The Poker Masters high roller series took place in Las Vegas in September.
There were 10 tournaments on the schedule – six for $10k, three for $25k, and the most expensive tournament for $50k.
At each series organized by PokerGO, an overall leaderboard is determined. The overall Poker Masters winner receives the traditional purple jacket.
It seemed that this time its owner was determined after the first three tournaments. Lithuanian Vladas “Vladiator13” Tamashauskas became an unexpected hero – he won two of the first three tournaments and reached the final table in another one.
The first tournament set a record number of participants – 114 entries.
In heads-up against Aram Zobian, Vladas started down three to one in chips, but his confident play in all-ins allowed him to quickly level the position and then win.
In one hand, Aram himself decided to give his opponent a nice gift and optimistically called on the river with ten-high.
🤔 What's going on here? 🤔@AramZobian makes a ten-high call against @VladTamasauskas heads-up in Event #1 of the Poker Masters.— PokerGO (@PokerGO) September 16, 2023
📺 – Watch Event #1 LIVE on PokerGO: https://t.co/Es6CtJU2Xx pic.twitter.com/dwiCdmQcH3
Immediately after his victory, Tamashauskas rushed into late registration for the second tournament, which attracted 97 entries.
He entered the second final table in a row with the second stack, and the leader was the upswinger Bin Weng.
However, the final table did not work out for both.
In the top six, Weng and Elias were in the blinds for a giant pot of 80 blinds with vs. AJs.
There's a new chip leader in the house as @DarrenElias gets a massive double up through @BinWeng88 at the Poker Masters Event #2 final table.— PokerGO (@PokerGO) September 16, 2023
📺 – Watch LIVE on PokerGO: https://t.co/QcOPJEXh7n pic.twitter.com/Dg0nl3CNDz
Darren made a flush on the river, became the chip leader with almost a two-fold advantage over his closest competitor, and easily took down the tournament. Weng had four blinds left, but he outlasted two more people. For Vladas, the tournament ended with a cooler – he was dealt vs. the of the future winner.
Just like the day before, immediately after elimination, Tamashauskas ran to the next tournament and made his third final table in a row. In the first tournament, he reached the final with the penultimate stack, and in this one with the last, but this did not stop him from winning again.
On his way to victory, the Lithuanian first eliminated Chance Kornuth, and then in one of the key hands of the entire tournament, he was dealt a full house over full house against Michael Rocco.
This hand between Michael Rocco and @VladTamasauskas is RIDICULOUS.— PokerGO (@PokerGO) September 18, 2023
Tamasauskas now holds a massive lead in the event and is looking for his second title of the 2023 Poker Masters.
📺 – Watch LIVE on PokerGO: https://t.co/hgfuMPQUHp pic.twitter.com/w9gTSWjnUO
For some time, Daniel Rezaei took first place in the chip counts, but in the top three, Vladas quickly regained it when he called his opponent’s bluff for the entire stack.
There's a reason that @VladTamasauskas has been at every final table of the 2023 Poker Masters so far.— PokerGO (@PokerGO) September 19, 2023
Tamasauskas makes an amazing call against Daniel Rezaei and puts himself in prime position to capture his second title.
📺 – Watch LIVE on PokerGO: https://t.co/hgfuMPQUHp pic.twitter.com/jRXyKPdrXa
After two victories in three tournaments, Tamashauskas topped the leaderboard with a near double lead over the field.
In an interview with PokerNews, Vladas said that he had never played high roller tournaments with small fields before this series. His specialty is major tournaments and big fields. But after reaching the EPT in Barcelona, where he took 3rd place in a €10k tournament (€406,250 prize), he decided to test his strength at the Poker Masters and did not regret it.
In the fourth tournament, there were 91 entries. Daniel Negreanu reached the final table with the fourth stack, but he failed to rise above sixth place. His bold bluff failed to impress chip leader Jonathan Little.
The winner was former WPT Championship winner Chino Rheem, who already had more than half of all the tournament chips in the top four. First, Chris Brewer 4-bet all-in with , Chino didn't throw away and doubled. Little then decided to 4-bet shove with 87s, this time Rheem made a bold call with .
There's a new man in the driver's seat as @ChinoRheem takes a MASSIVE pot from @JonathanLittle.— PokerGO (@PokerGO) September 19, 2023
Rheem wakes up with queens in the big blind and Little rips it with the eight-seven suited. Rheem holds on to take a massive lead with four remaining.
📺 – https://t.co/pja3ygVjaB pic.twitter.com/6WKbhxkAjJ
The fifth tournament of the series was won by Andrew Lichtenberger on his 36th birthday. He entered the final table with a fourth stack and while the other players were knocking each other out, LuckyChewy steadily increased his stack without busting.
