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Found 36 results

  1. With the coming of a New Year, the start of the 2015 tournament poker season also kicks off. On Tuesday, the 2015 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure marked the start of the 12th annual event with the start of the $100,000 Super High Roller and an episode of "The Shark Cage." The Super High Roller event was the main focus of many at Paradise Island in the Bahamas, as deep-pocketed pros and wealthy businessmen alike vied for the first big money championship of the 2015 poker season. While you might think the high-pressure tournament would have the complete attention of the players in attendance, it was actually the opposite, as the combatants engaged is various prop bets. Mike timex McDonald, the focus of those prop bets, demonstrated his physical stamina in addition to his poker acumen. Challenged by businessman Bill Perkins, McDonald first was challenged to complete 300 "air squats" (a CrossFit exercise maneuver) within the span of one level of play in the tournament, or 60 minutes, to earn a $10,000 payday. McDonald was able to complete this task, prompting Perkins to issue another challenge to complete 350 pushups within another one hour period for another $10,000 plus $10,000 to McDonald's charity of choice. Unfortunately, McDonald wasn't able to complete this task, coming up just short in completing "only" 323. In between the frivolity, there was some actual poker being played. Sam Greenwood was the story of the day, as he blasted past the million-chip mark on Day 1 of the Super High Roller. On two occasions, Greenwood was the beneficiary of coolers – his pocket aces running into the pocket kings of Scott Seiver and Byron Kaverman – to build that stack. McDonald (pictured), while engaging in a stringent workout, took the second place slot at the end of Day 1, while Vladimir Troyanovskiy, Bryn BrynKenneyKenney, Sorel Imper1umMizzi, Erik Seidel, and Justin ZeeJustin Bonomo also were among the survivors. Day 2 of the Super High Roller is underway on Wednesday and, as late registration was still available, final totals for the tournament are not known. The true action at the PCA doesn't start until Wednesday. Along with Day 2 of the Super High Roller, the Latin America Poker Tour has its $3,000 Main Event on the schedule. In an intriguing experiment, the PCA will also be the laboratory for a $2,200 "Double Bubble"tournament. In this tournament, 50% of the field will receive $2,200 from the prize pool and once that 50% is determined, the first bubble will pop. The "double bubble" will pop once the final 8% of the field has been determined. It should be a unique tournament and one that will surely create some conversation. The PCA Main Event will begin on Thursday with the first of its two Day 1s. The $10,000 buy-in tournament is expected to draw a sizeable field, perhaps even challenging the 1,031 players it pulled in 2014. Defending champion Dominik Panka is expected back to defend his title and McDonald, who was barely denied his chance to become the first-ever two-time champion on the EPT with his runner-up finish, will also be in attendance. By the time the 2015 EPT PCA ends a week from Wednesday, there will be more poker played, including the $25,000 High Roller on January 12 and the America's Cup of Poker, and plenty of time spent on the pristine sands of Paradise Island. Visit PokerStars for more details. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  2. We have a winner in the Bahamas, the site of the 2015 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Main Event. American Kevin Schulz (pictured) came away with the title on Wednesday and banked $1.4 million. According to PokerStars, Schulz is an online grinder who fled to Mexico after Black Friday to continue playing online poker. There were 816 entrants in the 2015 PCA Main Event. He told PokerStars following his monumental win, "I'm pretty happy. I had some pretty good reads on everybody, but you never know what's going to happen. I love skydiving, but this is maybe one of the most intense things I've done in my life! I don't have any plans in mind for the money right now… I'll take some time to think about it all and try to make sure I don't blow it because that seems to happen a lot!" Second place went to PocketFiver Diego Die VenturaVentura. According to PokerStars, despite getting second, Ventura set a record of his own, turning in the largest single tournament cash by a Peruvian player. Interestingly, he won a qualifier to the PCA Main Event at the 11th hour – just after Christmas – and is #76 worldwide in the PocketFives Online Poker Rankings. In his final hand, Ventura (pictured) shoved all-in over the top of a bet by Schulz with 10-4 of diamonds on a board of Q-6-4-K-6 for two pair. Schulz tanked before making the call with a king in his hand and became the newest PCA Main Event champion. Third place in the Bahamas went to Chance Chances Cards Kornuth, who was the chip leader entering six-handed play on Wednesday. Kornuth, a native of Colorado, won a SCOOP event last year for $112,000 officially, one of two online cashes we've tracked for him that top $100,000. In his final hand, Kornuth shoved all-in with A-8 of diamonds and Schulz looked him up with A-4. A flop of A-J-5 kept Kornuth out in front, but a three on the turn gave Schulz a ray of light with a straight draw, which promptly hit on the river. He won $641,000 and reportedly left with a smile on his face despite the bad beat. There were 330 online qualifiers in this year's Main Event, several of whom earned their seat for as little as 10 FPPs. Also in the field was football star Ronaldo, who finished in 26th place and told the PokerStars team, "It was an amazing experience and an honor to participate. I had a lot of fun. To be sure, I will be here next year." Here were the final table results from the PCA Main Event: 1. Kevin Schulz - $1,491,580 2. Diego Die Ventura Ventura - $907,080 3. Chance Chances Cards Kornuth - $641,140 4. Niklas Hambitzer - $482,820 5. Juan Martin Pastor - $380,720 6. Rami arbianight Boukai - $285,740 Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  3. Pretty impressive news coming out of the Bahamas, the site of the 2015 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure. The weekend's Sunday Supersonic on PokerStars brought out $1,238 entrants. The prize pool of the $215 buy-in tournament swelled to $291,000 and, when the smoke cleared, PocketFiver Carter cswidler Swidler (pictured) finished fourth for $21,000. While taking fourth in the Supersonic isn't a mind-numbing feat on its own, consider the fact that Swidler was playing the $10,300 buy-in PCA Main Event at the same time. He told PokerNews, "I don't ever do that, but I set my alarm for 6:25 to play the Supersonic knowing that it would take a really short amount of time. I somehow ran up a stack. It looked really strong when I was opening because I was playing on my phone and all the guys at my table were watching me play for $50K. Every time I raised it got through." Swidler parlayed his image into a 32nd place finish in the PCA Main Event for $31,000, or $10,000 more than his Supersonic hit. On his final hand of the live event, he 3bet all-in before the flop with A-Q and, after 10 seconds, Uwe Ritter called with A-K. Swidler, according to PokerNews, flamed the slow-roll, saying "Are you kidding me?" and "Took you that long?" Ritter's hand held and Swidler went busto. Swidler is nearing $4 million in online tournament cashes, the largest of which came in 2012 by virtue of a PokerStars WCOOP Second Chance victory for $115,000. He won the Supersonic last year for $51,000 and has seven online MTT cashes of at least $50,000 to his name. Congrats to Swidler on his successful multitasking. