PartyPoker have five players and a couple of adopted players playing under the PartyPoker name. Unfortunately we had Ian Frazer, Maksim Shuts and Philipp Gmunder all sitting on table 15 which was not the preferred start but never mind. Raymi was sitting over in the far corner on table 23 and Gylbert was on table 17. Some notable names still in the tournament included Johnny Chan, JC Tran and Steve Sung.
The short stacks would have to make a move because with 1200/2400 blinds and a 200 ante it would be too expensive to sit and wait for a premium hand. Over on table 18 the first five hands had someone going all in and after only 10 minutes the table was down to 6 players. In fact we lost 13 players in the first 30 minutes of play as the big stacks picked off the small stacks.
Ian Frazer was again using his stack to his advantage over on table 15. A short stacked player went all in for about 15000 chips and Ian re-raised it to 40,000 to scare off the small blind and big blind who both mucked their hands. Ian revealed A¨10¨ while his opponent flipped over the weaker K§ Q©. A flop containing three Jacks did not help anyone and the turn and river brought a harmless 10 and 2 respectively giving Ian the pot.
Philipp from Switzerland was moving table at about 1pm and as he walked over was saying he had not had a playable hand all day. He was moving over to sit next to JC Tran which would not help him increase his short stack. After only an hour and 45 minutes he had to push with K9 and got a call from JC Tran who just happened to have pocket aces. Another player also went all in with Queens and rather miraculously spiked a queen on the river to send Philipp to the rail and leave JC cursing his bad luck.
At the first break we were down to just 6 tables and the average chip stack was about 60,000 but unfortunately we had also lost Raymi who left the tournament room while I was over at another table.
With the top 40 players making the money and only 50 players now remaining it was obvious some players were playing very cautiously in a bid to creep into the money.
One such player who decided to through caution to the wind was Maksim from Belarus. I arrived at his table to see him contemplating a flop of 8 K 10 rainbow which he and another player both checked. The turn brought a Jack and a second club giving straight and flush draws. Maksim bet 9000 into a 30,000 pot. The other player re-raised it up to 25,000 chips and after what seemed like an age, Maksim said he was all in. The other player insta-called and Maksim’s face fell as he knew he was probably behind. Indeed he was as the other player revealed Ace Queen for the nut straight while Maksim turned over pocket kings for top set. Unfortunately the board needed to pair in order to keep Maksim in the tournament. The river brought a harmless 6 and that was the end for Maksim who went over to watch and support his younger brother Mikhail.
We stayed at 41 players for quite a while because we were now playing hand for hand and no one wanted to be the bubble boy. This gave the bigger stacks the chance to steal the blinds and antes from smaller stacked players as they pushed at every opportunity. Eventually we were down to 40 players as Jay Kincaid from Australia busted a guy who decided that a pair of twos was his time to go all in. Jay had AJ and with a Jack falling on the turn we had our 41st placed player and a big cheer went up around the room.
Average stack size was now up to 81500 chips.
Mikhail Shuts was on a table with JC Tran and got involved with a few pots with the Poker Pack pro. One involved a 8 8 9 rainbow flop which Mikail bet 7000 only to see JC Tran re-raise to 17,000. Mikhail called and the turn card was a dangerous looking 10. JC bet 20,000 and Mikhail who only had 50,000 more chips tanked for a long while before mucking his hand. Much later he told me he had pocket jacks so I thought he must have been convinced that JC had either a straight or an 8 or maybe pocket nines to throw away a good hand.
Over the next 30 minutes, Mikhail clawed some of his chips back from JC Tran as they seemed to be the only people on their table willing to play any poker. Eventually JC Tran got the better of the young man from Belarus and I walked over to see Mikhail go all in with top pair against JC’s top two pair. Mikhail came 33rd and collected HK $40,500
Ian Frazer was eliminated in 27th place and collected HK $60,700 for his efforts. I did not see the hand myself as I was in the tournament office but Ian’s friends told me he got his chips in with the best hand and was unlucky to be out.
This meant that PartyPoker had one remaining player. Gylbert Drolet from Canada was now carrying all our hopes and the last time I saw him he had a bigger than average stack.
When I went back to his table he was now only nursing a 40000 chip stack and gave me a friendly shrug when I pointed at his chips. With the aggressive David Steicke sitting to Gylbert left he knew that any all in raise would probably be called by Steicke especially as he was one of the chip leaders with over 250,000 chips. That moment duly came when Gylbert looked down and saw pocket 7’s. Steicke duly obliged and called with K 9 and promptly flopped a king to send Gylbert to the rail in 21st position and HK $ 81000 better off.