Poker Coverage: Poker Tournaments U.S. Poker Markets Sports Betting Poker Strategy

Buy-In: $98,000 + $2,000
Prize Pool: $5,433,120
Entrants: 56

$100K No-Limit Hold'em Eight Max

  • Jan 05, '14 - Jan 07, '14


Updates on Final Day (Jan 07, 14)


PCA 2104: Super High Roller ends in eye of Quoss-fire hurricane

Hurricane season in the Caribbean won’t begin for another six months, but tonight, a slow-moving storm named Fabian Quoss crept in from Germany and destroyed some of the most fabled landmarks in Super High Roller lore. With progress so slow it was hard to project any path, Quoss laid waste to poker’s biggest names and won $1.6 million in the 2014 PCA $100,000 Super High Roller event.

Quoss, part of an ever-evolving German cabal of high roller wrecking balls, scored two double eliminations in the early stages of the final table before dispatching high-rolling veterans Vanessa Selbst and Dan Shak for the first place win. It was the German’s fourth major title and moved his all-time winnings in the neighborhood of $5 million.

“I’m obviously very happy to be here right now,” Quoss said. “I feel after 2013—when the luck wasn’t on my side—I kind of deserved it.”

8G2A4405__PCA2014_Fabian_Quoss_Neil Stoddart.jpg

This $100,000 event started with 45 players and, after rebuys, 56 total entries. Eight players stood to get paid. The marathon Day 2 lasted into today’s early morning hours and only ended after Quoss scored a double-elimination on the bubble. It left the final table with only seven players who returned this afternoon with the following stacks.

Seat 1 – Ole Schemion, Austria, 280,000
Seat 2 – Tony Gregg, United States, 410,000
Seat 3 – Antonio Esfandiari, United States, 2,830,000
Seat 4 – Matt Glantz, United States, 480,000
Seat 5 – Fabian Quoss, Germany, 2,650,000
Seat 6 – Vanessa Selbst, United States, 3,645,000
Seat 7 – Dan Shak, United States, 3,700,000

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$100,000 Super High Roller final table

When the final table began this afternoon, it took only two hands to see a three-way all in. Short-stacked Schemion shoved from under the gun for 260,000. Anthony Gregg over-shoved for 390,000. They both got calls from Fabian Quoss who woke up with 10Spade Suit10Club Suit on the button. The board stayed clean and Quoss—who had knocked out the final two players of Day 2 in the same hand—scored his second double elimination.

Dan Shak, still tired from the protracted bubble on Day 2 smiled. “Last night it was three hours for that,” he said.

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Ole Schemion (7th—$277,080) and Anthony Gregg (6th—$347,720) on the same bus home

That double-knockout evened the top four stacks and left Glantz with only eight big blinds. He waited a few hands, but after Antonio Esfandiari opened to 160,000 with AClub Suit7Heart Suit, Glantz three-bet shoved for 320,000 with JSpade Suit10Heart Suit. Betting moved to Selbst in the small blind, who four-bet her ace-jack to 605,000. Esfandiari got out of the way (he’d regret it) to see the board run out 3Spade Suit5Club Suit7Club Suit7Spade SuitKSpade Suit and Matt Glantz finish in fifth place.

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Matt Glantz tops short-stacked survival game (5th—$445,520)

With Glantz gone, Shak made the first advance toward deal-making.

“I’m a business man,” he explained.

Everyone sat silent.

“My guess is I’m the fish, so there’s no deal,” Shak lamented.

There wasn’t, and that fact served Shak well, as it wasn’t too much later that Antonio Esfandiari and Vanessa Selbst went to war, the one-time magician holding pocket nines to Selbst’s ace-king. Esfandiari literally massaged the dealer’s shoulders and flopped clean, but Selbst turned an ace to send Esfandiari to the rail.

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No magic fo Antonio Esfandiari (4th—$575,920)

It was this week last year when Vanessa Selbst topped the 2013 PCA $25,000 High Roller for $1.4 million. Today, she looked to be the first person to win both a PCA/EPT High Roller and Super High Roller. At many points it looked like she would do just that. Three-handed play slowed to a crawl, and Selbst looked like she was in complete control. Even after suffering a massive loss with two pair to Dan Shak’s turned straight, Selbst came back to double up and look good to go the distance.

