Super High Roller Bowl Roster Nearly Filled
After all the unnecessary drama this week, a nearly complete field has been named for the 2017 Super High Roller Bowl. The $300,000 buy-in tournament, created by PokerCentral and Poker PROductions, has no rake at will be held at the ARIA in Las Vegas from May 28th to May 31st.
As you may have heard by now, the registration process for the Super High Roller Bowl was marred by an artificially low cap on the number of players allowed to compete. The tournament is an open event in that anybody who is willing to put down the $300,000, included a non-refundable $30,000 deposit, is permitted to play, but tournament organizers decided to not only cap the number of players at 50, but also give 15 of those seats to the ARIA to distribute to “non-professional, super high rollers.”
Even though $300,000 is a lot of money, it is actually an amount that is somewhat affordable for many poker pros (or at least affordable without too much need for backers), so there was a high demand for seats. And when your demand outstrips your limited supply, you have problems.
Normally, the 35 open seats would be sold on a first-come, first-served basis, but when 54 poker pros – as well as some highly skilled business people – tried to register, the Super High Roller Bowl’s organizers changed things up. Rather than allowing the first 35 people in line to get seats, tourney officials switched the registration process to a lottery. Poker Hall of Famer Daniel Negreanu was even tabbed to host the drawing. As it turned out, his was the 36th name selected, so he wasn’t in the field.
It seemed like a very uncomfortable situation. Players who were in line on time were shut out because the Super High Roller Bowl switched up the registration process at the last minute in somewhat of a panic move. While still technically an open tournament, the lottery made it feel more like an invitational. Fortunately, the first person in line, Matt Berkey, had his name drawn. Imagine if he hadn’t?
The dumb thing was that this never had to happen. For one, even though the field had been capped the last two years, it doesn’t seem like a very necessary thing to do. There are possible uneven seating issues if organizers don’t set a cap, but in this case, the maximum of 50 players was a bad number, anyway. And then subtracting 15 seats to set them aside for ARIA VIP’s made it even more likely that a number of pros wouldn’t be able to play. It seemed short-sighted: why would you want to risk popular pros not being able to play and give your tournament positive exposure? It’s not like the ARIA would have been suddenly overwhelmed with thousands of players.
Of course, the lottery drew loads of complaints, too, so the Super High Roller Bowl made another change, expanding the field to 56 and only allotting two reserved seats to the ARIA. Thus, all 54 players who tried to register were able to do so. Funny thing was, though, that not everyone who tried to register but were not chosen in the lottery ended up eventually buying-in to the tournament.
Daniel Negreanu got in when the field was expanded, as did such players as Justin Bonomo, Daniel Colman, and Jason Mercier, but it appears that Darren Elias decided not to play after initially trying to register. Same with Stephen Chidwick, Jonathan Jaffe, and Max Silver.
It is not known why some players originally attempted to sign up and then didn’t end up registering after initially being foiled in the lottery, but one might guess it was either a) a sort of protest out of frustration or b) they weren’t aware that they had another shot to register.
At any rate, there are now 54 players confirmed for the Super High Roller Bowl with just two slots available for the ARIA’s selections. Here is the up-to-date list of competitors for May’s Super High Roller Bowl: