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Jan 09, 2015

PokerStars Shark Cage Ends With Some Highlights, Criticism and a $1m Winner

By RTR Dennis

Shark Cage Poker Stars Rake The Rake

SharkCage PokerStars RakeTheRake

As many of you may be aware, PokerStars tried out a new TV show this past year called Shark Cage. Nobody will mistake this show for High Stakes Poker and it definitely had a good share of detractors. Specifically, forum posters questioned the $1 million winner-take-all prize and 'shark cage' aspect, where anybody who got bluffed on the river, or was caught bluffing, was sent to the cage for an orbit. But like it or hate it, Shark Cage ended with a flourish when Griffin Benger collected a $1 million payout. Benger's massive prize isn't the only highlight from Shark Cage, as we'll discuss below.

Miss Finland bluffs Ronnie Bardah

As a former Miss Finland, Sara Chafak turns plenty of heads with her beauty. And she certainly had Ronnie Bardah's full attention during a big hand where she went all-in on a board of Qs-5s-4c-4d-6h, then slid out the "Bluff Card." Bardah was looking pretty good at this point with trips 4's, but certain thoughts had to be going through his head. Does she have a flush? A boat maybe? Is there a slim chance she's interested in me? Whatever the case may be, the flustered Bardah was obviously off his game against the 2012 Miss Finland and folded his trips....only to find out that Chafak merely had ace-high. This sent the embarrassed WSOP champion to the shark cage for an orbit.

The final table was stacked

Sure, it wasn't Phil Ivey, Doyle Brunson, Phil Hellmuth and Antonio Esfandiari battling each other on HSP. But there was certainly no shortage of talent at the Shark Cage final table, with stud players like Ole Schemion, Philip Gruissem, Benger and 2-time EPT champion Victoria Coren Mitchell all battling for the $1 million. There were also some interesting and engaging personalities (who could still play poker) like billionaire Bill Perkins, ex-rugby star Mike Tindall and former HSP host Kara Scott at the table. That said, the two-part finale was fun to watch from both a poker and entertainment perspective.

Benger vs. Tindall for the heads-up title

For anybody who's tired of seeing pro vs. pro for the title, it was refreshing to see online poker legend Griffin Benger versus Tindall heads-up. The latter was decidedly at a skill disadvantage and he knew it. But it was still exciting to see Tindall go all-in several hands in a row and keep winning. It was only when Benger was dealt pocket aces that he finally finished off the former English rugby captain and captured the million-dollar payout.

Will Shark Cage be back?

Despite the aforementioned high points that we discussed, it's anybody's guess as to what the future of Shark Cage will be. Many are already calling for The Big Game to come back. But perhaps with some tweaks based on fan feedback, Stars could bring back a new-and-improved version of Shark Cage.