Nick Schulman is a heavyweight in the poker world. He’s been in the game for nearly twenty years, plays against the best in Bobby’s Room, and brings a touch of the old-school cool to every table he sits at. As a player, he’s up there in the pantheon of the game’s greats, there’s no arguing that.
As a personality, he’s one of poker’s brightest. His commentary skills, especially when paired with friend/antagonist Ali Nejad, are untouchable.
Last night, Schulman made the final table of Event 9: $1,500 Seven Card Stud at the World Series of Poker. The action streamed live on PokerGO’s YouTube channel, and the replay is still up for those who missed it.
The rest of the table was a mix of recreational players and other professionals, including Shaun Deeb and John Monnette. Two early eliminations saw the table shrink down to only six remaining players, but Schulman’s chances at the bracelet took a big hit about an hour into the action.
Riding the rollercoaster
A key pot saw Monnette make a full house up against Schulman’s rivered ace-high flush and it looked like a close, but no cigar (pun intended) finish. Schulman managed to mitigate the damage, however, by simply calling down Monnette’s bet on seventh street, rather than putting in a raise. Despite being short, Schulman managed to eliminate DJ Buckley in sixth place to earn himself, and the rest of the table, a pay-jump. Deeb, on a short stack, bowed out shortly after when his two-pair were rundown by Monnette’s rivered wheel in a pre-flop all-in confrontation.
It was then that Schulman went to work, picking up pots left and right, building his stack into a chip lead. Shortly after Deeb’s exit, Monnette followed suit when his two-pair could not improve on seventh street up against Schulman’s straight. With the other top-level professionals eliminated, the path to the bracelet was clear. Still, he had his hands full against Hojeong Lee and Andrew Hasdal, both skilled players despite their recreational status.
During the three-handed battle, the cards were hitting for Schulman, much to the frustration of his opponents. With more than fifty percent of the chips in play, it seemed as though Schulman might run away with the win. Both Lee and Hasdal, however, had other ideas. In a swingy series of hands, both Lee and Hasdal managed to pick up pots to keep their chances alive. It took a while, but eventually Lee fell in third place, one better than his 2022 result in the same tournament.
Heads up play
The players took a short break before beginning heads-up play. Hasdal, in conversation with his rail, playfully lamented the heads-up situation, saying, “Why Nick, though?” In a sense, it seemed Hasdal had already made peace with a second-place finish. His play, however, told a different story.
Hasdal showed up to battle and quickly cut away at his chip deficit. In a key pot, Hasdal rivered a full house to best Schulman’s rolled-down threes. With 2.6 million chips already in the middle, Hasdal opted to check-raise Schulman’s bet. In a moment of pure agony, Schulman deliberated over the spot, even going so far as to take off the wrap-around shades and put aside his cigar. The professional went deep into the tank, at one point asking Hasdal, “Did you hit the ace, my friend? This would be a very sick bluff.” Finally, Schulman settled on the right move and sent his cards into the muck, despite getting a ridiculously good price to call. The fold served as one of many examples of Schulman’s skill and discipline.
Hasdal, now in control of the chip lead, whittled Schulman’s stack down even further to take a nearly 3-to-1 advantage. Schulman, calm as can be, put his head down and went to work. Pot after pot went his way, often times coming via pure aggression, and he took back the chip lead. Hasdal, however, hung around.
Hasdal hangs around
On multiple occasions, Hasdal found himself all-in and at risk. Each time, he was able to escape with his tournament life intact. The wildest pot of the match saw Hasdal put all the chips in on fifth street with only a pair of kings up against Schulman’s straight. With only six percent equity to win the hand, Hasdal caught running cards to make a full house and score another double.
Despite the series of tough beats, Schulman was undeterred. Again, Schulman picked up the aggression and took down several pots basically uncontested. The final hand saw Hasdal get his chips in on fifth street with a massive combo-draw, but it was all over when Schulman’s two-pair improved to a full house on seventh street.
Schulman’s win earned him a fourth WSOP bracelet and $110,800.