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Poker Leaderboard: Short Deck

by Card Player News Team |  Published: Nov 18, 2020


Short-deck exploded onto the high-stakes cash game scene five years ago. The game is similar to regular ‘full-deck’ no-limit hold’em in many ways, except that it is played with a 36-card deck, with the deuces through fives of each suit removed. As a result of these cards being omitted, there are a few rule changes, most notably that flushes beat full houses, and that aces can play both as the highest card and also as a five in order to complete a nine-high straight (A-6-7-8-9). Although this game has only been spread for a few years, the ultra-high stakes at which it is played has allowed a number of players to accumulate millions upon millions in earnings playing this increasingly popular format.

No player has won more in short deck tournaments than Jason Koon, who has accumulated more than $8.3 million playing the game. In fact, Koon’s two largest career scores have come in short deck events. The high roller won more than $3.6 million USD as the champion of the $1,000,000 HKD short deck event at the Triton Montenegro series. Less than a year later, he took down the $1,000,000 HKD event at Triton Jeju for another $2.9 million USD. Paul Phua is the next highest-earning player in short deck tournament history, having cashed for more than $7.9 million. Phua twice finished as the runner up in $1,000,000 HKD buy-in short deck events, earning over $2 million USD for each of those second-place finishes.