Breaking Down the Action:
  • Early Exits for Chance Kornuth and Bruno Volkmann
  • Racing to the Final Nine
  • Nacho is the Big Cheese

4 Minute Read

Nacho Barbero leads the remaining six players as they chase a $4 million top prize in the 2023 PokerStars Players Championship (PSPC) final.

The PokerStars Players Championship is just one day away from crowning its new champion. Day 5 of the most exciting tournament of the year so far saw 52 players reduced to just six as the final table was reached. As popular stars of the game dropped out of contention, just half a dozen remained in the hunt for the $4 million top prize, with two Platinum Pass winners among their number.

Early Exits for Chance Kornuth and Bruno Volkmann

The early levels of the penultimate day of action in the PokerStars Player Championship (PSPC) were packed with action… and eliminations. Brazilian player Bruno Volkmann, who has become a staple at the high rollers online including the GGPoker Super MILLION$, which he won back in 2021 for a healthy $320,000. His luck did not extend far into the top 50 here, however, as, on a board showing 8-3-3-7-4 with no flush draw having come in, he piled his entire stack into the middle on a bluff only to be snap-called by Aliaksandr Shylko, who had rivered a full house with pocket fours.

Chance Kornuth lasted just one place further. The popular pro, who has won millions himself at the live felt, moved all-in for twenty big blinds pre-flop with queen-nine of clubs. He had picked the exact wrong time to do so, however, as Daniel Dvoress called quickly, turning over pocket kings. The board of T-4-3-2-A did not disappoint Dvoress and Kornuth made his way to the rail with $70,700.

Plenty of others busted soon after, as the field trimmed to three tables from six in no time at all. Mexican player Ignacio Moron (45th), Hungarian high roller Norbert Szecsi (40th) and overnight big stack Dominik Nitsche (34th) were among them, with the German Nitsche’s exit the most stunning since he had led the field just a couple of orbits before being out of the tournament entirely.

Racing to the Final Nine

With the race on to make the final nine players first, then the overnight field of six, play sped up. Talal Shakerchi (33rd for $81,400 was one of several British names who ran far without making the final nine. Chris Moorman was another, ending his run in 26th place for $107,500 and fellow British player Matthew Hunt was out one place later.

Dvoress fell in 23rd place, the first player to earn $123,600 for their efforts this week, while Fedor Holz (21st) and Female Player of the Year 2022 Nadya Magnus confirmed her status as the longest-lasting female player yet again in her glittering tournament career. By the time Jeremy Ausmus (13th for $238,700) and Sam Grafton (12th for the same amount) left the arena, everything was about reaching the final nine. Marcello Del Grosso was the player to bubble that honor, crashing out in 10th for $300,100 and as players battled to a final six, it was a former chip leader who fell at the last, French player Thomas Eychenne cashing for $801,000 in 7th place, just one short of the overnight counts.

Nacho is the Big Cheese

Argentinian player Nacho Barbero doesn’t just have one of the coolest names in poker, he’s also one of the coolest to watch play the mindsport. So his presence at the top of the Day 5 chipcounts heading into the final day is a real headline grabber. Barbero ended the day on 19,325,000 chips, good for 77 big blinds and a considerable lead in the current standings.

In a week where the 54th annual WSOP’s full schedule was announced, huge poker tournaments are in the spotlight, and three players form a chasing on just under 50 big blinds who will try to stop Barbero running away with it. Belarussian Shlyko (12.2 million, 49 big blinds) is followed by Philipe Pizzari (11,975,000, 48 big blinds) from Brazil and Portuguese player Pedro Marques (10,475,42 big blinds) in that pursuit.

Dragging a little more behind are two dangerous short stacks with nothing to lose, both of whom won their $25,000 entry for nothing through the Platinum Pass. Both players hail from Germany, but while Max Menzel (5,025,000) will be attacking the final day with 20 big blinds, Niclas Thumm (1,800,000) will only have seven big blinds to his name. With $4 million up top but over a million already guaranteed for sixth place, every one of the players remaining has become an overnight millionaire if they weren’t before.

2023 PokerStars Players Championship Final Table Chipcounts:

Position Player Country Chips Big Blinds
1st Nacho Barbero Argentina 19,325,000 77
2nd Aliaksandr Shylko Belarus 12,200,000 49
3rd Philipe Pizzari Brazil 11,975,000 48
4th Pedro Marques Portugal 10,475,000 42
5th Max Menzel Germany 5,025,000 20
6th Niclas Thumm Germany 1,800,000 7


Arthur Crowson

Arthur Crowson writes for about the gambling industry. His experience ranges from crypto and technology to sports, casinos, and poker. He went to Douglas College and started his journalism career at the Merritt Herald as a general beat reporter covering news, sports and community. Arthur lives in Hawaii and is passionate about writing, editing, and photography.

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