The first major tournament series of 2016 has come to a conclusion and a Canadian has won the Main Event. Newfoundland’s Mike Watson was victorious in the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA) Main Event.
Watson topped a field of 928 entries, including an extremely tough heads-up match against three-time final-tablist Tony Gregg.
After Watson and Gregg worked out a deal, the former locked up $695,325 and Gregg secured $612,175, leaving $33,000 to play for. Watson won that additional prize as well to take home a total of $728,325.
Heads-up play began with Watson in the lead. He and Gregg took a dinner break, and upon their return, they agreed to the deal.
Despite just about a two-to-one lead going into the heads-up duel, Gregg pulled back to even with Watson in a match that would last over two hours. In the end, though, Watson proved too strong for Gregg to overcome, and the final hand of Level 34 saw Gregg take a big hit before the two got all the money in shortly after Level 35 began.
The final hand took place on the flop, where Watson called Gregg's shove with the for a draw. Gregg had top pair, top kicker with the , but he didn't have a heart. The turn was the to give Watson some additional outs, and then the river delivered the final blow with the . Watson had made a flush, and that was all she wrote.
For Watson, the win pushed him over $9 million in live tournament earnings and he added another trophy to his case, and he did at all proudly wearing a Newfoundland shirt.
Other deep Canadian results came from Justin Oliver (30th — $20,120) and Ami Barer (15th — $41,360).
Earlier in the series, we reported on the best Canadian finishes from the first half of the huge 104-tournament schedule, including five wins. Looking at the latter half of the schedule, we see Andrew Fair picking up his second win of the series. He came out on top of 39 entries in Event #63: $1,000 PL Omaha & PL Omaha Hi/Lo Dealer’s Choice 4/5 Cards “8-Handed” (phew, that’s a mouthful). That victory earned him $12,850 to add to the $5,880 he collected for winning Event #29 which was also a pot-limit Omaha tournament. Jean-Philippe Piquette was another Canadian on the final table of Event #63. He earned $5,680 for finishing third.
In the very next tournament — Event #64: $1,100 NL Hold’em — Wing Seto finished third out of 191 players to bring $19,060 back to Canada.
In Event #66: $5,300 NL Hold’em 6-Handed Turbo, Mike McDonald added a score for his trip. He finished fifth out of 59 players and was awarded $23,460 for doing so.
The sixth Canadian win came from Team PokerStars Online Pro Adrienne Rowsome. She won Event #68: $2,200 PL Omaha Hi/Lo 8-Handed Turbo to earn the best live tournament cash of her career: $22,420.
Of the six players who earned a payout in that 34-player event, half of them were Canadian. Markus Cara collected $4,620 for finishing sixth and Thomas Taylor took home $5,940 for fifth place.
The next good result by a Canadian came in Event #73: $1,1000 NL Hold’em Hyper-Turbo “Win the Button” which saw 85 entries. Andre Difelice finished third in that tournament for $10,560.
Carter Swidler booked a cash in Event #76: 1,100 NL Hold’em Unlimited Re-Entries which received 220 total entries. Swidler managed a fifth-place result to earn a prize of $15,740.
Event #80: $2,200 NL Hold’em 6-Handed Turbo saw a quarter of a million dollars in the prize pool after 129 players signed up to play. Canadian Rodney Ramalho was the last standing from our nation, earning $22,900 for fourth place.
Another golden spade trophy very nearly came to Canada in Event #85: $2,200 NL Hold’em 8-Handed Hyper-Turbo “$1,000 Bounties”. Antonio Sciucca was heads-up for the win with the U.K.’s Chun Ho Law and the two made a deal. However, when the rest of it played out, Sciucca finished second for $19,700 and Law earned $22,200. Sitting in third was Canadian James Stewart which was worth $11,360.
Another near win came in the the very next tournament. Event #86: $2,200 NL Hold’em 6-Handed Unlimited Re-Entries filled the tables with 171 players and Kerry Shears still had chips when only two players remained. The Canadian ultimately finished second for $52,240, falling to American Isaac Haxton who earned $77,180 for the win.
The next Canadian victory — seventh for the series — was picked up by Natasha Barbour in Event #87: $600 NL Hold’em Women’s Event. There were 51 ladies in the tournament and Barbour was the last one with chips, earning $8,340 for the win along with the golden spade.
Jean-Philippe Piquette finished third again in Event #88: $1,100 7-Card Stud Hi/Lo 8-Handed after he finished in the same position in Event #63. The tournament saw 30 entries and paid five player. Piquette earned $4,720 for his third-place finish.
Event #92: $600 NL Hold’em Turbo “Double Stack” concluded with two Canadians heads-up for the title. Jean Leblond proved to be the best of 102 players to earn $14,100 and the eighth Canadian victory for the series. Fellow Canadian Patrick Blye picked up $9,780 for coming second.
Mike Leah found another score in Event #93: $2,200 NL Hold’em 8-Handed Turbo Single Re-Entry. Out of the 93 entries, Leah finished fourth to earn $18,160 while American Will Failla went on to win for $40,060 after a two-way deal.
The ninth Canadian victory was earned in Event #99: $600 NL Hold’em Turbo “PCA Main Event Edition” which saw 225 players create a prize pool of $117,000. After coming third in Event #73, Toronto’s Andre Difelice clinched the win in Event #99 to earn the best live tournament cash of his life — $24,820.
Tyler Hurman also made a deep run to finish third for $11,740 which was his third cash of PCA. The other two were in the LAPT Main Event and the PCA Main Event, making him three for three in cashing the three different Main Events of PCA.
In Event #103: $10,300 NL Hold’em 8-Handed Turbo “$5,000 Bounties”, Alex Difelice picked up his sixth cash of PCA and it was a win. He came out on top to win the golden spade — Canada’s 10th — and $97,580.
When you add Mike Watson’s Main Event title, that’s 11 Canadian victories across the series, not including the $120 Flipouts peppered across the schedule or the satellites. When you remove those events, there were 69 actual tournaments, of which Canadians won 11. A big congratulations goes out from PokerNews Canada to the entire Canadian contingent who found success at PCA this year.