It looked as if Ryan Riess had the 2013 World Series of Poker Main Event won once, only for Jay Farber to catch a straight, double up and make a serious run at the title. When a second opportunity presented itself, Riess wouldn’t let it go to waste.
After wearing Farber down, Riess opened to 2.5 million on the button and Farber three-bet all in for 14 million. Riess snap-called with A K and put Farber’s tournament at risk for the second time with Q 5. The J T 4 flop reduced Farber’s outs to just three fives, while the 3 put Riess on the brink of victory. The 4 caused Riess to crumple into a heap on the ground as everyone on his rail rushed to pile on top of him.
“Just overwhelmed with joy, just so happy,” said Riess of his reaction. “Just started crying. I was speechless. I was so excited waiting 100 days or whatever to play this and I’m really just speechless, just so happy that all my friends and family were able to come out and support me.”
The 23-year-old Michigan native earned $8,361,570, along with a specially designed WSOP bracelet valued at over $500,000. It’s Riess’ first WSOP victory, but it comes after less than two years experience as a touring tournament poker player.
Riess credits his time traveling to WSOP Circuit stops as a strong training ground for himself and a number of other players who broke out recently.
“The Circuit is actually lot harder than most people think,” said Riess. “A lot of people that play the Circuit crushed it this summer, winning multiple bracelets. I think it’s a great way for people who don’t have $10,000 just to go play a $10,000 tournament. You can go to a Circuit stop, bring a couple of thousand (dollars) and play multiple tournaments, test your skill.”
On the 229th hand at the final table, the first all in that could potentially end the Main Event developed rather quickly. Ryan Riess min-raised to 2 million on the button and Farber called in the big blind with just over 16 big blinds left in his stack. The flop was K Q 5, Farber checked, Riess bet 2.5 million and Farber check-raised all in for 16.3 million.
Riess quickly called and his K T was the better hand of the two, but he’d still have to fade Farber’s J T for two streets. Everyone in the theater was on their feet and each player headed over to their rails to see out the hand on the TV screens above the table. The turn was the 9 and Farber made the nut straight, guaranteeing survival through this hand. Riess could still chop the pot, but the Q was a brick, delivering the double for Farber.
After a short break Farber continued to chip away, and then came one of the most talked about hands of the heads-up match so far. Farber raised to 2.5 million on the button and Riess called, bringing a flop of K 3 2. Riess checked, Farber bet 2.8 million and Riess called, with the 9 falling on the turn. Farber bet 6 million and Riess called again, bringing the 3 on the river.
Farber brought the heat on the river, cutting out a bet of 13 million and pushing it into the middle. Riess thought it over for some time with just Q J and eventually called with just queen-high. Farber had the flush, though, and his 9 7 was enough to reduce what was once a deficit of over 10-to-1 to less than 2-to-1.
Rather than panic following such a momentous call, Riess went on the offensive and wore Farber down yet again. Most of the pots were taken down with three and four-bets preflop, but a check-raise on a J 8 6 A board earned Riess a 20 million chip pot. Riess took down two more pots on the turn and then won a pot that would put Farber on the brink for the second time.
Riess raised to 2.5 million on the button, Farber called and the flop was J 9 4, which both players checked. The 9 on the turn brought a check from Farber, a bet of 3 million from Riess and a call from Farber. The river was the A, Farber checked one more time and Riess bet 8 million. Farber called with 4 3 but Riess had K 9 for trips, leaving Farber with just 10 big blinds.
After erasing the deficit early and then setting himself up for the win, Riess claimed victory on the 90th hand of heads-up play and the 261st hand of the final table, adding his name to the annals of poker history. He dominated through both days of play, and clinched the victory in style.
2013 World Series of Poker Main Event – Final Results
- Ryan Riess – $8,361,570
- Jay Farber – $5,174,357
- Amir Lehavot – $3,727,823
- Sylvain Loosli – $2,792,533
- JC Tran – $2,106,893
- Marc-Etienne McLaughlin – $1,601,024
- Michiel Brummelhuis – $1,225,356
- David Benefield – $944,650
- Mark Newhouse – $733,224
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