PSC Bahamas: Nick Maimone bags lead of last 32, but Mercier lurks

January 11, 2017


Nick Maimone: Hands up who’s chip leader again

The 2017 PokerStars Championship Bahamas Main Event is moving quickly, very quickly indeed. At the end of Day 3 tonight only 32 players from a starting field of 738 remained and the first prize of $480,012 may appear to be in sight.

Yet there are three days left in this tournament before the winner is crowned, and the startling rapidity of eliminations today should remind everyone that chips today may well be gone tomorrow.

The only player apparently immune to that truism is Nick Maimone, who bagged the chip lead for the second consecutive day. Last year, Maimone won the $25,000 High Roller event in this room in the week of his 29th birthday, for a career-best payday of close to $1 million. He clearly likes something in the Atlantis waters and celebrated the last day of his 20s today by finishing the Main Event tonight with 1.75 million.

That’s not to say Maimone had it all his own way. At about the halfway point of a breakneck day (the full details of which you can read in our archive at the bottom of this post) Maimone’s neighbour, Pascal Lefrancois, was in front. But Maimone knocked out Lefrancois in the biggest pot of the tournament to date (Hand history) and kept his big stack until the end of play.

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This is now a highly condensed field, but the quality is still extraordinarily high. Team PokerStars Pro retains two representatives, one from each side of the virtual divide. Jason Mercier, of Team Pro, has 1.33 million, which is second overall. Jaime Staples, of Team Online, has 310,000.


Jason Mercier: Second overnight

8G2A0787_Jamie_Staples_Barry_Greenstein_PCB2017_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Jaime Staples and Barry Greenstein: Two Red Spades

Leading lights including Daniel Colman (another one-time chip leader), Shawn Buchanan, Chance Kornuth, Sylvain Loosli, Mike McDonald and Davidi Kitai bit the dust. And Barry Greenstein almost added three Red Spades to the Day 4 mix but perished late on. (Hand history)

But that still leaves us with the following top 10 and the full list over on the chip-count page. You’ll notice a former PCA champion (John Dibella), a former World Series Main Event winner (Ryan Riess) a former EPT Grand Final champion (Adrian Mateos) and a recent November Niner (Cliff Josephy). Yes, a good field still.

Name Country Chips
Nick Maimone USA 1,750,000
Jason Mercier USA 1,333,000
John Dibella USA 1,119,000
Marcin Kapkowski Poland 1,036,000
Damien Steel Canada 1,029,000
Pedro Baptista Martinho Cabeca Portugal 864,000
Rasmus Glæsel Norway 856,000
Alan Schein USA 810,000
Michael Vela USA 780,000
Ryan Riess USA 775,000

Join us tomorrow, where the slightly truncated schedule allows for four 90-minute levels and a further compression of the field. The only thing we know for sure is that the final table will begin on Saturday with six players. How many we have left this time tomorrow is anyone’s guess.

In the meantime, why not have a quick read of PokerStars Blog tribute to War and Peace below. It was a day full of content.

Day 3 coverage archive

9:15pm: Mercier busts Trivedi on the last hand of the night
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

Jason Mercier busted Smit Trivedi on the last hand of the night to see his stack rise to 1.333 million.

He opened from under the gun and called after Trivedi three-bet all-in for 208,000 from the big blind.

Trivedi: A♥Q♥
Mercier: 10♠10♣

The board ran 10♥2♦J♠A♣2♠ to make the Team PokerStars Pro a full house. –MC

9:06pm: Three more hands
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

They’ve done the random draw, and there are three more hands left in the night.

9:05pm: Maimone finds fold versus Opalikhin
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

Came up on this one on the river, with about 130,000 in the middle, the board showing 7♦5♠3♥7♥8♥, and Nick Maimone having bet 100,000. Aleksei Opalikhin then raised all in for 280,000, sending Maimone into the tank.

Maimone stood from the table and talked aloud, saying at the start he had seven-nine, but wished he had seven-eight. He continued to talk, eventually asking Opalikhin how much it would take for him to show his hand should Maimone fold.

“How many chips?” asked Opalikhin, sounding a little confused.

“No… cash. How much cash,” said Maimone, and the table chuckled. Opalikhin responded he wasn’t interested, nor did he bite when Maimone said if he showed this one hand, Maimone promised subsequently to show him two of his hands.

Finally Maimone folded, and in fact showed a seven as he did. Opalikhin resisted further urging to show his cards, and now he has about 540,000.

Maimone is still the chip leader, though, with about 15 minutes left, sitting with just over 1.6 million. –MH

8:59pm: Staples gets some back from Stewart
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (1,000 ante)

There’s some healthy competition going on between Jaime Staples and Scott Stewart now. The latter got the better in the first round, but Staples has just taken round two.

On a 5♣Q♣5♠5♦Q♠ board, and with around 130,000 in the middle, Stewart checked and Staples bet 60,000. Stewart made the call but mucked when Staples showed the A♠Q♥ for trips. –JS

8:55pm: Down to 33
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

Ronan Goray becomes the 34th place finisher in the Main Event. He was all in with Q♥Q♦ and had got a caller in John Engledow with A♠A♦.

The board ran 9♦2♠J♠7♦8♠ to send the Irishman out. – SB

NEIL2732_Ronan_Gorey-_PCB2017_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Ronan Gorey

8:54pm: Cooler costs Onuchin
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

Big slick no good here my friend. Yakov Onuchin ran into aces to bust.

Rasmus Glæsel opened to 22,000 from under the gun and then snap-called after Onuchin three-bet all-in for 150,000 from the big blind.

Onuchin: A♣K♦
Glæsel: A♥A♦

The board ran 10♦3♣2♣8♦Q♠ to see the aces hold up. Glæsel moved up to 965,000. –MC

8:50pm: Staples has 99 problems (and a nine could be one)
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (1,000 ante)

Bill Perkins is a fun loving guy. So much so, he just came over to Team Online’s Jaime Staples and invited him out to karaoke tonight. Staples admitted he’d never done it before, but Perkins insisted he couldn’t sing at all. “The key is you gotta sell it!” was his advice.

After that exchange, Staples opened a pot under the gun to 23,000 and got a call from Scott Stewart. Damien Steel defended his big blind too so it was three players to the 10♣7♠8♦ flop. Steel checked, and Staples decided not to c-bet, which let Stewart in for 41,000 stab when it checked to him. Steel folded, but Staples came along, in the midst of a stare-off with Stewart.

On the turn they saw the 6♣, and it checked around. The 7♦ completed the board, and when Staples checked a final time Stewart gave him a problem: A bet of 99,000. Could that sizing hint at a possible nine in Stewart’s hand?

We’ll never know, as Staples folded after a brief spell in the tank. He dropped to 329,000, while Stewart is up to 990,000. –JS

8:48pm: Gorey gets double through Mercier
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

Jason Mercier opened for 20,000 from under the gun and Byron Kaverman called from a couple of seats over. It folded around to Ronan Gorey in the small blind who reraised all in for 148,000 total, and when Mercier set out a stack to reraise Kaverman quickly folded.

Gorey had K♣K♦ and the advantage over Mercier’s 10♠10♣, and by the turn of a 4♦5♦J♦7♦7♣ board had locked it up with a flush.

“148,” said the dealer to Mercier, indicating what he owed. “448?!” answered Mercier, and the dealer corrected him. With a look of relief and a bit of smile, Mercier passed over the chips.

Gorey looks relieved, too, as he now has about 320,000 while Mercier is still doing well with 960,000. –MH

8:46pm: Watergate
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

There’s no other way to describe it really. The “Water-gate” issue continues on the outer table.

As we mentioned before, Nadezhda Magnus has large bottles of Fuji water with her (other water based drinks are available). Yesterday she had three small Fuji bottles behind her chips and was asked to remove two, and today she arrived with two large ones, keeping one on the table with her.

Late in the day and Magnus is still in the Main Event, and so is her water bottle. She has it next to her chips, which quickly became an obstacle to half the table being able to see her stack. They asked her if she might put it under the table. She removed her headphones and they asked again.

Saying nothing Magnus simply picked up the bottle from one side of her chips, and plonked it down on the other side. This satisfied one end of the table, the other newly inconvenienced end seemed to afraid to say otherwise. – SB

8:38pm: 666 (6)
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (1,000 ante)

Byron Kaverman was in the utg+1 seat and opened to 23,000, a bet that John Engledow would call. It folded then to Jason Mercier in the big blind, who scanned both his opponents and made the call.

The three-way hand went to a three-card flop: 5♦3♣5♠. Mercier checked it, Kaverman continued for 28,000, Engledow called, and Mercier folded.

Both checked the A♠ turn and the K♣ river completed the board. Both checked again. Let’s see some cards then boys:

Kaverman – 6♦6♠
Engledow – 6♣6♥

“Oh my Godddddd,” moaned Mercier when he saw their hands. Chop it up, fellas. –JS

8:36pm: Three go in rapid time
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

It was like the firing squad was out for a moment on the tournament floor as three tables had all-ins at almost the same time. Sam Chartier went first, then was quickly followed by Barry Greenstein and Axat Tulsidas Mawji. We have details on the first two eliminations but missed the third.

Chartier was down to 120,000 when he three-bet all-in with A♣J♣. Scott Stewart had opened with A♦Q♦, made the call, and survived a 7♥5♥9♥7♣4♣ board.

Greenstein was in the big blind and only had a few thousand back after posting. Rasmus Glæsel raised to 22,000 and the Team PokerStars Pro called all-in blind.

Greenstein: J♦5♠
Glæsel: 3♥3♣

The board ran a blank 4♣6♠10♥2♣K♣. –MC

8:30pm: Cordoba’s jacks cut down Juvancic
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

James Juvancic was just all in with 8♦8♥ against Rodrigo Cordoba’s J♥J♣, but couldn’t find help on a Q♣6♥3♥9♥10♠ board and Juvancic joins the sudden rush of bustouts.

Cordoba is up around 840,000 now. –MH

8:28pm: Massive pot goes to Maimone; Lefrancois on the rail
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

Huge fireworks over on the table of Nick Maimone and Pascal Lefrancois has resulted in one of those two on the rail and the other the new chip leader (by a bunch).

The hand began with a button raise to 22,000 by Maimone, followed by a three-bet to 70,000 by Lefrancois. Action back on Maimone, he made it 175,000 to go, and relatively quickly Lefrancois announced he was all in.

Maimone only took a few seconds himself to call the shove, and Rasmus Glæsel to Maimone’s right could hardly contain himself, uttering “Wow!” at the sight of the other two big stacks going to battle.

Lefrancois had A♠K♣ and Maimone — again today — had Q♣Q♥. The board rolled out 6♠9♥8♠6♥J♠ and suddenly after having the lead earlier and a big stack moments ago, Lefrancois is on the rail.

Maimone is at 1.88 million now, back in first where he started the day. –MH

NEIL2421_Nick_Maimone_PCB2017_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Nick Maimone

8:25: Greenstein in the red
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

There was all sorts going on at Barry Greenstein’s table. Pascal Lafrancois had raised to 22,000 and Aleksei Opalikhin had three bet to 46,000 from the cut off. That had brought the action to Barry Greenstein who pushed form the button, 215,000 in total.

Rasmus Glæsel was in the big blind and took a minute or so before he folded (later admitting to ace-queen) and the action returned to Lafrancois. He folded, but Opalikhin had a decision.

Then he said something.

“Call, sir?” asked the dealer. Opalikhin confirmed.

Greenstein: Q♥Q♦

Opalikhin: J♥J♦

It looked like Greenstein was about to get a boost to his stack. At least it did until the river.

The board came 10♠2♠6♣9♦J♣. The river card got a few “wows”. Michael Gentili in the small blind admitted to folding pocket tens and there was more discussion. Greenstein meanwhile remained silent, saying nothing and hardly reacting to the fact he had 15,000 chips left. Opalikhin meanwhile moves up to 440,000. – SB

8:24: Cordoba Scheins brightest, but we missed the good stuff
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (1,000 ante)

Action folded to Ryan Riess on the button and he came in for a raise to 23,000. There were just two people for him to get through – Rodrigo Cordoba and Alan Schein, but both of them called.

They went to a Q♥Q♦10♠ and it checked around to the J♠. Cordoba checked it and Schein came in for a 40,000 bet, which shook off Riess but got a call from the checker. That led to a 5♥ river card which both checked. Cordoba showed the K♣J♥ for a pair of jacks, and Schein could only muck.

