Demo Kiriopoulos has won the second annual Punta Cana Poker Classic $1,500 buy-in main event at the Hard Rock Hotel Casino in the Dominican Republic. Kiriopoulos defeated Evan Mauer after almost six hours of heads-up play to earn $136,950. (Mauer earns $82,791.) The starting field of 415 (twice that of last year’s total) included such notables as Dave ‘Devilfish’ Ulliott, Humberto Brenes, last year’s champ Peter Cross, Melina Villegas, Bodog Poker’s Amanda Leatherman and CalvinAyre.com contributor Tatjana Pasalic.
While some 218 players eliminated from the main event but still hungry for combat parked their butts at the Second Chance event, and a further 132 diehards bought into the Last Chance tourney, the final nine main event players assembled on Day 4 to decide who got the ultimate PCPC (PC squared?) bragging rights.
The first final tabler eliminated was also the last woman left alive in the tourney. Jessica Bedoya takes home $13k for her ninth place finish. Jose De La Guardia ($15.5k) was next to hit the rail, with William Wellman ($18k) and another Jose (Barria) following close behind, earning $20.5k for his sixth place finish. Next, Engleberth Varela’s A-5 met defeat at the hands of Greg Bastin’s A-Q to send Varela rail-ward in 5th place ($26.7k). Carlos Sobenes took fourth ($33.6k), while Bastin took third and $54.8k to leave just Mauer (the last of 35 Bodog qualifiers who took part) and Kiriopoulos battling for glory.
Just as he led the chip count to begin the final table, Kiriopoulos started heads-up play with 5.1m chips compared to Mauer’s 3.3m. But Mauer surged ahead when an ace on the river gave him a pair he needed to surpass Kiriopoulos kings. However, despite Pasalic (and her significant other McLean Karr) rooting for Mauer from the rail, Kiriopoulos battled back, notching triple-10s on the final hand to eliminate Mauer’s two kings. Kiriopoulos’ victory makes two Canuck champs in a row for the PCPC. Do other nations dare challenge for the PCPC title next year, or should the organizers just move the tourney up to Yellowknife, already?