Poker Coverage: Poker Legislation Poker Business Poker Tournaments

CPPT II - Westside Poker Championship

$340 No-Limit Hold'em $100K Guarantee

Follow-the-action

Unofficial Field Size: 345

With a 149 entries today the total number of players for this event as grown to 345, surpassing the $100,000 guarantee. Play will continue here on day 1C until we are down to the final ...


 
 
Buy-In: $10,000 + $300
Prize Pool: $10,398,400
Entrants: 1072

PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Main Event

  • Jan 07, '12 - Jan 13, '12
  •  
  •  

 
 

Updates on Day 6 (Jan 13, 12)

 
 

PCA 2012: Amateur John Dibella wins main event, $1,775,000

PCA-2010-thumbnail.jpgOne week out of every year, the Atlantis resort is the home office of hundreds of professional poker players. For John Dibella, his wife Wendy, and their two girls, it’s no office. It’s a regular vacation spot. This week, Dibella’s children are at home in New York going to school. He was here just to have a little fun. In other words, he didn’t come here to work. Nevertheless, he’s leaving with a major poker championship and life-changing money.

“I’m overwhelmed. It feels so surreal, and I can’t believe it’s happening,” he said. “I’m sure it will hit me tomorrow.”

john_dibella_pca_champion_2012.jpg

John Dibella, 2012 PCA champion

They aren’t the words we normally hear from a PokerStars Caribbean Adventure champion. In the minds of almost every past PCA title-holder, it was only a matter of time before they had multi-million-dollar bankrolls. In other words, most of the previous champions here considered it their job to win. Dibella just considered it fun.

Dibella is a 43-year-old day trader from New York who likes to dabble in poker. Until today, his largest live cash was $16,000 at a previous PCA. Today, after a heads-up deal with professional Kyle Julius, Dibella won the 2012 main event title and $1,775,000.

Asked about how this compared to his normal work life, Dibella said, “I made more doing this, but I’m not going to call myself a professional.”

Still, for the moment, he was the envy of the hundreds of professional players. Many of them had put up the $10,000 buy-in on their own. Dibella won a $1,000 live satellite. He turned it into one of poker’s most coveted titles. Now, cameras were in his face. A microphone was at his mouth. Daniel Negreanu, one of the most famous poker players in the world, was waiting in the wings to talk to him.

With the interview over, Dibella allowed himself a moment some would call “amateur,” but a lot of other people would call “human.” Dibella turned to the live TV cameras and his family watching from home.

“Baby, I did it,” he said into the lens. “I love you and the kids!”

It wasn’t just another day at the office.

It was joy.

*

More than a week ago, this tournament began with 1,072 players. Today, eight sat down in a battle for the title. Almost all of them were pros. Some of them had major poker tournament final tables on their resumes. One of them was becoming a piece of PCA history. All of them had the $2 million first prize in their sights.

2012_pca_main_event_final_table.jpg

The 2012 PCA main event final table

There are days you wake up and you can’t lose. There are days you wake up and can’t win. On one of the most important poker days of his life, Ruben Visser woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Though he started with more than four million chips, he was the first to leave the table with none. Bled down to half of his starting stack, he doubled up Mark Drover with an out-kicked ace, and then lost a race with pocket sixes to Kyle Julius’ AHeart SuitQDiamond Suit. Bing, bang, boom, Visser was gone for $156,400.

ruben_visser_pca_2012_eliminated.jpg

Ruben Visser

Meanwhile, David Bernstein, a man who was able to qualify for this event just by virtue of a free PokerStars promotion, managed to hold on to seventh place. Selected at random just a couple of weeks ago from a pool of applicants, Bernstein’s UKASH freeroll took him all the way to the final table. Today, short-stacked at 1.5 million million, Bernstein got it all in with pocket fours, but ran right into John Dibella’s pocket aces. That situation almost never ends well, and this time was no exception. Nonetheless, Bernstein’s seventh-place finish earned him $260,000. In the world of freerolls, that’s a good result.

david_bernstein_pca_2012_elimintation.jpg

David Bernstein

Of the eight people who made the final table today, only one of them had seen a PCA final before. Three years ago in 2009, Anthony Gregg finished runner up to Poorya Nazari for $1.7 million. Now 25 years old, Gregg is the only person in PCA history to make two final tables. Though he had a championship in mind and might have settled happily for another runner-up finish, Gregg’s day ended in sixth place when he shoved his last fifteen big blinds into the middle with ASpade Suit10Spade Suit and Xuan Lui woke up in the blinds with ADiamond SuitQClub Suit. With no help on board, Gregg was out in sixth for $364,000.

tony_gregg_pca_elimination_2012.jpg

Tony Gregg: Now $364,000 happier!

