The game of poker in Asia is changing. Singapore’s Kenneth Kee defeated college student loan shark Cary Katz to win almost $2.9 million in the Triton Super High Roller Series Short-Deck Ante-Only HKD $1 million ($127,404 USD) tournament in Jeju, South Korea.
Short-deck poker is becoming the game of choice among the high rollers in Asian poker rooms. Pros such as Tom Dwan and Phil Ivey are two of the new game’s most vocal advocates, promoting the game around the poker community.
Most Triton Super High Roller Series events feature short-deck poker, also referred to as six-plus poker. The game is mostly the same as Texas hold’em except a few major changes.
Short-deck poker plays with a 36-card deck with the 2-5 cards eliminated. The ace still plays as a high and low card, with A6789 and AKQJ10 being straights.
Since it is more difficult to hit a flush than a full house in short-deck and three-of-a-kind hits less often than a straight, the hand rankings in short-deck are a bit different than Texas hold’em.
Short-Deck Poker Hand Rankings (in order)
Kee Dumps Katz
In the HKD $1 million short-deck event at the Triton series, there were no blinds in play, only antes. Kenneth Kee, who had just $170,000 in previous tournament winnings, came out victorious after defeating Poker Central founder Cary “El Hefe” Katz in a quick heads-up match.
Kee held a 4-1 advantage after Asian high roller Richard Yong was eliminated in 3rd place ($1,162,025) and never came close to squandering that lead.
Katz, who now has over $17 million in lifetime tournament winnings, received $1,773,617 for his efforts but was unable to win his third high roller tournament of the year. He’s won $25,000 Aria and $100,000 PokerStars PCA events in 2018.
Kee, on the other hand, recorded just his third career tournament cash. Last week, he finished 2nd in an HKD $100,000 short-deck ante event in the same series for $168,072 (USD). His only other cash was in 2011 for $1,961 in a $250 buy-in tournament at the Leisure World Poker Series.
HKD $1 Million Short-Deck Ante-Only Final Table Results
1 Kenneth Kee (Singapore) $2,866,838
2 Cary Katz (USA) $1,773,617
3 Richard Yong (Malaysia) $1,162,025
4 Peter Jetten (Canada) $802,715
5 Mikita Badziakouski (Belarus) $588,657
6 Ivan Leow (Malaysia) $451,049
$5.3 Million Still Up for Grabs in Jeju
The Triton Super High Roller Series is scheduled to wrap up on Wednesday with the conclusion of the HKD $2 million Main Event, a no-limit hold’em tournament using a more standard 52-card deck. The winner will receive HKD $41,250,000 ($5,255,456 USD).
Mikita Badzikouski, Sergia Aido, Sam Greenwood, Jason Koon, Chan Wai Leong, Richard Yong, Peter Jetten, and Ivan Leow, all made the final table and will come back on Wednesday to play for nearly $5.3 million.
The paydays alone seem to be enough to keep these Triton Super High Roller events on the poker community radar, especially when they’re attracting some of the biggest names to buy in.