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Christopher Kruk Wins PCA $25,000 High Roller

It was a comeback for the ages and Christopher Kruk rose to the top to capture the $25,000 High Roller at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure 2018. Kruk overcame a red-hot Jonathan Jaffe in heads-up play to take down a field of 144 entries and pocket $836,350 for his efforts.

When heads-up play began, Jaffe was the overwhelming chip leader and continued to increase his lead. With 180 big blinds in play, Kruk held just 7 of them at one point. Everyone is familiar with the saying "A chip and a chair" and that is literally all Kruk needed. One double up led to another double up, and Kruk was right back in the match.

One double up led to another double up, and Kruk was right back in the match.

He slowly chipped away at Jaffe's stack and assumed the chip lead when he flopped middle pair and rivered two pair. A big river bet was paid off by Jaffe and Kruk was finally in front. Not long after, Jaffe bluffed the majority of his stack with a dry ace. Kruk called him off with top pair and held a dominating chip lead. In the last hand of the day, Jaffe was all in with {4-Spades}{4-Hearts} but Kruk woke up with {j-Spades}{j-Clubs}. The board provided no help to Jaffe and Kruk clinched the win.

Kruk broke through into the live tournament scene as of late, finding himself playing in many of the high roller events. Mostly known for his online play, Kruk had one of his best years behind the computer in 2017. That transformed into him entering some live high-stakes poker tournaments. Kruk's first live tournament win came at the PokerStars Championship Barcelona in 2017 in the €5,200 No Limit Hold'Em Hyper Turbo for €79,400. With a total of $1,193,319 in live tournament earnings thus far, Kruk has just surpassed the $2 million mark with this win.

Final Table Summary
The final table officially got underway at the end of Day 2, but with no eliminations through one level, the players decided to bag up and come back on Day 3. Felipe Ramos became the first player to fall as his day got off to a rough start. After paying off Seymour in a big pot, he then doubled up Bonomo and left himself with only 5 big blinds, which he would lose on the next hand. Stefan Schillhabel became the next victim as he couldn't get anything going on the final day. He eventually got all of his chips in the middle with an open-ended straight draw against Jaffe's top set. Schillhabel was drawing dead when the board paired on the turn and that left just six players.

Seymour was unable to connect with the board and his story-book ending came to a halt

Mikita Badziakouski came into the day with just 7 big blinds and already managed to ladder up a couple positions. He looked poised to keep hanging around after a double up through Seymour, but just two hands later he ran his ace-nine into the pocket aces of Jaffe. Badziakouski was unable to come from behind and he was sent home in sixth place. That left Igor Kurganov on the short stack and he got his last few chips in the middle with king-high against Bonomo's queen-high. However, Bonomo made two pair by the river and that brought an end to the last remaining PokerStars Team Pro.

With just four players remaining, Jaffe continued to hold the chip lead, but with the number of big blinds in play, it was still anyone's game. That was until Justin Bonomo and Jaffe collided in a massive pot. Both players flopped a pair of aces, but it was Jaffe who turned two pair. He put Bonomo to the test on the river and the high-stakes tournament player paid him off. Jaffe took a sizeable chip lead into three-handed play and he didn't stop there. Former Super Bowl champion, linebacker Richard Seymour shoved all in with {a-Clubs}{9-Hearts} but Jaffe woke up with pocket queens. Seymour was unable to connect with the board and his story-book ending came to a halt. That left Jaffe and Kruk to battle heads-up for the title and nearly a $300,000 heads-up match.

Final Table Results

PositionPlayerCountryPrize
1Christopher KrukCanada$836,350
2Jonathan JaffeUnited States$569,760
3Richard SeymourUnited States$376,360
4Justin BonomoUnited States$310,150
5Igor KurganovRussia$249,160
6Mikita BadziakouskiBelarus$195,150
7Stefan SchillhabelGermany$146,360
8Felipe RamosBrazil$108,030

With such a prestige event taking place and such a big payout for the winner, there was no doubt that this tournament would attract the best of the best. However, there wasn't enough room for everyone to make a deep run and some of those that fell short early on included Ryan Riess, Bryn Kenney, Ben Tollerene, Dan Shak, Rainer Kempe, Benjamin Pollak, and defending champion Luc Greenwood.

The money bubble was reached half-way into Day 2 and it was Richard Kirsch sitting on a stack of just five big blinds. He got his chips in the middle holding {a-Diamonds}{k-Clubs} against Isaac Haxton's {k-Spades}{q-Spades}. Haxton hit trip queens on the flop and never looked back, bursting the bubble with Kirsch on the outside looking in. That left the remaining 20 players guaranteed to walk home with at least $45,300.

Some of the big names to reach the money included Mike Watson (18th place - $45,300), Isaac Haxton (15th place - $55,740), PokerStars Team Pro Liv Boeree (14th place - $55,740), Steffen Sontheimer (11th place - $69,730), and PokerStars Team Pro Daniel Negreanu (9th place - $83,640).

That wraps up the coverage for this event, but there is still live coverage happening in the $10,300 Main Event. It was a great start to the 2018 season, and there will be plenty of more action to come. Continue to follow along with the PokerNews live reporting team for all of the live updates from the next event.

Jonathan Jaffe

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