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Harrison Gimbel Wins 2010 PokerStars

19-Year-Old Takes Home Top Prize of $2.2 Million

by Ryan Lucchesi |  Published: Apr 01, 2010


PCA Bahamas
In just seven years, the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure has gone from being a destination poker tournament to a tournament-poker institution. It started out as a World Poker Tour event and then became a part of the European Poker Tour in 2008. It now also anchors the newly formed North American Poker Tour and the Latin American Poker Tour. Since it began in 2004, more than $53 million has been awarded at the PCA, and more than 6,000 players have taken part in the event.

The number of side events featured at the PCA also has grown by leaps and bounds. “With more than 50 events on the schedule, we expected a lot from this year’s PCA, and it certainly hasn’t disappointed. The main event generated the biggest prize pool [$14,831,300] and the biggest field [1,529 players] we have ever had,” said Tournament Director Mike Ward. The side-event offerings now rival the L.A. Poker Classic and the World Series of Poker in volume and variety, and the main event of the PCA now can be mentioned in the same breath as the WSOP main event, the EPT Grand Final, and the WPT Championship as one of the marquee poker tournaments of the year. The poker world now begins each new year in the Bahamas at the Atlantis Resort.

PCA Final Table PlayersThe PCA has become a place where young Internet players can prove themselves on the world stage. One of those fresh faces this year was 19-year-old Harrison Gimbel. He was one of the 1,529 players from 57 countries who entered the $10,000 no-limit hold’em main event, and he possessed the exuberant confidence of youth when he took his seat in the tournament. “I really, really thought I was going to win. I hate to be so cocky, but I really just envisioned it. On day one, I had a really good day. I was kind of tight at first in order to scope out everyone, because it was my first $10,000 buy-in tournament. At the end of day one, I had over 100 big blinds. I told one other player, ‘Hey, look, I have 100 big blinds; I’m going to win this tournament,” said Gimbel.

He survived day one along with 883 other players, and weathered a storm on day two that saw 68 percent of the remaining field hit the rail. During that volatile stretch, British professional Praz Bansi increased his stack to 960,800 to take the chip lead. Bansi took that stack into battle against Phil Ivey on day three. The two titans clashed while the field around them almost stood still on the money bubble. Bansi eventually won his battle with Ivey to finish the day with 2,003,000, but Gimbel had taken the chip lead at the end of day three. He had 2,625,000 with 63 players left in the event.

With the business of busting the money bubble out of the way, day four got down to the serious matter of who would emerge to make a deep run for the big prize money. Ryan D’Angelo was the leader at the end of the day with an impressive chip stack of 7,483,000, but he was joined at the top by some imposing challengers — EPT founder and Team PokerStars pro John Duthie, who had 5,304,000 in chips, and Card Player Publisher Barry Shulman, with 2,433,000. The fourth day of play for Bansi proved to be his downfall. His chip stack shrank to 542,000, and then he busted out early on day five in 18th place. Other notable players who made it to the penultimate day of the event but just missed the final table included Robert Mizrachi (22nd place), Jeff Madsen (19th place), Wayne Bentley (16th place), and Duthie, who busted out in 12th place after suffering a terrible beat at the hands of Tyler Reiman. Duthie was all in with pocket aces against the pocket queens of Reiman, but a queen came on the flop to give Reiman the chip lead. He held on to that lead through the closing stages of the final-table bubble, and took it into the final day of play.

Final-Table Chip Counts:
Tyler Reiman — 10,090,000
Ryan D’Angelo — 9,350,000
Barry Shulman — 6,805,000
Harrison Gimbel — 6,000,000
Tom Koral — 5,370,000
Benjamin Zamani — 3,700,000
Zachary Goldberg — 2,340,000
Aage Ravn — 1,690,000

Trailing Reiman was one of the steady chip leaders during the tournament, D’Angelo (9,350,000), and the headliner at the final table, Shulman (6,805,000), who was making his second final-table appearance in a major tournament in just over three months’ time, as he won the World Series of Poker Europe main event in October. He entered the final day of play in third chip position, thanks to a gutsy call that he made against Benjamin Zamani with 12 players remaining (see the sidebar in this story).

The action began immediately at the final table when Gimbel doubled up a few minutes into play. He held A-K against the pocket jacks of Ryan D’Angelo, and the board ran out A-Q-3-A-K. Tom Koral left the final table first a few minutes later; his pocket queens ran into the pocket aces of Reiman, and he was eliminated in eighth place ($201,300). Zachary Goldberg was the next player to exit when his pocket tens were outdrawn by the A-10 of Aage Ravn. An ace hit on the turn, and Goldberg was out in seventh place ($300,000).
Reiman and Gimbel heads up
Ravn then was eliminated in sixth place in a huge hand. He and Zamani were all in, and Gimbel had them both covered. Zamani held pocket eights, and he spiked an 8 on the flop to triple up. Gimbel held pocket jacks, and that was enough to send Ravn and his A-Q home in sixth place ($450,000). Zamani then doubled up a bit later when he hit a runner-runner flush against Shulman to survive. Shulman made up for the bad beat a few minutes later when he doubled up with A-Q to survive.

