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|Scott Seiver defeated David Sands to win the $100,000 Super High Roller at the PCA.|
So what's it like to be eight days into the year and already have an extra $2,003,480 in your pocket? Ask Scott Seiver. The 27-year-old poker superstar topped a field of 59 entries in the $100,000 Super High Roller at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure to win one of the largest prizes of the year and the largest single cash of his career. Seiver defeated David Sands heads-up for the victory, his first outright win since April 2012.
The PCA is the official start to 2013 for the poker world. At the $100,000 event, 47 of the game's richest players decided to put up the massive buy-in and compete for the prestigious title. Twelve of those players opted to re-enter the event, including two players who made the final table of eight, Cary Katz (fourth) and Philipp Gruissem (fifth). The typical high rollers were in attendance -- Phil Ivey, Erik Seidel and Daniel Negreanu -- but one surprising face graced the PCA felt for the first time: Phil Hellmuth. Coming off the highest-earning year of his career, Hellmuth busted early on Day 1 while the other three fell short of the money on Day 2. Three members of ESPN's The Nuts rankings, Antonio Esfandiari, Jason Mercier and Vanessa Selbst, finished 9th-11th.
Ivey's exit in 14th set the stage for Sands to enter the final table as the massive chip leader. According to PokerStars, after the turn with a board of Ac-5d-3d-6c, Ivey tanked and called all-in with 5c-2c, trailing Sands' Ah-5h. The river 6 eliminated Ivey, and Sands went on a run to enter the final table with 6.6 million in chips. His closest competitor, Nick Schulman, had 2.2 million.
Action at the final table was streamed on a one-hour delay with hole cards, and from the very start, viewers watched as Seiver dominated play. In a three-way all-in (A-A versus K-Q versus K-J), Seiver eliminated the newest Team Ivey member and 2012 Super High Roller runner-up Dan Shak and doubled through Greg Jensen, putting him firmly third in the chip counts with seven remaining. Over the next few minutes, Schulman, who finished fourth in the event in 2011, picked up aces and knocked out Vladimir Troyanovsky (holding 10-10) and railed Jensen with K-K (against A-5). Jensen's elimination, worth $286,200, will be donated by the Westport, Conn., native to the victims of the Newtown tragedy.
Seiver eliminated Gruissem, and a lengthy four-handed battle ensued. At one point, Seiver was the short stack and Sands had all his competitors outchipped by 3:1. The next moment, Seiver had the chip lead, and after Katz was finally knocked out by Sands it was a close race at the top between the two. Schulman, trailing the pair by nearly 4 million chips, needed to double quickly. His opportunity never arrived, and he moved all-in from the button with K-6 to face Sands' 10-10. Sands hit a set on the flop, and Schulman earned $744,140 for third.
Sands entered heads-up play with a 8.6 million to 6.1 million chip lead and had nearly that edge when the tournament-changing hand arrived.
Seiver opened the pot with 9-9, and Sands three-bet with 10-10. Seiver moved all-in, Sands called instantly, and both watched as a nine hit the flop, crushing Sands' hopes of a victory. Moments later, Sands was all-in with K-4 against Seiver's A-7 and failed to hit, making Seiver the 2013 champ.
"This is just so fantastic," Seiver said. "Sitting around with all the best players in the entire world and then you somehow end up on top and you get to share that moment with all your friends. It's everything I'd ever want; it's perfect."
Here are the final table results of the 2013 PCA $100,000 Super High Roller:
1. Scott Seiver ($2.0 million)
2. David Sands ($1.2 million)
3. Nick Schulman ($744,140)
4. Cary Katz ($543,800)
5. Philipp Gruissem ($400,700)
6. Greg Jensen ($286,200)
7. Vladimir Troyanovsky ($257,580)
8. Dan Shak ($228,960)
The 10th annual PokerStars Caribbean Adventure continues with the $10,000 main event. A $25,000 High Roller event begins Jan. 12.
Small blinds: Jake Cody has joined Team PokerStars Olympian Michael Phelps is one of the runners in the $10,000 PCA main event. This is his first $10,000 buy-in event. The latest version of the Nevada gaming laws will create an interstate online poker scenario, not intrastate. Going in that direction will increase the overall player pool and allow Nevada to partner with other states to build the industry. Smart move. 2012 PCA champion John Dibella won the first PCA side event of 2013, the $2,150 turbo event that featured a field of 109. Peter Jetten won the PCA's inaugural Open-Face Chinese event for $52,000.