2010 PCA: Ryan D'Angelo leads final eight in search of PCA plunder
Poker is a cruel and a brilliant pastime, often both at the same time. Today was day five at the 2010 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, and a year's worth of cruelty and brilliance was condensed in one sharp, five-hour package.
First things first: the results. From a starting field of 24, we have reached our final eight. These are the men who will do battle tomorrow for a first prize of $2.2 million and the PCA championship title.
Ryan D'Angelo, USA, 10,090,000
Tyler Reiman, USA, 9,350,000
Barry Shulman, USA, 6,805,000
Harrison Gimbel, USA, 6,000,000
Thomas Koral, USA, 5,370,000
Benjamin Zamani, USA, 3,700,000
Zachary Goldberg, USA, 2,340,000
Aage Ravn, Norway, 1,690,000
To get there, and to get there so swiftly, meant carnage. We lost a full table worth of players in the first level: Messrs Nguyen, Guinther, Mizrachi, Greenwood, Lendvai, Madsen, Bansi and Verheijen found their name on the prizewinner's page before most people had properly shaken last night's party out of their heads.
The ensuing action was no kinder on the hangovers. Wayne Bentley -- who doubled up within the first ten minutes of day 1a, who had risen to three million, slid to 75,000, and then climbed back up to the top four in chips coming into today -- was next out, never recovering from running pocket jacks into a flopped set of twos. Bo Schultz busted; Richard Toth was tossed; James Tolbert hit the road.
And then came the tournament defining moment - at least for John Duthie and Tyler Reiman. Sitting on the feature table, being beamed across cyberspace for the consumers of EPT Live, Duthie had about five million chips and Reiman had about 50,000 fewer. Neither would have been in any dire need to get them all in the middle unless they found good reason.
For Reiman, pocket queens certainly seemed reasonable. For Duthie, aces was about as good as it got. Sure enough we had our first 10 million chip pot: all in pre-flop. It was cruel and already a cooler; neither could really have gotten away. But there was whooping and wincing in equal measure the moment a queen appeared on the flop. Reiman flew to the top of the leaderboard, Duthie barely had a blind left. The Team PokerStars Pro, playing for the first time on the tour he invented, was out two hands later.
Duthie will take $130,000 back to the UK, the same amount that Dimitri Hefter, who was flushed out next, will carry to Germany. The strong European contingent wilted on the penultimate day, leaving only Norway's Aage Ravn to do battle with Uncle Sam.
Our tenth placed finisher also deserves special mention. Darren Keyes won his seat to the PCA via the Mega-Path satellite route. His initial investment was 75 frequent player points (FPPs) and although he was devastated to bust short of the final table, his $150,000 payday represents a ROI of more than 12 million percent. That's going to take some beating.
After Keyes departed, the remaining nine crowded around a single table, but as is EPT tradition, one more needed to bust before we made it to the real final. After close to an hour, Matt Haugen got it all in with A-6 and was sent packing by Shulman's pocket kings. That left us with those eight.
There's some real quality there. D'Angelo became better known as "g0lfa" the minute he won two WCOOP bracelets last year and a massive contingent of online players are rooting for him to translate online domination into a major live score. The same poker experts are also behind the other notable online forces. Tyler Reiman, Thomas Koral, Ben Zamani, Zachary Goldberg and Harrison Gimbel all have their supporters in cyberspace.
Barry Shulman was involved with poker before the internet was even a byte in a programmer's eye. But he's in a rich vein of form at the moment and won the WSOP-E in London last autumn. This appearance at another major final table proves that there's still plenty for the young kids to fear. And as for Ravn, he has the hopes of the rest of the non-American world on his shoulders.
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Thanks as ever to Joe Giron for the photographs. He'll be back, along with us, at noon and we will continue until we have a winner. It will be cruel and it will be brilliant. Please join us.