In previous editions of the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA), the PCA $25K High Roller is one of the biggest tournaments on the schedule, bringing out all of the game’s biggest names.
But when we know what awaits just around the corner–the PokerStars Players Championship, a $25,000 tournament of epic proportions–this one, in the eyes of the high rollers, may simply be the appetizer before the PSPC serves up the entree.
25k with 140 runners. Why go to Florida when Florida can come to you? 🤷♂️ pic.twitter.com/1wakYv1oxQ
— Sam Grafton (@SquidPoker) January 28, 2023
The event, which began yesterday (January 27), attracted 140 total entries to build a prize pool of more than $3.3 million. Just 20 players will make the money, with a min-cash worth $43,050.
That payout is nothing to sniff at. It’s enough to supply entry into the PSPC and almost enough to fund another $25K, should they bust the big one.
But min-cashing is on no one’s agenda. Not when there’s $835,600 up top.
At the time of writing it’s the USA’s Jonathan Jaffe who holds a big chip lead with 94 players left. Jaffe–as you’ll find out if you keep reading–has come very close to winning this event before. He had a heads-up stack of 6.8 million vs 320K. But alas…
You can follow live updates from the PCA $25K High Roller on Poker News.
PCA $25K High Roller Final Table payouts
2017 – LUC GREENWOOD
So often it’s Sam Greenwood who dominates the high roller headlines, but on this occasion, it was his twin brother Luc who took down the trophy and $779K, following a heads-up deal with Nick Petrangelo.
Prior to the heads-up battle, the stacked final table featured Daniel Negreanu, Stephen Chidwick, Bryn Kenney to name but a few.
“It’s nice to finally win, especially a tournament as big as this,” said Luc afterwards, clearly satisfied that years of hard work had finally produced such a result. Six years later, it remains his largest career score to date.
Dates: January 12-14, 2017
Total prize pool: $3,975,000
1 Luc Greenwood (Canada) $779,268*
2 Nick Petrangelo (UK) $740,032*
3 Michael Rocco (USA) $409,020
4 Byron Kaverman (USA) $335,020
5 Daniel Negreanu (Canada) $268,780
6 Nacho Barbero (Argentina) $208,400
7 Stephen Chidwick (UK) $154,260
8 Mark Radoja (Canada) $113,360
9 Bryn Kenney (USA) $90,380
*denotes two-way deal
2018 – CHRISTOPHER KRUK
It took just five hours for this eight-handed final table to reach a winner, and the speed of the session was mostly down to Jonathan Jaffe. The American pro decimated this finale, eliminating four of his seven opponents. By the time he reached heads-up against Canada’s Christopher Kruk (“Apotheosis92” on PokerStars), Jaffe held 88% of the chips in play.
But Kruk forged an incredible comeback, doubling up twice and then calling a big bluff from Jaffe. That gave him the chip lead and the two soon got it all with pocket jacks versus pocket fours. Kruk’s jacks held, and the title was his.
“Honestly, it’s nice [to win] but I try not to let the emotion take over as you can’t have the highs without the lows – that’s tournament poker unfortunately,” Kruk said. “You lose most of the time, so if you let the emotion get into it, you don’t play as well. I’m glad I won but I’m happier with the decisions I made.”
Dates: January 12-14, 2018
Entries: 144 (including 45 re-entries)
Prize pool: $3,484,800
1 Christopher Kruk (Canada) $836,350
2 Jonathan Jaffe (USA) $569,760
3 Richard Seymour (USA) $376,360
4 Justin Bonomo (USA) $310,150
5 Igor Kurganov (Russia) $249,160
6 Mikita Badziakouski (Belarus) $195,150
7 Stefan Schillhabel (Germany) $146,360
8 Felipe Ramos (Brazil) $108,030
2019 – MARTIN ZAMANI
Before the frogs and shamans and Bryn Kenney whistleblowing, Martin Zamani was best known to us for his victory in the 2019 PCA $25K High Roller. In fact, he told us it was the only tournament he’d ever won.
To get the job done and win $895K he had to battle through a ridiculously tough final table, culminating in a heads-up battle against Dominik Nitsche.
“I’ve wanted to play Dominik heads-up for a long time,” he told us. “I really wanted to battle him. He’s the end boss.”
Martin becomes the second Zamani to win big money at the PCA, after his brother Ben took fourth place for $1 million in the Main Event back in 2010.
Dates: January 14-16, 2019
Entries: 162 (inc. 47 re-entries)
Total prize pool: $3,849,930
1 Martin Zamani (USA) $895,110
2 Dominik Nitsche (Germany) $606,360
3 Thomas Muehloecker (Austria) $404,240
4 Tom-Askel Bedell (Norway) $331,100
5 Markus Durnegger (Austria) $265,640
6 Gianluca Speranza (Italy) $205,980
7 Sean Winter (USA) $152,460
8 Davidi Kitai (Belgium) $112,040
9 Sam Greenwood (Canada) $89,320