During four-handed play in the 2018 PCA $100,000 Super High Roller, Bryn Kenney had two-thirds of the chips in play. He was a heavy favorite to become the event’s first two-time champ, but a cruel turn of events saw him bust in third place while Cary Katz captured the title and a first-place prize of $1,492,340.
The 2018 PCA $100K SHR attracted 48 entries, which was down slightly from last year’s 54 participants and 58 the year before that, when Kenney took the title and won $1,687,800. Heading into the tournament, no one had cashed for more in the PCA $100K than Kenney, who made the money four times in seven runnings. That includes the win and two third-place finishes.
This year, Kenney amassed his big stack with five players remaining. That’s when Argentina’s Ivan Luca went from the chip lead to out in two hands. Kenney was the beneficiary of those chips. During this time, Katz was patiently grinding a short stack.
Time and again, Katz doubled his short stack as blinds and antes increased. Eventually, the double-ups took a toll on Kenney’s stack, and he found himself on the rail in another disappointing third-place finish (for $686,690).
“In poker, you have to teach yourself not really to be disappointed with how the all-ins go and just more about how you played,” Kenney told tournament officials after his elimination. “I think I played a flawless final table. It just couldn’t go my way at the end.”
Despite falling short, his fifth cash in the tournament’s eight-year history brought his total PCA Super High Roller earnings up to $4,166,700, which is nearly 20 percent of his lifetime earnings of more than $21 million.
Kenny’s dominance at the PCA, which included winning $1.75 million last year, has earned him the nickname “Bahama Bryn” among the high roller crowd.
As for Katz, a 47-year-old father of six, he went on to square off against Justin Bonomo in heads-up play. They were sitting nearly even in chips when Katz, who finished fifth in the 2016 $1 Million Big One for One Drop, won a big pot holding quads against Bonomo’s full house.
Three hands later, in Level 22 (60k/120k/20k), Bonomo open-jammed for 3.3 million with A♣K♥, and Katz called with 8♦8♣. Bonomo needed to win the race to survive, but that proved easier said than done as the board ran out an unhelpful 2♠9♥3♠Q♠J♥. Bonomo took home $1,254,400 for finishing runner-up.
“I won some high rollers before but this is definitely the most prestigious one so I’m very proud of it,” said Katz, who was one of just two players to late register at the start of Day 2. The other high rollers he’s talking about are from the ARIA HR series he established in Las Vegas.
Prior to getting his feet wet in the gaming world, Katz founded the College Loan Corporation in 1999 and over the next 15 years helped grow it into the seventh largest student loan company in the United States.
While he won, Katz was quick to offer praise to Kenney.
“I felt it was definitely Bryn’s tournament. I think he just got really unlucky at the end. Nobody played better than Bryn this tournament. He definitely outplayed me.”
In other 2018 PCA news, Germany powerhouse Stefan Schillhabel bested a field of 28 entries to win a special turbo $26K High Roller to benefit REG Charity. The tournament ended in a three-way chop alongside Koray Aldemir ($185,776) and Daniel Dvoress ($151,497), but it was Schillhabel who hoisted the trophy and claimed a $213,977 top prize.