Phil Ivey continued his triumphant return to poker earlier today when he crushed the final table at the $25,000 short deck comp at the Super High Roller Bowl Europe event. This event was the first of the series and will be followed by another three short deck events and another five hold’em events. All nine events have buy-ins of $25k or higher.
Phil Ivey clearly hasn’t missed a beat. The guy stepped away from poker for a while during the pandemic. But since his return it’s clear he’s every bit as sharp as he ever was. In June, he played down the WPT Heads Up Championship, an invitational event in Cancun held in partnership with Poker Kings. He won that event outright.
This time the game was short-deck hold ’em.
The event was hosted by the Merit Hotel, Casino, and Spa in Cyprus. The casino’s Twitter account posted a photo of Ivey with his trophy. The caption reads: “Super High Roller Bowl Europe $25k Short Deck Champion Phil Ivey. He got $408,000 for an incredible performance. Celebrating the victory with his friends: Paul Phua Poker, Richard Yong, and Ivan Leow.”
The second event is underway today. We will have coverage of its final table here tomorrow.
How Phil Ivey learned short-deck
This variant on Texas hold ’em is played with a 36 card deck from which all cards from deuce to five have been removed. The changes to the deck result in a shift in the hand rankings, with a full house now ranking between a straight and a flush.
Short deck’s wide opening ranges and draw-heavy play makes for faster action more reminiscent of the dynamics of a pot-limit Omaha or no-limit razz game than Texas hold ’em.
These features of short deck have made it enormously popular in the nosebleed games of Macau. Given that this is where Ivey has been earning his potatoes for the last decade, it’s perhaps not surprising that he’s a killer at the game.
However, good as he is, his victory was no shoo-in today. The final table he had to beat included high stakes wizard Stephen Chidwick and fellow old school superstar Erik “Seiborg” Seidel.
Ivey’s road to victory
Forty-eight players bought into the tournament, making for a prize pool of $1,200,000. Day one saw that field chipped away at until the money bubble broke with seven players remaining.
Players who entered but didn’t manage to turn a profit in the tourney included: Tony G (26th), Richard Yong (22nd), Seth Davies (17th), Ali Imsirovic (12th), and Paul Phua (11th).
The final table began with Chidwick as the significant chip leader (3,865,000 in chips). Seidel bottomed out the table with 820,000 in chips. Ivey was sitting around the middle of the pack with a pretty solid 2,195,000 in chips. The ante was 20,000 at the start of play, meaning Seidel was going to have to make some moves early.
Sure enough, Seidel was the first to go, considerably softening up the average skill level at the table. The rest of the table did a thorough shuffle, with chips moving between players rapidly. Brewer went from second chip leader to busto in fifth shortly after Xia “Santi” Jiang He hit the rails.
After that it was a matter of attrition. By the time Ivey was heads up with Chidwick, he had 11.3 million chips to Chidwick’s 3 million.
Twenty minutes into heads-up play Ivey had extended his lead a little. The ante was at 50,000. Ivey shoved pre-flop with K♣T♣. Chidwick snap-called with A♥Q♠.
The flop gave Ivey the K♦ and the turn the T♦. When the A♣ came on the river, it was too little too late for Chidwick, who took $264,000 for his second-place finish.
Super High Roller Bowl Europe Event #1: $25,000 Short Deck complete final table results
|6th||Xia “Santi” Jiang He||$72,000|
Featured image source: PokerGO