The opening day of action has concluded in the stunning location of Baha Mar in the Bahamas where the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure 2023 takes place. After a total of 45 entries packed the field with a prizepool worth $4.5 million, 34 players found a bag at the end of the day, topped by the Canadian poker legend Mike ‘Sir Watts’ Watson.

Big Names Pack Out Top Ten

There is a plethora of talented poker professionals in the surviving field and chief amongst them is Watson, who racked up 830,000 chips on the opening day’s play. That amounts to an incredible 138 big blinds, more than enough to leave a sizeable gap between himself and the second-placed finisher on Day 1, Latvian WSOP bracelet holder and former Super MILLION$ winner Aleks Ponakovs (763,000).

Elsewhere in the top five, Timothy Adams (659,000) grabbed a podium place, making it two Canadians in the top three places at present. Perennial high roller presence Chris Brewer (622,000) sits in fourth place, while American crusher Byron Kaverman (613,000) completes the top five places with the only other stack worth over 100 big blinds (102).

Other players to make the top ten include professionals with a global reputation whether playing live or online. Ignacio Moron (572,000) will be looking to utilise his skills built online, while Nick Petrangelo (550,000) came into the event fresh from some deep runs in the PokerGO Cup, which was won by Cary Katz over the weekend. Spanish player Adrian Mateos also bagged big, piling up 545,000 chips by the close of play, with the top ten rounded out by Seth Davies (472,000) and Jean-Noel Thorel (460,000).

Big Names Bounced Out of the Game

While those ten players succeeded in finishing above the average, others fared worst of all, losing their entire stacks. Players such as David Yan and Steve O’Dwyer failed to make their vast experience count in the circumstances. Another who was unable to repeat his heroics of the Coin Rivet Invitational that he won back in late 2022 was Sam Grafton. The PokerStars Ambassador was joined on the rail by German superpower Fedor Holz too as Day 1 saw several big names bust. The Pokercode co-owner got his short stack into the middle on a board of K-4-3-T with pocket queens, but Ignacio Moron didn’t live up to his surname, turning over king-four for flopped two pair and he held through the river to eliminate the German.

While those luminaries lost out, others managed to survive in rude health. Finnish poker legend Patrik Antonius (407,000) ended the day well above average in 11th place on the leaderboard, and he was joined in the heights of that lofty position by Joao Vieira (366,000) and Isaac Haxton (358,000), who had barely got off the plane from Las Vegas after winning the 2023 PokerGO Cup when he sat down to end Day 1 with a very good stack.

Others to survive Day 1 intact included Mikita Badziakouski (265,000), David Peters (250,000), Sam Greenwood (238,000), Orpen Kisacikoglu (215,000), Michael Addamo (209,000) and Daniel Dvoress (159,000), with Dan Smith (120,000) and Stephen Chidwick (95,000) squeezing their way into the table draw.

Kenney vs. Bonomo?

One of the most intriguing clashes on Day 2 will be between the two men at the top of the all-time money list on The Hendon Mob. Bryn Kenney and Justin Bonomo both arrived to play the event, and with Bonomo ($58.9 million) ahead of Kenney ($57.2m) at the top of that most popular of poker leaderboards, a win either way would have serious repercussions for the standings after this event.

The two men had contrasting days at the felt, with both surviving in alternate circumstances. Justin Bonomo (132,000) ended the day 30th of the 34 players who made Day 2 without having to register again, but Bryn Kenney (241,000) ended the day in 19th place, on the cusp of a top half finish.

Day 2 takes place tonight, but with registration until the end of Level 10 of the tournament (two levels into the day), there are sure to be twists and turns before the final day’s table draw is set. The third and final day of the event will take place on Tuesday January 24th and will see someone win a seven-figure top prize… but who?

PCA 2023 Event #1 $100,000 Super High Roller Day Top 10 Chipcounts:

Position Player Country Chips Big Blinds
1st Mike Watson Canada 830,000 138
2nd Aleks Ponakovs Latvia 763,000 127
3rd Timothy Adams Canada 659,000 110
4th Chris Brewer United States 622,000 104
5th Byron Kaverman Canada 613,000 102
6th Ignacio Moron Mexico 572,000 95
7th Nick Petrangelo United States 550,000 92
8th Adrian Mateos Spain 545,000 91
9th Seth Davies United States 472,000 79
10th Jean-Noel Thorel France 460,000 77


Dave Consolazio

Dave Consolazio has been passionate about writing and sports journalism since his high school years. He has a degree in Broadcast Journalism from USC where he worked with the school's radio and television stations. His work has been featured in SportsbookReview, Sports Illustrated and SB Nation. Dave's experience ranges across multiple fields in the gambling industry. You can find his sports, casino, and poker articles in

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