More than two months before it is set to take to the felt, the 24/7 streaming network Poker Central and the Aria Resort & Casino’s Super High Roller Bowl tournament – which proved to be such a success in 2015 that it was expanded for this year – has sold out of seats for the $300,000 buy in event.
Registration for the tournament opened up in January, well ahead of the May 29 play date at Aria in Las Vegas. The field was increased to 49 players (from the 43 that took part in 2015), but the buy-in was also decreased (to $300,000 from the $500,000 it was last year). As an additional treat, a still-unknown sponsor has put up $300,000 to bring the total prize pool to a nice round $15 million, with $5 million going to first place. Still, the speed in which the event sold out surprised the event’s host and its broadcast outlet.
“With some of the most exciting and famous players locked in, the 2016 Super High Roller Bowl will be riveting to watch,” Clint Stinchcomb, the Chief Executive Officer of Poker Central, said during the announcement of the sell-out. “The speed at which this event sold out is evidence of the popularity of the tournament and of poker itself.” Someone else who expressed his surprise in the rapidity of the sell-out was Aria Poker Director Sean McCormack, who commented that he had “never seen” a high-stakes tournament sell out so far ahead of its play date. He also commented that, if for some reason that a player or players have to back out of the event, there is a waiting list that will be utilized to fill the slots.
The player list for the 2016 Super High Roller Bowl reads like a clash between the history of the game of poker and the advancing guard of the younger players. Members of the “over-40” sect such as former World Champions Bobby Baldwin and Phil Hellmuth, all-time leading money winner Daniel Negreanu, eight-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner Erik Seidel, poker veteran Larry Wright and business figures Dan Shak, Kathy Lehne (who will become the first woman to ever play in the Super High Roller Bowl) and Bill Perkins.
On the youth movement, players such as Rainer Kempe, Sam Soverel, Matthew Berkey, Igor Kurganov, Isaac Haxton, Jake Schindler, Fedor Holz, Dominik Nitsche, Dan Smith, Doug Polk and Connor Drinan will pull up to the tables. The Global Poker League will have a great deal of representation, including New York Rounders manager Bryn Kenney and his first round draft pick Jason Mercier, the San Francisco Rush’s Anthony Gregg, the Berlin Bears’ Brian Rast, the Sao Paulo Metropolitans’ Byron Kaverman and the London Monarchs’ Justin Bonomo (among many others). Finally, there’s the two “Big One for One Drop” champions, Dan Colman and Antonio Esfandiari, Scott Seiver, Stephen Chidwick, Talal Shakerchi and Vitaliy Rizhov coming along for the fight…and this is just a few of the competitors, a full list can be found here.
(Aria will be providing two players as a “sponsor’s entry”)
The inaugural Super High Roller Bowl was one of the biggest events to ever be attempted in the poker world. With the second largest buy-in in the history of poker (only the “Big One for One Drop” and its $1 million buy-in was bigger), the tournament was hotly contested by the men who took up the chips and cards to take part, working through the three-day event until seven men were left to divvy up the $21.5 million pool. Every one of the seven finishers in last year’s tournament are going to be back in 2016, looking to at least go “2 for 2” in cashing in the tournament:
1. Brian Rast, $7,525,000
2. Scott Seiver, $5,160,000
3. Connor Drinan, $3,225,000
4. Timofey Kuznetsov, $2,150,000
5. David Peters, $1,505,000
6. Tom Marchese, $1,075,000
7. Erik Seidel, $860,000
Just like last year, the tournament will pay the top seven finishers, with the winner earning a $5 million payday.
When the tournament comes around at the end of May (perfect timing as the players will already be in town for the World Series of Poker), it will draw the attention of the poker world. It will also draw the attention of fans to Poker Central, who will broadcast the event over its network. It might be hard to imagine it, but this year’s version of the Super High Roller Bowl could be bigger than its predecessor.