Day 1a of the PokerStars Festival Uruguay $1,650 Main Event is in the books and leading the way after the first ten levels is Halysson Sala. Sala got off to a hot start early in the day and was one of the first players to have more than double his starting stack. He would ride that wave into the chip lead and he held onto it for most of the way. Sala only has roughly $30,000 in recorded live tournament cashes, so a victory here in Uruguay could definitely be his largest cash ever.
Near the end of the night, Francisco Araujo, who finished second in chips, cracked WSOP bracelet winner Andres Korn's pocket aces when he flopped a set and the two got it all in to take the tournament chip lead. Araujo has recorded live tournament earnings of over $300,000 with results from the WSOP and all over Latin America, with his biggest cash being for $112,724 two years ago in a WSOP side event. Araujo will advance to Day 2 with 226,00 chips and will look to carry that lead to a victory here in Uruguay.
In total, 104 players came out to play Day 1a of the Main Event and of those 104, only 33 survived. Several notable players and entered, fell, rebought, and fell again. Some of those who didn’t advance from this starting flight include Brett Trevillian, Mark Scacewater, Ezequiel Ferretty, Matias Scaffo, and Marcelo Blanco.
There are however several stars returning to continue their quest for the trophy. One of those is rising Brazilian star Hugo Marcelo. Marcelo recently earned accolades as the Brazilian Series of Poker player of the series, which earned him a package for this event. He’ll look to continue that hot run here in Uruguay as he bagged up 121,600 chips and has a chance heading into Day 2. Also surviving the first flight were the likes of Nicholas Malandre, Homar Rassi, Jesse Rosen, and Marcelo Cudos. They will return along with the rest of the field and the survivors from Day 1b on Saturday, September 20th at 12:00 p.m. local time.
Friday begins Day 1b of the Main Event and players will play through 10 levels starting at 12:00 p.m. The survivors will rejoin with the survivors from Day 1a on Saturday where Day 2 will begin. PokerNews of course will be here covering all the action through the entire tournament so make sure to stay tuned!
With about 8,000 chips already in the pot on a flop of , Marcelo Cudos checked from the small blind, Francisco Araujo checked from the big blind, and Andres Korn bet 3,800 from middle position. Cudos folded and Araujo check-raised to 10,400. Korn moved all-in and Araujo called to put Korn at risk.
Araujo was way ahead with his flopped set and Korn needed help from the deck in order to preserve his tournament life. The turn and river changed nothing and Araujo took the pot to send Korn to the rail.
Hugo Marcelo opened with a raise to 2,200 from early position and he got calls from Gustavo Prato on the button and Homar Rassi in the big blind.
All three players checked the flop to see the on the turn. There, Rassi led out with a bet of 3,000 which both players called.
The river was the and Rassi slowed down and checked. Marcelo put out a big bet, relative to the size of the pot, of 17,000. Prato called quickly while Rassi folded. Marcelo showed for a flopped full house and that earned him the big pot, boosting him over 100,000 chips.
Hugo Marcelo is a well-known player in the Brazilian poker community. In 2015 he took down a SCOOP title and more recently he earned Player of the Series accolades for the Brazilian Series of Poker, earning him a package for this event here in Uruguay. Today on Day 1a he's making his presence known early and has already amassed right around three times the starting stack.
In a recent hand that we saw, Marcelo was involved with another player on a board of with nearly 10,000 already in the pot. Marcelo's opponent checked to him and he put out a bet of 6,000. Marcelo's opponent called.
The river was the and Marcelo's opponent opted to lead out with a small bet, making it 800. Marcelo thought for a bit, then decided to move his opponent all in. The player thought for a while, then eventually called. Marcelo made a face, then turned over . His opponent stood up from the table and mucked his hand allowing Marcelo to take down the big pot.
In a four-way pot with 4,000 already in the middle, both blinds checked over to Ivan Balzano who bet 575 on a flop of . He found calls from Andres Korn on the button and the big blind player as well.
The turn was the and this time action checked to Korn on the button who put out a bet of 2,300. The big blind called while Balzano folded.
On the river the big blind checked again. Korn bet 10,000. The big blind folded quickly and Korn earned himself the pot with his bet. There was an exchange of words then Korn showed for a rivered straight, while his opponent turned up his .
Just after break Halysson Sala must have won a big pot because he is now a clear favorite to be the chip leader in the room, sporting the first stack over 100,000. Sala has several live event cashes with his biggest being for $17,470 during the 2012 Latin American Poker Tour in Chile where he finished in 7th place. We'll be keeping a close eye on Sala as the day goes on and we'll continue to update about his progress here on Day 1a.
Matias Scaffo opened with a raise to 300 from middle position. He was called by Georges Hajjar from the cutoff, Brett Trevillian on the button, and one more player from the small blind.
On the flop, action checked to Hajjar who put out a bet of 700. Trevillian called, as did the small blind and Scaffo.
The turn was the . Action checked to Hajjar again who put out a second bet, this time for 2,650. Trevillian called. The small blind folded, but Scaffo called.
On the river, Scaffo led out, putting in a small bet of 350. Hajjar raised, making it 3,050 and Trevillian folded. Thinking the hand was over, Hajjar went to turn over his cards. Apparently, Hajjar thought he was just calling Scaffo's bet, but he was wrong. Trevillian asked for a floor to be called over to rectify the situation and it was eventually decided that Hajjar would have to keep his bet of 3,050 in the pot. Scaffo eventually decided to call, but Hajjar showed him for trips and that earned a muck from Scaffo.
Despite his mistep, Hajjar took in the big pot and jumped up the counts early here on Day 1. Recent, Hajjar made the final table of the PokerStars Cup here in Uruguay, earning himself $5,000 after making a deal at the final table, and it looks as if his luck is already carrying over into today as well.
The first of two starting flights for the Main Event at the inaugural PokerStars Festival Uruguay at the Conrad Punta del Este Resort & Casino gets underway Monday at noon local time. Players will receive 25,000 starting chips in exchange for the $1,650 buy-in (the local currency is the Uruguayan Peso, but USD operates in parallel, and all tournament buy-ins and payouts are expressed in USD) and are scheduled to play 10 one-hour levels with 20-minute breaks every two levels. There will be an 80-minute dinner break following the end of level 6 and unlimited re-entries are available until late registration closes at the start of level 9.
Players who bag chips at the conclusion of Day 1a may not play Day 1b, but those who don't find a bag in Monday's starting flight can try their luck again on Tuesday when Day 1b gets underway. The second and final starting flight will be structured identically to Day 1a, and both flights will combine for Day 2 play. The tournament is scheduled to play down to 24 players on Day 2, then to 8 on Day 3, and the new champion will be crowned on Day 4.
Keep it here for updates on the action in the Main Event, as well as the $3,300 High Roller which starts on Thursday, at the first-ever PokerStars Festival Uruguay.