Mark Drover was the next to go. He had started the final table with barely more than a million chips, so making it as far as five-handed was an accomplishment in itself. That was where it ended however when he found KHeart SuitJSpade Suit, shoved over Faraz Jaka’s pocket sixes, got a call, and missed. For a $468,000 payday, he can’t be disappointed. After all, he qualified for $700 in a PokerStars steps tourney.

mark_drover_pca_2012_elimination.jpg

Mark Drover, day over

To that point in the tournament, it seemed as if poker’s indignities and fate’s malevolence had decided to take a vacation during this final table. But that never happens, does it? There is always one great suckout that reminds us life isn’t fair. In this case it came when Faraz Jaka got his pocket jacks up against John Dibella’s pocket fours. There wasn’t a person in the audience who didn’t see the four before it had even hit the felt. Jaka couldn’t find a jack on the turn and river, and Dibella doubled to more than 10 million.

john_dibella_double_up_pca_main_event_final_table.jpg

Gunslinger John Dibella shoots down jacks

Justice is a funny thing, though. Within ten minutes of having his jacks cracked by fours, Jaka came back and won nearly four million of his chips back from Dibella, cracking aces with KDiamond SuitQSpade Suit all-in pre-flop. It wasn’t an even trade, but it was close enough for Jaka. And anyway, Jaka was on his way to sticking a fork in the dreams of all the people who hoped to see a woman win the PCA.

Xuan Liu went deeper in the PCA main event than any other woman in history. Last year, Ana Marquez placed tenth. After a dinner break at the PCA, Liu was poised to double up against Faraz Jaka when she got ADiamond Suit7Diamond Suit all in against Jaka’s AHeart Suit6Diamond Suit. Jaka flopped two pair, Liu never caught up, and she was gone. In addition to the female PCA record, she also earned $600,000.

xuan_liu_eliminated_4th_2012_pca.jpg

Xuan Liu accepting her fate

If Jaka thought that victory would be a foundation on which he could build a championship run, he didn’t think it for long. Only a few minutes passed before he got KHeart SuitJDiamond Suit all-in against Kyle Julius’ ADiamond SuitKSpade Suit. The board ran out 7Diamond SuitAClub SuitKSpade Suit9Heart Suit8Heart Suit. It left Jaka hobbled at the table, and though he would double up once through Dibella, he eventually had to watch as Julius’ KSpade Suit10Club Suit outran ASpade SuitJSpade Suit. Just like that, the man who had been chip leader on three out of five nights of this tournament was gone in third place for $755,000.

faraz_jaka_pca_2012_eliminated.jpg

Faraz Jaka

With Jaka gone, it was business time. After a short break to discuss the specifics, Julius and Dibella decided to cut a deal. Their counts weren’t dramatically different, so it was $1.5 million for each. They left $275,000 and the championship title left on the table for the winner.

heads_up_pca_2012_main event.jpg

Heads up for the title

From there, Dibella opened up an early lead and never looked back. It finally ended when Julius raised to 825,000 with 9Diamond Suit6Spade Suit. Dibella came along with 5Club Suit6Club Suit. On a flop of AClub SuitQHeart Suit3Club Suit, Dibella check-called Julius’ 725,000. Both men checked the 8Diamond Suit turn. When the 10Club Suit hit on the river, Dibella led for a million. When Julius bluffed all-in, it was all over. Julius had to be content with his $1.5 million in cash.

kyle_julius_eliminated_pca_2012.jpg

Kyle Julius

That only left John Dibella—amateur, day trader, satellite winner, family man, and 2012 PCA champion—to hoist the trophy.

john_dibella_confetti_champion_2012.jpg

We hope you have enjoyed our expanded PCA coverage this year for the main event. Please join us back here tomorrow for live updates, features, and interviews from the final table of the $25,000 High Roller and the finale of the PokerStars World Cup of Poker.

Until then, once again let’s offer big congratulations to John Dibella the 2012 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure main event champion.

Main event final table photography © Neil Stoddart




This EPT is brought to you by PokerStars, the official sponsor of the European Poker Tour. Win your way into the biggest events Europe has to offer at Europe.

 

PCA 2012: Jason Koon leads high rollers but Duhamel in persuit

PCA-2010-thumbnail.jpg

You shouldn’t be reading this. At least not yet. No, it’s not because we’re breaking some 40 minute rule that embargoes the results of the high roller until the live stream has finished streaming. It’s because when the 54 remaining players returning at noon today we expected them to take all night to play down to eight. After all, last year they played into level 20 and had to stop for the night, exhausted with 12 left.

