Ryan Riess Takes Lead Early in 2013 WSOP Main Event Heads-Up Match

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Ryan Riess turned a 20 million chip disadvantage into a 20 million chip lead in the early stages of heads-up play in the 2013 WSOP Main Event. (Tim Fiorvanti photo)

Just two men have a chance to win the 2013 World Series of Poker Main Event, and after an hour of heads-up play Ryan Riess has flipped the script on Jay Farber to take a solid lead in the race to become the next World Champion of poker.

After a few words from WSOP Tournament Director Jack Effel at the start of the day, he brought out the voice of the UFC, Bruce Buffer, to do the introductions and the official shuffle-up and deal. Before Farber made his entrance, someone in the same panda costume as the person who ran onto the stage on Monday night walked out to pump up ‘The Panda’s’ supporters.

Once the action got underway Farber’s lead immediately disappeared, with Riess getting to within half a big blind after seven hands, and within a single 25,000 chip (the smallest denomination on the table) at a point where the ante was 150,000. But each time Riess made a push in the early going, Farber had a quick answer and held on to the lead.

Then came the two biggest hands of the hour, with a big swing in one direction and then a massive 180 the other way. Farber opened on the button to 2 million and Riess three-bet him to 5 million, which Farber called in position. The flop was A 8 4. Riess bet 5 million again, Farber called, and the turn was the 7. Riess checked, Farber bet 8.2 million and Riess called, with the A hitting on the river.

This pot would either make Riess the chipleader or give Farber a massive lead. Riess took the initiative, betting 15 million, and Farber eventually folded. It was a tough fold for Farber, who had turned two pair with 7 4 only to be counterfeited on the river, but it was the right one as Riess held A K for river trip aces.

With that pot Riess would take the biggest lead of the day, but his time spent with over 110 million would be short-lived. Four hands later Riess would open to 2.5 million on the button and Farber called, with the flop coming down 7 3 3. Riess bet 3 million and Farber called. The turn was the 2, Farber checked, Riess bet 5 million and Farber unleashed a check-raise to 13,450,000. Riess thought it over for a minute and called.

The river was the 9 and Farber made a bet of 24.5 million, a bet that caused the pot to swell to almost 70 million, more than a third of the total chips in play. Riess went deep into the tank, and the crowd eventually got restless, shouting out all manner of things ranging from humorous to wholly inappropriate. Riess finally laid it down and Farber briefly reclaimed the lead with a monster bluff after his gutshot straight draw with 5 6 missed on the river. Riess couldn’t quite make the call with Q 7, his two-pair not enough for him to pull the trigger.

Riess recovered, though, and took the next pot and a few others in the meantime to open up a lead of over 22 million after the 200th hand of this final table.

2013 WSOP Main Event Final Table – Current Chip Counts

  1. Ryan Riess – 106,475,000
  2. Jay Farber – 84,200,000
  3. Amir Lehavot – $3,727,823 (Out in 3rd)
  4. Sylvain Loosli – $2,792,533 (Out in 4th)
  5. JC Tran – $2,106,893 (Out in 5th)
  6. Marc-Etienne McLaughlin – $1,601,024 (Out in 6th)
  7. Michiel Brummelhuis – $1,225,356 (Out in 7th)
  8. David Benefield – $944,650 (Out in 8th)
  9. Mark Newhouse – $733,224 (Out in 9th)
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Tim Fiorvanti

Tim Fiorvanti graduated from St. John's University with a B.S. in Journalism in 2008. After several years in the industry, he started working for BLUFF in the summer of 2010. He worked his way up at BLUFF and joined full time as a Senior Writer in April of 2012. Fiorvanti now serves as the Managing Editor of BLUFF. He's a tortured Mets and Jets fan, along with several other frustrating allegiances, but he's also a two-time defending BLUFF Fantasy Football Champion.
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