The World Series of Poker (WSOP) has a new champion and for the sixth year in a row he is under 25 . Ryan Riess, a 23 year old 2012 graduate of Michigan State, outlasted a field of 6,352 players who each ponied up $10,000 for the chance to win poker’s most prestigious tournament.
On November 5, at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Reiss bested 29 year old Jay Farber. Farber, an amateur poker player and VIP nighclub host went home with second place winnings of $5,174,357.
The event created a $59,714,169 total prize pool with Riess taking home the first place prize of $8,361,570 and the richest prize in all of sports, the $500,000 WSOP gold bracelet.
The 2013 Main Event began in July and and, as has been the custom in the past six years, play was suspended when the tournament reached its final table of nine participants. Play resumed Monday afternoon.
After more than eight hours of competition, the field of nine remaining players was narrowed to two: Jay Farber, 29, of Las Vegas, an amateur poker player and VIP nightclub host and professional poker player and Ryan Riess, 23, of East Lansing, Michigan.
Heads-up play began Tuesday evening and lasted more than three hours before a new champion was crowned.
Rounding out the final table were:
3rd place: Amir Lehavot, 38, of Weston, Fla., $3,727,823
4th place: Sylvain Loosli, 26, of Toulon, France, $2,792,533
5th place: JC Tran, 36, of Sacramento, Calif., $2,106,893
6th place: Marc-Etienne McLaughlin, 25, of Brossard, Quebec, Canada, $1,601,024
7th place: Michiel Brummelhuis, 32, Amsterdam, Netherlands, $1,225,356
8th place: David Benefield, 27, of New York City, NY, $944,650
9th place: Mark Newhouse, 28, of Los Angeles, Calif., $733,224
A total of 648 players cashed in this year’s WSOP Main Event. Players from 83 different nations and ages ranging from 21 years old to 92 years old competed in the WSOP Main Event, including dozens of celebrities from the sports and entertainment world. But Riess was able to outlast all 6,351 of them, despite this being his first-ever attempt in this event.
Being a spectator at the final table was similar to attending an exciting sporting event. The electricity was high. Fans of the players at the final table packed the Penn and Teller room at the Rio. Cheers could be heard whenever a player made a favorable move.
The excitement grew on the final night as a number of fans of Riess and Farber were permitted on the stage to cheer their favorites on. Each group had custom tee shirts and a few were even in costume.
Watching the WSOP is one of those must do thing in Vegas even if you are not a poker player. The excitement is contagious. And it costs nothing except a little time in line to see it all in person and maybe meet some of your poker idols. Maybe one day I’ll enter one of the tournaments---just for the sake of journalism. Oh yea, and because I love the game.
Here are a few more scenes from the 2013World Series of Poker and the fans.