Not many players have been more successful on the high roller circuit than American transplant Steve O'Dwyer, who has racked up millions in cashes en route to a top-15 ranking in the all-time money list. He's got a golden chance to add to that total after bagging the chip lead with just five players left in the PokerStars Championship Panama $10,300 High Roller.
O'Dwyer will take 1,849,000 chips into the Day 3 finale with blinds and antes heading to 10,000/20,000/3,000. He'll be followed by Francois Billard (1,494,000), Sam Greenwood (1,273,000), Chris Hunichen (746,000), and PokerStars Team Pro Felipe Ramos (273,000).
The day began with a handful of last-minute registrations, including Hunichen, who was busy on Day 1 finishing up at a final table in a side event. That pushed the total number of entries to 110, of which 26 were reentries, creating a prize pool of $1,067,000.
O'Dwyer got off to a fast start and scored some early eliminations to shoot to the top of the leaderboard. He got lucky in one critical pot when he five-bet all in for over 40 big blinds against Jan-Eric Schwippert with king-queen and got there against ace-king hitting a straight on the river.
He remained among the leaders for much of the day before hitting a minor rut a little after the money bubble burst, with Francois Evard the unfortunate player walking away empty-handed. Billard scored that elimination and looked poised to bag the lead before O'Dwyer got himself in a huge flip.
It began with Anthony Zinno opening for a raise in the cutoff to 40,000 at 8,000/16,000/2,000. O'Dwyer responded with a three-bet to 128,000, and Zinno shoved all in for 605,000. O'Dwyer opted to call with pocket sevens and managed to hold up against king-jack. Zinno had to settle for sixth place.
Other players making their way to payouts in the top 15 included Paul Newey, Andrew Chen, Sergio Aido and Sam Chartier. Meanwhile, Bryn Kenney, Koray Aldemir, Stephen Chidwick and Daniel Dvoress were among those making it to the final few tables but busting before the money.
The remaining five contenders have agreed to a 2 p.m. restart on Monday, so come back to PokerNews then to see who claims the $274,740 first-place prize.