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The opening event at the 2018 Triton Super High Roller Series Jeju, the HK$100,000 Short Deck Ante-Only has crowned a winner. Amercian pro and poker commentator Nick Schulman (cover image) dominated a field of 61 players to win the event for a payday of HK$2,135,000 (~$777,481).
This is the third time a short deck No-Limit Hold ‘em format event has been organised in the Triton Series. The format also called ‘six-plus puke’ is becoming popular in high-stakes cash games in Asia and is played with a 36-card deck with deuces through fives removed and a few rule changes. For instance, flushes beat full houses and aces can play both as the highest card and as a five to complete a nine-high straight.
Two months back, the first two short deck editions were held at the Triton Montenegro Series and were taken down by Phil Ivey and Jason Koon respectively. While both Ivey and Koon returned to the Triton felts to compete in the HK$100,000 Short Deck, neither among them could make it past the Day 1B flight.
Schulman, on the other hand, did not let his own inexperience in playing short-deck NLHE come in the way. The NLHE and mixed games pro who has two WSOP bracelets under his belt, sailed through the frequent high-variance spots and chip swings he encountered along the way. His was the 10th biggest stack on the final day and reaching the top was challenging. However, he chipped up to enter the unofficial final table of eight remaining players with the second biggest stack.
“I still don’t know how to play the game, but every time when you play a lot of all ins and win every single one, that’s the way to do it,” Schulman said.
Talking about the short-deck format, Schulman divulged that the biggest strategies he’s been working on for short deck are pre-flop and post flop decision making, something that’s a big part of No-Limit Hold’em as well.
“Pre-flop decision making, post-flop decision making. And of course some of the stack size stuff gets crazy. And you know some of these middling kind of hands that make straights. This is a little bit foreign to no-limit hold’em players, and even though it makes sense given that there’s no fives through deuces, it’s still a little bit tricky and sometimes you can just kind of revert to no-limit. But all of that stuff we were just talking about briefly,” Schulman explained.
16 players returned on the final day. Poker pros Ben Lamb and Stephen Chidwick who busted the Day 1A flight re-entered through Day 1B and managed to pull through right, with Lamb making it to the eight handed unofficial final table.
Gabe Patrogorski, Alan Sass and Rui Cao were all in contention on the final day but all of them busted, and since only the seven finalists were guaranteed a payday, none of them made it in the money.
Final Table Chip Counts
1. Ben Lamb – 5,145,000
2. Nick Schulman – 2,490,000
3. Ivan Leow – 2,180,000
4. Chio Lin Ern – 2,010,000
5. Foo Sze Ming – 1,890,000
6. Chow Hing Yaung – 1,795,000
7. Kenneth Kee – 1,550,000
8. Lim Chin Wei – 1,040,000
Chio Lin Ern exited the tournament as the official final table bubble boy after he was eliminated by Lamb in a hand where Lamb paired his ace on the board to take the lead against Ern’s pocket kings.
Final Table Recap
Ivan Leow was the first player to drop out of the final table in seventh place. Leow went all in on a jack-jack-ten flop and his ten-nine were beaten by Foo Sze Ming’s jack-ten who flopped a full house with the queen on the turn and the king on the river missing both players.
Next, Lim Chin Wei peeled under the gun and moved all in for 870,000. Schulman re-shoved with and Lin struggled to survive. Schulman’s pair of jacks held up on the board and Lim was eliminated in sixth place.
Schulman now cracked Lamb’s kings in a hand to take over the chip lead. He continued to pick off Lamb and scooped a huge put through him cementing his chip lead further.
Foo Sze Ming’s run ended with him bowing out in fifth place in a hand where Chow Hing Yaung limped in with while Lamb overlimped with followed by Schulman raising to 450,000 with . Ming who had fired a 3-bet to 1,350,000 on the button. He was called by Schulman. The two big stacks continued to the flop with 3 Million chips in the middle. Schulman bet 750,000 and Foo jammed for 3,315,000. Schulman called to create a 9.49 Million pot. The turn got Schulman top two pair and his hand improved on the river, while Ming headed off to the cashiers desk.
Ben Lamb’s remarkable journey came to an abrupt halt next. Having calling off Lamb’s bluff in one hand, Schulman sent him to the rail soon after. The short-stacked Lamb shoved his last 1,315,000 from the cutoff and Schulman made the call. Lamb tabled against Schulman’s . “Who do you guys want to win?” Lamb asked other final table competitors Chow Hing Young and Kenneth Kee who were rooting for Schulman. The board favored Schulman bringing him a higher two pair and Lamb was ousted in fourth place.
“He’s very capable, he’s very aggressive. I decided to look him up. I beat bluffs. I know he’s the kind of player who can do that with the sort of medium strength hands of which kings can beat,” Schulman later said, talking about Lamb’s elimination.
One hand later, Schulman scored another knockout. He raised to 400,000 and Chow Hing Yaung jammed 3,605,000 on the button. Schulman snap-called. He tabled vs. Yaung’s . The flop and the turn pushed Chow closer to a double up but all his hopes came crashing down on the river and he exited in third place.
The heads-up play saw Kenneth Kee give a tough fight to Schulman even though Schulman held an overwhelming 9-1 chip lead over him. An interesting hand saw Schulman limping in with and Kee checked with . The duo checked the flop and Schulman bet 260,000 on the turn. Kee called and rivered the royal flush on the river. Despite picking a pair of queens, Schulman lost the pot. In the next hand Kee doubled up through Schulman with his full house against the latter who clipped a set of queens on the board.
On the final hand, Kee limped with and Schulman peeled from the button. Schulman raised to 650,000, that Kee matched. They continued to the flop and despite flopping top two Kee was trailing. He jammed and was called by Schulman. Only running tens or two more diamonds could have helped Kee but none turned up on the turn and river ensuring Schulman’s victory. Kee was relegated to a second-place finish while Schulman picked his first-ever short-deck title.
Final Table Results (HKD)
1. Nick Schulman – HK$2,135,000
2. Kenneth Kee – HK$1,319,369
3. Chow Hing Yaung – HK$874,801
4. Ben Lamb – HK$619,272
5. Foo Sze Ming – HK$466,223
6. Kim Chin Wei – HK$371,917
7. Ivan Leow – HK$313,418
Four more tournaments are coming up as part of the 2018 Triton Super High Roller Series so stay tuned on PokerGuru for all the updates!