But poker doesn’t always follow a schedule or a routine. Within half a level we’d lost seven players this afternoon. A level later seven more had gone. We were down to four tables soon enough but the steady flow of eliminated never ebbed, even when the tournament director, whose job it is to know these things, predicted it was going to clam up.

tournament_area_ept8pca_hrw.jpg


The high roller event in full swing


But it didn’t, not even at the bubble, and tonight, with the clock striking 9.20pm, the last players of the day was eliminated, leaving a final eight, led by Jason Koon with 1,646,000.

jason_koon_ept8pca_hrw.jpg


Finishing out front: Jason Koon


Koon was swept into an early lead, sending various players to the rail to cement his advantage. The funny, always positive and courteous type, Koon impressed today without much stench of ego. It’s be his biggest final table. He’ll tackle it with aplomb.


Behind Koon by just 116,000 chips is Team PokerStars Pro Jonathan Duhamel, bagging up 1,530,000.

jonathan_duhamel_ept8pca_hrw.jpg


On course for title two: Jonathan Duhamel


To say Duhamel is having a stellar PCA would be gross understatement. The Canadian has played five events at the PCA and reached the final table in four of them; that includes winning the $5,000 side event. He’s playing like a man with something to prove, as some former World Champions do. If Duhamel needed vindication (he didn’t) he has it now. He may as well go on and win the whole thing.

At the opposite end of the chip count table is Team PokerStars Online’s Randy Lew. A World Record holder from earlier in the week, Lew arrived to play today as the short stack. Then his stack skyrocketed before easing off. Soon Lew was fighting a rear-guard all day and tomorrow will return as the short stack once more.

randy_lew_ept8pca_hrw.jpg



Randy Lew has them right where he wants them…


But before he’s written off remember this. When Lew reached the final table in Macau in the last weekend in November (his first time playing on the APPT), he was also the short stack. If you’re not familiar with how that turned out, Lew won it. Don’t write him off just yet.

Ahead of Lew will be Michael Telker and Govert Metaal.

The Dutchman Metaal is something of a high roller specialist having finishes fifth in this event 12 months ago.

govert_metaal_ept8pca_hrw.jpg


Same again for Govert Metaal


Isaac Haxton, himself no slouch, will also return. A player of infinite talent who is unlikely to allow his stack, half the size of Koon’s to be a hindrance.

isaac_haxton_ept8pca_hrw.jpg


In his natural environment: Isaac Haxton


Leonid Bilokur (quiet and stern looking) and Nicolas Fierro (quiet and thoughtful looking) complete the line-up, each with more than a million chips.

leonid_bilokur_ept8pca_hrw.jpg


Learned: Leonid Bilokur


nicolas_fierro_ept8pca_hrw.jpg


On fire: Nicolas Fierro


Here’s how they’ll line up:

Jason Koon — 1,646,000


Jonathan Duhamel, Team PokerStars Pro — 1,530,000


Nicolas Fierro — 1,181,000


Leonid Bilokur — 1,139,000


Isaac Haxton — 762,000


Govert Metaal — 545,000


Michael Telker — 397,000


Randy Lew, Team PokerStars Online — 197,000

A last word for the ninth place finisher who brought the day to a close.

Nick Yunis had been one of the leaders as the likes of Barry Greenstein, Ville Wahlbeck, Jennifer Harman, Mike McDonald, Galen Hall and Elio Fox were eliminated, and should have been a welcome addition to the final.

A player passionate about his game, Yunis started the day as chip leader, lost the lead, then pulled most of it back to give the appearance of all being fine.

But, never afraid to take of the big stacks, Yunis clashed repeatedly against Jonathan Duhamel, using the determination you’d expect from a man who, after being eliminated from the high roller on day one, forced his way back in via satellite, before returning today as chip leader.

nick_yunis_ept8pca_hrw.jpg


One last re-buy?: Nick Yunis


That resolve had not faded tonight when he took on Duhamel in a make or break pot worth a million. It was the type of pot that can make a champion and Yunis grabbed it. Duhamel triumphed and Yunis was soon out. The final table will be a less interesting place without him.

To find out the finer details of all that took place today, check out the links below. You can also find details of prize money on the relevant tabs.

From 56 to 8 as high rollers return


The astonishing rise of Randy Lew


Who wants to be a millionaire?


