Super HighRoller Bowl Special

7 years ago
49 of The World's Biggest Pros at Super HighRoller Bowl
30 May

There’s $15million up for grabs and there are 49 of the poker world’s biggest and best high-stakes players vying for a share of the spoils – and Day 1 of the Super HighRoller Bowlfrom Las Vegas didn’t disappoint!

Airing live on CBS sports, the Aria Casino has decked its poker room and tables out as a multi-colored sponsors dream to welcome the $300k buy-in super high rollers to what is the biggest game of the year outside of the WSOP Main Event.

The magic didn’t rub off on Antonio Esfandiarithough, ‘the Magician’ busting out in the first level of play, followed by Igor Kurganov and one of my picks, Isaac ‘Ike’ Haxton.

Haxton had tweeted before the start “Does anyone know if the broadcast of the 300k will be archived somewhere I can watch it later?” but he needn’t have worried.

Sponsored pizza pro?

Haxton’s AQ ran into AK at the start of level 2 meaning he’d have plenty of time to watch the whole thing from the comfort of his living room – and could even treat himself to a comped Pizza Hut, the chain being one of the very visible and highly welcome sponsors of the event.

Another of the high-profile companies putting their weight behind the action at the Aria is the Dollar Shave Club – and with the likes of Negreanu and Jason ‘NoMercy’ Mercier sporting lumberjack beards, they’ll likely have plenty of business coming their way.

A sponsored last-longer prop bet was an opportunity missed by the ‘dollar shave’ boys in my opinion – live shaving for charity would have added some tension to the game!

Another missed opportunity was having special chips made up for the Amazon Coins sponsorship, although it might not have helped Phil ‘Unabomber’ Laak anyway who seemed unable to work out the chip color-scheme for most of his feature-table visit!

The Big Boys

Seeing so many big names bump heads is actually a very unusual occurrence: the biggest names of the live tournament scene such as Negreanu and Hellmuth pitting their wits against such online masters as the ‘Evil Empire’ crew in Doug Polk and Jason Les, with a 14-strong squad of millionaire/billionaire amateurs such as Bill Perkins and Talal Shakerchi mixed in for good measure.

Just to give you an idea of the money involved, the average live tournament earnings of the 49-player field is $7.5 million! That’s the same amount as Brian Rastwon in last year’s inaugural Super HighRoller Bowl, but you could likely double that with their average online earnings, and triple it with live cash earnings!

So, what were we all looking out for on the opening day?

Number one on many people’s list was Doug ‘WCG Rider’ Polk sitting next to Jason Mercier! This simply could not have been the luck of the draw giving their recent Twitter-spat which saw Polk slagging off Mercier’s poker abilities – it was a one-outer % to have them sat together, so more likely that the event organizers wanted to add some spice to the table!

No Love Lost

The bearded and sullen Mercier painted a sharp contrast to the clean-cut all-American smiles of Polk, but poker-wise they are a decent match-up, although Polk it should be noted is well on his way to super-stardom and poker legend status giving his rise from online whizz-kid to world’s best heads-up player.

They shared a few words, but generally Mercier gave Polk short-shrift at the table and seemed content to let his play do the talking, emerging as table chip leader while Polk sat on a relatively short-stack.

River Bluff par excellence!

When you have the world’s best players at your table, you simply can’t let them run all over you. Jason Mercier, Brian Rast, Jake Schindler, Ben Tollerene and Andrew Robl are certainly among that group nowadays, so when he found himself bringing up the rear, Doug Polk knew he’d have to fight his way back into the game.

While others were doing likewise at the outer tables – seven tables of seven providing masses of action for the viewers – one hand at the featured table stood out.

Rast: K♠10♠

Polk: J♣10♣

Schindler: A♥4♥

Board: 8♦ 10♦ A♠ 3♥ Q♣

Schindler checked the river, Rast bet 21K into 45k pot and…. Polk bluff-shoved all-in over the top!

It takes some balls to do this, but Polk has proved time and again that he has them. When Schindler and Rast finally folded to the brave squeeze, Polk flipped over his bluffed and said ‘Bazaam!’ much to the annoyance of Rast and the delight of the online stream chatroom.

Evil Empire busto

Unfortunately for Polk and Les, the ‘Evil Empire’ duo couldn’t recover from some serious hits, both busting out just before the end of play on Day 1. Mercier, finishing Day 1 in a very healthy 8th spot, was no doubt smirking behind his beard at this turn of events.

My other choices – Shakerchi and Haxton both hit the rail as well, leaving this writer a bit red-faced at his so-called expertise!

Top of the pile

The great thing about this event from a fan’s point of view is that no matter who goes bust, there is always someone else worth following!

Kathy Lehne, the only female in the field, is still there sitting mid-pack.

Erik Seidel and Phil Hellmuth are smoothly through to day2 and will be looking to push a bit harder when play resumes tonight.

Phil ‘Unabomber’ Laak and Daniel ‘KidPoker’ Negreanu are both sitting on healthy stacks from among the ‘older generation’ while top of the pile sits Timofey Kuznetsov, a million+ chipstack seeing him sit well clear of the chasing pack.

Amateur v Pro?

Day 2 is eagerly awaited by this writer – but I’m not making any more predictions on who will walk off with the $million 1st prize!

Oh, Ok then….Bill Perkins! There you go, a billionaire amateur will somehow take down the biggest pros in the world in the biggest high roller event of the year!

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Andrew from Edinburgh, Scotland, is a professional journalist, international-titled chess master, and avid poker player.Read more


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