You made a good fold, sir.”

Wellenbach’s up to 520,000 after that win. –JS

4:16pm: Nguyen busts Peukert
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (BB ante 10,000)

Stefan Peukert jammed his last 100,000-plus-ish and got a single caller in the big-stacked Tommy Nguyen. Peukert stood as he tabled 9♣9♦, and Peukert turned over A♦J♣.


Stefen Peukert


The 4♣2♥A♣ flop game Nguyen aces and thus didn’t encourage Peukert to sit back down, and after the 3♥ turn and Q♦ river he wished the table good luck before heading to the payout desk.

Nguyen is now inching close to the 1.3 million-chip mark. –MH

4:13pm: Clements sinks Pecheux
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (BB ante 10,000)

Erwann Pecheux is no more, gone in 50th place, headed out with his payday. Scott Clements, looking very relaxed today, was happy to put his A♦K♥ up against K♣Q♦ to get the last of Pecheux’s chips. Pecheux lees with $28,520. You can keep up with the rest of our prize winners on our PCA payouts page. –BW

4:11pm: Tang flops the nuts
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (BB ante 10,000)

Danny Tang has enjoyed a prosperous start to the new level, winning a pot from Eder Takashi Murata. Tang had junk pre-flop, but that quickly became the nuts.


Eder Murata


Murata opened the pot to 22,000 from mid position and Tang called in the big blind. The flop then fell 9♣8♦J♦. Tang check/called Murata’s 35,000 continuation bet.

The A♠ fell on the turn and I didn’t catch the action here (an all-in was called on a neighbouring table, and we’re like moths to a lamp when we hear those words). By the time I returned to this pot, the 8♣ river was out and Tang bet 88,000.

Murata thought a while but then threw a chip forward as a call. Tang showed his T♠7♣, which had flopped a straight. Though it was no longer the nuts by the end, it was too good for Murata. He mucked.

Tang moves up to 510,000 while Murata dips to 341,000. — HS

4:08pm: Beresford shoves tens
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (BB ante 10,000)

Conor Beresford came back from the break to one of the shortest stacks among the remaining players, and pretty soon found a hand worth playing. He raised all in from the cutoff for his last 123,000, and after everyone folded he picked up another 25,000 from the blinds and big blind ante.

Actually Beresford had thought Mark Radoja in the small blind had said “call” not “fold,” and so Beresford tabled his hand unnecessarily — T♣T♠.

“Wait… fold?” said Beresford, and Radoja cracked “well, now I fold.”

The table had a chuckle as Beresford shrugged. “Well, I’m pretty tight guys, remember that,” he chucked. “You know I shove tens!” –MH

4:02pm: Perrault and Nassetta bust
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (BB ante 10,000)

Two eliminations in quick succession to report.

On one table Ami Barer opened to 23,000 from the lo-jack and Pavel Veksler flatted in the hijack. It then folded to Keith Nassetta on the button and he shipped in his last 102,000, which Barer folded to after getting a count. Veksler called quickly though with 7♥7♠, flipping against Nassetta’s Q♠J♠.


Keith Nassetta


The board fell A♥4♥5♠3♣7♣, which only improved Veksler’s hand. He’s up to 520,000 now, while Nassetta’s off to get paid.

At the same time on another table, PSPC finalist Marc Perrault was all-in for 89,000 with Q♣T♦ against Tommy Nguyen’s A♠9♠. Ace-high was still good after the 8♦5♣J♣J♥7♠ runout, taking Nguyen up to 1.07 million. –JS


Tommy Nguyen


3:56pm: Two shoves
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (BB ante 10,000)

A further two shoves to report early in Level 19. The first was a three-bet push from Mark Radoja over Scott Clements’ open to 25,000. Clements folded.

On a neighbouring table Javier Zapatero and Andre Akkari got it all-in pre-flop with a pair of ace-kings between them. Akkari picked up a freeroll to his K♠ when the three of the first four cards out of the deck were spades. But the chop was secured after the red river.

In short: a lot of fuss about nothing. — HS

3:50pm: Peukert doubles through Perrault
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (BB ante 10,000)

Shortly after players returned from the break, Stefan Peukert open-jammed from early position and it folded around to Marc Perrault who called.