It all fell apart some twenty minutes later. Fabian Quoss flopped a gutshot straight with queen-jack to Selbst’s ace-king. Quoss check-called the flop, and then made his straight when an ace fell on the turn. Quoss check-called again, and then check-raised the blank river. Handcuffed, Selbst made the crying call. The loss dropped her to her lowest stack of the day.

Short-stacked, Selbst never recovered. A few hands later, she shoved KHeart Suit9Club Suit from the button, and Quoss couldn’t fold with AHeart Suit4Heart Suit. The board didn’t help, and Selbst left in third place.

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Vanessa Selbst (3rd—$760,640)

Quoss entered the heads-up match with 9.2 million in chips, nearly double Shak’s 4.8 million.

This was not an unfamiliar position for Shak. He’s won a big buy-in tourney like this before (the 2010 Aussie Millions $100K event was the only other time he won more than $1 million in one event). That said, it’s only been a couple of years since Shak finished runner-up in this same PCA Super High Roller event. That year, he had to watch Viktor Blom hoist the trophy.

Now he was up against another young gun determined to claim the Super High Roller trophy for Europe.

With a quick handshake, the heads-up match was underway.

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Quoss dominated for the next hour. Before long, he’d moved up over the 11-million mark. He didn’t falter after that.

Finally, Quoss limped the button with 8Spade Suit6Heart Suit. Shak checked his option with JHeart Suit10Club Suit. The flop came 10Diamond Suit7Club SuitQSpade Suit. Shak checked his second pair, and Quoss led for the minimum, 200,000. Shak only called, and that spelled his end. The 9Diamond Suit came on the turn and filled in Quoss’ gutshot. Shak checked his open-ender. Quoss thought for a few minutes before making it 425,000. Shak announced, “I’m all in.” Quoss snap-called,turned his eyes to the sky, and waited for the river. His friends pounded on the rail. The AClub Suit fell, and Quoss became the first champion of the 2014 PCA.

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Dan Shak (2nd—$1,178,980)

Now an exhausted Quoss heads off to get some rest. He’s already got plans to play Day 1B of the Main Event tomorrow, so any celebration will have to wait until another night.

After a 2013 he’s happy to forget, Quoss is feeling good about the new date on the calendar.

“I said 2014 was going to be different,” Quoss said. “I hope it continues.”

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PCA 2014 $100,000 Super High Roller
Date: January 5-7, 2014
Buy-in: $100,000
Entries:: 56 (45 unique)
Prize pool: $5,433,120

1st: Fabian Quoss (Germany) $1,629,940
2nd: Dan Shak (United States) $1,178,980
3rd: Vanessa Selbst (United States) $760,640
4th: Antonio Esfandiari (United States) $575,920
5th: Matt Glantz (United State) $445,520
6th: Tony Gregg (United States) $347,720
7th: Ole Schemion (Austria) $277,080
8th: Mike McDonald (Canada) $217,320

Brad Willis is the PokerStars Head of Blogging

This EPT is brought to you by PokerStars, the official sponsor of the European Poker Tour. Win your way into the biggest events Europe has to offer at Europe.


PCA 2014: Dylan Hortin sets the pace in the PCA Main Event

Dylan “Pokerl)evil” Hortin tonight set the pace for the PCA 2014 Main Event bagging 160,500 at the end of play. Hortin is an accomplished player, albeit one without the silverware to be picked out of a live poker line-up. Online, however, his credentials are strong. He finished 7th in the most recent WCOOP Main Event for $213,000, which accounts for a healthy chunk of the $1.5m he’s clocked up in online tournaments at PokerStars. You can read about that WCOOP score here.


Dylan Hortin

The 23-year-old, originally from Salt Lake City, Utah, is here on a freeroll of sorts. He qualified for the Main Event via a 25,000 FPP tournament. Today, he found himself sat next to famous basketball player Gilbert Arenas. That seemed to work out well.

“He was splashing around a lot,” said Hortin. “I made a conscious effort to play way more hands than I normally would because there was just so much more potential to win a huge pot if he was in it.”

Not long into the day, he got his chance. “I was able to chip up through him. I actually doubled up through him with queens…I saw him yesterday and I had to say to somebody, ‘Is that Gilbert Arenas walking by?’ So it was pretty crazy sitting down next to him today.”

Super High Rolling
As the players walked into the Imperial Ballroom this morning, all 295 of them, their eyes would have been drawn to the large TV table. It was sat waiting for seven players to return to finish off the $100,000 Super High Roller. You can find out more about that event here. That most exclusive of tournaments is still currently playing down to a $1.6m winner, but the Main Event, with ‘just’ a $10,000 price tag, is likely to payout more to the winner. Only 183 of those will get to walk back in for Day 2.

