Nikita Badziakouski Wins Again as Short Deck Poker Makes WSOPE Appearance

October 26th, 2018 | by Brian Corlisse

Short deck poker has made the headlines again as Belarusian Nikita Badziakouski took down big money event at the World Series of Poker Europe (WSOPE) this week.

Nikita Badziakouski

Nikita Badziakouski (pictured right) at the Triton Super High Roller Series in South Korea has won another short deck poker event. (Image: YouTube/Triton Poker)

Continuing a run that’s seem him win five events in 2018 and take his live earnings to $19.1 million, Badziakouski (also spelled Bodyakovskiy) has won again in the Czech Republic.

Although it wasn’t listed as a bracelet event for the second WSOPE at King’s Casino, the short deck variant was added by owner Leon Tsoukernik.

Short Deck Poker Crashes WSOPE Party

A fan of the high-octane variant himself, Tsoukernik wanted to give the attending high rollers some extra excitement during their trip. With those in attendance regularly million-dollar buy-in cash games,  the entry fee was set at €25,000/$28,500.

Despite attracting just nine players, including businessman Paul Phua, the prizepool still topped $410,000. With six re-entries and the chips flying, Badziakouski used his status as one of the only full-time poker pros in action to his advantage.

Eventually, after finding himself heads-up with 2018 WPT Korea High Roller champion Seng Leow, Badziakouski edged out his opponent and take home another $243,789 in prize money. For Leow, the second-place finish was worth $162,526, but for the industry as a whole the event was another example of short deck poker’s increasing popularity.

New Variant Finds Its Mark

Over the last few years, online operators have been fighting to gain an edge by coming up with new variants. Fast-fold games such as PokerStars’ Zoom have become popular, but such innovations haven’t crossed over to the live arena due to logistical restrictions.

However, short deck poker has managed to traverse both mediums. Starting out life in Macau’s secretive high stakes games under the name Six Plus Hold’em, the format is now being adopted by live and online operators around the world.

The Triton Poker Series, co-founded by Phua, regularly runs short deck tournaments and cash games. On the internet, the Winning Poker Network recently introduced its own take on the variant, while rumors suggest PokerStars is in the process of launching short deck games.

With Badziakouski’s recent run proving that skill can prevail under a new set of rules, the popularity of short deck poker is likely to find a home at more events as we move into 2019.


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