If you want to avoid the Coronavirus (COVID-19), then you could choose worse places than Russia to set up a tent. The Eastern European powerhouse has had zero cases of COVID-19, and for the next week, that’s where partypoker is setting up camp.
It began as a chat between good friends desperate for a spot of snowboarding and poker and ended with a new brand for partypoker and an opening event that contained a healthy 42-entrants.
The inaugural partypoker MILLIONS Super High Roller Series in Sochi, Russia opened with a $25,000 Short-Deck event, a frenzied format that can turn into a pantomime that the fans lap up.
Six players received a paycheck.
Five curtseyed before the final curtain dropped.
Let’s check out the nutshell action.
The Nutshell Action
Final Table Seat Draw
Seat 1: Wai Leong Chan – 3,480,000
Seat 2: Cary Katz – 805,000
Seat 3: John Cynn – 940,000
Seat 4: Stephen Chidwick – 1,840,000
Seat 5: Aaron Van Blarcum – 2,725,000
Seat 6: Jiang Xia He – 2,810,000
John Cynn began the final table with the second shortest stack in the room, a fact that didn’t last long after he doubled through Zia He Jiang after AcTc hit a straight against the dominating AsJs.
Next to double was the shortest stack in the room, after Cary Katz and his pocket queens out flopped, turned and rivered the AKo of Aaron Van Blarcum.
The net result?
Cary Katz still had the shortest stack in the room.
He was next to double when his AcJs beat the pocket queens of Van Blarcum after rivering a short-deck straight, and then our first competitor limped out of the competition.
Stephen Chidwick has begun 2020 as well as any of his peers, making four final tables, including a victory at the Australian Poker Open, and his run in this one ended in another impressive sixth place.
Chidwick got it in with pocket queens, only for Van Blarcum to send him to the ringmaster enquiring on the whereabouts of the cash desk when AKo gave them a good spanking, after flopping an ace.
Katz then doubled through Cynn when A9o beat pocket kings, and He also doubled for the second time when AQo beat the JcTc of Van Blarcum before we lost our second player.
Wai Leong Chan is one of the best in the business and came into this one in good form after winning back-to-back $25,000 events at partypoker MILLIONS World in the Bahamas. Had he won the following pot, he would have been in fantastic shape to add another tick in the win column – but he didn’t.
Chan got it in good with AK v the KJo of He in a four-million chip pot only for He to river a full-house to beat Chan’s straight, sending him to the rail, and He to the summit of this competition with four players remaining.
Katz went the way of Chan shortly after.
He moved all-in with KQo, and Katz called for his tournament life holding pocket jacks. A king on the flop, and another on the river for good measure, sent the Poker Central founder for an earlier than planned shower.
Within a minute, the cash desk teller went from having nothing to do to asking for his buddy to put away his pet beetles and help.
Van Blarcum moved all-in holding JTo, and He made the covering call with KTs and promptly flopped a flush to send the impressive Van Blarcum to his hotel room with another remarkable result.
Not much to write home about during the heads-up play.
Cynn, who only had 550,000 chips compared to He’s multi-millions, jammed it in with K9s, and He called with JsTc. Befitting to a competition that He eventually dominated from five players in, he would win with a Royal Flush.
It’s He’s second win of his career, in only his fifth cash, all coming in 2019, so it’s safe to say that playing live tournaments is a new thing for the man. His previous win was equally impressive, winning a 2,472 entrant $1,100 No-Limit Hold ’em event at the Wynn Summer Classic for $332,037.
Here are the ITM results.
- Xia He Jiang – $378,000
- John Cynn – $252,000
- Aaron Van Blarcum – $168,000
- Cary Katz – $105,000
- Wai Leong Chan – $84,000
- Stephen Chidwick – $63,300