Poker Masters: Brandon Adams Schools Doug Polk, Steffen Sontheimer Makes Third Final Table to Lead ‘Purple Jacket’ Race

4 min read

Harvard professor Brandon Adams quickly defeated YouTube personality Doug Polk heads-up for the fourth and final $50,000 buy-in event at the inaugural Poker Masters at the Aria in Las Vegas. It was a climactic close to a weekend of high-roller action that on Saturday saw old-school pro Erik Seidel battle valiantly but unsuccessfully against someone a generation his junior, Bryn Kenney, currently having one of the best 2017s in poker.

Brandon Adams Poker Masters
Brandon Adams at the Poker Masters, where the former Harvard professor, fantasy sports analyst, and author of four books beat Doug Polk heads-up for his biggest career score at $819,000. (Image: Poker Central)

Of the players who shined this weekend, in the race for the Purple Jacket, Kenney is the only one who’s close to Steffen Sontheimer, an up-and-coming German who has been a force to contend so far in every tournament of the Poker Masters.

In the one event where Sontheimer didn’t finish in the money, Kenney was able to stay close on the Purple Jacket leaderboard by winning an epic heads-up battle that featured a dozen double-ups before he snuffed out Seidel’s relentless threats.

Poker Masters Event #3 Final Table Results
32 players, 48 entries

1 Bryn Kenney (United States) $960,000
2 Erik Seidel (United States) $576,000
3 Jake Schindler (United States) $312,000
4 Dan Smith (United States) $192,000
5 Doug Polk (United States) $144,000
6 Cary Katz (United States) $120,000
7 Sergio Aido (Spain) $96,000

The last event of the series, a $100,000 freezeout with no rebuys or re-entries, starts on Monday at 2 pm PT.

Monster Mashup

Doug Polk is supposed to be the heads-up specialist, but Brandon Adams, a former Harvard professor, taught him a lesson in aggression to win $819,000.

With three players remaining, Adams held a big chip lead when he picked up A♥K♦ on the button. He raised to 90,000. And wouldn’t you know it, Polk, in the small blind, woke up with A♦A♣, and three-bet to 260,000.

Peters, the smallest stack with 585,000, then looked down to see 8♣8♦, a relative monster in three-way play, and made the standard decision to shove all-in. With the action back on Adams, he opted for a five-bet to put Polk all-in. He snap-called with his aces.

Polk would more than double up when the board ran out safely Q♥7♠J♣7♣Q♠, moving Polk into the chip lead to start heads-up play. But he couldn’t hold that lead very long.

Adams took a page out of Polk’s Upswing Poker playbook, using aggressive three-bets and value bluffs to get Polk off the best hand and win key pots.

Poker Masters Event #4 Final Table Results
30 players, 39 entries

1 Brandon Adams (United States) $819,000
2 Doug Polk (United States) $468,000
3 David Peters (United States) $273,000
4 Justin Bonomo (United States) $175,500
5 Steffen Sontheimer (Germany) $117,000
6 Jake Schindler (United States) $97,500

The tournament ended with Polk pushing all-in on a flush draw, Adams calling with a straight and a flush draw, the flush getting there on the turn, and Adams winning with a higher flush.

What does an $819,000 winner do to celebrate?

“I will probably go to a Japanese restaurant, have a nice bottle of Sake, and go to bed,” Adams told PokerGO announcer Maria Ho.

‘Best Player in the Game’ Primed for Purple

Going into the final event, German Steffen Sontheimer has won the most money, and is well-positioned to win the ultimate Poker Masters prize, the Purple Jacket.

His 5th place finish on Sunday was his third payday in four series events. And it comes as no surprise to fellow German poker sensation Fedor Holz (who took 2nd to Sontheimer in Event #2, for $550,000):

“Predicting the breakout year of @RunGo0seRun,” he tweeted, introducing many poker players to Sontheimer’s Twitter ID. “Best player in the game right now.”

Sontheimer has cashed so far for $1,221,000, taking a fourth place, a first place, and a fifth place. In Event #3, the tournament he didn’t cash, he was the bubble boy in 8th place when his pocket 10s lost to Ace-Queen.

But despite the German’s dominance, there are players right behind him. Closest is current GPI Player of the Year leader Bryn Kenney. But at least 10 more are easily in contention to win the coveted Purple Jacket with a top finish in Event #5, where the winner is likely to receive more than $1 million.

Poker Masters Money Leaders Through Four Events

1 Steffen Sontheimer (Germany) $1,221,000
2 Bryn Kenney (United States) $1,085,000
3 Nick Schulman (United States) $918,000
4 Brandon Adams (United States) $819,000
5 Doug Polk (United States) $612,000
6 Erik Seidel (United States) $576,000
7 Matt Hyman (United States) $561,000
8 Fedor Holz (Germany) $550,000
9 Jake Schindler (United States) $409,500
10 Stefan Schillhabel (Germany) $306,000

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