Nicholas Seiken used to play mostly no-limit hold'em tournaments, but he's never going to play the game again. Seiken found his place in the world of mixed games. Now he's ready to fully take on the subculture within poker and his breakthrough to the mixed scene couldn't have been more impressive.
Seiken is a newly crowned World Series of Poker Champion after taking down the star-studded $10k 2-7 Triple Draw Championship for $287,987. On his way to victory, Seiken had to prevail in a heads-up against an experienced mixed games player Randy Ohel who has a bracelet of his own from this discipline.
"This is my first stand-alone triple draw tournament," Seiken said. "I played the 8-Game four or five times but I haven't even played the $1,500 Triple Draw."
Seiken introduced himself in the 8-Game event, coming back for Day 3 with the chip lead only to bust in ninth place. While it was a bitter end to his tremendous run, the experience eventually led him to claim his first bracelet.
"I played the 2-7 Triple Draw in the 8-Game and I was like, 'I like triple draw, I want to play some triple draw.'" said Seiken.
Final table results:
|1||Nicholas Seiken||United States||$287,987|
|2||Randy Ohel||United States||$177,992|
|4||Farzad Bonyadi||United States||$89,078|
|5||Matt Glantz||United States||$64,131|
So he arrived and defeated the incredibly tough competition. And Seiken did it in a way as if he was a seasoned veteran with tons of bracelet event final tables under his belt. He entered the finale with a big stack and never really found himself in trouble. But Seiken admitted that he was very well aware of the players around him.
"The only thing that gave me a shot was having so many chips because I was playing against such good players," Seiken said, revealing his gameplan for the final stage of the tournament. "I had a big stack and I wanted to sit on it for a while. I didn't want to take marginal spots. I folded hands that I should be playing because I didn't want to get out of line, getting in massive pots with guys like Randy."
The deep structure allowed anyone to pick their spots, but Seiken was the one who particularly excelled in it. Of course, he ran well and made some big hands at the right time. But he also made it to a three-handed play with absolute ease. There wasn't any point during the final table play when Seiken would be running out of gas.
Perhaps the only moment when it looked that Seiken might fall short of winning the gold was when he battled with Ohel and Kristijonas Andrulis. The deep structure allowed a long three-handed stretch, and while Seiken controlled half of the chips, Ohel managed to get to even and to overtake the lead for a short stint.
"It was pretty difficult. I got a little concerned when Randy evened it up." Seiken said.
Seiken, however, reclaimed his chips and dispatched Andrulis in third place to establish a 3-2 lead ahead of the heads-up match. The final duel seemed primed to go for much longer with 45 big bets on the table. Ohel had a lot of room to work his way up but, unfortunately for him, the heads-up was a one-sided affair. After 45 minutes, Seiken had Ohel on the ropes, holding almost a 10-1 lead. The final hand saw Seiken make the Number Four and Ohel couldn't compete. Just like that, Seiken conquered the world of 2-7 Triple Draw, taking home the Championship.
"I'm hooked now," Seiken said. He won't be seen at the no-limit hold'em tables anymore but one can bet that Seiken will be back for some mixed action.
"I really don't enjoy hold'em anymore. I didn't really like where no-limit was heading with the tanking," Seiken said. His main games now are PLO and PLO-8 but he surely won't miss a triple draw action either. On top of that, Seiken proved his skills in the stud area, having cashed the $10k Championship a few days ago.
He will be headed back home to Texas tomorrow, presenting the bracelet to his wife Katie with whom he has three kids; twin daughters and a three-and-a-half-month-old son. But Seiken will return for the final episode of 2018 World Series of Poker, coming back as a bracelet winner and will be keen to pursue some more success at the series.
"It won't be in the Main Event," he said. No-limit players can stay calm, but the mixed game world should get alerted: there's new rounder ready to take over.