PCA 2018: Steve O’Dwyer Wins the PCA $50,000 High Roller, Maria Konnikova Takes Down National Championship
January 11, 2018, 13:02:18
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Now onto its fifth day, the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA) 2018 currently underway at the luxurious Atlantis Paradise Island Resort in the Bahamas is proving to be a great series for some of the top notables.

After Cary Katz’s epic win in the $100K Super High Roller, Ireland’s high roller specialist Steve O’Dwyer made a trailblazing run in the $50,000 High Roller as he once again took down the event (he has previously won this very event in 2016) pocketing $769,500.

Another sensational story at the series was fresh talent Maria Konnikova. Konnikova who learned the game just a year back, managed to outlast the 290-entry field at the $1,650 National Championshipto walk away with $84,600 in prize money along with a Platinum Pass.

Meanwhile, running alongside the aforementioned events was the headline $10,300 Main Event that saw its 582-entry starting field dwindle down to 103 runners after Day 2. Leading the way is Oleg Titov who bagged 493,000 in chips. Unfortunately, both Indian challengers in attendance at the series i.e. Aditya Kumar and Vaibhav Sharma couldn’t make it through to Day 2.


$50,000 High Roller

Replicating his 2016 victory, high roller specialist Steve O'Dwyer has once again won PCA’s $50,000 High Roller after beating the 46-entry field to bank $769,500 in prize money. O’Dwyer, defeated start-of-day chip leader Byron Kaverman heads up and took his career earnings to $21,121,735. O’Dwyer now sits at the 10th spot on the all-time money list and this marks the 18th win in his 11-year live tournament career.

On the last hand of Day 1, France's Jean-Noel Thorel busted Nick Petrangelo on the money bubble to end play and set up the six-handed final table to be played out on Day 2.


Final Table Recap

Turkey`s Orpen Kisacikoglu was the shortest stack on the final table with a mere 7 big blinds and became the first to fall. He got it in with six-three suited which was called by the jack-deuce of eventual runner up Byron Kaverman. Kisacikoglu had roughly 45 percent chance of winning the hand but unfortunately the jack-high of Kaverman held strong throughout and Kisacikoglu exited the event in sixth place.

France’s Benjamin Pollak was the next to fall after a brutal beat. He shoved with ace-queen against Kaverman's ace-six and the latter rivered a pair to rail the former in fifth place.

Soon thereafter, USA’s Erik Seidel settled for a fourth place finish after he jammed with ace-four against the eventual champion O'Dwyer’s ace-five. O’Dwyer flopped a pair of fives that sent Seidel packing in fourth place.

While Kaverman started with the chip lead, O'Dwyer pulled out his tricks and soon took over the chip lead in a hand where he flopped a set against Kaverman`s flopped flush draw.

With Jean-Noel Thorel bowing out in third place, two longtime high roller regulars Kaverman and O'Dwyer headed for a grueling heads-up match.

O'Dwyer trailed in the beginning but turned things around soon with O’Dwyer taking on a 3-to-1 lead. It was over soon thereafter as O'Dwyer got it in with jack-ten against the queen-nine of Kaverman and a jack on the flop ended it all.

Steve O'Dwyer

                                               Steve O'Dwyer

Final Table Results (USD)

1. Steve O'Dwyer - $769,500

2. Byron Kaverman - $531,860

3. Jean-Noel Thorel - $339,480

4. Erik Seidel - $260,260

5. Benjamin Pollak - $203,680

6. Orpen Kisacikoglu - $158,420


PCA National Championship

One of the most popular events of PCA i.e. $1,650 National Championship came to a close after three days of grueling poker action and besting the 290-entry field was Russian-American Maria Konnikova who claimed her first ever title along with $84,600 in prize money.

Konnikova entered heads-up match against Alexander Ziskin with a three-to-one chip lead and finished things off quickly to win the title.

Interestingly, Konnikova moved to the US from Russia and earned degrees from prestigious educational institutions like Harvard and Columbia, including a Ph.D. in psychology. She went on to become a writer for publications like the New York Times, The Atlantic and Scientific American along with many others. Around a year back, Konnikova decided to learn the game of poker at the PokerStars Festival in Monte Carlo and asked Erik Seidel to help mentor/coach her. All she wanted was to learn and play for a year and then write a book about it. Little did she know then that the ride would turn out to be this sweet!

Post her win, the champion said, "It feels amazing. I started poker from scratch a year ago. I have the best coach in the world, Erik Seidel, so I've been very lucky. I've been working really hard and it's so validating to achieve this."

The event drew many notables including PokerStars Team pros Barry Greenstein and Jake Cody, Mike Leah, Kevin MacPhee, and Joseph Cheong who all exited without cashing.

The money bubble approached quickly on Day 2 with 39 places getting paid. Some notables who managed to reach the money but fell short of making the final table included Rex Clinkscales (13th Place - $6,460), Dylan Wilkerson (20th Place - $4,560), Simon Deadman (23rd Place - $4,140), Katie Lindsay (32nd Place - $2,900) and Sylvain Loosli (38th Place - $2,900).

The unofficial final table was reached late on Day 2 after Thomas Taylor busted in 10th place. The final nine players then formed a table and played down to the final eight. It was Sharman Olshan, who busted in ninth place after she failed to win a flip against Ryan Smith.


Final Table Recap

UK based WSOP bracelet winner Chris Moorman was the first to fall followed by Brazilian, Marcos Carneiro Antunes in seventh place.

The next elimination came after almost two hours in short-stacked Ryan Smith’s after his flopped set got overpowered by Konnikova’s superior set.

Harrison Gimbel was the most recognized player left in the field, but unfortunately, he hit the rail in fifth place leaving the play four-handed.

After two hours of trading chips came the quick eliminations of Loek van Wely and Kevin MacDonald which set up the heads-up between Konnikova and Alexander Ziskin.

The heads-up battle was a short affair and the last hand saw Konnikova open which got the call. On the flop card 2card 1card 1, Ziskin check-raised and Konnikova called.

The turn opened card 1, Ziskin jammed with card 2card 1 for a straight and flush draw and Konnikova called tabling card 3card 1 for a bigger flush draw. The card 3 completed the board and Konnikova was crowned the PCA National champion and as an added bonus won a Platinum Pass!

Maria Konnikova

                                               Maria Konnikova

Final Table Results (USD)

1. Maria Konnikova - $84,600

2. Alexander Ziskin - $56,250

3. Kevin MacDonald - $41,140

4. Loek van Wely - $33,210

5. Harrison Gimbel - $26,040

6. Ryan Smith - $19,710

7. Marcos Carneiro Antunes - $14,480

8. Chris Moorman - $10,640

Keep following the latest updates from 2018 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure right here on PokerGuru!

Related Articles:

1. PCA 2018: Cary Katz Wins $100K Super High Roller For $1.49 Million

2. 2018 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Schedule Released

3. PCA 2016: Steve O’Dwyer Takes Down $50K High Roller for $945,495

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