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  4. Highly successful PocketFiver Steve MrTimCaumO'Dwyer (pictured) can add another feather to his cap. On Thursday, he won the $100,000 Super High Roller at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure in the Bahamas for $1.8 million. He told PCA officials, "I ended Day 1 not very happy about it and now I've ended the tournament feeling pretty good about it. I don't really care about the money ever. I just want to play against the best players and prove to myself that I can do this at the highest level." Prove it at the highest level he did. O'Dwyer outlasted a record-setting field of 50 players (66 total entries) in the Super High Roller just three months after taking down the Super High Roller at APPT Macau for another $1.8 million. Here's how the leaderboard in the Bahamas looked: 1. Steve MrTimCaumO'Dwyer - $1,872,580 2. Roger Sippl - $1,344,420 3. Bryn BrynKenney Kenney - $873,880 4. Sorel Imper1um Mizzi - $659,400 5. Christoph Vogelsang - $512,160 6. Sam Pudge714 Greenwood - $396,920 7. Andrew good2cu Robl - $313,700 8. Scott Seiver - $243,280 9. Jake Schindler - $185,660 O'Dwyer is up to $9.1 million in career live tournament scores, according to the Hendon Mob, and has already matched his total winnings from 2014 just a week into 2015. He has been in the top 100 of poker's money list every year since 2011 and is #62 all-time. He has a dozen scores of at least $100,000 over his career: December 2009: WPT Five Diamond, 6th place for $202,000 July 2011: Bellagio Cup VII, 1st place for $259,000 September 2011: EPT London Main Event, 2nd place for $726,000 December 2011: WPT Venice, 2nd place for $128,000 February 2012: WPT Denmark, 1st place for $213,000 May 2012: WPT Championship, 5th place for $192,000 October 2012: WSOP Europe €51,000 Re-Entry, 7th place for $169,000 March 2013: EPT London Main Event, 5th place for $219,000 May 2013: EPT Grand Final Main Event, 1st place for $1.6 million August 2013: EPT Barcelona Super High Roller, 3rd place for $475,000 November 2014: APPT Macau Super High Roller, 1st place for $1.8 million January 2015: PCA Super High Roller, 1st place for $1.8 million Online, O'Dwyer has over $2 million in career tournament winnings and is fresh off a second place finish in the PokerStarsBigger $162 on December 28 for $39,000. His largest online cash was worth $93,000 and came in 2009 in the Full Tilt $1K Monday. Congrats to O'Dwyer on his win! Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  5. Not only did the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Main Event wrap up on Wednesday with Kevin Schulz taking down the title, but the PCA High Roller Event also crowned a winner. Ilkin Garibli (pictured) won the record-breaking $25,000 buy-in tournament after a heads-up chop with PocketFiver Joe daPHUNNIEman Kuether. Interestingly, Garibli wasn't even planning on playing in the High Roller Event. The 26-year-old is from far away Azerbaijan and was vacationing in the Bahamas when he heard about the tournament and his friends coaxed him into entering. A few days later, Garibli was $1.1 million richer, while Kuether earned $1 million for second place. Garibli told PokerStars, "It's my first time I decided to play a tournament. I normally just play cash games with friends. And as you can see it has worked out quite well." Once the bubble burst, he seemingly portended his own finish, telling PokerStars, "To be honest I'm happy I cashed, but let's just say I'd rather win first place. The pay jumps between sixth and seventh don't really affect me that much. So, I'm going for the big money. I hope that can happen." Despite holding better than a 2:1 lead in chips at the time of the chop, Garibli agreed to split the prize pool evenly. The blinds were at 60,000-120,000-20,000 when the deal was struck, with one person commenting on Twitter, "Best chop ever?" The final eight in the High Roller Event included some of poker's top minds. Here's how the group cashed out: 1. Ilkin Garibli - $1,105,040 2. Joe daPHUNNIEmanKuether - $1,050,000 3. Oleksii Khoroshenin - $629,460 4. Jean-Pascal Savard - $508,080 5. Scott Seiver - $398,340 6. Nick Petrangelo - $301,500 7. Faraz The-Toilet Jaka - $221,440 8. Dan Heimiller - $162,700 Khoroshenin, who finished in third place, won EPT Vienna, while Seiver, who took fifth, took down the 2013 PCA Super High Roller Event. Kuether, meanwhile, won a $5K side event at last year's PCA and continues to churn out solid results. Jaka is a longtime member of PocketFives and #90 on poker's all-time money list, according to the Hendon Mob. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  6. In news announced on Friday, the buy-in for the 2016 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Main Eventwill be cut from $10,300 to $5,300. PokerStars said the halved price tag was "in line with European Poker Tour Main Events." The 2016 PCA schedule features a record 104 events and kicks off on January 6 from the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas. --- Tournament Poker Edgeis the only poker training site dedicated exclusively to MTTs and features over 1,000 training videos, blogs, articles, podcasts and a dedicated strategy forum for members. Check Tournament Poker Edge out on Twitter. --- Edgar Stuchly, Director of PokerStars Live Events, commented, "We have seen extraordinary growth in our live events in Europe and we're excited about emulating this success at the PCA. EPT Barcelona, which is running right now, is breaking records on a daily basis and our aim is to give PCA players the same kind of experience. We will do this by tripling the number of tournaments and offering a wider variety of buy-in levels to suit every player." To put the 104-event schedule in perspective, the 2015 PCA had a 35-event slate, meaning the tournament series is literally tripling in size. Besides making the PCA Main Event more in line with other EPT events, PokerStars dropping the Main Event buy-in by half could also have to do with dwindling attendance over the years. In fact, Main Event attendance has been declining since its apex in 2011: 2004: 211 entries 2005: 461 entries 2006: 724 entries 2007: 937 entries 2008: 1,136 entries 2009: 1,347 entries 2010: 1,529 entries 2011: 1,560 entries 2012: 1,072 entries 2013: 987 entries 2014: 1,031 entries 2015: 816 entries Kevin Schulz won the 2015 PCA Main Event and earned almost $1.5 million. According to PokerStars, "The packed schedule features a ton of fun and exciting variants including Win the Button and Deuces Wild, HOSE, PLO, and bounty tournaments. For high-stakes players, there will be plenty of prestigious events to tempt them off the beaches. The flagship $100k Super High Roller will start off the nine-day festival... with $50k and $25k High Roller events also on the schedule later on." The buy-in for the LAPT Bahamas event, which debuted last year, has also been reduced. In 2015, LAPT Bahamas had a $3,000 buy-in; in 2016, it will be $2,200. The PCA faces plenty of competition from local poker series that crisscross the United States like the MSPT and WSOP Circuit. Staying at Atlantis (pictured) can also be a costly proposition for players who do not win packages. As one user on TripAdvisor put it, "For dinner only for 2 adults, 2 kids (age 8 & 5), our bill was usually $150 (without drinks). If you eat at one of their upscale resort restaurants, it can easily be way over $200 for one meal! A take-out pizza is $30!" Dwindling attendance in the Bahamas also likely has to do with a lack of satellites for US players, who are in close proximity to the island nation. PokerStars withdrew from the US on Black Friday. Visit PokerStars for more details on the 2016 PCA. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  7. [caption width="640"] Antonio Esfandiari is no stranger to high stakes, high pressure situations.[/caption] There are a number of ways in which a poker player can be disqualified from a tournament. On Sunday, Day 2 of the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Main Event, Antonio Esfandiari was disqualified and it had nothing to do with anything the Poker Tournament Directors Association has ever made a rule for. Esfandiari was disqualified for urinating into a bottle while at a table. You read that right. Mother nature called and rather than leave the table and head to the men's room, Esfandiari took care of business at the table. It turns out getting from the table to the men's room would have been all too painful thanks to a prop bet Esfandiari had made with Bill Perkins. To win the bet, Esfandiari had to lunge everywhere he went for 48 hours. Sunday was the second day of the bet and Esfandiari was apparently feeling the effects of lunging around the Atlantis Resort for two days straight. Before Day 2 began, Esfandiari took to Twitter to give an update on the prop bet and ended up foreshadowing the big incident of the day. Esfandiari's punishment was only for the Main Event and he is allowed to play other PCA events beginning Monday.
