Ryan Riess Captures the $10,000 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Finale Title

The $10,000 buy in event at this year’s Seminole Hard Showdown attracted a total of 349 runners, which represented a healthy turnout and generated a prize pool of $3,315,500. This meant that Ryan Riess, who would go on to win this event, walked away with a hefty  $716,088 payday.

Ryan Riess

Stars emerge as leaders of the first starting days

The first day’s play soon cut the field in half, with only 176 players surviving the initial confrontations. David Laka led the way, with a number of notable names among the chasing pack. The second day saw Alan Sternberg take over the chip-lead, a position he would grow accustomed to in the following two days of the event. With the smoke clearing at the end of a frenetic second day’s play, a mere 27 players remained in contention.

There were familiar faces and interesting stories woven into the remnants of the field, as Yevgeniy Timoshenko, Jake Cody, Cliff Josephy, Ryan Riess, Marvin Rettenmaier and Jason Koon were all still in the mix, raising hopes of an exciting final table line up.

A star-studded final table

The third day saw a steady stream of fallers, and for a moment, it appeared that we might have the likes of Timoshenko and Cody joining Rettenmaier and Riess at the final table. But, any hopes of such an all-star final table were dashed as Timoshenko and Cody finished 12th and 11th respectively. They were followed shortly after by Rettenmaier in 9th. In terms of final table stardust, this task was left to Ryan Riess, Jason Koon and Cliff Josephy. All three players were among the final 6 players left standing as the day concluded.

Final Table chip counts

Seat 1: Tim West – 1,995,000
Seat 2: Jason Koon – 1,030,000
Seat 3: Ryan Riess – 3,090,000
Seat 4: Cliff Josephy – 1,855,000
Seat 5: Terry Schumacher – 1,385,000
Seat 6: Alan Sternberg – 4,605,000

Ryan Riess crowned champion after lengthy heads up battle

Ryan Riess vs Alan Sternberg

Cliff Josephy was the first to exit the final table, but he will certainly feel positive about the way he has put himself back on the map in terms of live poker in recent months, after finishing 3rd in the WSOP Main Event and taking 2nd at the PokerStars Championship Main Event in the Bahamas.

Jason Koon would soon bow out in 5th, with Sternberg holding a comfortable lead throughout this time. Riess and Terry Schumacher appeared to be the only realistic hurdles for Sternberg as the 50th hand of the final table was dealt. Tim West managed to cling on as the short stack for some time thereafter, but eventually succumbed in 4th place. By this point, the challenge of Schumacher appeared to be fading, as Riess continued to gain momentum. This pattern held steady until the elimination of Schumacher.

From there, Alan Sternberg and Ryan Riess began what was to be a drawn out heads up fight. The lead was traded several times over the next hundred hands, before finally, Riess began to cultivate a lead over Sternberg. The 2013 WSOP Main Event champion pressed onward to a near 5 to 1 chip-lead before Sternberg managed to secure a double up. His comeback was soon cut short though, when he looked down at 7x7x and received serious action from his adversary. Riess had woken up with AxKx and the chips flew in, with two kings on the board putting an end to proceedings. Ryan Riess wins this event for $716,088.

Final payouts are as folows:

1st – Ryan Riess – $716,088
2nd – Alan Sternberg – $491,081
3rd – Terry Schumacher – $315,726
4th – Tim West – $204,466
5th – Jason Koon – $157,599
6th – Cliff Josephy – $130,370

Article by Craig Bradshaw

More: WPT Tournament of Champions – Full coverage