Attempting to build on the success of its inaugural running, the schedule for the 2018 Poker Masters events has been announced. As a part of the roster of tournaments, the 2018 Poker Masters will also bring to the poker audience a new version of poker – Short Deck Texas Hold’em – which will be one of the first times that it has been played in a tournament format in the States of America.
Poker Masters was the creation of the “powers that be” at Poker Central, a “made for television” event – or, in the vernacular of the 21st century, a “made for streaming” event – that was broadcast on PokerGO in 2017. Consisting of a series of poker tournaments with buy-ins of $10,000 or more, the inaugural Poker Masters also had a running leaderboard, with the reward of the purple “Poker Masters” jacket (along the lines of golf’s Masters and their green jacket) going to the player who won the most money on the schedule. With the tenet of “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it” in their minds, officials with Poker Masters have put together a roster of events that continues this tradition.
The 2018 Poker Masters will kick off with a $10,000 No Limit Hold’em event on September 7, with the buy-ins going up from there. On September 8, there will be the first of two $25,000 Hold’em tournaments, while September 9 brings one of the more popular games, a $25,000 Pot Limit Omaha tournament. The second $25,000 No Limit Hold’em event comes on September 11, a $50,000 No Limit Hold’em tournament is scheduled for September 12, and the finale of the 2018 Poker Masters is September 13 with the $100,000 No Limit Hold’em tournament.
Plugged right in the middle will be a game that is the latest “rage” in poker. A $10,000 Short Deck Texas Hold’em is scheduled for September 10 and it will bring to the U. S. audience a new version of the “usual” game of Texas Hold’em. In Short Deck Hold’em, the deuces through fives are removed from the deck (hence “Short Deck”), but the game is played basically the same except for a few changes in the hand rankings. In Short Deck Hold’em, a royal flush, straight flush and quads are still the best, but a flush moves up ahead of a full house (due to the increased difficulty in making the hand) and three of a kind is a better hand than a straight.
The game is one that has come from the high stakes cash games in Macau, China, where it is actively played. Two players who have spent a great deal of time in those Macau games, Poker Hall of Famer Phil Ivey and Tom Dwan, have promoted the game extensively here in the States. This will mark the first time that Short Deck Texas Hold’em has gotten a featured spot on a major tournament schedule.
Who’s Going to Be There?
It is expected that the inaugural champion of Poker Masters, Germany’s Steffen Sontheimer, will be back and attempt to keep his purple Poker Masters jacket all to himself. It is also known that Justin Bonomo, who has basically made the “High Roller” events his personal playground in 2018, will be making his return to tournament poker during this schedule. But who are some of the other suspects who will show up for the 2018 Poker Masters event?
With the Short Deck tournament on the schedule, Ivey is someone who might make an appearance during the schedule. The various Player of the Year races present other men who might be stepping up to take part, including current POY leader Stephen Chidwick, Jake Schindler, Jason Koon, Adrian Mateos, former Super High Roller Bowl champion Rainer Kempe, Nick Petrangelo. There could be some others down the POY roster who might look at the event as a chance to climb, including David Peters, Anthony Zinno and Cary Katz.
What about the ladies? The high roller poker world isn’t populated with many women to begin with – businesswoman/poker player Kathy Lehne plays on occasion but is not a frequent competitor – and to expect any to come out for this tournament would be a surprise.
It All Starts September 7
If you’re interested in watching the 2018 Poker Masters unfold live, you’ll have to have PokerGO and stream it through that outlet. PokerGO costs $10 per month and can be accessed through any streaming device (Roku, Amazon Fire, etc.). If you’d rather save the $10, it could also appear later this year on the NBC Sports Network, where the inaugural event has been shown frequently.