Peukert had A♥J♣ and Perrault 4♥4♠. The A♠5♥6♣ hit Peukert’s hand, giving him a pair of aces, and after the T♣ turn and 7♦ river he was back up to about 200,000. Meanwhile Perrault slips down to just 70,000. –MH

3:30pm: Hunter jams to end the level
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (BB ante 8,000)

On the last hand before the break, the short-stacked Ian Hunter three-bet shoved over Christoph Vogelsang’s early-position open. Hunter didn’t have much — about 80,000 — but it was too much for Vogelsang. He folded.


Ian Hunter


With that, the level came to its conclusion and we will now take 20-minutes to gather our thoughts. — HS

3:29pm: TV and reality
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (BB ante 8,000)

Anthony Zinno jammed all in before the flop and all folded, including Scott Wallenbach, and Zinno collected the blinds and big blind ante. He has 215,000 now, Wallenbach 285,000.

“I’m sure I’ve seen you on TV plenty,” said Wellenbach after the hand to Zinno. “But I don’t remember.” As a multiple WPT champion, Zinno has indeed enjoyed his share of air time. “I watch, but I don’t ever think I’m going to play against you guys,” Wellenbach continued.


Scott Wellenbach


We’re getting used to seeing Wellenbach, actually, having watched him cash in the PCA Main Event before two years ago, and also in other European Poker Tour events including a 17th-place showing in the Main Event in Barcelona in 2017. If he can get deeper in this one, we’ll be watching him on TV, too. –MH

3:29pm: Perrault doubles through Urbanovich
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (BB ante 8,000)

Marc Perrault, enjoying a good trip to the Bahamas following his final table of the PSPC, managed to get his chips in. He was short, and found A♣3♣

Alas, I didn’t see anything else. Suffice to say he doubled to around 175,000 and looked quite happy about it.

Dzmitry Urbanovich was the player who paid him off. He drops to 150,000 and didn’t look happy about it. – SB

3:26pm: Deadman over Berkey
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (BB ante 8,000)

“Same hand?” asked David Rheem after returning to the table, having taken a quick break away from it for just a minute. Players nodded yes.


Matthew Berkey


Simon Deadman and Matt Berkey had been locked in a somewhat lengthy one, with time bank cards being spent as they got to the turn with the board showing 7♣5♦Q♣K♦ at which point both checked.

The 7♠ completed the board, and again acting deliberately Deadman bet 68,000. Berkey dipped into his time bank cards again before calling, and when Deadman showed A♣K♣ for kings that beat Berkey’s A♠Q♦. Berkey still has about 770,000, while Deadman chips up close to 400,000.


Simon Deadman


“Just three-bet pre?” asked Rheem and there were nods again. “Bet the flop?” he asked Deadman who smiled. “Where were you?” he asked and the table chuckled. –MH

3:25pm: Randy Lew moves all in. Doesn’t win. But doesn’t lose either
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (BB ante 8,000)

Randy Lew has been short and looking for an opportunity to move since the start of the day. He found it on the button with Q♦Q♣.

The only problem was that when he moved all-in, Dzmitry Urbanovich called with the same hand: Q♥Q♠

It was all neutralized fairly quickly on a board of 4♦4♥T♠3♥6♣

Lew back to square one. – SB

3:15pm: Berkey felts Kaempf
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (BB ante 8,000)

After they kept a hand small-ball a little while ago (see 3pm), Matt Berkey and Philipp Kaempf just played a much bigger pot, which ended with Kaempf making camp on the rail.

They went three-way to a flop, with Kaempf raising UTG+1 and Marc-Andre Ladouceur and Berkey coming along from mid-position and the big blind, respectively. That flop was 3♥9♠7♥. Berkey checked it, Kaempf bet 20,000 and Ladouceur called. Then Berkey raised it to 80,000.

Kaempf shipped for about 220,000 and Ladouceur scuttled away. But Berkey called with top pair and a flush draw with 9♥4♥. Kaempf had only the latter, with his A♥5♥.

Two of his outs were in his opponent’s hand, and the 7♦ turn and 2♠ river didn’t help him one bit. With that Kaempf departs and Berkey chips up to around 700,000. — HS

3:06pm: Building chips, trust
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (BB ante 8,000)

Maria Ho opened from her short stack and got a call from Ami Barer in the big blind. Both checked the 4♥Q♥T♠ flop, but when Barer led at the T♣ turn, Ho had to let her hand go.


