PCA 2014: McDonald and Selbst eye double double
After eight days, nearly 40 tournaments and some long, long hours at the poker tables of Paradise, the 2014 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure has reached its final day.
And it's not just any old last day of a tournament series. We have two champions to crown in the Imperial Ballroom of the Atlantis Resort this evening, in the $10,000,000 Guaranteed Main Event and the $25,000 High Roller.
What's most exciting is that both champions could be doing it for the second time.
Mike McDonald became the youngest ever European Poker Tour winner when he triumphed in Dortmund in 2008. No one either before or after McDonald has managed to win a second title, and we have carried that particular monkey on our backs through 94 events.
But McDonald, the fiercely focused player from Ontaria, Canada, who is still only 24, comes into the final today with the second biggest chip-stack and a glint to match the pierce in his eyes.
Predicting poker tournaments is a fool's errand, but my colleague Stephen Bartley said about two years ago that he fancied McDonald would be the first ever two-time EPT champion. And on Day 2 of this event, when McDonald had only a small stack, my other colleague Brad Willis said he thought McDonald would make the final table this week.
They may both have been lucky guesses, but they were educated. Almost no player has managed to remain as determined as McDonald, matching exceptional ability with stamina and a ceaseless desire to improve. He sketches the curve even as he stays ahead of it and, with his parents in the audience this week in the Bahamas, McDonald is on the verge of something unique.
Click through for the full Main Event final table line-up.
There is nothing unique about what is happening in the High Roller event. Vanessa Selbst, the Team PokerStars Pro from the United States, carries the chip lead into the last day, the top of the leader board featuring 14 of the world's elite names.
It's been, hmmm, well, about three days since this last happened. Selbst does this kind of thing every week. Selbst made the final table of the $100,000 Super High Roller event, which kicked off the festival, eventually finishing third. She then cashed in the Main Event, having led the way for a long while.
Lo and behold, she emerged as the front-runner of the $25,000 event within a few hours of joining the tournament and stayed there pretty much ever since.
What's more, she is the defending champion. This time last year, Selbst bludgeoned through a similar-sized field to win $1.4m -- and she has previous form in the realm of back-to-back achievements too. In April 2011, Selbst won the first ever North American Poker Tour event to be held in Connecticut, beating 387 others. In April 2012, she did it again.
Selbst is the most predictable poker player in the world, but predictability has never been so exceptional.
On the subject of predictability, how about Ole Schemion? In Barcelona last year, Schemion cashed in the High Roller, the Super High Roller and the Main Event. He's done it again here at the PCA, alongside Selbst. The GPI Player of the Year for 2013 is living up to billing once again.
And how about Daniel Negreanu? Negreanu won the Bluff and WSOP Player of the Year titles for 2013 -- only pipped by Schemion for the GPI title at the death. Negreanu is also remaining in this High Roller field and that tournament is set for a compelling finale.
Here's how you follow it all at PokerStars Blog. The Main Event is on the Main Event page, where there's hand-by-hand coverage and latest chip counts in the panel at the top, and feature pieces below. We'll be reporting with a one-hour delay as the action is also being screened on PCA Live.
The High Roller is on the High Roller page and that is happening in real time. There's no live stream, but there will be some good words and some better pictures.
$10,000,000 Guaranteed Main Event Final Table
Madis Muur, Estonia, 6,205,000
Mike McDonald, Canada, 5,605,000
Pascal Lefrancois, Canada, 5,595,000
Dominik Panka, Poland, 3,695,000
Fabian Ortiz, Argentina, 3,040,000
Isaac Baron, USA, 2,995,000
Daniel Gamez, Guatemala, 1,885,000
Shyam Srinivasan, Canada, 1,505,000
$25,000 High Roller Final Table
Vanessa Selbst, USA, 1,633,000
Joao Vieira, Portugal, 1,604,000
Myro Garcia, Brazil, 1,181,000
Greg Merson, USA, 1,112,000
Jacob Carl Schindler, USA, 1,109,000
Marvin Rettenmaier, Germany, 1,014,000
Rob Mizrachi, USA, 856,000
Dani Stern, USA, 837,000
Daniel Negreanu, Canada, 723,000
Mustapha Kanit, Italy, 705,000
Aleksandr Denisov, Russia, 626,000
Dan Smith, USA, 434,000
Ole Schemion, Germany, 357,000
Paul Newey, UK, 162,000