I have been in the poker/poker news industry for 14 years, but I will readily admit that I am not all that into actually watching poker. When I covered the World Series of Poker live a couple times, it was exciting to be there and I very much enjoyed the experience, but in the crowd at a final table isn’t really all that fun unless you have a rooting interest. And I have enjoyed watching the Main Event final table slog on ESPN for a number of years, but other than that, I don’t spend a whole lot of time on live poker streams. If I did, I wouldn’t get anything else done. That might change starting today, though, as Nick Schulman won the $10,000 Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better yesterday for his third career WSOP gold bracelet.
Allow me to explain what one has to do with the other. When he is not playing poker at the WSOP, he lends his talents to the official streams and the ESPN Main Event final table broadcast as an analyst (for the latter, he is usually at the replay desk during tournament breaks, as opposed to the live play-by-play). In speaking with WSOP.com after his victory, he credited his side job with improving his game:
“I don’t know where I’d be.” he said. “Watching some of those guys navigate the high rollers, and preparation for commentating in general, I’m grateful for it.”
“I’ve watched a lot of poker. To win it right after commentating the $50K kind of makes sense. It’s a great reminder: Watch these streams if you’re trying to learn. Watch. Analyze. And play along. It’s one of the best ways to get better outside of playing.”
Schulman went into the seven-handed final table with the chip lead, holding 3.355 million chips, but there were a few players in solid shape, including eventual runner-up Brian Hastings (2.735 million) and none other than 2005 WSOP Main Event champ Joe Hachem (2.430 million). Two players, Corey Hochman and Michael McKenna were in unusually terrible shape to start a final table, holding 170,000 and 65,000 chips, respectively. That was fewer than three big blinds combined. Hachem knocked them both out on the first hand of the day.
The bulk of the final table sped by, with Hachem bowing out in third place only about an hour and a half into play, leaving Schulman (8 million chips) against Hastings (3.6 million) for the title.
Schulman coasted most of the way, having very little trouble. He even got his stack above the 10 million chip mark after couple hours and it looked like it was going to be over. But Hastings hung tough and somehow took the lead during the third hour. Schulman, though, was able to double-up almost immediately to regain the lead, and from there, he never looked back.
On the final hand, the two men raised and re-raised pre-flop until Hastings was all-in for 2.87 million. Hastings had As-6s-3h-2h, a pretty darn solid starting hand, against Schulman’s Ac-Tc-5c-4h.
The flop came down 8d-7d-8s and the turn was the Qh. Hastings had the nut low draw and a bunch of outs to pair one of his low cards to earn the high and the possible scoop, but the Jh on the river did him in. It made it so there was no eligible low hand and though both players had a pair of 8’s, Schulman had the better kickers and as a result, his third WSOP bracelet.
2019 World Series of Poker $10,000 Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better – Final Table Results
- Nick Schulman – $463,670
- Brian Hastings – $286,570
- Joe Hachem – $201,041
- Denis Strebkov – $143,700
- Christopher Vitch – $104,688
- Corey Hochman – $77,763
- Michael McKenna – $58,918
- Bryce Yockey – $45,551
- Ryan Miller – $35,950
Lead photo credit: WSOP.com