Maria Ho with the three essentials at the PCA: Microphone, Starbucks, chips


Afterwards a discussion arose regarding the relative trustworthiness of players’ faces at Barer’s end of the table, with Ho judging Barer appeared similarly trustworthy to Glenn Miller sitting on his right.

What about Pavel Veksler, wondered Barer about the player on his left. The Ukrainian player grinned as he was being studied.

“Well, when you smile of course you seem trustworthy,” said Ho of Veksler, noting things were different “when you’re playing poker and stone-faced.”

Ho sounded sincere in her assessment. I believe her.

Comparing chip stacks instead, I can say more definitively that Ho has 130,000, Miller 190,000, Barer 355,000, and Veksler 380,000. –MH

3:04pm: Sarracco sent packing by Vohra
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (BB ante 8,000)

Pasquale Sarracco just busted with jacks in a four-way hand.

With a flop of 6♣K♣A♣ Sarracco got his chips in. then, he stood up to watch he fate. Three other players were in the hand but it would be Rajesh Vohra that he had to beat.

Vohra: A♥7♦
Sarracco: J♦J♠

The turn came K♥ and the river 2♣.

Sarracco was out. Vohra up to 780,000. – SB

3:03pm: The end for Yu
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (BB ante 8,000)

Ben Yu busted, losing the last of his short stack to Marc-Andre Ladouceur who is now playing 650,000. That reduces the field to 56 players. –MH

3:00pm: Berkey gets there against Kaempf
Level 17 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (BB ante 8,000)

Matt Berkey raised to 20,000 on the button and Philipp Kaempf called in the big blind. Those two then saw the 9♣7♦7♣ flop. It went check, bet, call. The amount was 24,000.

The A♠ fell on the turn and it went check, bet, call again. This time the amount was 45,000.

The J♥ completed the board and this one went check, check. “Nine,” Kaempf said, showing his Q♠9♥. Berkey sheepishly turned over K♠J♠ having got there on the only street he didn’t bet.

Berkey has 370,000 now and Kaempf has 220,000. — HS

2:54pm: Tang taps Camosci
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (BB ante 8,000)

Danny Tang opened under-the-gun for 18,000. It was folded around to Enrico Camosci in the big blind, who called for the 6♣6♦2♣ flop.

Camosci then checked to Tang, who bet 14,000. Camosci looked at the board for a few moments, almost suspicious, and then raised to 50,000. Tang, not looking suspicious at all, called.

The turn was the 6♥.

Again Camosci checked. Tang bet 35,000 sending the action back to Camosci. This time though there was less suspicious. Just resignation. He folded, dropping down to 870,000.

Tang meanwhile climbs a little to 400,000. – SB

2:43pm: Lucky Lew
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (BB ante 8,000)

Tommy Nguyen has been adding steadily here in Level 18, though his upward climb up the counts was halted momentarily just now after a hand with Randy Lew.

Lew had jammed with A♥9♦ from under the gun and Nguyen called from the cutoff with the Q♦Q♠. Those in between got out, and after the 4♣T♠3♠ flop things looked bleak for the Team Online member.

But the turn and river brought a couple of nines — 9♣ and then 9♥ — and Lew survived with backdoor trips. He’s at 182,000 after that, while Nguyen is still riding high with 845,000. –MH

Randy Lew


2:42pm: Stelitz wipes out Leah
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (BB ante 8,000)

Mike Leah is the latest big name to find himself on the PCA scrapheap, shipping his chips to Daniel Strelitz. They got to the flop for one raise, but then it went crazy.


Daniel Strelitz


That flop was A♠J♠9♠ and Leah bet 210,000. Strelitz pushed, covering Leah, but the latter called for his last 460,000.

Strelitz had 9♣9♦ for a flopped set, and though Leah’s A♥T♠ gave him flush and backdoor straight draws to go with his top pair, he whiffed through the 8♣ turn and T♦ river.

Leah takes $24,760, but Strelitz is now a real threat with 1.15 million. — HS

2:35pm: Ami Barer sends Ross to the rail
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (BB ante 8,000)

Another player departs. This time it’s Eli Ross who busts.

He shoved for 65,000 with 6♦7♣ and got a call from Ami Barer who turned over A♠6♣.

The board came A♣J♣6♥5♥4♠ to end Ross’s day, and take Barer up a little more to 330,000. – SB

2:27pm: Simao pushes Urbanovich
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (BB ante 8,000)

Dzmitry Urbanovich is down to his last 260,000 after Joao Simao sniffed out what looked like a bluff. Simao opened the pot from the button with a raise to 18,000 and Urbanovich called in the big blind.

