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  1. Just like every other year going back to 2004, a fresh start to poker's yearly tournament calendar kicks off with the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure in the Bahamas. This year brings a heightened level of excitement with the PokerStars Players NL Hold’em Championship headlining the event in what is lining up to be a record-setting PCA. Speaking of records, in anticipation of the 2019 PCA festival, PocketFives went looking through the poker history books at HendonMob to find the biggest winners in history from PCA. Here’s what was found. Thanks to a gigantic $3 million payday in 2009, Poorya Nazari holds the record for the largest first-place prize at PCA. He won the 2009 PCA Main Event from a field of 1,347 entries to claim that prize. Three other times in history has the PCA Main Event winner taken home at least $2 million. In 2008, Bertrand 'ElkY' Grospellier took home $2 million, Harrison Gimbel won $2.2 million in 2010, and in 2011 it was Galen Hall scoring $2.3 million. But, none of those players is the top all-time money earner from PCA. That title currently belongs to Bryn Kenney, and it doesn’t appear that Kenney is going to be caught anytime soon. Top 25 PCA All-Time Money List PLAYER EARNINGS 1 Bryn Kenney $6,245,111 2 Steve O'Dwyer $3,800,542 3 Tony Gregg $3,096,596 4 Poorya Nazari $3,000,000 5 Scott Seiver $2,970,620 6 Galen Hall $2,877,080 7 Vanessa Selbst $2,824,640 8 Isaac Haxton $2,583,616 9 Jason Koon $2,555,555 10 Daniel Negreanu $2,521,490 11 Bertrand 'ElkY' Grospellier $2,484,120 12 Harrison Gimbel $2,329,220 13 Dan Shak $2,278,140 14 Cary Katz $2,257,420 15 Byron Kaverman $2,213,355 16 Mustapha Kanit $2,020,200 17 Justin Bonomo $1,991,372 18 Dimitar Danchev $1,985,000 19 John Dibella $1,955,300 20 Ty Reiman $1,937,770 21 Chris Oliver $1,834,160 22 Eugene Katchalov $1,763,220 23 Will Molson $1,750,735 24 Daniel Dvoress $1,607,302 25 Nick Petrangelo $1,581,665 As you can see, Kenney is worlds ahead of the competition, winning more than $2.4 million more than anyone else on the list. That $2.4 million gap alone is good enough for 12th place on this leaderboard. Kenney's largest score from PCA came in the 2016 Super High Roller, an event with a buy-in of $100,000 that saw him win $1.687 million. The following year, Kenney won a $50,000 and $25,000 buy-in no-limit hold’em events for $969,075 and $392,876, respectively. He also has a trio of third-place finishes over the years worth $873,880, $686,960, and $643,000. Steve O'Dwyer is the second highest money earner from PCA entering 2019, taking home more than $3.8 million in prize money throughout the years. O'Dwyer's a pretty good chunk of change away from Kenney, and he's also more than $700,000 ahead of Tony Gregg in third place. Knowing some of the performances O'Dwyer has put together over the years combined with what's on the schedule for 2019 doesn't make it out of the realm of possibilities that he can catch Kenney in 2019. O'Dwyer has one win in a $100,000 buy-in event and two wins from $50,000 buy-in events at PCA for $1.872 million, $945,495, and $760,500, respectively. The 2019 schedule features the $25,000 buy-in PSPC, three additional $25,000 buy-in tournaments, one $50,000 buy-in event, and two $100,000 tournaments, there certainly won’t be a lack of opportunities for O'Dwyer to win a ton of money in the Bahamas this January. That's not to mention the PCA $10,300 Main Event as well. Looking at the rest of the list for players we could see make big moves on the leaderboard after 2019, Isaac Haxton, Jason Koon, and Daniel Negreanu are a few of the ones to watch, given their appetite for and success in high buy-in tournaments coupled with the robust schedule to suit their palate. Negreanu's largest score out of PCA came in 2011 when he finished second to Eugene Katchalov in the event’s inaugural $100,000 Super High Roller. Negreanu earned a cool $1 million for that result. He followed that finish up by returning to the final table of the event in 2012, when he took fifth for $250,900. In 2018, he took fourth in the same event for $521,140. Another big score Negreanu had from PCA came in the 2017 PCA $25,000 High Roller. In that one, he took fifth for $268,780. Byron Kaverman and Justin Bonomo are also ones from this top 25 list to keep an eye on. For players not currently in the top 25, don't be surprised if you see Mikita Badziakouski, Alex Foxen, Stephen Chidwick, or David Peters take home a ship full of money from the Bahamas and find themselves listed on the updated list of top 25 winners from PCA when the 2019 version is all said and done. Action from the Bahamas kicks off Sunday, January 6, 2019, with the $25,000 buy-in PokerStars Players NL Hold'em Championship from Atlantis Resort & Casino. PovketFives will be on site all the way through until the event's final day on January 16, so stay tuned for more coverage from the 2019 PCA poker series.
