Breaking Down the Action:
  • Kulev Reigning Supreme but Money Bubble is King
  • The Chasing Pack
  • Heading to the Bar... or the Rail

4 Minute Read

Bulgarian player Alex Kulev leads the field after Day 2 of the 2023 PCA Main Event.

The Day 2 action in the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Main Event lit up the Baha Mar Resort as it reduced a field of 889 players down to just 151 survivors. Top of the shop at the close of play was Ireland-based Bulgarian Alex Kulev, whose stack of 704,000 chips equated to 235 big blinds.

Kulev Reigning Supreme but Money Bubble is King

After some late entrants bolstered the final field in the $10,300-entry PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA) Main Event to 889 entries, the prizepool and money places were confirmed. With 151 players remaining, just 24 players need to bust for the final 127 players to reach the money places and a guaranteed result worth $17,600.

With a total of $8,623,300 up for grabs in the prizepool, there are sure to be some serious big hitters involved at the business end of the Main Event. Chief amongst them right now is Kulev and he will be tough to unseat at the top of the leaderboard, but he is not the only big name who is currently high on the leaderboard.

The top prize on offer in this year’s PCA Main Event is a massive $1.5 million and with $1 million being the runner-up prize, the fact that two players will win seven-figure payouts is a truly remarkable feat for the returning tournament.  Kulev’s ascent to the throne on Day 2 may not have won it yet, but he is in an incredibly strong position, his 704,000 chips (235 big blinds) a mountainous stack with which to attack the approaching money bubble.

The Chasing Pack

Behind Kulev, there are several big names and some very big stacks, albeit none as stratospheric as the Bulgarian’s. Australian player Ehsan Amiri (518,000) is the only other player to climb past the half-million chip mark and he’ll be confident that his 173 big blinds allow him almost the same level of domination over his tablemates that Kulev’s stack likely will.

The other members of the top five are very close in chips, with Evan Sparling (469,000), Christoph Csik (451,500) and Chino Rheem (428,500) all jostling for position in Amiri’s slipstream. Of the trio, Rheem may be lower in chips, but is perhaps the most interesting player to rail if only because he won the last PCA Main Event that took place – way back in 2019.

Back then, Rheem triumphed over Daniel Strelitz for a top prize of $1,567,100. With almost the same on the line this year (despite over 200 more entries and the same buy-in), Rheem is not alone in coveting one of poker’s biggest top prizes on offer this year. Others who made the top 10 chipcounts included Michael Rocco (408,000), Chance Kornuth (380,000), and Mustapha Kanit (366,900), with the Italian ninth in chips. Closing out the top 10 was German player Mauricio Ferreira Pais joined him in the upper echelons on 366,500 chips, the equivalent of 122 big blinds.

Heading to the Bar… or the Rail

While some big names made it to Day 3 in good chip health, such as Andrew Moreno (328,000), Eliot Hudon (303,500), Johan Guilbert (265,000), Nick Petrangelo (261,500), Chris Brewer (261,000), Chad Eveslage (257,000), PokerStars Team Pro Ramon Colillas (236,000) and Elio Fox (234,000) all well above the average. Two other PokerStars Ambassadors have work to do but Andre Akkari (123,500) and Sam Grafton (119,000) will be both be more than capable of doing so on Day 3.

Others were not so fortunate, with PokerStars ‘teamsters’ such as Alejandro Lococo, Parker Talbot, Rafael Moraes, and Benjamin Spragg all busting on Day 2. Others fell to Kulev as he cut a path through the field, with the former EPT Main Event champion Manig Loeser crashing out with ace-king, Kulev’s pocket queens riding home to reduce the field further.

Over the ensuing hours, players such as New Zealand’s finest David Yan, nine-time WSOP event winner Erik Seidel, poker pro and training legend Kevin Rabichow, Spanish sensation Juan Pardo, Brazilian former online world number one Yuri Dzivielevski all crashed out. They were left on the rail to meet other luminaries who lost out such as Martin Jacobson, Davidi Kitai, Joao Vieira, Sam Greenwood, Mikita Badziakouski, Fedor Holz, Stephen Chidwick, Chris Moorman, Ryan Riess and mixed game specialist  Benny Glaser.

Even reaching the eight-handed final table would guarantee any player $181,900 – a tantalising prospect that will get one day closer if they can survive the money bubble and Day 3 at the Baha Mar Resort in the Bahamas.

PokerStars Caribbean Adventure 2023 $10,000 Main Event Day 2 Top 10 Chipcounts:

Position Player Country Chips Big Blinds  
1st Alex Kulev Bulgaria 704,000 235  
2nd Ehsan Amiri Australia 518,000 173  
3rd Evan Sparling Canada 469,000 156  
4th Christoph Csik United States 451,500 151  
5th Chino Rheem United States 428,500 143  
6th Dean Murphy Canada 411,000 137  
7th Michael Rocco United States 408,000 136  
8th Chance Kornuth United States 380,000 127  
9th Mustapha Kanit Italy 366,900 122  
10th Mauricio Ferreira Pais Germany 366,500 122  


Joseph Ellison

Joseph is a dedicated journalist and horse racing fanatic who has been writing about sports and casinos for over a decade. He has worked with some of the UK's top bookmakers and provides Premier League soccer tips on a regular basis. You'll likely find him watching horse racing or rugby when he isn't writing about sport.

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