Urbanovich checked the 6♠K♥8♦ flop and Simao bet 16,000. Urbanovich called, and another king — the K♠ — fell on the turn. Urbanovich now bet 22,000 but Simao seemed instantly suspicious. He put 100,000 over the line,

Urbanovich ultimately elected to fold. — HS

2:20pm: Hunter doubles through Beresford
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (BB ante 8,000)

Conor Beresford opened for 18,000 from the hijack seat and got two callers, the short-stacked Ian Hunter in the small blind and the big-stacked Enrico Camosci in the big. The flop came 5♥Q♥4♠ and it checked around to Beresford who continued with a bet, and Hunter responded by check-raising all in for 95,000. Camosci folded, but Beresford quickly called.

The two UK players being chatting as they saw each other’s hands — Beresford with K♣Q♦ for top pair and Hunter with 6♥6♠ and only a slim chance of surviving. Then the 6♣ turn hit and Hunter couldn’t help but react with some emotion. That made the T♥ river no matter, and Hunter more-than-doubles to about 250,000 while Beresfordslips to 205,000.

“Sorry, mate,” said Hunter afterwards with a grin. “No worries, mate,” answered the also smiling Beresford. –MH

2:15pm: Altman cracks kings to send Guerrero to the rail
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (BB ante 8,000)

Jimmy Guerrero just busted, shoving with K♦K♠ against Brian Altman.


Brian Altman


Guerrero’s shove was worth about 100,000 and Altman called with Q♥4♥

The board came J♥9♥9♠A♥4♠

The turn gave Altman a flush and took his stack up to 1.2 million. Guerrero heads for the rail.

2:10pm: Scott “The Vise” Wellenbach squeezes again
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (BB ante 8,000)

Following a Byron Kaverman open to 18,000, Felipe Pantoja called from the button and then Scott Wellenbach three-bet to 80,000. That chased the big blind and Kaverman, then Pantoja spoke up before acting.


Byron Kaverman


“The second time you squeeze,” he said. “And can you believe it, I have the same hand. I think this is Jesus Christ telling me to play this time.” However, Pantoja chose differently and pushed his hand away. There was some cross-talk of ace-king I didn’t quite hear, but I did hear Wellenbach saying how Jesus wouldn’t have folded ace-king.

“They call him ‘the vise,'” cracked Carlos Chadha from across the table, referring to Wellenbach, and the latter clarified how that was a reference to his propensity to squeeze. “Someone my age, he always has to have it,” Wellenbach added, but Pantoja’s smile suggested he knew better.

Wellenbach is on 285,000 now. –MH

2:05pm: Vela departs first in Level 18
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (BB ante 8,000)

It was somewhere between a “yuk” and a “bleugh” — something like a “ye-eugh”. The sound came from Michael Vela after he saw the news that would condemn him to life as an ex-member of the PCA Main Event field.

Action folded to Vela in the small blind and he pushed all-in for his last 120,000. He only had Marc Perrault, in the big blind, to get through, but Perrault took a peek and snap-called, turning over Q♠Q♥.

“Ye-eugh,” Vela said as his Q♦T♣ was in terrible shape. And the dealer didn’t help him with the 6♥K♥5♣2♥J♠ board. Vela is out in 64th. Perault is up to 370,000. — HS

2:00pm: Back from break

We’re ready to roll. Back in action as of now.

1:38pm: Break time
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (BB ante 5,000)

It’s been pretty crazy in the first level of the day. We’re down to 64 players as Yan Li, Chris Furbert, and Justin Ouimette all fell. We need a break. Fortunately we’re getting just that. –BW

1:31pm: Akkari takes hit against Cantos
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (BB ante 5,000)

Having moved up to 600,000 in the first few hands of play, Andre Akkari slips down to 225,000 after a hand against Jorge Cantos.

The board was dealt to the river, reading 2♣A♦6♦7♣K♣

Akkari had bet 115,000 and was waiting for Cantos to act. He called.