Seats open here there and everywhere


Seeing is believing


Duhamel mauls Perkins and Wahlbeck on way to a million


Quiet bubble pop


The business end of the high roller event

It leaves one more day of play for the high roller and for the entire PokerStars Caribbean Adventure. Like the main event today, the final table of the High Roller event begins at 12 noon (we’re told that it will be more likely 1pm) tomorrow, broadcast live on PokerStars.tv albeit with a 40 minute delay.

You’ve seen the line-up; you’ve seen what’s at stake. Only a exceptional finale would do for such a noteworthy poker festival. These guys are unlikely to disappoint.

Until then, it’s goodnight from Atlantis.

All photography &copy Joe Giron/www.joegironphotography.com



This EPT is brought to you by PokerStars, the official sponsor of the European Poker Tour. Win your way into the biggest events Europe has to offer at Europe.

 

PCA 2012: Jason Koon leads high rollers but Duhamel in pursuit

PCA-2010-thumbnail.jpg

You shouldn’t be reading this. At least not yet. No, it’s not because we’re breaking some 40 minute rule that embargoes the results of the high roller until the live stream has finished streaming. It’s because we expected the 56 remaining returning players to take all night, playing down to eight. After all, last year they played into level 20 and had to stop for the night, exhausted and with 12 players left.

But poker doesn’t always follow a schedule or a routine. Within half a level we’d lost seven players this afternoon. A level later seven more had gone. We were down to four tables soon enough but the steady flow of eliminated never ebbed, even when the tournament director, whose job it is to know these things, predicted it was going to clam up.

tournament_area_ept8pca_hrw.jpg


The high roller event in full swing


But it didn’t, not even at the bubble, and tonight, with the clock striking 9.20pm, the last player of the day was eliminated, leaving a final eight, led by Jason Koon with 1,646,000 chips.

jason_koon_ept8pca_hrw.jpg


Finishing ahead: Jason Koon


Koon was swept into an early lead, sending various players to the rail to cement his advantage. The funny, always positive and courteous type, Koon impressed today without much stench of ego. It will be his biggest final table and he’ll tackle it with aplomb.

Behind Koon by just 116,000 chips is Team PokerStars Pro Jonathan Duhamel, bagging up 1,530,000.

jonathan_duhamel_ept8pca_hrw.jpg


On course for title two: Jonathan Duhamel


To say Duhamel is having a stellar PCA would be a gross understatement. The Canadian has played five events at the PCA and reached the final table in four of them; that includes winning the $5,000 side event. He’s playing like a man with something to prove, as some former World Champions do. If Duhamel needed vindication (he didn’t) he has it now. He may as well go on and win the whole thing.

At the opposite end of the chip count table is Team PokerStars Online’s Randy Lew. A World Record holder from earlier in the week, Lew arrived to play today as the short stack. Then his stack skyrocketed before easing off. Soon Lew was fighting a rear-guard all day and tomorrow will return as the short stack once more.

randy_lew_ept8pca_hrw.jpg


Randy Lew has them right where he wants them…


But before he’s written off remember this: When Lew reached the final table in Macau in the last weekend in November (his first time playing on the APPT), he was also the short stack. If you’re not familiar with how that turned out, Lew won it. Don’t write him off just yet.

Ahead of Lew will be Michael Telker and Govert Metaal.

The Dutchman Metaal is something of a high roller specialist having finished fifth in this event 12 months ago.

govert_metaal_ept8pca_hrw.jpg


Same again for Govert Metaal


Isaac Haxton, himself no slouch, will also return. A player of infinite talent who is unlikely to allow his stack, half the size of Koon’s to be a hindrance.

isaac_haxton_ept8pca_hrw.jpg


In his natural environment: Isaac Haxton


Leonid Bilokur (quiet and stern looking) and Nicolas Fierro (quiet and thoughtful looking) complete the line-up, each with more than a million chips.

leonid_bilokur_ept8pca_hrw.jpg


Learned: Leonid Bilokur


nicolas_fierro_ept8pca_hrw.jpg


On fire: Nicolas Fierro


Here’s how they’ll line up:

Jason Koon — 1,646,000


Jonathan Duhamel, Team PokerStars Pro — 1,530,000


Nicolas Fierro — 1,181,000


Leonid Bilokur — 1,139,000


Isaac Haxton — 762,000


Govert Metaal — 545,000


Michael Telker — 397,000


Randy Lew, Team PokerStars Online — 197,000

A last word for the ninth-place finisher who brought the day to a close.

Nick Yunis had been one of the leaders as the likes of Barry Greenstein, Ville Wahlbeck, Jennifer Harman, Mike McDonald, Galen Hall and Elio Fox were eliminated, and should have been a welcome addition to the final.

