Sam Greenwood won the PCA Super High Roller back in 2019 and now he’s added another humungous title to his Bahamian collection.
With the grandeur of the PokerStars Players Championship (PSPC) taking centre stage in the large poker ballroom at the Baha Mar, you’d never have guessed that over in a far corner of the complex, two quiet, reserved chaps–one aged 76, the other 34–were also battling it out for millions of dollars.
The buy-in was ten times that of the PSPC, but in a way, the stakes were much lower, for the two gentlemen – Jean-Noel Thorel and Sam Greenwood – are used to playing for such vast sums. The heads-up alone was worth more than a million, but in a $250,000 buy-in tournament, that’s just four buy-ins.
THE CHASE IS ON
Greenwood was chasing his fourth PokerStars Super High Roller title, while Thorel was eager to capture his first, and for much of today, it looked like he was going to do it. The Belgian businessman had a big chip lead coming into the final day and by the time the two got heads-up, he had double the stack of the Canadian.
Then a mistimed bluff and a great call by Greenwood changed everything. The chip lead flipped and Thorel was quick to get it in, but he ended up losing a flip and would have to settle for $2,137,100.
The last time Greenwood won a PokerStars Super High Roller, it was here in the Bahamas at the PCA 2019 – coincidentally, the last year the PCA and PSPC ran.
Now he’s done it again, banking a massive $3,276,760 and yet another trophy for his ever-growing collection.
This event brought 30 of the best in the game together for a battle at the highest stakes, and nine players exercised their right to re-enter, building a prize pool of just under $9.5 million.
Let’s rewind to the start of the day and walk you through how it all went down.
START OF DAY CHIP COUNTS
Jean-Noel Thorel (France) – 2,295,000
Sam Greenwood (Canada) – 1,755,000
David Yan (New Zealand) – 1,675,000
Artur Martirosian (Russia) – 1,295,000
Justin Bonomo (USA) – 1,090,000
Orpen Kisacikoglu (Turkey) – 790,000
Byron Kaverman (USA) – 620,000
Chris Brewer (USA) – 260,000
Patrick Leonard recently proclaimed on Twitter that “nobody runs worse” than Chris Brewer. “Every time I read an update it’s him being two-outered or, at best, bubbling,” Leonard said of the former mulleted American pro’s luck of late.
He might have a point, as Brewer soft-bubbled this one. He entered the day with just 10 bigs, though, and went all in with A♦ 4♦ but couldn’t beat Artur Martirosian’s pocket jacks, ending his run in eighth. But don’t feel too bad for Brewer, as he certainly doesn’t feel sorry for himself.
Soft bubbled this one, @padspoker wrong though. Even if I can’t win all ins I’m certainly not an unlucky person. Who can complain about being in the Bahamas for two weeks playing a game I love.
— Chris Brewer (@Chris_D_Brewer) February 2, 2023
We then saw a long stretch of seven-handed play as no one wanted to follow in Brewer’s footprints. But someone had to go to get this thing moving, and ultimately it was a guy who’s been in great form of late.
This was Orpen Kisacikoglu’s third final table of the trip, having chopped the $50K 6-Max with David Yan for $458K, then finishing runner-up to Jonathan Jaffe in a $50K that was done and dusted in a day. But he fell agonisingly close to the cash this time around when Thorel turned a straight against his top pair.
IN THE MONEY
With the bubble burst and everyone now guaranteed a $664,900 payday, play sped up rapidly. Justin Bonomo certainly had to play fast as he was down to less than four bigs. He got it in with Q♥ J♦ against Sam Greenwood’s pocket fives, but lost the flip.
Martirosian fell shortly after. The Russian superstar–who enjoyed a deep run in the PCA Main Event–found a suited A♥ 6♥ and jammed over a Byron Kaverman open. Greenwood then shoved over the top with pocket kings and Kaverman let it go. An aceless, flushless board meant the end for the man known online as “Marathur1”, who picked up $854,800 for his efforts.
Those two eliminations were great news for the dwindling stack of Byron Kaverman. Guaranteed more than a million, the American picked up pocket tens – just what the doctor ordered. Unfortunately, the pharmacist-biologist Thorel picked up pocket jacks and the bigger pair held.
Yan was next to fall. He jammed with K♥ 8♠ over an open by Thorel, but the Belgian called with A♠ 10♣ and although Yan paired his king on the turn, the ace on the river secured his fate. Add the $1.47 million third-place prize to the just under half a million that Yan won earlier this trip, and that’s almost $2 million won for the man from New Zealand. Not bad for a guy who says he rarely plays anymore.
It was here that Greenwood forged his comeback thanks to a big bluff by Thorel.
Thorel opened and Greenwood called to see a 7♣ 10♦ J♥ flop. Thorel continued betting when checked to and Greenwood stuck around to see the 3♦ turn. He check-called another bet and the 2♦ completed the board. Thorel then shoved with what turned out to be K♠ 7♦ –third pair–but Greenwood called with the best of it: J♠ 4♠ .
Shortly after, Thorel jammed with Q♥ 8♠ and Greenwood made the call with pocket deuces. Apparently, they never looses.
The two shook hands and were on their way. And if you saw them in the hallway on their way to the payouts desk, and you didn’t already know who they are, you’d never have guessed just how big their prize tickets were.
$250,000 PCA/PSPC Super High Roller
Dates: January 31 – February 2, 2023
Entries: 39 (including 9 re-entries)
Prize pool: $9,498,060