  2. The PokerStars Players NL Hold'em Championship is one of the most highly anticipated poker tournaments ever. The event comes with a rake-free $25,000 buy-in, hundreds of Platinum Pass qualifiers and $1 million added to first place prize. The momentous event takes place January 6-10 in the Bahamas and the PocketFives team will be there to cover it from start to finish. The biggest question ahead of the event is, of course, just how big will it be? Poker pro Chance Kornuth recently asked the question on social media and it appears many are pegging PSPC to be enormous. https://twitter.com/ChancesCards/status/1078708641665073152 The largest $25,000 buy-in poker tournament in history was the Season V World Poker Tour World Championship. The event took place in 2007 when poker was booming all across the globe. It attracted a whopping 639 entries who ponied up $25,500 each to create a $15.495 million prize pool. Carlos Mortensen won the event for $3.97 million, and the top three spots each took home seven-figure paydays. If the PSPC generates 640 entries, it will become the largest field ever in a $25,000 buy-in live poker tournament. That would also set the record for largest prize pool from a $25,000 buy-in live poker tournament, but the fact that the PSPC event is a rake-free tournament means it needs just 620 entries to set the record for largest prize pool generated by a $25,000 buy-in live poker tournament. Here's a look at the top 10 largest prize pools in poker history from live tournaments at the $25,000 buy-in level. YEAR TOURNAMENT ENTRIES PRIZE POOL 2007 Season V WPT World Championship 639 $15,495,750 Winner: Carlos Mortensen ($3,970,415) 2006 Season IV WPT World Championship 605 $14,671,250 Winner: Joe Bartholdi ($3,760,165) 2008 Season VI WPT World Championship 545 $13,216,250 Winner: David Chiu ($3,389,140) 2005 Season III WPT World Championship 452 $10,961,000 Winner: Tuan Le ($2,856,150) 2018 partypoker MILLIONS World 394 $10,000,000 Winner: Roger Teska ($2,000,000) 2004 Season II WPT World Championship 343 $8,342,000 Winner: Martin de Knijff ($2,728,356) 2004 Season VII WPT World Championship 338 $8,196,500 Winner: Yevgeniy Timoshenko ($2,149,960) 2014 EPT10 Grand Final High Roller 214 $7,257,852 Winner: Philipp Gruissem ($1,378,059) 2016 EPT12 Grand Final High Roller 231 $6,531,825 Winner: Alexandru Papazian ($1,381,499) 2015 PCA High Roller 269 $6,456,000 Winner: Ilkin Garibli ($1,105,040) Another question some have had is whether or not the PSPC will replace the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Main Event. That seems unlikely. It's more likely that the PSPC is a one-off event that doesn't happen every single year. That said, what does the PSPC need to do in order to become the largest prize pool in PokerStars Caribbean Adventure history? Here's a look at the biggest prize pools to come out of the PCA. YEAR TOURNAMENT ENTRIES PRIZE POOL 2011 PCA Main Event 1,560 $15,132,000 Winner: Galen Hall ($2,300,000) 2010 PCA Main Event 1,529 $14,826,800 Winner: Harrison Gimbel ($2,200,000) 2009 PCA Main Event 1,347 $12,674,400 Winner: Poorya Nazari ($3,000,000) 2012 PCA Main Event 1,072 $10,398,400 Winner: John Dibella ($1,775,000) 2014 PCA Main Event 1,031 $10,000,700 Winner: Dominik Panka ($1,423,096) 2013 PCA Main Event 987 $9,573,900 Winner: Dimitar Danchev ($1,859,000) 2008 PCA Main Event 1,136 $8,562,976 Winner: Betrand Grospellier ($2,000,000) 2015 PCA Main Event 816 $7,915,200 Winner: Kevin Schulz ($1,491,580) 2007 PCA Main Event 937 $7,063,842 Winner: Ryan Daut ($1,535,255) 2015 PCA High Roller 269 $6,456,000 Winner: Ilkin Garibli ($1,105,040) The largest prize pool in PCA history belongs to the 2011 PCA $10,300 Main Event. That year, the PCA Main Event drew 1,560 entries and generated a $15.132 million prize pool, with a $2.3 million first-place prize that went to Galen Hall. The PCA Main Event was also above $10 million in prize pool money for the years of 2009, 2010, 2012, and 2014. The largest first-place prize in PCA history went to Poorya Nazari, who won $3 million when he took down the 2009 PCA Main Event. So there you have it. For PSPC to become the largest prize pool for a $25,000 buy-in tournament, it needs to surpass the WPT World Championship's figure of $15.495 million. To become the largest field size ever in a $25,000 buy-in poker tournament, it will need 640 entries. To become the largest first-place prize from $25,000 buy-in tournaments, the $3.97 million that Mortensen won is the number to beat. For PCA-only records, PSPC will need to surpass a $15.132 million prize pool and a $3 million first-place prize. Action from the Bahamas kicks off Sunday, January 6, 2019, with the $25,000 buy-in PokerStars Players NL Hold'em Championship from Atlantis Resort & Casino. PocketFives will be on site all the way through until the event's final day on January 16, so stay tuned for more coverage from the 2019 PCA poker series.