A player passionate about his game, Yunis started the day as chip leader, lost the lead, then pulled most of it back to give the appearance of all being fine.

But, never afraid to take on the big stacks, Yunis clashed repeatedly with Jonathan Duhamel, using the determination you’d expect from a man who, after being eliminated from the high roller on day one, forced his way back in via satellite, before returning today as chip leader.

nick_yunis_ept8pca_hrw.jpg


One last re-buy?: Nick Yunis


That resolve had not faded tonight when he took on Duhamel in a make-or-break pot, the type that can make a champion. Yunis grabbed it but Duhamel won it. The final table will be less interesting without him.

To find out the finer details of all that took place today, check out the links below. You can also find details of prize money on the relevant tabs on our live coverage page.

From 56 to 8 as high rollers return


The astonishing rise of Randy Lew


Who wants to be a millionaire?


Seats open here there and everywhere


Seeing is believing


Duhamel mauls Perkins and Wahlbeck on way to a million


Quiet bubble pop


The business end of the high roller event

It leaves one more day of play for the high roller and for the entire PokerStars Caribbean Adventure. Like the main event today, the final table of the High Roller event begins at 12 noon (we’re told that it will be more likely 1pm) tomorrow, broadcast live on PokerStars.tv albeit with a 40-minute delay.

You’ve seen the line-up; you’ve seen what’s at stake. Only a exceptional finale would do for such a noteworthy poker festival. These guys are unlikely to disappoint.

Meanwhile there’s still more poker going on here with the World Cup of Poker, with Rick Dacey reporting, on the WCP VIII page. Just give yourself time to get to grips with the rules.

Until then, it’s goodnight from Atlantis.

All photography &copy Joe Giron/www.joegironphotography.com



This EPT is brought to you by PokerStars, the official sponsor of the European Poker Tour. Win your way into the biggest events Europe has to offer at Europe.

 

PCA 2012: Tough field for Ladies event

PCA-2010-thumbnail.jpgA total of 75 women registered today at the beginning of the PokerStars Women Live tournament here at the PCA in the Bahamas. Members of Team PokerStars Pro sat down at the tables including Vanessa Rousso, Vanessa Selbst, Liv Boeree, Fatima Moreira De Melo, and Ana Marquez. Team PokerStars Online’s Adrienne Rowsome rounded out the pro line-up. In addition, there were numerous other well-known players in the field. Jan Combes, the winner of the PokerStars Women Live event in London is here today, along with Kathy Hong, Allyn Shulman, our own Jennifer Shahade, and many others too numerous to mention.

vanessa_rousso_ladies_pca.JPG

Vanessa Rousso

vanessa_selbst_ladies_pca.JPG

Vanessa Selbst







The winner of today’s event will take home $25,460 and a trophy, along with memories to last a lifetime. For instance, there is the story about Johanna Nordberg and how she found herself here today. Her husband, pro Björn Nordberg wanted her to learn the game so he posted her entry fee for today’s tournament as a Christmas present. Johanna had never played a live event before today and normally plays micro limit tournaments on PokerStars. She has played the game mainly for fun and has never been serious enough about it to learn the nuances of betting and strategy. But today changed all that. She got an in-depth training session sitting on the left of Erika Moutinho (29th place in the 2010 WSOP Ladies Event) and Fatima Moreira De Melo.

johanna_nordberg_ladies_pca.JPG

Johanna Nordberg

When we talked earlier today she was struggling and told me that she had had some really good hands but none of them were panning out. She joked that maybe some bad hands was what she needed. A little before the break, her chip stack had improved and she was still in holding her own against some of the toughest competition anywhere. She must have started getting some of those bad hands because she is one of the remaining 39 players still in at the dinner break. Some of the players who have exited today include Fatima Moriera De Melo, Liv Boeree, and Erika Moutinho.

And then there’s the story of Liv Boeree’s exit and the prop bet that ensued. She and Vanessa Rousso agreed to a last longer bet that guaranteed the loser would sing the Star Spangled Banner over the intercom system before the end of the PCA. Details to come on this. All I can tell you now is that Liv didn’t look very happy when she was telling the media folks about it.

liv_boeree_pca_ladies.JPG

Liv Boeree







Play is now resuming after the dinner break and now seems to be a good time to announce the pay-outs for today’s tournament.





1. $25,460


2. $16,010


3. $9,460


4. $6,910


5. $5,090


6. $3,640


7. $3,270


8. $2,910



This EPT is brought to you by PokerStars, the official sponsor of the European Poker Tour. Win your way into the biggest events Europe has to offer at Europe.

