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While most of us have been engrossed in the ongoing action at the 2019 Asian Poker Tour (APT) Vietnam and the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA) stops, a lot has happened in the world of poker. The Season XV of the Heartland Poker Tour (HPT) closed out its first stop, the HPT East Chicago, and crowned a champion in Nick Davidson who claimed his second HPT title for $178,709 in first-place prize money.
Adding another new poker variant to its lobby, global poker giant, PokerStars has introduced the short-deck variant in cash game across several of its international clients. Called Six-plus Hold ‘em, the new game offers all the thrills of short-deck poker but at smaller stakes.
The 2019 World Poker Tour (WPT) Gardens Poker Championship, which had started on January 12, came to a halt after the six-handed final table was formed on Day 4 with Frank Stepuchin (4,065,000) leading the final six players. The final day of the event will play out on March 12 at the HyperX Esports Arena at the Luxor Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas becoming the first-televised WPT final table this season.
Season XV of the Heartland Poker Tour (HPT) recently concluded its first stop, i.e. the HPT East Chicago. The $1,650 buy-in Main Event drew in 554 participants generating a prize pool of $794,260. Outlasting the massive field was Nick Davidson who took home a winner’s payday of $178,709.
A regular at the HPT circuit, this is Davidson’s second HPT title following his first win in September 2016 when he shipped the HPT East Chicago for $166,806. His current live tournament earnings stand at $417,857.
“I still can’t believe I won,” Davidson said in the post-event interview. “It’s overwhelming. The first one was amazing and to win two of them is just unreal. Tournament poker can go every which way. You can go up and down all in a level. I just decided to go for it.”
This win certainly means a lot to Davidson who is father of three with another baby on the way.
“I guess I’m just lucky that I can play poker,” he said. “I have an amazing wife.”
Th first elimination came in form of Jon Cohen when his were overpowered by Jordan DeGrenier’s .
Following Cohen to the rail was Jud Tigerman. His were no match for Mike Sabbia’s which bettered to a pair of queens on the flop.
Brian Thomas was ousted next when his were bested by Andrew Campbell’s . With the board running , Campbell flopped top pair to eliminate Thomas.
Finishing in sixth place, Hamid Izadi‘s ran into DeGrenier’s which improved to a two pair on the river.
Soon thereafter, Andrew Campbell pitted his against Davidson’s and lost out when the board showed , bringing Davidson a pair of kings on the flop.
Justin Lee was next to go when his pocket tens were outdone by Davidson’s pocket rockets.
Jordan DeGrenier went out in brutal fashion at third place when his failed to hold on against Davidson’s as the latter got lucky after flopping a set.
Davidson (9,875,000) held a commendable lead over Mike Sabbia (6,775,000) at the start of the heads-up play. In the final hand of the tournament, Sabbia 3-bet all-in for 2.6 Million with and Davidson called with . The community cards ran and Davidson rivered a pair of eights to win his second HPT title along with $178,709 in prize money.
1. Nick Davidson – $178,709
2. Michael Sabbia – $110,402
3. Jordan Degrenier – $72,357
4. Justin Lee – $50,277
5. Andrew Campbell – $36,536
6. Hamid Izadi – $28,355
7. Brian Thomas – $23,828
8. Judson Tigerman – $19,857
9. Jonathan Cohen – $15,885
International poker platform PokerStars had launched a good array of new and innovative online poker variants last year and seems to be on the same track in 2019 with the launch of the popular short-deck format – Six-plus Hold ‘em in cash games across several international client.
While Six-plus tables were already live on the PokerStars .DK, .NET and .EE clients, it was introduced to the .COM, .EU, .UK and .SE sites on January 16.
Like in other short-deck games, Six-plus Hold ‘em features a 36-card short-deck poker format with cards from deuces to fives removed. The blind structure in the variant introduced by PokerStars is different from the usual Hold ‘em games, with all players on the table posting an ante, and the player on the button posting a single blind.
The fact that the deuces to fives are missing from the deck changes the way players make their hands. The hand frequencies change and so do the hand rankings. Sets are obviously easier to make and so are full houses. However, flushes do become more difficult, and thus a flush beats a full house in this variant. The lowest possible straight in short-deck is ace-six-seven-eight-nine.
Since equities run closer in the short-deck poker that has action-inducing ante and button blind structure, the variant has become highly popular among high stakes players. For online cash game players, the PokerStars’ Six-plus Hold ‘em offers them a chance to experience the game’s unique format at affordable stakes online.
“6+ is an exciting poker variant that often produces big hands and a lot of action, so we’re excited to bring it to the tables,” director of Poker Product at PokerStars, Chris Straghalis, said. “While the format has proven popular with high stakes players, the range of stakes available on PokerStars and similarities to hold’em mean that it should appeal to those who may want to try a new game but don’t want something too different. We’re looking forward to seeing what people think.”
Interestingly, 2018 saw PokerStars launch a good number of poker variants, starting from Split Hold ‘em and Showtime Hold ‘em to Spin and Goal that was football-themed and timed to release alongside the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The gaming giant’s latest launch was in November when it announced Fusion Poker that combined elements of Pot-Limit Omaha and Hold ‘em. The same month PokerStars also launched its free-to-play reality game PokerStars VR.
Looking at how fast the short-deck structure has risen in popularity, the launch of Six-plus Hold ‘em was expected. The six-max tables of Six-plus Hold ‘em are available at all stakes for both, real money and play money across its various clients, in the 6+ tab on the PokerStars lobby. The variant is however yet to be launched on the PokerStars India client.
Season XVII World Poker Tour (WPT) Gardens Poker Championship has come to a close on Day 4 with Frank Stepuchin (4,065,000) leading the six finalists.
The event, which commenced on January 12, pulled in 253 entrants generating a prize pool of $2,428,800.
With only the top 32 places assured payouts, several notables finished in the money including Toby Lewis (7th for $85,270), Marvin Rettenmaier (11th for $43,220), Nicole Schwartz (20th for $25,225), Indian-origin Ankush Mandavia (27th for $19,120), Kitty Kuo (28th for $19,120), Paul Hoefer (30th for $19,120) and Yevgeniy Timoshenko (31st for $19,120).
The WPT Gardens Poker Championship final table will now resume play on March 12 for the first televised WPT final table of the season at the HyperX Esports Arena at the Luxor Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Although the remaining six players are all guaranteed a $110,225 payday, all eyes will be on the $548,825 first prize which includes a $15,000 buy-in into the season-ending Baccarat Crystal WPT Tournament of Champions. Along with the bragging rights of winning the title, the champion will also have his name engraved on the WPT Champions Cup.
1. Frank Stepuchin – 4,065,000
2. Shannon Shorr – 1,710,000
3. Steve Sung – 1,580,000
4. Brent Roberts – 1,385,000
5. Ray Qartomy – 820,000
6. Jonathan Abdellatif – 555,000