  8. [caption width="640"] Mike 'SirWatts' Watson Wins 2016 PCA Main Event[/caption] The PokerStars Caribbean Adventure has often been the place where poker legends have their coming out party. The final table of the 2016 PCA Main Event, however, took on a different narrative. The six-handed final table included former WPT champ Mike 'SirWatts' Watson, One Drop High Roller winner Tony Gregg, and EPT Vilamoura champ Toby '810ofclubs' Lewisas well as Russia’s fifth all-time leading money winner, Vladimir Troyanovskiy. Watson, who won his World Poker Tour title 7.5 years ago at the Bellagio Cup, ended up navigating his way to the third major title of career following a heads-up battle with former PCA Main Event runner-up Gregg. Watson knows the player he was then is very different from the player he is today. "I look back and think about how I was playing in that main event. I was able to win, but I realize all of the fundamental errors I was making. My game has grown so much over that time and the player I was then wouldn't have nearly as good of a chance of winning a tournament today," said Watson following his PCA win. Randy Kritzer, who came into play Thursday with the shortest stack, couldn't get much going and was the first player eliminated. On just the eighth hand of the day, Kritzer raised to 225,000 and Phillip McAllister called from the big blind. The [poker card="qh"] [poker card="9h"] [poker card="6d"] flop got a check from McAllister followed by a bet of 325,000 from Kritzer. McAllister announced all-in and Kritzer called and flipped up [poker card="qs"] [poker card="tc"] for top pair. McAllister showed [poker card="8s"] [poker card="7h"] a straight draw and backdoor flush draw. The [poker card="4h"] turn and [poker card="8h"] river gave McAllister his flush and ended Kritzer's run. With the least experienced player gone, play tightened up. It wasn't until almost four hours later that another player was sent packing. Gregg opened to 350,000 and Troyanovskiy defended his big blind. After the [poker card="ac"] [poker card="8h"] [poker card="4h"] flop, Troyanovskiy moved all-in for 700,000 and Gregg called. Gregg tabled [poker card="as"] [poker card="qc"] for top pair and Troyanovskiy showed [poker card="7h"] [poker card="3h"] for a flush draw. Neither the [poker card="td"] turn nor [poker card="9c"] river helped Troyanovskiy and the Russian was out in fifth place. It took 90 minutes to go from four players to three. McAllister called from the button and Toby Lewis moved all-in from the button before Watson came over the top of both players from the big blind. Lewis tabled [poker card="ks"] [poker card="9s"] and Watson showed [poker card="ac"] [poker card="jd"]. The board ran out [poker card="tc"] [poker card="6s"] [poker card="3h"] [poker card="kh"] [poker card="qs"] to send Lewis home in fourth. Action folded to McAllister, who limped from the small blind. Watson raised all-in from the big blind and McAllister snap-called and showed [poker card="jd"] [poker card="jh"], while Watson turned [poker card="8c"] [poker card="7c"]. The [poker card="tc"] [poker card="7s"] [poker card="5c"] gave Watson middle pair and flush draw and all drama ended with the [poker card="3c"] turn. The meaningless [poker card="5s"] river ended the hand and McAllister was out in third. When heads-up play began, Watson held a nearly 2-1 chip lead over Gregg. The pair went on a dinner break and when they came back agreed to a deal that saw Watson take $695,325 and Gregg $612,175, leaving $33,000 on the table and, of course, the title. Even with just 2.5% of the first and second place prizes still at stake, Gregg and Watson continued to play for over two hours. On the final hand, Gregg limped his button and Watson checked his option to see an [poker card="8h"] [poker card="6h"] [poker card="2h"] flop. Watson checked and Gregg bet 400,000, only to have Watson check-raise to 1,200,000. Gregg responded by moving all-in for 4,100,000. Watson took his time before calling and showed [poker card="7h"] [poker card="4s"] for a flush draw. Gregg tabled [poker card="as"] [poker card="8c"] for top pair. The [poker card="7s"] turn gave Watson extra outs and the [poker card="5h"] turn filled his flush to win the 2016 PCA Main Event. 2016 PCA Main Event Final Table Payouts Mike Watson - $728,325 Tony Gregg - $612,175 Phillip McAllister - $356,020 Toby Lewis - $267,340 Vladimir Troyanovskiy - $207,940 Randy Krizter - $153,920 Ken Demlakian - $110,220 Timothy Ulmer - $78,540
  9. [caption width="640"] After two third place finishes, Bryn Kenney finally got his hands on the PCA SHR Championship trophy Friday[/caption] Before the final table of the $100,000 buy-in PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Super High Roller began on Friday afternoon there were a number of storylines in play. Joe McKeehen, just two months from winning the WSOP Main Event was third in chips. Isaac Haxton, just weeks after leaving Team PokerStars Online, was fifth in chips at PokerStars’ marquee live event. Mustapha Kanit, who won the €50,000 buy-in Super High Roller at the EPT Grand Final last May, was looking for another title and seven figure score to add to his impressive resume. And then there was Bryn Kenney. Five years ago Kenney finished third in this event. He did that again in 2015, finishing third behind runner-up Roger Sippl and champion Steve O’Dwyer. But on Friday Kenney exorcised the demons and came through with a victory - and a $1,687,800 payday - against the stacked field. McKeehen got the party started in all in preflop confrontation with Haxton. With just over 14 big blinds left, Haxton moved all-in with [poker card="ts"] [poker card="9s"] on the button and McKeehen called from the big blind with [poker card="as"] [poker card="ks"]. The board ran out [poker card="ac"] [poker card="jd"] [poker card="4h"] [poker card="td"] [poker card="5s"] to give McKeehen top pair and eliminate Haxton in sixth place. Almost 90 minutes later David Peters was shown the door. Working with just over 10 big blinds, Peters moved all-in holding [poker card="ad"] [poker card="9s"], Kenney called from the big blind with [poker card="as"] [poker card="td"]. The [poker card="ks"] [poker card="qd"] [poker card="3c"] flop was no help for Peters but the [poker card="qh"] turn gave Peters some chops outs. The [poker card="ts"] river however sealed Peters’ fate with a fifth place finish. Ankush Mandavia completed from the small blind before Mustapha Kanit raised to 290,000 from the big blind. Mandavia responded by moving all-in and Kanit called. Mandavia was racing with his [poker card="ah"] [poker card="jh"] against Kanti’s [poker card="7c"] [poker card="7s"]. The [poker card="td"] [poker card="9h"] [poker card="8d"] flop gave both players straight draws. The [poker card="4h"] turn changed nothing the but the [poker card="qs"] river completed Mandavia’s straight and sent Kanit to the rail in fourth. Despite the chips he picked up by busting Kanit, Mandavia’s run ended not long after that hand. Mandavia moved all-in from the small blind for 2,135,000 and Kenney called from the big blind. Mandavia had kicker issues after turning over [poker card="ks"] [poker card="4h"] and seeing Kenney held [poker card="kd"] [poker card="9d"]. After the [poker card="jc"] [poker card="th"] [poker card="6s"] [poker card="3d"] [poker card="7d"] board Mandavia was out in third and Kenney was left to play heads-up with reigning WSOP Main Event champ McKeehen. When heads-up play began Kenney had the chip lead, holding 7,945,000 chips to McKeehen’s 6,550,000. The two played 46 hands of heads-up poker with both players taking turns with an overwhelming chip lead. On the final hand of the night McKeehen raised his button to 480,000 before Kenney moved all-in. McKeehen called and tabled [poker card="5d"] [poker card="5h"] while Kenney turned up [poker card="kh"] [poker card="7c"]. The [poker card="7d"] [poker card="7h"] [poker card="4c"] flop put Kenney ahead with trips and when the [poker card="3s"] turn and [poker card="js"] river failed to give McKeehen a full house, he was out in second place leaving Kenney as the champion. The event attracted a total of 58 entries - down slightly from the 66 that played last year. Final Table Payouts Bryn Kenney - $1,687,800 Joe McKeehen - $1,220,480 Ankush Mandavia - $787,640 Mustapha Kanit - $596,360 David Peters - $461,340 Isaac Haxton - $360,060 Daniel Dvoress - $286,920 Kathy Lehne- $225,040
  10. [caption width="640"] PokerStars is sticking around the Bahamas but bringing back the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure name.[/caption] This time last year PokerStars that the European Poker Tour was dead and all live tournaments run by the online poker giant would be branded as PokerStars Live. That meant the end of the flagship live event, the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure - at least in name. When January rolled around and players headed to the Bahamas for the flagship PokerStars live event, it was the PokerStars Championship Bahamas - not the much beloved PCA. On Thursday the company announced they've changed their mind and are bringing the PCA back for 2018 as a result of player feedback. "This feedback included suggestions that we restore the PCA name and improve the quality of that event to reflect the great heritage and unique experience that made PCA one of the most-anticipated poker events of the year," said Eric Hollreiser, Director of Corporate Communications at PokerStars. "We're restoring the name and reinvigorating the event to ensure it remains a premiere poker festival." The name isn't the only thing changing back though. As it has since 2005, the 2018 PCA will run at the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas from January 6 - 14 but PokerStars has also gone back in time and made the buy-in $10,300. For the last two years the buy-in was dropped to $5,300. Despite raising the buy-in for the Main Event, PokerStars intends on increasing the number of online qualifiers sent to the event and the ways in which they can qualify. "We will also increase the promotions around PCA in order to bring even more people and make qualifying for packages as exciting as we can. We are committed to sending at least 400 players to this must-play event," said Hollreiser. A full slate of qualifying options will be available on PokerStars.com following the conclusion of the 2017 World Championship of Online Poker in late September. They've also announced a much lower rake structure that impacts nearly every event. The rake for every event with a buy-in of $10,000 or more is now capped at $300. This move should be music to the ears of high roller regulars. In 2017, the $100,000 Super High Roller had a rake of $2,000. Tournaments with levels that are less than 20 minutes long will also have their rake cut in half. PokerStars estimates this will mean a $300,000 reduction in rake. The schedule will also be more streamlined. The 2017 festival included 75 events over nine days. While the 2018 PCA schedule hasn't been finalized yet, the company has promised a significant drop in event with "more than 30" events promised. Other announced changes for the 2018 PCA include: $50,000 player's freeroll improvements to food and beverage options PCA player party the return of the $200 swag bag
  11. [caption width="640"] PokerStars' PCA Ultra Satellite guarantees an 100 online qualifiers[/caption] Even before Christian Harder hoisted the 2017 PokerStars Championship Bahamas trophy, officials at the worldwide leader in online poker, PokerStars, knew that in 2018 they would need to make changes. Registration for the newly re-branded tournament was the lowest it had been in a decade and so in order to get back on track, the company turned to its customers in an effort to polish up the premiere poker getaway formerly known as the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure. In August, PokerStars announced a number of changes to the crown jewel of their live event calendar, including restoring the brand back to the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure. Along with reverting the name of the event they also rolled back the buy-in for their Main Event from $5,300 to its long-standing traditional $10,300 buy-in, assuring a gigantic prize pool for those who make the trip. Another promised improvement for 2018 - more online qualifiers. PokerStars is determined to pack the Atlantis Resort, the longtime host to the PCA, with players who won their way into the Main Event by capturing a coveted all-inclusive package through the PCA Ultra Satellites. The PCA Ultra Satellites are guaranteeing at least 100 players a $15,855 prize that includes everything one would need to bask in all of the sun, surf and suckouts the Bahamas has to offer. The next 100-seat, $1.5 million guaranteed $530 Ultra Satellite takes place at 14:35 ET on November 5 on PokerStars. In addition to being able to buy directly into the tournament players can win their way into the big event for as little as $1 and in almost every game PokerStars has to offer. From dedicated on-demand Spin & Go’s to multi-table-tournaments to cash game challenges, PokerStars is allowing you to pick your ownRoad To The Bahamas path and entry into the $530 Ultra Satellite. Winners of the package will receive a buy-in to the $10,300 Main Event, nine nights accommodation for two at the Atlantis Resort (from January 6-15), $1,000 room credit that can be applied to purchase food and drink during the festival and an additional $1,000 deposited directly into players’ PokerStars account to assist towards travel expenses. Just note, with players from all over the world qualifying for the trip, travel arrangements are not handled by PokerStars but by the players themselves. PokerStars’ Director of Corporate Communications, Eric Hollreiser had previously commented that they are “committed to sending at least 400 players to this must-play event.” By all accounts, they are working hard at it. Not only is PokerStars offering the PCA Qualifier packages in New Jersey for the first time, but the site also covered more than a half a million dollars in overlay in the previous PCA Ultra Satellite, which resulted in approximately 36 free trips to the Bahamas. With more qualifiers, a promised rake reduction (one that is calculated to save players approximately $300,000) and a more streamlined schedule of events PokerStars seems resolved to make the new and improved PCA a poker getaway more desirable than ever before. The PokerStars.com $530 PCA Ultra Satellite takes place on November 5 at 14:35 ET with 100-seats guaranteed to be given away.
  12. The PokerStars Caribbean Adventure returns January 6 - 14 to kickoff 2018. The perennial first festival stop of the year underwent a branding change in 2017, but is back to its familiar name this time around. A whopping 92 events were listed on the schedule last year and that figure has been pared down to just 31. The only games available on the tournament calendar are No Limit Hold’em and variants of Pot Limit Omaha. Of the 31 events, 29 are strictly No Limit. Gone are the Flipouts and Win the Button events, in their place are more standard fare like the Single Re-Entry $1,100 and $1,650 PCA National Championship. Plenty of High Rollers Available PCA opens on Saturday, January 6 with one of the most prestigious Super High Roller events of the year. The $100,000 PCA Super High Roller brought in 43 entries along with 13 rebuys a year ago and expectations are raised for this year. Jason Koon defeated Charlie Carrell heads up to win the title and $1.65 million first-place prize. The $100,000 Super High Roller isn’t the only High Roller event in the PCA lineup. Other High Rollers include the two-day $50,000 High Roller starting on January 7, single-day $25,000 with one re-entry on January 11, and the three-day PCA $25,000 High Roller starting on January 12. The 2017 PCA High Roller drew 121 entrants and 38 rebuys with Lucas Greenwood finishing on top. Greenwood and Nick Petrangelo chopped the prize money of the first two places before Greenwood won the heads up match. Other players to make the final table include Byron Kaverman, Daniel Negreanu, and Bryn Kenney. The PCA Main Event Buy-in is Back to $10K Of the many changes to PCA for the upcoming series, the most significant alteration comes with the Main Event. After two years of the buy-in being reduced to $5,300, it is back up to $10,300 for 2018. The six-day event starts on January 8 and will crown a new champion on January 14. Christian Harder claimed his first major title by winning last year’s tournament. Harder defeated a field of 738 entrants and beat Cliff Josephy heads up to hoist the PokerStars Championship trophy. The last time the PCA Main Event featured a $10,300 buy-in was 2015 and Kevin Schulz outlasted 816 entrants to walk away with nearly $1.5 million. This year’s structure is plenty familiar with the event not offering any re-entry option and players able to buy-in up until the start of Day 2. Levels are 60 minutes for all of Day 1 and then transition to 90 minutes from the beginning of Level 9 all the way through the end of the tournament. PokerStars is guaranteeing 400 online qualifiers for the PCA Main Event and it will be interesting to see what the total field size winds up being. Post-Lims of All Shapes and Sizes The festival winds down with competitive multi-day events. A trio of three-day events are on the agenda with three different price points all offering a single re-entry option. The $3,300 event opens on January 10 followed by the $1,100 on January 11. Capping off the relevant three-day post-lims is the $2,200 event. That tournament starts on January 12. On Sunday, January 13, four single-day Knockout events are featured ranging in buy-in from $330 all the way up to $10,300. The last event takes place on January 14 in the form of a one-day $10,150 buy-in with unlimited re-entry. The tourney is a 15-minute level turbo that features a shot clock for the event’s entirety. Every PCA series brings about its own unique storyline. Bryn Kenney dominated in January of last year to start his record-setting year. In just a few days, the action begins in one of poker’s favorite places. Complete 2018 PCA Schedule Date Event # Name Buy-in Jan 6 1 PCA Super High Roller (Three-Day Event) $100,000 Jan 6 2 NL Hold'em (One-Day Event) $550 Jan 7 4 NL Hold'em - PCA National (Three-Day Event) $1,650 Jan 7 5 PL Omaha - High Only (Two-Day Event) $550 Jan 8 7 NL Hold'em - PCA Main Event (Six-Day Event) $10,300 Jan 8 8 NL Hold'em - High Roller (Two-Day Event) $50,000 Jan 8 10 NL Hold'em - (One-Day Event) $550 Jan 9 12 PL Omaha - Hi/Lo 8 or Better (Two-Day Event) $550 Jan 9 14 NL Hold'em - Turbo - (One-Day Event) $2,100 Jan 10 15 NL Hold'em - (Three-Day Event) $3,300 Jan 10 16 NL Hold'em - (Two-Day Event) $550 Jan 11 18 NL Hold'em - (One-Day Event) $25,000 Jan 11 19 NL Hold'em - (Three-Day Event) $1,100 Jan 12 22 NL Hold'em - PCA High Roller - (Three-Day Event) $25,000 Jan 12 23 NL Hold'em - PCA Cup - (Two-Day Event, Two Starting Flights) $330 Jan 12 24 NL Hold'em - (Three-Day Event) $2,200 January 12 25 NL Hold'em - Turbo - (One-Day Event) $1,050 Jan 13 26 NL Hold'em - $100 Knockout - (One-Day Event) $330 Jan 13 27 NL Hold'em - $500 Knockout - (One-Day Event) $1,650 Jan 13 28 NL Hold'em - $100 Knockout - (One-Day Event) $550 Jan 13 29 NL Hold'em - $5,000 SuperKnockout - (One-Day Event) $10,300 Jan 14 31 NL Hold'em - (One-Day Event) $10,150
