Back in 2011, at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, PokerStars rolled out a new addition to the schedule that helped shift the landscape of how money is viewed in poker. High roller events had been growing more and more popular, and mere $25,000 events weren't cutting it as far as how big some of poker's most affluent wanted to play.
So, tournament officials added a $100,000 event to the schedule. Participation proved solid, with 38 entries in the event. When the dust settled, Eugene Katchalov emerged victorious over PokerStars Team Pro Daniel Negreanu, binking a two-outer with fours against fives to claim the first-place prize of $1.5 million.
The $100,000 series at PokerStars events was officially born, although the next one wouldn't run until the following year's PCA, when it was part of the European Poker Tour. Another €100,000 was added to the EPT Grand Final in Monaco schedule, and those two events continued to carry 100Ks every year until the retirement of the EPT at the conclusion of 2016.
Now, the dawn of the PokerStars Championship era has arrived. PokerStars Championship Bahamas is an event that in many ways strongly resembles the old PCA — as PokerStars' Neil Johnson outlined in an interview with PokerNews — and one way in which that's true is the familiar $100K that's back on the schedule.
Even so, we thought it would be instructive to look back on the history of the 100K events at PCA and EPT Grand Final and see which players have experienced the most success. Before we get into the numbers, it's important to keep a few things in mind. One, many of these events permit reentries. Without knowing who entered which tournaments how many times, it's impossible to say who has been the most profitable on a per-dollar basis. Second, although PokerStars sponsored the Aussie Millions for three years and that event includes a AU$100,000 event, conversion rates put it closer to a $50K than a $100K. Finally, for the purposes of the following chart, cashes have been converted into euros.
For brevity and readability, we separated out the top 10 and put the full list of winners at the bottom of this piece. Here are the players who have accumulated the most money in PCA and EPT Grand Final 100Ks since 2011:
Top 10 Cashers in EPT Grand Final and PCA 100Ks
|Player||Money Won||Wins||Top 3||Total Cashes|
American Bryn Kenney finds himself at the top of the list. He's among the most successful players as far as total cashes with three — only Scott Seiver, with four, has more. And when Kenney has cashed, he has made them count, as all three of his scores were top-three finishes. Foremost among them was a win in this very event last year for a little under $1.7 million. He also got third here in 2015 for $873,880 and third at that first event in 2011 for $643,000.
"It's fortunate because I get crushed in all the Main Events; I can't keep it together for five, six days straight," Kenney told PokerNews during the first break of the PokerStars Championship Bahamas $100K. "There's too many bad players around. When the good players come and the big events come, I've always showed up."
Kenney opened up to Sarah Herring earlier today.
Right behind Kenney is Max Altergott, who bested PokerStars Team Pro Jason Mercier heads up at EPT Grand Final back in 2013 for €1,746,400. He also finished third there in 2015 for €940,300. Although Altergott has not quite had the same level of success as Kenney, the fact that the Euro was a decent amount more valuable than the dollar puts him close to Kenney in total money earned.
Igor Kurganov is third and has the most cashes for any player without an outright win. On the other hand, Erik Seidel has cashed for the most of anyone with just a single cash. He collected €2,015,000 for winning at EPT Grand Final in 2015. That one also had the most entries of any of these tournaments with 71, so Seidel picked a great time to make his one big run.
One player of particular note on this list is Dan Shak, who would be considered by most the only recreational player in the top 10. Although he has yet to win a 100K, Shak has cashed for the eighth-most money in these events, with his most profitable finish being second at the 2014 PCA for $1,178,980.
Kenney registered late for this particular event but still finds himself in the hunt with the second break approaching at the PokerStars Championship Bahamas. While Altergott, Kurganov, Seiver and Schemion skipped this particular tournament, the rest of the top 10 plus Dan Colman have the opportunity to pass Kenney with a win here if Kenney fails to cash.
While Kenney allows that there's a major challenge to battling through huge fields filled with unpredictable amateurs, he maintains that high roller events are still the most difficult tournaments to conquer. He believes the quality of the players outweighs the quantity of the bigger fields with smaller buy-ins.
"You're playing a lot of deep-stacked pots as opposed to all-in pots in the beginning stages of the tournament," Kenney said. "It's definitely a lot more skill to crush these tournaments than any other ones because this is where anyone who thinks that they're the best in the world shows up to play."
The winner here at PokerStars Championship Bahamas will take home $1,650,300 if there is no deal at the end, and the first page of a new chapter of PokerStars 100Ks will be written.
Full List of EPT Grand Final and PCA 100K Cashers
|Player||Money Won||Wins||Top 3||Total Cashes|
|Ali Reza Fatehi||€828,500||0||1||1|