Good morning once again, and welcome back to our continuing coverage of the 2012 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure. The $25,000 High Roller event begins today, but that's a story for another page. We've still got two days of Main Event action left, and today will be the playdown day from 24 players to the final table. Sometime tomorrow night or early Saturday morning, one of them will hoisting a big silver trophy and trying to figure out what to do with $2 million in cash.
Leading the way into this penultimate day is Faraz Jaka, who hasn't won much of anything. We're kidding, of course, but a quick look at his stat sheet confirms that his lone tournament victory came in a $1,000 side event at the L.A. Poker Classic in 2008. The second- and third-place finishes abound, though, and Jaka is approaching $2.5 million in career earnings despite only having one poker trophy on his mantle. He's very much the favorite to score his first major win here this week, and the 4.114 million chips he's accumulated so far would be an above-average stack at the final table. In short, he's crushing.
The road forward will likely not be as easy for Jaka as it has been to this point, though. Alex Fitzgerald is another talented American looking for his first major "bink", and his 2.709 million chips put him in second place to begin the day. He's still a long way back from Jaka but still within striking distance as neither of the two seem afraid to play the odd monster pot when the need arises.
Many of the guys we have left are just as well known by their online handles than their real-life names and faces. Some of those still in the hunt include Phil "takechip" D'Auteuil, Anthony "wwwBTHEREcom" Gregg, Kyle "KJulius10" Julius, Ruben "rubenrtv" Visser, David "dpeters18" Peters, and Corey "comandr_cool" Burbick.
It's not all "guys", though. Xuan Liu has been steadily matriculating her way through the field all week long, and she's been the last woman standing for a couple days now. Still relatively young in her career as a poker pro, Liu already has some experience at an EPT final table. Back in April of last year, she finished third in San Remo for more than a half-million dollars, and we wouldn't bet against her making a second EPT final table by the time it's all said and done today.
Everyone's chasing "The-Toilet 0" and "Assassinato", though, and Jaka and Fitzgerald are the two to beat for now. The players are taking their seats and unbagging as we speak, and the starting gun is just a few minutes away.