Kharkov Tops Strong 2019 PCA Main Event Day 1a; Simao and Altman Among Big Stacks

Kharkov Tops Strong 2019 PCA Main Event Day 1a; Simao and Altman Among Big Stacks

The first of two starting days of the 2019 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA) $10,300 Main Event is in the books and a strong turnout put the event on track to easily surpass the 582 entries of the previous year at the Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island. Back in 2018, 178 players took part on Day 1a, and that number has been doubled, albeit with the help of 27 re-entries.

Out of the 356 entries, only 135 players bagged up chips after 10 one-hour-levels. Alexander Kharkov (lead photo) tops the counts with a massive stack of 350,500. The Russian only has three cashes to his name so far. His best result came from a deep run in a side event at the 2018 EPT Monte-Carlo festival. Kharkov was among the chip leaders after the dinner break and sent Justin Bonomo to the rail in a big pot when he turned a flush with king-queen suited against Bonomo' pocket aces with the spades redraw. Bonomo failed to get there on the river.

The biggest pot of the day went to Joey Weissman who won an enormous flip in the final level of the night with pocket queens against the ace-king of Max Silver. Weissman bagged up 267,000, good enough for second place on Day 1a.

Other big stacks and notables that finished strong on the first of two starting days include Joao Simao (251,200), Brian Altman (236,100), Pavel Plesuv (191,700), Paul Vas Nunes (187,800), Elliot Smith (180,400), Jeremy Ausmus (145,800), and Kenny Hallaert (135,700).

PositionPlayerCountryChip Count After Day 1a
1Alexander KharkovRussia350,000
2Joey WeissmanUnited States267,000
3Joao SimaoBrazil251,200
4Brian AltmanUnited States236,100
5Markus KuhnenGermany196,000
Joey Weissman
Joey Weissman

Among the PokerStars ambassadors, only Andre Akkari (143,200) and Liv Boeree (64,800) advanced to Day 2 thus far. Maria Konnikova was ousted by Christopher Frank when her kings ended up second-best to a turned set of tens.

With the upcoming $100,000 Single-Day High Roller, many of the top pros and high stakes specialists opted to jump into Day 1a, and many of them bowed out without anything to show for including Isaac Haxton, Seth Davies, David Peters, Andras Nemeth, Joe Cada, Benjamin Pollak, Rainer Kempe, and Patrik Antonius.

Michael Dyer was the first player to run out of chips two times, and several others would follow throughout the day. John Juanda ran with ace-queen into the pocket aces of Brian Altman in the first attempt and then lost a flip with pocket jacks against the ace-king of Carlos Chadha in the penultimate level of the night. Harrison Gimbel won't repeat his victory at the PCA Main Event this year either, as he was already eliminated twice on Day 1a.

Other former EPT champions such as Davidi Kitai, John Dibella, Paul Michaelis, Noah Boeken, Arsenii Karmatckii, and Oleksii Khoroshenin were among those to leave empty-handed. Michaelis, who was the last player to lift the EPT Main Event trophy just a few weeks ago in Prague, had a very short-lived day when his flopped set of treys and turned full house was crushed by the quad kings of Andreas Eiler at the end of level two.

Eventually, more than half of the field failed to bag up chips. All those that played just once are allowed to take another shot in the second starting day, and a bumper field is expected for tomorrow's Day 1b as of noon local time.

Another ten levels of 90 minutes are scheduled then, and the registration remains open until the start of Day 2 on Sunday, January 13th, 2019.

Make sure to tune back then, as the PokerNews live reporting team will be on the floor to cover all the action until a new PCA champion is crowned.

Andre Akkari and Joao Simao
Joao Simao and Andre Akkari advance with big stacks

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