  3. The PokerStars Players NL Hold’em Championship kicked off Sunday at the Atlantis Resort & Casino in the Bahamas. Anticipation for the event was through the roof in the days leading up to its start, and the energy only heightened as the hundreds of poker players shuffled into the tournament room before the start of play. All day long, there has been an electric buzz in the Bahamian air and PocketFives spoke to a few players about the atmosphere surrounding the PSPC. "It’s crazy,” Christian Harder said of the event’s atmosphere. “I was actually talking to someone earlier and I was like, ‘Is this the biggest tournament outside of the WSOP Main Event in the history of poker?’ It's up there." Harder is no stranger to playing events of this level, but this event seems to have a different feel to it than others with a similar $25,000 price tag. “It definitely has much more of a main event feel than a high roller,” Harder, winner of the 2017 PokerStars Championship Bahamas Main Event, said. “Usually, the 25K price point is more pros or [recreational players] that are used to playing bigger buy-ins. It definitely has much more of a feel as a 5K or a 5K main event, which is great.” Another player with plenty of experience in big buy-in poker tournaments is Jason Somerville, and he’s also in the Bahamas to compete in the PSPC. Like Harder, Somerville compared the PSPC to having an atmosphere like the WSOP Main Event. “This has been amazing,” Somerville told PocketFives. “It’s very interesting. It’s kind of like the World Series of Poker Main Event. You’ve got a lot of qualifiers, people you haven’t seen before. So many people I would never see play a tournament like this have ‘reemerged.’ Most people stopped coming to the Bahamas when Black Friday happened, so it’s great to see. Awesome energy, huge prize pool - it’s awesome.” Somerville was posted up at the main feature table for the first two levels of the opening day and commented on how his table was playing after he wasn’t sure what type of playing environment the PSPC would bring. “I was just at the feature table for two hours and I think only Sam Greenwood and I talked, and Sam doesn’t talk that much,” Somerville said. “Everybody feels a little nervous. Even me when I first sat down, I’m like, ‘Wow, this is a serious poker tournament.’ I wasn’t sure if we were going to get that giddy chattiness or if you were going to get the scared silence, but my table at least was the scared silent type. It’s OK with me. I’ll just hang out, watch the Chargers win, and we’ll go from there.” Matt Stout also made the trip down to the Bahamas, as he has many times before, and in similar fashion to Harder and Somerville, he likened the PSPC to having the feel of the WSOP. “It’s obviously a lot softer,” Stout said. “It’s going to have a lot of people that have never played a 25K before and are never going to play a 25K again, but it’s also kind of cool because it has that Colossus or World Series of Poker Main Event vibe, where there’s a lot of people that this is their one and only shot. It’s a lot of fun. “I saw one guy, who was a qualifier, walking in and as he was walking past the trophy setup in the lobby I heard him say to his mother, ‘Hey, mom! Take a picture of me in front of this real quick.’ That just warmed my heart. This is just great for poker. It’s a really, really fun event. It has a special vibe to it. It’s really exciting.” Stout wasn’t always planning on coming to the PSPC, though. His first child was recently born in December, but ultimately he decided to make the trip because of the can’t-miss nature he felt regarding the PSPC. “I wasn’t planning on traveling much after the birth of my son, Asher, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to play a tournament like this that’s one-of-a-kind and may literally never happen again,” Stout said.
