Ryan Riess, a 23-year-old professional poker player from Michigan, has become the champion of the World Series of Poker (WSOP) 2013 Main Event, which concluded late on Tuesday. After beating his opponent in a short heads-up match, he collected the first-place prize of $8.4 million and the championship title.
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When he began playing on Tuesday, Riess was lagging behind his opponents as far as chips were concerned. But he cleverly varied his gaming style to separate the other players from their chips and get into the lead position.
When the last hand of the match was being played, Jay Farber, the 29-year-old club promoter from Las Vegas, bet all in with a Queen and a Five. Riess, who had a King, guessed rightly that his opponent did not have a good enough hand and called his bet. Moments later, he held the diamond-studded WSOP bracelet.
Expressing his gratitude to his friends and family members, he said: “I just think I’m the best player in the world.”
Sharing his experiences as the runner-up of the WSOP 2013 Main Event, Farber called it “a great experience.” Although he has won a huge pot of $5.2 million, he said that he will continue working as a club promoter as “the publicity will be good for business.”
Since he is an amateur poker player without any bankroll, Farber had requested investors to purchase stakes in his championship. Accordingly, the investors will receive half a million dollars in place of every thousand dollars invested.
The WSOP 2013 Main Event commenced in July with a field of 6,352 players, which boiled down to just nine players over a period of seven days. The finalists met again on Monday to play for the $8.4 million pot. After nine hours, only two of them were left playing—Riess and Farber.
At times, Riess appeared as an underdog in spite of his chip advantage over Farber. Commentators on ESPN kept praising his opponent’s background and his ability to re-create the Moneymaker phenomenon. They referred to Farber as the second Chris Moneymaker, the amateur poker player who won the WSOP 2004 Main Event.
Riess is the sixth professional poker player to win the WSOP championship, but he says that his source of inspiration is Chris Moneymaker. He said: “Ever since I saw Chris Moneymaker win this event in 2003, I knew it was something I wanted to experience too. I’m surprised it came so quickly.”