The eliminations continued when D’Angelo moved all in with pocket jacks. Reiman had him covered, and he held A-K. Reiman hit a king on the river to eliminate D’Angelo in fifth place ($700,000), and he took a massive chip lead with 23,835,000, just over half of the chips in play with four players remaining.

Play continued for an hour before Zamani called all in preflop for the last of his chips with A-10 against Gimbel, who held pocket eights. An 8 hit on the flop, and Zamani was eliminated in fourth place ($1,000,000). After that hand, Shulman was the short stack, and he quickly put his chips at risk preflop. He doubled up with A-4, but had to sweat Reiman’s KSpade Suit JSpade Suit on a final board of 10Spade Suit 10Diamond Suit 5Spade Suit 4Heart Suit QHeart Suit.

Shulman doubled up again a few hands later when his K-Q went into battle against the A-10 of Reiman. Shulman caught a king on the flop, and now had 6.1 million. The third try was not a charm for Shulman, though. He moved all in for the last time with Q-10, and Gimbel had him covered with A-9. The board bricked out, and Shulman was eliminated in third place ($1,350,000).

Heads-Up Chip Counts:
Tyler Reiman — 28,625,000
Harrison Gimbel — 17,255,000

The heads-up match lasted for a few hours, as Gimbel slowly turned the tables and grabbed the chip lead. There were two monster hands early in the match that could have ended the tournament, but they both resulted in chopped pots. Gimbel really took the upper hand when he bluffed Reiman on a 6Heart Suit 5Diamond Suit 4Heart Suit 10Club Suit 7Heart Suit board while holding A-4. He induced Reiman to fold the 8Heart Suit 7Diamond Suit with a big river bet. “There were three hearts on the board, and there were also four straight cards, so he needed an 8 or a 3 for a straight. I check-shoved on him mostly because he really can’t call that wide; he has a narrow range on me. Most straights, he could fold right there, because I could have a flush,” said Gimbel. “I also had the ace of hearts in my hand, which was a pretty big blocker, because I knew that he couldn’t have the ace-high flush.”
Harrison Gimbel
Gimbel had 36 million in chips after the hand, and he started to close the door. The final hand saw Reiman’s pocket eights go up against Gimbel’s pocket tens. Both players made a set, and Gimbel was the tournament winner. Runner-up Reiman won $1,750,000, and Gimbel took home the top prize of $2,200,000. He is the youngest PCA champion in history. “It’s been a really good day. It feels amazing. I’ve always wanted to win a major tournament, and luckily I accomplished it in one of my very first ones. A lot of these players were very good, but I had a lot of confidence in myself coming into today,” said Gimbel after the win.

The future looks bright for the young poker professional, even if he has to play in Europe for the next two years. “It’s really frustrating not to be able to play everything. This is what I do — I play poker. I really want to play in the Las Vegas tournaments, but I have to wait two years. I will definitely be playing in Europe until then,” said Gimbel. Spade Suit

William Reynolds Wins PokerStars Caribbean Adventure High-Roller Championship
The final table of the $25,000 high-roller no-limit hold’em championship at the 2010 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure took place after a long period of final-table bubble play the night before. The unfortunate bubble girl after four hours of nine-handed play was Team PokerStars pro Sandra Naujoks. The final eight players had fought long and hard to make it to the final day by playing through a field of 84 experienced players.

Dmitry Stelmark was the first player to shove on a short stack at the final table, and it happened on the second hand of play. His K-10 was dominated by the A-10 of chip leader Tobias Reinkemeier, and Stelmark was eliminated in eighth place ($66,885) after the board ran out A-10-9-K-J. Matt Marafioti then fell in seventh place ($87,465). His pocket sevens were racing against the A-K of William Reynolds preflop, and an ace on the turn sealed Marafioti’s fate.
William Reynolds
Then, there was a lull in the eliminations, and during that time, the fortunes of Reinkemeier changed dramatically. He doubled up Will Molson, and even after doubling up once himself, he was still at risk. The final hand came for Reinkemeier when he shoved with pocket eights and ran into the pocket kings of Reynolds. The kings held up, and Reinkemeier exited in sixth place ($108,045). Lisa Hamilton then went out in fifth place ($133,770). Her pocket jacks were off to the races preflop against Molson’s A-Q, and he found a queen to end Hamilton’s run.

Short stack Adolfo Vaeza doubled up a few times during four-handed play to survive longer than Michiel Brummelhuis, who picked a bad time to move all in preflop with Q-9, as Reynolds woke up with pocket aces, and the board provided no assistance. Brummelhuis went out in fourth place ($154,350). Vaeza then saw his run come to an end with a third-place finish ($218,150). He decided to shove with 5-3 on the A-6-4 flop, and Reynolds snap-called with A-K. The turn and river changed nothing, and that brought about the heads-up final between the two most active players at the table, Reynolds and Molson.

