The crowds were back at the Rio theatre Tuesday to see the final confrontation in this year’s World Series of Poker main event as 23-year-old poker pro Ryan Riess and amateur player and night club promoter Jay Farber (29) returned to decide this year’s big winner.
There was plenty of Las Vegas razzmatazz and showmanship, too as the two finalists were given prizefighter-style welcomes by railbirds that included a man dressed as a panda in honour of Farber’s table mascot, and legions of Riess fans wearing the now-familiar “Riess the Beast” T-shirts.
At stake in this final game was $8.4 million for the winner and $5.2 million for the runner-up.
On Monday Riess despatched four fellow final tablers, and Farber accounted for the remaining three, with both men displaying different styles of play. Riess favoured the understated, clever approach, whilst Farber tended to be more confrontational and aggressive in his moves.
At the restart Farber held a lead of 105 million chips vs. Riess’s 86 million, but the young pro quickly made up most of the deficit to remain a real threat as play continued.
According to one report, Farber’s investors anxiously watched the action; the nightclub promoter could not afford the $10,000 main event buy-in and had to take on stakers.
Riess continued to build his stack and after three hours of heads up action he was able to eliminate his opponent and claim the glory, the expensive WSOP winner’s bracelet and the main prize of $8.4 million…an outstanding achievement for someone who has only been playing the game for just over 2 years.
In the last exchange, with 14.2 million chips to Riess’s 176.5 million, Farber went all in while holding a queen and five to Riess’s ace and king. After revealing a four, a jack, a 10 and a three for the common cards, Farber needed a five to stay alive. The final card was a four, giving Riess the victory.
Riess, who hails from East Lansing, Michigan, exuded confidence at every point of his epic WSOP journey, predicting he would win the main event and proclaiming afterwards: “I just think I’m the best poker player in the world!”
Farber was disappointed at missing out on the first prize, but that will undoubtedly have been softened by his $5.2 million runner-up check.
The complete list of final table pay-outs looked like this:
1. Ryan Riess – $8,361,570
2. Jay Farber – $5,174,357
3. Amir Lehavot – $3,727,023
4. Sylvain Loosli – $2,791,982
5. JC Tran – $2,106,893
6. Marc-Etienne McLaughlin – $1,601,024
7. Michiel Brummelhuis – $1,225,356
8. David Benefield – $944,640
9. Mark Newhouse – $733,224