  13. A few days ago Cary Katz contemplated skipping the opening few days of the 2018 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure altogether and flying his family to Atlanta to watch his alma mater, the University of Georgia Bulldogs, play in the NCAA Championship football game. He didn't though, and Monday night, just minutes after the game kicked off, Katz capped off an impressive three-day run to win the $100,000 Super High Roller for nearly $1.5 million. "I did think about flying to the game to watch it, but decided I'd rather watch it here with my family, even if it's not live," said Katz. "If Georgia wins, it will be the greatest night of my life for sure," said Katz. It took just 10 hands before the first player was sent packing. Bryn Kenney raised to 110,000 from UTG before Sam Greenwood moved all in from the big blind. Kenney called and tabled A♦A♥ while Greenwood showed K♣K♠. The board ran out J♠8♣6♣9♦J♣ to eliminate Greenwood in seventh place. Ivan Luca picked up the next elimination. The table folded to Luca in the small blind and he moved all in. Isaac Haxton gave some consideration to folding before eventually calling all in for 1,410,000. Luca tabled A♥4♥ while Haxton showed Q♥J♥. The K♠9♣3♣ flop gave Haxton extra outs but neither the K♣ turn or 7♣ river was any help and he was out in sixth. That hand propelled Luca to the chip lead but just two hands later, the Argentinian was shaking hands and heading to the payout window. After losing almost 1,000,000 on one hand against Kenney, Luca went to battle against the American again. Luca raised to 175,000 from the cutoff and Kenney re-raised to 635,000 from the small blind. Luca moved all in for 3,095,000 and Kenney called instantly. Luca turned over A♥J♣ and found himself in bad shape after Kenney tabled A♣K♣. The board ran out 9♦7♣3♥A♦7♥ to send Luca out in fifth place in dramatic fashion. Kenney had a small part in another elimination 28 hands later. Kenney raised to 210,000 from UTG and action folded to Daniel Negreanu in the small blind. He moved all in for 840,000, Justin Bonomo then moved all in over the top from the big blind and Kenney folded. Negreanu turned over K♥K♠ and Bonomo showed A♣J♥. Kenney told the table he folded an ace, leaving Bonomo just two more to hit. The flop came A♦5♦4♣ to put Bonomo ahead. Neither the Q♥ turn or 2♦ river were any help for Negreanu and he was forced to settle for a fourth-place result. Kenney's run eventually ended in a confrontation with Bonomo. Katz folded his button, Bonomo moved all in from the small blind and Kenney called all in from the big. Bonomo showed Q♠10♦ which put him behind Kenney's K♥9♦. The J♦10♣3♥ flop flipped the script though and Kenney was unable to catch back up after the A♥ turn or 4♠ river. The tournament ended just seven hands later. Bonomo moved all in for 3,300,000 and Katz called, having Bonomo covered. Bonomo revealed A♣K♥ while Katz had 8♣8♦. The 9♥3♠2♠ flop changed nothing and Katz remained safe through the Q♠ turn and J♥ river to eliminate Bonomo and win a second career $100,000 buy-in event. Final Table Payouts Cary Katz - $1,492,340 Justin Bonomo - $1,077,800 Bryn Kenney - $686,960 Daniel Negreanu - $521,140 Ivan Luca - $402,700 Isaac Haxton - $307,940 Sam Greenwood - $248,720
  14. Hosted by PocketFives President and Editor in Chief Lance Bradley and poker writer Matt Clark, The Fives runs each week and covers the latest poker news, preview upcoming events, and interview players and industry leaders. The first episode of The Fives for 2018 includes Lance and Matt discussing Vanessa Selbst's decision to walk away from poker, Daniel Negreanu's goals for 2018 and his rather candid rundown of his 2017 year from a financial standpoint. They also preview the 2018 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure and talk about TwoPlusTwo PokerCast Adam Schwartz completing the first stage of life-changing prop bet. DOWNLOAD THIS EPISODE IN ITUNES GET THIS EPISODE ON STITCHER
  15. On a normal day, Jon West is involved with some of the most important people in the cryptocurrency world. The last five days haven't been normal for West though. And no, we're not talking about the swings in the price of Bitcoin. West is one of the last 20 players in the 2018 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Main Event chasing down the seven-figure score that comes with first place. The 26-year-old isn't just some rich kid from the world of crypto splashing around in a poker tournament though. He's been playing poker since he was 14 years old. When he was five years old his father introduced him to chess. He picked that up pretty quickly and over the course of the next five years, he became one of the top-ranked players for his age in the United States. "I went to tournaments. I got up to #6 in America in sixth grade and used to travel all over America," said West. "I convinced my mom to take me to these chess tournaments and leave me there for the weekend in the hotel because I was an extremely responsible 11-year-old." He's not lying and no, there was never an issue that resulted in mom getting a phone call from a pissed off hotel manager. West understood that screwing up meant he'd soon find himself rooming with mom again. "If I messed things up, I wouldn't get this privilege anymore and then I wouldn't be able to hang out with the older kids and have the parties in my room," said West. "I was always the youngest, and it was super fun, especially since at that point I was getting bullied pretty hard in middle school. It was nice just to be able to hang out with all these 16-24 olds that just hung out with me all night." It was during one of those trips where he stumbled into poker. Literally. "I go to these chess tournaments and you know those guys who play speed chess in the park? There's every chess tournament equivalent of those guys in some side room playing chess for money - $1 or $5 per game, except they were playing poker," said West. "I was 11 and I was completely enthralled. So I stayed up until 2 or 3 am every night, watched them all play poker and I was like 'next year I'm going to come back and give it a whirl'." He went home and bought himself a copy of Super System and Harrington on Hold'em. Gave them a read and then just waited. He returned to that same tournament the next year anxious to play some cards. That weekend I ran super hot and won $2,000. This is as a 12-year-old - that's life-changing money. Gumballs galore!," said West. " I came home with a pile of all these $20s. I was like 'check it out' - stuffing them in my pockets." Two years later he signed up for his first online poker account under his mom's name and he dabbled in tournaments and cash games. Once he was done with high school he went off to Dartmouth to chase down a philosophy degree. While there he played even more online poker. Much to his parents' delight, he graduated on time. He played poker for the next year. In late 2009 he finished third in a Full Tilt Online Poker Series event for $97,737 and decided to head to PCA to try and run it up. He came home broke but learned a lot. "It was this life-changing moment where I learned about risk tolerance and pacing myself and all this kind of stuff," said West, who still considers PCA his favorite tournament because of those lessons. Once he got home knew had to find a real job. He wound up working for Citi in the Sales and Trading program. He spent two years there as a trader dealing in FX Forwards and credit default swaps.Za "Once I stopped doing that after my two-year period was over, I started working for Mike Novogratz, he's a hedge fund legend. He ran Fortress, one of the largest hedge funds in the world, he was the CIO there. He hired me to join his family office and be his execution trader," said West. While working for Novogratz, the pair started exploring the world of cryptocurrency. Novogratz's college roommate was Joe Lubin, one of the co-founders of Ethereum. They dove in head-first and West shifted all of his focus to the crypto market. He's now the co-founder of Omega One, a startup focused on increasing liquidity in the crypto markets. Even though this is only his second time playing any sort of poker in the last 18 months, he knows the poker world is infatuated with crypto and it doesn't at all surprise him. "It's the same group of people that like games, don't like having traditional jobs, don't like working for people, like to be able to wear whatever they want, like the power of the internet - online poker and that whole super exciting thing, like the power of technology and have a libertarian streak to them, where they don't like 'the man'," said West.