 

PCA 2012: The business end of the high roller event

PCA-2010-thumbnail.jpg

If anyone thought he high roller event would be anything like the main – whereby all those short stacks feel nothing but gay relief and move all-in with reckless abandon — they were wrong.

For the high rollers there’s some comfort in a return for their money, but the real reason they put down $25,000 in the first place was to win the $1,134,930 first prize, and that’s what’s now coming into play.

As one observer noticed, the balancing with 16 left left most of the chips on one table.


Nick Yunis, Jonathan Duhamel and Jason Koon share the bulk of the chips on table one, leaving the short stacks to fight between themselves on table two.

jonathan_duhamel_2_ept8pca_hr2.jpg


Jonathan Duhamel


It’s from here that Elio Fox would depart in 16th place. Had he had a getaway car parked outside the tournament room he wouldn’t have been able to get away fast enough. Then again he couldn’t even do that, called back as he was to provide ID for the pay-out staff.

Fox opened in late position against Terje Augdal in the big blind. On a flop of 6Heart Suit2Club Suit9Spade Suit Augdal led for 20,000 which Fox then raised to 42,000. Augdal called for a 4Spade Suit turn card, and then led again for 65,000. Fox tanked, then shoved for 174,000. Augdal called, turning over 7Diamond Suit5Club Suit to Fox’s JHeart Suit8Club Suit.

Fox’s jack high call was poised to reach hero status, but he’d have to dodge threes, fives, sevens and eights. The 3Diamond Suit on the river sent a shockwave through Fox who leapt from his seat and attempted his disappearing act. Heroes are successful, but then again even near-misses can have their merits.

Next to double-up was Dutchman Govert Metaal, railed by Fatima Moreira de Meolo, who 12 months ago finished fifth in this same event. While that kept him going the likes of Leonid Bilokur (who played this event and the World Cup of Poker at the same time last year) and Matt Marafioti, are among the players making regular checks of the clock.

leonid_bilokur_ept8pca_hr2.jpg


Leonid Bilokur


Isaac Haxton was doing the same but he just shoved against Bill Perkins, who declined the option to call. A much needed boost for Haxton.

isaac_haxton_ept8pca_hr2.jpg


Isaac Haxton


Perkins has been getting a massage since the start of play, meaning he’s been under the thumb for six and a half hours now. That’s about the same time it takes a massage therapist to turn a chair into minced meat.

We’re approaching the one hour dinner break. 15 players remain.



This EPT is brought to you by PokerStars, the official sponsor of the European Poker Tour. Win your way into the biggest events Europe has to offer at Europe.

 

PCA 2012: Quiet bubble pop

PCA-2010-thumbnail.jpgWhen the bubble burst in the PCA Main Event on Tuesday, loud whooping and cheering swept the room. Some 160 players had just made themselves at least $15,000 and they were happy. For many, this was their biggest live score; a dream realised and a first return on a poker hobby that had eaten up so much of their leisure time back home.

That’s what happens in big poker tournaments; you may have seen similar scenes from EPTs or the WSOP on television. The relief for those in the money is not just real, it’s noisy. At the same time, the poor, unfortunate soul to go out on the bubble feels wretched.

Contrast the understandable reaction of these high-fiving, excited players with what we’ve just witnessed in the PCA $25,000 High Roller. Just now the bubble not so much burst, but popped gently. “Congratulations, players, you’re all in the money,” said the floor staff. No one cheered; no one so much as said a word. You see, for these guys, this is a living. Making a minimum cash—albeit a sizeable $58,000 minimum cash—means very little. It’s loose change in their gold-plated pockets. For them, it’s winning this thing and the $1,134,930 first prize that really matters.

Unless you were standing right by the last three tables during hand-for-hand play, and concentrating very hard, you may have missed it altogether. In fact, aside from seeing bubble boy Mike ‘Timex’ McDonald walking quietly from the tournament floor, only his nemesis Bill Perkins was a clue to what had just happened.

“Do I get $100 from all of you for getting you in the money?” he joked to the rest of his table. “You guys have to buy me a drink later.”

Among the 16 wealthy people remaining in this event, Perkins is perhaps the man who needs the prize money least. He’s made a fortune as a venture capitalist back home in Texas, but as the most inexperienced player here (he’s playing for kicks), he has every right to be the most excited. Or as we should say in England, chuffed.

