Final Table Set in PokerStars Players Championship, Nacho Barbero Returns as Chip Leader

The PokerStars No Limit Hold’em Players Championship reached the final table on Thursday with six players returning to battle for the title on Friday.

Argentina’s Nacho Barbero returns to the table as chip leader with 19.3 million chips. Just behind him is Belarus’s Aliaksandr Shylko with 12.2 million.

Two Platinum Pass winners also return to the final table, meaning a huge return on investment awaits those players. Friday brings a close to the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure festivities.

Stars ambassador Sam Grafton finished 12th in the PSPC for $238,700 and spoke for many about the experience.

“I think the atmosphere is unbelievable,” he told PokerScout. “Because people are bringing their families, girlfriends, partners, husbands, and loved ones. So that’s really nice – being able to just spend the morning on the beach, get the sand between your toes before you go and play poker.

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“There’s just a very convivial atmosphere at the tables. And then I think, not to blow our own trumpet, but I think we’ve done a really good job of making this a great event. We feel like we have the best dealers, staff, and organizational aspects for a tournament in the world. We’re setting the gold standard for how live events are conducted and I really think that we’ve done that here.”

The $250,000 Super High Roller also wrapped up on Thursday with a Canadian grabbing the top spot. Here’s a look at some of the recent action from the Bahamas.

PokerStars Players Championship final table

After four days of play, the end of the PSPC is now in sight with some major money on the line. The winner scores $4.1 million with sixth place taking just over $1 million. Here’s a look at the players at the final table.

Nacho Barbero, 19.3 million chips

Barbero (pictured in lead image courtesy PokerStars/Joe Giron) returns as one of the most experienced players at the final table. He’s a high-stakes cash game player with plenty of major tournament scores as well.

In total, Barbero has $5.4 million in live tournament winnings. That included winning a World Series of Poker bracelet last summer in a $10,000 Super Turbo Bounty for $587,520.

He has numerous other nice wins and finishes, and now has the chips and skills to possibly take an even bigger title.

Aliaksandr Shylko – 12.2 million

Aliaksandr Shylko

With $423,369 in live tournament winnings, Shylko has pocketed the biggest score of his tournament career. No doubt he’ll be gunning for the title and has the chips to make some waves.

Shylko’s best score came in the 2021 WSOP Circuit Main Event in the Czech Republic, taking fourth for $106,769. In 2019 he also scored a fourth-place finish in the same event for $86,798.

Philipe Pizzari – 12 million

Philipe Pizzari

The Brazilian has $353,892 in live tournament winnings with the biggest of that coming in a 2021 WSOP Main Event.

He scored $241,800 for that finish alone. Pizzari now has a much bigger score already in his pocket. If he can find more chips, he could be a tough player to contend with as well.

Pedro Marques – 10.5 million

Pedro Marques

This player from Portugal also returns as one of the more experienced players at the table. He has almost $3 million in live tournament winnings and now adds to that total significantly.

Marques is a regular on the European Poker Tour with numerous nice finishes on that series. In May he took down a €2,000 event at EPT Monte Carlo for $173,702.

His biggest score came in 2018 when he won the EPT Barcelona Main Event for $813,371. He’ll certainly be a player to watch at this final table.

Max Menzel – 5 million

Max Menzel

This German player sits on one of the two short stacks and will have some work to do to ladder up at the final table. However, with $1 million for just sixth place, he adds greatly to his ​​$108,574 in live tournament winnings.

Menzel works for a German logistics company and currently lives in Singapore. During time living in China, he was also a regular cash game player in Macau. He is one of two Platinum Pass winners at the final table after winning a Road to PSPC event in Manila.

Niclas Thumm – 1.8 million

Niclas Thumm

This is a second player hailing from Germany and another Platinum Pass winner. He won his pass by receiving votes among poker fans in the PokerStars “Dare2Stream” competition.

Thumm has only two live poker cashes for $415, but the Twitch streamer is a regular at the online tables. He is on the shortest stack and will be looking for a quick double. He spoke about how much he’s enjoyed the overall PSPC experience.

“On the one hand, it’s life-changing money, even min-cashing,” the 29-year-old told the PokerStars blog. “On the other hand, I’m enjoying every second of the tournament, playing my hands, and spectating the hands I’m not in.”

Despite being on e short stack, he planned on bringing his A-game to the table.

Platinum Pass winners score big

Beyond the two final table Platinum Pass winners, several others who grabbed a pass also found some nice winnings. Many of these winners saw huge gains in career earnings thanks to so many recreational players scoring passes and making some nice runs.

Tom Parsons, of the United Kingdom, turned his pass into a 16th-place finish for $165,600. The Team Paddy Power ambassador seems to have come a long way since the first PSPC in 2019.

Hugo Rodilla finished just one spot behind Parsons and also snagged $165,600. The Spanish Platinum Pass winner adds a nice amount to his $13,335 in live tournament winnings.

Spain’s Esteban Maquillon found a 19th-place finish for $142,100. He also greatly beefs up his $142,354 in winnings. Jerome Moreau, of France, almost doubled his liv e tournament winnings of $153,149. He finished 20th for $142,100.

One of the better Platinum Pass stories is 43-year-old Frenchman Renato Minicuci. He won a PokerStars Spin & Go freeroll promotion to earn his spot in the tournament, ultimately finishing 27th for $107,500. 

Previously, Minicuri had only $66,357 in live tournament winnings. He started playing poker in 2014 after some co-workers asked him to play in a tournament. That Platinum Pasas turned into a nice vacation and a nice six-figure score.

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Greenwood takes down Super High Roller

In other action, Sam Greenwood took down the $250,000 Super High Roller for $3.3 million. The Canadian topped a field of 39 entries for the biggest win of his career.

“I’m feeling really tired but really happy,” Greenwood said after the win.

The 34-year-old from Toronto now has almost $30 million in live tournament winnings. Greenwood was second in chips when the final of eight resumed on Thursday.

Eliminating ∫ in sixth place and Artur Martirosian in fifth added to his stack and he kept building.

At heads-up play, France’s Jean-Noel Thorel held a small chip lead, but Greenwood eventually turned the tables for the win. Here’s a look at the final payouts.

PCA $250,000 Super High Roller

  1. Sam Greenwood, Canada – $3,276,760
  2. Jean-Noel Thorel, France – $2,137,100
  3. David Yan, New Zealand – $1,472,200
  4. Byron Kaverman, United States – $1,092,300
  5. Artur Martirosian, Russia – $854,800
  6. Justin Bonomo, United States – $664,900

* Photos courtesy PokerStars/Joe Giron/Tomas Stacha

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