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PokerStars Festival NJ: Johnston Pacing Field, Gagliano in Third

David Johnston
  • Michael Gagliano stayed hot, but it's David Johnston leading PokerStars Festival NJ with 23 left.

Day 2 of the $1,100 Main Event at PokerStars Festival New Jersey proved to be a short one, as it took just seven hours for the 70 starting runners to be trimmed to the final 23, who bagged up to return Friday.

Twenty-two of them will be looking up in the counts at David Johnston, who put 534,000 in a bag and will be north of 100 big blinds when the tournament resumes. World Series of Poker bracelet winners Chris Dombrowski (494,500) and Michael Gagliano (484,000) are the next two biggest stacks, followed by Dan Howe (480,000) and Matt Affleck (418,000).

Johnston got in a preflop raising war during the last level of the night with blinds at 2,500/5,000/500. Ryan Hohner opened from the hijack to 11,000, Johnston made it 28,000 to go from the small blind and Hohner jammed it in for 130,000. Johnston called with {a-Diamonds}{q-Diamonds} and won against Hohner's dominated {q-Spades}{j-Spades}.

Gagliano has been having a good week at Resorts Casino Hotel. He won the $2,000 six-max opening event for $11,350 and then bagged the chip lead in his starting flight for the Main Event. He wasn't afraid to play big pots from start to finish, coming after PokerStars Team Online Pro Randy Lew with a number of three-bets early on.

Just before the night ended, with players at other tables waiting for their bags, Gagliano busted Craig Mason in a huge pot on a board of {10-Hearts}{3-Spades}{k-Hearts}{5-Spades}{7-Spades}. Mason bet about 45,000 on the end from early position and Gagliano put him all in for about 100,000 more, which was almost all of Gagliano's remaining chips as well. Mason tanked awhile and called with aces but was shown {a-Spades}{k-Spades} for the nut flush.

David Vamplew, Nick Aguilera, Jack Duong, Jesse Elliott, Darren Elias and Robert Chung also bagged.

Lew, incidentally, is the only PokerStars-sponsored player remaining after making it through with 100,500. Victor Ramdin and Barry Greenstein both busted during the course of play.

Others joining them included Carlos Chadha, Matthew Wantman, John Myung and Asher Conniff, who bubbled out courtesy of a beat from Lew. Vinny Pahuja, Survivor star Tyson Apostol, Alex Queen and Ramdin were among the players making it into the money but not to the end of the day.

Play resumes Friday at 11 a.m. with coverage here on PokerNews.

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