For the record, he and McDonald had got it in pre-flop; A-K for Perkins, A-Q for McDonald. “Don’t get me,” implored Perkins. And McDonald didn’t. A polite shake of hands and the Canadian was off.

mcdonald_shoves_pca_hr.JPG

Shove: McDonald moves all-in

mcdonald_all_in_pca_hr.JPG

Wince: He’s up against A-K

mcdonald_out_pca_hr.JPG

Out: He gets up to leave

With each player now guaranteed at least $58,000, we now play on to a final table of eight.



This EPT is brought to you by PokerStars, the official sponsor of the European Poker Tour. Win your way into the biggest events Europe has to offer at Europe.

 

PCA 2012: Bernstein's $260,000 poker vacation

PCA-2010-thumbnail.jpgJust a month ago, PokerStars player David Bernstein was dreaming of making the big time. He loved the game, but as he had never so much as played a live tournament, his chances of success were somewhat slim. Then something rather cool happened. After finishing up work one day, he got entered into a free draw by Ukash, the payment services provider, and won himself a free seat into the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Main Event, plus flights and accommodation at Atlantis.

Speaking to the PokerStars Blog at the start of this 10-day festival of poker, the largest outside of Las Vegas, Bernstein said that although the trip was a little surreal, he now wanted to win the PCA and take the money home to his family. With no disrespect to the 30-year-old salesman, who works in a brewery back home in Toronto, he didn’t really expect to make it deep enough to make any meaningful cash.

But after 1,072 players sat down to play, and the days passed and eliminations grew, things started shaping up rather nicely. Day 3 passed, and then Day 4 finished and Bernstein was still in the hunt, bagging up chips at the end of the night. Then, during yesterday’s Day 5 he kept his head made it through to today’s final table.

david_bernstein_pca_final.JPG

David Bernstein at the PCA final table

It was a dream come true, and even going out in seventh a short while ago was not too much of a disappointment. After all, he had just turned an investment of absolutely nothing into a prize of $260,000. That is a spectacular score in anyone’s book.

“It feels like a great accomplishment,” Bernstein said. "I think I played really well to get this far but that I made a small mistake at the end (pushing all-in with pocket fours against John Dibella’s aces). But it was a great ride, and because this was my first live tournament I am very happy with my performance.

“This has been some vacation for me. It’s been a super time against some great players and I hope to do it again.”

david_bernstein_smile_final_pca.JPG

Bernstein won’t get carried away, however. He has a sensible head on his shoulders, and while saying he would like to gain more experience by playing some cash and more live tournaments, he will always treat his poker as recreational.

“This is just a hobby for me,” he said. “But I would like to improve my game.”

Congratulations, David, on a stellar performance here in the Bahamas.



This EPT is brought to you by PokerStars, the official sponsor of the European Poker Tour. Win your way into the biggest events Europe has to offer at Europe.

 

PCA 2012: Getting the picture

PCA-2010-thumbnail.jpg“My God!” someone exclaims. “I’ve never seen anyone’s fingers work so fast.”

Neil Stoddart and his assistant Kim Curtin have taken over the stage of the 2012 PCA main event. Every few seconds, a strobe flashes while Stoddart and Curtin measure the lights. This final table will not start until they have the shot. They have to work fast.

“I think we can build around Faraz,” Stoddart muses as chip leader Faraz Jaka allows himself to be pulled to the front of the table.

From there, Stoddart composes the shot like Jackson Pollack. The people are his paint, and he tosses them together in a way that looks random but comes out looking like art.

“Excellent from the back row,” Stoddart says to the players. “Mediocre on the front row.”

This is not meant as a rejoinder. It’s a joke meant to get the front row more in the mood. This is a shot that will live on in poker history. It has to be right.

neil_stoddart_photographer.jpg

Neil Stoddart working on the EPT in a rare moment of horsing around (note the light meters in his hand with the trophy)

Meanwhile, Joe Giron is darting between tables, crouching on the rail, and at times literally running across the room. Giron makes up the other half of the PokerStars Blog photography staff and today is on duty for the High Roller and World Cup of Poker. After a career in photojournalism with some of America’s biggest newspapers, Giron shifted to shooting just about every rock band and musician you’ve ever heard of. The bulk of his work came as the traveling photographer for metal great Pantera. Since 2005, Giron has worked in the poker industry and traveled all over the world capturing some of the most iconic moments of the game. Where many people who call themselves photographers shoot 40 snaps in a row in hopes of nailing one that looks right, Giron is a sniper from the days when digital images weren’t free and film was expensive. He can get the shot with a single tap of his finger.

team_blog_pca.jpg

Giron (front) with Kim Curtin and the writers from Team PokerStars Blog as we help Stoddart test his lights for a portrait shoot (we’re sober, by the way)

Together Giron and Stoddart work to make sure every important moment of the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure is recorded for history. They are the undisputed kings of poker photography. Their work is in demand anywhere poker tournaments happen. For the past several years, both men have been the chief photographers for the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure. If you saw a good photo from the PCA over the last few years, it almost certainly has Giron and Stoddart’s fingers on it.