However, while we were watching that riveting hand, a far more exciting one had obviously just playted out between Marcin Kapkowski and Scott Stewart. Sadly we didn’t catch the action, but it ended with Stewart down to 581,000 and Kapkowski up to 1.05 million. –JS

8:20pm: No consolation for Tran
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

As Tony Tran wandered out of the tournament area, a woman who is presumably his wife or girlfriend, slipped her arm through his and offered a pursed-lips smile that said, “I’m proud of you anyway.” Tran didn’t shake her off or anything, but there’s not really any consolation to offer a poker player who has outlasted 90 percent of the field in a tournament of this size, but still went out in 41st for $14,760.

Tran shipped his last 178,000 in from the button, opening the betting, but Jason Mercier quickly said, “Call” in the small blind. Mercier had 10♣10♦ and was ahead of Tran’s A♦7♣.

It stayed that way through a board of 3♦6♥9♦7♠8♣. Mercier has 960,000. — HS

8:14: Messina missing chips
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

Valentin Messina was the shortest stack in the room and was the next player to go.

He was down to 86,000 when he moved all-in from middle position. Byron Kaverman was in the cutoff and was the only caller.

Messina: K♦J♥
Kaverman: A♠J♣

The board ran Q♣A♦J♦Q♠9♥ to make Kaverman two pair. He moved up to 370,000. –MC

NEIL2540_Byron_Kaverman_PCB2017_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Byron Kaverman

8:13pm: Big chip corner
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

The chip lead has switched hands countless times today, but even as the outright leader’s identity has changed, there have always been mountains in the small corner of the room that features Rasmus Glæsel, Nick Maimone and Pascal Lefrancois, all in a line.

Those three had 1.2 million between them at the start of the day, when they took their chairs in Seats 7 (Glæsel), 8 (Maimone) and 1 (Lefrancois) on Table 4. They’re still there now, where their combined total is about 2.5 million.

Maimone has the most of those. He has 1.085 million. Glæsel has about 810,000 and Lefrancois 610,000. They’re playing it coy too. On a recent hand, Glæsel opened from early position to 22,000 and Lefrancois three-bet to 52,000 from the cutoff.

“About 600?” Glæsel said, asking for Lefrancois’s count. But Lefrancois kept schtum and Glæsel chuckled, then folded.

“A little more than 600 actually,” Lefrancois said after the dealer pushed the chips to him. “I’ll talk at the start of the day but not of the end.”

It’s getting serious with 42 left. — HS

8:09pm: Steel won’t bend
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

Allon Allison had the postflop lead, and eventually only Damien Steel was check-calling his bets as the board came 2♠J♣3♥5♣. The river was the J♠, at which Steel suddenly tossed out 105,000.

Allison tanked for a while, removing his sunglasses to get a better look at his opponent before finally calling the bet. Steel tabled K♠J♥ for trip jacks, and that was good as Allison mucked.

Steel has 1.04 million, just about exactly twice the 520,000 in Allison’s stack. –MH

8:05pm: Stig’s in the dump
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (1,000 ante)

Another one bites the dust as Stig Moen – one of our $10 Spin n Go qualifiers and also an EPT Live Norwegian commentator – has been eliminated.

Action folded to John Engledow in the cutoff and he opened to 23,000. When it got to Moen in the big blind, he had around 150,000 and moved all-in over the top. Engledow didn’t take long to call and the cards were flipped.

Moen – 7♦5♦
Engledow – A♣10♠

The K♣10♥3♦ flop left Moen drawing very thin, so much so he got out his chair. However, on his way up the J♦ turn landed, giving him a flush draw. There’s always a sweat.

The K♠ river couldn’t help him though, and he was off. “Good luck everybody,” he said before he went to get paid. Speaking of being paid, Engledow has 470,000 now. –JS

8:03: Staples twitching as he sweats for his tournament life
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

Jamie Staples is flush with chips after he doubled up through Ronan Gorey.

The latter raised to 22,000 from under the gun and was called by Team PokerStars Pro Online member in the big blind. The flop spread 8♥3♥2♠ and Staples check-raised Gorey’s 30,000 c-bet all-in for 167,000. Call.

Staples: J♥10♥ for a flush draw.
Gorey: A♣8♣ for top pair.

After the turn came 7♦ Staples shouted for a nine. It didn’t come but the 4♥ did to make him a winning flush.

Jason Mercier was watching the action and said to Staples, “A flush is easier to make than a straight, Jamie!” The whole table, including Staples, burst out laughing.

“That’s true, I should’ve thought of that!” replied a mildly embarrassed looking Staples. Gorey, meanwhile, dropped to 175,000. –MC

8G2A0690_Jamie_Staples_PCB2017_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Jaime Staples in front of the camera again

8:03pm: Engledow evades elimination
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

This is poker people, not blackjack. There you double down, but here you double up.

In the first hand of the level, John Engledow open-raised his last 133,000 from the small blind and got called by Smit Trivedi in the big.

Engledow had A♠8♣ and Trivedi K♥Q♣. That’d be 9 or 19 for Engledow and 20 for Trivedi, but as noted this isn’t blackjack, it’s poker, which meant Englebert had the preflop edge. And he still did after the board came 5♥4♣7♠3♣8♦.

Engledow continues with about 270,000 while Trivedi is at 315,000. –MH

8:02pm: Nobody is going anywhere
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

Christian Harder and Marcin Kapkowski just played what seemed to be a tournament-defining pot. But nobody’s tournament was defined. They chopped it with the nuts.

On a flop of Q♣3♠A♣ Harder bet 37,000 and Kapkowski called. Then the 10♥ came on the turn, Harder bet 80,000 and Kapkowski called again.

All of this was setting up a river jam. The board completed with the 8♦ and Harder was first to get his 240,000 chips over the line. Kapkowski snap-called and turned over K♣J♣. Harder had K♥J♦.

As we were. Harder still has slightly more than 400,000 and Kapkowski slightly less than 600,000. — HS

8:01pm: Kapkpowski paid by Harder
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (1,000 ante)

Christian Harder saw no action in front of him in the cutoff and min-opened to 20,000. Marcin Kapkowski defended his big blind and the pair went to a 6♥J♥A♣ flop.

Kapkowski checked, and Harder chose not to c-bet. When he checked back the dealer burned and turned the Q♥ and again there’d be no more action.

Finally the 4♦ floated on down on the river and Kapkowski reached for chips. He made it 25,000 to go, and after about half a minute Harder tossed in a single green 25K chip. He’d muck though when Kapkowski revealed his 8♥9♥ for a flush.

Harder drops a little to 304,000, while Kapkowski has 585,000 now. –JS

8:00pm: Messina doubles through Weinman
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

Valentin Messina just doubled up through Daniel Weinman. Messina was in for 52,000 with 2♥A♣ against Weinman’s 10♥4♥. The board ran J♠5♣A♦2♦Q♣ to comfortably double Messina, who is up to 105,000. Weinman meanwhile drops to 190,000 – SB

7:26pm: Action resumes

The remaining 43 players are back for the last 90-minutes of the day. Stay tuned for the remaining action.–BW

7:26pm: Break time

Players are now on a 30-minute break We’ll be back around 7:55pm ET.

7:25pm: Turtiainen to make his dinner
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

Most players had drifted off for their break–many surprised (and a little unhappy) that it is 30 minutes, rather than the usual 20. They’re concerned by dinner reservations, which is understandable.

That’s not going to be a problem for Mikko Turtiainen, who is now out, sent there on a hand that drifted into the scheduled pause.

Turtiainen was UTG+1 and likely raised with J♦J♣. Massimo De Mario called in the big blind and they saw a flop of 6♣3♦9♥. I’m not sure what happened at this point, but I do know that they got it all-in on the 6♦ turn.

By that point, De Mario’s 6♥8♠ had put a bit of a rotten one on those jacks, and the 9♠ river didn’t change it.

Turtiainen is out and De Mario has near 500,000 now. — HS

7:20pm: Eights equal exit for Kitai
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

In the last hand before the break, Davidi Kitai open-raised his last 131,000 from early position then saw Pascal Lefrancois reraise-push from the next seat over. Everyone else stepped aside, Kitai showed 8♦8♣ and Lefrancois 10♠10♦.

The community cards were no help to Kitai, coming 3♥6♦J♥3♦2♥, and he’s out. Lefrancois has about 540,000 to end the level. –MH

NEIL2650_Davidi_Kitai_PCB2017_Neil Stoddart.jpg


7:18pm: Dibella back above a million
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (1,000 ante)

It’s tight at the top of the chip counts right now, with four players over a million. John Dibella has joined them once again.

He opened to 18,000 on the button and got a call from Kevin Andriamahefa in the small blind. They saw an A♠A♦10♣ flop and both checked to the 3♠ turn. Andriamahefa checked again and Dibella made a delayed c-bet of 26,000. Call.

The 2♠ landed on the river and when it checked to him a final time Dibella did what Dibella does best. He fired again for 72,000, and got a quick fold.

Dibella now has 1.06 million, and Andriamahefa has 440,000. –JS

7:15pm: Opalikhin double call
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

Rex Clinkscales applied the ultimate pressure on Aleksei Opalikhin in a battle of the blinds, but the latter found a hand to call all-in with and doubled up.

Clinkscales shoved from small blind and Opalikhin called off his 68,000-stack from the big blind.

Clinkscales: 5♦2♦
Opalikhin: K♥10♠

The board ran Q♠9♥10♦4♠J♦. Clinkscales dropped to 285,000. –MC

7:12pm: Chartier plays on
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

Sam Chartier plays on after he doubled up. He was all in for 53,000 in early position with A♥J♥ which Scott Stewart called with A♣5♥.

The board ran out K♣3♥A♦9♦2♥ to double Chartier. – SB

8G2A0741_Sam_Chartier_PCB2017_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Sam Chartier

7:15pm: Cazacu and the yellow chip, the final adventure
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

See below for the first part of the story of Romanian player Marius Cazacu and his one yellow chip.

From 1,000 he spun up to nearly 80,000, and in the meanwhile both Sylvain Loosli and Raul Martinez busted, which meant a pay jump had been crossed from $11,560 to $14,760.

Cazacu hung on a bit longer before open-pushing 53,000 from middle position and being called by Michael Bartholomew in the cutoff.

Cazacu had A♦8♦ and Bartholomew had A♣Q♣, and after the 2♣Q♥Q♦ flop giving Bartholomew trips, Cazacu was surely done, wasn’t he?

But the turn was the 6♦. Wait a minute. Flush draw alert.

Alas, the river was the Q♠, the quads for Bartholomew slamming the door on Cazacu’s comeback once and for all. Was fun while it lasted. –MH

7:12pm: Double knockout
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

Simultaneous knockouts here, on adjacent tables, as Nadja Magnus felts Raul Martinez at the exact moment that Ronan Gorey accounts for Sylvain Loosli. It’s so exciting, it’s turned this update into the present tense. Calm down.

Magnus opened to 17,000 and Martinez jammed for 144,000. Magnus went into the tank, which allowed the hand to play out on the next table.

Over there, Francisco Benitez opened to 16,000 from the button and Loosli jammed for about 110,000 from the small blind. Gorey re-pushed from the big blind and Benitez folded.

The cards went on their backs and Loosli’s A♠J♦ was not good enough against Gorey’s A♥K♦. There was a good sweat for Loosli, though, when the flop brought the A♦Q♠J♦. The 3♦ came on the turn, but the K♥ ended it for Loosli. Gorey stacks 360,000.

But back to the Magnus/Martinez hand. Eventually, Magnus called and she was in good shape with A♦J♦ against Martinez’s A♣10♦. There was no drama over here. The board flop bricked and the turn was the J♠. That was the end of that.

Magnus now has 450,000.– HS

6:57pm: Cazacu and the yellow chip
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

With 49 players left, Marius Cazacu is still in the tournament. About 10 minutes ago he didn’t think he would be, but he’s definitely still in.

We can say that with confidence. After all, it was 10 minutes ago that Cazacu called Michael Bartholomew’s all-in with K♣K♦ versus his opponent’s 10♠10♦, then watched the board rudely come 7♣5♣3♦3♠10♣.

