Jake Schindler tonight won the PCA High Roller for $1,192,624 stopping Team PokerStars Pro Vanessa Selbst just short of an incredible High Roller title defence. Schindler not only wins a huge pile of money, a glorious trophy, and the admiration of his poker peers, but also a Slyde Steel and Rose Gold watch worth €12,800, courtesy of the Official Watch Sponsor of the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure 2014. Former WSOP Main Event champ Greg Merson finished second for $948,996. He joins an exclusive club of players to have won more than $10m in live tournaments, the 21st name on that roll of honour.
The $25,000 High Roller was a bumper field, a record breaker even. After entries and re-entries had been totted up, there were 247 bullets in the pot. All that combined to add $6,051,500 to the prize pool. The PCA High Rollers keep going from strength to strength.
The event capped an incredible PCA 2014 for Team PokerStars Pro Vanessa Selbst and Ole Schemion, both of whom have managed to scoop cashes in the Main Event, Super High Roller and, now, the High Roller, too. It's not even that unusual: Schemion did the same at EPT Barcelona earlier this season. That little trilogy pocketed Schemion $347,664, this time round it was for $510,720. Selbst's PCA performance tops that with $1,400,220 in cash. Tonight's result leapfrogs her name two spots up the all-time money list, above Scott Seiver and teammate Joe Cada. Selbst is a fierce competitor and she'll no doubt wish that she went further (just like last year). A standing ovation would not have been out of place.
Schemion has got off to a flying start in the defence of his GPI Player of the Year title, but Selbst is already a strong contender. One suspects it's going to be a 12-month tussle between Selbst and the young German. It should be fun to follow.
In the money, final table close
Fourteen players had come back this morning, all of whom were in the money and guaranteed a $89,560 payday. The first bust out was quick and brutal as Daniel Negreanu found kings and Greg Merson woke up with aces. Negreanu left in 14th ($89,560) with a bittersweet smile. He knew there wasn't really anything else that he could have done.
Dan Smith followed in 13th ($98,560) when his fours ran into Schindler's aces. Dani Stern was next to go, his kings cracked by Mustapha Kanit's raggedy ace. Paul Newey was toppled in 11th ($110,740), just missing out on his second final table of the festival. Newey made the final nine of the Super High Roller, but bubbled the money in that one. Thus Newey, tonight, records his first major cash on the tour. Good work, Paul.
Myro Garcia went out in 10th ($110,740) losing a huge flip to Selbst, ace-king downed by pocket tens. That broke the action and pooled the nine remaining players onto one table. Schemion was the shortest stack, Selbst the largest. It was reminiscent of the start of the Super High Roller at the front end of this festival.
Nine left, big jumps
German karaoke aficionado Marvin Rettenmaier was eliminated in 9th ($130,720), his pocket eights losing to Greg Merson's flopped ace with ace-ten. Joao Viera bust in 8th ($157,960) running nines into Mizrachi's kings. Mizrachi found himself in exactly the same set up against Schemion later and held, which helped him up into the chip lead - but that didn't last for too long. Schemion, bruised after that all-in with Mizrachi, was finally sent to the rail in 7th ($216,040) getting his top pair in on the turn against Schindler's monster straight and flush draw. Schindler made a flush. Schemion had to accept another six-figure score.
Aleksandr Denisov was next to go. He took 6th ($295,920) after running his small pocket threes into the slightly less small pocket sixes of Mizrachi, who fortunes changed shortly after. He bust in 5th ($389,720) to Selbst, his face cards missing against pocket eights. Selbst, after some period off the top of the chip chart, was back in the driving seat.
Mustapha Kanit went in 4th ($492,600) for a career best score. He jammed jacks, Selbst found aces. All fairly grim for the former IPT player of the year. Could Selbst do back-to-back High Roller PCA titles as she had NAPT Mohegan Sun? It would have been incredible, but, alas, she had to settle for another bronze following her Super High Roller finish and $607,580.
With the action heads up the players opted to make a deal with Schindler pocketing $992,624 and Merson $948,996. The remaining $200,000 would go to the winner, and it didn't take long for it to land in Schindler's lap. Merson started to get active, very active. He wasn't looking at his cards and shoving: "I didn't get into poker to win trophies," said Merson.*
Due to the style of play we've probably got the strangest all-in hands to report. Merson held 4♣9♠ and Schindler K♥T♠. Both were all-in blind. Schindler flopped top pair with the ten and it played.
"That was his idea," Schindler. "At first I was just going to wait with a good hand to call with, like Q7 plus. I didn't feel like waiting any more so just went in with him. He's been crushing so hard that he doesn't really care. That sounds really bad. He was tired and ready to be over with it."
All-in blind? It's a hell of a way to win $1,192,624.
PCA 2014 High Roller
Date: 10-13 January 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
*As reported back via our photographer Joe Giron.
Rick Dacey is a staff writer for the PokerStars Blog.