Akkari showed 8♠4♠. Cantos looked at it, then showed K♦2♦ to win the hand. He’s up to 425,000. – SB

Andre Akkari


1:21pm: $25,000 High Roller begins today
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (BB ante 5,000)

While we have our eyes on the Main Event, the $25,000 is going to kick off today. We’ll give you occasional updates here on that event and then pick up full coverage tomorrow. He are some early entries to it: Daniel Wilson, Nick Petrangelo, Christopher Kennedy, Timothy Adams, Markus Dürnegger, Christopher Kruk, Lucas Reeves, Seth Davies, Max Silver, Isaac Haxton, Stephen Chidwick, James Chen, Matthew Moss. –BW

1:21pm: Worked out pretty well
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (BB ante 5,000)

“You ever look at ace-four and think you have aces,” Chino Rheem just asked his table. No one would admit to having done so. Rheem was happy to say he had. He’d accidentally gotten it all in vs Brynn Kenney’s brother Tyler’s kings.

“How’d that work out for you?” Byron Kaverman asked.

“I told him, I have it. Binked the ace on the river, so it worked out pretty good!” Rheem said.

According to Rheem, Kenney didn’t believe Rheem had actually believed he had aces and refused to believe so for a full year.–BW

1:18pm: Zarco doubles
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (BB ante 5,000)

A double up for Javier Zarco through Claas Segebrecht, whose pocket kings were dethroned by Zarco’s A♥Q♠. Aces had landed on the turn and the river.

“I folded ace-five!” said someone at the table, oblivious to Segebrecht’s disappointment.

“I don’t think he’s happy to hear that,” deadpanned Zarco. – SB

1:15pm: Reunited…and it feels so good?
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (BB ante 5,000)

Jeff Hakim and Franz Ditz have both made it to Day 3 here, and they’re already pretty familiar with each other. The last time we saw them together, they were at the final table of a live PSPC Platinum Pass satellite in Monte Carlo. In the end, several people (including Ditz and Hakim) ended up getting seats in the PSPC. Ditz and Hakim ended up heads up and playing six-card PLO just to break the monotony.


Jeff Hakim


Ditz ended up winning the Platinum Pass. Neither man made the money in the PSPC. Ditz, in fact, went out near the bubble when his kings were coolered by Michael Robionek’s aces. Nevertheless, both Hakim and Ditz are in the money here. It may not be the way they hoped to be reunited in the money, but it’ll do.–BW

Franz Ditz


1:10pm: Pantoja meditates his way through Day 3
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (BB ante 5,000)

When we came to work today, Felipe Pantoja was sitting cross-legged in our dark corner of the room. He wore headphones and didn’t move for long enough that I wondered if we should check on him. Turns out he was meditating. After he finished, he got more adventurous. The next thing we knew, he was standing on his head. While it looked exhausting, he seems more relaxed than anyone in the room. More relaxed, say, than Roberly Felicio, his Brazilian countryman, who just exited at Pantoja’s hands. We should try that meditation thing sometime. –BW

Felipe Pantoja meditates


12:55pm: Matt Glantz out. Eventually
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (BB ante 5,000)

Matt Glantz was out. It just took him a second or two to notice.

He was all-in with K♣T♥ against the 9♥9♠ of Conor Beresford.

The board ran J♦2♥8♣4♣3♣

Running clubs gave Beresford the flush.


Conor Beresford


There was a pause as chips were moved around. Then a voice said to Glantz: “You know you lost, right?”

Glantz was suddenly jolted by electricity.

“Oh my God!” he said. “I didn’t even see. I saw a rainbow flop!”

He was out though. Not bad given he was all in on the bubble. – SB

12:46pm: Altman, Chadha and Wellenbach contest three-way pot
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (BB ante 5,000)

A big hand just played out involving Brian Altman, Carlos Chadha and Scott Wellenbach. It leaves one of them with about a million chips.

Altman opened for 12,000 in early position. Carlos Chadha called, as did Scott Wellenbach in the small blind, and the player in the big blind.

On the 3♥8♠9♠ flop the action was checked through to Chadha. He bet 14,000. All but the big blind called for the Q♥ turn card.

Again the action was checked to Chadha who bet 32,000. Again Wellenbach and Altman called.

Now the [kh river card.

Wellenbach checked once more. Altman though, pushed forward a tower of blue chips, 95,000 in total. Chadha called, Wellenbach got out of their way.

8♥7♥ made a flush for Altman. Chadha mucked his cards and tapped the table.

