Poker Central and The Aria held a live lottery draw to determine the first 35 entrants for the Super High Roller Bowl after 54 players registered to compete in the $300,000 buy-in event.
Poker Central and representatives of the Aria Las Vegas had to pay an impromptu visit to the ping pong ball shop after 54 players paid the $30,000 registration fee for the 50-player cap, $300,000 buy-in Super High Roller Bowl.
Matt Berkey, who finished fifth last year for $1.1m, was the first to deposit money at the Aria cage followed by Daniel Negreanu and Scott Seiver, but there were no rewards for punctuality after the organisers held a lottery to choose the first 35 participants after the event sold out.
Daniel Negreanu played the part of lottery host, but the Hendon Mob All Time Live Tournament Money Earner was too busy fiddling with everybody else’s balls to find his own. Negreanu missed the cut. It turned out he would have been Player #36.
Joining Negreanu on the sidelines, for now at least, is the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Player of the Year (POY), Jason Mercier, former Big One for One Drop winner Dan Colman, charity drive saviour Dan Smith, and one of the hottest players of 2016, Justin Bonomo. Aria representative, Phil Hellmuth, and Baccarat beast Phil Ivey were the two biggest guns not to register.
Did Poker Central Change The Rules?
Here is where I get slightly confused.
When Poker Central announced plans to host the Super High Roller Bowl for the third successive year, the press release stated the 50 player field would consist of 35 professional players and 15 non-professionals including at least one celebrity.
The list of 35 players who made the cut includes David Einhorn, who is clearly not a professional. Does this mean that the organisers had an overload of interest from professionals, and it was a miss for non-professionals, so they decided to merge the two and change the selection rules?
And how are they going to ensure parity when they subjectively choose the next 15 pros, leaving some players disappointed?
The New Way Forward
Whatever the reason behind the decision to allow the organisers to hand pick individual professionals in the final 15, it’s clear that there needs to be a more robust system for choosing the 50 players if the event is going to continue to be the High Roller Championship of the World.
What if, in future iterations, more people find $300,000, or someone wealthy enough to buy them in for $300,000, and the lottery leaves all the greatest made for TV stars on the sidelines? What would have happened if Rainer Kempe couldn’t defend his title?
I don’t have a total solution, but here are some thoughts:
1. Former winners and runners-up are guaranteed a seat.
2. Link the Aria High Rollers in a leaderboard fashion to select players.
3. Select players based on Global Poker Index (GPI) Rankings.
4. Select players based on Hendon Mob All-Time Money List rankings.
5. Partner with an online poker room and create an online contest to determine who qualifies.
The SHRB takes place May 28 – 31 at ARIA in Las Vegas. The winner will earn $5m.
Here are the 35 players who made the cut:
1. Christian Christner
2. Antonio Esfandiari
3. Igor Kurganov
4. Matt Berkey
5. Connor Drinan
6. Steffen Sontheimer
7. Jake Schindler
8. Pratyush Buddiga
9. Rainer Kempe
10. Sean Winter
11. John Juanda
12. Dominik Nitsche
13. Christoph Vogelsang
14. Stefan Schillhabel
15. Andrew Robl
16. Brian Rast
17. Bryn Kenney
18. Fedor Holz
19. David Peters
20. Jason Les
21. Ben Tollerene
22. Tom Marchese
23. Erik Seidel
24. Sam Soverel
25. Scott Seiver
26. Ankush Mandavia
27. David Einhorn
28. Nick Petrangelo
29. Haralabos Voulgaris
30. Isaac Haxton
31. Andrew Lichtenberger
32. Doug Polk
33. Ben Sulsky
34. Byron Kaverman
35. Koray Aldemir