Drama at Baha Mar as PCA Crowns Champion After Incredible Main Event
The action at Baha Mar has been scorching throughout the 2023 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure so far. From the opening Super High Roller that was won by Isaac Haxton for his second huge score of the year to the start of the PokerStars Players Championship (PSPC), it’s great to see the PokerStars tournament series returning to the Bahamas.
Action On and Off the Felt for Mis-Muck
It’s fair to say that there has been plenty to talk about during the 2023 PCA. The Main Event’s ‘bubble’ period is always one of the most interesting parts of the journey to the title and with just a handful of players needing to bust for the money places to be reached, there was a dramatic hand on the outer tables.
Paulina ‘Poker Bunny’ Loeliger was set all-in by her opponent with a set of fours. She had a difficult call for her tournament life but when she made it – with pocket threes for bottom pair alone – Loeliger decided that she did not want to participate in the ‘must show’ rule like everyone else.
She attempted to ‘muck’ her cards but the dealer was onto her game, only for Loeliger to anticipate his move, leading to what can only be described as a very, very reduced-scale wrestling match where the dealer was attempting to follow the rules and expose her hole cards, while Loeliger was doing all she could not to reveal what she had wrongly hero-called with.
Setting aside the snap judgements and over-reactions in both directions elsewhere, we’d rather focus on the action going on behind Loeliger and the unfortunate Daniel Custodio who had won the hand and was made the wait patiently to stack up his newly won chips, the popular poker professional Chance Kornuth was on his way past the action just as the all-in took place.
Walking past during the conclusion of the hand, Kornuth can clearly be seen on the video looking very much in ‘Larry David’ mode as he enjoys the hi-jinks going on at the table. He tweeted that it was a unique situation.
I had a front row seat for the Poker Bunny bust out – not wanting to show down or muck when you lose an all in happens fairly frequently to high stakes regs, myself included.
What doesn’t often happen is an arm wrestling match with the dealer for the mucked hand 😂
— Chance Kornuth (@ChancesCards) January 27, 2023
Vogelsang Bringing the Action
Christoph Vogelsang is a hugely respected player on the high roller scene, and has won countless millions (OK, $27. 2 million in tournaments alone), grinding his way to 22nd on the all-time money list. The German is one of the world’s best poker players and everyone knows it. There is one piece of information about Vogelsang’s poker game that is universally acknowledged, even by the man himself in an interview with PokerGO’s Jeff Platt last year.
Vogelsang… is… slow.
He’s also brilliant of course, but while the German high roller tournament regular frequently makes the kind of decisions at the felt that make you wonder if he studied wizardy before taking up the game, he often takes his time getting there.
So when Josh Arieh spotted Vogelsang outside at the Baha Mar resort this week in The Bahamas, the four-time WSOP bracelet winner made a cognizant link between Vogelsang’s exercise and gameplay that many found amusing… and one person – not Vogelsang himself we hasten to add – did not.
Spotted Christoph Vogelsang doing some sprints for his poker prep workout pic.twitter.com/2PuZIQvXEd
— Joshua Arieh (@golferjosh) January 28, 2023
The Jewel in the Crown
The PCA Main Event has always been the jewel in the crown of the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure and the final day of the event brought the action to a conclusion in dramatic fashion. The final table of six players gathered, each determined to make it their day and take down a seven-figure prize. The prizepool of over $8 million sufficed for there to be not one but two million-plus winners on the day and as it happened, the final two were closer in many ways than they could have predicted at the start of play.
The first player to bust took precisely one hand to do so. Jamil Wakil busted for $307,500 when he raise-called off his stack with only to be outrun by Christoph Csik’s . Wakil wasn’t just unlucky, he lost all hope on the flop when it came to leave him drawing dead to the remaining two streets.
Next to go was Csik himself, who was also overtaken after getting it in good. The American was well ahead when all-in with , but Alexandre Raymond’s shove with met with extremely good fortune when the board came and the Canadian took a vital pot and a scalp in the same moment.
Raymond may have won that hand, but he was the next player to leave. Raymond had the goods this time, but his was still behind pre-flop and post. Portuguese player Pedro Neves held and the cowboys shot down the Canadian, a jack-high board no danger to Neves’ chance of taking the title.
Three-handed, a deal was discussed, but the numbers couldn’t be agreed upon and Russian pro Artur Martirosian came out of that breakdown in communications with the worst end of it. Crashing out with to Michel Dattani’s , Martirosian went to the rail with $677,400… just before the remaining two Portuguese players agreed a deal.
Playing only for $50,000 and the trophy, the ‘bonus’ prizes belonged to Dattani when his got there when all-in against Neves’ . The flop of seemed safe enough, but a on the turn gave Dattani a draw to the nut flush which came in on the river. Here’s how the final dramatic hand played out.
A final hand fitting for the final table that preceded it.
This is how Michel Dattani took down the PCA Main Event, winning $1,316,963. 👏 #PCA pic.twitter.com/v7fcOIiVCK
— PokerStars LIVE (@PokerStarsLIVE) January 30, 2023
With the action now switching to the $25,000-entry “Tournament of the year” in the words of many, someone will win the 2023 PokerStars Players Championship… and this beautiful trophy. But who?
The $25K PSPC trophy is covered in diamonds and gold. Stunning 🏆💎 pic.twitter.com/DRvJUT4zEe
— Blaise Bourgeois 🔥 (@BlaiseBourgeois) January 30, 2023