By Scott Carlson, Rakeback.com Poker News Senior Writer
Action is beginning to heat up in The Bahamas. With the announcement of Isildur1 as Swede Viktor Blom, the conclusion of the $100K Super High Rollers event and the beginning of the $10K main event, action was hot and heavy Saturday.
In what will go down as one of the best tournament fields of all time, 37 players ponied up $100K each to battle for the $1.5 million first place prize. With the top five being paid and the televised final table starting with seven players, some exciting action was sure to occur. The chip counts at the start of the final table were:
Seat 1 – Nick Schulman – 2,990,000
Seat 2 – Sandor Demjan – 379,000
Seat 3 – Andrew Lichtenberger– 373,000
Seat 4 – Bryn Kenney – 1,390,000
Seat 5 – Daniel Negreanu – 2,166,000
Seat 6 – Humberto Brenes – 757,000
Seat 7 – Eugene Katchalov – 1,476,000
Team PokerStars Pro Daniel Negreanu was looking to finish first or second to take over the all time tournament money winners list from Full Tilt Pro Phil Ivey. He looked to be in good shape to accomplish the feat entering the final table second in chips behind Nick Schulman.
It didn't take too long to lose the first two players from the final table. Andrew Lichtenberger was bounced on just the second had of the day when his A-10 didn't pull ahead of Negreanu's K-K and was eliminated in seventh. The money bubble would burst as the underdog of the final table Sandor Demjan was taken out in sixth place.
Shortly after the bubble burst a short stacked Humberto Brenes got all of his chips in with A-Q but he was unable to hit against Bryn Kenney's 9-9 and he would leave in fifth place with $200K. The chip leader at the start of the final table belonged to Schulman. He lost a big hand to Negreanu in the early going when KidPoker turned a set and never recovered. He would bust in fourth place when he shoved K-9 into Negreanu's A-Q. When neither hand improved Schulman would leave with $400K.
Bryn Kenney was eliminated in third place earning him $643K when his pocket eights could not spike a set against Katchalov's pocket queens. With the elimination of Kenney that meant Negreanu was in line for at least a $1 million payday which would be good enough to take over first place on the all-time money list.
Negreanu and Katchalov were nearly even in chips at the start of heads-up play but that would change fairly fast. Negreanu would lose two huge pots in the early going and was never able to recover. He would battle back until a decisive hand where Negreanu turned a straight only to lose to Katchalov's riveted quads sent him reeling. On the last hand Negreanu called Katchalov's shove with pocket fives which was way ahead of pocket fours, until the four ball binked on the turn.
Negreanu would collect $1 million for yet another runner-up finish and Katchalov would bank $1.5 million for the win and a great start to 2011.
The first of two starting days of the $10K Main event kicked off Saturday. A total of 647 players would play day 1a but only 272 would survive. One notable to grace the field on day 1a was professional golfer Sergio Garcia. He won his entry through a super satellite the night before but would not survive the day, busting early.
A total of 913 players entered day 1b creating a total field size of 1,560, an increase of 31 players over 2010. 232 players will be paid with the winner taking some a hefty $2.3 million. The final table will take place on Saturday, January 15th.
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