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Found 3 results

  1. Nine years ago, a 22-year-old Michigan State graduate called Ryan Riess won the World Series of Poker Main Event for over $8.3 million. At the time, he was six months out of college, having spent the last months of his studies alternating between poker dealer. Just a few weeks later, the final hand of the 2013 WSOP Main Event saw the Riess' life change forever. Between winning a World Series bankroll with the last money to his name and today, a decade of growth, fatherhood and memories have seen ‘Riess the Beast’ become one of the most well-respected poker players on the planet. This is the story of the hand that changed Ryan Riess’ young life. Coming into the WSOP With Momentum “It was all the money I had to my name. I chopped it three ways and won $270,000.” Having momentum in poker is something that is spoken about often, and it was one of the main contributions to Riess’ success at the Rio nine years ago in November. After graduating in business at Michigan State, Riess decided to play a WSOP Circuit event in Hammond in October 2012. The cost was not only out of his usual bankroll, but everything he had. “It was a $1,675 buy-in and it was all the money I had to my name,” the 2013 world champion told us. “I chopped it three ways and won $270,000. That was my first ever live tournament cash and how my poker career started.” Two months earlier, Riess had started playing poker full-time. After winning some small cashes in tournaments around Los Angeles, Riess took that momentum into a World Series where he played everything he could afford. “I had a bunch of smaller cashes and was about breakeven - expenses are high - then played the Main Event. I sold pieces to family and friends and swapped pieces. I had a little over 50%, which was good. I had a lot of momentum but was still relatively new to tournament poker. I was starting to become friends with people on the circuit; we were all young at the time and learning together.” Kicking off his Main Event on Day1a, Riess had players such as Mike Matusow and T.J. Cloutier at his table. Despite this, he bagged up plenty of chips, more than double that which he started with. “I was very naïve, which was a good thing. I put my head down; I wasn’t following the other tables or live updates and never thought about how much money I was playing for, so was never scared.” Believing He Could Win “Looking back, I don’t think I was the best player in the world.” Riess may have been a long way off from winning, but that was all to change. In the middle period of the Main Event, he admits that he sat on less than 30 big blinds for “two or three days” but a pivotal coinflip went his way when his pocket nines survived against Rep Porter’s suited king-jack. “The atmosphere was electric,” laughs Riess. “Others might have thought I was trying to run the table over, but I wasn’t; I kept getting good hands. If I lose that hand, I have nine big blinds left. I won the flip and that propelled me to having 50 big blinds and I had a lot more flexibility with my stack.” After Riess won the Main Event, he would state that he was ‘the best player in the world’, but he concedes this wasn’t actually the truth. It was more about the belief he needed to have in order to accomplish his dream. “I think in order to win something, you have to believe it before and then work tirelessly,” he says. “Looking back, I don’t think I was the best player in the world. I wasn’t even in the top 1,000. But I truly believed I was at the time and I think that gave me a chance to win. If I didn’t believe I was the best, I probably shouldn’t even have registered the tournament in the first place.” Winning that hand against Porter would see Riess make the final table, but he was far from the chip leader, who was JC Tran. A host of other more experienced pros were at the final table. “Tran was really unlucky at the final table after coming in as the chip leader and not being able to get much going. I thought the best player at the table was Marc Etienne McLaughlin,” says Riess. “He was very good, very aggressive and I tried to bluff him in a hand on TV when I turned two jacks into a bluff and fours spades almost counterfeited his two spades. He eventually got coolered and that gave me energy because