There is nothing trivial about a $25,000 poker tournament. It is, by definition, big.
The size notwithstanding (we're told size doesn't matter, and we choose to believe it), there are several points of trivia worth noting about the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure High Roller tournament.
For instance, two women entered this field. Two women made the final table of nine. One made it to tomorrow's televised final fight.
Another: the biggest stack coming into Day 3 (Dario Minieri) didn't even finish in the money. The smallest stack coming into Day 3 (Will Molson) made the final table in third.
Can you take one more? How about this? On Day 2 it took around four hours to get from 52 players down to 24. Today it took us the around same amount of time to drop from nine players...to eight.
When that finally happened, we had the best trivia of all. High Roller chip leader Tobias Reinkemeier is already guaranteed more money in this event than he has ever won in a live poker tournament. Before now, his biggest live tourney cash was a $52,000...and that was in the PCA Main Event just a few days ago.
"I feel really really great. I've had so many deep cashes - 11th in London, 23rd in Barcelona, 46th here in the main event - but no final table," he said. "Now I've made it. It's an amazing feeling, especially as I am going in to the final as chip leader, with a big buy-in and a field so strong."
Midway through Day 2 of the 2010 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure High Roller event, Team PokerStars Pro Greg Raymer half-joked he would only have an edge on the field if he could get four or five-handed and be up against players who would be affected by the amount of money on the line. Then he looked around at the remaining players and realized that among this field the money really wasn't that big of a deal.
The buy-in should've been a clue. There are few poker tournaments in the world in which the seat alone costs $25,000. What's more, an event like this is awash with high stakes cash players, WSOP champions, and pros who spend their days thinking in terms of millions rather than thousands. Matters of finance hardly concern these folks.
And yet, as we head into the final table, there is a first prize of more than half a million dollars at stake and the remaining eight players will not rest until their chips are gone or their pockets are further bulging.
Here are the final eight:
Tobias Reinkemeier (Germany) 1,072,000
Adolfo Vaeza (Uruguay) 790,000
Will Molson (Canada) 669,000
William Reynolds (USA) 482,000
Lisa Hamilton (USA) 440,000
Michiel Brummelhuis (Netherlands) 394,000
Matt Marafioti (Canada) 236,000
Dmitry Stelmak (Russia) 150,000
If you have a keen eye (and read from the top down), you'll no doubt note that we almost had a final table made up of 25% women. Instead, Team PokerStars Pro Sandra Naujoks was the ninth place finisher, leaving 2009 WSOP Ladies Event champion Lisa Hamilton to battle some of the toughest players in the world.
While the biggest paydays are still to come, there were some financial victories to report from Day 3. Raymer himself took 13th place for a tidy $46,305. Fellow WSOP champ Joe Cada finished two spots better for $51,540. Meanwhile, Carter Phillips, Isaac Baron, Shawn Buchanan, James Calderaro all finished among the PCA High Roller winners.
Now we are left with eight folks who are free to go to their rooms and roll around in piles of cash for the next 12 hours. After that, they are due back here under the TV lights to play for the title. We'd try to handicap the field for you, but for the fact that this game is crazy. And frankly, we can't tell spades from clubs anymore.
Want to read it all in a different language? We've got that, too.
Thanks to our top photographers Joe Giron and Neil Stoddart who hold the © to all the photos you see here.
Now, because we neither have $25,000 in our pockets or a chance to win half a million tomorrow, we're off to check and see if we have enough of our per diem to share a cold one.
See you at noon ET Thursday.