Rainer Kempe Wins 2016 Super High Roller Bowl

In a near wire-to-wire final table run, Germany’s Rainer Kempe won the 2016 Super High Roller Bowl Wednesday, defeating fellow countryman Fedor Holz heads-up for the $5 million prize. With the World Series of Poker starting this week just down the street, it appears as if Kempe is set for buy-ins for the summer.

Kempe entered final-table play with a humongous chip lead. Sitting flush with 5.545 million chips, he had two and half times the chips of his nearest competitor, Holz. He had more chips than Holz and the third-place player, Bryn Kenney, combined. He had more chips than the fourth through seventh-place players – Dan Shak, Matt Berkey, Erik Seidel, and Phil Hellmuth – combined. Any which way you sliced it, Rainer Kempe was hovering way above everyone else at the final table.

Wednesday’s action began in Level 20 with blinds at 25,000/50,000 and a 5,000 chip ante. Phil Hellmuth was nursing the shortest stack, 905,000 chips, so while the players certainly needed to find some hands to play, there was a little wiggle room with which to work, even for the shortest stacks (a little, not a lot).

Super High Roller Bowl championship ring

Super High Roller Bowl championship ring

About an hour into play and already on Level 21, Dan Shak was the first to go. He had fallen below 600,000 chips after losing a hand to Kempe and decided to re-raise all-in pre-flop after Fedor Holz opened the betting at 140,000. Holz called with A-9, slightly ahead of Shak’s K-J, but both of Shak’s cards were live. The flop was T-7-3, doing nothing for either player and the 8 on the turn was fairly neutral, as well (fairly). The jack on the river, despite pairing one of Shak’s hole cards, clinched the hand for Holz, as it gave Holz a straight. Shak was eliminated in seventh place with a healthy $600,000 payday, double his buy-in.

Less than an hour later came the next elimination. With blinds at 30,000/60,000 and a 5,000 chip ante, Bryn Kenney moved all in for 1.3 million chips. Holz looked him up from the small blind with pocket jacks, way ahead of Kenney’s pocket sevens. Kenney got no help from the board and was resigned to the rail in sixth place.

Almost immediately thereafter, former chip leader Matt Berkey was knocked out in fifth place. Berkey had just limped from the button pre-flop, but Kempe decided to raise to 205,000 from the small blind. Berkey moved all in over the top for 1.3 million and Kempe called. Berkey tabled A-9 suited (spades) and Kempe flipped over pocket sevens. Kempe flopped a set, but the turn presented a second spade on the board, giving Berkey a flush draw. The flush did not materialize on the river (in fact, Kempe ended up with a full house) and Matt Berkey was out in fifth place.

The rapid pace of eliminations slowed considerably after that, with nothing happening in that regard for a good two and a half hours. Finally, in Level 23 (40,000/80,000/10,000), a short-stacked Phil Hellmuth was put all-in by Kempe. Hellmuth called with Q-J only to find himself dominated by Kempe’s K-J and that was it. Hellmuth had to settle for a fourth-place finish and $1.6 million, more than enough money to forge ahead at the World Series of Poker and go for his umpteenth bracelet.

It was inevitable that Erik Seidel would be the next to go, as he was struggling to keep his head above water. After the blinds went up yet again (180,000 chips per three-player orbit), Seidel shoved pre-flop for 1.2 million and was called by Kempe. Kempe had yet another player dominated, this time with A-T versus A-7. After a turn that made the board 9-9-3-A, Seidel had a shot at a chop if something higher than a ten was dealt, but it didn’t happen and he was eliminated in third place.

Going into heads-up play, Kempe had a solid lead on Holz, 9.230 million to 5.470 million. After about an hour, it looked like Kempe was going to run away with it, building his up to about 7.5 million chips, but Holz doubled up to pull close and then took the lead by staying aggressive.

Kempe was able to regain the lead with a double-up, A-Q versus K-Q, but it couldn’t have been a comfortable feeling to have all of his chips at risk for the first time at the final table. It was back and forth a couple more times for the two German players before Kempe finally put Holz in his rear-view. On the final hand, Holz raised to 400,000 pre-flop, Kempe three-bet to 1.2 million, and Holz four-bet all-in for 4.38 million. Kempe made the quick call and saw he was ahead, pocket eights versus pocket deuces. None of the five community cards were of any aid to Holz and Rainer Kempe emerged as the champion of the 2016 Super High Roller Bowl.

2016 Super High Roller Bowl –Final Table Results

1.    Rainer Kempe – $5,000,000
2.    Fedor Holz – $3,500,000
3.    Erik Seidel – $2,400,000
4.    Phil Hellmuth – $1,600,000
5.    Matt Berkey – $1,100,000
6.    Bryn Kenney – $800,000
7.    Dan Shak – $600,000

Tournament updates courtesy of PokerNews.com

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