All the Green: A Look at Sam Greenwood's $1.3M Week in Punta Cana
Almost any poker player would be thrilled to book $1.3 million in cashes in a given year.
Hell, Darren Elias hasn't even hit that mark yet in 2017 and he's coming off of a $293K win at Borgata Fall Poker Open Championship on top of his World Poker Tour title and two World Series of Poker final tables.
Now, this comes with the caveat that the modern high roller and super high roller circuit has distorted poker economics to the point where things are almost inscrutable for most players. How much of his or her own action did a player have for a big score? How much is he or she pumping into these massive tournaments that now commonly feature reentries and are happening seemingly every other weekend?
There's no question today's cashing numbers are more artificially inflated than the muscles of a typical pro wrestler.
Even with all that in mind, what Sam Greenwood pulled off at partypoker LIVE's 2017 Caribbean Poker Party Festival stands as a mighty impressive feat. He cashed for $1,366,850 in a span of about a week at Melia Caribe Tropical in Punta Cana, making partypoker MILLIONS his own personal millions factory. To put that into perspective, only 74 players have even hit that mark for the calendar year, according to Hendon Mob.
We'll take a look at the whirlwind week that was for Greenwood.
It Starts in the High Roller
The Canadian star flew into Dominican Republic and hit the ground running in the $10,300 MILLIONS High Roller, which carried a $1 million guarantee that it just did surpass.
Greenwood carried one of the bigger stacks into the final table and looked to be in fantastic shape as the field narrowed to just four players. At that point, Greenwood opened with to 1.1 million at 250,000/500,000/250,000 — note that the player on the button paid the entire ante in this structure. Alex Papazian shoved in a hair over 11 million with and Greenwood put him to the test with his dominating ace. The nearly cinched it for Greenwood, though he did have a slight sweat after the turn.
Once he faded the river, Greenwood held 60 percent of the chips three-handed and looked to be a favorite over Jonathan Little and Preben Stokkan to nab the $275,000 first-place prize.
Unfortunately for the Canadian, he lost a flip to Stokkan and then shoved in pocket eights over a Little open, losing to Little's queens.
That left Greenwood as the shortest stack and queens would be his undoing again as he got in against Stokkan's ladies after a flop. Greenwood's myriad outs failed to materialize and the Norwegian player would go on to defeat Little, with Greenwood settling for $124,100 in third.
Still, it was an auspicious start.
The Super High Roller Goes Even Better
The $25,500 MILLIONS Super High Roller also inched past its guarantee, with Greenwood advancing to the final table and the money but facing possibly an even tougher set of foes.
This time, Greenwood had to contend with the likes of partypoker Global Ambassador Sam Trickett, Spanish superstar Adrian Mateos, solid veteran Chris Hunichen, rising Brazilian Rafael Moraes and token German crusher Steffen Sontheimer. Trickett held the lead going in, but it certainly looked to be anyone's game since every player sat between 15 and 55 big blinds, with Greenwood part of a four-player jumble between 39 and 55 blinds.
Trickett seemed to cement his lead with two early eliminations, but Greenwood and Hunichen took turns doubling through him, the Canadian winning a flip with against pocket sevens. Hunichen then busted Mateos and crippled Trickett in a three-way all in, leaving only Greenwood at a 3-1 deficit.
Greenwood had only 25 big blinds and would find no traction heads up. He got the last of it in there good with against but took an ugly beat when a board gave the American a backdoor wheel.
Nonetheless, Greenwood added another $242,750 to his coffers with the impressive finish.
Saving the Best for Last
While Greenwood narrowly missed reeling in two lunkers, the biggest fish yet still remained with the $5,300 MILLIONS Main Event.
After his remarkable run during the week, he could hardly be forgiven for finally posting a poor result, but just the opposite happened as Greenwood entered the final day as the clear favorite with the chip lead and the most big-time tournament experience of anyone remaining aside from perhaps Jason Koon, whom Greenwood covered by more than a 2-1 margin.
"It was just crazy. I don't think I have ever run this good."
Koon, though, fell early on, and Greenwood entered the final table in second to Jonas Gjelstad. Other notables at the final table included $10,300 final table foes Stokkan and Felipe Ramos, as well as Andrey Shatilov.
Greenwood has never been a man afraid to build a gigantic pot, but his trademark overbetting backfired and left him on the thinnest of ice when he three-barreled it off against Shatilov nine-handed with and got called down by on .
Left with under six big blinds, Greenwood found himself one card from elimination in short order but paired up on the river with against the of Jiri Horak.
They'd missed their chance to be rid of the Canadian crusher. He would cooler Stokkan with aces against ace-king to get healthy and ultimately advance to heads-up play with Shatilov on fairly even footing.
A three-hour heads-up match ensued with the two trading the lead several times. Greenwood found his spot, though, three-betting with queens and snapping off Shatilov's four-bet shove. The Russian had and shipped over a big double after Greenwood flopped a set. Greenwood finished Shatilov with when Shatilov flopped top pair with .
The End of a Week for the Ages
Much as he did after his bracelet win in 2015, the characteristically soft-spoken Greenwood credited the cards for his spectacular series of finishes in the Caribbean.
"It was just crazy," he told PokerNews after the Main Event. "I don't think I have ever run this good. I won so many all ins and I'm happy with how well I played. In the high rollers, it was more of a steady climb but in the Main, I was all in so many times."
Variance, he felt, particularly smiled upon him in the match with Shatilov.
"He wasn't making mistakes," Greenwood said. "I won because I was on the right side of the cards."
Humbly accepted as Greenwood's monster week was, it's still a little easier to chalk up a single tournament win to good fortune than sustained dominance through three events, particularly two that had high roller-caliber competition. He put together a positively Fedor Holz-ian run, one that certainly ranks among the best we've seen in recent memory.
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