After months of awarding Platinum Passes and building plenty of hype, the PokerStars No Limit Hold’em Players Championship (PSPC) came to a close on Friday with Belarus’s Aliaksandr Shylko taking the title for $3.1 million.
The victory came after five days of tournament action that highlighted the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure. The trip to the tropics turned out to be a major win for Shylko, who had just $423,369 in live tournament winnings before the huge cash.
“It was an amazing experience,” Shylko said afterward. “I had a lot of fun, I met a lot of good people, and winning such a big tournament, it’s amazing.”
In other news, Isaac Haxton proved to be one of the biggest winners of the series as well with a second high roller win. Here’s a look at the final days of action from the Bahamas.
Shylko scores big in PokerStars PSPC
When action resumed on Friday, Shylko (pictured in lead image courtesy PokerStars/Danny Maxwell) sat second in chips and faced experienced players in chip leader Nacho Barbero and Pedro Marques in fourth.
Berbero found some early success, dispatching short-stacked Niclas Thumm early. Shylko managed his chip stack well, however, and also found the right card at a critical time. Rivering a straight with A♥10♥ against Philipe Pizzari’s A♣ K♥ proved to be a huge hand. Shylko hit a miracle card on the river and took the chip lead.
— PokerStars (@PokerStars) February 5, 2023
After coming into the final table as chip leader, Berbero ultimately exited in fourth place. He noted that he had a bad run of cards and was frustrated despite pocketing $1.6 million.
“I couldn’t recover,” he said. “There are not many better opportunities to win $4 million. I’m happy for the result, but it’s a bit disappointing.”
Reaching a deal
In the end, the top three players agreed to a deal. Each player was guaranteed at least $2.5 million. They left $300,000 on the table to play for as well as the title or PSPC champion.
Shylko ended up heads up against Germany’s Max Menzel, who had entered the final table fifth in chips and made a huge jump overall. Heads-up play lasted just a single hand.
Menzel managed to hit a straight, but Shylko hit a full house. Shyklo becomes the second PSPC winner after Ramon Colillas won the first event in 2019.
Menzel earned his spot in the PSPC via Platinum Pass and certainly made it count. Niclas Thumm found a Platinum Pass route to the final table as well and made it pay off to the tune of seven figures.
In the end, the tournament produced a field of 1,014 entries for a $24.8 million prize pool. That included 418 Platinum Pass winners. Here’s a look at the final table payouts.
2023 PokerStars Players Championship
- Aliaksandr Shylko (Belarus) – $3,121,838
- Max Menzel (Germany) – $2,859,990
- Philipe Pizzari (Brazil) – $2,524,871
- Nacho Barbero (Argentina) – $1,551,300
- Pedro Marques (Portugal) – $1,251,500
- Niclas Thumm (Germany) – $1,001,200
Isaac Haxton chalks up another win
After winning the $100,000 PCA Super High Roller to start the series, Isaac Haxton bookended his run in the series with another big win on the final day of action. He took down the $100,000 NLHE event on Friday for $1.6 million.
In total, Haxton chalke up more than $3.1 million in winnings across the entire series, which also included a third-place finish. The performance also follows winning the final event in the PokerGO Cup in January for $598,000. It’s certainly been a nice few weeks for the high-stakes grinder from New York.
— Isaac Haxton (@ikepoker) February 4, 2023
After the most recent win, Haxton now has more than $33.6 million in live tournament winnings. The event brought in 46 entries for a $4.5 million prize pool.
Germany’s Fedor Holz finished runner-up for $1 million. That came after a deep run in the PSPC, where he took 21st for $123,600.
Ognyan Dimov grabs high roller title; other winners
In the $25,000 PCA High Roller, former European Poker Tour champion Ognyan Dimov found the top spot for $990,655. The tournament brought in 187 entries for a $4.4 million prize pool.
This is now the largest tournament score of the Bulgarian’s poker career and now has more than $4 million in live tournament winnings.
In the $10,150 Six-Handed Unlimited Re-Entry, Switzerland’s Alexandre Vuilleumier found the winner’s circle for $237,700. The $3,100 NLHE Unlimited Re-Entry also produced a nice payout for the champion. Germany’s Maximilian Silz took the title for $101,430.
Brazil’s Kelvin Kerber scored the trophy and $110,910 in the $2,200 Deep Stack Single Re-Entry. After 70 events, the PCA came to a close on Friday. With so many Platinum Passes given out, the tournament brought together an interesting mix of recreational players and pros.
The sun, sand, and poker were hard to beat. Many players may already be asking if the PCA will return for 2024? Is PokerStars planning a third PSPC and more Platinum Passes up for grabs? Those answers remain to be seen, but stay tuned to PokerScout for details as more information is announced.