30 Players Selected in Super High Roller Bowl Lottery
Poker Central’s fourth annual Super High Roller Bowl begins in two months. To determine the field of the $300,000 buy-in event, Poker Central held a live lottery last week, broadcast on its subscription service, PokerGO. A total of 61 players registered for the tournament, but it was a coin flip for each, as just 30 were selected in the drawing.
The players, in the order of their selection, are as follows:
Among the players who did not hear their names called were former Super High Roller Bowl champ Rainer Kempe (though the other two past winners, Brian Rast and Christoph Vogelsang, were both chosen), past SHRB runners-up Jake Schindler and Fedor Holz, Doug Polk, 2016 World Series of Poker Main Event champ Joe McKeehen, and Dominik Nitsche.
If you are wondering to yourself, “If so many people want to shell out $300,000 to play, why are only 30 chosen,” allow me to explain.
Last year, there was a registration cap of 50 players, 15 of which were reserved for the host venue, ARIA, to dole out to non-professional players at it wished. So, when 54 players signed up when registration opened, it was a problem, since there were only 35 slots available. Normally, a poker tournament is a first-come, first-served event, but Poker Central decided, for whatever reason, that this wasn’t fair, so the rules were changed and the lottery was instituted. Of course, it didn’t hurt that Poker Central could make a show of it and stream it live.
About a week later, tournament organizers thought to themselves, “Well, shit,” and decided to expand the field from 50 to 56. Mathematically, the decision made sense, as the plan was to have eight-handed tables and 50 doesn’t lend itself to that at the start of the event. Why that number was originally settled upon is a mystery. Obviously, the big reason for the increase in the field was to try to get a few more of those pros in.
The six extra seats actually went to the ARIA, though, so it’s not like six more names were drawn and inserted into the field. The casino ended up choosing a bunch of big name pros, anyway, which may have led skeptics to believe that there was an agreement between the SHRB and ARIA to include some players who were excluded. Sure enough, Daniel Negreanu, Phil Hellmuth, Justin Bonomo, Daniel Colman, Jason Mercier, Dan Smith, and Bobby Baldwin were among the invitees.
“Because of the overwhelming interest this year, ARIA’s intention moving forward will be to approach next year with a tentative field size of 56 players,” ARIA’s Director of Poker Operations Sean McCormack said last year. “This will make for a better event and give ARIA more flexibility to make sure a wide range of players are involved in next year’s Super High Roller Bowl.”
Despite the 56-player intention, the field for the Super High Roller Bowl is capped at just 48 players this year, giving the tourney an even six eight-handed tables to start. With 30 players selected in the lottery, that leaves 18 seats open. The ARIA will be involved in all of them: 16 will go to players invited by the host venue, while two will be awarded via a $10,000 satellite to be held at ARIA on May 26th, the day before the Super High Roller Bowl.
As one would probably expect, the Super High Roller Bowl will be streamed live on the PokerGo subscription service. The NBC Sports Network (not to be confused with NBC proper) will air Super High Roller Bowl episodes on both its website and the NBC Sports app.
Those who are interested in watching the proceedings live but are wary of paying for a poker-only streaming service should know that PokerGO offers a 7-day free trial, so the entire Super High Roller Bowl can be watched for free. After that, it’s $10 per month or $99 for an annual pass. Keep in mind also that the World Series of Poker begins right after the SHRB and PokerGO will be streaming much of the Main Event (complementing ESPN’s broadcast), so a couple $10 months will get a bunch of WSOP content plus all sorts of original and classic shows on PokerGO. That’s not a bad dose of poker entertainment.