Phil Hellmuth And Doug Polk Headline The King Of The Hill Poker Tournament in New York

July 27, 2017
Phil Hellmuth And Doug Polk Headline The King Of The Hill Poker Tournament in New York


On August 22 and 23, Poker Night in America is bringing another major streaming event to Schenectady’s Rivers Casino & Resort. The King of the Hill poker tournament will feature four top poker superstars in a winner-take-all heads-up poker collision.

The tournament is a $50,000 buy-in freezeout. The first night of action will feature two semifinal matches.

The winners of those matches will face off the following evening. The final winner gets the whole pot – a $200,000 prize for two nights of work.

The four combatants are no strangers to big games

Poker Night in America has compiled a murderer’s row of participants for this particular event. The four have $38 million dollars in tournament winnings to their names. They are:

  • Phil Hellmuth – the 1989 World Champion is one of the most recognizable faces in poker and is the all-time leader in World Series of Poker bracelets. He has over $21 million in live tournament winnings and is a member of the Poker Hall of Fame. He also won the National Heads-Up Poker Challenge in 2005.
  • Doug Polk – the 28-year-old poker wizard has three WSOP bracelets and nearly $4 million in winnings. Under his alias WGCRider, he is one of the best online heads-up no-limit hold’em players and is owner and founder of, a training site for poker players looking to make the leap.
  • Daniel Cates – he is one of the top heads-up hold’em players in the world, with live tournament winnings of more than $3 million and online cash game winnings over $11 million. He also participated (or is participating) in the Durrrr Challenge against noted heads-up player Tom Dwan, and after 20,000 hands, is up $1.2 million over Dwan.
  • Frank Kassela – also known as “Lights Out,” this poker pro has three WSOP bracelets and over $3 million in live tournament winnings to his name. His most recent win was in the Deuce-to-Seven Lowball Draw. None of his three bracelets are from the same type of poker – his versatility and lethality should be on full display in August.

How to watch PNIA King of the Hill?

Poker Night in America will be broadcasting the event on its Twitch channel.  The broadcast will be on a thirty-minute delay, similar to the most recent WSOP broadcast so that PNIA can show the players’ hole cards throughout the matches.

Here is the schedule (all times ET):

Date Event Play Begins Broadcast Begins
August 22nd, 2017 Round 1 3:00 p.m. 3:30 p.m.
August 22nd, 2017 Round 2 8:00 p.m. 8:30 p.m.
August 23rd, 2017 Final 5:00 p.m. 5:30 p.m.

Poker Night in America has not released the initial pairings or further details about the format yet, but will certainly reveal more about the event in the coming days.

The following two evenings will also feature a 7-handed, invite-only cash game. The streams for that game will start each day at 3:30 p.m. ET. There is no word on the participants for that game, but they will certainly be familiar faces to poker fans.

New casino trying to make its mark

The host casino, Rivers Casino & Resort Schenectady, is hoping that this tournament will increase the property’s profile. Though Poker Night in America has broadcast from other Rivers casino properties in the past, this event will be the first time at this resort.

Indeed, this tournament is a big deal for a casino that only opened its doors in February. In fact, the hotel opened mere days ago.

Everything is very new for this casino, and there are some growing pains that the casino is trying to weather. Since Schenectady is a smaller town, media outlets report every hiccup and bump on the road the new property encounters.

For instance, the casino’s revenues are always in the news, and any down weeks appear as harbingers of doom. A fist fight inside the casino between two patrons is an Internet-searchable event and the ebb and flow of employee turnover are on display.

None of these events necessarily mean anything for a nascent business, even with millions of dollars at stake.

Rivers Casino & Resort Schenectady, for its part, is trying to do things right, and is trying to make poker a priority. Within three months of opening, the property’s poker room had hosted the inaugural Capital Region Classic.

The tournament drew 1,095 players and was a five-day event. 137 competitors split a $272,655 prize pool, and the winner, Robert Saladin, took home just over $45,000 for his efforts.

This tournament, along with the upcoming King of the Hill, might help the casino put its stamp on the region. The presence of “Poker Brat” Hellmuth raises the profile of any gambling facility, to be sure. Hopefully, the casino staff members will remember to take plenty of pictures and get good quotes from the master of berating others at the table.

At any rate, you can catch the action on Poker Night in America this coming August.

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