The players are certainly showing PokerStars the error in their ways. Three years after the last excursion to the Caribbean, the 2023 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure has once again taken its place among the most prestigious events on the international tournament circuit. In the $10,000 Main Event, they are down to the penultimate day with Michel Dattani holding down a slim lead over Jamil Wakil, with top pros Taylor Paur and Jonathan Little still alive in the final sixteen players.
54 Players Start the Day
54 players came back to the felt on Friday to work the field down a little further from the 889 entries that started the 2023 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure. Spain’s Sergi Reixach was in the lead with a 1.719 million chip stack, but three other players joined him in the Million Chip Club. Christoph Csik (1.409 million), Michael Rocco (1.26 million), and Ian Matakis (1.083 million) were all poised to strike, while Artur Martirosian (816K) lurked a little further down the leaderboard.
As usual at the start of the action, several players looked to either move up the leaderboard or get out of the tournament so they could go enjoy the Bahamian sun. Colton Blomberg, Sam Grafton, Steve O’Dwyer, and Justin Bonomo. Bonomo’s elimination came at the hands of Little, who would use those chips throughout the early action quite well.
The story of the start of Friday’s Day Four action, however, was Csik. He would take a nearly 900K chip pot from Anton Wigg and Alex Kulev when Csik turned a King high flush against the duo. That pot pushed him over the two million mark in chips, taking the lead from Reixach.
New Contenders Emerge as Day Four Rolls Along
As the action continued Friday, other contenders would come out to play. Martirosian added over a million chips to his stack in the first level of play alone to become a contender, while Paur began to work his way up from a short stack. Little was the real story of this period of play as he slowly worked his chip stack upwards.
The man who was REALLY on the move, however, was Dattani. He would get very fortunate when, all in against Mitchell Halverson, he was able to flop two pair with his A-Q on an A-Q-3 board. Halverson held an A-K, so there was a chance to draw out, but the turn and river failed to bring a King. After the chips were counted, Dattani picked up a 500K pot and shot over the million-chip mark.
This type of fortune would continue for Dattani. The majority of Dattani’s stack came to him from a three-way clash with Ramon Colillas and Elias Gutierrez with the tournament down to three tables. On the hand, Dattani opened the betting, and Colillas three-bet the action. In the cutoff, Gutierrez saw a chance to squeeze with an all-in four-bet. Dattani wasn’t fazed, however, moving all in himself and Colillas, with only a singular 5000 chip left behind, tossed it in and the cards were turned up:
Gutierrez: pocket Queens
Dattani: pocket Aces
The nine-high board didn’t provide any assistance to anyone, meaning that Dattani scooped up the 1.1 million pot and shot over the two million mark himself. After catching a bluff from Alexandros Kolonias, Dattani eked out a slight lead as the final bell rang with sixteen players left.
1. Michel Dattani (Portugal), 2.9 million
2. Jamil Wakil (Canada), 2.84 million
3. Christoph Csik (USA), 2.785 million
4. Mitchell Halverson (USA), 2.65 million
5. Artur Martirosian (Russia), 2.285 million
6. Clint Tolbert (USA), 1.95 million
7. Sergi Reixach (Spain), 1.61 million
8. Alexandre Raymond (Canada), 1.475 million
9. Ian Matakis (USA), 1.2 million
10. Taylor Paur (USA), 1.195 million
(tie) Jonathan Little (USA), 1.195 million
The plan for Saturday’s action is to play down to the final table (usually eight players) and the action is being livestreamed on PokerStars’ Twitch channel. The players are all guaranteed at least $68,000 for their week’s work in the Bahamas. The eventual champion of the 2023 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Main Event will be the recipient of a $1.5 million payday, sure to get someone’s tournament poker year off to a fantastic start.