Ryan Riess Wins World Poker Tour Seminole Hard Rock Poker Finale

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Ryan Riess captured his first World Poker Tour title on Thursday night at the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Finale (WPT photo / Joe Giron)

The final table of the World Poker Tour Seminole Hard Rock Poker Finale had an amazing group of players with storylines galore; Two former #1-ranked players on PocketFives, a World Series of Poker Main Event champion, a WPT Champions Club member, one of the hottest players on the planet, and a relative unknown.

In the end though it was 2013 WSOP Main Event champion Ryan Riess who outlasted the likes of Cliff Josephy, Tim West, Alan Sternberg and Jason Koon to win his first WPT title and $716,088, including a seat in the upcoming WPT Tournament of Champions.

“It feels amazing. The final table was so hard, it feels really good to beat a final table with Cliff Josephy, Jason Koon and Alan (Sternberg) played great. He’s very tough, very aggressive and put me in a lot of hard spots. It feels really good,” Riess said.

The win marks the first for Riess since 2015 when he won a side event at Seminole Hard Rock and his first six-figure or bigger cash since taking down the WSOP Main Event. While comparing anything to that win might sound crazy, earning his first WPT title was still special for Riess.

“I didn’t start crying this time but I got very close. It just feels great, because I’ve been playing a lot of them,” said Riess. “I run really good in 10Ks and it brings all the best players out so to win the tournament with such a stacked field where all the best players in the world, minus a few that are in Macau, are all here, it feels really good.”

Josephy started the final table with the third smallest stack but ended up as the first one to hit the rail. West raised to 150,000 from UTG and Josephy moved all in from the button for 1,290,000 before Alan Sternberg called from the big blind. West folded and Josephy turned over AsJc and Sternberg showed KcKs. The board ran out TdTs5d6h3c and failed to save Josephy, eliminating him in sixth place.

Just 20 minutes later another player found himself out of the tournament. Jason Koon raised to 70,000 from the button and Terry Schumacher called from the big blind. Schumacher then check-called Koon’s 45,000 bet after the AdJh4c flop and then check-called another 225,000 bet from Koon after the 7h turn. The river was the 8h and Schumacher checked for a third time. Koon moved all in for 715,000 and Schumacher tank-called. Koon showed QhTd for a missed straight draw and Schumacher showed Ah6c for top pair to eliminate Koon in fifth.

The next elimination took almost two hours and it meant the end of the line for the former #1-ranked players at the final table. With blinds of 25,000/50,000 (5,000), action folded to West in the small blind and he moved all in for 505,000 and Riess called from the big blind. West showed KhJd and Riess showed AcTs. The QhJs2s flop put West ahead before the Kd turn gave Riess broadway. The 7h river didn’t fill West up and he was out in fourth place.

Riess claimed another victim just 30 minutes later. Sternberg raised to 120,000 from the button, Riess called from the small blind before Terry Schumacher moved all in from the big blind for 1,355,000. Sternberg folded, but Riess called and showed 9c9d. Schumacher needed help with Jh7h. The Ac6d5cKd4h runout did nothing for Schumacher and he was out in third place, leaving Sternberg and Riess to play heads up for the title.

Sternberg began heads up play with a 5-4 chip lead over Reiss, but over the course of the next three hours of play, the chip lead changed five times before Riess was finally able to end it. Riess raised to 450,000 and Sternberg re-raised to 1,150,000 before Riess move all in. Sternberg called and showed 7d7s and found out he was racing against Riess’ AhKh. The Kc6d6s flop put Riess ahead and the the Kd turn ended it all before the meaningless Tc river.

Final Table Payouts

  1. Ryan Riess – $716,088
  2. Alan Sternberg – $491,081
  3. Terry Schumacher – $315,726
  4. Tim West – $204,466
  5. Jason Koon – $157,599
  6. Cliff Josephy – $130,370