Olivier Busquet claims Poker Night in America’s “King of the Hill” title from Phil Hellmuth. The Bay 101 Shooting Star is conspicuously absent from the new WPT season schedule. Jason Koon signs on with PartyPoker. And more.

Game of Hills Season Two

The second instalment of Poker Night in America’s “King of the Hill” took place this weekend at the Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The new show consists of four players engaged in a heads-up elimination format, with each pairing being resolved via best two of three heads-up sit-and-goes.

The Poker Brat himself, Phil Hellmuth, took the first title after putting some of his self-described “white magic” (that is, live reads and psychological manipulation) on “Jungleman” Dan Cates. Hellmuth didn’t even make it far enough to defend his title directly against Busquet, however, falling in the initial round to Parker Talbot. Busquet went 2-0 against Shaun Deeb in his first round match, then again against Talbot to take the title.

Busquet will defend his title on October 25 and 26, against a field consisting of Scott Blumstein, Dan Coleman and Brandon Adams. It should be expected based on the format, however, that successful defenses should be relatively rare compared to the title changing hands. Even with matchups decided by best two-of-three, there’s simply too much variance involved in rapid-format heads-up play for the best players to put together long streaks without the deck on their side.

Quick Hitters

– The Bay 101 Shooting Star has been a highlight event on the World Poker Tour since its second season, but has mysteriously disappeared from the schedule this year. The likely reason is that the casino has changed location and may not be up to the task of hosting such a large event so soon; if that’s the case, the Shooting Star should reappear this year, but its absence may mean there is also no California Swing in Season 16.

– Jason Koon is the latest high-stakes crusher to be signed by PartyPoker in its bid to become the go-to site for serious players. He’s done an interview with CardsChat to discuss the move.

– A large number of American pros travel to Canada or elsewhere in September in order to be able to participate in the World Championship of Online Poker, since PokerStars is verboten back home. USPoker reports that these poker migrants had a good showing this year.

– PKR is dead but its software may live on. VideoSlots.com has acquired the defunct company’s software and plans to use it to launch its own online poker venture. It won’t be under the PKR brand, however, as the name and domain are now owned by PokerStars, which has mothballed them.