Ty Reiman
Ty Reiman and Harrison Gimbel played out one of the best hands in poker history in Atlantis in 2010.

In times past, the start of any live poker calendar would kick off with the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA). Over the years, this event became so iconic as to almost separate itself from the main European Poker Tour. It wasn’t in Europe, of course, and in 2010, it still formed part of the original North American Poker Tour (NAPT), a festival that returned triumphantly in 2023. The PCA became one of the jewels in the crown of the European Poker Tour but it never had a final showdown like it did 14 years ago this January.

The Hook

Back in 2010, the PCA was a very big deal to players and a huge payday if they reached the upper limits of the event, with 1,529 entrants overall meaning the top prize was an incredible $2.2 million. By the final day of action, Day 6, just eight players remained and two of the most exciting players among them were the relative newcomers. Ty Reiman was only just 21 years old, with Harrison Gimbel even younger, yet to turn 20. The two youngsters would be heads-up with almost $4 million in winnings between them by the end of play.

In the mainland United States, players had to be 21 to play, but that wasn’t the case in The Bahamas, and Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island. Gimbel, who had played a little in Florida was about to experience his own personal ‘Sunshine State’ just 313 miles from home.

The final eight were all chasing Ryan D’Angelo (10 million chips) and Reiman, who sat on 9.35 million chips when play began. Almost immediately, the brilliant TV lights seemed to shine brightest on Reiman and Gimbel, who started the action fourth in chips on 6 million.

Harrison Gimbel could have been the first player to be eliminated, but he doubled up when his AdKd made a full house by the river to double through D’Angelo. Reiman took Tom Koral and Zach Goldberg both departed then Reiman eliminated the overnight chip leader, D’Angelo by winning the exact same flip that had doubled up Gimbel through D’Angelo earlier on. When Barry Schulman left in third place, the final duel was set: Gimbel vs. Reiman for glory and $2.2 million.

Ty Reiman later
Ty Reiman later continued his success at the poker felt but to date has never won more than his runner-up prize from 2010.

The Bluff

All that remained was to decide who would win the $1.75 million runner-up prize and who would scoop the $2.2 million top prize. But there was a lot more at stake that pure money. Prestige is often spoken about in terms of major titles and even at this formative age, both Reiman and Gimbel had a lot to win – or lose. Claim the huge PCA Main Event title and they would not only have the glory of a first major, but a legitimate opening title of the then-fabled ‘Triple Crown’ of WPT, WSOP and EPT titles. The PCA counted as the latter and with a combined age of 40, both young men desperately wanted to win a life-changing title.

The heads-up battle lasted precisely 46 hands and ended with drama, but the biggest hand was the bluff of the tournament and one of the best in poker history. At the time of it, Gimbel had around double Reiman’s chips, with roughly 30 million chips leading 15 million. With blinds at 80,000/160,000, there was no time to lose. Reiman raised to 520,000 with 8h7d and Gimbel called with Ah4c. The flop of 6h5d4h was guaranteed to provide fireworks and Reiman bet 630,000. Gimbel check-called with just bottom pair. The Tc on the turn saw Gimbel check again. Reiman ramped it up, betting 1.8 million with the flopped straight. Again, Gimbel called.

The river was a 7h and provided the third heart on the board. Gimbel checked for the third street in a row, and Reiman bet 4.2 million chips. Gimbel took a look at his opponent and made the ultimate bluff, moving all-in with just a pair of fours. Representing the flush, he put Reiman to the ultimate test with the high straight.

Harrison Gimbel
Harrison Gimbel makes the bluff of a lifetime to seal his first major title at the age of 19.

The Catch

“I had a lot of confidence in myself going into today and it showed.”

Incredibly, Reiman made a stunning face-up fold, throwing his cards open-faced into the muck. The winning hand, the hand that would have given Reiman a 2-to-1 lead. Gimbel didn’t show his cards. A little later, all the money went in with Gimbel well ahead. He held ThTc and called with a shrug of his shoulders when Reiman had shoved with 8d8c and needed a lot of help to survive. The chances of a double-up for the at-risk Reiman further reduced on the flop of Td6d2h. The 8h on the turn helped Reiman but he still needed to find the other eight in the deck in order to hit runner-runner quads and survive.

It was not to be. As Gimbel was embraced by his rail, Reiman sat disconsolate.

“This is what I’ve dreamt of,” Gimbel excitedly told reporters after the final card had been dealt. “I’ve always wanted to win a big major tournament and fortunately I won one of my first ones. I was never in doubt. I felt my opponents were really good but I had a lot of confidence in myself going into today and it showed.”

Harrison Gimbel Now
Harrison Gimbel has since won a Triple Crown, adding WPT and WSOP titles to his epic PCA victory.

As the flashbulbs popped around Gimbel, who won $2.2 million as PCA Main Event champion and would go on to win the fabled Triple Crown, Reiman was reported to have broken down upon learning that if he could have called the hand where he made a straight, there was a great chance he would have been lifting the trophy.

Rumour has it that Reiman cried when he heard later about the bluff. He took $1.75m for “[I’m] feeling a lot of things,” he said after the event, although he admitted $1.75 million was a ‘nice’ runner-up prize. “There is one hand I know that if I called I won.” he said.

14 years on, it’s unlikely that Ty Reiman has ever forgotten the moment in poker history where he couldn’t quite click the ‘call’ button: