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Mike Watson Wins 2016 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Main Event

31-Year-Old Poker Pro Tops 928-Player Field To Win $728,325

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Mike Watson has won the first European Poker Tour main event of 2016. The 31-year-old Canadian poker pro topped a field of 928 players to win the 2016 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure $5,300 no-limit hold’em main event. For the win the man known as “SirWatts” online captured his first EPT main event title and the $728,325 first-place prize. He now has over $9 million in career live tournament earnings.

“It means a lot to win a main event with a big field and especially the PCA being one of the flagship events of the EPT, and really a premiere event in the whole poker calendar,” Watson told PokerStars reporters after the win. "It has special meaning to me that Steve Paul-Ambrose won it ten years ago. He was a mentor to me and that makes it extra sweet.”

Watson had to overcome not only a huge field but also a stacked final table in order to come out on top in this event. He entered the final day as the largest stack among the six remaining players, but he was joined by the likes of 2013 PCA $25,000 high roller runner-up Vladimir Troyanovsky, 2010 EPT Vilamoura main event champ Toby Lewis and Tony Gregg, who with this deep run has now made the PCA main event final table three times, finishing second in 2009 and sixth in 2012.

Tony GreggIn the end Gregg survived to heads-up for the second time in this event, taking 9,875,000 in chips into the final battle while Watson sat with 17.7 million. Before the two got down to business they made a deal which guaranteed Watson a payday of at least $695,325 while Gregg locked up $612,175. This left the title and $33,000 to play for.

The two duked it out for 71 hands in total, with Gregg mounting a comeback to nearly pull even at one point before Watson once again pulled away. The final hand of the tournament came with blinds at 150,000 – 300,000 with an ante of 50,000. Gregg limped in from the button and Watson checked. The flop brought the 8Heart Suit6Heart Suit2Heart Suit and Watson checked. Gregg bet 400,000 only to have Watson raise to 1.2 million. Gregg moved all in for 4.1 million total and after some thought Watson made the call with the 7Heart Suit4Spade Suit for flush and straight draws while Gregg held the ASpade Suit8Club Suit for top pair, top kicker.

The 7Spade Suit on the turn paired Watson to give him some additional outs, but in the end he hit the 5Heart Suit on the river to complete his flush. With that Gregg was sent to the rail as the runner-up in this event for a second time.

Watson was awarded 1,824 Card Player Player of the Year points for the win, shooting him into the outright lead in the POY race. Gregg earned 1,520 for his latest PCA final table run, climbing into second place in the standings as a result. Third place finisher Phillip McAllister and fourth place finisher Lewis have also moved into the top ten in the rankings.

Here is a look at the payouts and POY points awarded at the final table:

Place Player Earnings (USD) POY Points
1 Michael Watson $728,325 1824
2 Anthony Gregg $612,175 1520
3 Phillip McAllister $356,020 1216
4 Toby Lewis $267,340 912
5 Vladimir Troyanovsky $207,940 760
6 Randy Kritzer $153,920 608
7 Ken Demlakian $110,220 456
8 Timothy Ulmer $78,540 304

Photos courtesy of PokerStars / Neil Stoddart.