Back at the main event stage today, everyone is ready to get on with the business of making money.

“Last two,” Stoddart calls. “Make your mother proud.”

There’s a double click, a double strobe, and then there’s the shot of the final table. Satisfied, Stoddart lets the players go on about seeing who will win the $2 million today.

2012_pca_main_event_final_table.jpg




This EPT is brought to you by PokerStars, the official sponsor of the European Poker Tour. Win your way into the biggest events Europe has to offer at Europe.

 

PCA 2012: Duhamel mauls Perkins then Wahlbeck on way to a million

PCA-2010-thumbnail.jpg

Jonathan Duhamel has a lot of chips. Bill Perkins has not as much as he used to have. Duhamel’s stack is piled up neatly, a tower reaching to his face, which is smiling. Perkins’s stack is a mess, disorganised, all over the place and miserable looking.


The same could almost be said of Perkins himself.

No more chit-chat, no more energy. Perkins wobbles slightly to the waves of a massage but that’s it. He’s actually seen this coming, joking, as Duhamel arrived in the seat immediately on his left, that he wanted his money back. Now it could be he won’t get any of it back, having dropped form second in chips to below average. He’s a ruined man.

jonathan_duhamel_ept8pca_hr2.jpg


Jonathan Duhamel


For Duhamel it’s the continuation of a successful PCA which started when he won the $5,000 side event, earning $239,830. And while Perkins was concerned at the site of Duhamel taking his seat it was the opposite for Duhamel who immediately tweeted:

JonathanDuhamel: Having lots of fun on my new table with Bill Perkins on my right!”

That wouldn’t last and, with the departure of more players (among them Barry Greenstein) Duhamel was moved again, this time to a seat alongside Ville Wahlbeck. It would not be long before the pair tangled, fatally for Wahlbeck.

ville_wahlbeck_ept8pca_hr2.jpg


Ville Wahlbeck

Wahlbeck opened from the button, Duhamel three-bet from the small before Wahlbeck four-bet shoved, showing pocket kings. Duhamel showed ace-king, which matched the ace on the turn. Wahlbeck let out a noise but was able to compose himself, receiving the commiserations from Duhamel and Jen Harman.

“We’re gonna have some fun boys,” said Duhamel stacking up around 1,2 million, before adding “and girls.”



This EPT is brought to you by PokerStars, the official sponsor of the European Poker Tour. Win your way into the biggest events Europe has to offer at Europe.

 

PCA 2012: Seeing is believing

PCA-2010-thumbnail.jpg

Life is good for Jason Koon. A short while ago he eliminated Pierre Neuville from the high roller to assume the chip lead, stacking up some 550,000 chips. Then, from out of nowhere, a friend brought him a drink of some kind, actually more a cup of pink gloop (later revealed to be banana and peanut butter based) which he gratefully received and began tucking into. A short while later he raised pre-flop. Everyone folded.

“I’ve lived a pretty good life,” said Koon, deadpan. “I saved a bundle of kids…”

By now he’d turned over his pocket aces. He could hardly believe it himself.

“Well played,” said Jonathan Duhamel next to him, equally sardonic.

Koon is enjoying his poker, although anyone will tell you the chip lead tends to help. And those at his table know it’s good natured so let him talk.

jason_koon_ept8pca_hr.jpg


Jason Koon


“Last night someone gave me a shot of Hennessey on the rail. That hurt,” he said, referring to a bottle of the cognac that was making the rounds in the closing stages of the main event’s penultimate day. “I had to take it. Had to be a gentleman.”

A few minutes later and it was all change, the table broken as more players departed. This tournament is moving fast. It’s only giving us false hope for a sensible finish according to Fernando of the tournament staff. I’d been trying not to believe him.

“I’m going to be like St Thomas myself,” said Fernando. “Seeing is believing.”

It’s round about now that he we are expecting things to clam up. The money isn’t exactly close but the dark skies on the horizon are growing lighter.



This EPT is brought to you by PokerStars, the official sponsor of the European Poker Tour. Win your way into the biggest events Europe has to offer at Europe.

 
Jump to
SpinnerPage 1 of 5Next
 

Poker Twitter Feed Twitter-bird

More Poker Tweets