I found it hard winning pots against him. David Benefield is a world class player and he got short and was handcuffed, too.” Benefield and Riess were the only two not to wear sponsorship patches at the final table. “I’ve never accepted any sponsorship deal or worn patches. I turned down a lot of money, but I didn’t want them to say you have to do this interview at this time, wear this shirt, do this social media post. I didn’t want anything to cloud my judgement. I thought the responsibility of what I’ve have to do would be greater than the value of what they were offering me. Maybe if I’d worn a patch, I’d have had to have done other stuff, wouldn’t have studied as much and not won.” Taking on Farber for the Win “As a poker player, that’s the dream. It’s the Super Bowl of our sport.” Riess had never played against Jay Farber before that year’s Main Event, nor did he feel they’d played any significant pots against each other until they were the only two players left. Suddenly, though, one of them was going to win $5.1 million and the other would take $8.3m and become champion of the world. “We started with around the same chips and I just decided to be aggressive. We played around 90 hands and I was raised all 45 buttons. I was very inexperienced. Looking back, I’d fold or limp some hands, but I wanted to put pressure on him. He was only three-betting me with really good hands.” Riess was forcing the action, but admits that while he wanted to raise in order to see flops in position with almost his entire range, he was also getting the run of the deck. “In heads up poker, so much comes down to hand distribution,” he says. “If Jay had my hands and I had his, if it was switched, he probably would have won.” Pre-flop: Ryan Riess: [Ah][poker card="Kh"] Jay Farber: [poker card="Qs"][poker card="5s"] Before the flop, riess raised his 45th and final button, and almost immediately got raised all-in by Farber. Riess snap-called and one of the fastest final all-in and calls in Main Event history saw the two men on their feet. Riess admits that he was surprised to see what Farber had shoved with. “I was surprised to see that hand specifically. Maybe if the hand happened again, he might just call, but I was raising every button and I just happened to have it. He might have thought he was getting run over at the table, but I was just getting the cards. Heads up, if you’re losing it can be demoralising. I’ve lost to people heads-up, I actually played Koray Aldemir, our newest world champion - and I was losing pots, got frustrated and ended up doing things out of character. It’s emotionally draining to lose hands heads-up.” Headint to the embrace of his friends and family, Riess was ‘pretty confident’ but knew that anything could happen. He was a 65% chance to become the world champion and the moment was catching up with him. Flop: [poker card="4c"][poker card="Jd"][poker card="Td"] “The flop was really good for me,” Riess says. “He couldn’t hit his queen any more, because it would give me a straight so it was the best flop I could have asked for without flopping a pair. After the flop, having all my friends and family around me gave me such good vibes.” Turn: [poker card="3c"] “Tears already in the eyes of Ryan Riess.” Said the commentary team as the moment that would change Riess’ life played out. The emotion of the achievement that he was about to claim was monumental. [caption id="attachment_638157" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Hunched on the floor of the Rio, Ryan Riess is hit by the emotion of what he might be about to achieve.[/caption] “That’s when it really became real for me. It was the weight of having everyone support me. We’re that close and it was a very surreal moment. I’m glad I won, because if the river was a five, it might have been very hard for me mentally for me to sit back at the table and play my best, because in my head I’d already won.” As Jay Farber commiserated with his coaches, two men Riess himself now counts among his poker friends, Shaun Deeb and Chance Kornuth, tie seemed to stand still. “I’m friends with both of them and we talk frequently. They’re both great - he had great coaches and it’s hard to beat someone with those coaches. I just had better cards on the day. River: [poker card="4d"] Riess collapsed to the ground, his poker