  4. 'Matze 90451' fought their way to the PokerStars $109 Sunday Million title and added another $107,737 to their bankroll, just a month after winning the PokerStars $215 Sunday Warm-Up. The prize pool was set at $1,031,600 after the event attracted 10,316 entrants, and when the field was cut to the final three, 'SG_Sergant' departed with the bronze medal for $55.692. 'Boss BL' was then the final player to hit the rail for $77,457 following the heads-up battle, and was unable to prevent 'Matze 90451' from winning their second major PokerStars Sunday tournament in the space of just four weeks. Newly crowned world ranked #1 Roman 'Romeopro' Romanovsky continued their rich vein of form in the online streets after he won the PokerStars $2,100 Sunday High Roller for $56,549. 'bartek901' took third place from the 129 player-field for $33,497 before 'RuiNF' succumbed to the pressure from the Ukranian Romanovsky and departed with $43,523 as runner-up. 'anonymstruts' turned $530 into over $81,000 after victory in the PokerStars $530 Bounty Builder High Roller. An entrants total of 1,187 created a $593,500 prize pool and a $46,755 top prize. Brazil's 'fviana' exited in third place for $25,120 + $8,965 in bounties, which paved the way for heads-up. 'anonymstruts' then won the final bounty battle and sent 'Faiv' to the rail in second place for $34,271 + $7,287. The PokerStars $215 Sunday Warm-Up saw a $217,000 prize pool created after 1,085 players took part, and when all was said and done it was 'DonPiatniK' who claimed the glory. Czech Republic's 'LlKE A G6' went into the heads-up battle after 'DonPiatniK' after their fellow countryman 'sksjohny' had departed in third place for $18,202, but the Czech was unable to hold out and was the final player to depart, banking $25,315, as 'DonPiatniK' claimed the $35,210 first-place prize. Despite 'POWERFEST' dominating the partypoker Sunday schedule, there were still opportunities to pick up big-money wins in some of the retained regular tournaments on offer. The UK's Conor 'ADRIEN_BRODY' Beresford banked $20,390 after he came through a 196 player-field to win the partypoker $530 Sunday HR Clasico, and 'HeavenlyFather' also secured a top spot with victory in the $530 Sunday High Roller Bounty Hunter for $13,290 + $15,955 in bounties, following a heads-up match against regular online attendee 'Haddoken'. The partypoker $1,050 Sunday High Roller Terminator title worth $41,000 went to 'rafaelmoraesgm' after they got the better of Latvia's #1 'rudiqa1' heads-up. 'MOTHERSMATTERS' took away $12,576 + $4,330 in bounties as the third-place finisher, with 'rudiqa1' banking $17,631 + $10,915 in second. 'Kroat.' won the 888poker $530 $75,000 Rake or Break Whale for $15,750, following a heads-up deal with South Korea's ranked #1 'NEONTIGER'. The 'Rake or Break' feature continued in the 'Whale' for the second week running and once again saw the players $30 registration fee returned after the prize pool failed to hit the guaranteed $75,000. After 'SpitOnGraves' exited in third for $9,100, the final two agreed to a heads-up deal before 'Kroat.' went on the claim the top position. GGPoker offered up two Sunday Blade $5k events to its player's on Sunday and created combined prize pools worth $413,250. 