The 2016 Aria Super High Roller Bowl in Las Vegas has now concluded with a new champion crowned. That man is none other than Germany’s Rainer Kempe, who defeated his countryman Fedor Holz in an intense heads-up match.
Kempe’s victory wasn’t a small one. He earned a life-changing $5 million for winning the tournament. That’s far and away his biggest career payday, and brings him to nearly $7 million in career live tournament winnings now.
The young German didn’t have it easy on the fourth and final day of this major summer poker event. Holz was a formidable opponent and refused to back down to Kempe’s big stack.
The two traded punches for hours once heads-up play began. Kempe started with a big chip advantage, but Holz battled back to take the lead a few times. The aggressive duel dragged on and on, one both players will likely never forget, but in the end, Kempe came out on top.
Wednesday’s action didn’t conclude until 1 am Thursday morning, with heads-up play lasting over three hours. Holz didn’t secure the title, but the $3.5 million payday for second should soften that blow.
Erik Seidel finished in 3rd place ($2.4 million) Phil Hellmuth busted 4th ($1.6 million), Matt Berkey went out in 5th ($1.1 million), Bryn Kenney was 6th ($800,000), and Dan Shak was the 7th place finisher ($600,000). Dan Smith was the unfortunate “bubble boy” on Tuesday.
In its second year, the Aria Super High Roller Bowl was quite a hit. Poker fans on social media raved about the excitement and television production. Poker Central aired the first couple of hours each day on a one-hour delay on Twitch and then CBS Sports Network took over the action for the remainder.
Ali Nejad and Nick Schulman provided the commentary. Both are popular poker TV announcers that have been doing this for years.
The tournament itself made for great television. Forty-nine of the game’s brightest stars ponied up the $300,000 admission fee for a chance at poker glory. For four days, poker fans got to see some sick hands, crazy bad beats, and a constantly revolving leaderboard.
With the conclusion of the Super High Roller Bowl, the World Series of Poker opens its doors. Play began on June 1 with the Casino Employees tournament, a $565 event only open to those in the gaming industry only.
There were 731 players registered for the event on Wednesday and only 23 are left heading into the second and final day. Leading at start of Day Two are Spencer Bennett, the chip leader with 627,000, Kerryjane Craigie in second with 323,000.
But all eyes on Thursday will be on Colossus II, which kicks off at 10 am PT in Las Vegas at the Rio.