ambitions coming true in glorious reality. Nine years on, Riess says he doesn’t watch it back as much as he should. “It brings back such great memories. As a poker player, that’s the dream. It’s the Super Bowl of our sport. To reach the pinnacle of the game that you love is the ultimate dream as a poker player.” Pining for the November Nine Amid a wild atmosphere in the Thunderdome, Riess now believes part of that excitement came down to players returning some time after they’d reached the final table to play it down to a winner. “It was the penultimate year of the November Nine. ESPN flew out a camera crew to my home town. I thought the November Nine was awesome. I’m blessed and honored to have taken part in that. Now they don’t give the players any time at all, family doesn’t even time to fly in and players can’t get sponsorship deals or even get their hair cut!” Riess believes that if the WSOP gave players a week between reaching the final table and playing it out, it would be perfect. “I don’t think a week is too much at all. Four months was really cool, but it’s a long time, and someone’s game could do a 180 in that time with coaching and solvers these days.” Apart from the length of time, however, Riess believes that the November Nine is a concept that could do with a comeback. “I think they should give them a week. It’s the biggest event in our game, so the more hype around it the better.” A decade after he graduated, Ryan Riess is now a name synonymous with poker success and in particular, the WSOP Main Event. He came close to winning the WSOP Europe Main Event too, but despite finishing fourth, calls it ‘the tournament that haunts me most’. [caption id="attachment_638158" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Ryan Riess is now one of the most respected former world champions still playing the game. (Photo: King's Casino)[/caption] “I was chip leader with nine and six left. The moment got to me a little bit; I made a lot of mistakes. I wanted to win for the legacy of winning both [Main Events] not the money but I focused too much on how cool that would be, and I let the opportunity slip between my fingertips. If Riess had lost with pocket aces to a pair of tens, he admits he wouldn’t have minded, not being a results-oriented person at all. The fact that it wasn’t luck that he perceives was to blame is what hurt. “I make a mistake, I’m the hardest critic of myself. Martin Jacobson said ‘Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity’. You almost don’t deserve to win if you’re not trying your hardest.” A Poker Career Without Regret “My focus is my kids and spending as much time with my family as I can.” Nine years after his greatest moment, Riess looks back on his victory as a platform for sustained success and of all the many world champions there have been, few could argue he has been one of the most positive. Aside from that WSOPE near-miss, he has no regrets. His diamond encrusted 2013 WSOP Main Event bracelet sits in a bank in a safety deposit box. “It’s worth a lot of money, so I don’t want it in the house,” Reiss says with a smile. “It’s locked away and I go and look at it now and then. To be honest, I should make a replica of it with cubic zirconia instead of diamonds, but I haven’t got around to it. I have no regrets about my career. I guess I could have grinded harder if I wanted too, but I travelled to a lot of cool places pretty much up to when COVID started and now my focus is my kids and spending as much time with my family as I can.” This year will see the WSOP move from the Rio to Bally’s (soon to be the Horseshoe) and Paris, but Riess holds no fear about the event leaving the venue where he made his name. In fact, quite the opposite. “I won it the first time I played it at the Rio, so maybe it will happen again,” he says. “I’m optimistic about it - I’m sure it’ll be fun. I’ll be playing pretty much all the NLHE tournaments, $25,000 and lower. I don’t feel the need to play the $100,000 buy-ins; the bubbles are stressful, and kids are expensive!” Nine years is a long time in any poker player’s life, but from being a precocious 22-year-old winner of the biggest event on the poker calendar to a family man almost a decade later, it has been some ride for Ryan Riess. Happily, for poker fans, that ride is not finished yet. You can watch the hand that changed Ryan Riess’ life right here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1MAbaJ9W7Q8    