Andrew took action at the most important moment. In third he eliminated Daniel Lazrus ( > ), and in heads-up he busted Brian Kim ( > ).
🎉🎊 And it sure is a HAPPY BIRTHDAY for @luckychewy!!! 🎉🎊— PokerGO (@PokerGO) September 20, 2023
He takes home one of the best presents you can get with a win in Poker Masters Event #5!
Some of his other gifts include $204,000 and another Poker Masters title.
📺 – Watch a replay of Event #5 here:… pic.twitter.com/9ZcPRMcawO
In the final $10k of the series, Orpen Kisacikoglu entered the final table with the first stack and maintained the lead until the very end.
In the top four, Chino Rheem and Kisacikoglu were in the lead with equal stacks. But Chino first doubled Jack Hardcastle with against , and then put up for the remainder with against Orpena.
In the top three, the Turk had 60% of all chips, and he started heads-up with 88 blinds against six. One hand was enough for him to finally win.
It was a wire-to-wire victory for Orpen Kisacikoglu (@OrpTheTurk) in Poker Masters Event #6!— PokerGO (@PokerGO) September 21, 2023
Kisacikoglu started the day with the chip lead and he never relinquished it, taking down the event for $218,500 and 219 PGT points.
📺 – Event Replay: https://t.co/Ih856WCp13 pic.twitter.com/QqLzAdIlRE
All three $25,000 tournaments ended in victories for poker's elite.
The first field had 44 entries, and Nick Shulman became the champion.
In heads-up, two Nicks did not want to waste time in the depths of 60 blinds and simply doubled the blinds, after which they finished the game in a couple of hands.
The final table of the next tournament, which collected 50 entries, was no less Regal.
Stephen Chidwick entered the final table with a stack of 108 blinds, while everyone else had between 8 and 23 big blinds.
In such comfortable ICM conditions, Chidwick had virtually no chance of losing. At first, he opened literally every hand, then he started shoving and eliminated all his opponents at the final table except Brewer.
The actions of Alex Foxen received special discussion on social networks.
In the top four, when Chidwick had 150 blinds and the rest had less than 20, Alex deliberately spent several time banks to start the next level, and Sam Soverel put in more chips in the big blind.
– Do you approve of such actions? – PokerGO asked on Twitter under the hand.
Almost all professionals unanimously wrote that Alex’s actions are 100% ethical. However, many saw this as a clear demonstration of the imperfection of the rules.
“I have nothing against Foxen,” writes Patrick Leonard, “he did what everybody would and should do, but the tanking stuff is such a joke. Not only is it terrible and very off putting for amateurs playing the game (no amateurs = no game) but PokerGO spends so much on producing amazing content and the tournaments are designed for TV and therefore so should the rules be. Poker is about this kind of stuff, but it shouldn’t be. Final tables should be hands per level to combat this form of “strategy”. Time banks have been an amazing addition to modern poker but used in this manner is such a disaster to the game in every sense. Have a nice Wednesday."
“I agree 100%,” Negreanu supported Patrick. – Another option is to randomly decide how many hands to play five minutes before the end of each level. But this will only work at the final table. And when there are many tables left, the game will take too long,
Another hand of Foxen interested the audience from the technical side.
Chidwick on the button with a stack of 130 blinds shoved 98s, Alex on the SB (he has 12BB and behind Soverel with 9 blinds) quickly folded AJo.
Three left, 12 big blinds, $90,000 pay jump.— PokerGO (@PokerGO) September 23, 2023
Are you folding? pic.twitter.com/zeQEx8cvOc
Folding didn’t help Alex; after a few hands he still had to play AKs against the of the unstoppable Chidwick.
There's no stopping Stephen Chidwick. @WAFoxen runs his ace-king suited into Chidwick's aces and he exits in 3rd place from the Poker Masters Event #8 final table, earning $175,000.— PokerGO (@PokerGO) September 23, 2023
📺 – Watch here on PokerGO: https://t.co/uUpWkqg9jF pic.twitter.com/NJjoOJc3kw
A similar situation arose in tournament #8. The winner was Justin Bonomo, who entered the final table with a stack of 80 blinds, while his closest pursuer Orpen Kisacikoglu had 35.
Bonomo didn’t even have to put his opponents in difficult ICM spots; the cards did everything for him.
He knocked out Chino Rheem with a full house against a lower full house, Kisacikoglu lost his stack with against on the J-high flop, and Justin eliminated Lichtenberger and Chidwick with standard coolers – < and < .
