With the European Poker Tour mothballed by PokerStars with Championship and Festival events launched in their place, the poker world returned to the Bahamas this month for a tournament series that was familiar but also new. The PokerStars Caribbean Adventure was replaced by the first-ever PokerStars Championship Bahamas.
It’s been a poker tradition going on several years that the new year kicks off with the PokerStars event on Paradise Island that feels a bit like a reunion post-holidays. For Canadians, it’s a respite from the bitter winter. But, for many Canadian players this year, it wasn’t just a holiday; there were some big prizes brought back from the tropics.
There were 98 events in the nine-day series. The highlights included the $100,000 Super High Roller for those with exceedingly deep pockets, the $2,200 National Championship, the $5,000 Main Event, the $50,000 tournament, the $25,750 pot-limit Omaha event, the $25,500 eight-handed event with a 30-second shot clock, and the $25,750 High Roller.
Daniel Dvoress found some success early on, finishing fourth in the $100,000 Super High Roller that was given an extra-bright spotlight due to the attendance of celebrity comedian and actor Kevin Hart. Dvoress cashed in for $576,300 for his deep run in that event.
In the $2,200 PokerStars National Championship, the final three players included two Canadians. One was better known — Marc-Andre Ladouceur finished third for $71,160. But the winner was the lesser-known Canadian Nicola Basile who pocketed a nice $131,680 to bring home to Toronto, which is the largest tournament cash of his life by far.
In the $5,000 Main Event, the final day saw six players return with Canadian Michael Gentili holding the chip lead after eliminating fellow Canadian Allon Allison in seventh place the night before for $76,400. Gentili ultimately met his demise in fifth place, earning $140,940.
In the second-largest buy-in of the series, Daniel Dvoress earned another six-figure payout. The $50,000 no-limit hold’em event with a single reentry saw the Canadian finish in eighth place for $125,900.
The $25,750 eight-handed event included a 30-second shot clock and Mike Watson was the top Canadian in that event. He came out in seventh place for $73,720.
The biggest Canadian prize from the series was earned in the $25,750 High Roller. With 13 players remaining, almost half of them were from Canada. Six players were still in contention for the top prize. Timothy Adams exited in 13th place, though, for $66,220, followed closely by Daniel Dvoress in 12th for the same amount.
With 10 players left, two of Canada’s Greenwood brothers still had chips as well as Mark Radoja and Daniel Negreanu, but Sam Greenwood was unable to make it any further and pocketed $75,960 in 10th place while his brother Lucas continued on. Mark Radoja was the next Canuck out, finishing eighth for $113,360, while Daniel Negreanu went on to earn $268,780 for fifth place. But the final Canadian, Lucas Greenwood, proved to be the best of the day, collecting every last tournament chips and earning the win and $779,268, making him the biggest Canadian winner of the inaugural PokerStars Championship Bahamas.