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Ryan Hoenig Rides 3 Back-to-Back Wins into WPT SHRPS Championship

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Imagine, for a moment, the perfect poker trip. It probably includes winning a tournament, maybe two. Add in a few more deep runs, maybe another final table. You’d definitely get your money’s worth, playing poker all day and all night.

Even in the wildest of poker dreams, it’d be hard to match the reality of what Ryan Hoenig pulled off this month at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood. During the prelims leading up to the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown Championship, Hoenig rattled off five consecutive nights in which he finished the first two nights as the runner-up and the next three as a champion. On top of that, Hoenig had already made a pair of final tables a few days prior.

The 30-year-old from Fort Collins was still having a tough time wrapping his head around it a week later on break during the $3,500 Championship event of the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown, as he hoped the hot streak could carry on for at least a few more days.

“Going heads-up five nights in a row is pretty absurd,” said Hoenig. “What’s crazy is that I had an opportunity to go four in a row and I just played poorly on the bubble. [Even after a run like that], I am sometimes too hard on myself in those moments, overthinking like ‘What could I have done?’ But I love playing, and when you’re running deep it obviously makes it even better. Yeah, the days were long but when you’re zoned in, running well like there’s nothing better. And yeah, I’d say I ran super hot.”

Hoenig has been staying just off property, making a short trip over to Hard Rock each day to play

“When I’m playing my best I’m just not self-conscious about what other players at the table are thinking about what I’m doing. I’ll show down weird hands, play hands weird because I kind of just like that. I love the mixed Games in general. They feel like, at least for me, uncharted territory I can just kind of explore and see what you find out.

Another wild aspect of such a run is that including his seven cashed thus far in the festival, he has less than 30 results on his Hendon Mob profile and only two from earlier than June 2022. Looking deeper into those results, it’s clear that while Hoenig can mix it up in No Limit Hold’em – he has cashes in the WSOP Main Event cash and the 2023 WPT Prime Championship – Hoenig prefers mixed game tournaments, which SHRPS has in droves.

 “I’m obsessed with Omaha Hi-Lo, so anywhere where there’s Hi-Lo, I’m there,” said Hoenig. “This is my first year actually traveling a good amount, and my first big non-Vegas trip. I’ve been here for three weeks, and yeah, it’s been a good run. Can’t say I could hope for much better.”

Four of the seven final tables Hoenig made during this run were in Omaha variants, including one of his wins and both of his second-place finishes. Hoenig also won a Limit Deuce-to-Seven Triple Draw event and a Badugi tournament.

And while the field sizes for the mixed events during SHRPS are not as big as the No Limit Hold’em tournaments with big guarantees, the fields Hoenig cut through weren’t two- or three-table affairs. And even the tournament with the smallest field, Badugi, was chock full of players who’ve made numerous major final tables including Ari Engel, Roland Israelashvili and Steven Wolansky, among many others.

Live tournaments in general are a relatively new addition to Hoenig’ poker pursuits. When Hoenig isn’t traveling he plays a healthy schedule of cash Games back in Colorado. Online tournaments were what inspired Hoenig to become a professional poker player, as he was fortunate enough to get backed into playing full time. Eventually, the arrangement no longer made financial sense for him.

“It was definitely a grind, and I was backed early on,” said Hoenig. “My first couple years I was splitting my profits 50/50, and that only takes you so far.

Hoenig’s tournament career took a major leap in 2023, when he finished second in the $10,000 Pot Limit Omaha Hi-Lo Championship at the WSOP for $369,972 – far and away his biggest result to date. He’s excited about an ambitious schedule for the coming summer, but for now Hoenig is focused squarely on making a run in the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown Championship.

Logistically, Hoenig’s only got one real problem to worry about after this tournament, after winning all of so much in Hollywood – whether or not all of his trophies are going to fit in his suitcase when he has to leave.

“I have room right now, but I’m going for No. 4,” Hoenig said. “And that might be the limit. But I think I have room right now. [It’s a good problem], like, ‘Do I really want another one, or is second’s just fine?’ I mean, if I get second in [this one], I’ll take it.”

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