After selecting the first 30 players via a live lottery for the 2018 Super High Roller Bowl, Aria poker officials hand-picked 15 additional players to compete in the $300,000 rake-free event. The host casino’s list of invites includes 2016 champion Rainer Kempe, 2012 WSOP Big One for One Drop winner Antonio Esfandiari, and kind-of-sort-of retired poker pro Fedor Holz.
This Super High Roller Bowl kicks off May 27 live from PokerGO’s new studio just outside Aria on the Las Vegas Strip. When the event begins, there will be 49 players seated, creating a $14.7 million prize pool.
Star-Studded Cast of Characters
So far, 45 of the 49 players have been selected, leaving one spot for a satellite tournament winner and three additional seats for players to be named later. Comedian Kevin Hart, a PokerStars celebrity ambassador, was a late entry last year.
15 Players Invited by Aria
Brandon Adams, Fedor Holz, Bill Perkins, Jake Schindler, Seth Davies, Tony G, Tom Marchese, Rainer Kempe, Antonio Esfandiari, Matt Hyman, Dan Smith, Dennis Blieden, Doug Polk, Bryn Kenney, Jason Koon.
Aria will host a $10,000 buy-in satellite on May 26 with one seat into the Super High Roller Bowl going to the winner if at least 30 players register. If fewer than 30 enter the satellite, cash prizes will be awarded instead.
2018 Super High Roller Bowl Payouts
1st Place $5 million
2nd Place $3 million
3rd Place $2.1 million
4thPlace $1.6 million
5th Place $1.2 million
6th Place $900,000
7th Place $600,000
The 15 players selected by Aria will join a stacked field that earned the right to buy-in last month via a lottery system which includes the likes of Daniel Negreanu, Phil Hellmuth, Brian Rast, Erik Seidel, and the defending champion Christoph Vogelsang.
All three past winners – Rast (2015), Kempe (2016), and Vogelsang (2017) – have been selected for the 2018 field.
Brian Rast defeated Scott Seiver in an intense, back-and-forth heads-up match to win the inaugural Super High Roller Bowl for $7.5 million in 2015. The buy-in was $500,000 the first year, making it the third most expensive poker tournament in history at the time.
Poker Central lowered the buy-in to $300,000 the next year after a somewhat disappointing turnout in 2015 (43 players). The 2016 edition had a full house of 49 players paying $300,000. Two German superstars, Rainer Kempe and Fedor Holz, battled it out heads-up for the title and $5 million prize, with the former taking it down.
Last year, another German pro, Christoph Vogelsang won the 56-player field for $6 million, beating Jake Schindler to seal his victory.
For me as a casual recreational poker player, I still cant wrap my head around being able to sit a table with people paying $300k to play. I understand that this is all relative, but the fact that one of those buy-ins covers my entire mortgage, and yet they will gamble it for a shot at millions really illustrates the gap between recreational players and pros.
Poker is not dead. Black Friday has not dropped the number of entrants in the main event, although it is off the high of over 8700 from 2006. So many people are playing more than ever…live…that the landscape has changed. Poker sites have transitioned to live tours similar to the WPT, with the WSOP-C, the WSOP-E, My PP Live, the EPT, the APPT and the list goes on.
The main event was always the one instance that amateurs and pros alike could play together. Today, you can do this at a tour stop of some kind every week around the world.
How pros differentiate themselves are tournaments like this.
This is the big time, and for poker to continue to drive forward poker has to continue being accessible to common people like me, while creating more of these six figure buy-ins that drive us to watch. This should be one of the best events to watch this year. But the $10k satellite to play in…that’s still too steep for me.
ummm players sell action duh
We got some real heavy hitters on the line up. Hopefully I can wiggle my way through the farm system to the same field. Until that day…. it’ll be fun to watch!