Heads-Up Chip Counts:
William Reynolds — 2,455,000
Will Molson — 1,747,000

The first major pot during heads-up play went to Molson, and he pulled even in chips with Reynolds. His Q-J beat the J-8 of Reynolds on a K-J-3-9-J board. Molson was playing in the heads-up final of this event for the second year in a row, and he didn’t want to finish runner-up again. Once things were even, though, Reynolds took control and wore Molson down to less than 1 million in chips. Molson eventually shoved with A-9, which had Reynolds’ A-8 dominated. The board came 9-9-5-7-3, and Molson doubled up.
A bit later, Reynolds’ pocket sevens went up against Molson’s A-3. The sevens won, and Reynolds held a dominant 4-1 chip lead. A few minutes later, the final hand of the match hit the table. Molson moved all in preflop with K-8, and Reynolds made the call with A-10. The board brought no help for Molson, who now holds the distinction of finishing runner-up in this event two years in a row. He was awarded $322,075, and Reynolds was crowned the champion and awarded a silver trophy and $576,240. Spade Suit

Shulman Makes Tough Call Against Zamani
By Julio Rodriguez
To put it mildly, Barry Shulman has been on one heck of a run in the past six months. After making a final table at last year’s World Series of Poker, the Card Player publisher won the main event of the World Series of Poker Europe, for $1,266,582. A couple of months later, he chopped the seniors event at the Bellagio Five-Diamond World Poker Classic, proving that time and time again, he has what it takes to get the job done.

The PokerStars Caribbean Adventure was no different, as he navigated his way through yet another monster field. He was the oldest player at his tables, and many of the online qualifiers figured him to be a pushover, if not an easy mark. They were soon disappointed when Shulman came out on top over and over again, putting himself among the chip leaders in the tournament’s late stages.
Barry Shulman
On the penultimate day with just 12 players remaining, Shulman got involved in a hand with eventual fourth-place finisher Benjamin “thestein” Zamani. On the hand in question, Shulman called off the last of his chips with just ace high, and was proven to be correct. It wasn’t just the call that had the rail buzzing, but the speed with which he made it. Card Player caught up with both players to discuss the hand that had such an impact on the final results.

The Hand
Event: PokerStars Caribbean Adventure
Blinds/Ante: 30,000-60,000/5,000 ante
Players: Barry Shulman; Benjamin Zamani
Hands: AClub Suit QClub Suit QDiamond Suit 10Spade Suit
Chip Counts: 2,335,000; 5,835,000

Shulman raised to 180,000 from the cutoff, and Zamani made the call from the big blind. The flop came down JDiamond Suit 9Diamond Suit 3Club Suit, and Zamani checked. Shulman fired a continuation-bet of 450,000, and Zamani took some time before announcing that he was all in.

Shulman instantly made the call for his total stack of 2,155,000, and stunned the table by turning over the AClub Suit QClub Suit. Zamani showed the QDiamond Suit 10Heart Suit, and needed help with his open-end straight draw. The turn and river brought the 4Heart Suit and ASpade Suit, and Shulman doubled up, dropping Zamani back into the middle of the pack.

Barry Shulman Interview
Julio Rodriguez: Given your tighter image, were you surprised that Zamani called from the big blind with a hand that could be easily dominated?

Barry Shulman: No, I wasn’t surprised. Nothing surprises me anymore. These guys are so aggressive and so creative that it’s really tough to peg them with anything specific, at least preflop. It’s not until later that you can begin to narrow down the possibilities.

JR: Moving on to the flop, you get more information from his huge check-raise shove. Can you break down your read of the situation?

BS: On this hand, I didn’t think he’d shove a set, which was really the only hand that had me dead. It was such a big overbet that I was able to rule out a lot hands, which made my decision easier. I thought the worst-case scenario was that he had a jack and I still had my two overcards, but to be honest, I really didn’t think he was that strong.

The flop was very draw-heavy, and I knew that he would be making that move with a variety of hands. I was pretty confident that my ace high was ahead of a lot of his holdings, and knew that I was a favorite whether he had the up-and-down straight draw or the flush draw.

JR: In general, you seemed a lot more patient than the other players, especially at the final table. How do you adjust to opponents who could literally be holding any two cards in any given situation?

BS: The only way that I knew how to adjust was to just start throwing my hands in the muck, honestly. I know it’s boring, but the tournament structure was so good that I could afford to sit back, wait for stronger hands, and watch them blow up. Also, the players were so aggressive that I knew that I would still get paid off on my big hands. There were a few exceptions, but it looked like most of the players just weren’t doing a good enough job of paying attention.
Benjamin Zamani
Benjamin Zamani Interview
Julio Rodriguez: Were you surprised that you got called so light and so quickly?
Benjamin Zamani: I was a little stunned when he flipped up his hand. I’m pretty sure that he didn’t realize how many chips he had behind. I think that if he would have taken a second to think about the situation a bit, he would have chosen to fold.

JR: What was your impression of Barry and his game?

BZ: A lot of players think that Barry is this really tight player, but I know that he occasionally likes to mix it up.

JR: What do you think ultimately went wrong with this hand?

BZ: I think I took too long when I was making my decision to shove, and he just got it in his head that I was bluffing. I feel like it would work 90 percent of the time, but I guess he decided beforehand that he wasn’t going to let anyone push him around. Spade Suit