In an abbreviated Day 4, the PokerStars Championship Bahamas Main Event played down to its final two tables. Michael Gentili of Canada rode two huge late hands to the chip lead, while heavyweights Nick Maimone, Adrian Mateos and Byron Kaverman were among those eliminated.
Gentili will had 3,708,000 when play resumes for the penultimate day, which will be a stack of over 150 big blinds. He had a big score in 2016 when he finished second in a $5,000 World Series of Poker event for nearly $500,000.
PokerStars Team Pro Jason Mercier has the shortest remaining stack with 340,000.
The day began with just 32 players and the plan to play four levels or down to the final 16 runners. Maimone, who won the $25,000 High Roller here last year for just short of $1 million, was the man to catch.
After notable short stacks Gaelle Baumann and Pratyush Buddiga fell early in play, Kaverman followed them out the door in a big flip against Rodrigo Cordoba. He ace-king improved to top pair against Cordoba's queens, but the latter also flopped a set to send the American packing.
PokerStars Team Pro Online's Jaime Staples busted with king-queen against ace-seven.
Meanwhile, Maimone was dropping pots left and right to Michael Vela. The former World Poker Tour champ just constantly seemed to find the right boards for his hands against Maimone, and the man known as "FU_15" found himself down to about 30 big blinds a few hours into play.
Maimone then opened with ace-king and Gentili picked up kings and squeezed after Vela called the raise. Maimone jammed and was unable to improve, moving Gentili, who started as one of the shorter stacks, into the lead.
Mateos worked a short stack for awhile but ultimately busted in 18th, leaving the remaining players on the Day 5 bubble at Level 23 (12,000/24,000/4,000).
That's when Gentili raked in another monster pot. He managed to flop a set of tens on a ten-nine-seven-queen-deuce runout, betting every street after calling Michael Bartholomew's under-the-gun open. Bartholomew, facing a bet of 400,000 on the river, went deep into the tank until the clock was called. He decided to call and saw the bad news, disgustedly showing a set of sevens and leaving a big pot to his fellow Canadian.
It was American circuit grinder Rex Clinkscales who fell to end Day 4. He got unlucky to lose with king-four of spades in the big blind to a short-stack jam by Allon Allison, who had ten-nine offsuit. Then, Clinkscales got the rest in with eights and didn't get much of a sweat against former PokerStars Caribbean Adventure champ John Dibella, who flopped two pair with ace-ten and turned a boat.
There's about an hour left in Level 23, and the tournament resumes Friday at noon local time, with the plan to play down to a final six.