That river ten gave the pot to Bartholomew who had 161,000 to start the hand. Cazacu had 162,000, meaning he was literally down to 1 yellow chip worth 1,000.

We saw this happen to Mike McDonald just a little while ago (see 6:32pm). But McDonald is out. Not so for Cazacu.

On the next hand Cazacu septupled to 7,000 after his 10♦6♠ beat another’s A♦8♦.

He folded one, then was all in again for 5,000 and saw Sylvain Loosli push all in as well. J♣5♣ for Cazacu this time versus Loosli’s 8♠8♥, and a jack on the board kept Cazacu in the game with more than 20,000.

He open-pushed from the cutoff soon after that, again picking up J♥5♥. It was Bartholomew with A♣J♦ this time — surely jack-five wouldn’t hold, right, especially after the 9♠2♦3♥ flop. Then came the turn — the 5♣ — and after a Q♥ river Cazacu was up to 63,000.

He’d open-raise and win the blinds and antes after that, moving close to 80,000.

Now Cazacu is looking at the tournament clock, which shows 49th and 48th get $11,560 while 47th gets $14,760. Definitely worth it to Cazacu to keep this adventure going a little longer. –MH

6:54pm: Riess into the lead
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (1,000 ante)

Former world champion Ryan Riess has jumped into the lead after winning a nice pot in position and without having to show down.

He and Jorge De Oliveira Lopez took to a K♣5♠8♦ flop where the latter led for 24,000 from UTG. Riess called on the button and then bet 57,000 on the 5♣ turn when his Portuguese opponent checked to him. Lopez called and checked over the 6♣ river. Riess used both hands to slide two stacks of high society forward. The 200k-bet was exactly what Lopex had left and he went deep into the tank.

After more than 5 minutes Riess called the clock. Lopez let it run halfway down before he flashed the K♦ as he folded. –MC

6:53pm: Charder has nerves of Steel
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (1,000 ante)

Thanks to that big pot against Mike McDonald (see 6:32pm), Damien Steel was up over the 1 million mark.

But not anymore. Christian Harder has just picked off a few of his chips, starting by opening the button and Steel calling from the small blind. They saw a 4♦A♥9♦ flop, and Harder continued for 50,000 when it checked to him. Call.

The turn was the 6♦ and Steel checked again. Harder took a moment before coming in with a 66,000 bet. That was enough to get Steel to fold and drop to 965,000, while Harder himself has 350,000 now. –JS

6:47pm: Great call from Maimone
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

With 170,000 in the pot and a board of 6♥9♠J♣3♥7♦ Nick Maimone had a decision to make. As you can imagine it wasn’t of the easy kind. He’d checked the action to Pascal Lafrancois who had bet big, 250,000, and now Maimone was in the tank.

He talked a bit, mainly to himself, all the while Lafrancois didn’t flinch. He just waited. Finally he knocked over a tower of greens, almost by accident, to signify the call. It was a good one.

Maimone: A♣J♥
Lafrancois: K♦Q♣

Maimone is now up to 1,150,000 while Lafrancois drops to 600,000. – SB

6:44pm: Cheap, cheap, pricey
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

Massimo De Mario and James Juvancic got to a turn for the absolute minimum investment, the nut-low investment, impossible to pay less to see a turn card. They were small blind and big blind, respectively: De Mario completed and they checked the flop of Q♠9♠4♦.

Then the A♥ fell on the turn, which really shouldn’t change anything given the action. However, De Mario checked, Juvancic bet 8,000, De Mario check-raised to 26,000 and Juvancic called.

The 9♥ completed the board and De Mario led for 35,000. Juvancic raised to 80,000 and, after a while in the tank, De Mario folded. That’s how you turn a cheap investment costly.

Juvancic has 380,000 now. De Maario has 200,000. — HS

6:34pm: Magnus through Josephy
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

No sooner had Cliff Josephy and Nadja Magnus renewed their acquaintance (they both made a final table at the Bellagio in December; see 6:07pm post) than Magnus was removing herself from Josephy’s Christmas card list, doubling through him.

Actually, it would take a bitter heart to blame Magnus for this particular double. She had A♠Q♦ against Josephy’s A♥J♦ and the board was a dry 3♥2♦6♥10♦9♠. That’s totally standard.

Magnus had 168,000 and so now has a little more than 350,000. Josephy, having flirted with 1 million not so long ago, has 400,000. — HS

NEIL2610_Nadezhda_Magnus_PCB2017_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Nadezhda Magnus

6:32pm: Stop the clock! Timex is out
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (1,000 ante)

A big pot has just played out that left Mike McDonald with just a single 1,000 chip. However, he’s gone on an epic run and is now up to over a million.

Just kidding, obviously. But not about McDonald’s 1,000 chip stack.

McDonald kicked off the hand with an 18,000 open which was called by Damien Steel and Sam Chartier in the big blind. The flop came 2♥5♥3♦ and McDonald continued for 25,000 after Chartier checked. Both called.

NEIL2548_Mike_McDonald_PCB2017_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Mike McDonald

The turn was the 3♠ and this time when Chartier checked McDonald fired for 75,000. Only Steel called.

They went to a river and the J♣ landed. McDonald then almost moved all-in by betting 235,000 of his 236,000 stack. Steel was in the tank for quite a call – enough time for all the cameras to gather – and in the end he made the call.

Timex turned over the 4♥4♠, but that pair was no good against Steel’s A♥J♥ for a flush draw that paired on fifth street. Steel shot up to 1.065 million after that one.

Meanwhile, Timex was all-in in the very next hand. Of course he was; he only had enough for a single ante, let alone the big blind he was now meant to post.

It folded to Pratyush Buddiga on the button and he shoved, getting Chartier to fold his small blind and isolating McDonald. It was Buddiga’s A♥2♥ against McDonald’s 9♦5♥, and the 8♠6♣J♥Q♦K♥ board sent McDonald out the door. Buddiga is now sitting with 320,000. –JS

6:31pm: Rasmus feeling Glæsel
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

Rasmus Glæsel has moved up to 436,000 after he eliminated Kliment Tarmakov. All the chips went in preflop, the latter the all-in player with 105,000.

Glæsel: 5♦5♣
Tarmakov: K♠K♦

The board ran 9♥8♣10♦9♣K♥ to make Glæsel a full house he didn’t even need. –MC

6:31pm: Riess chases Janssens
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

With the pot pushing about 200,000 and the board showing K♠Q♦5♥K♦2♥, Tom Janssens checked and after a short pause Ryan Riess pushed all in.

Janssens had about 165,000 behind, so calling would mean putting his tournament life at risk. Not surprising, then, that he’d take some time to decide what to do, in fact tanking for four whole minutes before breaking the silence with one word.


Riess showed K♣J♣ for trip kings, and Janssen got up as he showed his A♣Q♠. Riess is now at 1.08 million. –MH

6:29pm: Aleksei Opalikhin plays on
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

Another all-in called but this time it’s a double up for Aleksei Opalikhin. He was all-in for 53,000 with A♣K♣. Kyle Zechner moved in behind him for 155,000 with 9♣9♥.

Opaliskhin needed something, and got it. The board came 3♠2♦K♥8♠10♥ to double him up. – SB

6:22pm: Someone call a Medic, we got a bad beat over here
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

Nenad Medic winced when he saw the flop that would end his tournament run. It was a bad beat and he was confirmed out two cards later.

The Canadian was down to 71,000 when he made his move from the small blind and was called by Rodrigo Cordoba in the big blind.

Medic: 7♦7♠
Cordoba: 5♥5♦

The board ran 5♣3♠10♦A♠8♠ to make the Argentinian a set. He moved up to 490,000. –MC

Rodrigo Cordova-PCB2017-Monti-4004.jpg

Rodrigo Cordoba

6:15pm: Brenes busts to Maimone
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

There’s a new member of the 1 million club, and a man down from Costa Rica. Nick Maimone has crept into seven figures, while Eric Brenes is on his way home.

Brenes open-shoved for his last 137,000 and action got round to South Carolina’s Maimone in the big blind.

“Do you want me to call?” Maimone said. “I have a very close hand.”

Brenes didn’t reply, at least not verbally. He opened his hands out an shrugged his shoulders, as if to say the Latin American version of “Meh.”

“Where are you from?” Maimone asked. Brenes told him, although needed to say it twice before he was understood. Then Maimone called, and one suspects Brenes was neither thrilled nor gutted by what he saw. In short, meh.

Maimone: K♦Q♠
Brenes: 4♠4♦

It wasn’t a great flop for Brenes. It came Q♦A♦A♥. Then the Q♥ on the turn ended things, rendering the 2♣ river even more irrelevant than it might otherwise have been.

Maimone is looking good with 1.05 million now. — HS

6:11pm: Ephremsen gets rivered by Josephy
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (1,000 ante)

Cliff Josephy is running hot. Paul Ephremsen was all-in for his last 140,000 with his K♣K♦ against Josephy’s 10♠10♣. It was all going so well on the 2♥Q♥6♠ flop and A♠ turn.

But when the 10♦ river hit, it must have hurt. Not that you’d know from Ephremsen’s reaction though; he calmly turned to Josephy and shook hands, before making a tantrumless exit.

Josephy is up to 750,000 now. –JS

NEIL2603_Cliff_Josephy_PCB2017_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Cliff Josephy

6:10pm: Shine Alan Schein!
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

On a flop of 4♠3♠3♦ Alan Schein had checked to Mikko Turtiainen who’d bet 38,000. That’s when Nacho Barbero had moved all-in for 210,000. Schein was ready with his own shove for 271,000. Turtiainan was tempted, but folded his 9♦9♠.

Barbero: A♠5♠
Schein: K♠10♠

It looked like it was going to be about a flush draw, but then the humble K♥ on the turn transformed a single pair into the hand to beat.

Schein, already out of his seat, began a kind of urgent chant of “No spade! No spade!” It turned the hand into the poker equivalent of a bare knuckle fight, with a river card 4♦ getting “No spade! No Spade! Yes!!” from Schein – and a staccato expletive from Barbero, who leapt from his chair like it had been plugged into the mains.

Barbero took a moment to realize he was out. Schein meanwhile is up to more than 600,000. – SB

6:07pm: Loose Cannon still firing in other big games
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

Nadja Magnus’s big break into poker came via the Big Game, which remains one of the best TV poker shows (and happily still remains on too).

Magnus was a “Loose Cannon” there, a self-professed amateur (despite having won an event on the World Series Circuit), but since then has been happy to cross swords in other big games, including every year here in the Bahamas.

She is in form, too. Although most of her tournament cashes come from smaller buy-in events, she made the last eight of a $5,000 event at the Bellagio in December, and today is cashing for the second time in an event with that buy-in. Cliff Josephy won that tournament in Vegas, and Magnus and Josephy are at the same table again today.

She has got some work to do. She is down to 180,000 after losing a small pot to Raul Martinez. In this hand, Martinez opened to 16,000 from the cutoff and Magnus called in the big blind.

They both checked the Q♦2♣7♠ flop and then the A♥ came on the turn. Magnus check-called Martinez’s bet of 16,000. She also check-called a bet of 50,000 after the 9♦ river.

Martinez showed A♣K♣ and Magnus mucked. Martinez has 205,000 now. — HS

6:05pm: Colman cut down by Stewart
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

Dan Colman was scaling the leaderboard heights earlier today, but he’s out in 59th now after failing to survive a preflop all-in versus Scott Stewart.

Colman had 9♥9♣ and needed help versus Stewart’s K♥K♠, but the board came 8♣Q♦Q♥K♦A♦ meaning Colman was already drawing dead by the turn. Stewart bumps up to 860,000 with that pot.

We missed the preflop machinations, but they sounded interesting after the fact with Mike McDonald speculating how he should’ve stuck around in the hand, and Christian Harder noting he’d gotten out after pitching away pocket eights. –MH

6:02pm: Dibella back below a million
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (1,000 ante)

John Dibella’s quest to reclaim his title has taken a dent after he doubled up Kevin Andriamahefa. The chips went in preflop and the latter was the all-in player with 221,000.

Dibella: A♠Q♠
Andriamahefa: K♥K♠

The board ran 10♦2♥7♠9♣10♠ to see the kings hold. Dibella dropped to 960,000. –MC

5:59pm: Opalikhin still in after hitting one of his outs
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

What’s your stance on having “too many” outs? Some players seem to think it’s a bad thing, as having too many makes it seem somehow less likely one of them is going to come.

