Bulgarian pro is nation’s first ever major tournament winner after claiming $1.85 million PCA first prize
After five gruelling days of action-packed poker at the Atlantis Hotel and Resort in the Bahamas, Dimitar Danchev has been crowned this year’s PCA Main Event champion. The 27-year-old poker professional from Bulgaria came close to becoming a major champion back in 2011 at the the EPT San Remo, but narrowly missed out on the top spot. But all this will seem a distant memory after the Bulgarian collected his trophy and the life changing $1,859,000 winners cheque.
This year’s $10k Main Event attracted a field of 987 from across the poker globe which included the likes of swimming legend Michael Phelps, Seinfeld star Jason Alexander and golf champion Sergio Garcia all of whom had their eyes firmly fixed on what has become one of poker’s most prestigious titles.
Heading into the final day, Danchev had a lot left to do, sitting with the seventh largest chip stack of the eight remaining players. But a mere 82 hands later and he found himself sitting three-handed with Joel Micka and Jerry Wong, the two Americans who had began the final day with the two largest chip stacks and had dominated the top of the leaderboard all day. Thirty minutes later and overnight leader Wong hit the rail after losing several key hands that saw him go from holding two thirds of the chips in play to none.
Micka delivered the final blow that dispatched of Wong. After the American three-bet pre flop, Wong called and the pair saw a flop of Ah-Kc-5h. Wong bet out and Micka shoved over only to be quickly called by Wong who turned over Ad-Qd for top pair. Micka showed 8h-6h for a flush draw, but an 8 and 6 on the turn and river gave Micka an unlikely two pair and Wong left the table collecting his $725k third place prize.
The stage was now left to Danchev and Micka to battle it out for the title. The encounter lasted just over an hour and Danchev got the luck when he needed it, winning two massive coin-flips. The first saw his twos hold up against Micka’s ace-king and then on the final hand his ace-queen beat Micka’s fours giving the Bulgarian the win. The result was Danchev and Bulgaria’s biggest-ever tournament victory.
But arguably the story of the tournament belonged to Joao Nogueira, a 21-year-old air conditioning system installer from Portugal. After winning his seat to the main event through a $1.10 satellite on PokerStars, Nogueira went on to finish in eighth place, winning $165,900 in what was his first ever live tournament.
Here is how the final table finished up:
1. Dimitar Danchev, Bulgaria – $1,859,000
2. Joel Micka, USA – $1,190,000
3. Jerry Wong, USA – $725,000
4. Jonathan Roy, Canada – $560,000
5. Owen Crowe, Canada – $435,000
6. Andrey Shatilov, Russia – $325,000
7. Yann Dion, Canada – $230,000
8. Joao Nogueira, Portugal – $165,900