The PokerStars Caribbean Adventure proved to be another huge success in 2014, despite the best attempts of a freak weather system that hit the United States grounding flights in the lead up to the Main Event.
Although there were 39 events with big paydays, three big tournaments stood out and PokerStars Blog covered them all, but if you'd like to see who cashed for how much in all the other events click here.
The $10,300 PCA Main Event
The PCA Main Event pulled in 1,031s player to break through the huge $10m guarantee that had been put up. That enormous prize pool ended up paying the top three finishers more than a million bucks apiece. That trio was made up of online phenom Isaac "westmenloAA" Baron, breakthrough Polish talent Dominik Panka, who went on to take the title after a three-way chop, and EPT Dortmund champ Mike "Timex" McDonald.
Timex, who had days earlier cashed in the Super High Roller for more than $217k with less than one big blind, had looked like he might finally break the EPT jinx: no one had won two EPT Main Event titles in more than 90 tournaments. It was close, but it wasn't to be. McDonald had to settle for second place, despite at one point being one card away from victory. Panka had played fantastically, and Team PokerStars Online's Ike Haxton wasn't backward on lavishing praise on his play during the PCA Live webcast. You simply don't get a bigger stamp of approval than that. Click here for the final tournament report.
Date: January 7-13, 2014
Prize pool: $10,070,000
1. Dominik Panka, Poland, PokerStars qualifier, $1,423,096*
2. Mike McDonald, Canada, PokerStars qualifier, $1,064,865*
3. Isaac Baron, USA, $1,207,599*
4. Madis Muur, Estonia, PokerStars qualifier, $581,040
5. Daniel Gamez, Guatemala, $447,040
6. Shyam Srinivasan, Canada, PokerStars qualifier, $328,020
7. Pascal LeFrancois, Canada, PokerStars player, $242,020
8. Fabian Ortiz, Argentina, $173,220
The $25,000 High Roller
If you were ever in doubt as to whether Team PokerStars Pro Vanessa Selbst is one of the best players in the world, you only need to look at her PCA performance this year. She cashed in all three of the blue ribbon events and almost won two of them. There's variance and then there's Selbst. The American took third in both events, but almost took first in the $25k High Roller for the second year on the bounce. It would have been her second major title defence following back-to-back NAPT Mohegan Sun wins.
Once Selbst was out of the picture, Jake Schindler and WSOP Main Event winner Greg Merson chopped up a deal and then settled the event in true High Roller style: they shoved and called blind. You can read about that and more in the High Roller tournament wrap.
Date: January 10-13, 2014
Game: NLHE 8-handed re-entry
Prize pool: $6,051,500
1. Jake Schindler, USA, $1,192,624*
2. Greg Merson, USA, $948,996*
3. Vanessa Selbst, USA, Team PokerStars Pro, $607,580
4. Mustapha Kanit, $492,600
5. Robert Mizrachi, USA, $389,720
6. Aleksandr Denisov, $295,920
7. Ole Schemion, Germany, $216,040
8. Joao Viera, $157,960
The $100,000 Super High Roller
The $100,000 Super High Roller has become the opening event of the poker calendar ever since Team PokerStars Pro Eugene Katchalov beat Daniel Negreanu heads-up at the PCA in 2011. It never fails to disappoint. A fascinating nine-handed dance took place with some incredibly shallow stacks, but it was Brit Paul Newey who finally burst a bubble worth $100,000's. It must have been painful, but Newey later cashed in the High Roller to get a good chunk of both those buy-ins back.
Fabian Quoss continued in a fine line of German dominance in big buy-in events, but he did have to crack Dan Shak's aces with king-jack offsuit for his tournament life during three-handed play. Poker may well be a skill game, but that doesn't mean you don't need a touch of luck from time to time. Read more about the Quoss-fire hurricane here.
Date: January 5-7, 2014
Entries:: 56 (45 unique)
Prize pool: $5,433,120
1. Fabian Quoss, Germany, $1,629,940
2. Dan Shak, United States, $1,178,980
3. Vanessa Selbst, United States, $760,640
4. Antonio Esfandiari, United States, $575,920
5. Matt Glantz, United States, $445,520
6. Tony Gregg, United States, $347,720
7. Ole Schemion, Austria, $277,080
8. Mike McDonald, Canada, $217,320
Find out more about the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure and its history and records right here.
*relates to a final table deal.
Rick Dacey is a staff writer for the PokerStars Blog.