In heads-up, Bonomo lost the lead for a while, but demoralized his opponent with a beautiful call with A-high.
After the first three tournaments, Vladas Tamashauskas never got into the money, but continued to hold the first place on the leaderboard.
To win, Rheem and Chidwick needed to place in the top four of the final $50,000 buy-in tournament, which attracted 42 entries.
As a result, both reached the final table, Rheem was even in the lead, but only Chidwick managed to beat the Lithuanian.
The champion was Jonathan Jaffe, who came to Vegas for the $300,000 tournament.
“I didn’t want to spend two weeks in Vegas,” Jaffe said after the victory. – I flew here specifically for the Super High Roller Bowl, but I also found this tournament interesting. The warm-up was a success.
Looking ahead a little, we note that only the warm-up was a success. In the SHR Bowl itself, Jaffe was eliminated as the very first of the 20 players.
The bubble lasted for about three hours, with short stacks constantly doubling until Carey Katz and didn't get eliminated against Foxen.
Chino Rheem ended the performance by 4-betting all-in with , Jaffe had aces.
The Purple Jacket hunt ends for @ChinoRheem as well, as he is eliminated from the $50,000 Poker Masters finale in 5th place.— PokerGO (@PokerGO) September 27, 2023
With his elimination, Stephen Chidwick or Alex Foxen are nearly assured the Purple Jacket.
📺 – Watch live here: https://t.co/UVS4eWxDm2 pic.twitter.com/YDNhgK2V7q
He took the beat completely calmly. Despite his controversial reputation (which, in fairness, is apparently a thing of the past), Chino has always been distinguished by impeccable behavior at the table, and he takes even the most offensive eliminations with great dignity. Poker old-timers will probably remember his hand against Ivan Demidov in the top 11 of the 2008 World Series Main Event.
“Nice hand,” Chino extended his hand, having lost half his stack in this preflop duel.
– It's okay, it's poker.
– The first time I bad beat someone in the entire tournament.
“I’ve already injured a couple of people, everything’s ok.”
Due to PokerGO's monopoly, the video of this episode is not publicly available.
In the top three, Chidwick and Jaffe came out with almost equal stacks, but in one of the hands the Brit with top pair paid off three streets against a set.
A massive lead now for Jonathan Jaffe in the $50,00 Poker Master finale.— PokerGO (@PokerGO) September 27, 2023
He flops a set and extracts three streets of value from Stephen Chidwick in this big pot.
📺 – Watch live here: https://t.co/UVS4eWxDm2 pic.twitter.com/lPDU6mCj4d
This hand puzzled Mike Matusow:
I know Chidwick is a great player but when he gets check raised on flop big then guy goes 3rd pot turn then 750k river wtf does he put Jaffa on? 6x h gets there he loses to all aces he beats basically 2 napkins but wtf do I know!
Negreanu, as always, came to help Mike in mastering the intricacies of modern poker:
– He may have missed straight draws and other bluffs. For example, Qh5d, 34 with one heart, 45 with one heart, 78dd, and so on.
After this hand, Jonathan's advantage became overwhelming, and he did not waste it.
Stephen Chidwick's second place allowed him to win the overall standings.
The $300,000 Super High Roller Bowl drew just 20 entries, which is a dismal number compared to the Triton series. Moreover, not so few amateurs made it to the PokerGO studio in Las Vegas – Cary Katz, Paul Jaeger, Orpen Kisacikoglu, Talal Shakerchi, and Bill Klein. All five have already left the tournament.
Video of the first two days can be viewed on YouTube.
Last year's winner Daniel Negreanu fell victim to a bad beat and was eliminated in 8th place.
There will be no back-to-back titles for @RealKidPoker in the Super High Roller Bowl.— PokerGO (@PokerGO) September 30, 2023
Negreanu finds an amazing spot to get his money in against @ikepoker but a flopped four ends Negreanu's title defense hopes.
📺 – Watch LIVE Here: https://t.co/hrTOfiEBAe pic.twitter.com/PuGgx7DgyZ
The tournament also ended for day one chip leader Nick Petrangelo.
An ace from space sends Nick Petrangelo to the rail in Super High Roller Bowl VIII.— PokerGO (@PokerGO) September 30, 2023
After holding the chip lead for much of the day, Petrangelo is done in by Stephen Chidwick.
Play continues with six players remaining.
📺 – Watch LIVE Here: https://t.co/hrTOfiEBAe pic.twitter.com/kWPU7smLNA
Six people made it to the final day – exclusively top regs.
The game will continue at 20:00 GMT at blinds of 15,000/25,000.