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WPT on FSN $100,000 Super High Roller Part I: High Rollers Firing Multiple Bullets

The WPT SHR Final Table

Season XI of the World Poker Tour continued this week as a new episode — Part I of the $100,000 Super High Roller — aired on Fox Sports Network (FSN). The tournament originally took place alongside the $25,000 WPT Championship and attracted 17 players, four of which fired two bullets to bring the total number of entries to 21. Here’s my recap of the episode that featured one of the year’s biggest buy-in tournaments.

The High Rollers: When it comes to high-roller events, there is a usual cast of characters of a mix of pros and businessmen. In this tournament, the former group included Tom Marchese, Jason Mercier, Yevgeniy Timoshenko, Daniel Perper, Andrew Robl, Andrew Lichtenberger, Erik Seidel, David “Doc” Sands and Marvin Rettenmaier, while players like Jim Courtney, Robert Mercer, Bill Klein, and Cary Katz represented the latter.

The field also included Steven Silverman, who you may recall just won the first-ever WPT Alpha8 event in South Florida for $891,660. You can read all about that by clicking here. Anyway, if you don’t know whom the aforementioned players are, then I suggest you familiarize yourself as these are truly poker’s high rollers. As long as there are big, six-figure buy-in events in poker, these are the players you'll grow most accustomed to seeing.

Seidel the First to Go: Poker Hall of Famer Erik Seidel won the inaugural WPT Super High Roller back in Season 9, but he didn’t have the same luck two years later as he was the first to go. In one hand, the flop read {j-Hearts}{6-Spades}{5-Clubs} when Seidel bet 45,000 holding the {a-Diamonds}{a-Clubs} and received a call from Timoshenko, who had flopped top set with the {j-Diamonds}{j-Clubs}. Seidel check-called a bet of 45,000 on the {6-Hearts} turn and then check-called 120,000 on the {2-Hearts} river. Seidel, who was eliminated a few hands later, could only laugh.

Katz and Marchese, the latter of those two being the event’s defending champion, followed Seidel out the door, as did Rettenmaier, the only player in history to win back-to-back WPT events.

Let’s Go Again: Registration and re-entry was still open on Day 2, and both Seidel and Katz decided to fork over another $100,000. Mercier followed this example and fired a second bullet after busting his first early on Day 2 (Jean-Noel Thorel was the fourth player to fire two bullets). Others who got in on the action were Season 9 Ones to Watch* Joseph Cheong and businessman Ray Faltinsky. By the time registration came to a close, there had been 21 entries that created a prize pool of over $2 million.

*Click here to check out the new Ones to Watch for Season XII.

Here’s how action stacked up at the start of the final table, which kicked off with the blinds at 8,000/16,000/2,000.

WPT Season XI Super High Roller Final Table

Another shot of the final table.
Another shot of the final table.

1Joseph Cheong1,652,000 (103 BBs)
2Andrew Robl147,000 (9 BBs)
3Jim Courtney1,684,000 (105 BBs)
4Steven Silverman1,279,000 (79 BBs)
5Dan Perper150,000 (9 BBs)
6David “Doc” Sands1,382,000 (86 BBs)

Those Are Some Big Hands: On the first hand of the final table, action folded to a short-stacked Robl in the small blind and he looked down at the {a-Spades}{a-Hearts} and was no doubt doing somersaults in his head. Even though he was the short stack, he opted just to limp. Amazingly, Courtney looked down at the {a-Diamonds}{a-Clubs} in the big blind and moved all in. Obviously Robl couldn’t get his stack in fast enough.

“I don’t think in 11 season of the World Poker Tour we’ve ever seen both the blinds pick up two aces, especially on deal number one,” a flabbergasted Mike Sexton exclaimed. Indeed, it was a rare occurrence and the entire table couldn’t seem to believe what was happening.

To make things even more interesting, the flop came down {2-Clubs}{q-Clubs}{5-Clubs} to give Courtney a freeroll to a club, which would come in 43% of the time. Fortunately for Robl, neither the {4-Spades} turn nor {5-Hearts} river was a club and he stayed alive.

What Are the Odds: After losing with pocket jacks the hand before (which you can view in the clip below), Perper, who finished fourth in the same event the year before, looked down at the {q-Spades}{q-Hearts} and opened for 50,000 with the blinds at 10,000/20,000/3,000. Cheong then made it 125,000 holding the {8-Spades}{8-Hearts} on the button, the blinds folded and Perper moved all in for 188,000 more. Cheong snap-called and discovered the bad news.

According to the PokerNews Odds Calculator, Perper had an 81.31% chance of surviving the hand, though Cheong would get lucky 18.23% of the time. The {2-Hearts}{6-Hearts}{9-Diamonds} flop wasn’t particularly interesting, though Cheong called for a seven on the turn for a sweat. The dealer must not have heard him because instead the {J-Spades} was burned and turned. That made Perper a huge 95.45% favorite and meant Cheong needed one of the two remaining eights on the river to eliminate his opponent, which would happen just 4.55% of the time.

The dealer burned one last time and revealed the{4-Diamonds} on the river. Perper doubled to 674,000 on the hand and breathed a big sigh of relief.

Here’s the hand where Perper lost with pocket jacks:

Robl Leaves Empty Handed: In the last hand of the broadcast, Cheong min-raised to 48,000 from the cutoff with the {10-Diamonds}{4-Diamonds} only to have Robl three-bet all in for 204,000 from the button with the {k-Clubs}{q-Clubs}. Courtney then looked down at the {k-Hearts}{k-Diamonds} in the small blind and snap-called. The big blind folded, as did Cheong, and the cards were turned up.

Robl shook his head up and down and said, “I did not like the snap-call.” Indeed, Robl was dominated. The {4-Spades}{9-Spades}{10-Hearts} flop delivered him a gutshot straight draw to a jack, but neither the {8-Hearts} turn nor {6-Clubs} river completed it. Robl, who finished runner-up the year before, was out in sixth place without a dime to show for it.

Tune in Next Week: Part II of the $100,000 Super High Roller is set to air on Sunday, September 8 on FSN, so be sure to check your local listings. If by chance you miss it, check back next week for the latest recap of all the action here on PokerNews.

Who will be the next player to add his name to this prestigious list of champions?

Past WPT $100,000 Super High Roller Champions

Season 9Erik Seidel$1,118,280 
Season 10Tom Marchese$1,308,405 

*Pictures courtesy of World Poker Tour.

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