Math demands otherwise, of course, but math can be a stubborn jerk sometimes.

In any event, Aleksei Opalikhin was glad to have all the outs he could get after getting his last 64,000 in with K♠7♠ against Nick Maimone’s A♣10♣, then watching the flop come 9♠3♥6♠ and then 8♦, giving Opalikhin an open-ender.

The 10♦ fell on fifth street, and Opalikhin stays in the game with about 140,000. Maimone is still in as well with 380,000, which I figured out by counting the stacks and multiplying by the appropriate denominations.

Thanks, math. You’re really okay. –MH

5:57pm: The extra Nacho chip
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (1,000 ante)

An A♣J♦Q♠ flop usually smells like action. I had a sniff, and yep; the scent made me stick around.

Nacho Barbero was heads-up in the pot with Alan Schein and both checked the flop. The turn came the A♦ – confirming what I’d smelt earlier. It brought with it some action, as Barbero bet 20,000 and Schein called.

When the K♠ river hit the felt, Barbero counted out another bet slid 54,000 over the line. Schein then instantly announced that he was all-in, and after 30 seconds or so Barbero made the call.

Barbero – A♥J♣
Schein – A♥J♣

Both had turned aces full of jacks, so it was an even chop pot. Well, almost. There was one extra 1,000 chip, and as Barbero was the next on from the button, it went to him. Schein still has more chips overall though with 298,000 to Barberos’s 217,000. –JS

Nacho Barbero-PCB2017-Monti-3974.jpg

Nacho Barbero

5:29pm: Double up for Buddiga
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (1,000 ante)

Pratyush Buddiga has just managed to win a race and double his stack. His 134,000 stack was all-in pre with the K♠Q♠ against Rodrigo Cordoba’s 9♣9♥. The board ran Q♣3♠3♣7♠6♥ to give Buddiga the bigger pair. He’s up to 287,000 now. –JS

Pratyush Buddiga-PCB2017-Monti-4080.jpg

Pratyush Buddiga

5:26pm: Christian’s tournament got a little Harder
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Christian Harder dropped a little to 465,000 after he lost a small pot to Marcin Kapkowski, who rose to 545,000.

Kapkowski raised from middle position and Harder peeled from the big blind. The flop came A♣K♣5♥ and Harder check-called 16,000 before the 8♣5♣ turn and river were checked through. Harder opened K♦J♠ but Kapkowski had a baby slush with 4♣4♠. –MC

8G2A0833_Christian_Charder_PCB2017_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Christian Harder

5:25pm: How to become World Champion
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

World Champions come and World Champions go, but Ryan Riess is proving more durable than most. The 2013 WSOP Main Event winner is in a fine spot now to make a very deep run at the PokerStars Championship Bahamas. He’s sitting with 767,000 chips, many of which just came when he laid a grim beat on Patrick Stacey.

Stacey is out. He was all-in pre-flop with about 200,000 chips and had A♠A♦. Riess had A♥K♠.

Stacey put his head in his hands–it was the only appropriate response–when the flop fell 10♦K♣K♦. The 10♣ came on the turn, but the 9♦ was not the miracle redraw.

Stacey did his very best to hold it together as he wandered from his table. Nick Maimone said the only word on anyone’s lips: “Sick.”

Riess, meanwhile, remained silent but got himself settled for a long stay. — HS

NEIL2486_Ryan_Riess_PCB2017_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Ryan Riess

5:21pm: Josephy re-raising Magnus
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Cliff Josephy inched up to a stack of 620,000 after a hand against Nadezhda Magnus. Josephy opened for 13,000 in the cut off which Magnus raised to 45,000 from the small blind. With the action back on him Josephy announced he was all in for about 600,000. Magnus, with 300,000 back, thought about it, but that was all. She passed. – SB

5:20pm: Buddiga doubles through Baumann
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Short stack Pratyush Buddiga was all in again just now with Q♦J♥ against the formerly short-stacked Gaelle Baumann who had A♦J♦.

A queen on the board saved Buddiga, though, so he’s got about 70,000 now while Baumann has 285,000. –MH

5:14pm: Dibella takes from Josephy, Ephremsen doubles through Tarmakov
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (1,000 ante)

Two hands to tell you about.

Firstly, John Dibella defended his big blind against a 14,000 Cliff Josephy open and the flop came 7♣5♣4♦. Dibella check-called a 15,00 c-bet, then checked the 7♥ turn, as did Josephy. The river came the 3♠ and it inspired Dibella to take the lead with a 25,000 bet. Josephy folded and dropped to 396,000, while Dibella increased his big stack to 740,000.

While that hand was going on, Paul Ephremsen doubled with his J♣J♠ against Kliment Tarmakov’s A♠K♦. The jacks won the race and gave Ephremsen a new stack worth 270,000, and Tarmakov dropped to 225,000. –JS

5:11pm: Gomez goes the way of the dodo
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

And just like that, that’s it for Digeo Gomez. He has indeed now gone the way of the dodo.

He got his last chips in with Q♦10♣ and actually had a race to run against Patrick Stacey’s 9♣9♠. But he lost it. The board came 7♠5♠2♦3♠K♥ and that was it.

Stacey now has 210,000. — HS

5:08pm: Zechner doubles, nicks leader Lefrancois
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

All in for his last 102,000 with 10♠10♣, Kyle Zechner was up against big-stacked Pascal Lefrancois’s A♦K♣, and a board of Q♠5♣8♣2♠J♣ meant Zechner survived.

Put Zechner at about 215,000 while Lefrancois is still the chip leader with right about 1 million. –MH

5:06pm: Rex’s scales tipping over
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Rex Clinkscales’s stack has swelled to 577,000 after he doubled through Kevin Andriamahefa.

The former raised to 15,000 and called after Andriamahefa three-bet to 56,000 from the big blind. The flop fanned 3♦7♣8♦ and Andriamahefa check-called 33,000. The turn was the 6♠ and Clinkscales bet 105,000 then called all-in for 193,000 when Andriamahefa check-jammed.

Andriamahefa: 5♥8♥ for top pair.
Clinkscales: 7♥7♦ for a set.

The J♣ completed the board and Andriamahefa dropped to 215,000. –MC


Clinksacles drags his pot

5:04pm: A critically endangered species
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Diego Gomez (who, let’s remind you for the second time today, once turned up to an EPT final table wearing a lion suit) is now an endangered species. He has only about 40,000.

Crucially, he is not quite extinct because he managed to chop a pot that might otherwise have sent him to the rail. He jammed from the small blind and picked up a call from Patrick Stacey in the big blind.

Gomez: A♦5♠
Stacey: A♣7♣

The dealer wasted little time in putting the 10♠10♥K♠10♣8♥ on the board and that was a chop. Gomez was closest to the button, so got the odd extra chip too.

Gomez is still very much on the Red List, but still has claws. — HS

5:02pm: Buddiga doubles, Mossa hanging on
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

“When’s the next bubble?”

So asked Nick Mossa just now after watching Pratyush Buddiga open-raise all in with his last 69,000. Mossa had only about 20,000 more than that, and when he learned it isn’t until the tournament gets down to 42 players — more than 20 eliminations away — he decided to push all in himself.

The others folded, Buddiga showed 9♣9♦, and Mossa opened A♠Q♣. An eight-high board meant Buddiga had doubled to around 150,000, while Mossa was down to fumes.

He was smiling though, even when dragging a hand across his throat as a signal to someone on the rail about his chances of going much further.

But Mossa got his chips in with ace-queen again on the next hand and tripled to about 50,000, so he’s still in this thing. –MH

5:01pm: Two more gone
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Two more eliminations, although without much detail. Luc Greenwood just busted, sent to the rail by Scott Stewart. Meanwhile a table along Michael Bills is out thanks to Adrian Mateos. – SB

4:50pm: Tarmakov doubles through Cordoba
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (1,000 ante)

Kliment Tarmakov was all-in for his last 176,000, and was in good shape with his A♠K♦ after being called by Rodrigo Cordoba’s A♥Q♥. We didn’t catch the action, but luckily Tony Tran filled everyone in.

“Raise. Re-raise. Four-bet. Jam.”

Thanks Tony.

The board ran out 5♦9♣6♣A♣8♥ and Tarmakov doubled to 378,000, while Cordoba has 480,000 and Tran 111,000. –JS

4:49pm: We’re shot of Petrone
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Ramiro Petrone just busted. We don’t have many details to report other than he was sent to the rail by the aces of Michael Gentili. – SB

4:46pm: More bad news for big slick
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Two trips to the tournament floor, two Aces versus Ace-King all-in pre-flop confrontations.

Following hot on the heels of Jason Mercier’s double, Donys Ivan Agnelli Rojas of Venezuela got his short stack in from the button with A♠K♣. Alan Schein had A♥A♣ on the button and the board bricked.

Rojas didn’t have a whole bunch of chips and Schein has 340,000 after the bust-out. — HS

4:45pm: Pavon races away
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

It’s the end of the road for Venezulian Dorian Rios Pavon after he lost a race to Mikko Turtiainen.

The former was down to 57,000 when he made his move from middle position. Turtiainen was in the small blind and made the call.

Turtiainen: A♦Q♦
Pavon: J♣J♠

The board ran 7♦5♠A♠Q♥4♥ to make the Finn two pair. He moved up to 310,000. “Nice hand,” said Pavon and went off to the payout desk. –MC

4:41pm: The massage comes to an end
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (1,000 ante)

No run good and no rub good either for Chance Kornuth. He’s out.

He min-opened under the gun plus one to 12,000 and got a call from his previous nemesis, Marcin Kapkowski, in the cutoff. With no more callers it went heads-up to a 9♦7♦8♣ flop. Kornuth continued for 18,000 and Kapkowski came along.

The turn came the 3♥ and now Kornuth checked quickly. That let Kapkowski seize the betting lead which he did with a 27,000, wager, but Kornuth clearly had plans. He check-shoved for 133,000 more and after some thinking Kapkowski made the call.

Kornuth – A♣A♥
Kapkowski – 8♥9♥

The river was a blank and Kornuth’s massage came to an end. “Good game,” he said, all smiles, as he got out of his seat. “Good luck everybody.”

Aren’t you forgetting someone, Chance?

“Right, how much I do owe you?” he asked the masseuse, before paying his bill and heading to the cage. Kapkowski is up to 585,000 now. –JS

4:39pm: Medic all-in
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Nenad Medic was one of those players who doubled up on the bubble late yesterday. A few moments ago he was all-in again against Rodrigo Cordoba. But both players turned over ace-king and the J♣10♣5♦6♥9♥ brought things back to all square. – SB

4:36pm: Mercier doubles; Akhundov down but not out
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Murad Akhundov made a forgivable assumption. He thought that Jason Mercier had more chips than him. Although Mercier having more chips than you is a condition afflicting 99 percent of tournament poker players, about 99 percent of the time, this time wasn’t one of them.

“I have less!” Mercier called to Akhundov. And the shout-out was necessary because Akhundov was halfway out of the room, having lost a big all-in pre-flop confrontation with Ace-King to Mercier’s Aces.

Mercier is now up to 445,000. Akhundov has his starting stack back, three days after 30,000 was something worth shouting about. — HS

4:33pm: Zamani can’t deal with Steel
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Ben Zamani is out, having been cut down by Damien Steel in hand that saw Zamani commit his short stack with 10♠10♦, Steel look him up with Q♥J♥, and a 9♦4♠8♥J♦Q♠ runout giving Steel runner-runner two pair.

Steel is up around 370,000. –MH

4:20pm: Magnus keeping head above water
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Yesterday we wrote about an unusual ruling that had to be made that required Nedezhda Magnus to remove two of the three bottles of water that she had behind her chips. She didn’t seem very pleased at the time but has found a way to deal with this minor hurdle – two enormous water bottles, one of which she keeps behind her chips, and which reaches her chin.

The game face remains though.

“This is a no sunglasses table,” joked Cliff Josephy as Magnus, who wears almost chrome-like mirrored ones, took her new seat at his table.

“Yeah,” she said, in a way that very clearly meant “no”. – SB

NEIL2613_Nadezhda_Magnus_PCB2017_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Nadezhda Magnus

4:29pm: Harder passes half a million
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Christian Harder has moved up to 545,000 after he flopped a set versus Erick Brenes Cuadra.

