January 09, 2017
Nicola Basile is the winner of the PokerStars National Championship at the first-ever PokerStars Championship Bahamas. The $2,200 buy-in event began on Saturday at the Atlantis Resort, drawing 421 entries to create a prizepool in excess of $800,000. There were 313 unique players in the field, and Basile outlasted them all to claim the trophy and the top prize of $131,680.
The champ is a 56-year-old social club owner from Toronto, Ontario. He's been playing poker for decades, but his business operations keep him from pursuing the game in a more serious capacity -- for the time being, at least. Basile's goal is to eventually turn this hobby into a full-time profession.
"This is the big one," he said in the moments after his win. "This is my first big one, and hopefully there are more to come. This is just the beginning."
Basile's run to the title was severely inhibited during the late stages of Day 2 on Sunday evening. Action was scheduled to conclude when the final table was set, but that milestone was reached early enough in the evening that everyone wanted to keep playing, including Basile. He and the rest of his fellow finalists decided to press on with the hopes of ending the event in time to join Day 1b of the Main.
Basile fell quite ill during the after-dinner hours, though, and he was simply unable to continue as originally planned. "I had food poisoning, and I had to stop," he said. "I thank everybody. I tried to play it, but I just couldn’t anymore."
The final table which surround Basile was littered with some formidable foes, including Maria Ho, Marc-Andre Ladouceur, David Yan, Javier Gomez, and Team PokerStars Pro Chris Moneymaker. To hear Basile tell it, though, it's exactly what he wanted.
"They were all pros," he said. "I know that. But I love playing with pros. I can bluff them easier — they can bluff me too, but I can bluff them."
Around dinner time, Basile found himself heads-up with Yan, the former holding a chip lead of nearly 10:1. Yan is awfully dangerous in the late stages of tournaments, though, and he wasted no time charging back into contention, drawing the counts nearly even within just a few orbits.
On what would be the final hand of the match, the two men took a seven-high flop in a raised pot, and all of the chips went into the middle right there. It was a beautiful spot for Yan, who showed down ace-seven against Basile's inferior eight-seven. Another eight appeared promptly on the turn, though, and Yan could not catch back up. He was eliminated as the runner-up, sealing the victory for Basile and crowning him the new National Champion.
When asked if he was feeling any better today, Basile smiled broadly and shot a quick glance in the direction of the big shiny trophy of which he was the new owner. "I feel great now," he laughed.
PokerStars National Championship Final Table Results:
1st place: Nicola Basile (Canada) - $131,680
2nd place: David Yan (New Zealand) - $96,880
3rd place: Marc-Andre Ladouceur (Canada) - $71,160
4th place: Javier Gomez (Spain) - $52,260
5th place: Maria Ho (USA) - $38,380
6th place: Chris Moneymaker (USA) - $28,200
7th place: Ramiro Petrone (Argentina) - $20,700
8th place: Ben Philipps (UK) - $15,200
NINE DAYS OF ACTION
PokerStars Championship Bahamas, which runs through January 14 at the sun-drenched Atlantis Resort in Nassau, is the first event of the all new PokerStars Championship tour. Poker players from around the world have been qualifying for as little as $10 at PokerStars.com. The event has an action-packed schedule of 92 tournaments, cash games, and non-poker activities, and attracts thousands of international players who will dust off the holiday cobwebs to play in the nine-day Bahamas poker extravaganza.
- $100,000 Super High Roller (January 6-8, 2017)
- $2,200 PokerStars National Championship (January 7-9, 2017)
- $5,000 PokerStars Championship Main Event (January 8-14, 2017)
- $50,000 NL Hold'em Single Day Single Re-Entry
- $25,750 PL Omaha Single Re-Entry
- $220 PokerStars Open (January 10-12, 2017)
- $25,750 High Roller (January 12-14, 2017)
- $440 PokerStars Cup (January 12-14, 2017)