Thanks to COVID-19, PokerStars had to call off its annual PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA) poker series in the Bahamas after 2019. It’s now back in action, and the main event has found a winner in Michel Dattani from Portugal.
The main event is just one of many reasons poker fans descended on the Baha Mar Resort & Casino in Nassau. With a $10,300 buy-in, it wasn’t cheap, except for those who won seats through satellites and other contests. It attracted 889 entries.
Two starting flights and five days of card-flinging led to the final table and the eventual winner. Dattani wasn’t the only Portuguese player to make it that far, but was the only one who would walk away with more than $1.3 million.
Lady Luck is Fickle
Pedro Neves, a fellow Portuguese poker pro with a steady track record of cashes over the past couple of years, was in the lead when the last six players took their seats. Others, like Justin Bonomo. Steve O’Dwyer, and Juan Juanda tried to run deep, but saw early exits.
Going into the last day of action, all six competitors were fairly even with their chip stacks. Dattani was at the bottom, while Neves was at the top. In the middle were Artur Martirosian, Christoph Csik, and others hoping the cards would fall in their favor as well.
It didn’t happen, though, as Canada’s Jamil Wakil would hit the rail first with a $307,500 prize. Csik was next, picking up $399,800. Alexandre Raymond fell next. He added $519,600 in his biggest cash to date.
That left Martirosian and the two Portuguese players. Playing for Russia, Martirosian was on a quest to be a European Poker Tour main event and a PCA main event winner. But he ran into trouble.
In the small blind, he tried to find success with suited Q-9, but was bested by Dattani’s A-J after the board didn’t provide any relief. For his effort, Martirosian took home $677,400.
It was now down to Neves and Dattani, with the eventual winner out in front. They agreed to a deal that would give Dattani the lion’s share while the two played for the scraps and bragging rights.
A-J seemed like a strong hand for Neves, but it became his last when it fell to Dattani’s suited A-5 that turned into a flush. Neves would have to settle for $1.18 million as runner-up.
Biggest Win Yet
This was Dattani’s best performance to date. He’s been on the global poker scene since 2008 and has had success, including several final table appearances. This is the first $1M prize he’s taken home. When he’s not playing live tournaments, he’s a regular online grinder going by “FreelancerZZ.”
Dattani’s performance put him out front in CardPlayer‘s Player of the Year race with 2280 points. That’s enough to put him in front of Justin Saliba by 245 points. Saliba already has four final-table appearances this year and should continue to be a threat all season.
Another threat will be Paulina Loeliger, but for a different reason. The player known as “Poker Bunny” couldn’t pull a rabbit out of her hat to make a deep run in the PCA main event, but was still up to her old tricks.
Loeliger has a history of flailing erratically when the cards don’t go her way – think Phil Hellmuth, only more aggressive. During the tournament, she only made it to Day 3 before failing with two pair against a set, and her response was to try to scramble all the cards and chips on the table.
Poker Bunny enjoys being in the spotlight, regardless of the reason. She admits that she likes to use her sexuality to succeed on the felt, although it fails way more often than it works.
Loeliger has won $94,322 in live tournaments over the past year, according to The Hendon Mob. Just over a third of that amounts to the total cost of the buy-ins. She’s also a regular on Hustler Casino Live. But according to data from the Tracking Poker database, she has dropped $14K in 11 sessions.
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