Over the weekend, the PPC Poker Tour wrapped up its third season with the 2015 PPC Aruba World Championship. The series culminated with a $1,700 Main Event, which boasted a $250,000 guaranteed prize pool. That number was blown out of the water as 274 entrants took to the felt and created a $378,670 prize pool, plus four $5,000 packages to be awarded for the 2016 PPC Aruba stop.
Among those to make the trip to the sunny island were PPC Ambassadors Mark "P0ker H0" Kroon, Ronnie Bardah, and Joe Serock; as well as recognizable names like Kyle Cartwright, Sam Panzica, and Kou Vang, just to name a few.
Between the two starting flights, just 76 players advanced to Day 2, with only 27 of those slated to make the money. Among those to exit with a payday were Mike Beasley (24th - $3,408), Hayden Fortini (23rd - $3,408), Pamela Wilson (19th - $3,408), Kroon (19th - $3,787), Jesse Chinni (15th - $4,165), Eric Flesch (12th - $4,923), and Pablo Abraca (11th - $4,923).
The final table of ten returned on Day 3, with poker pro Shawn Rice leading the way and Joey Couden hot on his heels.
According to updates from the event, Ken Davis was the first to go after his failed to hold against the of Vincent Fiorenza, and Marshall Tarzy followed him out the door in ninth when he ran pocket fives into the pocket sevens of Todd Funderburg.
After David Kidd and Steve Trizis bowed out in eighth and seventh place respectively, Funderburg was felled in sixth after his failed to get there against Rice's .
Then, in Level 25 (15,000/30,000/5,000), Rice opened for 70,000 and former PCA champ Harrison Gimbel shoved all in for 495,000. Couden called, Rice folded, and the cards were turned up.
Gimbel was looking for a five, but it failed to materialize as the board ran out . Gimbel took home $22,720 for his fifth-place finish.
The four-handed battle proved to be an extended affair with the chip lead exchanging hands several times. Eventually Couden ran pocket nines into the queens of Rice to bust in fourth, and then Rice was sent to the rail two levels later when his pocket nines were cracked by Fiorenza's after an ace spiked on the river.
In what would be the final hand of the tournament, which happened in Level 28 (30,000/60,000/10,000), Fiorenza opened for 150,000 only to have Danny Lobato three-bet to 400,000. Fiorenza responded by moving all in, and Lobato called off.
The flop gave Fiorenza top set, which meant Lobato needed running aces to stay alive. That didn't happen though as the blanked on the turn followed by the on the river. Lobato took home $62,481 for his runner-up finish.
Final Table Results
|1||Vincent Fiorenza||$106,027 + $5,000 2016 PPC Aruba Package|
|2||Danny Lobato||$62,480 + $5,000 2016 PPC Aruba Package|
|3||Shawn Rice||$35,974 + $5,000 2016 PPC Aruba Package|
|4||Joey Couden||$29,158 + $5,000 2016 PPC Aruba Package|
“I’ve been pretty fortunate to jump on the tournament scene and do pretty well so far so it means a lot," Fiorenza told PPC officials after the win. "I’ve had lots of supporters. Aruba’s great and my supporters were great here and it really means a lot to be the PPC Champion.
“I think this a great tournament. It’s my first year out here and it’s a great spot, great venue, great people, and great reporters. From the staff to the dealers all the way to the directors everyone did an awesome job. I had a lot of fun here and I’ll definitely be back next year."
Congratulations to the 2015 PPC Aruba World Championships Main Event Champion – Vincent Fiorenza!