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Chino Rheem Wins PCA Main Event For More Than $1.5 Million

American Poker Pro Outlasts Field of 865 Entries To Earn His Fifth Seven-Figure Score


Chino Rheem is a three-time World Poker Tour main event champion. The 38-year-old from Los Angeles also made the final table of the 2018 World Series of Poker main event. From 2008 through 2103 Rheem put together an impressive run, managing four seven-figure scores in that five-year time span. While he has found major success in the WSOP and WPT’s marquee tournaments, Rheem entered 2019 having yet to secure a signature score in an event outside of the United States. That all changed when he outlasted a field of 865 entries to win the 2019 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure $10,300 buy-in no-limit hold’em main event, taking home $1,567,100 as the newest PCA champion. This was the fifth seven-figure score of Rheem’s career, and it saw his lifetime live tournament earnings surpass the $10.2 million mark.

Rheem has been at the center of controversy in the tournament poker world in the past, and was even put on probation by the now-defunct Epic Poker League shortly after he won one of their main events for $1,000,000. The punishment was due to his alleged failure to repay debts owed to other poker players. While Rheem has himself admitted that he has had issues, as far as his performance on the felt is concerned, his record speaks for itself.

Rheem dominated the final table of this event. He came into the day as the chip leader with six players remaining and proceeded to eliminate each and every one of his opponents on the way to securing the title.

The first player to hit the rail was 2015 WPT Lucky Hearts Poker Open main event champion Brian Altman. He four-bet all-in over the top of a three-bet from Rheem holding the ADiamond Suit3Diamond Suit. Rheem had picked up QDiamond SuitQHeart Suit and made a quick call. Altman failed to improve and was sent home with $297,020 as the sixth-place finisher.

Rheem then dispatched Spain’s Vicent Bosca (5th – $396,880) and Ukraine’s Pavel Veksler (4th – $503,440) to enter three-handed action with just over 60 percent of the chips in play.

The next major showdown took place just eight hands after the field was narrowed to three. Rheem opened on the button holding the AClub Suit10Diamond Suit and then called the all-in of Scott Wellenbach, who shoved for 1,790,000 with the KClub SuitQHeart Suit. The flop gave Wellenbach the lead as it brought the KDiamond Suit8Heart Suit7Club Suit. The JDiamond Suit turn gave Rheem a double gutshot, which came in when the 9Spade Suit hit the river. With that the a 67-year-old from Halifox, Nova Scotia was eliminated in third place, earning $671,240. Wellenbach had finished 17th in the 2017 PokerStars Championship Barcelona main event for €61,400. He donated all of his winnings in that event to charity, and has said he plans to do the same with his earnings from his run in this event.

With that Rheem took just over a 4-to-1 lead into heads-up action against 2017 WPT L.A. Poker Classic main event champion Daniel Strelitz. The final showdown only lasted seven hands. With blinds of 80,000-160,000 and a big-blind ante of 160,000 Strelitz moved all-in for 3,590,000 from the button holding the ASpade Suit2Spade Suit. Rheem quickly called with the 5Spade Suit5Diamond Suit. The board ran out KHeart SuitJClub Suit10Club Suit3Heart Suit10Spade Suit, securing the pot and the title for Rheem.

Strelitz earned $951,480 as the second-place finisher, the second largest score of his career. Check out video of the final hand below, via a tweet from PokerStars LIVE:

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

Place Player Earnings (USD) POY Points
1 Chino Rheem $1,567,100 2280
2 Daniel Strelitz $951,480 1900
3 Scott Wellenbach $671,240 1520
4 Pavel Veksler $503,440 1140
5 Vicent Bosca $396,880 950
6 Brian Altman $297,020 760
7 Mihai Minole $208,920 570
8 Marc-Andre Ladouceur $146,840 380

Winner photo credit: Carlos Monti / PokerStars.