2023 PCA Hands of the Week: Failed Super High Roller Bluff & a Miracle Turn on Bubble

2023 PCA

PokerStars is currently hosting the 2023 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA), and next week will run the second ever PokerStars Players No-Limit Hold’em Championship (PSPC) from January 30–February 3. The buy-in for the PSPC will be $25,000, mirroring that of the first installment.

The PokerNews Live Reporting Team has been on-site to offer live updates from a slew of PCA tournaments. Here’s a look at five of the more interesting hands captured in our live updates down there in the Bahamas.

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Follow live updates from the 2023 PCA here!

INSANE! Hu Hits Miracle Turn to Survive Bubble

Anthony Hu
Anthony Hu

On Day 3 of the $10,300 PCA Main Event, it was Level 15 (2,000/4,000/4,000) and on the money bubble (the top 127 finishers from the 889-entry field made the money) when Anthony Hu, in middle position, and Justin Steinbrenner, on the button, got into a raising war preflop, where the former had his 157,000 stack in the middle and was at risk of stone bubbling the PCA Main Event.

The television crew began to swarm the table as well as the other players. After the hands were completed on the rest of the tables, the tournament director instructed the players to table their cards.

Anthony Hu: {a-Spades}{a-Diamonds}
Justin Steinbrenner: {k-Spades}{k-Clubs}

Hu was a huge favorite to get the double up and leave Steinbrenner as a short stack. However, Steinbrenner made a set as the dealer fanned the {k-Hearts}{8-Spades}{6-Clubs} flop. A collective moan came from the room as Hu was on the verge of a huge beat.

"Not like this!" shouted Xuan Liu, in support of Hu, as she looked on.

The entire room then lost their minds as the {a-Clubs} came on the turn to give Hu the better set and Steinbrenner looked disgusted.

"A real TV hand," commented Hu, with a wry smile on his face.

The {6-Diamonds} completed the board and Hu somehow survived to get the double up.

Find out who cashed the 2023 PCA Main Event here!

Ponakovs Flops Boat to Fatally Wound Vogelsang

Aleksejs Ponakovs
Aleksejs Ponakovs

In Level 1 (500/1,000/1,000) of the $100,000 PCA Super High Roller, Aleksejs Ponakovs opened to 2,500 from under the gun and Christoph Vogelsang three-bet to 7,500 from the next seat. Action folded back to Ponakovs, who four-bet to 20,000. Vogelsang called.

Ponakovs bet 14,000 on the {3-Diamonds}{3-Spades}{10-Spades} flop and Vogelsang called. Ponakovs then bet 20,000 on the {a-Hearts} turn and Vogelsang raised to 60,000. Ponakovs three-bet to 110,000 and Vogelsang four-bet jammed with around a starting stack. Ponakovs called with a slightly larger stack.

Aleksejs Ponakovs: {10-Diamonds}{10-Clubs}
Christoph Vogelsang: {a-Diamonds}{k-Diamonds}

Vogelsang was drawing to just two aces against the flopped full house of Ponakovs and the {8-Clubs} then bricked off on the river to leave Vogelsang short and to earn Ponakovs the first double of the day. Vogelsang wasn't able to spin it up and was seen leaving the tournament area a few hands later.

Addamo Falls to Thorel in Massive Cooler

Michael Addamo
Michael Addamo

In Level 4 (1,000/2,000/2,000) of the $100K SHR, Michael Addamo opened to 4,500 from the hijack and Mike Watson called on the button before Jean-Noel Thorel three-bet to 12,000 from the big blind. Addamo four-bet to 42,000 and Watson folded. Thorel called.

Thorel checked on the {2-Hearts}{k-Hearts}{3-Hearts} flop and Addamo bet a 10,000 for just a fraction of the pot. Thorel called.

Thorel checked again on the {q-Diamonds} turn and Addamo sized up to 55,000. Thorel check-raised to 110,000 and Addamo used a time bank before re-raising all in. Thorel called with a bigger stack.

Michael Addamo: {k-Spades}{k-Diamonds}
Jean-Noel Thorel: {a-Hearts}{q-Hearts}

Both players had flopped monsters as Addamo had top set and Thorel had the nut flush. The {5-Clubs} river failed to pair the board and Addamo was eliminated after the dealer confirmed the Frenchman had him covered.

Pardo Picks Off Watson's Colossal Bluff

Mike Watson
Mike Watson

On Day 3 of the $100K SHR, it was Level 18 (25,000/50,000/50,000) when the biggest pot of the tournament up to that point saw Mike Watson losing the majority of his stack to Juan Pardo after a heroic but failed three-bet river bluff.

The action kicked off with Pardo opening to 100,000 in the cutoff before Watson called out of the big blind. Watson checked on the flop of {9-Clubs}{2-Spades}{q-Hearts} and Pardo continued for 75,000. Watson called. Watson checked again on the {2-Diamonds} turn and Pardo checked back.

You may be asking, how did all the chips get in the pot? The river is where the real action began. Watson led out for 110,000 on the {4-Spades} river and Pardo used a time bank before raising to 440,000. Watson then pushed out two stacks of chips for a three-bet to 1,800,000.

Watson's raise sent Pardo deep in the tank and he used three time banks before calling. Watson showed {9-Hearts}{4-Hearts} for two pair, but Pardo had the {q-Diamonds}{6-Diamonds} for queens and deuces and a better two pair to leave the Canadian as the clear short stack.

Haxton Picks Up Rockets to Double Through Dvoress

Isaac Haxton
Isaac Haxton

In the same level as the hand above, Daniel Dvoress opened to 110,000 in middle position and Isaac Haxton used a time bank before three-betting to 265,000 on the button. Dvoress followed suit in using a time bank before four-bet jamming for 1,615,000. Haxton snapped with a stack of 1,370,000.

Isaac Haxton: {a-Hearts}{a-Clubs}
Daniel Dvoress: {a-Spades}{k-Hearts}

Dvoress let out a groan as he saw he had run into aces and he received no help whatsoever from the runout of {3-Clubs}{6-Diamonds}{4-Hearts}{8-Hearts}{2-Hearts}.

Dvoress thought Haxton had him covered but a laborious count confirmed that he had a few chips left.

"Did I miscount? I would've flatted the three-bet," Dvoress lamented.

"I think you get to re-do the hand if you miscounted!" joked Seth Davies. That hand helped propel Haxton to the winner's circle, good for a seven-figure payday.

Haxton Continues Heater With 2023 PCA $100K Super High Roller Victory

  • Check out some of the biggest hands from our live updates of the @PokerStars #PCA.

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Executive Editor U.S.

Executive Editor US, PokerNews Podcast co-host & 2013 WSOP Bracelet Winner.

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