Breaking Down the Action:
  • The Big Names at the Table
  • Dwan and Salomon Battle for Table Captaincy
  • Who Ended Up in Profit?

The latest series to catch fire on PokerGO can hardly be a surprise. In fact, if the resurgence of High Stakes Poker tells us anything, it is that the classic poker show format is going nowhere. The 8th season of the show has wound to a close in dramatic fashion.

After 14 episodes and some of the world’s best players, High Stakes Poker Season 8 is in the can and there were some very big winners.

The Big Names at the Table

The latest series of High Stakes Poker was – and continues to be on demand – available exclusively on PokerGO and featured some of the best players in the world of poker. From old school big hitters like Phil Hellmuth and Tom Dwan to modern poker greats such as Bryn Kenney and Jake Daniels, the table was packed with talent.

With the blinds set at $200/$400, the no-limit hold’em action had been presented all series by Gabe Kaplan and AJ Benza, who brought their trademark reverie to proceedings with some flair. Indeed, if anyone’s appearance on High Stakes Poker was demonstrative that the format was still solid gold, it was that of the co-hosts.

One of the great traditions of the early years of the show was an ‘awards ceremony’ celebrating some of the quirkier moments of the season. This year, the following awards were handed out, either virtually or in-person by way of some hilarious dialogue from Kaplan and Benza.

  • Dario Minieri Award for Most Creative Costume – Rick Salomon for his Gucci Sexy Sweatshirt and Camouflage
  • Claude Rains Inconspicuous Award – Phil Ivey
  • Anti-Sklansky Award – Tom Dwan
  • Orson Welles Award – Jean-Robert Bellande
  • The Phil Hellmuth Award – Phil Hellmuth

Dwan and Salomon Battle for Table Captaincy

It is often said that the table ‘captain’ is the player who controls the momentum of the game, and sets the tone, from bet sizes to the speed of the action. In the final episode of the show, it was Tom Dwan and Pamela Anderson’s former squeeze Rick Salomon who battled for that element of power in the poker.

Early on, it was Salomon who edged the exchanges, some aggressive raising on flops bearing fruit when top pair beat second pair at showdown.

“Damn it, Rick,” Dwan muttered, a rye smile playing on the lips of the poker phenom. Salomon was savvy enough to know that with it being the final show, giving Dwan a shot at his cards for $500 on top of the $177,100 pot he’d just scooped up was just good logic since he was hardly going to be coming back the next week to be exploited.

Dwan would exact some revenge for that hand, but not on Salomon. John Andress was Durrr’s victim, a rivered flush for Dwan good enough for a pot worth almost a quarter of the million. Andress rebought but would hardly move the dial thereafter, the paralysing influence of losing a big pot evident even at the elite level.

Who Ended Up in Profit?

The last hand of High Stakes Poker’s eighth season saw Rick Salomon get the final laugh, although he wouldn’t end up with the most money in front of him.

There was a whopping $46,600 in the pot as the seven-high flop landed, and Salomon held pocket sevens, giving him top set. Bryn Kenney managed to get away from the pot on the river, but Jake Daniels took the bait, paying off Salomon and giving him a pot worth a massive $196,600.

Salomon let Daniels – and the table – know that he had the winning hand by uttering the three words no-one who has just made a five-figure call ever wants to hear: ‘I’ve got it.’ Kenney’s fold turned out to be a very valuable one, preserving his as the biggest stack in the final shake-up.

Here’s how the players who remained at the table cashed out at the end of the series.

Player Final Chips
Bryn Kenney $806,200
Rick Salomon $745,800
Tom Dwan $721,100
Brandon Steven $287,600
Jake Daniels $248,800
James Bord $220,900
John Andress $204,600
Phil Hellmuth $189,700

For all those currently playing online for real money while anxiously waiting to see if there will another, ninth, series of High Stakes Poker, the clue to renewal lay in A.J. Benza’s final words to camera, “We’ll see you next time on High Stakes Poker.”

We can’t wait.

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Paul Seaton

Paul Seaton has written about poker for many years, travelling the world to report live from such poker events as the World Series of Poker, European Poker Tour and World Poker Tour. As well as reporting live from the felt, Paul was Editor of BLUFF Europe magazine and has written for major poker brands including PokerStars, 888poker and partypoker where he was Head of Media. Paul has interviewed many of the world’s greatest poker players, such as Sam Trickett, Daniel Negreanu, Phil Hellmuth and Bryn Kenney, the current all-time money list leader.

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