This past weekend, ARIA Resort & Casino hosted two $25,000 high roller events over as many days. In the first, Max Silver topped a field of 41 entries to take home a $432,960 first-place prize, albeit amid drama as a player from the $125 buy-in nightly was mistakenly placed — and subsequently played for several hours – in the high roller field.
A day removed from that memorable tournament, a second $25,000 buy-in high roller, the High Roller IX, was held alongside the opening day of the WPT500. It was a packed room, but the high roller chugged along with such players as Kyle Julius, Jason Mercier, Bryn Kenney, and Sorel Mizzi taking a shot.
However, all of those players failed to cash. Instead, it was a final table filled with superstars of the game, and when all was said and done Andrew "Lucky Chewy" Lichtenberger emerged as the last man standing to capture a $398,160 first-place prize.
Final Table Results
*Denotes heads-up deal
The tournament actually lasted until the early morning hours, and around 7 a.m. Lichtenberger and his sole remaining opponent, Erik Seidel, opted to strike a deal in which the former locked up $360,090, the latter got $354,000, and $38,160 was left on the table.
According to PokerTelegraph, the final hand happened when Seidel shoved all in from the button holding the and Lichtenberger called with the . The flop paired Seidel to give him the lead, and he maintained it on the turn. However, an spiked on the river to give Lichtenberger Broadway and the win.
PokerNews caught up with "Lucky Chewy" in the halls of the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino to ask him some follow-up questions on the win.
PokerNews: Right out of the gate you notched a big summer win. Granted, it wasn't a WSOP win, but it must still feel good to start off so strong. That the case?
Lichtenberger: It feels amazing. I always try to play a bunch online before I come out to Vegas for the summer because I feel like it really helps me hone my skills. It was very rewarding to have it payoff relatively quickly this year. I feel incredibly fortunate to have had a nice score right off the bat.
The $25K tournaments at Aria have grown in popularity. Have you played many in the past?
Yeah. I probably started playing more at the end of last year. I had a second in one of them. I think they're great events. Cary [Katz] does a great job putting them on, and having no juice if you show up on time is pretty cool. It's a great atmosphere, and a nice crowd of players. Most everyone is friendly with one another.
The day before there was a bit of controversy when a $125 nightly players got into the $25K by mistake. You were playing. What are your thoughts?
I would be speculating if I said whether or not he knew because I don't know the guy. It seems like the situation may not have been handled optimally just taking a glance at what the Nevada gaming laws are. It's possible that the interpretation would have been to cancel the tournament, refund the players, and restart it. I don't even know if that's the best resolution necessarily.
I would feel horrible at this point if some of the winners had to give some of their money back. I don't know what the solution is going to be, but it's going to be interesting to see what happens as I assume they're going to accommodate players in some way, especially the players that were knocked out by him.
Did you get to play with this player in question? If so, what was he like?
I played with him briefly. Just an amateur player. At the time there was no way for me to know that he wasn't [playing in the right tournament]. I think it was just a cashier error, and that's that.
Will you be playing the $500K Super High Roller Bowl?
Yeah, my intention is to play. Haven't bought in yet or anything, but I'm going to be around Vegas for the rest of the summer and I'm looking forward to it.