The PokerStars Championship Barcelona €50,000 Super High Roller has reached an unofficial final table, and the world's leading online poker room certainly can't be accused of wasting sponsorship dollars when it comes to their high rolling poker pros.
PokerStars Team Pros Daniel Negreanu and Igor Kurganov have both advanced to the final nine after two days of play, with the money bubble bursting about an hour before it was time to bag up for the night.
For all his incredible poker credentials, Negreanu's $34 million in live cashes doesn't include a victory in a $50,000 buy-in or more, despite regular participation in these events. He's excited to try to remedy that situation on Monday, and he's confident as ever in victory.
"I'm making really good decisions," he said. "I played really good today in so many spots. I don't care about any finish except for first, and that's what I'm going for."
Negreanu added that he's been dreaming up some different ways to approach various poker situations. He said he's been attempting some "new, funky stuff" and it's been enjoyable to experiment with some different plays.
Kurganov, meanwhile, dropped to below the starting stack early in the day.
"From that moment I started seeing good hand and playing really well, making good bets, good bluffs," he said.
Of course, it helps to viciously cooler the opposition, and Kurganov did just that when he made mincemeat of start-of-day leader Adrian Mateos. Kurganov dropped the hometown hero under 20 big blinds when each player made aces full in a massive pot, with Kurganov's aces full of kings delivering a crushing blow to Mateos' aces full of queens.
The Russian pro admitted luck also smiled upon him in eliminating Dan Colman, as he said he made a straight in a key pot against the former One Drop champ and then finished him off with ace-queen against ace-king all in preflop.
At least Colman cashed in 10th, along with Isaac Haxton in 11th.
The same can't be said of Mikhail Rudoy, the unfortunate bubble boy in this prestigious event. The Russian high roller has had success in Barcelona before with a 10th-place finish in the EPT Main Event here back in 2014, but he'd be far less lucky on this occasion.
The brutal finish came when Rudoy opened for 150,000 at 25,000/50,000/5,000 and got three-bet by big stack Christopher Kruk. Rudoy responded with an all-in shove, as he held pocket kings, and Kruk put in the necessary calling chips with ace-queen.
The flop and turn were clean enough for the Russian, although he did see his Canadian foe pick up a gutter for a possible wheel. The river brought the ace that Rudoy dreaded from the start, and he walked away empty-handed, enabling short-stacked players like Haxton to sneak into the money.
Joining Negreanu, Kurganov and Kruk at the final table will be chip leader Koray Aldemir, Stanley Choi, Dietrich Fast, Bryn Kenney, Bartlomiej Machon and Ivan Luca.
Aldemir seeks to finish the job here after coming second in a $10K turbo to kick the series off.
Here's a look at how everyone is sitting with the final day — and blinds of 30,000/60,000/10,000 and a 12:30 p.m. start on tap:
|1||Stanley Choi||Hong Kong||2,055,000|
|6||Bryn Kenney||United States||740,000|
|7||Christopher Kruk||United States||3,610,000|