Day 2 of the $10,400 PokerStars Canada Cup High Roller event saw 20 survivors shrink down to just three on Wednesday. The 34 total entries created a prize pool of $329,800, and first place will pay out $122,050.
When action resumed, there were still plenty of big names in the field and David Yan had a substantial chip lead. Four and a half hours later, the final table was set and Ami Alibay was out in front with Samuel Chartier and Jonathan Duhamel following close behind.
The top six places are being paid in this tournament, and the bubble was popped in the early evening when Jason Duval squeezed from the big blind with a 45K all-in shove after Chartier opened from under the gun for 4.5K and Kevin MacDonald called from the small blind. Chartier folded to Duval's push, but MacDonald came along and threw on the table. Duval showed his and the board ran out , making Duval the unfortunate bubble player in seventh place.
Timothy Adams claimed the min-cash in sixth place when he got his short stack in preflop with against David Yan's . He hit top pair on the 10-high flop, but Yan caught up on the river with the . Adams earned $19,780 for his effort.
MacDonald was cut off at the knees and left desperate with just two big blinds when Yan raised to 10K on the button and MacDonald shoved a little over 100K from the big blind. When Yan called, the race was on as MacDonald showed red ducks, the , and Yan revealed the . The flop of gave Yan trips and MacDonald a boat. The was effectively a blank, but the on the river gave Yan the better full house and MacDonald was left with a tiny stack after he pushed the bulk of it toward Yan.
With so few chips, MacDonald was all in the very next hand with the versus Ami Alibay's and, once again, flopped well with top pair on . But the river was cruel once again when it brought the to give Alibay the straight and MacDonald was out in fifth to collect $24,730.
Next out was Team PokerStars Pro and 2010 WSOP Main Event Champion Jonathan Duhamel. With the blinds at 2.5K/5K/500, Duhamel three-bet shoved 114K when Chartier raised it up preflop to 11K. Chartier quickly called and showed , a 60 percent favorite over Duhamel's according to the PokerNews Odds Calculator. Neither player connected with the board of and Chartier claimed the pot. Duhamel was sent to the cage to pick up $34,620.
That left just three players to contend for the top spot when play resumed on Thursday at 1 p.m. Ami Alibay, David Yan, and Samuel Chartier were the last survivors of the original 34 entrants.
Local pro Samuel Chartier is no stranger to deep runs in large buy-in tournaments. Less than a month ago, he cashed in a €5,300 event at the EPT Grand Final in Monte Carlo, and there are many more impressive results on his Hendon Mob profile. He has over $1.6 million in live earnings, his best being his win in a $5,150 WSOP Circuit event worth $322,944 in 2009. There is a long list of consistent results with flags from 12 different countries that can attest to Chartier being a well-travelled, accomplished poker player.
David Yan was the tournament chip leader at the end of Day 1 and has made good use of his chips to carry him this far. Yan, from Auckland, New Zealand, may be better known as "MissOracle" on PokerStars. Yan achieved the remarkable status of Supernova Elite in 2012 by playing a mixture of MTTs, sit-and-gos, and cash games. He has plenty of deep runs in live events, but has yet to make that elusive first-place finish. This may be his time.
Ami Alibay is another Montreal native. He owns two nightclubs and a restaurant in Montreal and considers poker to be a hobby — it's for fun. Despite being a bit of a weekend warrior when it comes to poker, he found three cashes at WSOP last summer. He's going to have to run up his short stack if he hopes to find his first top finish.
Chartier, Yan, and Alibay reconvened Thursday at 1 p.m. to determine a winner for this PokerStars Canada Cup High Roller event. The $3,300 Main Event also got started with its first of three Day 1s on Thursday. Check back in with PokerNews for recaps at the end of play for both events.
Photos and hand information courtesy of the Playground Poker Club Blog.