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Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Danchev, Selbst win big at PCA

Dimitar Danchev won the 2013 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure main event title and $1.86 million.

The excitement that the World Series of Poker offers during the summer is echoed only once during the rest of the year.

We've documented in the past that the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure creates a fun atmosphere built by the next generation of rising stars. With a $100,000 buy-in event and smaller side events, this trip to the Bahamas is about action everywhere you turn and, when not on the felt, a relaxing vacation at one of the most beautiful places on the planet.

Satellite winners make up a significant portion of the player base at PCA. Entering the $10,000 main event final table, the buzz wasn't who was there but, instead, how much they got in for. Joao Nogueira, a 21-year-old Portuguese air conditioning installer, paid a whole $1.10 to earn his seat. Russia's Andrey Shatilov didn't pay a dime and used 750,000 frequent player points to buy-in.

Those two stories were incredible, but Dimitar Danchev's effort tops them all, as he turned $700 into the trip of a lifetime worth $1.86 million.

Danchev is no stranger to the poker scene and big scores. The 26-year-old Bulgarian was the runner-up at the 2011 EPT San Remo main event (worth $827,232) and had four WSOP cashes in 2012. As he eliminated Joel "JMPRODIGY" Micka for the victory, Danchev extended his lead as the all-time Bulgarian money leader over Atanas Gueorguiev with $2.8 million in tournament earnings.

According to PokerStars, entering the final table, a victory for Danchev seemed like a far-reaching dream, with a starting seventh-place stack of 1.9 million in chips and 28 million chips in play. From the first hand, Danchev showed the table he had no fear of putting his chips in. He doubled through Jerry Wong, and less than an hour into the final table, he was third in chips. Micka moved into the chip lead after eliminating Nogueira in eighth, and WPT Montreal champ Jonathan Roy seemed poised to win a second major in two months as he moved up in the chip counts with his elimination of Yann Dion in seventh.

Six players were reduced to four on one hand, as Wong eliminated Andrey Shatilov and Owen Crowe in sixth and fifth, respectively. Moments later, Wong was at it again, knocking out Roy by winning a race with A-J against 7-7. With three players left, Wong had 13.1 million, Micka had 11.3 million, and Danchev was well behind with 4.6 million.

All three players swapped chip counts numerous times during the three-handed battle, and after a few hours, it was all knotted up at 9 million apiece. Micka emerged from the trio after two key hands against Wong and held a 2.5:1 lead over Danchev to start heads-up play.

His lead didn't last, and the LAPT San Jose runner-up would experience disappointment once again. Danchev doubled with 2-2 over A-K to take the lead and finished the job by winning a second race with A-Q over 4-4.

While the field of 987 will remain one of the strongest $10,000 events of the year, turnout was down from 1,072 in 2012. Here are the final table results of the 2013 PCA $10,000 main event:

1. Dimitar Danchev ($1,859,000)
2. Joel Micka ($1,190,000)
3. Jerry Wong ($725,000)
4. Jonathan Roy ($560,000)
5. Owen Crowe ($435,000)
6. Andrey Shatilov ($325,000)
7. Yann Dion ($230,000)
8. Joao Nogueira ($165,900)

Vanessa Selbst wins $25,000 High Roller

New year, same story.

Vanessa Selbst defeated a record-setting and elite field of 204 entries in the $25,000 High Roller event to win $1.4 million and become the leader on the women's all-time money list with $7 million in earnings. Take "women's" off that last sentence and Selbst is now 40th in the history of the game. She is one of the best in the world, and on Monday, she proved why once again.

Selbst held back during the start of the final table as Bryn Kenney, Tobias Reinkemeier and Micah Raskin exited quickly in sixth through eighth. Ole Schemion gifted Selbst the chip lead with five left, moving all-in on the river with ace high into Selbst's turned full house. Shaun Deeb momentarily earned the top stack, but once Selbst flopped a set against Mike Watson, nobody would catch her.

Vanessa Selbst
Vanessa Selbst jumped Kathy Liebert with her PCA victory to take the lead on the women's all-time money list.

Deeb's demise in fifth came in the form of another brutal river card. Selbst opened from the small blind with A-K, and Deeb called from the big blind with A-10. After a 10-high flop, the raising war began. Selbst bet, Deeb raised, Selbst reraised, Deeb moved all-in, and after a few minutes of deliberation, Selbst called. A nine hit the turn, and Deeb was one card away from having nearly half the chips in play. Instead, a king fell on the river and Selbst took further control of the table.

Watson knocked out Schemion in fourth, but like Schemion earlier, he fell for Selbst's trap and found his exit in third as he moved all-in with air against Selbst's flush. Heads-up action began and ended with Selbst dominating Russian high-roller specialist Vladimir Troyanovskiy. It was simply her day. On the final hand, Selbst rivered an ace to top Troyanovskiy's K-K and take the tournament.

"It feels really, really great to win a High Roller," said Selbst. "It was the toughest final table I have ever played at, so to be able to come out on top is just a really special amazing feeling."

Here are the final table results of the 2013 PCA $25,000 High Roller:

1. Vanessa Selbst ($1,424,420)
2. Vladimir Troyanovskiy ($792,180)
3. Mike Watson ($462,320)
4. Ole Schemion ($354,860)
5. Shaun Deeb ($289,880)
6. Bryn Kenney ($229,900)
7. Tobias Reinkemeier ($174,940)
8. Micah Raskin ($129,940)

Small blinds: Baptiste Chavaillaz earned $216,275 for his victory at the WSOP Circuit Bicycle Casino main event. You can watch a replay of that final table on ESPN3. … The Heartland Poker Tour announced a change in their tournament structure, which was enhanced by Daniel Negreanu. … Bluff's Lance Bradley gets an exclusive with Erick Lindgren, who is currently in rehab. … The National Heads-Up Poker Championship will take place on Jan. 24-26. The field will be announced shortly. … Alex Masek became the first six-time WSOP Circuit champion during the tour's most recent stop at the Bicycle Casino.