The latter opened to 16,000 from the button and Harder peeled from the big blind. The flop spread A♣4♥3♠ and Harder checked to face an 18,000 bet, which he treated to a raise to 50,000. The turn was the 7♦ and Harder led for 64,000. Cuadra called and both players went on to check the 5♥ river.

Harder opened 3♥3♣ for a set, beating Cuadra’s A♠7♣ for two pair. The river probably cost him a street of value there. –MC

4:27pm: Brazilian heading to the beach
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

You can determine the number of Brazilian players left in a major poker tournament by measuring the angle of Sergio Prado’s stoop. Prado is our samba-dancing, soccer-ball-juggling, Carnival-going Brazilian blogger, whose back bends gradually forward with each of his countrymen’s eliminations. He is nothing if not partisan and takes their knockouts personally.

Of course, there often also comes a time when Prado again stands bolt upright. Once the last Brazilian is out, he can head to the beach. So it was a bittersweet moment when, about one orbit into Level 17, that Fabio Freitas bit the dust. Freitas was the last Brazilian. Prado is already into his budgie-smugglers.

Two hands did for Freitas. In the first, Michael Bills opened to 12,000 and John Dibella called. Freitas then raised to 45,000 and action got back to Bills. He jammed for 111,000. Dibella folded, but Freitas called.

Freitas only had about 8,000 more chips, and wasn’t even a 50-50 chance in the ensuing race. He had A♣10♥ to Bills’s J♠J♦.

This was a race he didn’t win. The board ran 10♦K♠2♣K♦3♠ and that was a double for Bills, leving Freitas in real trouble.

After paying a few antes, he had only 5,000 left when he got it in with 8♣5♣ after Dibella’s min-raise. Dibella had K♥J♣ and there was a jack on the flop.

“Which way is it to the waterslides?” Prado said. — HS

4:26pm: Speedy Vela gathers more
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Michael Vela has been playing hands quickly — and fast, too (in the other sense). He did it again just now in another hand versus Nacho Barbero.

After opening for 17,000 and getting called by Barbero, Vela led for 45,000 after the 2♥6♠4♠ and after some thought Barbero called. The J♣ fell on the turn and before the dealer could straighten it out next to the flop Vela already announced he was all in.

Nacho thought for about a minute, then stopped the music on his smartphone and removed his headphones while exhaling loudly.

“You know what I have,” said Vela. “I don’t know what you have,” replied Barbero. “Yes you do… you’ve been playing me all day. I’m not messing with you.”

Barbero thought a moment more.

“I think you have king-high,” he said, then added that he had a pair. Despite that estimation, Barbero let his hand go.

Vela showed his hand as he collected the pot — Q♠Q♣ — and Barbero nodded while saying “good hand.”

Vela is at 705,000 at the moment, while Barbero is sitting on 165,000. –MH

4:20pm: No rub good for Kornuth
Level 17- Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

You’ll often see Chance Kornuth wearing clothing with the logo RunGood on them. However, at this stage in the Main Event, he’s going for a bit of rub good instead.

He’s just nabbed Cliff Josephy’s long-time masseuse to help him get some knots out his back. Then, as soon as the massage started, he opened to 12,000 on the button when it folded to him. Only Marcin Kapkowski called from the big blind to see a flop.

It came the Q♠9♠10♥ and Kapkowski checked, letting Kornuth in for a c-bet of 13,000. The Polish player quickly called and the dealer burned and turned the Q♥. Now Kapkowski came out firing, making it 25,000 to play. Kornuth was forced to fold and dropped to 216,000, while Kapkowski is up to 340,000. –JS

4:17pm: Baumann saved on the river
Level 17- Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

A reprieve for Gaelle Baumann who doubled through Kliment Tarmakov. She shoved with A♣Q♣ and Tarmakov called with K♦K♥. It looked like curtains for Baumann until the river card, with the board coming 9♥4♦2♣5♣4♣. That made her the flush and took her up to around 225,000. Tarmakov meanwhile drops to 163,000. – SB

4:12pm: More for Lefrancois
Level 17- Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Rex Clinkscales took on Pascal Lefrancois in a battle of the blinds. It didn’t work out for him and he dropped to 235,000. The Canadian meanwhile, increased his chip lead by moving up to 1.165 million.

A Q♥2♣9♥ flop was out when we approached the table and Lefrancois check-called a 24,000 bet. Clinkscales bet another 39,000 on the 8♦ turn and was check-called once more. Both players checked the river and Lefrancois opened K♥Q♣. Clinkscales mucked. –MC

NEIL2600_Pascal_Lefrancois_PCB2017_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Pascal Lefrancois

4:10pm: Goray doubles through Mercier
Level 17- Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Ronan Gorey just doubled up through Jason Mercier. Gorey was in with J♦K♦ against Mercier’s Q♥Q♠ but the board was pretty conclusive, landing as it did J♠4♣7♥J♥3♣.

Goray doubles to 175,000 and looks pretty pleased with himself. Mercier meanwhile drops to 175,000. – SB

4:09pm: Cabeca pushes out two champs
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Pedro Cabeca raised to 13,000 pre-flop but the pot got significantly more difficult when both Adrian Mateos and John Dibella called in small and big blind respectively.

It’s not easy to beat either of them out of a pot, but Cabeca actually managed it. There was three checks on the flop of 9♣K♦Q♥. Then the two blinds checked the turn of 7♣, but Cabeca bet 18,000. Mateos folded, but Dibella called.

The 2♦ came on the river and Dibella checked again. Cabeca bet 38,000 and Dibella eventually let it go. — HS

4:08pm: Maimone takes on Lafrancois
Level 17- Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

There was a flop on the table and three players – Nick Maimone, Pascal LaFrancois, and Kevin Andriamahefa ready to play it.

The action had been checked to Andriamahefa who bet 24,000. Maimone then called form the small blind before Lafrancois did the same from the big.

The turn came 8♦ which Maimone checked to Lafrancois. He then bet 55,000, forcing Andriamahefa out but getting a call from Maimone for the 8♣ river card. Both checked that.

Maimone: 5♥6♥

Lafrancois: A♣9♣

Lafrancois was aleady in the lead, and he just extended it. He has more than 1 million chips, while Maimone drops slightly to 700,000. – SB

NEIL2418_Nick_Maimone_PCB2017_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Nick Maimone

4:07pm: Jack Duong eliminated
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Sitting over on the feature table, Jack Duong just got it all-in versus Hendrik Latz. It didn’t go well for Duong.

Duong; A♠4♠
Latz: Q♠Q♦

Here’s how the board ran out: 6♥2♠6♠2♣2♥. While everyone had a full house, Latz’s was better and Duong was gone. –BW

4:03pm: Colman of Steel
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Fresh from leaving the TV table, Dan Colman has gone right back to work taking down pots. He opened to 13,000 from the hijack, and Sam Chartier (cutoff), Mike McDonald (button) and the small blind folded. Damien Steel defended his big blind and it went heads up to the flop.

The dealer spread the K♠9♠3♣ and Colman continued for 11,000 when it checked to him. Call.

They saw the 10♠ on the turn, which both checked, followed by the A♣ river. Steel checked one more time and Colman made it 25,000. Steel called quickly, but mucked quickly too when he saw Colman’s K♣Q♥ for a pair of kings.

Colman has added a little to take him up to 330,000, while Steel still has more with 385,000. –JS

NEIL2592_Daniel_Colman_PCB2017_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Superman Dan Colman

4:01pm: Benitez keeps seat
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

The first hand back from the break was nearly the last one for Francisco Benitez, but he survived an all-in versus the big-stacked John Dibella to continue.

Benitez shoved his short stack over a Dibella open and was called, tabling Q♥Q♦ and nodding at the sight of Dibella’s 6♦6♥. The board said “yes” in response to Benitez, coming K♣4♦5♠8♠K♥, and he’s up over 160,000 now. Dibella still has close to 700,000.

3:33pm: Break time (again)

That level flew by. Players are now on a 20 minute break. — SB

3:32pm: Talented table
Level 15 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (500 ante)

Cliff Josephy, Chance Kornuth, and Pratyush Buddiga are now all sitting on the same table, and all three were involved in this latest pot.

It started with an 11,000 open from EPT13 Barcelona $25K High Roller winner Buddiga. 2016 WSOP Main Event third place finisher Cliff Josephy then called in the cutoff, Jorge Lopez called on the button, and serial high roller winner Kornuth completed from the big blind.

They all saw a 7♣J♦4♠ flop and it checked around. The turn came the 7♠ and both Kornuth and Buddiga checked. Josephy took the lead with a 31,000 bet, and everyone folded.

Josephy now has 567,000, Buddiga has 113,000, Lopez has 125,000, and Kornuth has 97,000. –JS

3:31pm: Two queens = two knockouts for Maimone
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

“I ran amazing yesterday,” said Nick Maimone quietly as he stood from the table, looking over the three-way all-in situation he’d gotten into before the flop with two shorter stacks, Vincent Moscati and Pablo Mariz.

In the day’s first level Maimone had lost a chunk of chips with pocket queens to an opponent who’d flopped a set of jacks against him. It looked like queens might have given him trouble again when the cards were tabled.

Moscati: K♠K♣
Mariz: A♥K♥
Maimone: Q♦Q♠

The 8♠J♦4♦ flop had Maimone talking about more diamonds, but the turn card worked plenty well for him also — the Q♥. The river was the 8♣, and with a full house Maimone knocked out two more players to push back up around 675,000. –MH

3:29pm: Two Red Spades and a few other superstars
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

No decisions have been made yet, but I’d be surprised if the webcast table doesn’t shift at the next break to this one:

Seat 1: Jackduyph Duong – 125,000
Seat 2: Smit Trivedi – 490,000
Seat 3: Jaime Staples – 195,000
Seat 4: Barry Greenstein – 395,000
Seat 5: Valentin Messina – 135,000
Seat 6: Daniel Weinman – 165,000
Seat 7: Byron Kaverman – 440,000
Seat 8: Hendrik Latz – 280,000

3:23pm: Ouimette sent to the rail
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Vincent Moscati took care of Justin Ouimette, but he had to deal with Gaelle Baumann in the hand as well.

Moscati opened 12,000 before Ouimette moved all-in for 14,500. Baumann was in the big blind and called along with Moscati. The flop came 8♦J♠2♦ and Baumann check-called 13,000 before she check-folded to a 38,000 bet on the 5♣ turn.

Mocati: A♣J♥
Ouimette: A♦10♠

The 9♦ completed the board and Ouimette went on his way. –MC

3:20pm: Vela hits, to the disgust of Walter
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Michael Vela’s delight was Joaquin Walter’s disgust as the former hit his draw to build his stack to more than 750,000, leaving the latter heading for the payouts line.

Almost certainly this hand began with a raise from the button from Walter and a call in the big blind from Vela. That’s the most likely explanation for what happened next.

The flop fell 3♦5♣10♣ and Vela checked. Walter bet 23,000. Vela then moved all-in, with his stack of more than 550,000 comfortably covering the approximate 150,000 that Walter had back.

Walter called, and turned over Q♦Q♥. Vela had J♣2♣.

“One time make a flush,” Vela said. “One time make a flush.”

The 8♦ didn’t help him, but the 6♣ did. As Vela span away with a “Yessssssss!” Walter tossed his chips into the middle in as disgusted a manner as any Uruguayan would when his queens get cracked by Jack-Deuce. — HS

3:13pm: Diamonds are Philipps’ friends
Level 15 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (500 ante)

Picking up the action on an 8♦7♦9♠5♦ board, Benjamin Philipps made it 20,000 to get to fifth street and John Dibella paid the fee. The 4♦ then completed the board and Philipps continued for 35,000. Dibella started thinking.

“What have you got?” asked Philipps. “A black ten?”

That certainly wouldn’t have been the best hand on this four-diamond board. In the end Dibella folded, offering up a “Nice hand” to the Brit. “Nice hand? Yeah,” replied Philipps.

He’s up to 396,000 now, while Dibella has a huge stack of 598,000. –JS

3:09pm: Kapkowski collects with king-king
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Marcin Kapkowski just got a needed double-up through Rex Clinkscales.

