Things got wild at the 2018 Poker Masters on Monday as the latest poker craze hit the U.S. for its big buy-in stateside debut.
Event #4: $10,000 Short Deck Poker drew a field of 55 entries in what proved to be a very swingy Day 1. When the dust settled from the flurry of all ins — some tables seemingly saw an all-in shove about every other hand — German high roller Dominik Nitsche had inched past Andrew Robl for the chip lead heading into the final table of six.
Due to the volatility of short deck and the fact that hand equities run so close together, a unique format was worked out for the Poker Masters event. Players would receive 100,000 in starting chips and two add-on plaques worth 100,000 each that they could cash in whenever they want, with any leftovers automatically converting at the end of the reentry period.
If a wild all-in fest is what the organizers expected, that's exactly what they got. Players would build up stacks of several hundred thousand or even into the seven figures, only to see them melt away after losing a series of all-in pots in a row.
At no time was the volatility more apparent than the end of the night, when Nitsche went from shoving and at risk on the bubble with ace-ten against Robl's ace-king suited to surpassing Robl for the lead 40 minutes later. Nitsche flopped a ten and rivered another in the aforementioned hand, then doubled through Robl again — after Justin Young bubbled out — when his jacks made a runner straight against ace-queen suited all in preflop.
Both players are just shy of 5 million with the ante going to 30,000.
Robl seems likely to be one of the most experienced in the format, having participated in the Triton Super High Roller Series in Korea recently and probably in Macau cash games before that. In contrast, several players like Isaac Haxton admitted it was their first time even playing the game.
Jason Koon is another veteran of some overseas short deck games, and he used that experience to make it into the money, min-cashing in eighth. Jonathan Depa followed him after coming runner-up in the Event #3: $25,000 Pot-Limit Omaha final table.
The final table is scheduled for a noon restart on Tuesday and will be streamed on PokerGO. Regardless of the result, Brandon Adams will remain atop the points leaderboard as this is the first final table he's missed out on so far.
Those looking to keep chasing Adams can look forward to Event #5: $25,000 No-Limit Hold'em, covered right here on PokerNews at 2 p.m.