'OtterPop' defeated 'PyramidOfSkulls' heads-up and bested a 40-player field for the $81,050 first-place prize, while 'AceKing41' and 'RuinF' made a heads-up deal worth $68,406, and $69,367 respectively in the second event of the day that attracted 47 entrants. Below is this week's Sunday results: PokerStars $109 Sunday Million $1M Guaranteed 10,316 entrants, $1,031,600 prize pool Matze 90451 - $107,737.84 Boss BL - $77,457.06 SG_Sergant - $55.692.26 Kazeev S.S. - $40,043.20 rpl1973 - $28,791.33 KidPokerSV - $20,701.22 Polcito666 - $14,884.33 stan_09319 - $10,701.92 LuckyNrOneAA - $7,694.70 PokerStars $2,100 Sunday High Roller, $150k Gtd 129 entrants, $258,000 prize pool Romeopro - $56,549.97 RuiNF - $43,523.31 bartek901 - $33,497.45 cassiopak - $25,781.11 Amadi_017 - $19,842.26 IgorKurganov - $15,271.48 Wildace_hun - $11,753.60 Lrslzk - $9,046.07 huang33 - $6,962.25 PokerStars $530 Bounty Builder High Roller, $400k Gtd 1,187 entrants, $593,500 prize pool anonymstruts - $46,755.22 + $35,084.37 (in bounties) Faiv - $34,271.00 + $7,287.10 fviana - $25,120.54 + $8,965.33 TheHolland - $18,413.27 + $3,642.58 cartoon2387 - $13,496.90 + $4,361.33 Tomatee - $9,893.19 + $2,890.63 malekfatte - $7,251.70 + $4,844.72 arbaarba - $5,315.47 + $4,257.82 P0KERPR02.0 - $3,896.23 + $5,052.73 PokerStars $215 Sunday Warm-Up $175k Gtd 1,085 entrants, $217,000 prize pool DonPiatniK - $35,210.03 LlKE A G6 - $25,315.89 sksjohny - $18,202.32 SsicK_OnE - $13,087.63 Crackdel29 - $9,410.11 kofi89 - $6,765.97 thebigdog09 - $4,864.79 Remi Lebo_10 - $3,497.84 Numb3rsABC - $2,514.98 partypoker $1,050 Sunday High Roller Terminator $200k Gtd 219 entrants, $223,380 prize pool rafaelmoraesgm - $17,653.79 + $24,890.95 rudiqa1 - $17,631.87 + $10,915.93 MOTHERSMATTERS - $12,576.57 + $4,330.62 madgenius87 - $9,298.24 + $3,071.25 NoTilit - $6,556.45 + $5,866.25 KPitts34 - $5,006.74 + $650 arrowhead76 - $3,695.45 + $2,210 gb618 - $2,741.79 + $5,102.50 partypoker $530 Sunday HR Clasico - $100k Gtd 196 entrants, $100,00 prize pool ADRIEN_BRODY - $20,390 madridgalaxy - $14,800 nepge - $10,550 BuyThaPot - $7,800 CooperKupp - $5,500 SchelampigaUhu - $4,200 Jeff7010 - $3,100 barrm111 - $2,300 partypoker $530 Sunday High Roller Bounty Hunter $150k Gtd 347 entrants, $177,837.50 prize pool HeavenlyFather - $13,290.86 + $15,955.21 haddoken - $13,273.33 + $6,247.71 RovoDice - $9,202.53 + $311.72 AzEsmShark - $6,593.57 + $2,833.17 TheBelster - $4,696.14 + $5,313.60 spinner2255 - $3,481.78 + $623.44 omgitsgiraf - $2,419.22 + $1,591.40 superbyrney - $1,764.61 + $4,909.59 888poker $530 $75,000 Rake or Break Whale 130 entrants – $65,000 prize pool Kroat. - $15,750.41* NEONTIGER - $14,149.59* SpitOnGraves - $9,100 Juliangard - $6,175 kiskutya - $4,550 Pradgen - $3,412.50 DrMiKee - $2,762.50 varonislv - $2,275 GGPoker Sunday Blade $5k $50,000 Gtd 40 entrants – $190,000 prize pool OtterPop - $81,050.92 PyramidOfSkulls - $47,889.08 KenBrynney - $30,889.08 nbvcxz - $18,973.64 SanityWaterline - $11,942.84 GGPoker Sunday Blade $5k $200,000 Gtd 47 entrants – $223,250 prize pool AceKing41 - $68,406.34* RuinF - $69,367.85* Picasso16 - $35,235.52 NOMAMES - $23,666.77 ExclusiveA - $15,896.35 PyramidOfSkulls - $10,677.17 *denotes heads-up deal

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