Kapkowski was all in for nearly 140,000 with K♦K♥ and needed to fade the A♦Q♦ Clinkscales had tabled. The board came ten-high — 10♥2♠8♥2♦4♣ — and Kapkowski jumps up around 290,000. Clinkscales still has a healthy 425,000. –MH

3:06pm: Gorey’s got 99 problems, Loosli being one
Level 15 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (500 ante)

Ronan Gorey has dropped down to 99,000 after he had to fold to a Sylvain Loosli river shove. The win put the Frenchman up to around 300,000.

Loosli opened to 11,000 off the button and was called by both blinds. The flop fanned Q♠J♥7♦ and Gorey led for 16,500 from the small blind. Only Loosli called to the A♠ turn where he called another 23,500 bet from his Irish opponent. The 8♥ appeared on the river and Loosli shoved on Gorey when he checked. The fold wasn’t long in coming. –MC

3:03pm: Brutal blow for Martyn
Level 15 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (500 ante)

End of Day 1A chip leader James Martyn just suffered a tough beat to bust. He was all-in with the 9♣9♥ and had by far the best of it against Kliment Tarmakov’s 7♦7♠.

But turn and river cards are so often cruel. The flop came 8♦K♣5♠ and that was safe, but the 7♥ turn put Tarmakov in front and the 5♦ river sealed Martyn’s fate. Tarmakov is up to 200,000 now, while Martyn went to collect his payment slip.

Who was there waiting to say hello? Only actor Aaron Paul, who had got to know Martyn on the felt yesterday. Paul busted late into the day yesterday just a few away from the bubble. –JS

2:58pm: Duong doubles through Staples
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Jackduyph Duong, winner of the PokerStars Festival New Jersey High Roller a couple of months ago, open-raised all in for his last almost-80,000 from the hijack seat. It folded to Team PokerStars Pro Online member Jaime Staples on the button who thought for a while before calling, and the blinds got out of the way.

Duong: 9♦8♦
Staples: A♣10♣

“Let’s chop it up, six-high straight” said Staples, but the 9♠Q♥5♠ flop paired Duong’s hand while wrecking that scenario. The turn was the 3♣ and river the 7♣, and Duong bumps up to about 170,000 while Staples still has 295,000. –MH

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2:55pm: Lefrancois making seat position pay
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

The seat to the left of the chip-leader is arguably the best in the room. Pascal Lefrancois got it in the Day 3 seat draw and hasn’t he made it pay. He is up to 840,000, which is the chip lead in this tournament. Is Lefrancois going to his second final table in the Bahamas?

Maimone is down to 455,000, which is still plenty at this stage. He kist lost a small pot to his other neighbour, Norway’s Rasmus Glæsel. Glæsel bet 17,500 at the flop of 7♦Q♥3♠ and Maimone called. That took them to the 6♥ turn.

Glæsel checked, but called after Maimone bet 30,000. Then they both checked the 5♥ river. Glæsel turned over the 10♣10♥ and Maimone sigh-mucked.

Glæsel has 280,000. — HS

2:53pm: The big stack has no stack
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Three-time Super Bowl champion Richard Seymour has been eliminated after he called all-in with king high and was wrong. In a strange way he was right though, as his opponent – Massimo De Mario – was bluffing, but he was doing so with the best hand.

Both players checked the A♠7♣3♠ flop before De Mario led out for 15,000 on the 4♠ turn. Seymour raised to 35,000 and his Italian opponent called. The 6♦ completed the board and Seymour bet 33,000 when De Mario checked to him and then faced an all-in for the 90,000 he had behind.

He did indeed call, with K♥8♥ for king high. De Mario opened Q♥6♠ for a river pair and moved up to 640,000. The Italian was one of the $10 Sit n Go winners so he’s creating some story here! –MC

2:51pm: The coffee can wait
Level 15 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (500 ante)

Michael Bartholomew told the waiter his coffee order and then focused his attention to his cards. It had been folded to him in the cutoff and he opened to 12,000, which then folded to Jason Mercier in the small blind. The Team Pro exhaled loudly, took a glance at Brian England’s big blind stack, then folded.

Action on England, he made the call and the two saw a 6♦K♦9♥ flop. England checked, letting Bartholomew continue for 13,000, but he then shoved for around 50,000. Bartholomew took a glance and called.

England – J♦7♦
Bartholomew – K♥Q♣

The turn came the 6♠, meaning England still needed a diamond if he was to survive. However, the 8♣ river sent him off to the cage after a fist-bump from Mercier.

Bartholomew dragged in 325,000, and then turned around to realise the waiter had been waiting patiently with his coffee. –JS

2:50pm: Harder busts Day 2 star
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Christian Harder came in for a raise to 12,000 and Andrew Ryan who spent most of Day 2 with the chip lead shoved all in for 61,000. Harder though for a few seconds before calling with 6♠6♦. Ryan had A♥J♣. The board ran clean for Harder and the Day 2 star was gone. Harder now has around 315,000 –BW

2:46pm: Sevens unlucky for Miroshkin
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Stanislav Miroshkin just got the last of his short stack in with 7♠7♦ and was called by Paul Ephremsen who had A♦Q♦.

The board brought five court cards, coming K♦Q♥K♠J♦K♥, giving Ephremsen the better full house and knocking Miroshkin out in 88th place.

Ephremsen has 155,000. –MH

2:38pm: Greenstein doubles Turtiainen
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Give Barry Greenstein some chips and he’ll start playing some hands. The Team PokerStars Pro was sitting with close to 500,000 at the beginning of this hand, and so any two cards will do. Of course, sometimes you might have to show this garbage, but it’s all part of balancing the range.

Greenstein opened to 11,000 and then Mikko Turtiainen jammed for about 35,000 from the cutoff. Everyone else folded, leaving Greenstein unable to fold. He had only K♥4♥ to Turtiainen’s J♣K♦ and Turtiainen actually ended up making a straight through the board of 7♦8♥10♥9♦6♠.

Turtiainen has 80,000 now and Greenstein has 465,000. — HS

2:35pm: An inviting spot for Moscati
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

After posting the ante from the button, Vincent Moscati had exactly 100,000 chips left when the table folded around to him. Along with the 9♣9♠ he’d been dealt, that added up to an inviting spot to put that hundred grand in the middle, and that’s just what he did.

The action moved over to Paul Ephremsen in the big blind who looked down at A♠K♥, and he too found the situation inviting and so called the shove.

The board came safely for the at-risk player, coming 7♠5♣8♥Q♦10♥, and now Moscati is up to about 210,000. Ephremsen has 125,000. –MH

2:32pm: Snider out, busts with set of jacks
Level 16- Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Bradley Snider will take a little while to get over what just happened. He was all in with jacks against Scott Stewart who found kings. The flop made sets of both hands. Brutal. Snider out. – SB

2:29pm: Bit pot puts Dibella ahead
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

John Dibella just took over the chip lead when his quads beat the straight of William Arruda. That leaves Dibella, a former Bahamas winner, with 700,000. Meanwhile Arruda is now on the rail. — SB

2:25pm: Spin n Go qualifier busts
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (500 ante)

Sadly, we’ve just lost Benjamin Wittams-Smith from the Main Event. The Brit qualified for a trip to the Bahamas and tournament entry in a $10 Spin n Go on PokerStars, and he rode that Caribbean wave all the way to a $9,120 cash.

Benjamin_Wittams-Smith-_PCB2017_MED3_11JAN17Benjamin Wittams-Smith

We spoke to Wittams-Smith after his bust-out hand, and he gave us an interesting back story. In a previous hand with Nenad Medic, the man who eliminated him, Medic had raised Wittams-Smith off a pot. The two caught up outside on the break, and Medic told him he’d had ace king off.

Well, the same thing happened again in this hand. Wittams-Smith opened to 12,000. and when it folded to Medic in the small blind he put him all-in. Wittams-Smith thought for a minute or so, before deciding to call off his 36,000 with the K♦Q♠. Surely Medic couldn’t have ace king again right?

He did. Medic showed the A♦K♥ and the board ran out 9♥10♠4♣8♣5♠. Wittams-Smith made his exit, while Medic is up to 136,000.

We’ll have more from our interview with Wittams-Smith tomorrow, so keep a look out. It could be you who qualifies next time. –JS

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2:19pm: Kornuth just does it
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

“How does he do it?” asked Rex Clinkscales when Chance Kornuth opened a straight to beat Ami Alibay.

Kornuth and Alibay were in the blinds and took to a J♣4♠6♣ flop. Kornuth led for 7,500 and was called. Alibay called another 16,500 on the 5♣ turn and then faced a 30,000 bet on the Q♦ river. “Nice value!” said Alibay and called.

Kornuth said, “Straight!” and opened 7♠8♦ to move up to 200k. Alibay dropped to 112,000. — MC

2:14pm: BK whopper
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Everybody at Table 3 seemed interested in Arnaud Mattern’s stack. After Mattern opened to 12,500 from early position, Daniel Weinman said, “How much did you start with?”

Mattern made his stack visible–it had about 70,000 more in it–and Weinman three-bet to 28,500. Mattern dragged his stack back.

But that was premature. “Can I see your stack?” Byron Kaverman said. It forced Mattern to spread his chips out again. It was still about the same amount.

Kaverman then moved all-in, which covered both of his opponents. Mattern quickly folded, and Weinman took a little longer but folded too. Strong stuff from BK gets him to 210,000.

Mattern still has that 70,000 while Weinman has about 165,000. — HS

2:10pm: Baumann can’t risk it
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Playing from the big blind is inherently less comfortable than from other positions. So, too, is playing with a short stack. Gaelle Baumann was dealing with both of those circumstances just now in a hand versus Barry Greenstein and Mikko Turtiainen.

They’d reached the river with the community cards having filled out as 6♦2♠4♣5♦3♣ — a straight on the board. With about 75,000 behind, Baumann checked, and Greenstein set out a bet of 55,000.

Turtiainen called the bet, but Baumann couldn’t risk it and let her cards go. She then watched Greenstein show K♠5♠ and Turtiainen A♥4♥ — both were paying the board — and looked ceilingward for a moment before looking back down at the table to ready for the next hand.

Greenstein had a big rush to end the previous level to move up the counts, and now is sitting with a big stack of 485,000. Meanwhile Turtiainen has 140,000 and Baumann is battling with 75,000. –MH

2:05pm: Czeslaw Szerszen busts; blogger unprofessional
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Czeslaw Szerszen had pushed all-in for 65,500 and Murad Akhundov moved all-in over the top for 149,500. Everybody else folded, and Akhundov showed Szerszen the bad news.

Szerszen: A♣Q♦
Akhundov Q♣Q♥.

But that’s when the A♥ fell on the flop, leaving Akhundov with only one out. He was out of his chaur and collecting his belongings when the dealer put out the Q♠ on the river, eliminating Szerszen and moving Akhundov to 220,000 or so.

The table handled the situation in near silence. Meanwhile, when the case queen hit the river, I–for the first time in as long as I can remember–audibly reacted in way that will probably embarrass me for the rest of the tournament. If you need me, I’ll be the guy not covering that table for the rest of the day. –BW

2pm: Play restarts
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

We’re back for level 16.

1:39pm: First break of the day

That’s the end of a non-stop level that included 30 eliminations. Players are now on a 20 minute break. — SB

1:38pm: Mateos’ turn at king
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Adrian Mateos’ last hand went about five minutes into his break, but it paid off.

NEIL2490_Adrian_Mateos_PCB2017_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Adrian Mateos

He had checked the 8♠6♥9♠ flop to Rodrigo Cordoba, and then called Cordoba’s bet to 38,000. Both players checked through the K♥ turn, but on the 6♠ river, Mateos bet 104,000. Cordoba mulled his decision for several minutes before finally pushing out the call. Mateos showed him K♦J♣ which was good for the win. Cordoba was left with 170,000. Mateos is now up to 445,000. –BW

1:37pm: Josephy climbs heights again
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Here’s a massive double up for one of the best-known faces in the field: Cliff Josephy, who is fresh from the World Series Main Event final table.

Josephy is now on 570,000, ultimately winning with K♥K♣ against Aleksei Opalikhin’s J♥J♣ but this looked like a pot that also featured Rex Clinkscales for at least some of it.

Josephy had 161,000 still in his stack at the end, with a board of 7♥6♥K♠8♥A♥ fully dealt, but there were heaps in already.

