American Players Struggled At The 2017 PokerStars Championship Barcelona

August 29, 2017
American Players Struggled At The 2017 PokerStars Championship Barcelona

PokerStars Championship Barcelona wrapped up on Sunday, August 27 with the final of 51 events playing to a conclusion. The two-week long series featured an eclectic group of winners from across the globe with Sebastian Sorensson highlighting them all by winning the 1,682-entrant PSC Main Event.

In year’s past, Americans have fared well at this former EPT stop and always make their presence felt in the fields.

This year was a bit of a shortcoming for players from the United States, though, as only one winner emerged from the sea of events and the larger fields had a lack of red, white and blue represented the payout tab.

Starting with the best result, 2013 WSOP Main Event Champion and 2017 World Poker Tour title winner Ryan Riess won the €10,200 post-lim event. Riess beat a small field of 59 entries and made a heads up deal with Spain’s Javier Gomez to take the title and  €155,500.

Struggles in Large Fields

The woes for the Americans started in the €1,100 National Championship. The event drew 4,557 entries, topping the €4,000,000 prize pool guarantee. A total of 679 players made the money but only six of them were Americans. The highest placing American in the field was Florida’s James Salmon, who finished 61st. For the sake of comparison, last year’s Estrella’s Main Event featured six Americans cashing in the top-100 in a field of 3,447.

Following the National Championship, the €2,200 National High Roller drew in a field of 1,470 entrants. Of that list, 207 players earned a pay day with nine showing their US passport to get paid. Jeff Gross finished 47th and earned the title of last American standing.

The PSC Main Event featured 1,682 entries and 247 players making the money in one of the most sought after titles in Europe. A nine-max table worth of United States flag bearers made it among the 247 who cashed in the tournament.

This tournament was the best chance for Americans to show their might against a heavily international field and Nick Petrangelo came close to finishing the job. Petrangelo took 19th place, narrowingly edging out 27th-place finisher Jackson White for last American standing.

Byron Kaverman, Jason Koon, Jason Mercier, and Brian Yoon all finished in the top-60 in 2016’s running of the same event.

Mediocre High Roller Results

American players have consistently performed well in High Roller events both at home and across the globe but the small sample size of Barcelona was not the best serving of that fact.

Ben Tollerene put up the best result when he finished second and did an even chop with Pavel Plesuv in a €25,500 event. The other buy-in of that price point saw Stephen Chidwick win with Bryn Kenney settling for second with Isaac Haxton finishing at the final table in a field of 112.

The  €50,000 tournament was the largest buy-in on the schedule and brought in 86 entries and Igor Kurganov topped the field. Kenney made his second final table of the series in that event but settled for seventh.

What’s next for Americans?

Immediate access to online poker has hindered the development of the next young generation of young players and the consequences are starting to bear out. The primes of players like Haxton, Dan Colman, and David Peters will eventually come to an end and as it currently stands, there are no new faces to take their place in the High Roller scene.

Additionally, with multiple events taking place in the U.S. in the early part of August, there are multiple opportunities for American players to compete for large prize pools without enduring the expenses of traveling overseas to play.

This year may have been an outlier but given the strong downward trend of American performance, the U.S. has a lot to prove come 2018.

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