Ryan Riess, a 23-year-old poker professional, won the World Series of Poker’s main event and its $8.36 million first prize.
Riess was the youngest player left among the nine who reached the final table at the $10,000 buy-in No-Limit Texas Hold’em World Championship at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. The Michigan State graduate beat 29-year-old amateur poker player Jay Farber, a VIP host in Las Vegas, in heads-up play to win the top prize and main-event bracelet.
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 was among 6,352 participants in the 44th annual World Series of Poker championship, which started July 6. The field was cut to nine players by July 16, with a 110-day break before play started at the final table on Nov. 4.
Farber, playing in the main event for the fourth time, received almost $5.2 million for his runner-up finish.
The World Series of Poker is a 62-event collection of various types of poker tournaments that began in May and ended with the main event, which had a prize pool of $59.7 million. The total prize pool of $197 million and 79,471 entrants for the World Series each were records.
Seven of the nine players who reached the final table earned at least $1 million each. Final-table play was televised on a 15-minute delay by ESPN.