Ship it to Belarus. After a multi-year wait, PokerStars finally crowned a new champion in the second running of the PokerStars Players Championship. The 2023 PSPC coincided with the return of the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure in the Bahamas. The Baha Mar is the new home to the PCA and the luxury resort also hosted the PSPC. Last weekend, PokerStars crowned a new PCA Main Event champion when Michel Dattani from Portugal won the first big tournament of 2023. On Friday, PokerStars crowned the winner of the PSPC who hails from Belarus.
The first-ever PSPC occurred during the 2019 PCA at Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas. The inaugural PSPC was a $25,000 event that got boosted by Platinum Passes and prize packages. The first PSPC set a record and attracted 1,039 runners and a prize pool worth $26.4 million. Roman Collias from Spain was the last player standing. Collias, dubbed the Spanish Chris Moneymaker, secured a seat to the first 2019 PSPC through a satellite and then parlayed that into $5.1 million.
Now, you can add Aliaksandr Shylko to the growing list of PSPC champions after he was the last player standing at the second-ever PSPC. The 2023 PSPC had $25,000 buy-in, which attracted 1,014 runners and a prize pool worth $24,843,000. Only the top 175 places paid out with $4 million originally set aside to the winner.
Marcello Del Grosso bubbled the final nine when he busted in tenth place. Romania's Andrei Boghean finished in ninth place, which paid out $449K. Bulgaria's Petar Kalev was picked off in eighth place for $621K. Thomas Eychenne from France bubble the final table when he was knocked out in seventh place, which paid out $801K.
The final table of six at the 2023 PSPC included two Germans -- Niclas Thumm and Max Menzel -- along with players from Belarus, Brazil, Argentina, and Portugal. Nacho Barbero, a well-known pro from Argentina, was the most noteworthy player at the final table. Aliaksandr Shylko, Philipe Pizzari, and Pedro Marques rounded out the final six.
Germany's Niclas Thumm won a Platinum Pass which he parlayed into a cool million when he busted in sixth place.
Pedro Marques missed out on becoming another player from Portugal to win a major event at the PCA, but he was knocked out in fifth place, which paid out $1.25 million.
In a joust between two South Americans, Brazil's Philipe Pizzari took out Argentina's Nacho Barbero in fourth place when he flopped top two pair with . Nacho hit the bricks in fourth place, which paid out $1.5 million.
The final three of Shylko, Menzel, and Pizzari worked out a money chop and ICM deal. First place was supposed to pay out $4.05 million, with $2.5 million for second place, and $1.9 million for third place.
With the new payouts... Pizzari locked up $2,524,871 for third place in the deal, Menzel got $2,759,990, and Shylko secured $2,921,838 as the chip leader. Under the terms of the deal, the left $200K on the table for first place and $100K to second place. Oh, and let's not forget about the coveted PSPC trophy to the winner.
Short-stacked Pizzari made a final stand with and he picked up a heart flush draw on the flop of , but he whiffed on the turn and the river. Menzel dragged the pot with and won with Queens up. Pizzari bounced in third place and won over $2.5 million thanks to the deal.
It was a battle of Germany and Belarus for the PSPC title, but Menzel was outchipped by big-sacked Shylko.
Menzel thought he could double up after he caught a runner-runner straight with on a board of . However, his Queen-high straight was not good enough to beat Shylko's full house. Shylko flopped trip fives with , and turned a full house. Menzel check-raised all-in on the river, and Shylko could not call fast enough with his boat.
Max Menzel, who was a Platinum Pass winner, earned $2.86 million for a runner-up finish. Not too shabby, eh?
Aliaksandr Shylko was the last player standing and he became the second-ever PSPC champion. The pro from Belarus banked $3,121,838, which was his biggest score to date.
Notable players who went deep in the 2023 PSPC included... Sam Grafton, Jeremy Ausmus, Fedor Holz, Jerome Moreau, Chris Moneymaker, Dan Dvoress, Blake Bohn, Chris Moorman, Tommy Nguyen, Jonathan Jaffe, Talal Shakerchi, Ori Hasson, Norbert Szecsi, Robert Cowen, Chance Kornuth, Bruno Volkmann, Kenny Hallaert, Martin Zamai, Michel Dattani, Noah Boeken, Joni Jouhkimainen, David Peters, Justin Liberto, Romain Lewis, Noah Schwartz, Dario Sammartino, Sergio Aido, James Tolbert, Kitty Kuo, Ema Zajmovic, Martin Jacobson, Chris Day, Sammy Lafleur, Jake Schwartz, Pierre Fromage, Dinesh Alt, Mustapha Kanit, Shannon Shorr, Justin Saliba, Griffin Benger, Richard Seymour, Julien Perouse, and Eric Afriat.
2023 PokerStars Players Championship
Prize Pool: $24,843,000
Final Table Results:
1. Aliaksandr Shylko (Belarus) $3,121,838 ***
2. Max Menzel (Germany) $2,859,990 ***
3. Philipe Pizzari (Brazil) $2,524,871 ***
4. Nacho Barbero (Argentina) $1,551,300
5. Pedro Marques (Portugal) $1,251,500
6. Niclas Thumm (Germany) $1,001,200
*** 3-way money deal