  2. A dramatic day at the felt in two big tournaments saw history made inside the Rio Hotel & Casino as two more WSOP bracelets were won in two of the biggest tournaments of the Autumn. A Career-High Score For Adrian Mateos In Event #82, the $250,000-entry Super High Roller, Adrian Mateos went wire-to-wire as he took down the spectacular buy-in event for a top prize of $3.2 million and his fourth WSOP bracelet at the age of just 27. Just five players began the final day, with Mateos’ stack almost as big on its own as the four others combined. After a period of play that saw Keith Tilston drop down the ranks, the American was the first player to bust when his shove with [poker card="As"][poker card="3s"] over the opening bet from Mateos saw the Spaniard call it off with [poker card="Ad"][poker card="Ts"]. The board of [poker card="Ah"][poker card="Qh"][poker card="Jd"][poker card="9s"][poker card="8s"] gave Mateos a turned straight and sent Tilston home for a result worth $632,124. With four players left, Mateos now had more than the rest of the table combined. It was Ben Heath who busted the next player, however, as Seth Davies busted in fourth for $930,791. Davies shoved from the small blind with [poker card="Ac"][poker card="7c"] and Heath called it off from the big blind with [poker card="Js"][poker card="Jd"]. The ten-high board produced no drama and play was three-handed. After a period of play that saw Heath and Mateos battle for the lead, trading it on several occasions, Kincaid hit the rail when his [poker card="9s"][poker card="9h"] was no match for Mateos’ [poker card="Ad"][poker card="Ah"] on the ace-high board. Kincaid, who had been a lot shorter earlier in the event, cashed for an impressive $1.3m. Heads-up, Heath was looking at a 2:1 deficit to overcome, but he was unable to do so in a final hand that saw Mateos’ [poker card="Qs"][poker card="Tc"] good on a board of [poker card="7c"][poker card="6d"][poker card="5s"][poker card="Qh"][poker card="2s"] against Ben Heath’s [poker card="5d"][poker card="3d"]. Heath cashed for $2 million, but Mateos’ victory was worth $3.26 million, the biggest cash of an already astounding career at the live felt where he has now won over $25 million. WSOP 2021 Event #82 $250,000 Super High Roller Final Table Results: Adrian Mateos - $3,265,262 Ben Heath - $2,018,148 John Kincaid - $1,370,575 Seth Davies - $930,791 Keith Tilston - $632,124 Ausmus Denies Bracelet To Both Hellmuth and Negreanu A ding-dong battle saw Phil Hellmuth and Daniel Negreanu both just miss out on glory as Jeremy Ausmus won his third WSOP bracelet at the direct expense of his two highly-decorated opponents. The final table of nine kicked off with the departure of Veselin Karakitukov, who was the first player to win a six-figure score for their efforts, his cash worth $108,753. After the exit of Ben Lamb in eighth place, Josh Arieh busted in seventh, meaning he needed Hellmuth not to win in order to maintain his place at the top of the WSOP Player of the Year leaderboard. That happened, but not before a period of play when players were three-handed where each man had the lead. Hellmuth seemed to have all the momentum at one stage, but Daniel Negreanu was the thorn in his side. The same was true in reverse as at one point, Negreanu only needed to fade the river to eliminate his old frenemy in third place. Instead, the Poker Brat survived with a miracle on the river, leading to Hellmuth going to his rail whooping in the Thunderdome. Negreanu, frustrated at the missed opportunity, tipped his chair over in disgust. The Canadian would bust soon after, but Hellmuth still had work to do in order to claim the bracelet. He was unable to do so, getting it all-in with two pair on a flop of [poker card="9c"][poker card="7d"][poker card="6s"] where Ausmus had flopped the straight. That held through turn and river as Hellmuth saw his hopes of a full house disappear and dreams of that 17th WSOP bracelet go with it. The race for 2021 WSOP Player of the year looks likely to go to the final event, with Arieh making Day 2 of the $50,000 NLHE Event and Hellmuth needing to late reg and run deep to take the top of the leaderboard. WSOP 2021 Event #84 $50,000 PLO High Roller Final Table Results: Jeremy Ausmus - $1,188,918 Phil Hellmuth - $734,807 Daniel Negreanu - $519,764 Alexander Pedersen - $376,376 Laszlo Bujtas - $279,168 Jared Bleznick - $212,223 Josh Arieh - $165,452 Ben Lamb - $132,370 Veselin Karakitukov - $108,753 Jason Koon Leads The $50K High Roller In the $50,000-entry NLHE High Roller Event #85, Jason Koon bagged the biggest stack as some superstars of the felt gathered in his slipstream. With 35 players surviving from the 101 entries that took part, Koon’s stack of 2,405,000 is ahead of fellow first-time WSOP bracelet winner in 2021, Ole Schemion (1,760,000). With greats such as Stephen Chidwick (1,700,000), Shaun Deeb (1,650,000), Dan Smith (1,450,000) and Mikita Badziakouski (1,325,000) all in the top 10, there are going to be fireworks on Day 2, with Phil Hellmuth and Daniel Negreanu both likely to register as part of the late reg frenzy that is possible before Day 2 starts. With Michael Addamo (1,145,000) eight in chips and former WSOP Main Event champ Joe McKeehen (610,000) and WSOP Player of the Year leader Josh Arieh (570,000) all in with a great shout of victory sitting in the top 20 stacks, there was no place in the Day 2 seat draw for Nick Petrangelo, Elio Fox, Sergio Aido, Dario Sammartino, Anthony Zinno, Brian Rast, Dominik Nitsche, Ben Heath, Scott Seiver, Sam Grafton or Fedor Holz. WSOP 2021 Event #85 $50,000 NLHE High Roller Top 10 Chipcounts: Jason Koon - 2,405,000 Ole Schemion - 1,760,000 Stephen Chidwick - 1,700,000 Shaun Deeb - 1,650,000 Ranganath Kanchi - 1,565,000 Dan Smith - 1,450,000 Mikita Badziakouski - 1,325,000 Michael Addamo - 1,145,000 Darren Elias - 1,144,000 John Brooks - 1,085,000 The Closer Prepares To Shut It Down Finally, on Day 1b of The Closer, the $1,500-buy-in event saw Alex Kulev bag the biggest stack with a mammoth stack of 2,685,000. He’s clear of Giorgiy Skhulukhiya (2,425,000) in second place but even further ahead of Marc Lange (1,320,000) in third place. Players such as Leo Margets (1,300,000), Ryan Riess (1,070,000), Cherish Andrews (600,000), Landon Tice (330,000), and Melanie Weisner (280,000) all made the cut for Day 2, which will see 61 players fight all the way from seven tables to the bracelet, with stars such as Bertrand ‘ElkY’ Grospellier, Ari Engel, Felipe Ramos, and Joseph Cheong all missing out on grabbing end-of-day stacks on Day 1b of the event. WSOP 2021 Event #83 The Closer Day 1b Top 10 Chipcounts: Alex Kulev - 2,685,000 Giorgiy Skhulukhiya - 2,425,000 Marc Lange - 1,320,000 Steven Steinmetz - 1,300,000 Leo Margets - 1,300,000 Ryan Riess - 1,070,000 Noah Bronstein - 1,010,000 Michael Wang - 1,010,000 Jonathan Borenstein - 960,000 Mitchell Halverson - 930,000 Landon Tice grabbed a bag, and while he was doing so, he couldn’t help but admit to being a fan of the Poker Brat. https://twitter.com/LandonTice/status/1462269836512292867  
  3. A busy day on both Day 1f and Day 2abd of the WSOP Main Event saw a wizard take his seat, several huge names power to the top of the leaderboard and the biggest single day of action in the Main for over two years. It was an incredible day of action as the Rio Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas played host to some of the world’s best poker players. Hellmuth Arrives in Style on Day 1f, Chips Up Before Close It’s impossible to start anywhere other than the grandest of entrances from the man famed for his exuberance at the World Series. Phil Hellmuth, a.k.a. The Poker Brat. Waiting until the end of the day, and playing only the final two levels, Hellmuth arrived shortly before the dinner break as, dressed head to toe in white as ‘Gandalf the White’, the 16-time bracelet winner was accompanied by 16 models - one for each bracelet, natch - two fighting characters from the Lord of the Rings trilogy and Dan ‘Jungleman’ Cates, who appeared to be Saruman from the Oscar-winning films. https://twitter.com/PokerGO/status/1458296604536967178 With the hoopla to one side, once Hellmuth sat down, he improved on his starting stack in no time at all, bagging up 94,500 with which to attack tomorrow’s Day 2cef. He wasn’t the only one taking part in Day 1f, with some legends of the felt playing the flight, such as Fedor Holz (161,600), Scotty Nguyen (52,200), Michael Mizrachi (212,300), and Chris Moneymaker (75,800), the 2003 WSOP Main Event winner who finally couldn’t resist the clarion call any longer. Elsewhere, players such as Liv Boeree played for the first time in a while, bagging up 90,000 after claiming not to ‘remember how to play’ after such a long time away from the felt. https://twitter.com/Liv_Boeree/status/1458166021412376578 The chip leader at the close of Day 1f was Adam Walton with a massive stack of 334,000 chips, but he had stellar company in the upper echelons of the leaderboard, with Michael Mizrachi (212,300), Henrik Hecklen (210,000) and Cate Hall (197,000) all bagging top 10 stacks. Others weren’t so fortunate, with players such as Justin Lapka, David Benyamine and Robert McMillan all falling by the wayside during the day’s play. WSOP 2021 Event #67 $10,000 Main Event Day 1f Top 10 Chipcounts: Adam Walton - 334,000 Tung Nguyen - 328,200 Hannes Speiser - 282,100 Arkadi Onikoul - 266,300 Ryan Hartmann - 243,200 Young Ko - 240,300 Jung Woo - 231,900 John Bagosy - 224,700 Christopher Fischer - 219,000 Terence Clee - 218,700 Day 2abd Sees Doyle Brunson Bust but Jason Koon Crush One of the biggest clashes on Day 2abd of the Main Event was the match-up between Doyle Brunson and Jason Koon. One is a classic poker legend and 10-time bracelet winner, the other has just signed for GGPoker and won his first-ever bracelet this series. Sadly for ‘Texas Dolly’ fans, only one would prevail and it was not to be the man in the cowboy hat, as fellow player Kyna England tweeted of her shock at a bizarre first Main Event experience. https://twitter.com/Kyna_CooL/status/1458222692767703046 Rameez Shahid (731,700) led the field after Day 2, but plenty of others with experience are chasing him down, with David Coleman (613,000), Johan Schumacher (597,000), Robert Cowen (596,400), Nick Petrangelo (490,200), Anton Wigg (490,000), Mustapha Kanit (473,300), Brittney Stout (394,900), and Kathy Liebert (285,500) amongst them. With 145 players choosing a Day 2 entry for the first time in the tournament’s half-century of history, that led to the field topping 6,500 with Day 2cef the last possible opportunity for players to put down $10,000 and battle for the legendary world champion’s WSOP bracelet. Plenty of big names were unsuccessful in their bid for poker immortality, with players such as Asi Moshe, Sam Grafton, Adam Friedman, Rep Porter, Maria Konnikova, Melanie Weisner, Kelly Minkin, Mikita Badziakouski, Jeff Gross and Kevin Martin all departing on Day 2abd. WSOP 2021 Event #67 $10,000 Main Event Day 2abd Top 10 Chipcounts: Shahid Rameez - 731,700 David Mock - 679,700 Damien Steel - 649,000 Farhad Jamasi - 635,000 Raul Martinez - 628,100 Steve Foutty - 620,000 Mitchell Halverson - 617,600 Scott Davies - 615,100 David Coleman - 613,500 Kayvon Shahbaz - 599,200 Shaun Deeb on the Hunt in Little One for One Drop Finally, on Day 1b of the $1,111-entry Little One for One Drop, 901 total entries were whittled down to just 297 survivors. The chip leader at the close of the second opening flight was Trent Wilt, who bagged up 516,200, but Wilt was followed by some big names armed with plenty of chips like David Tran (501,600), Seongmin Lee (461,700), Evgeni Toureusk (401,400), Quirin Heinz (386,100), Sam Cohen (270,000), Michael Acevedo (252,000), Shaun Deeb (85,000), and Bill Klein (68,000). Deeb is a particular player to watch as he goes for the Player of the Year title with a deep run in this event possibly crucial to that aim. With Day 1c being the final flight to take part in if players want to advance to Day 2, the total of 1,389 entries so far in this event could well be doubled. Players who busted on Day 1b included Pamela Balzano, Natalie Bromley, DJ Alexander, Asi Moshe and Kyna England WSOP 2021 Event #68 $1,111 Little One for One Drop Top 10 Chipcounts: Trent Wilt - 516,200 David Tran - 501,600 Seongmin Lee - 461,700 Evgeni Tourevski - 401,400 Quirin Heinz - 386,100 Jaspal Brar - 379,100 Ari Oxman - 376,400 Blerim Imeri - 332,400 Marco Damico - 316,000 Jonathan Ingalls - 312,800 Finally, he may have busted the Main Event, but for a while there, Landon Tice felt the same as the rest of us and achieved the peace of mind only grinding a short stack can inspire. https://twitter.com/LandonTice/status/1458332577811427328
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