Another day of tense action on the tables. As expected the money bubble came up fast … and then things slowed to a crawl with an agonizing two hour period of hand-for-hand play.
If you’re not familiar with the process, here’s how it works: Tables play one hand at a time, and when two players go all in, an entire circus descends onto that table, film crew and announcer, so the action can be unveiled.
Minutes go by, the situation is finally announced… and then hands are shown and any board cards are dealt out. If the all-in player wins, then the circus disperses, journalists float away, and hand-for-hand continues.
That goes on. And on. And on. One scheduled break was canceled. After two hours, players finally were given a twenty minute break. Finally, around 4pm, the bubble burst.
181 players were finally in the money and guaranteed to walk away with $25k. One player got a surprise commiseration prize of a $10k Monte Carlo package.
Two to Watch
The penultimate day will soon get underway. 38 players take stacks into Day 4, of which nine are Platinum Pass winners. For those keeping track, that’s 25% of the field—pretty much the same proportion of total buy-ins (31%) and actually up after the end of Day 2.
It’s going to be a great coup for PokerStars if a few run deep, and it seems quite likely there will be at least one or two at the final table.
The best chance of a deep run is this coy chap—Spain’s Ramon Colillas, who won his entry through a leaderboard competition at the PokerStars-sponsored Casino Barcelona. He was, at one point yesterday, the chip leader.
He’s slipped a bit since then— he’s now down in fifth place with 2,895,000 chips. But with a good table draw, it’s still a very strong position for him—a huge moment for someone who, until this time, has just $10,000 in tournament winnings to his name.
The Platinum Pass win alone was three times larger than his previous best score. Now he’s in shot of a six- or seven-figure payday. It will be a great story for the operator if a qualifier wins, particularly someone from an established, regulated market like Spain. So he’s our top watch today.
Lower down in chip stack but no less of an interesting story is this guy— best known so far for tanking with aces preflop before calling on the money bubble and beating his (understandably angry) opponent holding KK.
But his story why is another great encapsulation of what the Platinum Pass system means and why it is creating some unique stories from the felt. Check out our F5 coverage for more.
Laughing it Off
Last night PokerStars hosted for the very first time a comedy night, featuring four performers who all identify as both poker players and comedians, with PokerStars’ own Joe Stapleton as compere and Saturday Night Live star Norm MacDonald headlining the night.
It was open to all PSPC entrants, PokerStars ambassadors and staff, and the media.
Honestly, on paper that sounds like a recipe for a bombing cringe-fest of a show. It also started late and did not fill the theater.
I’m happy to report that it was quite the opposite. All the comedians hit the right notes. The poker-themed jokes were kept mercifully light, and when they were deployed, they killed—particularly Norm.
The atmosphere was raucous, jokes flowed, and things wrapped up in a pretty tight couple of hours.
I think this will definitely be a memorable moment for many of the Platinum Pass winners. More of this at future stops please.