The WSOP Main Event final table has come to a not-so-surprising conclusion, as heavy favorite and poker professional Ryan Riess took out amateur Jay Farber heads up just minutes ago to lay his claim to the coveted platinum, diamond and ruby-encrusted bracelet and secure over $8.3 million dollar in winnings!
The match itself only lasted several hours, with Riess (shown in the picture to the right – courtesy of PokerNews.com) outplaying the under matched Farber in almost every spot that counted, especially when it came to preflop 3-bets and outplaying his opponent after the flop. While it also didn’t hurt that Riess caught a great rush of premium hands to end the match handily, there was hardly any reason to think that Riess was going to lose his grip on the heavy chip lead he had amassed.
Now while I’m making it seem that Ryan Riess played like a poker god and had the heads-up confrontation locked up, there were moments during the match where Jay Farber actually had a chance to swing the momentum his way several times.
If you were watching on ESPN like I was, Farber pulled off what I would probably call one of the biggest bluffs of this decade in ANY event, when he fired a $26+ million chip bet on the river with 6-high (that’s NOT a typo, he had 5 6 offsuit), causing Riess to tank for almost 6 minutes before mucking a small 2 pair (7’s and 3’s). Before that huge river bet, Farber also check-called the flop and check-RAISED the turn. This hand could’ve been a huge turning point in the match, not just for Riess, but for ANYONE in that particular spot.
But Riess, like a true professional, kept amazing composure after that hand and continued to take down 2 sizable pots right after that hand played out – he also held onto the chip lead, albeit a narrow one. Later on in the match, with Farber holding on for dear life, he would miraculously catch a 9 on the turn to complete a King-high straight. This would prove to be his LAST big pot that Jay Farber would win during the final….
On the final hand, with Farber holding only 11 big blinds in his stack (blinds were at $600k/$1.2M and a $150k ante), pushed his Q 5 spades all in, which was snap-called by Riess’s A K hearts. He was fighting back tears before the river card even came, knowing he was about to win an emotional roller coaster of a final table and the biggest score of his poker career. The board would brick out and Riess’s rail went wild and stormed the ESPN stage, celebrating their man’s long-awaited victory.
Riess would later go on to say in his ESPN exit interview that he believed he was the “best poker player in the world.” While the 23-year old may be just that right now, only time will tell if Riess can truly back up such a prideful claim. For now, I think he’ll settle for WSOP Main Event Champion….
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