  16. Romanian online grinder Adrian ‘BadWolfOne’ Nica went from a $2 tournament entrant to a PokerStars Platinum Pass winner. The 27-year-old professional online grinder entered as one in a field of 38,253 to having $30,000 in equity toward the 2019 Players No Limit Hold’em Championship as part of the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure. PokerStars announced a Platinum Pass would be added as a prize for the winner of the Winter Series Micro Main Event. The Platinum Pass belongs to Nica along with the $8,171 he earned from his remote homeland. One for the low stakes grinders Nica plays lower stakes tournaments as his primary means of income and familiarity with late-stage spots allowed him to focus on the task at hand instead of solely on the Platinum Pass. “It’s just another win,” Nica said. “I didn’t feel like it was amazing, I didn’t feel like I should scream or dance. I was taking it one step at a time. There’s still ICM involved. I just wanted to make every decision as well as possible.” The final four players made a deal in the tournament and played for a $2,000 save along with the Platinum Pass. Nica says he ran well to get into the high-equity spot and used aggression to exploit opponents who he thought were playing tighter than they should be. The full tournament lasted for 14 hours and the studious Nica watched the replay of his win afterward to pick up on any mistakes he made. The game of life involves cards Poker is the only job Nica claims to have had in his life and says it’s easy for him to make enough money in tournaments ranging from $5-$20 buy-ins to have a stable income. The Players Championship is the first time since 2014 Nica has traveled outside his homeland to play a tournament. A World Poker Tour event in Venice drew Nica after he qualified via satellite. The game is a job for Nica and also a means to an end. He doesn’t foresee himself changing any part of his life should he win the Players Championship. For him, it’s just another tournament. “I’m excited to play for such big stakes. I’m not that confident. I do plan to study a lot. Even if I don’t win anything, I have the motivation to study.” The Bahamas has never been a primary destination for Nica and when it comes to the subject of the World Series of Poker Main Event, Nica is indifferent about the chance to play in the world’s biggest tournament. Nica studies poker during the day using hand reviews and ICMizer. He plays at night with the same mental fortitude that enabled him to stay sharp during the grind of the Micro Millions Main Event. The game came to Nica while in school. He found a forum that allowed him to bet on sports at a reasonable rate. Poker made its way through the pipeline and Nica picked up the game soon after. “I think I first got into poker through betting 25 cents on games I wanted to watch. I got an email about a freeroll then found the forum and chatted with people and learned more,” Nica said. The challenge to move up the ladder Nica rarely leaves home to play in live tournaments and the Players Championship represents a huge challenge for him of matching skills with the world’s best. The studying time Nica puts in is on par with some of the game’s best. So what stands between the best and a player like Nica? It’s two parts, according to him. “The degen mentality and the obsessive nature. Dara O'Kearney has a mentality where anything he does and wants to become the absolute best. It’s the mentality that poker requires. It’s not something that anyone can do. I need a lot of studying to even come close to them.” As Nica hits the proverbial books to up his game in the next year, the enjoyment of the challenge comes back to him. “I really enjoy the figuring stuff out and beating someone. Love the game part of it.”
  17. Pennsylvania grinder Thai Ha woke up this morning at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure expecting to sit down to his 130,300 stack and do everything he could to make Day 3. He arrived at his table a little bit late and almost missed out on what will probably end up being the most exciting - and profitable - part of his day. Ha’s table, one of 45 in play at the start of play Wednesday, was randomly chosen to be part of the PokerStars Players Championship promotion. As the cameras moved in, Joe Stapleton explained the rules to everybody. Each of the seven players was going to be dealt a hand of Hold’em. The dealer would then run out the flop, turn, and river. Whichever player had the best hand after the river was going to be given a PSPC Platinum Pass worth $30,000. As the dealer began dealing, Ha wasn’t at the table yet. He was running about a minute behind. He did make it to the table just in time to see the river dealt, but with the crowd that had formed around the table, Ha wasn’t quite able to get to his seat. The player on his left turned his hand face up and Ha discovered he had rivered trip eights to beat out Mike Leah’s flopped top pair. “It was amazing. I would never expect that to happen to me, obviously. That was unreal - it’s a free $25,000, plus the trip,” said Ha. The promotion, which awards 300 Platinum Passes over the course of 2018, is geared towards making the PSPC the biggest - and potentially softest - $25,000 buy-in event in history. Players can win them through various means throughout the year. The 2018 PCA Main Event champion will also earn one. “I was going to play that event regardless. Now I’m saving my $25,000,” laughed Ha. The 26-year-old has only been playing poker since 2014, but he’s managed to move up in stakes relatively quickly. “I was born in Vietnam, so I didn’t even know about poker until I moved to the United States. That was 2007, but I went to school so I just focused on school. After I graduated, I started playing poker,” said Ha, who has $659,518 career earnings. This past summer he finished 226th in the World Series of Poker Main Event for an official cash of $40,181, but just like this trip to the Bahamas gave him a little bit more equity, Ha found a way to make a little more than that $40K. “For the Main Event, bought 20% of myself on PokerShares. I punished them a little bit,” said Ha, who paid 1.5 through the site. Now that he’s saved the $25,000 entry fee on the PSPC, he might spend some of that on himself on PokerShares for the event. “I’m probably going to do that,” said Ha, who regularly plays Pot Limit Omaha and No Limit Hold’em cash games and tournaments at Parx, Sugar House and the Borgata and only travels for some of the bigger events.
