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Best of Ryan McLane
Steve Paul-Ambrose, the 23-year old poker phenom from chilly Ontario, Canada is once again proving that he prefers playing poker where the weather is warm.
Paul-Ambrose currently sits in second-chip position with $408,000 in chips heading into day three of the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure. He is the defending champion of this popular World Poker Tour event and seems poised to make a run at a repeat.
Only 121 players remain.
Just another young online qualifier before the 2006 Caribbean adventure, Paul-Ambrose walked off cruise ship a millionaire and a household name.
Since his stunning victory, Paul-Ambrose has played just a few events, preferring instead to return to school. But his name has continued to surface now and again, including cashes at the 2006 WPT Championship and the last World Series of Poker.
If he continues to play well, he could become the first player to successfully defend a WPT crown and the youngest player to win two WPT titles.
Justin Bonomo is another young player dominating action in the Caribbean this week. He currently has the chip lead, besting Paul-Ambrose by $75,000 chips and the rest of the field by six figures.
Bonomo's best finish WPT finish came last month at the Five-Diamond Classic where he busted on the television bubble, earning a healthy $152,000 paycheck. He also finished 30th at the 2005 Poker Stars Caribbean adventure.
If the two rising stars want to hold their leads, they'll have to do it by fending off some if the biggest names in poker.
Still alive on day three are 2006 WSOP bracelet winners Jon Friedberg and Scott Clements, 2006 Foxwoods World Poker Classic champion Victor Ramdin, CardPlayer Magazine CEO Barry Shulman, Daniel Negreanu, Robert Mizrachi and John Phan.
Friedberg and Ramdin, both coming off career-years in 2006, have the best shots at catching the leaders. Friedberg currently has $345,000 in chips, large enough for sixth place and a solid shot at the title.
Ramdin, who has made a fortune cashing in WPT events, always saves his best poker for the end of big-stack tournaments. He has a healthy $266,000 in chips and given his WPT record (six cashes and a title), he must be considered one of the favorites down the stretch.
Play continues today (Monday, Jan. 8) at noon EST and will continue until 18-players remain. The final table is schedule to begin on Wednesday.