Calvin “cal42688” Anderson was among those driving the action into the later levels of the day along with the likes of Hortin, Victor Levy (151,100), Tim Ulmer (125,000) and Max Silver (111,800). Anderson faltered and slipped down to 88,000, no doubt just a temporary setback, while Hortin held steady. You can check chip counts for more players by clicking the ‘chip counts’ tab in our live coverage.


Calvin Anderson

You can’t win on Day 1A, but you can certainly free up some time to play more side events. Among those in the position to play as much side action as they want include Jeff Madsen, Phil Laak, Rep Porter, Ankush “pistons87” Mandavia, Noah Schwartz, Darren Elias, and PokerStars sponsored pros Vanessa Rousso, Ike Haxton, Lex Veldhuis and Mickey Petersen. We’ll have plenty more big names playing tomorrow for Day 1B.

Stephen Klam got off to a flying start and an early chip lead when he caught a one-outer all-in for his tournament life to river quads against a flopped full house. It also marked the first whooping and hollering point of the PCA 2014 Main Event, an event which is typically a bombastic affair. Now, that’s what I’m talking about.


Stephen Klam

The day started as most do at the PCA, with a couple of Team PokerStars Pros giving a Q&A in the Players’ Lounge. Today’s talk was from ElkY and Eugene Katchalov about the plus-EV uptick of healthy living to your game. Players squashed in to listen to the Bert and Ernie of poker, more than happy to indulge in the irony of nodding along to gluten-free and low-sugar talk while devouring free Danish pastries and chocolate muffins. Tomorrow’s talk starts at 11am and is scheduled to include Ike Haxton, David Williams and Vanessa Selbst talking about staking, among other things.


Ike Haxton

We caught up with ElkY a little later to find out exactly how one busts a $100,000 in two hours. Rivering a set seems to help. Mixed game specialist David “Gunslinger3” Bach also dropped in for a chat.

We found out how the 1% live with Team PokerStars Pro, and how they want to give you $2,500. You’ve just got to play the Team Online guys heads-up for rollz…. And I’m sure Sergio Garcia would take you on (on the golf course). We also redefined poker terms for a more genteel PC future and also got to speak to the current World Champion, Ryan “The Beast” Riess.


Ryan Riess

Catch up with all the Super High Roller live updates here.
Catch up with all the Main Event live updates here.

is a staff writer for the PokerStars Blog.

This EPT is brought to you by PokerStars, the official sponsor of the European Poker Tour. Win your way into the biggest events Europe has to offer at Europe.


PCA 2014: Sergio Garcia? Never heard of him...

“Him? He’s the golfer. Should I get my picture taken with him?”

Standing near Sergio Garcia on the main floor this afternoon, phrases like this were uttered only sporadically. This is not Sergio Garcia’s first PCA. It’s not even his second. The much-loved club-swinger has become a fixture at Paradise Island this time of year, even cashing in the 2012 Main Event for $35,000. And now he’s back in the Ballroom.

Garcia’s playing the Main Event, or, to be more accurate: he’s playing the Main Event tomorrow. Today was all about hanging out with friends at the cash game tables. Friends like Team PokerStars Pro Juan Manuel Pastor.


Garcia en route to his best ever PCA Main Event finish in 2012

Pastor once played poker coach to Garcia, and as they sat for a while at a welcoming table in the heart of the room, the action was a secondary issue. Yet despite their loud chats in Spanish and frequent laughs, you could count on one hand those over-eager golf fans craning their necks to stare. To be honest, it was mainly me.

It gets you thinking: is there anywhere better for a top athlete to unwind publicly than with a few hundred other people in the middle of a poker room?

Around Garcia everyone’s head was down. There’s money to be made at the Atlantis Resort, and not an ounce of available concentration was being wasted. For them, surviving Day 1A of the Main Event was more important than who was or wasn’t in the room, the same went for those grinding out the cash game dollars.

Garcia was hiding in plain sight.

He’s an eight-time PGA Tour champion. He’s the recipient of approximately $45 million in tournament earnings ($20 million more than current poker’s all-time money winner, Antonio Esfandiari). But in here, among the poker pros, amateurs and fanatics, he’s just another player. And he couldn’t look happier… I guess I’ll wait and get his autograph another time.

