The Super High Roller Bowl V hits the record books as the smallest field in its short history, leaving the door wide open for the Triton Poker Series to take over as the premier event for high stakes action.
I don’t know when.
I can’t remember.
The only thing I remember right now is playing If I Only Had A Heart in an attempt to get my daughter to sleep and when the lyrics picture me, a balcony, above a voice, sings low, my daughter keeps saying, “Dad, what balcony mean?”
That’s all I can remember.
I do know that back in the day, I asked the world’s best players to name the best tournament in the world and they didn’t choose the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event or the Big One for One Drop – it was the Super High Roller Bowl (SHRB) that made their body forget they had knees.
I think that’s about to change.
As October was about to die, Poker Central surprised everyone by announcing plans to pull the May 2019 SHRB V back to December 2018. The decision is still shrouded in secrecy, with many industry experts believing the WSOP 50th Anniversary partly responsible.
Regardless, plans were set in motion to host a live lottery on November 27 where 25 seats would go to the winners with a further 18 seats reserved for specially invited ARIA guests. The event would take place over three days beginning December 17.
The live lottery date came and went without any announcement from Poker Central. Eventually, on December 4, the lottery went ahead and instead of 25-players emerging from a hat, there were 34, leaving a handful of players for the ARIA to put into the event.
Reading through the list of 34-players only Cary Katz, Talal Shakerchi and Bill Klein are non-professionals. I don’t know anything about Klein’s game, but I know enough about Katz and Shakerchi to not refer to them as amateurs.
So where is the value?
The pros must have been hoping that the ARIA was going to turn up with the goods, with 6-7 wealthy not so good at poker players filling the void. Only, it didn’t happen. The SHRB V went ahead with 35-entrants after Rick Salomon entered at the last minute, and there was also a change in structure at the 11th hour with players starting with 3 x 100,000 stacks as per Short-Deck tournaments.
So we have the lowest attended SHRB in the history of the game.
2015 – 43-entrants, Brian Rast ($7,525,000)*
2016 – 49-entrants, Rainer Kempe ($5,000,000)
2017 – 56-entrants, Christoph Vogelsang ($6,000,000)
2018 – 48-entrants, Justin Bonomo ($5,000,000)
*Indicates a $500,000 buy-in, all other events were $300,000
Given the short notice of the changes, I imagine Poker Central had prepared for a smaller field, what is concerning is the quality of the field.
With the Triton Poker Series announcing their intention to host the biggest buy-in event of all-time in 2019, the SHRB has a serious challenger for the title of The Superbowl of SHR competitions.
What the Triton Poker Series has that the SHRB is sorely missing is a tribe of non-professionals eager to play in the biggest games in the world who are unafraid to gamble with a smile as broad as the Cheshire cat. If you are paying $300,000, $500,000 or $1m+ to play in a poker game, are you going to fly to Vegas to take on the world’s greatest players, or are you going to fly to somewhere like the Landing Casino in Jeju or the Maestral Casino in Montenegro and pay to play with the Triton tribe?