The first champion of the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA) has been crowned at the Baha Mar Resort in the Bahamas tonight — although three of the six players who contested the final day of the $100,000 Super High Roller each has cause for seven-figure celebration.
Isaac Haxton, Seth Davies and Adrian Mateos arranged a three-way deal, securing more than $1 million in prize money each, when they were the only players left from the 49-entry field.
They finished things off with a hyper-turbo blast for the trophy, won by Haxton, with Davies in second and Mateos third.
It means that Haxton is your official Super High Roller champion, and has already won two high stakes tournaments in 2023, having taken down an enormous event in Las Vegas last week.
Haxton won $1,082,230, Mateos took $1,095,903, and Davies $1,078,367 — by these standards basically a tie, with the sharp edges of variance reduced to a minimum by the three-way deal.
ENORMOUS MUTUAL RESPECT
Standing beside his trophy, Isaac Haxton explained the thought process between the deal that essentially ended the three-day event.
“We got down to three players left in the tournament and we got to the stacks being almost identical,” he said. “Seth and Adrian are both players I have an enormous amount of respect for. I think they are really, really good. So rather than gambling for nearly a million dollar difference between third and first, we decided to split up the money.”
It took nothing away from the delight of winning which, even for a player of Haxton’s calibre, still brings enormous happiness.
“It’s nice to just start off the year with a million dollar score,” he said. “It feels great. It’s back to back tournaments for me. I don’t think I’ve ever done that before. So it feels very good.”
A STELLAR FINAL SIX
As is only to be expected in these Super High Roller events, the final six were all among the game’s elite, including a former PCA Main Event champion (Mike Watson), a former EPT Grand Final winner (Mateos) and four other superstars besides.
Timothy Adams had finished in seventh place last night, winning $249,600, and setting the final table as follows:
1 – Seth Davies (USA) – 1,870,000
2 – Isaac Haxton (USA) – 1,645,000
3 – Mike Watson (Canada) – 3,015,000
4 – Adrian Mateos (Spain) – 2,035,000
5 – Daniel Dvoress (Canada) – 1,590,000
6 – Juan Pardo (Spain) – 2,200,000
ISAAC HAXTON SURGES AS CANADIANS DEPART
Haxton, by some odds-defying twist of fate, a player without a victory at any of the WSOP, EPT or WPT, had one of the smallest of the chips stacks at start of play, but went on a surge right away.
He found aces to double through Daniel Dvoress’s ace-king — they had near equal stacks, but Haxton’s premium hand was significantly bigger than Dvoress’. Dvoress said that he miscounted the stack sizes and regretted getting it all in pre-flop, but what was done was done.
He was eliminated soon after, with K♥ 5♦ and a short stack, losing to Juan Pardo’s A♣ 8♦ . Dvoress won $320,900 for sixth.
Isaac Haxton’s charge next accounted for Mike Watson, sending a second Canadian home in fifth. But in the case of Watson, Pardo did the principal damage with Haxton collecting the crumbs this time.
Watson had led the field at the end of both Days 1 and 2, but his nosedive commenced in a huge clash with Pardo. Pardo opened from the cutoff, Watson called in the big blind, and betting was small through the flop of 9♣ 2♠ Q♥ and turn 2♦ .
However, after the 4♠ river, Watson bet, Pardo raised and Watson three-bet. Pardo tank called and his Q♦ 6♦ beat Watson’s 9♥ 4♥ . After the failed bluff, Watson’s last chips went in with K♥ 10♣ and Haxton was there to end things with A♣ 10♥ .
Watson’s dominance was ended and he took $404,100. Haxton and Pardo were significant chip leaders at this stage — although Pardo soon ran into Davies’ full house and lost a chunk.
PARDO BUSTS AND LAST THREE DEAL
This was a dangerous tournament to be a chip leader, and Pardo’s slide only hastened. Mateos doubled his short stack through Haxton, and then immediately doubled a slightly bigger stack through Pardo. Mateos had J♥ J♦ and Pardo had A♥ 8♠ .
Then when Pardo and Haxton went head-to-head, Pardo was sent packing. This one went raise, three-bet, four-bet jam, with Haxton calling it off. Haxton had A♣ K♥ to Pardo’s A♠ Q♣ and there was no outdraw.
Haxton retook the lead as Pardo earned $522,900 for fourth.
All of this action took place before the first break of the day, which meant only three players took a 20-minute pause. Half the field was already gone.
Haxton led at this stage, Davies was in second place and Mateos third — but it was Mateos’s turn to hit the accelerator. He doubled through Haxton with queens beating pocket sixes. And then he did it again with pocket jacks.
It left the three of them all but tied in chips, but with the official payout schedule offering $689,300 to third and $1,545,080 to first, they decided to take away a lot of the uncertainty.
“Deal-making is quite common in the high stakes tournaments,” Haxton explained. “A lot of these guys we’ve been playing with each other for the last 10 years. We have a ton of respect for each other. And when it gets down to the end there it is a whole lot of luck relative to skill, in terms of who gets first and who gets third.”
NO STOPPING HAXTON
With the ink still drying on the metaphorical contract, Mateos attempted to continue his charge. But it came to a grinding halt when his K♣ J♣ lost out to Haxton’s A♣ Q♣ in a pre-flop all-in encounter.
That left Davies as the only player still in with a chance of halting Isaac Haxton, but he couldn’t do it. Down to his last 3 million, he moved all-in with Q♣ 3♣ and Haxton called with J♠ 8♠ .
A jack on the flop was all that Haxton needed to close it out and earn himself the trophy. The million-plus dollars were already safe for both of them, so they shook hands and moved on to the next one.
Event 1 – $100,000 PCA Super High Roller
Dates: January 22-24, 2023
Entries: 49 (inc. 9 re-entries)
Prize pool: $4,753,980