Poker has brought many stories of players who walked in and immediately topped the field without getting deep into the technicalities of the game. Today was another such day with Nick Schulman taking home the title in the HKD 100,000 Short Deck Ante-Only Event at 2018 Triton Super High Roller Series Jeju. Schulman, who had no previous experience with the newly trending game, turned his debut into a winning campaign. He outlasted a field of 61 entries to claim the HKD 2,135,000 first-place prize (more than $272,000).
Accomplished in no-limit hold'em as well as in various mixed games, Schulman might be considered a natural talent to any card game he decides to pick up. He said that the best way to describe short deck might be looking at it as a mix of no-limit hold'em and PLO. So he took a shot.
"I really don't know what I'm doing which is fun," he told PokerNews yesterday.
One day later, Schulman is still yet to be defeated in short deck. The game brings a lot of high-variance spots and a ton of chip-swings and Schulman ended up on the right side in all of the key moments throughout the final day of the HK$100k event. He was getting tremendous runouts and everything just seemed to click for him today.
HK$100k Short Deck Ante-Only Results:
|Place||Player||Country||Prize (HKD)||Prize (USD)|
|1st||Nick Schulman||United States||2,135,000||$272,084|
|3rd||Chow Hing Yaung||Malaysia||874,801||$111,484|
|4th||Ben Lamb||United States||619,272||$78,920|
|5th||Foo Sze Ming||Malaysia||466,223||$59,415|
|6th||Kim Chin Wei||Malaysia||371,917||$47,403|
"I still don't know how to play the game but every time when you play a lot of all ins and win every single one, that's the way to do it," Schulman said.
He came back for the final day with only the 10th biggest stack. And when he got his chips into the middle in a hand against Ivan Leow, he didn't look to be the guy who would eventually make for the storyline. Schulman ran with queen-nine into ace-queen and he was sent almost out of the door, drawing for just two-outer with the last card to come. That equalled just a 7% chance for his survival but Schulman was able to bink the nine and doubled up. The script was written.
Schulman navigated to the eight-handed final table, drawing a seat to Ben Lamb's left. Lamb was pacing the field at the time, mainly thanks to busting Wai Kin Yong in ninth place in a huge pot. Lamb then eliminated Tom Chio on the bubble and it looked that he would be the player to make it to the summit.
Schulman, however, cracked Lamb's kings with ace-queen in a preflop contest to take over the chip lead. While Schulman was certainly the player who had the fortune on his side, he was also making some excellent plays. Schulman seemed to be mixing up his strategy, trying to trap his opponents with a slowplay several times while on other occasions, he was simply blasting.
Five-handed, Lamb and Schulman tangled in what may be deemed the highlight-hand of the tournament. It started as a limped pot and Lamb fired three barrels with pocket tens on a jack-high board which saw an eight pair the board on the river. A flush draw from the flop also got there and Schulman, who held pocket kings, was put into a very tough spot. He tanked for over three minutes and then completed a remarkable call down, picking off Lamb's gutsy bluff.
"He's very capable, he's very aggressive. I decided to look him up. I beat bluffs. I know he's the kind of player who can do that with the sort of medium strength hands of which kings can beat," Schulman described his thought process during the hand.
While praised for his aggressive approach, Lamb couldn't squeeze out more than a fourth-place finish. He fell courtesy of Schulman, who previously tackled Foo Sze Ming in fifth. The two consecutive knockouts helped Schulman amass two-thirds of all chips in play.
Schulman was virtually unstoppable. And when it looked that the things might turn around, the river card proved to be a powerful tool for him. It was best demonstrated when Schulman peeled aces and earned a sweet action from Chow Hing Yaung who three-bet shoved with jack-ten. While two tens on the flop pushed Chow close to a double, the ace of spades on the river dusted his hopes.
So the heads-up match was set up but it was heavily one-sided with Schulman boasting an overwhelming 9-1 chip lead over Kenneth Kee. However, Kee seemed to be a very consistent player throughout the tournament. It was as if he wasn't even at the table at times, but he managed to steadily cruise through the final battle without major swings.
Kee got the first step to bounce back as he doubled up. But it wasn't enough. Schulman had it on lock when he found himself on the sharp side of a cooler, having flopped top set versus top two. Kee got it in practically drawing dead and Schulman could celebrate before the river was even turned up.
So that was the epic run of the short deck first-timer Nick Schulman who walked away with a big chunk of money. There are four more tournaments coming up at 2018 Triton Super High Roller Series and Schulman will surely be back in action in some of them. He said he was still a little jet-lagged so he might take a break tonight but he didn't completely rule out his appearance in the HKD 500,000 Short Deck Ante-Only which kicked off today afternoon. Switch to PokerNews coverage of that event to find out whether Schulman shows up to try to go for a back-to-back win.