All hail Scott Seiver, the new PCA Super High Roller champion, after a magnificent day of poker which he spent overturning a once mighty chip advantage of Doc Sands to lift the trophy.
Both Seiver and Sands duelled in a brief heads-up finale to what had been the most exclusive of three day events, watched by fans and fellow pros alike in the ballroom of Atlantis. At stake was a first prize of more than $2 million, which Seiver would command after nearly ten hours at the table, leaving Sands to settle for runner-up spot. The chip counts looked like this at the start of play.
Nick Schulman -- 2,295,000
Dan Shak -- 870,000
Greg Jensen -- 1,500,000
Scott Seiver -- 755,000
Vladimir Troyanovsky -- 505,000
Philipp Gruissem -- 1,610,000
Cary Katz -- 590,000
David Sands -- 6,680,000
It seemed at the start that this was to be a procession for Sands, who held nearly half the chips in play. Indeed Sands would keep that lead for much of the day as one by one the field was reduced.
David "Doc" Sands
Nick Schulman would go in third after what must have felt like a frustrating day for the New Yorker. At various points he'd suffered at the hand of misfortune as others doubled through him, although Schulman too had benefitted from the odd unlikely river card.
But Schulman was forced into a largely defensive mode as Seiver stretched out, taking the game to the opposition with gusto and open-necked swagger. It hadn't always been so easy for Seiver who watched Sands lead for the first six hours of play. But Seiver refused to consider it insurmountable, getting stuck in from the start.
And what a start. Within the first seven hands the final had lost three players and a fourth had doubled up.
Dan Shak went first, the businessman/poker player departing prematurely in a three-way all-in situation against the pocket aces of Seiver.
A hand later Russian player Vladimir Troyanovsky joined him, Nick Schulman with the aces this time against Troyanovsky's tens. Two hands later Greg Jensen followed, not aces this time but kings in the hands of Schulman who put an end to Jensen's event. Jensen played a superb game, made even more memorable for his decision to donate the balance of his $286,200 winnings to the victims of the Sandy Hook shooting in Connecticut.
By now it seemed like the final table could be over before the live broadcast started, even with a 40 minute delay. Unsurprisingly things calmed down, albeit without the big hands ever really disappearing. It seemed there was always someone with a big pair or a big ace.
Whether they were in the hands of Seiver or not (it was not always obvious as Seiver, and others, made it difficult for the hole cameras to pick up the detail) it didn't stop the American from exerting what pressure he could, notably sparring with Nick Schulman for much of the early stages, a scrap that ironically kept Cary Katz in the game.
Katz, a businessman looking for a first major title on this the biggest of stages, looked certain to depart without fanfare, his meagre stack kept endlessly on the ropes. But spurning conventional wisdom, Katz preferred to hold on as long as possible rather than shove blind. The result was a series of double-ups that kept him alive far longer than anyone had anticipated, particularly Philipp Gruissem, the high roller specialist, who busted before him in fifth place.
What followed were 97 hands of four-handed play, during which Katz pulled off a magic act of survival and in the process overtook both Seiver and Schulman to move into second place behind Sands.
Alas, it would not last. Seiver and Schulman were too wily to allow the amateur to stick around unmolested for too long. Katz would depart in fourth place, Sands busting him with a pair of fives. But it had been a long struggle, and there was tangible relief to the others who had faded an accidental fourth place themselves and could now turn their attention to the title.
The final table
It would not be Schulman's. Minutes after the dinner break he was all-in with king-six against the pocket tens of Sands who found a ten on the flop. It left Seiver and Sands to talk tentatively of a deal before quickly agreeing to play on, Sands with the slight advantage.
Doc Sands - 8.6 million
Scott Seiver - 6.15 million
The pair dug in to slog it out but the first all in was not long in coming, Seiver doubling with nines against Sand's tens (flopping a set). It left Sands with 11 big blinds. Minutes later, with friends of the players crowding the stage, the chips went in, Seiver with ace-seven to Sand's king-four. Moments later he was walking up to his defeated opponent to shake his hand.
The day finished with Seiver holding aloft his new piece of silverware as friends gathered around him on stage to salute the new PCA10 Super High Roller Champion.
1. Scott Seiver, $2,003,480
2. David "Doc" Sands, $1,259,320
3. Nick Schulman, $744,140
4. Cary Katz, $543,800
5. Philipp Gruissem, $400,700
6. Greg Jensen, $286,200
7. Vladimir Troyanovsky, $257,580
8. Dan Shak, $228,960
Credit also to Sands, who as either chip leader or defeated runner-up never flinched. Both provided a great ending to a great tournament.
If you missed anything from today's final table, you can catch up on all the hand for hand coverage here, with the features of the day posted below...
And if you want to know what else went on at the PCA today, try these...
That brings an end to the third day of play at the PCA. The main event continues tomorrow at 12 noon, with side events including the Zoom challenge, a PLO Turbo and a triple stud event.
For now the poker world salutes it's latest champion, Scott Seiver, winner of the $100,000 PCA10 Super High Roller.
Stephen Bartley is a PokerStars Blog reporter