Texas Hold’em has been all the rage in the States for quite some time. If you go outside the borders of the U. S., then you’ll usually find that Pot Limit Omaha Hold’em is the game of choice. For the first time, the PokerGO Tour opened the doors to a Pot Limit Omaha tournament schedule, and they’ve been rewarded with a monstrous outpouring of players showing their appreciation.

Record Set in Event #1 of PGT PLO Series

There are a few things that make this particular schedule of events special. First, it is one of the few times (in this writer’s memory, anyway) where an entire schedule has been dedicated to the game of Omaha Hold’em. Several different disciplines will be taken on over the course of the nine-tournament schedule. Who is taking part in these tournaments is also noteworthy in that it isn’t your normal PGT denizens.

Usually, the PokerGO Tour has a rotation of about 80 players that hit the tables and…well, for lack of a better way to put it, shuffle money between each other. This PLO series, however, is breaking these norms because of the different disciplines of Omaha poker. In Event #1 of the PGT Pot Limit Omaha Series, a massive number of players broke the record for the biggest prize pool in an under-$10,000 tournament under the PGT banner.

The $5000 Pot Limit Omaha tournament, the first scheduled event for the Series, kicked off on Saturday and the numbers were stunning. 200 total entries were received for the tournament, with 140 individual players contributing to that cause. The $1 million prize pool in the tournament broke the record for the largest-ever prize pool in a PGT-sanctioned tournament with a particular buy-in limit.

It wasn’t limited to just the first event either. Event #2, a $5000 Pot Limit Omaha Bounty tournament, kicked off its first action on Sunday afternoon and it seemed many were still feeling to urge to pick up the four-card version of the game. 170 entries were in the books as of Sunday evening, with the championship to be determined on Monday.

Event #1 Features Omaha Experts on Display

Nine players came back on Sunday to take on the final table of Event #1, with the bulk of the $1 million prize pool to divvy up. The USA’s Peng Zheng led the way for the final nine with his 3.875 million in chips, but players representing Greece (Roussos Koliakoudakis), Ukraine (Stanislav Halatenko), and the Netherlands (Eelis Parssinen) also were at their chairs at the final table. The most recognizable faces on the table were World Series of Poker bracelet winners Jeff Madsen and David Williams.

Unfortunately, Williams did not last long, taken down by Parssinen when Williams’ open-ended straight draw failed to come home against a lone pair of eights from Parssinen. Parssinen would also do the dirty deed to Madsen, using a pair of Aces in his four-card mix (A-A-5-2) to take down Madsen’s pair of Kings (A-K-K-5). If it hadn’t been for Daniyal Iqbal, Parssinen might have steamrolled to the title.

A clash between Iqbal and Parssinen would result in one rocketing into the lead and the other being left with scraps. All the money went in after a K-9-7 flop and the cards were turned up:

Parssinen: A-J-10-5
Iqbal: K-Q-9-5

Iqbal’s flopped two pair was in decent shape but, as anyone who has played Omaha knows, often the lead on the flop disappears by the river. In this case, however, Iqbal dodged the bullets as a five came on the turn and a second seven on the river didn’t change anything. After the chips were counted, Iqbal had been the player at risk, and he scooped the fifteen million chip-plus pot while Parssinen dropped to only four million in chips.

Iqbal would eventually dismiss Parssinen in fourth place and set his sights on the other two men at the table. Iqbal eliminated Halatenko in third place to move to heads-up action against Koliakoudakis with almost a 3:1 lead. Although Koliakoudakis was able to draw even at one point, but Iqbal was able to work his way back out to a comfortable lead.

On the final hand, the chips all went to the center with the board reading a very intriguing 10-6-5-4 with two diamonds. Iqbal had turned the straight with his A-Q-8-7, but he had to fade a turned set of Koliakoudakis (J-4-4-2) that was hunting for the case four or the board to pair. An eight on the river didn’t help the Greek, sealing the victory for Iqbal and giving him first blood in the PokerGO Tour Pot Limit Omaha Series.

1. Daniyal Iqbal (USA), $160,000
2. Roussos Koliakoudakis (Greece), $120,000
3. Stanislav Halatenko (Ukraine), $90,000
4. Eelis Parssinen (Netherlands), $70,000
5. Peng Zheng (USA), $60,000
6. Jeff Madsen (USA), $50,000
7. Sean Troha (USA), $40,000
8. Ethan Yau (USA), $40,000
9. David Williams (USA), $30,000  

(Photo courtesy of PokerGO.com)

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