PCA 2014: Ryan Riess looking to prove himself on the $100k stage
Ryan Riess, aka 'The Beast', won the World Series of Poker Event a couple of months back to pocket $8,361,570. Since then, bar one private nine-handed sit & go, Riess has played no poker. How does the reigning world champion go about breaking his duck? He plays a $100,000 Super High Roller, of course. After his WSOP win, Riess had made the bold statement that he was the best player in the world. While some coughed pretty loudly about it, you've got to give it Riess, he's prepared to back up his claims by taking on a swathe of other contenders for the crown.
Unfortunately for Riess, today was not his day. He had started well, taking his 250,000 stack up to 300,000 by the first break and close to 400,000 approaching the second. Then it all started going wrong. Two brutal hands later he dropped to 175,000. A grim cooler against Paul Newey finally sent the world champ packing just before the third break.
Flopping a king-high flush against an ace-high flush is not a hand you're likely to get away from. Tobias Reinkemeier had opened from early position with pocket tens and was called by Riess in the cut-off and Newey in the big blind. An all spade flop saw all three players get it in with Riess drawing dead on his first $100,000 bullet. Riess told us that he was only playing the one bullet, but re-entries are open until play resumes tomorrow morning. He may yet feel the pull to ante up again. His bank account is certainly large enough to peel another $100,000.
We caught up with Riess to find out about his first foray into the world of Super High Rollers (before he busted).
"It's hard for me because I've never played with any of these players. Ever. I've never played one hand against any of them," said Riess. "I don't know any background on any of them so it's hard for to figure them out. It's tough, it's very hard. I'm sure in tournaments to come it's going to be a little bit easier because I'm going to have a little bit of background. I called Mike McDonald down on the river of a hand that maybe I'm meant to fold. I don't know. He's playing very good today."
Super High Rollers are not for the faint-hearted and Riess will certainly be back to play more. He's playing the $25,000 High Roller and the $10,000 Main Event here, and has scheduled a virgin trip to Melbourne for the Aussie Millions where he'll be playing all the big events, too. He's taking his position as world champ seriously, even if it was something that his parents didn't initially support.
"Originally they weren't that supportive because I was playing at college and it was kind of taking away from my school, but in 2012 I went out and played a tournament for $277,000 or something. After that they were like, 'Graduate from school then do whatever you want.'," said Riess.
Riess graduated in hospitality business with an emphasis on, somewhat unsurprisingly, casino management and then, you know, won $8m. All pretty standard stuff. He'll probably end up winning the High Roller later this festival.
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Rick Dacey is a staff writer for the PokerStars Blog.