$50,000 Super High Roller

Steve O'Dwyer Leads PokerStars Championship Panama Super High Roller

Steve O'Dwyer

The inaugural PokerStars Championship Panama event kicked off with a massive $50,000 Super High Roller event, the largest buy-in poker tournament ever on Panamanian soil. A total of 26 unique players registered and 4 reentered after busting, making for a total field of 30 on Day 1.

After 8 levels of play, 19 players remain with Steve O'Dwyer in the lead. Registration remains open till the start of Day 2 so a prize pool is only expected when buying in is no longer an option.

PlayerCountryChip Count
Steve O'DwyerIreland856,000
Orpen KisacikogluUnited Kingdom728,000
Justin BonomoUnited States615,000
Mike WatsonCanada546,000
Ben TollereneUnited States541,000
Koray AldemirGermany497,000
David PetersUnited States432,000
Ben HeathUnited Kingdom425,000
Dario SammartinoItaly417,000
Daniel DvoressCanada385,000
Jason KoonUnited States335,000
Timothy AdamsCanada33,0000
Dan ColmanUnited States305,000
Paul NeweyUnited Kingdom29,0000
Erik SeidelUnited States212,000
Sam GreenwoodCanada207,000
Isaac HaxtonUnited States192,000
Stefan SchillhabelGermany84,000
Stephen ChidwickUnited Kingdom84,000

Play got underway at 12:30, half an hour later than planned. Everyone got 250,000 in chips to start the day, except for Jason Koon who got 260,000. Koon told the organization what had happened, and soon parted ways with the extra 10,000 he had received. Koon, who won the PokerStars Championship Bahamas Super High Roller at the start of the year, won some karma points and survived the day with 335,000 in chips.

Besides 250,000 in tournament chips, players got three 60-seconds time bank chips as the players were on a 30-second clock all day. That wasn't the first time for most, but it did give the event a lot of pace. Still, the chips weren't exactly flying as no local players entered and the field remained mostly a cozy get-together of players that battle it out with each other on the regular. No "Panamaniacs," as Mike Watson described the local players he so desired to sign up.

Igor Kurganov, who signed on as PokerStars Team Pro just two months ago, entered a bit late but was one of the first to depart as well. He ran pocket nines into the pocket tens of Daniel Dvoress and bought back in. He wouldn't do much better on his second bullet, losing most of it with ace-king suited against the ace-queen suited of Isaac Haxton. Haxton rivered a queen to leave Kurganov short and the Russian Team Pro busted one hand later.

PokerStars Team Pro Igor Kurganov bought in twice, but did not survive the day

Anthony Zinno and Adrian Mateos followed Kurganov out the door, but did not buy back in. Justin Bonomo, Stephen Chidwick and Erik Seidel did after busting, and all return on Day 2.

Steve O'Dwyer got off to a good start, crippling Mustapha Kanit with a flush. After losing some small pots, he regained the chip lead after busting Byron Kaverman with a wheel against top pair and top kicker. While Kanit did recover from the clash with O'Dwyer early on, he would eventually lose a lot of them to the Irish EPT champion. The latter made a flush with ace-four suited and Kanit's pocket aces ended up face down in the muck.

The tournament resumes on Sunday, 12 p.m. local time. The 19 players that survived the first day will return to the beautiful Sortis Resort in Panama City and will be joined by players signing up before registration closes. Bryn Kenney will be one of them, instead of sitting back down, he bought in for Day 2 after busting in one of the last levels of the day.