Twelve players returned to the PokerGO Studio on Friday for Super High Roller Bowl VIII Day 2 action. The three tables occupied at the start of the event shrank down to two and the once-deep stacks became just a bit shorter.
Nick Petrangelo began play as chip leader after getting off to a hot start on Day 1, but with the likes of Isaac Haxton, Jason Koon, Stephen Chidwick, Chris Brewer and others at the tables it’s tough to keep ahold of your chips. The momentum accrued the day before failed to carry over for Petrangelo in the early goings and his stack slipped down the counts.
Bryn Kenney entered the day on the shortest stack in the field, but key doubles in the opening frame of the day saw his stack shoot up the leaderboard. Kenney continued to accumulate throughout the rest of play, even breaking into the one million chip territory. Then, late in the day, two tough losses saw Kenney’s stack shrivel once again.
Haxton holds all the chips
Haxton, meanwhile, chipped up steadily throughout the day. The deck cooperated with him all the way, making his ascent up the ranks rather seamless. The card distribution favored Haxton heavily as he picked up countless big hands, allowing him to leverage his chip lead with near impunity. While luck seemed squarely on Haxton’s side, his poker skills were also on full display as he made strong plays left and right.
Now, Haxton finds himself in a strong position to lay claim to the Super High Roller Bowl VIII title. For Haxton, the win would further bolster an already impressive 2023 track record. Since the year began, he’s added a WSOP bracelet, an EPT title, and two PCA High Roller victories, just to name a few, to his already stacked resume. If Haxton finishes top two, he’ll add a fifth seven-figure cash to his year’s earnings.
High roller carnage
An early clash between the two short stacks, Kristen Foxen and Bryn Kenney, would spell the end for the former. Foxen’s button raise with ace-jack of hearts was promptly three-bet by Kenney in the small blind with pocket aces. Foxen’s call took the two to a flop that gave her a royal flush draw. The rest of the chips went in, with Foxen very live to knock out Kenney. The turn and river bricked off, however, and her stack all but disappeared. Haxton would finish the job soon after, eliminating Foxen in twelfth place.
Petrangelo scored the next knockout, taking out Justin Bonomo while crossing the one million chip mark in the process. The elimination shored up Petrangelo’s stack significantly after a rough start to the day. The hand saw Petrangelo’s pocket tens dominating Bonomo’s eights pre-flop, but an eight-high board served up a dose of domination rotation. It wasn’t over, though, as Petrangelo had both straight outs and the two remaining tens to fall back on.
The nine on the turn provided Petrangelo the help he needed, straightening out his hand and flipping the equities once again. Bonomo, on a relatively short stack, called off the rest of his chips after Petrangelo moved all-in over his turn bet. The river card failed to pair the board for Bonomo to improve to a full house and his run ended with an eleventh place finish.
Katz falls, then Jager
The remaining non-professionals in the field, Cary Katz and Paul Jager, performed strongly across the two days of play.
As the blinds increased, however, both saw their stacks dwindle into the danger zone. Katz’s usual resilience took him far, but not far enough. The PokerGO founder found himself in a good situation to double when his king-five paired on the flop in an all-in pot against Haxton’s ace-ten. He knew better than to celebrate prematurely, though, as a rivered pair of tens gave Haxton the best hand and all of Katz’s remaining chips. The tough beat for Katz ended his run with a tenth place finish.
Jager went out in a blaze of glory as he attempted a courageous bluff against Kenney. The hand in question saw Kenney flop a set of threes against Jager’s seven-six of hearts. The flop didn’t connect very well with Jager’s holding, but that didn’t stop him from putting in a check-raise. The turn card saw both players check. The river card paired Jager’s six, but it wasn’t enough to win the hand. Jager decided that a bet was his only path to victory and moved all in, hoping to force a fold from a weak holding. Kenney snap called the bet, tabling his set immediately. The ill-timed, but heroic move ended Jager’s run with a ninth place place finish, just short of the final table.
The elite eight, all on one table
The elimination of Jager saw the remaining players take their seats at the final table. Haxton, Negreanu, Petrangelo, Koon, Chidwick, Kenney, Lichtenberger, and Brewer. There have been some stacked final tables throughout poker’s storied history, but perhaps none quite like this one.
Negreanu’s hopes of back-to-back victories fell short of the mark after a particularly devastating beat at the hands of Haxton. In a blind versus blind confrontation, Negreanu’s limp with ace-queen induced an all-in from Haxton’s ace-four. The reigning champion looked set for a full double, but an unwelcome four appeared as the dealer fanned the flop. The three hearts on the board provided Negreanu with a number of outs to win, but none of them came home for the Canadian and he would have to settle for a ninth place finish.
The day’s final elimination came courtesy of Chidwick, who had quietly gone about his business for most of the day before making a splash in the later frames. The hand in question essentially played itself. Chidwick’s open with ace-king of diamonds provided the perfect spot for Petrangelo to move all in with pocket kings. The clear-cut call came from Chidwick and the two went to a runout that looked sweet at first for Petrangelo, but turned sour with the appearance of an ace. There would be no one-outer miracle for the Day 1 chip leader and Petrangelo’s race ended with a seventh place finish.
Haxton dominant to close
Haxton continued to apply the pressure as the players drew closer to the money bubble, picking up some big hands just for good measure. There were late fireworks as Koon found a fortunate river card to double through Kenney in dramatic fashion.
The day ended with Haxton sitting on over three million chips, the only player in the field with a seven-figure stack.
The remaining six players return on Saturday to crown the Super High Roller Bowl VIII champion. The final table action will stream live on PokerGo’s YouTube channel, for free, starting at 4:00pm ET.
End of Day 2 Chip Counts
All Images Courtesy of PokerGO