Gong, Fernandez, Lebedev Surge to Front on PSC Panama Day 1B

Jiachen Gong
Chip leader Jiachen Gong (Photo: Neil Stoddart)

Apart from a few extra players who might use the option to late register this morning, the first PokerStars Championship main event in Panama has drawn roughly 360 players.

A total of 259 players registered for the second starting day at the Sortis Hotel, Spa and Casino yesterday and 127 players made it through to Day 2.

Canadian players in particular left a strong impression with Jiachen Gong leading the Day 1B survivors with 154,300 chips.

That still pales in comparison to the whopping 219,600 chips Igor Yaroshevskyy bagged after Day 1A but they'll all have a chance to track him down when the field combines for Day 2 today.

Argentinian Rugby Star Joins Field

After former UFC fighter Tito Ortiz played (and thrived) on Day 1A of the main event yesterday, Day 1B saw another sports star of international acclaim join the field.

psc panama tournament room 2
Race for the money is on.

Lucas Gonzalez, member of the national Argentinian rugby team, made his entrance today but his journey couldn’t have been any more different to Tito’s yesterday.

While the Ultimate fighter managed to bag the second spot in the leaderboard Gonzalez didn’t survive to see the dinner break.

The Top 10 players from Day 1B come from 10 different countries and include local hero Tomas Altamirando, making this PSC main event a completely open tournament.

Top 10 Players from Day 1B






Jiachen Gong




Caufman Tailey




Kamal Bittar




Pablo Fernandez




Sergey Lebedev




Oleg Vasylchenko




Fernando Karam




Erling Voje




Tomas Altamirando




Alberto Meran



Stapes Reaches PSC Final Table (Sort Of)

Everything was set today for the final table of the PokerStars Championship Panama.

Sensationally, Joe Stapleton took his seat among eight otherwise internationally unknown players and the PokerStars live stream commentator was still there when they were down to three players.

Joe Stapleton 1
It could happen.

Unbeknownst to many Stapes had made use of a loophole in Panamanian legislation that allows overseas players to skip the first tournament days and go directly to the final table.

Players can only get this preferential treatment if they can provide legitimate proof of several years of working experience in the poker industry and if they have a TV presence deemed strong enough by the Panamanian tourism authorities.

The loophole was created to strengthen poker tourism in Panama after PokerStars announced its first Latin-American Championship in the country.

Except, of course ... that’s not quite true. There is no PSC heads-up and no legislation loophole and Stapleton isn’t even allowed to play PSC events.

If he did, it would be tricky for him to make the finale (so we’re saying there’s a chance!).

The truth us they were just pretending to play and it was just the process of setting the table up for the live commentary starting on tomorrow’s day 2 with James Hartigan and Stapleton.

Just goes to show how easy it is to fake news if you have the right picture. Watch the real live stream from Panama starting today right here.

Coming Up – Day 2

All remaining players will come together in one room tomorrow to start the race for the money spots.

Notable players still in the field for Day 2 include the aforementioned Tito Ortiz, Erik Cajelais, Jason Wheeler, Pablo Gordillo, Ari Engel, Andrew Chen and Jake Cody.

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