Inside the $25M of Action on High Stakes Poker Season 8

Season 8 of High Stakes Poker featured nearly $25 million in pots and almost 200 hands. (PokerGo photo)

It has only been a week since Season 8 of High Stakes Poker wrapped up and poker fans can only wait for an announcement about Season 9 to quench their thirst for more six-figure pots and a healthy dose of some of the biggest ballers in the game. 

A look at some of the statistics from Season 8 makes a few things abundantly clear. First, Tom Dwan was undoubtedly the Season 8 Most Valuable Player and second, Rick Salomon didn’t think the stakes on High Stakes Poker were big enough. In the 14 episodes that made up Season 8, there were 193 total hands and the pots totaled $24,875,700.

Tom Dwan Came To Play

Anybody who tuned into HSP this past season got a heavy dose of Dwan as the former online poker prodigy won 31 pots outright and then chopped two more. All told, Dwan raked in pots totaling $6,139,900. The second most frequent winner was Salomon with 19 pots won for $3,511,100. 

Phil Ivey Shows Up – Barely

Fans hoping to see Phil Ivey make a triumphant return to High Stakes Poker probably wound up feeling a little bit disappointed. There were only eight pots that Ivey entered that made it to air and he won only three of those with the largest being a $117,600 pot on Episode 9.

Phil Hellmuth Gives Fans One Super Memorable Moment

Nobody in poker loves being on TV more than Phil Hellmuth and there was no way the Poker Brat was going to miss the chance to be a feature on one of poker’s most iconic shows. Hellmuth found himself in 15 pots and managed to win six of them. The biggest being a a $144,100 pot in Episode 13 where he turned a flush against James Bord and Jake Daniels. The second biggest pot that Hellmuth won was easily the most talked about hand of the season. After flopping the nut straight against the second nut straight of Polk, Hellmuth shoved his $97,200 stack into the middle to push the pot to $203,000. Polk famously laid down his hand, earning the “best laydown ever” title from commentator Gabe Kaplan.

You Like Big Pots and You Can Not Lie

One of the things that makes High Stakes Poker must-see TV is the huge pots that highlight each season. This season there were six pots worth at least a half-million dollars. Kenney won two outright and chopped another one with Nick Petrangelo. There wasn’t a single pot that hit seven figures, but Dwan destroyed Jean-Robert Bellande and Lynne Ji by scooping a $985,000 pot in Episode 5 after the players agreed to run it three times.

READ: Tom Dwan, Bryn Kenney Star in Biggest Pots of High Stakes Poker S8

Smallest Pots of the season

There was, of course, the other end of the spectrum. There were 14 hands shown where the pot size was under $10,000 and five of those actually fell under $5,000. The honor of smallest pot won this season went to Kenney. Kenney won a battle of the blinds with Rick Salomon to score a $3,400 pot – $1,800 of which was his own money.

Rick Salomon Raises the Stakes A Lot

For mere mortals, the stakes on High Stakes Poker are almost impossible to imagine. There were 49 hands of $200/$400 (with a $400 big blind ante) and 144 hands of $400/$800 ($800 BBA). That just wasn’t big enough for Salomon though. He put a straddle on 21 times and then had the guts to double stradded an additional six times. He wasn’t done there though. Late in Episode 1, Salomon decided to skip the $3,200 double straddle after Bryn Kenney put out a $1,600 straddle and went straight to a $5,000 straddle.

In all, there were 72 straddles plus another 11 double straddles (including Salomon’s $5,000 gambit). Dwan had the second most straddles at 13. Of the 20 players who made up the Season 8 cast, 15 straddled at least once.