He eliminated them all one by one to add another seven-figure score to an already illustrious poker career, and is now the reigning PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Main Event champion. The Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas had one man stealing the spotlight today: David "Chino" Rheem. The 38-year old from Los Angeles, California conquered an 865-player strong field and scored the second biggest cash of his career collecting $1,567,100. The win also moved Rheem over the $10 million in lifetime winnings mark on Hendon Mob.
Runner-up was Daniel Strelitz, who was the last player to stand up to the Rheem-onslaught. Strelitz received $951,480 for finishing second, nearly topping his WPT win from 2017. Scott Wellenbach's dream run ended in third place ($671,240). Before that, Pavel Veksler of the Ukraine finished fourth ($503,440), Vicent Bosca of Spain was fifth ($396,880) and Brian Altman finished in sixth place ($297,020).
"It's an honor," was the first thing Rheem said after winning the coveted tournament. "I'm very grateful to even have the opportunity to come here and play, and I'm blessed to be able to win it."
For those watching the final table, it was a treat. Each player at the table seemingly enjoyed themselves, engaging in banter. Rheem, as always, had the highest word and was perhaps the catalyst to get the others out of their shells. The American didn't want to highlight the banter too much afterwards.
"Things just went my way. Nature ran its course and obviously, it was fun."
Despite his checkered past, it's clear that Rheem knows his way around the poker table given his sheer endless list of poker accomplishments. But winning the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Main Event, the fifth seven-figure ship of his career, is perhaps his most crowning achievement. However, Rheem simply had two words to share when asked what the recipe behind his success was.
2019 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Main Event Final Table Results
|Prize (in USD)
|David "Chino" Rheem
While Rheem was the one to claim the spotlight at the end of the day, the story of the tournament belonged to Scott Wellenbach. Wellenbach, a 67-year old Buddhist text transcriber from Halifax, Canada vouched beforehand to donate all of his winnings to charity, no matter the outcome. Wellenbach played a strong tournament throughout, but the crowd favorite saw his Cinderella story come to an end two spots short of the victory.
"A real rollercoaster of emotions. Ups and downs and at the moment, I'm feeling a bit disappointed," a deflated Wellenbach said directly after busting out. "I did have some hopes for playing a little better.
"It's a bit of a bittersweet moment," he added.
Despite his disappointment, the Canadian was ecstatic about making nearly $700K for a good cause. "Going into the tournament, if you would've said: 'How's third place?' I would've said "unbelievably good." I'm sure in a few days, it'll sink in and I'll be happy with the outcome. At the moment though, I feel like I could've played better. Certain things didn't go my way as well. I gotta say I was extremely lucky I was getting certain cards in certain situations. So the fact that things went a little odd today, in no way balances the scale, I was very lucky, very fortunate.
"The poker gods were smiling, I'm sure."
2019 PCA Main Event Final Table Action
Yesterday, the first skirmishes at the final table promised a dynamic and interesting finish to the event, and the six remaining players followed up on that promise. At 1 p.m., they gathered to play down to a winner. It was a feast for the neutral poker fan with raises, three-bets, the occasional shove and a lot of table banter keeping viewers entertained throughout. The six kept each other in balance for over 50 hands, with only Rheem distancing himself slightly from the pack.
That all changed once Strelitz was the first player to get called after shoving. Holding pocket threes, Strelitz was up against Wellenbach's ace-jack. After the ace fell on the turn, the three came on the river to keep Strelitz' hopes alive. The next hand, Altman raised up ace-three of diamonds, Rheem three-bet pocket queens from the blinds and Altman moved in. Rheem snapped him off and forced the accomplished U.S. pro on a trip to the payout desk (6th - $297,020).
Things settled down after the slow burst and the five once again battled it out for more than 50 hands before the next player fell. It was the high-stakes cash gamer from Xatia, Spain, Vicent Bosca, who suffered a case of the "too many outs" syndrome. Bosca had raised with ace-jack of diamonds and flopped the nut flush draw and gutshot on a queen-ten-three flop. Rheem check-raised all in with five-three and Bosca was gone in fifth ($396,880) after the board drew nothing but blanks.
Rheem then turned on the thumbscrews and started three-betting a ton to put pressure on his remaining three opponents. In the span of just under an hour, he finished off his remaining three adversaries one by one. Veksler was the first to go after losing ace-queen against pocket sixes.
Shortly after, Wellenbach followed, losing king-queen to Rheem's ace-ten. Wellenbach flopped a king, but Rheem caught a runner-runner straight to get to the heads-up. Starting the match with a 5:1 lead, Rheem finished off Strelitz after just seven hands. Strelitz open-shoved a little over twenty bigs with ace-deuce of spades, and Rheem snap-called him with pocket fives. The board ran out clean to give Rheem his fifth knockout of the day and a deserved championship.
That's all for eleven days of PokerNews coverage from the PokerStars Players Championship and PokerStars Caribbean Adventure from the Atlantis Resort in the Bahama's. Until next time!