Yesterday we opined that the number of players that make up the Super High Roller fields was fairly compact and not prone to too much change. Not for the first time we’ve been shown up to be completely wrong.
Last year there were 50 unique players, this year 58, but how many played both? Have a think, got a number in your head? Good. Less than half is the answer, just 24 players who put up €100,000 in 2014 did the same in 2015. The usual slate of German High Rollers, Mike McDonald, Daniel Negreanu, Phil Ivey, Issac Haxton, Daniel Colman and Jason Mercier are, as you’d expect, amongst those who’ve played both years but rather than looking at those who’ve not returned for this year’s Super High Roller let’s instead take a look at some of the new faces in the field.
The 34 ‘newcomers’ who showed up this year can be roughly separated into three groups:
The High Roller/Super High Roller regs: Bryn Kenney, Andrew Chen, Dani Stern, Tony Gregg, Scott Seiver, JC Alvarado, Martin Jacobson, Mohsin Charania, Pratyush Buddiga and Stephen Chidwick
You know these guys by now, they’re the players who likely missed this event last year for reasons other than bankroll anxieties. Their winnings run into the millions rather than hundreds of thousands. They’ve all made Super High Roller final tables before and most have a major title to their name. Among their number there’s a PCA Super High Roller Champion (Seiver), a WSOP Main Event champion (Jacobson) a One Drop High Roller winner (Gregg), an EPT High Roller champion (Chen) and an EPT Grand Final winner (Charania).
Those hoping to turn a good run into a very good run: Sam Greenwood, Leonid Markin, Fedor Holz, George Danzer, Anthony Zinno, Max Silver, Byron Kaverman, Connor Drinan, Jason Koon and Jason Mo.
None of these players are rookies, indeed most are household names, but what connects most of them is that in the past 18-24 months they’ve been putting up results in High Roller events – or big events at any rate – that are bumping them upwards towards Super High Roller territory. Indeed some of this group have been a fixture in all of the Super High Rollers during Season 11 of the EPT.
Team PokerStars Pro George Danzer is the obvious example here. Since this event took place last year he’s won three WSOP bracelets and final tabled a further two events to win the WSOP Player of the Year. This though is his first Super High Roller.
Fedor Holz’s major success has of course come at the online felt. He took down the WCOOP Main Event for $1.3M and is starting to make inroads in the live arena having finished ninth in the EPT11 Malta Main Event.
We spoke to three-time WPT champion Anthony Zinno yesterday about his remarkable rise up the ranks and Byron Kaverman is another who’s had plenty of success on the other side of the pond and is now playing big events in Europe. He won two $25,000 High Rollers in the space of two days at The Aria in March, came second in one there in January and also finished fifth in the €25,000 High Roller at this every event in Season 10.
And whilst Connor Drinan might be best known for having his aces cracked by aces in the $1,000,000 Big One for One Drop he’s bounced back from that. A fourth place finish in HK$ 500,000 Super High Roller at the APPT 2014 Asia Championship of Poker, was followed up with a runner-up finish in the EPT11 Malta €25,000 High Roller.
The rest: Carlos Chadha, Besim Hot, Leon Tsoukernik, Mikita Badziakouski, Martin Kabrhel, Piotr Franczak, Imad Derwiche, Anton Astapau, Issac Lo, Dzmitry Urbanovich
The only thing that connects these players is that they’ve all played in this tournament. From the brilliant Dzmitry Urbanovich, who announced himself in Malta with four tournament wins, to Leon Tsoukernik, the man behind Kings Casino who when he plays, plays for high stakes and is in for three bullets.
Then you’ve got those who won a seat in the €10,000 Hyper-Turbo satellite last night. Anton Astapau and Imad Derwiche, who are both in on the cheap – well relatively so.
Carlos Chadha and Mikita Badziakouski both played the €25,000 Special Added High Roller in Malta, whilst Martin Kabrhel has been a fixture in High Roller events since taking down the €20,000 High Roller at Deauville in Season 6.
Regardless of what category these players fall into they’re all connected by the fact that they all play poker very well. They’ll play on today until the final table of eight is reached.
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