Click through to live updates, features and interviews from the $100,000 Super High Roller and the $10,000,000 guaranteed PCA Main Event.

Keir Mackay is a copywriter for PokerStars.

This EPT is brought to you by PokerStars, the official sponsor of the European Poker Tour. Win your way into the biggest events Europe has to offer at Europe.


PCA 2014: Navigating to the PCA via TomTom

As the main feature table was being prepared for the final of the $100,000 Super High Roller event, two lower buy-in PokerStars qualifiers were taking their seats at table four in the Main Event, eager to make their mark.

Tom Pyl, 40, from Sweden, worked his way up from a $109 buy-in to be in the Bahamas. But even his spin-up wasn’t as impressive as that of Tom Janssen, 31, from Belgium, who won his full package for $11.

Pyl used to be a regular on the tournament scene, but has recently been taking an extended break and plying his trade as a DJ in Stockholm. He is now playing his first major live tournament since the 2008 WSOP Main Event.


Tom Pyl: Leaving the decks behind

“I only play live four to five times a year these days, almost all of this in a poker club in Stockholm and playing about once a month online, so not so much poker as I was playing in 2008,” he said.

He took up the game in 2003 and put his experience to good use in his final online satellite tournament on PokerStars, surviving with a short stack long enough to win his ticket.

As for Janssen, he is lucky to be here for a different reason. “It’s a dream playing in an EPT or tournament like this,” Janssens said. “I’m glad we came some days earlier, because we were stuck in a snowstorm in Chicago, and missed our connection flight in Miami to get here. It was a long journey, but worth it. Fingers crossed.”

The pair are yet to tangle, but both made it through to the first break with Pyl on 25,000 and Jannsens 18,000 from their 30,000 starting stacks. Considering their luck to make it here, they will both be hoping it is the first of many breaks this week.

Tom and Tom update

As the tournament went for its second break of the day, Pyl was just all in for the first time, securing a much-needed double up on a frustrating afternoon.

“I’ve had aces once and faced an all-in on a KQQ board and had to fold,” he said. “I also had kings. All folded to my pre-flop raise obviously. Eights, jacks, fives… just can’t hit a flop and turn them into something.”

Pyl had roughly 8,000 at the start of the pivotal hand, in which he won a race with pocket fours against ace-jack. Pyl’s opponent had almost the same size stack but ended up being sent to the rail.

Pyl is back up to a playable 17,000 for the final two levels of the night.

It’s approximately 17,000 more than Janssens, however, who is now out.

This EPT is brought to you by PokerStars, the official sponsor of the European Poker Tour. Win your way into the biggest events Europe has to offer at Europe.


PCA 2014: Destination The Rail. Overcrowded. Touristy. Full of media types. Single ticket $10,000. Departing now.

The weather turned brutal in the Bahamas this morning. Not the polar cold of the United States, but gale force winds and sideways rain that made the palm trees point west. Hotel staff secured deck chairs and sun loungers while the only thing left standing was Vanessa Selbst’s stack from the Super High Roller action the night before.

It served as a useful reminder to those arriving to play Day 1A of the Main Event today. Mainly, if you bust out today you have nowhere to go, so make it count.

And yet, there were still plenty of excursions as play got underway, only the 300 players who started today weren’t heading to Nassau or to a deserted island, but to a place called The Rail, an overcrowded place full of tourists and media types. Single ticket priced $10,000 — trips departing every few minutes.

Staying put is Calvin Andersen. He was one of the first to amass a stack of 100,000 and built that up by virtue of, if you read the live coverage up to now, smiling for photos.

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Chip leader at the mid way stage: Calvin Anderson

Dylan Hortin is in second and relatively unknown, at least on EPT terms. It puts him in a delicate position, not unlike the man in the red shirt in Star Trek, beamed down to some place with Kirk and Spock without a speaking part, destined never to be beamed back. Either that or he could surprise us all, just as Victor Levy is doing. Both have close to 150,000 with everything set to stun.

Already out though are the likes of Lex Veldhuis, Michael Tureniec, Noah Schwartz, Mickey Petersen, Vanessa Rousso, Phil Laak and Igor Kurganov.

Some 234 players play on, with several hundred others expecting to take their places tomorrow. Follow all the action on our live coverage page.

Follow hand-by-hand coverage of the Super High Roller event on the dedicated $100,000 Super High Roller page. Also watch the action live on EPT Live.

