The 2023 PokerStars Players No-Limit Hold'em Championship has reached its conclusion on Day 4 in The Bahamas with just six players poised to return for the fifth and final day of the tournament. Each player has guaranteed themselves a seven-figure payday and they will all be newly crowned millionaires by the end of the day tomorrow.
Leading the way is Nacho Barbero who is the most experienced player of the six still remaining. Barbero can often be found at high-stakes cash games these days but he also has some tournament results on his poker resume as well. The Argentinian has several tournament wins under his belt, including three LAPT titles and an EPT London High Roller victory, all coming back in 2010. He also won his first WSOP bracelet in 2022. Barbero has already locked up the biggest score of his career along with the other five players that will be joining him.
Barbero has distanced himself from the rest of the field with the next three players all hovering around similar stacks. Aliaksandr Shylko will return in second place with 12,200,000 followed by Philipe Pizzari with 11,975,000 and Pedro Marques with 10,475,000. Max Menzel finished Day 4 with 5,025,000, good enough for 20 big blinds while Niclas Thumm will be on the short stack with 1,800,000.
The two short stacks in Menzel and Thumm are the only two Platinum Pass winners still in the field on a freeroll. What a freeroll it has been, turning their free tournament entry into at least $1,000,000. They will be looking to join Roman Colillas who won the first version of the PSPC in 2019 on the heels of a Platinum Pass as well.
Day 5 Seating Assignments & Chip Counts
Action from the Tables on Day 4
There were 52 players who returned to their seats for Day 4 and there was no shortage of action in the opening 90 minutes of the day. The field went from 52 players to 32 players in rapid time and some of those eliminations included Chance Kornuth, Sean Winter, Jonathan Jaffe, Rayan Chamas, and Talal Shakerchi. The field mellowed out for a brief moment in time as the players began to realize how much money was up for grabs.
One of the largest pots of the day in terms of big blinds came in the opening levels when the start-of-day chip leader was met with a cold deck. Petar Kalev was lined up to stack up 150 big blinds and hold over 10% of the chips in play with pocket kings against the ace-king of Marques. However, an ace on the flop and an ace on the river gave Marques a huge double-up en route to bagging chips heading to Day 5.
When the players returned from break, the action picked up again as the final three tables were assembled with 24 players remaining. Chris Moorman, Matthew Hunt, and Daniel Dvoress were eliminated in consecutive order on the feature table while Blake Bohn bowed out on one of the outer tables.
Everyone had their sights set on Fedor Holz possibly making another deep run in one of the biggest tournaments in the world. Unfortunately for the semi-retired German poker pro, Holz got his last 10 big blinds in the middle with an inferior pair and was sent home in 21st place. Another key focus for those tuning into this event was current EPT dealer Jerome Moreau who was making a deep run and ready to lock up his largest career score by a healthy margin. Moreau was cruising along quietly while the chaos took place around him, but it was finally his time to bow out in 20th place.
The last woman standing was Nadya Magnus and fitting it was as she is currently the reigning GPI female player of the year. Magnus secured the second six-figure score of her career with an 18th-place finish and has put herself in a great position early in 2023 to possibly win back-to-back titles.
Once the field was down to just two tables, Tom Parsons, who was one of the remaining Platinum Pass winners, was ousted in 16th place. Three big names still had their sights set on the championship trophy but they were also eliminated in quick succession. Dylan Destefano, Jeremy Ausmus, and PokerStars ambassador Sam Grafton all bowed out in a matter of a few minutes, leaving just 11 players remaining.
After James Mendoza and Marcello Del Grosso busted their short stacks, the unofficial final table of nine players was assembled. It didn't take long for lightning to strike on the final table as Barbero continued to bully his opponents with one of the big stacks. Barbero ripped all in on the button with suited connectors and was looked up by Andrei Boghean in the big blind with ace-king. Barbero flopped a pair and rivered two pair to send Boghean home in ninth place.
Kalev, who entered the final table as the short stack and managed to ladder up many pay jumps already, was next on the chopping block. Kalev found himself in a good spot to double-up with the dominating hand against Shylko, but the big stack spiked a three-outer on the flop and Kalev was unable to recover. On the last hand before the break, Thomas Eychenne and Pizzari both flopped top pair. When all of the chips went into the middle on the flop, Eychenne found himself dominated and at risk. There was no help for the Frenchman on the turn or river and that drew the curtains on Day 4.
The final six players will be returning at 12:30 p.m. local time on Friday to play for the championship trophy and the $4,053,200 first-place prize that goes along with it. The lion's share of the prize pool is still up for grabs with significant pay jumps on the horizon. Here is a look at what they will be playing for:
Final Table Results and Prizes
The last elimination on Day 4 occurred just prior to the players going on break so they will be returning to a brand new level with blinds at 125,000/250,000 and a big blind ante of 250,000. The levels will continue to be 60 minutes in length until just three players remain, then they will be cut down to 30 minutes.
The PokerNews live reporting team will be back on the tournament floor to bring you all of the updates on a 30-minute security delay to be in sync with the PokerStars live stream.