When Day 5 of the 2016 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure – a tournament that began with 928 players who created a $4,500,800 prize pool – began at Noon on Wednesday, 19 players remained with Brazil's Leonardo Pires holding a massive chip leader. Over the course of the next 12 hours, Pires would blowup, 13 players would hit the rail, and Mike "SirWatts" Watson would finish as the chip leader among the final six with 6.585 million.
Others still in contention for the $833,260 first-place prize are Tony Gregg (5.68 million), Vladimir Troyanovskiy (5.025 million), Phillip McAllister (3.04 million), neurosurgeon Randy Kritzer (2.575 million) , and Toby Lewis (4.665 million), the only EPT champ remaining in the field.
Amazing, both Gregg and Troyanovskiy set amazing marks. By making the final table, the latter became the first player to make PCA final tables in the Main Event, $100,000 Super High Roller, and $25,000 High Roller, while the former made the final table of the PCA Main Event for a record third time (he finished runner-up in 2009 and sixth in 2012)! No other player has even done it twice.
"It's one of those things where PCA was my first big score, so I'm always going to have really positive vibes when I come down," Gregg told PokerNews. "It's so awesome to get out of the winter in the middle of January. So, I always just feel so good when I come down here. It's a can't-miss stop for me."
The day started with two quick eliminations when well-known pros Taylor Paur (19th - $32,360) and Fedor "CrownUpGuy" Holz (18th - $32,360) hit the rail. Not long after, Pires played kings to perfection and got poker pro Fabian Ortiz to put his chips in bad, ultimately sending the Argentine pro home in 17th place for $36,860.
From there, Fabian Chauriye exited in 16th place after his ace-king failed to get there against the pocket sevens of McAllister; 2014 Aussie Millions champ Ami Barer fell in 15th when his ace-king fell to Watson's pocket queens; and Stephen Chidwick bowed out in 14th when he got his short stack all in preflop holding the and failed to overcome the of Lewis.
Surprisingly, Pires, who began the day with nearly twice as many chips as his next closest opponent, was the next to go in 13th place after a brutal 90-minute period. In Level 24 (12,000/24,000/3,000), a flop saw Pires fire out 214,000 into a pot of 224,000. Watson called from the hijack, two other players folded, and it was heads-up action to the turn.
Pires bet 500,000, Watson called, and the completed the board on the river. Pires moved all in and Watson hit the tank before calling off for 1.01 million.
"Six," Pires said confidently while rolling over the . Watson then showed the better hand with the . Pires took a hit on the hand, dropped to 5.49 million, and proceeded to give it away little by little.
In what would ultimately be Pires' final hand, Watson raised to 90,000 from the hijack and Demlakian called from the cutoff. When action reached Pires in the big blind, he just moved all in for 1.65 million. Watson shoved all in over the top and Demlakian got out of the way.
Pires opted to shove with a weak hand, but he got a sweat when the flop paired his three. Unfortunately for him, the spiked on the turn to leave him drawing dead to Watson's set. The meaningless was put out on the river, and Pires' meltdown was complete. The Twitterverse erupted in disbelief that a player could fall so quickly with so much money on the line.
Others who hit the rail before the end of the night were Australian Paul Gooley (12th - $45,860), the controversial Martin McCormick (11th - $51,260), poker pro Matt Waxman (10th - $51,260), and David Eldridge (9th - $62,020), whose elimination set up the official final table.
From there, Timothy Ulmer (9th - $78,540) and Ken Demlakian (7th - $110,220) both fell before play was halted for the night.
The sixth and final day will kick off at 1 p.m. local time, but our updates won't begin until an hour later to account for the delayed EPTLive stream. Be sure to join us then for the last day of the 2016 PCA festival. While you wait, check out this video on BetStars' New Spin & Bet: