ARIA and Poker Central Expand 2017 Super High Roller Bowl Field to 56
Noting that their numbers would make for a complication, the streaming poker channel Poker Central and ARIA in Las Vegas have expanded the field for the 2017 Super High Roller Bowl to a nice round 56 players.
“Based on the success of last year’s Super High Roller Bowl and the overwhelming interest in this year’s event, ARIA believed it was in our best interest to increase the size of the event by six players.” ARIA’s Director of Poker Operations Sean McCormack stated in a press release from Poker Central. The increase in the number corrects what was going to be a bit of a problem for the 50-player field in that, with seven player tables, there was going to be an odd table that started eight handed. With the increase of six players, that makes for eight, seven-handed tables.
With the increase in the number of players, there also comes an increase in the prize pool for the tournament. The previously stated $5 million first place prize (and, at $300,000 a pop, the $15 million prize pool) will increase the payout for the eventual champion to $6 million (from a $16.8 million prize pool). “These additions will give more players a chance to play in the best event of the year and play for an even bigger prize pool. Bigger is always better and the increase in prize pool and first place payout, along with the enormous prestige of the Super High Roller Bowl, will be welcomed by the players,” said McCormack.
Due to the success of the event – players flocked to the cage in 2016 to put their money down and, in 2017, 54 players put up the reserve for their buy in – both Poker Central and ARIA thought it would be a good idea to continue at this size moving forward. “Because of the overwhelming interest this year, ARIA’s intention moving forward will be to approach next year with a tentative field size of 56 players,” McCormack announced. “This will make for a better event and give ARIA more flexibility to make sure a wide range of players are involved in next year’s Super High Roller Bowl.”
The issue that most poker fans might have will be in how those six seats are going to be handled. ARIA, as the host casino for the tournament, had been allotted 15 of the 50 seats for their “high roller” guests (not necessarily professionals). The six seats added will also be dispersed by ARIA, giving them 21 of the 56 players at the table. This could be problematic due to the number of top professionals that have been excluded to this point.
As stated previously, 54 professional poker players had at the minimum laid down their reserve for a seat at the 2017 tournament, forcing ARIA and Poker Central into a decision. They could stick with their “first come, first served” format that usually is the norm for casino decisions, but the two entities instead chose a different path. Utilizing a “lottery” draw system, ARIA and Poker Central chose 35 random players to take part in the tournament, with the leftover 15 players (at that time) to be chosen by ARIA.
The drafted roster of 35 featured several notable top pros (including defending champion Rainer Kempe, inaugural champion Brian Rast and the only man who has cashed in both previous versions of the Super High Roller Bowl, Erik Seidel), there were some names that were left off the list. Although he hosted the lottery draft and has close ties with Poker Central, Daniel Negreanu was not one of the 35 players chosen in the lottery. Also left off the board were such players as the defending Player of the Year at the World Series of Poker Jason Mercier, the most recent champion of the $1 million buy-in WSOP “Big One for One Drop” Dan Colman and high roller regulars such as Dan Shak, Nick Petrangelo and Mike Watson. Phil Hellmuth and Phil Ivey were not a part of the field either, but neither had put their money down (among the 54 players) to be considered eligible for the lottery drawing.
The 2017 Super High Roller Bowl will be held between May 28-30 at ARIA in Las Vegas and we will probably see many of the names that, at this point, have been left off the list find their way to the baize. While the lottery idea might not have been the best one, kudos for Poker Central and ARIA to expand the field and make the tournament even more interesting for poker’s fandom.
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