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Thursday, January 13, 2011
Chris Oliver leads 2011 PCA final table

By Andrew Feldman



Since the beginning of the tournament, Chris Oliver basically has been on cruise control, and Day 5 was no different. The online pro doesn't have a lot of live success, but he does have more than 40 percent of the chips in play at the 2011 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure main event final table. Oliver continued his onslaught of full aggression with numerous eliminations Thursday as he gradually built his stack from 3 million in chips to the whopping 19.6 million that he'll bring to the final table Saturday.

Chris Oliver
Chip leader Chris Oliver has more than 40 percent of the chips in play.
Oliver has the closest stack outchipped by three times, but even with that sort of lead, he said on the Poker Edge podcast that he isn't taking anything for granted. He also has played with many of the others at the final table online and believes that after days of play, they all have a little history together and that will dramatically affect the game plans for the final table.

Second in chips is Galen Hall (6.3 million), who single-handedly halted Chris Moneymaker's hopes for a final table here at PCA. Hall is a very analytical player who seems to have the entire situation under control. He believes Oliver has an edge on him based on seating, but he expects to be able to pick spots well to chip away at the chip leader. Hall has two cashes at the WSOP, but his online play is where he makes his money, playing as "GasparLeMarc" on PokerStars.com.

NAPT Venetian runner-up Sam Stein brings in a third-place stack of 5.8 million in chips and the experience of being under the lights that nobody else at this final table can match. Stein says he's no longer the player he was at the Venetian and he'd expect a different style of play to show through during the final table. Stein has $1.1 million in live tournament earnings and is looking to capture his first major title here at PCA.

Mike "Sowerss" Sowers is in fourth place (3.6 million), but the separation between fourth and sixth is less than four big blinds. After spending some time away from the game and coaching high school football, Sowers is back and more focused than ever. His major hand of the day came at the expense of Michael Pesek, who was coolered with J-J to Sowers' K-K. Anton Ionel is in fifth with 3.5 million, and Max Weinberg has 3.3 million.

In seventh is Bolivar Palacios, who, besides his second-place finish at the LAPT Grand Finale, has earned a lot of respect from his opponents due to his online play as "Ramux". He made one critical mistake during the day but rebounded to enter the final table seventh in chips with 2.4 million. His mistake came to the benefit of Philippe Plouffe, and it was Plouffe who will own the short stack to start the final table at 1.5 million in chips. Plouffe won't be very talkative at the table, as he speaks only French and with only 15 big blinds will be looking to move all-in very early when play resumes.

Dmitry Stelmak and Ana Marquez finished ninth and 10th, respectively, and each earned $155,000.

Don't forget, the final table of the PCA main event will be broadcast completely unedited with hole cards on ESPN3.com starting at 5 p.m. ET and continuing with a simulcast on ESPN2 starting at 10 p.m. ET. You can watch all the action Saturday online here.

Here's what they'll be playing for:

1. $2,300,000

2. $1,800,000

3. $1,350,000

4. $1,000,000

5. $700,000

6. $450,000

7. $300,000

8. $202,000