That’s a whopper for Josephy just close to the end of the level. Opalikhin has 240,000 left. — HS

1:35pm: Barbero shoves, collects
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Nacho Barbero capped off the Latin American Poker Tour in Brazil at the end of last year by becoming the only player in that tour’s history to win three titles. He’s still with a chance to kick off 2017 with a similarly big success as he remains with chips in this one, thanks to surviving a hand just now with Dorian Rios Pavon.

Jose_Barbaro_PCB2017_MED3_11JAN17Nacho Barbero

Pavon had fired a bet of 22,000 on a K♦5♦[T]7♣8♦ in an attempt to win the 50,000 or so in the middle, but Barbero raise-shoved his 86,000 and after a long tank Pavon decided not to risk it.

Barbero has close to 165,000 now while Pavon has 130,000 with the day’s first break approaching. –MH

1:33pm: Don’t stand. Don’t stand so. Don’t stand so close to the river
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (500 ante)

The old “stand up and get ready to leave” move when all-in seemed to work for Smit Trivedi just now.

After Hendrik Latz opened to 8,000, Trivedi (who I’m gonna call Smitty from here on out) three-bet to 23,000 from the small blind. Jaime Staples let go of his big blind, and when it was back to Latz he jammed with the bigger stack. Smitty snap-called and was ahead with the A♣K♦ against A♥9♣.

But then the J♣9♠3♠ flop happened. Smitty was behind and drawing to only a king. The turn came the 4♣ and Smitty got up to leave.

The river? K♥.

Smitty gave a ‘wow’ expression and sat back down, as Staples had a little chuckle. That miracle cowboy just doubled Smit Trivedi to 285,000, and dropped Latz to 192,000.

To Smitty! –JS

1:30pm: Keep on spinning Wittams-Smith
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Thanks to Ryan Riess for informing the blog of the great story behind Benjamin Wittams-Smith. He knew because the two shared a table on a previous day.

Benjamin Wittams-Smith hasn’t really played much poker before but managed to win a package to come and play here in on of PokerStars’ Spin n Go promotions. And how much did it cost him? Just $10 is the answer. With 96 players remaining Wittams-Smith had guaranteed himself $9,120 and a good chance of more after a recent quadruple-up.

He moved all-in for 10,500 from under the gun and was called in two spots. The flop came 9♣J♠K♠ and James Martyn bet the third party off his hand and opened 3♥3♦. Wittams-Smith had that beat with Q♦Q♣ though and the board ran out 9♦8♠. Martyn dropped to 145,000. –MC

1:26pm: Seymour sees more in stack
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

With about 80,000 in the middle and the board showing 4♠2♣10♣J♥6♦, Richard Seymour led with an all-in push for just about the size of the pot versus two opponents.

Richard_Seymour_Daniel_Weinman-_PCB2017_MED3_11JAN17Richard Seymour with Daniel Weinman (right)

After a long think Massimo De Mario tossed his hand, and taking a little less time James Martyn did the same. Seymour resisted calls for him to show his hand, satisfied instead to collect the pot while calling De Mario a “smart man.”

Seymour is back to about 160,000, Martyn has a little less with 155,000, and De Mario is the table’s big stack with 380,000. –MH

1:24pm: Galland out
Level 15- Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Benoit Galland is out having moved all in with K♦Q♣ for 80,500. Scott Stewart called with 6♠6♥ and sent Galland to the rail on a board of 5♦10♣7♥J♠8♦. – SB

1:22pm: Little wins for Colman and Mateos
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (500 ante)

Easily two of the best remaining players in the field, Dan Colman and Adrian Mateos, know what it takes to go deep and make final table pushes in events like this. Every pot counts, and they’ve both just picked up small wins to increase their stacks.

At Mateos’ table, Mattios Priolo opened to 8,000 from the utg+1 seat and Mateos called in the cutoff. Stig Moen then defended his big blind and the three saw a 5♠9♣9♥ flop. Moen checked, and Priolo opted not to c-bet, letting Mateos in for a 12,000 wager. That got two folds and increased Mateos to 126,000.

Meanwhile, on Colman’s table, it folded to him in the small blind and he flatted. Rodrigo Cordoba checked his option and the dealer put out a 10♠5♦6♣ flop. Check check.

Both checked the 10♥ turn too, before the board was completed by the 8♠. Now Colman led for 13,000 and Cordoba snap-called. Colman showed the Q♥8♥ for a rivered pair of eights, which was a frustrating sight for Cordoba who had also paired up with his J♥8♣.

Cordoba now has 273,000, and Colman is a little down on the day with 610,000. –JS

1:20pm: Greenstein contending
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Team PokerStars Pro Barry Greenstein has been to every single big PokerStars series here in the Bahamas every year, no matter what it has been called. He attend all of the PCAs over the years, and is back again this January for the inaugural PokerStars Championship Bahamas series.

Barry_Greenstein_PCB2017_MED3_11JAN17Barry Greenstein

Over all of those years, his best finish in a Main Event was 25th back in 2012. With just over 100 players remaining in this tournament, he still has a chance to better that finish and then some.

Just now Greenstein watched Pratyush Buddiga raise from middle position, and after three-betting from the button managed to win the blinds and antes plus Buddiga’s bet. Greenstein is up to 186,000 now. –MH

1:18pm: Haiduc’s double hiccup
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Florian Haiduc just played back-to-back pots that ended up costing him a decent chunk of his chips. He lost the first, bluffing. And he lost the second, bluffing again.

On the first, he called a late-position raise from Eric Brenes in the big blind and they saw a flop of 5♥Q♣7♠. Actually, this is a bit of guesswork, as I arrived only at the turn, the A♠, by which point there was only about 20,000 in the pot.

So it looks like they checked the flop and then Haiduc checked the turn too, but Brenes bet 15,500. Haiduc then raised to 40,000. Brenes called.

The dealer laid the 8♦ on the river and Haiduc quickly bet a chunk of blues. It looked like about 80,000. Brenes called, forcing Haiduc to table his 4♥3♣ and Brenes’s A♣J♠ was good.

Brenes vaulted to 368,000 after that hand, and Haiduc was down to 180,000. But he tried to build it up again immediately afterwards.

In this hand, Barry Greenstein raised from the button, making it 10,000 to go, and Haiduc called from the small blind. Mikko Turtiainen called too from the big blind and those three drank in the beauty of a coordinated flop. It was 9♣10♣7♣.

Both players in the blinds checked and Greenstein bet 14,000. Only Haiduc called. The 8♦ fell on the turn, which added a touch more moisture to this wet board. They both checked.

The 4♠ came on the river and Haiduc couldn’t resist. He bet 20,000. Greenstein, who has seen it all, twice, called pretty quickly. Haiduc’s K♣Q♠ wasn’t good enough. Greenstein had 8♠9♦. — HS

1:16pm: Kick in the Shin for Lefrancois
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Pascal Lefrancois still has chucks (596k) despite value betting himself in a hand versus Myung Shin.

The latter opened from the hijack and Lefrancois peeled from the big blind. Shin continued for 10,000 on a J♦8♥A♥ flop and Lefrancois check-called. The Canadian stared at the 9♣ turn for a while before checking. Shin quickly checked behind and then snap-called when Lefrancois led for 13,000 on the 9♣ river. Lefrancois opened A♦4♠ but couldn’t beast Shin’s A♠Q♥ who moved up to 187,000. –MC

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1:15pm: More action on the TV table
Level 15- Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Bradley Snider shoved and got a call from Sam Chartier.

Chartier: K♠10♠

Snider: A♦K♦

The board came 7♦A♣8♦Q♥[4♦ to double up Snider to around 200,000. — SB

1:14pm: Galland on the gallop
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Benoit Galland got his last 46,500 in pre-flop against Luc Greenwood, and they were quickly strapping on spikes and heading to the stadium. This was a race.

Galland: A♥Q♠
Greenwood: 9♥9♣

The flop hit one of Galland’s over-cards. It was 7♦Q♥6♥. The 10♠ and 7♥ completed the board. Gallard is now up to 100,000 while Greenwood slides to 193,000. –HS

1:11pm: Allison’s aim is true
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Allon Allison checked raised Mike McDonald all in for 155,000 on a board of 8♠9♣7♥3s]7♠. It was enough to give McDonald something to think about. There was 308,000 in the middle but McDonald folded. – SB

1:10pm: Marsh gets bogged down by Philipps
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Bradley Marsh is out, slamming 8♣8♦ into Ben Philipps’s J♣J♠. There was no help through a board of K♠10♠5♠Q♠7♥.

Philipps bubbled the Main Event at EPT Malta late last year but has since bounced back with an in-the-money finish in Prague and now this deep run. He also made the final table of the PokerStars National Championship that took place at the Atlantis at the start of this festival. Bubbling is good for you. — HS

1:07pm: Dibella doubles
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

With 2010 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Harrison Gimbel’s knockout over on the feature table during today’s first hour, that leaves just John Dibella as the last former PCA champ left in the field.

We almost lost Dibella, too, just now, but his pocket fives manage to hold in an all-in versus ace-queen to keep him in the game.

He has about 110,000, still with hopes of capturing another title here after winning in 2012. –MH

1:04pm: Finishers so far
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

As the bubble went pop in the last minutes of last night, the first part of this day is going super quick. Here’s who has went pop like the bubble so far today.


1:01pm: Walter halts Tran’s steamroller (for now at least)
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Tony Tran started today with 298,000 in chips, but by the time the following pot took place, he had closer to 500,000. That’s a good start by anybody’s standards.

He probably had good reason to think he could do no wrong, which likely explains how this one played out. He took another stab at a pot he had not right to win…and didn’t win.

Tran opened the button, making it 10,500 to go, and Joaquin Walter called from the big blind. “You got a full stack of blues over there?” Tran asked. Walter did. He had a stack of around 170,000.

The flop brought the 7♦Q♥Q♦ and two checked. Then the 5♠ fell on the turn and Walter check-called Tran’s bet of 12,500.

The 5♥ came on the river and Walter checked again. In for a penny, in for another 26,000. Walter called and was rewarded when Tran showed his 6♣8♣. Walter’s 6♠5♣ was now a full house.

Tran has 430,000 still, while Walter is up to 210,000. — HS

12:58pm: Arruda wakening
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (500 ante)

Who doesn’t enjoy a good old fashioned pre-flop raising war? Well, usually the guy who has to lay his hand down.

Will Arruda from Brazil was under the gun plus one and opened to 8,000, which one player called before it got to Pedro Cabeca on the button. He then three-bet squeezed to 33,000, and it was back on Arruda.

Will Arruda_PCB2017_MED3_11JAN17Will Arruda

He wasn’t going anywhere. Arruda put in a four-bet to 90,000, which shook off the caller. But then Cabeca moved all-in with a bigger stack to the Brazilian’s 211,000. Arruda was in the tank for a few minutes, picking up stacks of chips like he might make the call, all the while going through the possibilities in his head.

In the end he decided to fold and fight another day. Cabeca is up to 460,000 now. — JS

12:55pm: Paul Knebel sent to the rail
Level 15- Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Paul Knebel all-in on the feature table. Sam Chartier called.

Knebel: 10♦9♦

Chartier: J♥9♥

The board came 7♣K♦7♥6♦Q♣. Knebel had 15 outs on the turn, but they didn’t appear on the river. – SB

12:52pm: Andriamahefa flops set, takes from Maimone
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Start-of-day leader Nick Maimone started out today building his leading stack even further, but just lost a chunk in a hand versus Kevin Andriamahefa to come back to the chase pack.

Nick_Maimone_PCB2017_MED3_11JAN17Nick Maimone

The hand started with a UTG raise by Myung Shin to 9,000 which Maimone called. Then Andriamahefa three-bet to 31,000 and Shin got out. Maimone called again, and the flop fell 5♣4♠J♣.

Andriamahefa checked, and Maimone set out a small column of chips that appeared to be around 32,000. Andriamahefa then check-raised all-in with the 133,500 he had left and Maimone called in a flash.

Maimone had Q♠Q♦ for an overpair — yes, we might have described those preflop calls as “smooth calls,” but that would have been giving things away, right? Alas for Maimone, things had turned out a bit rough as Andriamahefa tabled J♥J♠ for a flopped set.

The turn was the 5♥ and river the 2♦, and Andriamahefa jumps up to 330,000. Maimone is back to 580,000 now, right there with Daniel Colman at the top counts. –MH

12:50pm: Be careful what you wish for, Chance
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (500 ante)

Chance Kornuth opened to 8,500 and it folded to the big blind of Aleksei Opalikhin.

