Yes, the 2017 World Series of Poker is just around the corner, but there’s some other business to take care of before the call for players to return to poker’s Mecca. In this case, it is the deep-pocketed pros who populate the High Roller world as they set course for the 2017 Super High Roller Bowl, sponsored by Poker Central. With Day 1 set to be broadcast over YouTube, Twitch, and Facebook Live on Saturday at 4:30PM (Eastern Time), the $300,000 buy in tournament always has drawn the attention of the poker community.
But who are the players to watch at this year’s tournament? And who are the players who have the best chance of winning the $6 million first place prize? We’ll try to answer a few of these questions with five players to keep your eyes on (presented in no particular order) for this year’s tournament.
Anyone who says that the odds-on favorite in this 56-player field is someone other than Bryn Kenney either hasn’t witnessed the first half of 2017 or doesn’t know what they are talking about. All Kenney has done over the first half of this year is rack up over $5.1 million in tournament cashes, with only about $50,000 of that bankroll accumulated in a tournament with a buy in less than $25,000. Kenney has surged to the lead in the major Player of the Year races due to this start, much to the dismay of many who have tried to reduce the effect that the High Roller events have on the overall POY races.
Kenney just seems to be in his element in these 75-player or less fields. Whether he’s come up with a different strategy for this type of tournament, whether he’s compiled a historical knowledge of his High Roller opponents that gives him an advantage or whether he’s just on one hell of a heater, Kenney should be one player that the cameras of Poker Central and the eyes of the viewers watch. Perhaps we will learn something that has helped him to this point but, whether Kenney displays his secret or not, it will be fun to watch him in action.
If someone asked you to name the only player who has cashed in the previous two Super High Roller Bowls, would you be able to do it without a Google search? If you replied Erik Seidel, then you would be correct. Seidel final tabled the inaugural tournament in 2015, finishing in seventh, and in 2016 he hung with defending champion Rainer Kempe and runner-up Fedor Holz before falling in third place. If he were to tack another year of cashing at the Super High Roller Bowl – or even win it – it might be considered one of the great achievements in poker.
Not like Seidel hasn’t achieved anything in the world of poker. The eight-time WSOP bracelet winner has racked up over $32 million in career earnings, good enough to sit behind only Daniel Negreanu; should he go deep in this event and Negreanu whiff, he would pass Negreanu on the all-time list. Nothing like a little competition between two Poker Hall of Famers to get the blood flowing for this and the WSOP!
Although Kempe is the reigning champion of the Super High Roller Bowl, it was the runner-up in last year’s tournament, Holz, that stole the thunder. Holz’s runner-up finish predicated his monster win in the $111,111 “One Drop” tournament during last year’s WSOP, wrapping up a period in which the German wunderkind won over $10 million alone. He thought he was on his way to being crowned the Player of the Year as he slowed down his playing schedule, only to watch as David Peters rocketed past in December 2016 to pass Holz.
Since then, three of the five cashes that Holz has in 2017 have been in High Roller tournaments, where he has pulled in more than $1.4 million. Demonstrating a bit of diversity, Holz has also tossed in a fifth-place finish at the Aussie Millions Main Event and won a PokerStars Championship preliminary event in Monte Carlo. It might be thought that, if Holz can take down this year’s Super High Roller Bowl, that he might consider expanding his schedule at this year’s WSOP.
Antanas ‘Tony G’ Guoga
Ten years ago, Guoga was one of the “bad boys” of poker, maniacally ribbing players on the felt as he sent them “on yer bike” after busting them from a tournament. He also was recognized as one of the true characters in the game, someone whom the mental combat of tournament poker seemed to be made for. Then, just as he was beginning to get the accolades, Guoga found another calling.
Guoga, raised in Australia but of Lithuanian descent, saw his future in the world of politics and ran for a seat in the European Union’s Parliament, which he won. He also married and has settled down to a world where poker isn’t as big a deal as it once was. It doesn’t seem that the time off has affected his Guoga’s game at all, however; after not having a tournament cash since 2013, Guoga arrived in Las Vegas earlier this week and won a $25,000 Aria High Roller tournament for a neat $353,280 cash.
How could we not note the elephant in the room, actor/comedian Kevin Hart, and his presence at this year’s Super High Roller Bowl. After NEVER seemingly showing an interest in the game of poker previously, Hart showed up at the PSC Bahamas $100,000 Super High Roller in January and immediately started splashing around in the deep end of the pool with the High Rollers. He would repeat his appearance at the PSC Monte Carlo Super High Roller in April, bringing attention from mainstream “celebrity watchers” as well as the poker media.
Whether Hart has any poker chops has yet to be seen. In the Bahamas tournament, he was in for two buy-ins ($100,000) and was around for Day 2, but didn’t even sniff the money. The same held true for his time in Monaco…there for the second day of action, but not a serious player. Either Hart is a tremendous piece of “stunt casting” by PokerStars (it’s plainly evident that he is on a freeroll) or he actually is a serious poker player looking to make his mark. Will the Super High Roller Bowl be where he makes his mark?
There are 51 other stories at this year’s Super High Roller Bowl, so it could be one of the biggest poker events of 2017 (as it has been the past couple of years). It also serves to whet the appetite for the WSOP, which begins on Monday as the Super High Roller Bowl wraps up its action. The cards hit the air on Saturday afternoon for the Super High Roller Bowl and the poker world – at the minimum – will be watching.
(c) Poker News Daily – Read entire story here.