Stephen Bartley is a PokerStars Blog reporter.

This EPT is brought to you by PokerStars, the official sponsor of the European Poker Tour. Win your way into the biggest events Europe has to offer at Europe.


PCA 2014: Dining out on Team PokerStars Online

The Cove is a five-minute shuttle bus ride away from the PCA tournament room and is where high rollers tend to reside during the PCA. While our end of Atlantis is still pretty fancy – where else would Starbucks get relegated to the basement? – it just doesn’t compare. In rooms in the Coral Tower, where us mortals stay, you get eight pillows. Eight! One can only assume that rooms in The Cove come with a minimum of 12, probably more, all stuffed with unicorn manes or fairy dust. And I’ve been invited to dinner with Team PokerStars Online there. It’s a dirty job, but someone’s got to do it.

Right around the midpoint of a steel drum rendition of ‘We wish you a happy Christmas and a merry New Year’ my shuttle bus pulled up outside The Cove, which is billed on the Atlantis website as ‘stylish and dynamic’ and offering ‘the ultimate escape within the world of Atlantis.’ That I can’t attest to, but it certainly looks swanky. It’s one of those places only the truly rich and successful can walk into without thinking that someone might ask to see their ID. The Mesa Grill, which sits just inside the entrance to The Cove, had been chosen yesterday as the dining and getting together spot for Team Online following a busy day of media and PR seminars from, among others, PokerStars Blog head honcho Brad Willis. It’s not all just button-clicking and making FPPs faster than you could flick an abacus. There are media commitments.


Paradise? Wait until you see The Cove

Find out more about Team PokerStars Online here.

I know the difference between Team Online and Team Pro inside out, but to the uninitiated it may not be so obvious. Both teams wear patches. Both teams are full of PokerStars sponsored players. Both teams have some enormous winning players. What you might not know is that the teams are managed by two entirely different departments to somewhat different ends. While Team PokerStars Pro could be compared to Messi, all fancy tricks and front covers, Team PokerStars Online is perhaps more of a Xavi or Iniesta, technical brilliance demonstrating a pure understanding of the game from the centre of the field. That’s not to say there’s not a crossover, but I’ll let the analogy stand.

One big happy family (of international poker wizards)
They may be a group of international poker players better known for beating all comers at virtual poker tables by way of mouse and laptop, but in person they’re a surprisingly pleasant bunch, if not downright amusing. From the smiley and affable Adrienne “talonchick” Rowsome through to the occasionally sardonic Mickey “mement_mori” Petersen, the group seems to operate like a family unit, albeit one that only gets together occasionally before returning to far flung corners of the world to tear the online poker world apart.


EPT Copenhagen champ Mickey Petersen

Dale “Daleroxxu” Philip, despite being 33-years-old, seems to be the naughty nephew. He’s certainly the only one who’s told, quite specifically, by the team manager not to order a doggy bag takeout, which I presumed was a joke. Philip’s spent time living in Thailand and, following a sojourn back home to Scotland, is returning to South-East Asia this year. I found myself seated next to Philip on one of the two tables reserved for us and quickly discovered the doggy bag warning wasn’t made in jest. Philip looks like a man who would order two starters given a chance. In fact, he does. And two sides with his main. And several glasses of fresh orange juice. And he talks a lot, too – pretty much non-stop when he’s on a roll.

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Dale Philip (playing Eureka Bulgaria)

New addition Alex “Kanu7” Millar, a high stakes pro, was sat on my other side, somewhat ironically opposite fellow high stakes heads-up grinder Ike “Ike Haxton” Haxton. Millar’s obviously a smart guy and has a wry sense of humour (well, he is English). He can play and win at $400/$800, but when it comes to more mundane matters, like explaining how he found himself owning a flat in Germany, and he’s at a loss. Haxton only a little earlier that day had bust out of the $100,000 Super High Roller, but seemed less concerned about that than teaching Philip what a tamale is (it’s a Mesoamerican corn-base dish). There’s a certain quality needed to win at the highest stakes.


Alex “Kanu7” Millar

Also sat at the table were Randy “nanonoko” Lew, Felix “xflixx” Schneiders and Marc-Andre “FrenchDawg” Ladouceur. They’re all friendly chatty guys, at least up until dinner was consumed: Ladouceur entered a food torpor partly brought on by, if I caught this right, four hours of sleep in the previous two days. Even by PokerStars Blog standards, that’s not much.


