Brian Rast has had some tremendous success in the poker world, but the number of opportunities any poker player has to win $7.5 million in one tournament are extremely limited, to say the least.
Rast took full advantage, surviving a rollercoaster ride of a final table on the way to ultimately defeating Scott Seiver heads-up to win the inaugural $500,000 Super High Roller Bowl.
With his family and friends assembled around him, Rast smiled widely as he declared this to be an even greater experience than his 2011 Poker Players Championship victory
“It’s a little surreal, it really hasn’t sunk in yet,” said Rast. “I actually think I’m getting happier as time passes, just because the process of staying focused is so consuming that right after it happened I wasn’t ready to process that I won. That was an amazing tournament.”
Rast pointed out that three times in this tournament he was all in in a major spot involving pocket threes, and while some of those hands didn’t swing his way all the chips ended up in front of him by the time the final river card hit.
After trading the lead with Seiver time and time again at this final table, it was only appropriate that those two would square off for the title. The chips swung back in Rast’s direction for good when Seiver tried to bluff him off the second-nut spade flush on a four-flush board and it didn’t work, but it took quite a bit more work to finish him off.
Rast grinded Seiver down, and on the 173rd hand of the final table it all came to an abrupt end. Seiver raised to 380,000, Rast three-bet to 1,040,000 and Seiver four-bet all in. After getting a count, Rast called with A 9 and it was a race with Seiver’s pocket fives. The Q 9 2 flop put Seiver on the ropes and the K turn put Rast on the brink of a championship. The 6 river was not one of the two outs Rast needed to dodge and he was quickly mobbed on stage by his friends in celebration.
Erik Seidel might not have won $7.5 million this time around, but after going out on the bubble in the WSOP One Drop High Roller one week ago he avoided that fate on an even bigger scale by making the money as one of the shorter stacks coming into the final day at the Aria. Things did not go his way on Day 3, and after Connor Drinan and Timofey Kuznetsov each took their turns slipping to the bottom Seidel fell hard after dropping a pot to Rast.
After Seiver opened for a raise, Seidel shoved his last 13 big blinds with A Q and Seiver called with 7 7. Seidel got the A Q 3 flop he was looking for, but the 7 turn gave Seiver the lead back in a big way and the 6 sealed Seidel’s fate as the seventh place finisher.
Tom Marchese’s stack was crippled when Kuznetzov shoved with K K and Marchese tried to isolate with A K. When the board ran out dry Marchese was left with just over four big blinds, which he got all in from the big blind on the very next hand with 8 6. He was up against David Peters’ K J and Marchese was drawing dead by the turn of a Q Q 3 K A runout, settling for sixth.
Drinan was the short stack at this point, but got a lucky turn and river against Peters as his A T got a T turn and T river to crack K K after a Q 8 5 flop. As Rast continued to climb and passed the 10 million mark, grabbing more than half the chips in play, Peters would not recover. Peters eventually shoved with A 6 and Drinan took the rest of his chips with A T as it ran out 8 4 2 7 Q to send Peters home in fifth.
When four-handed play began Drinan, Kuznetsov and Seiver were all bunched up with Rast holding a significant edge, and that’s how things carried into the dinner break.
Seiver started his rush to the top at the expense of Kuznetsov, a high stakes regular known as ‘Trueteller’ online who didn’t have a single live tournament cash coming into this $500,000 tournament. Rast raised in the cutoff, Seiver called on the button and Kuznetsov called in the big blind with the flop falling K 9 5. Kuznetsov checked, Rast bet 385,000, Seiver called and Kuznetzov shoved for 1,775,000. Rast folded and Seiver snap-called with 9 9. Kuznetsov needed runners with K T, and while he did get the Q on the turn for a sweat the 6 river was a brick, earning Kuznetsov $2,150,000 in his first lifetime cash.
Rast and Seiver traded the lead several times, but two similar showdowns involving both of them and Drinan drastically shifted the landscape. The first pitted the two big stacks as Rast completed the small blind, Seiver raised to 420,000, Rast three-bet to 1,130,000 and Seiver eventually four-bet shoved. Rast quickly called with K K and had Seiver in a world of hurt with 8 8 until the Q T 8 flop flipped the script and put Seiver in dominating position. Rast picked up a flush draw on the 4 turn but the 2 river gave Seiver 14.45 of the 21.6 million chips in play.
Four hands later Rast raised on the button, Drinan shoved for 26 bb’s from the big blind. Rast called with 8 8 but Drinan showed Q Q, putting almost all of Rast’s chips on the line in a dramatic turn of events. The 4 3 3 flop was a clean one but the 8 once again changed everything, putting Drinan on the brink. The K was paint, but not the kind Drinan was looking for, and just like that he was out in third, leaving Seiver and Rast to play for the title.
Rast was able to make the big call when he had to for his tournament life, and after winning one final race the Super High Roller Bowl title was his. With wins in two of poker’s largest buy-in events, Rast has pushed himself into some truly rarefied air in the annals of the game’s history
- Brian Rast – $7,525,000
- Scott Seiver – $5,160,000
- Connor Drinan – $3,225,000
- Timofey Kuznetsov – $2,150,000
- David Peters – $1,505,000
- Tom Marchese – $1,075,000
- Erik Seidel – $860,000
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