Poker Central Super High Roller Bowl Changes Rules, Uses Lottery to Determine Players

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Instead of holding to the “first come, first served” philosophy that it was built on, officials with Poker Central deviated to a special “lottery” to determine who would be among the 35 professionals to take part in the 2017 Super High Roller Bowl later this year.

After opening registration for the tournament, which will be played from May 28-31 at ARIA in Las Vegas, officials with the casino and the streaming website were stunned with the numbers that came to the fore. Once the cage was opened for deposits for entry 54 players came out, in theory putting up a percentage of the $300,000 for their buy in. This was going to be a problem for ARIA and Poker Central as there were only 35 seats available for the “professional” poker players (15 of the 50 seats in the event are reserved for ARIA, to be distributed at their discretion).

Faced with the dilemma – and rather than going with the “first come, first served” philosophy that is the normal course of a tournament poker sign up – both sides came up with a special “lottery” to determine the players who would be given first opportunity at a seat in the tournament. They made a bit of a production over the lottery, snaring Daniel Negreanu to host the drawing, and drew the lots that arbitrarily set the professional field for the 2017 event. What is notable about the list is the players that weren’t a part of it.

Here are the players that were chosen through the lottery to participate in the 2017 Poker Central Super High Roller Bowl:

Christian Christner
Antonio Esfandiari
Igor Kurganov
Matt Berkey
(to be noted, first with his money to the cage)
Connor Drinan
Steffen Sontheimer
Jake Schindler
Pratyush Buddiga
Rainer Kempe
(the defending champion of the tournament)
Sean Winter
John Juanda
Dominik Nitsche
Christoph Vogelsang
Stefan Schillhabel
Andrew Robl
Brian Rast
(inaugural champion)
Bryn Kenney
Fedor Holz
David Peters
Jason Les
Ben Tollerene
Tom Marchese
Erik Seidel
(only player to cash in both years of tournament)
Sam Soverel
Scott Seiver
Ankush Mandavia
David Einhorn
Nick Petrangelo
Haralabos Voulgaris
Isaac Haxton
Andrew Lichtenberger
Doug Polk
Ben Sulsky
Byron Kaverman
Koray Aldemir

So, what names aren’t on the list?

Negreanu is one of the most glaring omissions from the 35 names chosen. Even though he had already declared to play in the tournament (and his position as a prominent promoter of Poker Central), Negreanu was one of those left on the outside. In fact, the 36th ball out of the lottery chute? Negreanu’s.

Negreanu’s not the only one to be left wondering if they’ll be a part of the show come May. The defending Player of the Year at the World Series of Poker, Jason Mercier (a staple on the High Roller circuit), was not chosen in the lottery, nor were such players as Dan Colman, the champion of the most recent $1 million “Big One for One Drop” at the WSOP or “High Roller” stalwarts such as Dan Shak, Nick Petrangelo or Mike Watson (second at the $100,000 Challenge to Petrangelo at the 2017 Aussie Millions). Also not on the list were Phil Hellmuth (who never met a camera he didn’t like) or Phil Ivey, but for good reason – neither had put their money down to play in the tournament yet.

The lottery decision was a tricky one for Poker Central and ARIA. What if someone like the defending champion, Kempe, hadn’t been chosen? And just what are the rules going forward? Will Negreanu have the next chance at the seat should someone out of the 35 players not be able to take part (likewise, will he be let in should ARIA not invite it allotment of 15 players?), as he is the first alternate apparently? Everything that has occurred leave many questions and few answers for the other players who were looking to be a part of the tournament.

Everything will be figured out well in advance of May 28, however. The issue is that those who will determine the success of the event – the viewing public – won’t be given any knowledge as to what will occur between now and then.

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