Felix “xflixx” Schneiders: don’t play with glue and chips

Now then, I’d understand if you didn’t take my word for it. I do work for PokerStars and had just been bought a delightful dinner (even if I did have to wrestle Philip off the second half of my steak), but you can find out for yourself if you’re here at the PCA. Team Online is going to be playing HU4ROLLZ in the Players’ Lounge and you can play them heads-up with the chance to win $2,500. Just don’t leave any food unattended near Dale Philip.

Playing HU4ROLLZ
• HU4ROLLZ runs in the Players’ Lounge from Jan 7-9 with daily winners.
• There will be two sessions a day: 12.15pm – 2.15pm and 8.15pm-10.15pm.
• You can play each Team Online member once. There will be four Team Online members to play each day.
• Daily winners are determined by maximum number of points accumulated at end of each day.
• Participants play until they lose to Team Online member.
• Daily Prize Structure*: 1st: $2,500, 2nd: $1,500, 3rd: $1,000
• Point System is as follows: Win: 50 points, Loss: 10 points
• Example: Win 2 straight matches, lose third: 50+50+10 = 110 PTS
• Tie Breakers: In the event of ties, the tiebreaker is made based on the amount played on PokerStars in 2013, measured by the number of VIP Player Points (VPPs) accumulated.


Ike Haxton

Click through to live updates, features and interviews from the $100,000 Super High Roller and the $10,000,000 guaranteed PCA Main Event.

is a staff writer for the PokerStars Blog.

This EPT is brought to you by PokerStars, the official sponsor of the European Poker Tour. Win your way into the biggest events Europe has to offer at Europe.


PCA 2014: Ryan's wild ride

As years go, Ryan Riess’ in 2013 will take some beating. In 12 months, the former mid-stakes grinder had graduated into a World Series champion, and could dip into the the sizeable $8,361,570 reward that accompanies such an achievement.

So as the New Year gets under way, and Riess takes his seat among the other PCA Main Event hopefuls, does he think the money’s changed him?

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Ryan Riess: poker’s eight million dollar plus man

Sarah Grant tracked Riess down on Day 1A to find out what being a poker millionaire is really like.

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Click through to live updates, features and interviews from the $100,000 Super High Roller and the $10,000,000 guaranteed PCA Main Event.

This EPT is brought to you by PokerStars, the official sponsor of the European Poker Tour. Win your way into the biggest events Europe has to offer at Europe.


PCA 2014: Super High Rollers back on track after day two crawl and stall

Long days are an occupational hazard for anyone involved with poker. But there are long days and then there are long days—and then there are long days on which you write a 1,500 word post in which you confidently predict a short day and then have to sit in the middle of a row of PokerStars Blog reporters silently (and then not-so-silently) aiming daggers in your direction.

Those kinds of days are the longest.

So it was yesterday when the race to get down to a final table of the $100,000 Super High Roller event slowed from being a sprint to a saunter to a crawl to a stall. With some confidence, Mike Ward, the tournament director, had predicted the final eight would be reached in level 17. But with nine players still left, we moved into level 18. Then the same nine were there when we went to level 19 and, like the kind of amplifier Spinal Tap could only dream of, it nearly went all the way to 20.


The final two tables of the Super High Roller. It would take hours to get down to the final eight players

Several hours earlier, Ward and I had chatted for a long time as he explained his formula for determining the length of days at poker tournaments. I was utterly persuaded. The problem was that when I wrote up the piece I did not mention a few of the digressions the conversation took, during which we discussed the exceptions to the rules.

The bubble, for instance, can often skew an otherwise precise calculation, as can the presence of a number of determined short stacks. Ward had said, in fact, that perhaps the single most disruptive factor in calculating the length of a poker tournament is a short-stack resurgence, particularly in a no limit game.

When you add to this a couple of big stacks willing and able to prolong the bubble period as long as they can, in order to punish a reluctance of the medium-size stacks to jeopardise their tournament, then things can really drag on. Inexperienced players, for whom a min-cash represents a triumph, can also slow things down.

During the late stages last night, we therefore witnessed something of the perfect storm. Only eight places paid in the tournament, but they were playing nine-handed for the only time in the event. Vanessa Selbst and Antonio Esfandiari had big stacks and were always willing to put the medium stacks to the test, as any chip-leaders should.


