Jeff Hakim steamrolled the field, making a couple of huge hands at opportune times to bag the chip lead at the conclusion of the first eight levels of Day 1a of PokerStars Championship presented by Monte-Carlo Casino® €5,300 Main Event.
The online crusher — he has $8 million in cashes primarily as "YoungSupremacy" and "Jeff710" — had his best live result in last year's WSOP Main Event, finishing 22nd for $269,430. Hakim's stack of 305,300 puts him well clear of second-place Stefan Schillhabel, who finished with 203,000.
|4||Michel Pereira Marques||Brazil||168,900|
Day 1a, the first of two starting days, drew 235 players, and a total of 107 survived. They'll get Sunday off and then return on Monday for Day 2.
Midway through the day, Hakim emerged as one of the leaders. He saw a five-way pot with ten-nine and flopped a ten-high straight with two diamonds on the felt. A player with jack-nine of diamonds didn't want to give it up and missed his combo draw to give Hakim 175,000 at 250/500/75.
In the last level of the night, Hakim flopped quads on a four-seven-four flop and check-raised an opponent's 4,500 bet to 11,500. His opponent made it 22,000 to go, and Hakim called. The turn gave his opponent a useless backdoor flush draw to go with two overcards — he'd been bluffing with jack-high on the flop — and that was enough to convince him to shove all in for 70,000.
Expecting couple Jason and Natasha Mercier put chips in the bag,
Of course, that wound up being a sweat-free donation to Hakim's stack.
Schillhabel worked up a huge stack before dinner and then coolered unfortunate opponent Joshua Moore for nearly 200 big blinds with aces over kings.
Other players bagging big included Manig Loeser (195,700), Ole Schemion (144,900), and PokerStars Team Pro Celina Lin (125,500). Expecting couple Jason and Natasha Mercier put chips in the bag, with the former at 83,400 and the latter at 91,600. This despite Jason not buying in until less than an hour remained in the day.
Players eliminated from contention included Anthony Spinella, Stephen Chidwick, Mike Watson, Freddy Deeb, and PokerStars Team Pros Vanessa Selbst, Andre Akkari and Jake Cody. As this event is a freezeout, they won't have another chance to reenter.
There's still time for new entries to register and accumulate chips for Day 2, as Day 1b kicks off Sunday at noon local time here in Monaco. Come back to PokerNews then for more coverage.