  18. Nine months ago very few poker fans had ever heard of Maria Lampropulos. Outside of a runner-up finish in Eureka Poker Tour Main Event in March 2016, her poker resume wasn't much to write home about. She changed that last April, winning the partypoker MILLIONS Main Event at Dusk Till Dawn for $1.25 million. Late Sunday night at the 2018 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, she picked up her second seven-figure cash by beating Shawn Buchanan heads up to win the 2018 PCA Main Event for $1.08 million and a Platinum Pass, which gives her free entry to the $25,000 PokerStars Players Championship next January. "It's magic. It's a dream. It's incredible," said Lampropulos. "Sometimes they tell you that have to visualize that you, for example, winning the tournament or holding the trophy and I always try to do that, and it works." Lampropulos came to the final table sitting third in chips behind Shawn Buchanan and Adrian Mateos and didn't take the chip lead until just four hands before the event was over. She was, however, responsible for the first bust out. Lampropulos raised from early position to 170,000 and Christian Rudolph moved all in from the big blind. Lampropulos called and tabled [6c][6s] while Rudolph showed [ac][8d]. The board ran out [8s][7c][6d][qc][7d] to give Lampropulos a rivered full house while Rudolph was eliminated in sixth place. Just over an hour later, Buchanan picked up his first victim of the day. Buchanan raised to 125,000 from the button and fellow Canadian Daniel Coupal called from the big blind. Coupal then moved all in for 845,000 after the [kc][5c][3d] flop and Buchanan called. Coupal showed [8d][4d] which put him well behind Buchanan's [ks][js]. The [8h] turn gave Coupal some hope, but the [kd] river ended his tournament with a fifth-place finish. Just 30 minutes, Buchanan and start of day chip leader Adrian Mateos clashed in a massive pot that propelled Buchanan to a nearly overwhelming position atop the chip counts. Buchanan raised from UTG to 200,000, Mateos re-raised to 600,000 from the button, the blinds folded and Buchanan called. The flop came [kd][qc][6d]. Buchanan checked, Mateos bet 700,000 before Buchanan fired back with a raise to 1,800,000. Mateos didn't slow down, moving all in for 2,700,000 total and Buchanan called. Mateos showed [ac][kh] for top pair while Buchanan had [8d][5d] for a flush draw. The drama was over quickly as the [4d] hit the turn, completing Buchanan's flush. The river was the [9h] to officially eliminated Mateos in fourth place. Almost four hours into three-handed play, Lampropulos doubled through Koray Aldemir, setting up the German's elimination. Four hands after that hand, Aldemir moved all in for 3,525,000 from the button and Buchanan called from the big blind. Aldmir showed [kh][7h] while Buchanan was ahead with [ac][8c]. The [9s][8h][3c] flop gave Buchanan middle pair and the [8d] turn gave him trips to seal Aldemir's fate. The [kc] river was too little, too late for Aldemir and he was out in third. Buchanan began heads-up play with a 2-1 chip lead, but over the next hour Lampropulos chipped away before eventually finding back-to-back double ups to take a 3-1 lead. Buchanan limped before Lampropulos raised all in. Buchanan called and flipped over [kh][5s] while Lampropulos showed [tc][7c]. THe [ts][9c][5d] flop put Lampropulos in front, where she stayed through the [2h] turn and [9h] river to eliminate Buchanan and capture her second seven-figure score in the last nine months. Final Table Payouts Maria Lampropulos - $1,081,100 Shawn Buchanan - $672,960 Koray Aldemir - $481,560 Adrian Mateos - $372,600 Daniel Coupal - $293,560 Christian Rudolph - $229,760 Oleg Titov - $169,920 Adalfer Morales Gamarra - $116,860
  19. Over ten months after announcing what is expected to be the largest $25,000 tournament in history, PokerStars has finally revealed what players can expect when they take their seat at the upcoming PokerStars Players Championship. Everything from the tournament structure to the payout percentage was designed for the players by the players as well as members of the PokerStars team. The field is expected to be a mix of elite high-rolling players and the 300 participants that freerolled into the contest by way of winning a Platinum Pass. In total, the prize pool should soar past $10,000,000 with the winner of the inaugural PSPC becoming a millionaire many times over. How Players Helped The Process The only two aspects of the PSPC that was determined before consulting the players was that the event will take five days and it will be a freezeout. There will be no re-entries. After that, PokerStars sent surveys to players who will actually be participating in the event - both Platinum Pass winners as well as players that are expected to buy-in directly. In addition, a five-player panel was consulted that includes, former PocketFives #1-ranked player Shaun Deeb, 2018 PCA High Roller winner David Dvoress, high roller circuit grinder David Peters, author-turned-PokerStars sponsored player Maria Konnikova and Dragos Trofimov - those three all have already won a Platinum Pass this year. The surveyed players, the player representatives, as well as members of the PokerStars team, evaluated just about every aspect of the tournament. With all opinions accounted for the details of the event began to take shape. Player Comfort The question of whether play would begin eight or nine-handed was seemingly split down the middle. It was decided that Day 1 of the PSPC will play nine-handed. Then, as players bust the tournament, tables will be scaled down to eight-handed “at the start of Day 2 by the latest.” With the event taking place in the Bahamas, players overwhelmingly also opted for a shorter playing day. Roughly 70% of the players wanted to play for eight hours a day versus a ten hour day. The first two days of play will not have dinner breaks but will be introduced later in the tournament depending on field size. Places Paid PokerStars popularized the current trend of paying 15% and the polled players agreed that's what the PSPC should pay. However, since there is no rake for this event, the money that would have gone to rake will be redistributed to the prize pool. Before reaching what would be a traditional min-cash, there will be some players receiving their $25,000 buy-in back. For Platinum Pass winners, this will be a $25,000 profit as they will not have paid out-of-pocket to be in the tournament. Other prize pool numbers that have been revealed include first place paying out somewhere between 16.8%-17.5%. Though the survey favored a slightly higher percentage for first place, the player panel and the PokerStars team determined that with the additional $1,000,000 added to first place, a flatter payout structure would benefit more players. Tournament Details All of today’s modern high roller conventions will be enlisted during the PSPC. The big blind ante, which is currently used in all of PokerStars LIVE events, will be used. The tournament will also shift to a shot clock as soon as the money is reached, which is expected to be late in Day 2. The structure features 60-minute levels throughout the tournament. The starting stack of 60,000 at 100/200 starting blinds provides 300 big blinds when the first hand is dealt. The min-cash will be based on the total number of players who end up registering. The calculation will likely be between 1.27 and 1.45 the buy-in. This calculates into a min-cash of roughly $32,000 on the low end and $34,000 on the high end.
