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First Ever Short Deck Bracelet Awarded To Alex Epstein At 2019 World Series Of Poker

California Real-Estate Broker And Cash Game Specialist Earns $296,227


When short deck hold’em started to become popular in the high-stakes community, the World Series of Poker was quick to add the new poker variant to the schedule. The first opportunity the players would get came in the $10,000 buy-in event, which wrapped up Tuesday night at the Rio in Las Vegas.

Fittingly, it was a player making his first-ever WSOP cash who came away with the first-ever short deck bracelet.

Oakland, California real-estate broker Alex Epstein had no prior cashes at the summer series, but that didn’t stop him from topping a field of 114 players to earn his first bracelet and the $296,277 first-place prize.

The 28-year-old Epstein, who is also a pot-limit Omaha cash game specialist, made the most of his opportunity, coming into the final table second in chips behind top poker pro Chance Kornuth (4th).

“Walking to the Rio today, I was thinking that I just wanted to enjoy the experience,” Epstein said to WSOP reporters. “I knew that the other good players at the final table were shorter stacks so I had a very good chance if things broke my way.”

Other notables at the final table included Thai Ha (2nd), Anson Tsang (3rd), and Andrew Robl (7th). Bill Perkins (17th), Kane Kalas (15th), Nikolai Yakovenko (14th), Alex Foxen (12th), Justin Bonomo (11th), and Galen Hall (9th) also made the money.

Short deck hold’em is simply no-limit hold’em played with a 36-card deck, where the twos, threes, fours, and fives have been removed. Aces can be played as fives, and some of the traditional hand rankings are skewed because flushes are now mathematically more difficult to make than full houses, and trips are made less frequently than straights. Flushes beat full houses, but the rules vary on whether or not trips beat straights.

Epstein also received 600 Card Player Player of the Year points for his win. The POY is sponsored by Global Poker.

Here is a look at the final table results.

Place Player Payout POY Points
1 Alex Epstein $296,227 600
2 Thai Ha $183,081 500
3 Anson Tsang $130,482 400
4 Chance Kornuth $93,593 300
5 Rene Van Krevelen $67,566 250
6 Yong Wang $49,095 200
7 Andrew Robl $35,907 150

For more coverage from the summer series, check out the 2019 WSOP landing page, complete with a full schedule, results, news, player interviews, and event recaps.