The eventual line-up of the final table: (l-r) Tony Gregg, Dan Shak, Antonio Esfandiari, Vanessa Selbst, Ole Schemion, Matt Glantz, Fabian Quoss

However the medium stacks, marshalled by the experienced likes of Fabian Quoss, Dan Shak, Matt Glantz and Mike McDonald, were going nowhere. Each player knew that to go broke with a speculative hand would have been ICM suicide, particularly when they looked at the desperate state of short stacks.

Tony Gregg and Ole Schemion, who were nursing only a few big blinds between them, had absolutely no inclination to get their money in, mainly because they had marginally more chips than the table’s only truly recreational player, Paul Newey.


Tony Gregg: No fun clinging on with a short stack

Newey’s presence was the real wildcard. The financier from the United Kingdom is a regular in the biggest games, opting to invest vast chunks of his estimated £230m personal fortune at the poker felt as he learns the game from the best. In common with a few other fiercely successful and competitive businessmen (Guy Laliberte, Talal Shakerchi, etc.), Newey wants to play for stakes that mean something to him, and is willing to speculate to accumulate the knowledge.

As yet, Newey hasn’t had his breakthrough at the poker tables despite playing Super High Roller tournaments across the globe. He has only one recorded tournament score, here at the PCA last year, when he came seventh in a $2,000 turbo bounty event.

Last night, he could surely scent some kind of vindication.

Having seen off all but eight of the best players in the world, Newey seemed set for the first meaningful cash of his career. He was content to fold pretty much every single hand and pray that someone else took the fall. Stasis ensued.


Paul Newey: finished one spot short of vindication

As you can see on the live reporting page (click on the drop-down that says “Latest updates” and select “All Day 2”), the tournament reached the absurd point last night where there were two players — Newey and McDonald — with less than one big blind each. Eventually they were forced all in and both were knocked out, losing to Quoss.

This not only ended the long slowdown but also proved one of Ward’s other truisms, that the blinds will always catch up in the end. Ward had been adamant that every time a poker tournament either runs ahead or lags behind schedule, that a period of equalisation will swiftly follow.

If you revert back to today’s live action coverage, you’ll see how it took precisely two hands today to lose another two players. Gregg and Schemion went out to Quoss, taking his tally to four scalps in a total of three hands. It cannot have happened before.


Tony Gregg and Ole Schemion eliminated on the same hand

With Matt Glantz and Antonio Esfandiari following shortly thereafter, the tournament went into level 21 three handed. And if we look at Ward’s formula — Total Chips In Play / (Big Blind * 35) — we had totally caught up again.

Our coverage of the 2014 PCA is comprehensive on PokerStars Blog, and it is simple to follow. The PCA 2014 Main Event page has a box at the top in which you’ll find hand-by-hand coverage and chip counts after the action commences at noon. Below that are feature pieces, interviews and analysis updated throughout the day.

You can keep tabs in a similar fashion on the $100,000 Super High Roller page, which today plays to a winner. That tournament, headlined by Vanessa Selbst, will also be the focus of PCA Live.


Ole Schemion’s skateboard. It’s really the only way to get to work

This EPT is brought to you by PokerStars, the official sponsor of the European Poker Tour. Win your way into the biggest events Europe has to offer at Europe.


PCA 2014: Max Silver going for gold

Prominent UK pro Max Silver returns to the 2014 edition of the PCA in very good form. Seated in seat one on a strong table 30, to the immediate left of not only the dealer, but Team PokerStars Pros Lex Veldhuis and Johnny Lodden, Silver was making the most of his ‘left of the aggressor’ position early. He got off to a flying start with a sizeable pot from Veldhuis – since eliminated – to chip up to more than 40,000 from his 30,000 starting stack after the first level.


Max Silver looking for another PCA cash

Silver later took a hit in level 2 but rallied strongly in the lead up to the second break to rocket up to 70,000, a lot of which was built up in the space of three hands…

The action was caught late on a board of 10Diamond Suit10Club Suit3Club SuitKSpade Suit, with Silver on the button.
With blinds at 100/200 (25 ante) Jerry Wong led out for 700, around half pot. Silver raised to 2,100 and was quickly called.

The river was the 9Diamond Suit. Wong slowed down and checked. Silver bet 4,200.

Again, the call was quick – and mucked just as quickly as Max turned up ten-jack for trips.
Just two hands later and there was more action from Silver’s table, only this time from behind. Silver showed down a winning set of eights on a board that ran out: [t]3[j]78. His opponent looked sick in flipping over a flopped top-two with jack-ten.