  20. As 2018 winds down, PocketFives is taking you a trip down memory lane with a month-by-month year in review. We get things started with January and a trip the Bahamas. Vanessa Selbst Calls It Quits Word actually broke in the closing hours of 2017, but the talk around Vanessa Selbst retiring from poker carried on into the early days of 2018. Selbst, the all-time leading female money winner, announced her decision to retire via a Facebook post. In that post, she explained that she had taken a job with a New York-based hedge fund and had already been working there for a few months. Selbst did indicate that she wasn't done entirely with the game though. "To me, the opportunity to work hard and learn something totally new and get to keep poker in my arsenal of fun go-to hobbies feels like the right approach,” Selbst wrote. Selbst lived up to her word, showing up to play the World Poker Tour Lucky Hearts Poker Open in late January. READ: Vanessa Selbst Retires From Poker Maria Lampropulos Wins PCA Main Event; Cary Katz Tops $100K High Roller The first major poker tournament of 2018 was the return of the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure. The PCA was brought back after PokerStars' failed rebranding of all of their live events as PokerStars Live Championships. The PCA Main Event brought out 582 players for a total prize pool of $5,645,400. The final table included Adrian Mateos, Koray Aldamir, Shawn Buchanan and Maria Lampropulos. The tournament came down to an epic heads-up battle between Buchanan and Lampropulos with the Argentinian pro taking it down for her second major title in a 10-month span. READ: PCA: Maria Lampropulos Wins Main Event, $1.08M, Platinum Pass At a final table that included the likes of Daniel Negreanu, Justin Bonomo, Isaac Haxton, Bryn Kenney and Sam Greenwood, PokerGO founder Cary Katz managed to outlast all of them to win the $100,000 buy-in Super High Roller for the first major title of his career. READ: PCA: Cary Katz Wins $100K Super High Roller Platinum Passes Galore in the Bahamas The PCA was also the launching for what would become PokerStars' year-long campaign to award nearly 300 Platinum Passes worth $30,000 each that give the pass holder entry into the 2019 PokerStars Players Championship. Lampropulos picked one up for her victory in the PCA Main Event, author Maria Konnikova also grabbed one for taking down the PCA National Championship and David Peters won his via a random draw. Pennsylvania-based grinder Thai Ha was the fortunate winner of a Platinum Pass on Day 2 of the Main Event, but he almost missed it after oversleeping. READ: Thai Ha Almost Misses Out on Platinum Pass Winning Moment While Lampropulos, Konnikova, and Peters are all established players who may have played the PSPC anyways, Steven-John Jost is the polar opposite. The Swiss amateur qualified for the 2018 PCA Main Event on PokerStars for $27 and ended up cashing for $17,500. By finishing in the money, Jost was also given a raffle ticket for a Platinum Pass and he ended up having his name drawn. “I was really shaking. Now I’m calm. I had to go for a drink and now I’m relaxed, just enjoying it,” Jost said after learning he'd won the $30,000 package. READ: Steven-John Jost’s ‘Dream Come True’ Topped Off with Platinum Pass Ole Schemion and Darryll Fish Pick Up WPT Titles The World Poker Tour added two well-known names to the WPT Champions Cup in January. Germany's Ole Schemion beat out 338 other players to win the €3,300 WPT European Championship at Spielbank Berlin. The win earned Schemion $260,858 and he finished 2018 within spitting distance of $15,000,000 in career earnings. READ: Ole Schemion Wins WPT European Championship Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, one of poker's most well-respected grinders finally picked up a major title. Darryll Fish topped the 911-player field to win the WPT Lucky Hearts Poker Open for $511,604. It was a career-best cash for Fish at the time, only to be eclipsed a few months later when he finished second in the partypoker MILLIONS North America Main Event for $ 937,221. READ: Darryll Fish Wins Lucky Hearts Open for First WPT Title, $511K partypoker Adds Isaac Haxton as Ambassador To say that Isaac Haxton's departure from Team PokerStars was messy, might be an understatement. Haxton left PokerStars in the wake of the changes the online poker giant made to its player rewards system and took special joy in being a thorn in their side via social media ever since. That thorn got a little bit bigger when Haxton signed on as an ambassador with partypoker. Haxton noted that partypoker's growth, both online and live, was a big part of his decision to sign with them. “I’ve been very impressed with their growth over the last year or so. From expanding their online cash game and tournament offerings, to improving their software, and most of all rolling out their ambitions and innovative live events program, their commitment to growing the game and providing a great product for their players has been clear,” Haxton said. READ: Isaac Haxton Joins partypoker as Brand Ambassador Sweden's 'lena900' Tops January PLB Race Anybody who follows the PocketFives Rankings will know that the Swedish players have dominated them for years. So it's no surprise to learn that one of the most successful Swedish players started 2018 off with a bang. 'lena900' topped the January PLB thanks ‘lena900’ to eight five-figure scores and a win in the partypoker Powerfest Event #5 for $26,899 and 328.63 PLB points. READ: Swedish Crusher ‘lena900’ Wins January PLB Title
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. Hosted by Lance Bradley and Jeff Walsh, The Fives Poker Podcast is LIVE this week from the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure with daily episodes bringing in all of the guests and action from the PokerStars Players No Limit Championship and the PCA Main Event. Lance Bradley and Jeff Walsh have all the action from the 2019 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Main Event as well as the $100,000 High Roller final table. They're joined on this episode by stand-up comedian and poker player Clayton Fletcher and discuss what a lazy day in the Bahamas looks like. Subscribe: Apple Podcasts * Google Podcasts * Stitcher
  24. Hosted by Lance Bradley and Jeff Walsh, The Fives Poker Podcast is LIVE this week from the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure with daily episodes bringing in all of the guests and action from the PokerStars Players No Limit Championship and the PCA Main Event. The PokerStars Players Championship is in the books and now the attention of the poker world turns to the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Main Event and the remaining high roller events on the schedule. Lance and Jeff get into the strong Day 1A turnout, preview the $100,000 Super High Roller final table and talk about the strength of the field in the PCA National. Subscribe: Apple Podcasts * Google Podcasts * Stitcher
  25. Exactly one year ago today, Maria Konnikova was basically a complete unknown in the poker world. Sure, some people knew that a New York Times bestselling author had enlisted the assistance of Erik Seidel to learn how to play poker so she could write a book about it all, but almost nobody would have been able to put a name to that person. Then, over the course of the next seven hours, Konnikova became a known commodity, winning the $1,650 National Championship at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure. The win came with $84,600 and one of the very first $30,000 Platinum Passes to be awarded. Suddenly every poker media outlet and a few mainstream outlets picked up her story. She followed that up over the next few days by making a very deep run in the PCA Main Event, almost as a way of proving that it wasn't beginner's luck. That set the stage for a big year for Konnikova and changed the direction of what she had planned for her book and poker career. "PCA last year really changed the trajectory of my relationship with poker because it had been, in the past, basically for the book," Konnikova said. "I was really enjoying it and I was learning and had gotten much more into the game than I ever thought I would, but it was always still one of these things that I'm gonna do this for a year and be done. Konnikova, who had originally planned to use the 2018 WSOP Main Event as the end of her poker journey for the book's story arc, decided to take advantage of her good fortune and pushed the book deadline back indefinitely to play more and see where it took her. The answer was, well, everywhere. "I've been playing really full time this past year. I made a point of just hitting as much of the major stuff as I could," said Konnikova, who played European Poker Tour, World Poker and World Series of Poker events over the 12 months. "And it's still for the book in the sense that you never know what's gonna happen and what's going to be an important moment, an important thing. If you don't do it, it doesn't have a chance of happening, so it gives you more opportunities." Once the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure finishes, Konnikova is headed back home to New York City to focus on writing the first draft. Her editor has been very understanding of the shifting deadline, but has made Konnikova promise him one thing. "The only thing he told me is, 'just make this the best book you can'," said Konnikova. She's looking forward to finally sitting down and just writing, but she's also excited about getting a break from one of the toughest parts of the last year, the travel. "The hardest thing has been just being constantly on the road because I do like being home. I like stability. I like to see my family, and it can be rough to just spend three days a month in my apartment," said Konnikova. "I take my role as (PokerStars) ambassador really seriously because I want to share my excitement. I want to bring women to the game. I want to be a positive force and not ever be seen as someone who's like, 'Oh man, the constant travel's such a drag'. That's no good to anyone. Yeah, sure, the travel's tough, and that's the hardest part, but you have to put it in perspective and say, 'Shit, I get to travel to all these places to play a game. That's pretty cool'." Hopeful that the book will be on bookshelves by the end of 2019, Konnikova has no plans of walking away from the game entirely. She's come to enjoy it too much. "Once I'm done with the book, definitely playing full time until publication for sure. If I'm still playing well and if the book is doing well, I don't see why I'd stop, because I'll just start working on my next writing project," said Konnikova. "At this point, I see a very possible future and once again, life has a way of getting in the way so I have no idea, but one possible future I see is just playing and writing in tandem because you can write from anywhere in the world. That's the beauty of writing." Along the way, PokerStars added Konnikova to their group of Team Pros. That too has been an eye-opening experience for her. As she's become more of a known commodity in the poker world, players and fans have approached her at various events to share their story with her. "I've had so many people come up to me, and a lot of them women, be like, 'You've really inspired me. You're a model for what I want to do'," said Konnikova. "That's so wonderful and I'm happy to do any number of interviews and to just give as much of my time as needed because ultimately, that's the dream, right? To inspire people. It's what I hope my books do, so to be able to do it also through poker, it's great to know that you've reached people." Having lived the life of a poker pro over the past year, Konnikova has noticed she's also undergone personal growth that is directly related to her time at the table. "I've always been pretty low stress, but I've just had to become really low stress because it's something where if you let things get to you, you're just gonna be so miserable," said Konnikova. "So I've really gotten to the point where okay, let's just go day by day and see what happens and be okay not knowing what's going to be going on two weeks from now. I've just been much more sanguine about any given tournament. I busted the $25K on Day 1 on the last level. That wasn't fun. I was bummed in the moment, but then I was like, you know what? On to the next one."

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