“You owe me action from yesterday!” Kornuth said, suggesting the two clearly had a few tangles on Day 2. Opalikhin looked he was going to call anyway, and did so.

The flop came 10♣9♦K♥ and Kornuth made an 8,000 continuation bet when it checked to him, and Opalikhin made a quick call to see the K♦ turn. Neither was too impressed with that second cowboy, as both checked.

It’d be joined by a third king on the K♣ river. Now Opalikhin took the betting lead and put out 21,000. Kornuth folded instantly.

This hand didn’t end up costing Kornuth too much, but any requests for action in the future might be more costly. Kornuth has 139,000 now, while Opalikhin has 442,000. –JS

12:47pm: Mariz avoids a chop to double
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Pablo Mariz and Rasmus Glæsel thought they were going to chop a pot but the former paired his kicker on the turn and scooped a much-needed double up.

He was down to 28,500 when he made his move from under the gun. Glæsel was in the cutoff and made the call.

Mariz: A♠5♠
Glæsel: A♦4♥

Two players said they folded an ace and that prompted Glæsel to say, “It’s going to be a chop.” That was wrong as the board ran 5♦2♠K♠Q♥3♠. The Norwegian dropped to a still huge 415,000. — MC

12:44pm: De Mario squashes Tian in bout of regicide
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

“There was nothing he could do,” Jim Martyn said as he watched James Tian walk away. Tian had just had his kings killed by Massimo De Mario’s aces. Tian was left with nothing. Meanwhile De Mario was up to 370,000. –BW

12:42pm: Harrison Gimbel out
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Action on the TV table (which you can watch here). After a Mike McDonald four bet, Harrison Gimbel called.

Gimbel: K♦K♦

McDonald: A♠A♦

The board came Q♦5♥4♠A♥4♥ to send Gimbel out. – SB

12:40pm: Zamani doubles
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Ben Zamani moved all-in from the small blind for 15 big blinds on the TV table. Harrison Gimbel called.

Zamani: 9♣9♣
Gimbel: A♠J♠

The board came 6♠7♥9♠7♣4♣ and gave Zamani a full house on the turn. – SB

12:39pm: Big double for Tran as he flushes Loosli down
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (500 ante)

What he thought was a great river card turned out to be a terrible one for Sylvain Loosli.

Picking up the action on a J♠5♣10♥ flop, Tony Tran checked to Loosli in a heads-up pot and the Frenchman made a bet of what looked to be 18,500. Tran called quickly so the chips were dragged in the middle.

On the 2♣ turn, Tran checked again and Loosli continued for 36,500. But now Tran check-raised it up to 77,500, and Loosli called to see the river.

It fell the A♣ and after a little thinking time Tran moved all-in for 132,000. Loosli snap-called but was obviously disappointed when he saw his 8♣9♣ flush was beat by Tran’s Q♣J♣ for a bigger one.

Loosli takes a big hit and is down to 125,000 now, while a great start for Tran sees him up to 488,000. –JS

12:37pm: Mercier isolates to his own peril
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Michael Bartholomew open-shoved his last 35,000, and Jason Mercier isolated with an all-in move of his own. Everyone else got out of the way, so Mercier showed J♥J♣. Bartholomew opened K♠Q♣.

As the dealer was fanning out the flop, Mercier realized he had been remiss.

“I forgot to say good luck,” he said. “Good luck.”

Jason_Mercier_PCB2017_MED3_11JAN17Jason Mercier

The dealer put out a board suited just to Bartholomew: K♣9♦4♣8♣2♣.

“Too much luck,” Mercier said.

Bartholomew stacked up 80,000. Mercier, meanwhile, still has 250,000. –BW

12:35pm: Alibay bounces Ratchford
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

“One player all in for the main,” intoned the dealer, referring to Harry Ratchford.

After Aleksei Opalikhin had opened for 10,000 from middle position, Ratchford raise-shoved his last 12,500 and watched as both Ami Alibay in the big blind Opalikhin called.

Vying for the side pot, the other two checked the 6♥Q♦3♠ flop, then Alibay bet small on both the Q♣ turn and 3♥ river, getting calls from Opalikhin both times.

Ratchford was already shaking his head with a grin of acceptance when Alibay opened 6♠6♦ for sixes full of treys. That beat the hand Opalikhin mucked, and after flashing his ace-five Ratchford mucked as well.

Alibay moves up to about 330,000 after that pot, while Opalikhin is in the top 10 with 420,000. –MH

12:32pm: Snider all-in
Level 15- Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Bradley Snider moved all in for 18,000. Harrison Gimbel called, as did Sam Chartier. They checked down board of 10♥A♠10♣9♠8♣ to the river, at which point Chartier bet 13,000. Gimbel called.

Snider: A♥8♥

Gimbel: J♥J♣

Chartier: K♦K♣

Chartier took the side pot but a triple up for Snider. – SB

12:30pm: Fisher hooks Priolo for double
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Amid all the eliminations, there will be some double-ups and here’s one for Paul Fisher from the United States.

He was sitting in the hijack seat and had built a pot of around 65,000 with Mattias Priolo, in the big blind. They were at the turn and the board read J♠K♦7♥4♦. Priolo checked and Fisher moved all-in for his last 42,500.

After a few minutes during which Priolo just could’t find sufficient reason to fold, he called and turned over K♣6♣. Fisher had Q♣K♠ and the Q♥ completed the board to keep Fisher alive about 155,000.

Priolo is left with 177,000 and went straight to his phone to either record the details of the pot or to vent about it to friends. — HS

12:28pm: Double-double for Mattern
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Former EPT champion Arnaud Mattern has had a flying start to the day, doubling up twice, to around 135,000.

Arnaud_Mattern_PCB2017_MED3_11JAN17Back in the game: Arnaud Mattern

First of all he moved all-in for 26,000 with 10♦10♠ and was called by Michael Zuckerman who was holding 7♥7♣. The board ran 2♦J♦5♦Q♠5♥.

A short while after there was a button raise to 8,500 from Smit Trivedi and a three-bet all-in for 60,000 from Luke Haward in the small blind. Mattern was in the big blind and moved all-in for 72,000, which was enough to force a fold from Trivedi.

Haward: K♦Q♠
Mattern: A♦Q♣

The board ran 8♥A♠4♥J♠K♦ and Haward hit the rail. –MC

12:26pm: Ten gone
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

As James Hartigan put it on PokerStars Live, we’ve had ten eliminations so far and we’ve been playing for 15 minutes. — SB

12:25pm: The Thrill is gone
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Will “The Thrill” Failla began today with one of the shortest stacks among the 125 returners, and after a bit of bad luck he’s among the early Day 3 knockouts heading over to the cashier’s desk.

Failla’s fall came in a hand that began with Donys Ivan Agnelli Rojas opening for 8,500 from under the gun and Failla calling from the big blind.

The flop came 4♦6♣8♠, and Failla check-called a continuation bet of 10,500 from Rojas, leaving himself just 17,500 behind. That went all in following the A♣ turn card, and Rojas called without hesitation.

Failla had made two pair with A♥8♥ and was ahead of Rojas’s pair of aces with A♠Q♠, but the 10♠ filled a flush for Rojas and Failla is out. Rojas is now on 145,000. –MH

12:22pm: Kitai copies Colman
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (500 ante)

It’s not only Dan Colman who can river quads, y’know. Davidi Kitai can do it too.

The circumstances were a little different, mind. Kitai certainly came to play today, moving all-in over Likith Govindaiah’s 8,500 open in the very first hand.

Then, a couple of hands later, Kitai opened to 8,500 only for Bernard Lee to shove for his last 34,500. The man to Lee’s left, Tom Janssens, then flat called on the button, and it folded back to Kitai. He shoved too for his 60,500 stack, Janssens called, and the cards were flipped.

Kitai – A♠A♥
Lee – K♦K♠
Janssens – 6♥6♣

A cooler for Lee, but a dream spot for Kitai who improved to a set on the 7♦A♦10♠ flop. The turn was the 7♠, followed by the A♣ river giving Kitai four of a kind.

Lee said his goodbyes, Janssens dropped to 168,000, and Kitai is up to 167,500. –JS

12:20pm: Kerr savaged by Gomez the lion
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Steven Kerr flopped an ace and that, on the face of it, was great news for a man with A♠9♠ and all of his short stack (22,000 overnight) in the middle. Wrong. Diego Gomez had flopped a set of aces with his A♦A♥ and there was no way back for Kerr from there.

Gomez, who once turned up to an EPT final table wearing a lion suit, is purring with about 180,000. — HS

12:15pm: Grayson swept away in first-hand rush
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

The button was drawn in Seat 4 today, which was great news for Luke Haward, the PokerStars qualifier from the United Kingdom who had only 8,000 chips to start the day. He was in Seat 3, so could fold a few hands if he wanted.

Indeed, he folded the first one he was dealt, and by the time he saw another, at least three people were eliminated. Jeremey Grayson was one of those. He open-jammed the first hand he saw, which happened to be A♠7♣, from early position, but knew he was in trouble when Fabio Freitas re-jammed from the button.

Grayson had 50,000 in chips; Freitas had 149,500. The latter also had A♥K♥.

The board ran J♣6♠3♠8♥K♣ and that was the end of Grayson. Freitas is now up to 200,000. — HS

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12:12pm: Who’ll make the big comeback?
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Play concluded so soon after the bubble burst last night that the usual mass of all-ins has had to wait until today. We’ll see many busting but they’ll also be some comeback stories out there.

Maybe PokerStars qualifier Martin Raus will be one of those players. He came back with just 19,500 and was drawn into the big blind, but doubled up the first hand. Dan Colman set him in from the small blind and he called all-in.

Colman: Q♦2♥
Raus: 8♦6♠

The board ran 10♥5♣A♦2♣8♠ to make him a pair on the river. –MC

12:10pm: Lillaney mowed down by Moen
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Tough luck start for Gautam Lillaney here on Day 3, who after just a couple of minutes has hit the rail already.

Lillaney returned to a stack of 155,000, but all of it went in on a hand versus Sig Moen on a 3♠K♥5♥ flop with Lillaney holding A♠K♣ but Moen having two pair with K♦5♦. The 6♣ turn and 9♠ river finished it, and Lillaney is gone.

Moen jumps up to about 340,000 to start the day. –MH

12:06pm: First elimination
Level 15- Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Dan Høidahl becomes the first player eliminated today, moving in on the feature table with pocket tens. Former PCA winner Harrison Gimbel called with A♣5♣ and caught an ace on the turn. One down. — SB

11:55am: Stand by
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

We’re moments away from the start of Day 3 of the Main Event. Cards will be in the air shortly.

11:40am: Back to business

Welcome back to the Imperial Ballroom here on Paradise Island. Just 125 players remain after we managed to burst the bubble right at the end of Day 2, meaning everyone left in the field is guaranteed a payday.

Spare a thought for Noah Boeken though; he became the first PokerStars Championship Main Event bubble boy when he was all-in with pocket tens against Tom Janssens ace-five off-suit. However, running cards gave Janssens the wheel and Boeken was broken.

The man leading the field right now is Nick Maimone, who bagged up 689,000. If you’re not familiar with Maimone, you definitely will be with the man in second place: Dan Colman. The One Drop winner managed to river quads against Christoph Vogelsang’s aces full to shoot up the chip counts, and some sterling play thereafter kept him near the top with 620,000.

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Another deep run for Colman

Mike McDonald, Sylvain Loosli, Byron Kaverman, Team PokerStars Pro Jason Mercier, Cliff Josephy, Team Online’s Jaime Staples, former PCA champ Harrison Gimbel, Superbowl champ Richard Seymour, and Davidi Kitai are all still alive. Check all the chip counts here.

We’ll be playing five 90-minute levels here on Day 3, so sit back, relax, and keep hitting that refresh button. –JS

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Take a look at the official website of PokerStars LIVE, with tournament schedule, news, results and accommodation details for the PokerStars Championship Bahamas and all other Festival and Championship events.

Also all the information is on the PokerStars LIVE App, which is available on both Android or IOS.

PokerStars Blog reporting team on the $5K Main Event: Stephen Bartley, Marc Convey, Martin Harris, Jack Stanton, Howard Swains and Brad Willis. Photography by Neil Stoddart. Follow the PokerStars Blog on Twitter: @PokerStarsBlog


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