The PokerGO Studios in Las Vegas have been bustling of late, with the Poker Masters in September and now the eighth running of the Super High Roller Bowl. The $300,000 buy-in tournament has once again drawn the crème of the tournament poker world – or at least those who could conjure up $300,000 to get through the doors – to battle it out for one of poker’s biggest events. After two days of poker, former SHRB champion Isaac Haxton is well on his way to his second championship, holding more than half the chips in play at the final table.
Day One Brings All the Money
Thursday saw the contenders for the Super High Roller Bowl VIII championship come together on three tables in Las Vegas, and surprisingly they were there from the start. Eighteen players came to the felt to open action on Thursday, including the defending champion of the tournament, Daniel Negreanu, and former SHRB champs Justin Bonomo and Haxton. Those three tables were replete with name contenders, including the 2023 Poker Masters champion Stephen Chidwick, the only female in the mix Kristen Foxen, and Spanish high roller pro Adrian Mateos.
You would think that there would be a process, a “feeling out,” before the players cracked heads, but that wasn’t to be seen on any of the three tables. Mateos fell victim to a rivered flush by Jonathan Jaffe to fall under the 300K starting chip stack, while Chidwick’s good run from the Poker Masters continued in chopping a sizeable chunk of Jason Koon’s ammunition from him. It was another big clash in the early action, however, that seemed to set the course of the event.
After a raise from Jonathan Jaffe in the cutoff, Haxton would three bet the action to 19K and the twosome saw a 10x A♦ 5♦ flop. Haxton backed up his three-bet with a continuation bet of 25K, which Jaffe called, and a second ten came on the turn. Haxton pondered the situation, using a time bank chip, before sending 80K to the center. Another call out of Jaffe saw a sizeable pot building ahead of the 3♦ on the river.
Once again, Haxton used a time extension chip before settling on a bet of 210K, sending Jaffe into the tank. Jaffe would pluck two of the time extension chips from his stack before settling on a call of the bet, which turned out to be the wrong decision. Haxton turned up his pocket fives for the flopped set and turned boat, while Jaffe sent much of his stack to Haxton.
Although he fought valiantly after that, Jaffe was the first elimination on Day One at the hands of Dan Smith, soon followed by Orpen Kisacikoglu. Mateos, Alex Foxen (losing the “Battle of the Foxens” mini event), Smith, Bill Klein, Seth Davies, and Talal Shakerchi all would also find the rail by the end of Day One, as Nick Petrangelo took the early lead.
1. Nick Petrangelo, 887,000
2. Andrew Lichtenberger, 811,000
3. Isaac Haxton, 644,000
4. Jason Koon, 623,000
Final Four to Take Part of $2.76 Million Prize Pool
There’s a reason that only the top four positions were given from Day One of the Super High Roller Bowl VIII…the top four players would be the ones who divvy up the $6,000,000 prize pool. The fourth-place finisher will have to be satisfied with doubling their buy-in ($600,000), while third place takes home nearly a million dollars ($960,000) for their efforts. The top two spots carve up the rest, with $1.68 million going to the runner-up and a massive $2.76 million payout – and the Super High Roller Bowl VIII championship ring – going to the victor.
Only twelve players were left at the start of action on Friday, and they wasted no time chopping players from the field. The day got off to a bang with a confrontation between Kristen Foxen and Bryn Kenney, with Foxen running a royal flush draw up against the pocket Aces of Foxen. No heart would come for Foxen on the turn or river, however, chopping her stack to fumes (6000); she would depart soon afterward.
Haxton began his march to the top of the standings innocently enough. He topped Negreanu and Kenney in a hand to pick up 125K in chips, then scooped another 100K against Koon. In busting Cary Katz from the tournament, Haxton shot over the million-chip mark and, after he eliminated Negreanu in eighth place, Haxton was in command of the final table.
The 2023 PokerGO Cup Main Event champion fended off threats from virtually every other player on the final table felt as his stack crossed the two million mark. By the time action was mercifully called on Friday night, Haxton had hiked his stack over three million chips to be the dominant leader when play resumes on Saturday.
1. Isaac Haxton, 3,005,000
2. Chris Brewer, 845,000
3. Jason Koon, 700,000
4. Stephen Chidwick, 635,000
5. Bryn Kenney, 445,000
6. Andrew Lichtenberger, 370,000
One thing that can be bet on is that Haxton won’t be the first player out. The question is who will emerge from the pack behind Haxton to challenge him for the title. If you’re looking for a horse, there would be no better bet than Chidwick, fresh off his Poker Masters victory and looking to make this trip to the States worthwhile. It’s going to take a LOT of work, however, for anyone to knock Haxton off the perch.
The Super High Roller Bowl VIII will resume at noon (Pacific Time) on Saturday, with the PokerGO stream picking up at 1 PM at PokerGO.com. Will it be a coronation for Haxton as the first two-time champion of the Bowl? Or will someone fight off the canvas to take him down? We’ll learn the fates later this evening.
(Photo courtesy of PokerGO.com)