We’re a couple of months away from the 2018 Super High Roller Bowl and, just like previous years, the number of players wanting to take part is more than what will get in. Last night, former SHRB champions Christoph Vogelsang (the defending champion) and Brian Rast were selected to participate, but High Roller regulars Fedor Holz and Bryn Kenney so far are left out.
The 2018 SHRB will begin on May 27, but there are only 48 players being allowed into the tournament. Thus, officials associated with the tournament (the tournament is the creation of and sponsored by Poker Central) and ARIA, the host casino for the tournament, had to make the tough decision on who would get to participate. Just like last year, the decision was made to have a blind draw for 30 of the seats that were available. And, just like last year, there was a bit of hubbub over who made it in and who was excluded.
By far dominating the 30 players who made it in were first time selections for the event. Players such as Adrian Mateos, Sergio Aido, Stephen Chidwick, Nick Petrangelo and Kahle Burns (among others) will take their first steps into the ARIA tournament room in one of the biggest events in poker. It will be an especially sweet trip for Mateos, Aido and Chidwick, who were up for the blind selections last year but were not picked for the event.
There are several more familiar names that were among the 30 players selected for the tournament. 14-time World Series of Poker champion Phil Hellmuth, all-time leading money winner Daniel Negreanu, Igor Kurganov, Koray Aldemir, Andrew Lichtenberger, Poker Hall of Famer Erik Seidel, Poker Central money man Cary Katz, Isaac Haxton, Dan Shak and Justin Bonomo all were among the fortunate individuals that will take part. Businesswoman Kathy Lehne ensures that there will be a female player at the felt for this year’s SHRB (and a formidable one at that).
For those players who are happy they were selected, there are seemingly an equal number who were probably not very happy about being snubbed (in total, 61 players had put their payment in for a seat). This counts two players who were runners-up in this event previously, Jake Schindler and Holz, while former SHRB champion Rainer Kempe was also left out of the selection process. They were joined by Kenney (who has feasted on High Roller events in the past two years), Doug Polk, Dominik Nitsche, businessman/High Roller donator Bill Perkins, former World Champion Joe McKeehen and many others.
While the blind selection process is a fair way to make the tough decision of who plays or not, there should be some credence given to the former champions and runners-up. Instead of subjecting the runners-up to the blind selection process, perhaps a guaranteed slot in the next year’s event (if they, of course, pony up the $300,000 buy-in) would be a proper reward. And there should be no reason that former champions of this tournament aren’t playing (once again, unless they don’t buy in); former champions have a five-year entry pass after their victory, provided they can come up with the ducats.
As it is now, there are only two more ways for some of these players to get into the event. ARIA has 16 players that they can select to play in the tournament and, it could logically be figured, some of the names that are on the list of players who failed to be selected in the blind draft will be chosen. The very last way a player can get into the 2018 SHRB is through a $10,000 satellite that will be held the day before the $300,000 buy in tournament starts; two seats will be given out in that satellite event.
With the first 30 players chosen, the appetite of the poker public has been whetted for the 2018 Super High Roller Bowl. When the event begins on May 27, it will crown another champion who will walk away with a massive payday. The only question now is the next champion among these 30 players or will it come from the ARIA selections or the satellite event.