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Gimbel Crowned Youngest PCA Champ in History
Besting the largest tournament field ever assembled outside the United States, 19-year-old Harrison Gimbel was crowned the youngest PokerStars Caribbean Adventure champion in the event’s seven year history Monday night.
“It feels amazing,” the Jupiter, Florida resident said moments after the win. “This is what I’ve dreamed of. I’ve always wanted to win a big major tournament and luckily I accomplished it on one of my very first ones.”
There was action from the outset in Monday’s final eight with Ryan “g0lfa” D’Angelo giving up the chip lead when he lost a massive race holding jacks against Gimbel’s A♠ K♠.
Ty Reiman then leapfrogged Gimbel, sending 26-year-old Chicago, Illinois online pro Tom Koral to the rail in eighth when his aces held against Koral’s queens.
21-year-old New Yorker Zac Goldberg was the next to go when his pocket tens failed to hold against Aage Ravn’s A♠ Q♠.
But Ravn failed to capitalize on the University of Arizona student’s misfortune, busting sixth when the Norwegian online qualifier re-shipped with A♣ Q♣ facing a Ben Zamani push.
Gimbel went all in behind with jacks, and although Zamani flopped a set of eights to win the hand and triple up, Gimbel’s jacks held to scoop the side-pot and rail Ravn.
Zamani then ran A♦ J♦ into Barry Shulman’s A♠ K♥ and looked to be out fifth before a diamond on the flop, turn and river spared him.
Left as the short stack after the hand, Shulman doubled through Gimbel to stay alive and it was actually start-of-day-chip-leader D’Angelo who exited fifth.
The double WCOOP winner shoved with jacks against a Zamani raise and Reiman re-raise and after Zamani folded, Reiman made the call with A♠ K♥.
A king on the river sent the 24-year-old New Yorker out and suddenly Reiman had built a massive chip lead that looked insurmountable.
Play moved down to three-handed when Zamani put his tournament life on the line with A♥ T♦ against Gimbel’s 8♥ 8♣.
Gimbel flopped a set and although the 23-year-old Floridian online pro turned some outs, the river blanked to end his hopes.
Heads-up began when 2009 World Series of Poker Europe champ Barry Shulman took third place, running Q♣ T♠ into Gimbel’s A♥ 9♦ and failing to improve.
And although Reiman actually held an 11-million-chip lead with 45 million in play to start, it wasn’t long before Gimbel moved in front, catching cards and getting Reiman to pay him off.
Gimbel won every key pot heads-up until he had built a 4:1 chip lead and before long, Reiman shoved with eights and he made the call with tens.
Gimbel flopped a set and despite the fact Reiman turned one of his own, the river blanked to give Gimbel the title.
“I felt my opponents were really good,” said Gimbel, whose previous poker accoplishments include a PokerStars Sunday Million final table appearance and a win in the 2009 Florida State Poker Championships. “A lot of these players were really good, but I had a lot of confidence in myself coming into today and it really showed.
“I used to wrestle in high school and my coach always said 'envision something and it’ll come true.' Not that it’ll come true, but it’ll happen.”
After six long days of poker in the Caribbean, the last man standing from a record field of 1,529 is now hoping to make a few things happen with the massive $2.2 million first-place prize.
“I’m going through all the stuff I can buy right now,” Gimbel said. “A new car, maybe a nice apartment or a house.”
To read a full recap of Gimbel’s historic win and the entire 2010 PCA, click through to PokerListings’ Live Updates.