Michel Dattani Wins PokerStars PCA Main, Banking $1.3 Million Michel Dattani Wins PokerStars PCA Main, Banking $1.3 Million

The PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA) Main Event has come to a close, and when the dust settled, it was Michel Dattani sitting with all the chips in front of him. This was a major breakthrough for the Portuguese pro, who banked $1.3 million for his stellar performance — by far, the biggest win of his career.

Dattani has been playing poker professionally for 15 years, and he’s been an EPT regular for almost as long. However, before yesterday, his largest single cash was around $123,000. The Portuguese player had his share of high finishes, just not in tournaments as big as the PCA.

This year’s edition of the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure attracted 889 entries, each worth $10,300, resulting in a massive $8.6 million prize pool. Players worldwide gathered in the Bahamas as 59 countries were represented at the green felt. In the end, however, it all came down to two players from Portugal.

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A Remarkable Run

As one of the biggest live poker tournaments, the PCA attracts some of the best players around, who rub their shoulders with “lesser” professionals and casual players, many of whom win their seats playing online.

Dattani may not be a big star, but he is also no stranger to these events. As he explained in the winner’s interview, he played over 40 Main Events throughout his career but couldn’t get past Day 3 in any of them.

This time around, everything came together for Michel. He played well and caught the right cards when he needed them the most to navigate a challenging field consisting of Jason Mercier, Joe McKeehen, Maria Ho, Fedor Holz, and Lex Veldhuis, to mention a few big names.

The great competition could not disturb 33-year-old Dattani, who had his eyes on the prize. He received much-needed help from a big cooler late in the tournament to pick up a massive stack. After that lucky break, he wisely used the newly got chips, navigating to the six-handed final table, starting the fourth day in chips.

Big Chances for Team Portugal

Throughout its 16-year history, the PCA has never had a winner from Portugal. The highest finish for Portuguese players until yesterday was eighth place ten years ago. This time around, however, the country had not one but two representatives at the final table, as Dattani’s compatriot Pedro Neves started the day as the chip leader.

Players did not have to wait for the first elimination for long. Canada’s Jamil Wakil started the day as the short stack and put his chips in the middle on the first hand. He got picked off by Chris Csik (USA), who, despite being dominated, flopped the Canadian dead and sent him to the rail in sixth.

The knockout improved Csik’s chip position, but a bad beat saw him depart next. His pocket kings fell victim to Alexandre Raymond’s ace-jack as an ace made a flop appearance after a preflop all-in. Csik took home $399,800 for his efforts, but he could not hide his disappointment after the unfortunate exit.

Funny enough, the man who crushed Csik’s dreams was the next one to hit the rail. He found himself on the wrong side of a cooler, holding pocket queens against pocket kings of Neves, and that was all she wrote. Raymond picked up $519,600 for his finish, while Neves picked up a massive pot.

Only three players are left now: Neves, Dattani, and Artur Martirosian from Russia. The Portuguese duo pulled back no punches, and Dattani took over the chip lead from Neves while Martirosian was essentially a spectator.

However, this did not help the Russian as he eventually found himself all in and behind against Dattani and could not find the help he needed to hang around. He was eliminated in third, banking $677,400.

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Heads up for All The Marbles

With only two players left, it was guaranteed that Portugal would secure its first PCA title. But before proceeding to the final stage, Neves and Dattani struck a deal, chopping up the remaining prize pool. Neves locked up $1,183,037 while Dattani secured $1,266,963, and they left $50,000 on the side to play for.

The pressure was now massively off, but $50,000 is nothing to sneeze at, not to mention the prestigious title and the coveted PCA trophy.

In the end, Dattani outwitted his compatriot, checking the nuts on the river and letting Neves fall into his trap. One mistake led to another, and Neves eventually called off the check-raise for his entire stack, giving Michel Dattani the title.

For US players that missed out this time, you should head over to the PokerStars US app and create your account. Then keep an eye out for next year’s PSPC Platinum Pass satellites. You might win your way to the Bahamas in 2024!