This time last year, Silver walked away from Paradise Island with cashes in both the Main Event and High Roller, but will be looking to go much deeper early in this New Year, perhaps buoyed by his final table finish at EPT Prague. That took him to over a million in live tournament winnings.

Silver was certainly among the standout talents of that EPT Prague Main Event, alongside GPI player of the Year Ole Schemion and prolific UK pro Stephen Chidwick.
Silver arrived at the final table second in chips to eventual winner, the live tournament debutante Julian Track, but things didn’t got his way and he bowed out in 6th place. He did get to scalp Daniel Negreanu though.

One play to look out for with Silver is the ‘classic me’ as referenced by himself in Prague when getting a little out of line on but one occasion.

Whether it is a loose call or light shove, you can be guaranteed it will be done with a decent stack behind him. It’s tough to win a tournament without getting chips and Silver has proven himself an expert in accumulating chips early, which no doubt explains why he’s clocked up to two wins and two runner-up finishes in big UKIPT events.

Nearby on the PCA Main Event feature table three PokerStars pros are going up against one another with Ike Haxton, Jake Cody and Liv Boeree mixing it up. It’s still early.


Liv Boeree at the PCA

Heath Cram is (very ably) assisting the PokerStars Blog during a PCA working holiday.

This EPT is brought to you by PokerStars, the official sponsor of the European Poker Tour. Win your way into the biggest events Europe has to offer at Europe.


PCA 2014: Updates from the Politically Correct Adventure 2014

The latest updates from Day 1A of the Politically Correct Adventure 2014*.

Chips change ownership but players remain friends
“In seat one was a player developmentally inclined to be challenging. He’d been caught attempting forced acquisition owing to a disadvantaged upbringing all day and was also was prone to attempting a visually challenged giveaway while on the button.

Eugene Katchalov_pca2014_me_d1a.jpg
Eugene Katchalov: developmentally inclined to be challenging

“Here he found two under-resourced cards of identical rank impotent during foreplay in what was a traditional or non-traditional household grouping container. The player in the unlucky in both height and sight position sanitarily disposed of his cards, as did the player disinclined to show enmity in the big. The biochemically high-spirited player in middle position infirm-jointed called.

Johnny Lodden: biochemically high-spirited

“The exotic tobacco specialist dealt the flop, giving the biochemically high-spirited player a heterosexual while indoors. The player gifted in height but not sight, tired of playing victim to the emotionally charged survivor of childhood advantage, requested with verve to be allowed through, artistically motivated by the deceased, but showing that they were gifted.

“To his relief, it was enough to win the hand.”

List of useful phrases for those following coverage of the Politically Correct Adventure 2014:

Active player = socially well-adjusted
Aggressive = developmentally inclined to be challenging
Big blind = gifted in height but not sight
Blind steal = a visually challenged giveaway
Bottom pair = two under-resourced cards of identical rank
Bully = emotionally charged survivor of childhood advantage
Chip leader = financially privileged
Dead hand = deferred success
Dealer = exotic tobacco specialist
Downswing = reverse boom
Drag light = miscalculated bet while wearing a cheap dress
Drawing thin/ dead = artistically motivated by the slim/deceased
Family pot = traditional or non-traditional household grouping container
Hero call = gender non-specific protagonist acting with pluck
Hijack = to persuade with vigour
Inside straight = heterosexual while indoors
Ladies event = competition for those with two “X” chromosomes
Limp = infirm jointed
Loose = non-discriminatory
Maniac = biochemically high-spirited
Muck = to sanitarily dispose of
Pair = individuals with similar lifestyle choices
Passive = disinclined to show enmity
Pre-flop = impotent before bed
Rack = chest
Shove = requested with verve to be allowed through
Small pair = vertically challenged cards of the identical rank
Small blind = unlucky in both height and sight
Stealing = forced acquisition owing to disadvantaged upbringing
Strength = gifted
Stud = handsome

Tweet your suggestions for the Politically Correct Adventure to @PokerStarsBlog

* none of this is true.

Follow hand-by-hand coverage of the Super High Roller event on the dedicated $100,000 Super High Roller page. Also watch the action live on EPT Live.

Stephen Bartley is a PokerStars Blog reporter.

This EPT is brought to you by PokerStars, the official sponsor of the European Poker Tour. Win your way into the biggest events Europe has to offer at Europe.

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