Super High Roller Bowl to Return in 2016

Poker Central, the 24/7 poker television channel that isn’t actually “on” television, announced Thursday that its Super High Roller Bowl will return in 2016.

The Super High Roller Bowl will run from May 29th through June 1st at the ARIA Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. Unlike some mega-buy-in, made for broadcast events, it is not an invitational, but rather an open event. Anyone who can afford the $300,000 buy-in, which includes a $30,000 non-refundable deposit, is welcome to register. The field will be capped at 49 entrants and 14 of those are reserved for the ARIA’s VIP super high rollers. Thus, only 35 seats are truly “open.”

Sponsors of the event will add $300,000 to the prize pool which, if the tournament is filled, will be $15 million (there is no rake). $5 million is expected to go to the winner (again, if the tournament fills to its capacity). Players can begin registering for the Super High Roller Bowl on January 22nd.

“There are few poker events that can change the landscape of the game overnight — the Super High Roller Bowl is one of them,” said Clint Stinchcomb, CEO of Poker Central, in a press release. “The 2016 Super High Roller Bowl will be even more exciting than last year’s!”

Super High Roller Bowl championship ring

Super High Roller Bowl championship ring

Last year’s Super High Roller Bowl was more expensive, costing $500,000 per player. Tournament organizers expected the early-July event to have a prize pool of $25 million, and with 58 players confirmed on the Super High Roller Bowl website only about a week before the start of the tourney, it looked like that goal would come to fruition. Come game time, though, only 43 players registered, creating a $21.5 million prize pool.

Brian Rast won the inaugural Super High Roller Bowl, cashing in for $7.525 million. He needed to go on one heck of a run at the end, as at one point three handed, Scott Seiver had more than 14 million chips, compared to Connor Drinan’s 3.9 million and Rast’s 3.2 million. Rast was eventually able to put a bad beat on Drinan to knock him out when an eight on the turn gave Rast a set of eight’s versus Drinan’s pocket Queens. Rast still had to overcome a 2-to-1 chip deficit against Seiver heads-up, but he was able to take advantage of a poorly-timed Seiver bluff to make up the game and go on to win the match shortly thereafter.

In an August 2015 interview with Damon Shulenberger, Rast said he won a $25,000 satellite to gain his half-million dollar entry into the Super High Roller Bowl. He did not, however, treat the main tourney as a freeroll. Rather, he considered the satellite $475,000 win and played the Super High Roller Bowl like it was any other tournament. Rast sold portions of his action before playing in the $500,000 event, guaranteeing a profit even if he busted out immediately (read: he sold more than $25,000 of the buy-in). He told Shulenberger that he very much enjoyed winning money for others in addition to himself.

The week before last year’s Super High Roller Bowl, the ARIA hosted the Super High Roller Celebrity Shootout. This small tournament consisted of two tables, one populated by poker pros, the other by celebrities (to be expected, given the name, right?). The pros were Phil Hellmuth, Antonio Esfandiari, Doyle Brunson, Vanessa Selbst, and Daniel Negreanu. The celebrities should be very familiar to anyone who watched poker television in the last decade: Hank Azaria, Don Cheadle, Norm MacDonald, Brad Garrett, and Kevin Pollak.

As it was a shootout event, each table played down to a single winner and those two winners squared off in a best-of-three heads-up match. Vanessa Selbst won the $1 million prize, downing Pollak heads-up.

The 2016 Super High Roller Bowl will eventually be broadcast on Poker Central. The network bills itself as the world’s only 24/7 poker television network, but seeing as there is not actually a Poker Central channel on any cable or satellite provider’s lineup, that claim is dubious. Poker Central is really just an online streaming network, though it can’t just be streamed in a web browser. To watch the channel, viewers must have one of the following streaming devices: Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Roku, Xbox One, or Xbox 360. Chromecast users are apparently out of luck. The programming lineup consists of various televised poker tournaments, cash games, and other competitions, as well as reruns of such popular shows as “Poker After Dark,” “High Stakes Poker,” and even the short-lived “Face the Ace.”

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