He drops to 370,000 while Altman moves up to 1 million. – SB

12:35pm: Arkadiy Tsinis eliminated
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (BB ante 5,000)

Short-stacked to start the day, Arkadiy Tsinis shoved all in with an unsuited king and queen to fight for a double up. Bad timing for him. Vicent Bosca who came into the day second in chips had big slick. It held, and Tsinis was gone in 74th place. –BW

12:31pm: Gofman doubles, Gathy departs, Greenwood up
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (BB ante 5,000)

Action on Sam Greenwood’s table.

First Aleksandr Gofman doubled up with T♦9♠ against the A♠9♠ of Michael Gathy.

The board ran 9♦2♣K♦6♦8♣ to leave Gofman with around 100,000 while Gathy dropped to 37,000.

It would spell the end of Gathy’s tournament.

On the next hand he shoved from the button and it was Greenwood, in the small blind, who called.

Greenwood: 7♦7♥
Gathy: J♠9♠

Gathy was optimistic. Then he saw the flop and said “maybe not.”

7♠7♣Q♦K♠J♣

An early finish for Gathy. Greenwood rallies a little, up to 145,000. – SB

12:23pm: Leah eating well
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (BB ante 5,000)

Mike Leah’s food looks great. We’re not even sure what it is with the exception of what is probably some sort of nut butter and bananas. But whatever it is looks great, healthy, and better than anything we’ve eaten in more than a week. We asked if he prepped it himself. Apparently he has someone for that. He did not offer that person’s name, which we don’t necessarily consider selfish, but…well, it looks good, Mike.–BW

12:15pm: Two players down. Akkari up to 600K
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (BB ante 5,000)

Sparrow Cheung is the first player eliminated today. Ivan Galinec followed shortly after, sent to the rail by Andre Akkari.

Akkari opened under the gun for 13,000 which Galinec raised to 35,000 two seats along. Akkari called.

The flop came 9♣8♦T♥

Both players checked for the 4♣ turn card.

Now Akkari made it 41,000. Galinec took very little time before announcing he was all-in for about 150,000 more. Likewise, Akkari took no time at all to call.

Akkari: K♥K♠
Galinec: Q♥Q♠

Galinec needed a queen on the river. Instead he got the A♣. That sent him to the rail. Akkari meanwhile is up to just short of 600,000. – SB

12:05pm: Play underway
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (BB ante 6,000)

The remaining 79 people are back in action for Day 3. Stick here for live reporting all day and night long. –BW

11am: Welcome back to Day 3 of the Main Event
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (BB ante 6,000)

It’s Day 3 of the PCA 2019 Main Event. Yesterday the field was cut to just 79 players, all of whom are in the money. But that’s just the next step on the ladder towards a first prize of more than $1.5 million. Because today’s mission is to reach the penultimate day.



Most likely to accomplish that, at least as far as the chip counts go, is Pierre Calamusa.

The Frenchman bagged the lead last night. His 1.5 million chips stack is more than 350,000 ahead of second placed Vicent Bosca. Enrico Camosci is the only other player close to a million with 980,000.

Others will count themselves as contenders, as should most players returning today all to aware of the fickle nature of the poker Gods.

That includes PokerStars Ambassadors Andre Akkari and Randy Lew, as well as familiar names to any chip count list: Brian Altman, Christoph Vogelsang, Dzmitry Urbanovich, Mike Leah, Conor Beresford, Anthony Zinno, Byron Kaverman, PSPC final tablist Marc Perrault, Ami Barer, Matt Glantz, Maria Ho, and Sam Greenwood.

You can check all the day’s starting counts on our chip count page.

Play resumes at 12pm ET with the familiar schedule. The plan is for six levels, which should take us down to around 24 players. Each level is 90 minutes, with a 20 minute break between each of them. They’ll be a 75 minute dinner after the sixth level of the day (around 7pm ET).

We’ll have live updates from the start. You can also watch the live stream (on a cards-up delay) by using the links at the top of this page.

That’s everything you need for Day 3. – SB


PCA MAIN EVENT DAY 3 KEY FACTS

Schedule: 6 x 90-minute levels
Breaks: 20 mins after every level
Dinner: 75 mins after Level 14
Day 3 starting blinds: 3,000/6,000 (BB ante 6,000)

Download the PokerStars LIVE! app with all tournament information. Available for IOS and Android.

PokerStars Blog reporting team on the $10,300 Main Event: Stephen Bartley, Martin Harris, Jason Kirk, Jack Stanton, Howard Swains and Brad Willis. Photography by Neil Stoddart and Carlos Monti.

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