A funny thing happened on Jake Schindler’s path towards decimating the field in the 2017 Super High Roller Bowl…he ran into Christoph Vogelsang, who fought back from a monumental chip disadvantage to win the championship of the event on Thursday night.
With $12 million of the $16.8 million still on the table from the original prize pool, three men – chip leader Schindler (10.67 million), Vogelsang (5.245 million) and Stefan Schillhabel (hanging on with 885,000) – were still in contention for the title. Many thought, however, that Schindler was the odds-on favorite to win after his play on Wednesday to reach the final trio. What was thought to be a foregone conclusion, however, became an outstanding battle.
Schillhabel came out of the gate looking to build his stack and remain viable in the tournament, but it wasn’t to be. Although he would be able to make some key all-in moves for roughly the first half-hour of play, he would run into a classic race against Vogelsang that would end his tournament. After opening the betting while holding an off suit A-J, Schillhabel saw Vogelsang three-bet him out of the big blind. Schillhabel decided the time was now and pushed, which was met with an immediate call from Vogelsang as he tabled his pocket Queens. A Jack would come on the flop for Schillhabel, but there was no more help on the turn or river as he departed the event in third place.
Down to heads up, Vogelsang was still more than five million chips behind Schindler even after knocking off Schillhabel. In less than a half-hour after the start of play, Schindler had increased that lead to more than 3:1 when, on a 10-J-A-9-6 board, Schindler picked off a Vogelsang bluff and called a 575K river bet with just J-5; Vogelsang could only muster a Q-5 for
complete air as the chips went to Schindler (12.9 million) and his stack dropped to under four million (3.9 million).
Vogelsang didn’t succumb to the pressures, however. He quietly worked his stack over the next hour and would surprisingly take the lead after a double. On the hand, Schindler limped in with an off suit A-K and Vogelsang chose to raise from the big blind with a K♦ J♦ to 400K. Schindler kept the pressure on Vogelsang, three-betting the German to 1.2 million, which Vogelsang called to see a 4♥ 5♦ 7♦ flop. Vogelsang would check-call another big bet (650K) from Schindler and an Ace came on the turn. Now holding top pair/top kicker, Schindler would fire another bet of 1.2 million, which was check-called again by Vogelsang. The 9♦ was the money card for Vogelsang, but Vogelsang didn’t deviate from his act and checked again. When Schindler moved all in after a great deal of thought, Vogelsang immediately called and tabled his flush, taking the five million-plus pot and taking over the lead.
The next half-hour of battle saw Schindler scratch his way back to where the chip stacks were virtually even. After more than two hours of play, Vogelsang (8.6 million) only held a 400K lead over Schindler (8.2 million) as the battle raged onward. Schindler was relentless, taking another 90 minutes to work a reclaimed lead back out to a significant advantage, his 14.1 million against Vogelsang’s 2.7 million, but Vogelsang was just as resolute, coming back in a 30-minute span to steal the lead back from Schindler.
When the final hand came, it wasn’t in a massive clash but in a caught bluff. Schindler limped in with a J♥ 8♥ and Vogelsang, holding an inferior 10♠ 7♣, checked his option. The 3-10-2 hit Vogelsang, but he once again pulled into a shell and check-called the aggressive Schindler’s 100K flop bet. A seven on the turn gave Vogelsang two pair, but he continued to feed Schindler the rope to hang himself with another check. After Schindler fired off another big bet (400K), Vogelsang finally awoke to pop in a 1.5 million check-raise. Schindler made the call and, after a deuce came down, the “mind game” began.
Vogelsang, after check-raising the turn, plopped 2.3 million in the center and looked down, waiting for Schindler to make his decision. Despite holding absolutely nothing, Schindler read his opponent for a big nothing and put him to the test by moving all-in. With $6 million on the line and no time extensions left, Vogelsang had to make his decision within the 30-second shot clock (in use for the entirety of the Super High Roller Bowl). In the end, it was the right decision; Vogelsang called and turned up his two pair, thrusting his arms skyward in celebration of his new championship after Schindler’s bluff was displayed.
1. Christoph Vogelsang, $6,000,000
2. Jake Schindler, $3,600,000
3. Stefan Schillhabel, $2,400,000
4. Leon Tsoukernik, $1,800,000*
5. Byron Kaverman, $1,400,000*
6. Pratyush Buddiga, $1,000,000*
7. Justin Bonomo, $800,000*
(* – eliminated on Wednesday night)
With the new bankroll boost, Vogelsang should be set for the summer at the World Series of Poker. At the minimum, Vogelsang has a new achievement to add to his resume: he is now in the Top 100 players in all-time money earnings. Along with his previous $1.7 million-plus in tournament poker earnings, Vogelsang now sits in 82nd place all-time, ahead of such players as former World Champions Greg Raymer and Huck Seed, and others like Olivier Busquet, Yevgeniy Timoshenko and Nam Le.
With that, the 2017 Super High Roller Bowl has come to an end. It is expected that the edited product will be seen on NBC Sports Network later this year, which will give Christoph Vogelsang the opportunity to relive his career-defining moment as the champion of the event.