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Poker Leaderboard: Short Deck Tournament Earnings

by Card Player News Team |  Published: Jun 29, 2022


Short deck has carved out a key role on the high-stakes tournament circuit in recent years, having first exploded in popularity in big Asian cash games midway through the 2010s.

The game is similar to the standard no-limit hold’em, but is played with just 36 cards instead of 52. The deuces through fives of each suit are removed from the deck, and as a result, there are a few notable rule changes, including flushes beating full houses, and aces playing as both the highest card and as a five in order to complete a nine-high straight (A-6-7-8-9).

Short deck made its debut at the World Series of Poker back in 2019, with another bracelet set to be awarded in the format this summer. The game is most often spread for high stakes at Triton Series festivals, like the one that wrapped up in Madrid shortly before this issue went to press. Six of the 13 events offered there were short deck tournaments, with more than $18.7 million paid out in those contests.

The winner of the largest buy-in short deck event (€150,000) at that series was Jason Koon, who is the all-time tournament earnings leader of the game with more than $11.3 million across 15 cashes. Three out of Koon’s top four tournament scores have come in the format, including a $3.6 million win in the 2018 Triton Montenegro $1 million HKD (~$127,000 USD) buy-in event. He also took down the 2019 Triton Jeju event at the same price point for a whopping $2.9 million. His most recent win in Madrid saw him take home over $1.8 million.

Paul Phua sits in second place on this leaderboard, thanks in large part to a pair of huge runner-up showings, each for paydays of more than $2 million. The Triton co-founder has accumulated more than $10.1 million in earnings playing short deck, with 17 in-the-money finishes under his belt since first cashing in 2018.

Rounding out the top three on this list is 10-time WSOP bracelet winner and living legend of the game Phil Ivey. He has accumulated more than $8.8 million in short deck scores, or roughly a quarter of his total tournament winnings of more than $35 million. He has three seven-figure scores playing the game, including a win at the Triton Poker Cyprus series in April of this year for just shy of $1.2 million. ♠

Rank Player Earnings
1 Jason Koon $11,312,935
2 Paul Phua $10,140,567
3 Phil Ivey $8,823,567
4 Justin Bonomo $7,990,529
5 Gabe Patgorski $7,018,952
6 Xuan Tan $6,588,981
7 Rui Cao $6,510,054
8 Cary Katz $6,044,494
9 Timofey Kuznetsov $5,806,150
10 Mikita Badziakouski $5,279,130