Rozvadov, Czech Republic (2 November 2017) – The first high roller event at the 2017 World Series of Poker Europe was a star-studded affair, featuring some of the world’s most recognizable poker faces. There were former world champs, November Niners, bracelet winners galore, and someone in the field (usually more than one) held virtually every major tournament poker accomplishment. After a long, hard-fought final table that lasted about five hours, it was Niall Farrell holding all the chips when the dust settled. He bested a field of 113 entries to earn his first WSOP bracelet and €745,287.
This victory offers vindication for Farrell, who had come achingly close to a bracelet before. At the 2016 WSOP, he finished runner up in the $1,500 Shootout event. And a little more than a week later he made the final table of the $111,111 High Roller for One Drop, but again fell short. But now he counts himself among the club of WSOP bracelet winners, among his numerous other poker accomplishments. “I feel fantastic. It’s so nice to finally get over the line especially after losing heads-up twice. Especially in a field like this, it’s pretty prestigious.”
Farrell had a strong contingent of friends and supporters on the rail, including many of his countrymen. When the last river card was dealt, they erupted in celebration. But for Farrell their presence was important throughout the tournament. “It’s always good to have support behind you, people who want you to do well. It’s easy as a poker player to not want others to do well, feeling semi entitled to stuff. But having boys on the rail pure rooting for you is just amazing.”
Pollak, for his part, had also come close to WSOP victory in the past. At this year’s WSOP Main Event back in July, he made the final table, and nearly earned the most coveted prize in poker. But he eventually was eliminated in third place, and now came up short once more. Even without a victory, Pollak’s been having an amazing year in WSOP events. His two top-three finishes earned him over $4,000,000 combined.
The end of this event was a bit of a French reunion from the final tables of the WSOP Main Event in Las Vegas. Benjamin Pollak, Antoine Saout, and Sylvain Loosli, have all made the WSOP Main Event final table – Pollak and Saout as recently as a few months ago – and they all made tonight’s final table as well. Pollak performed the best from the French contingent, finishing runner-up to Farrell.
One of the few players in poker history to perform better than the three Frenchmen at the WSOP Main Event joined them at the final table tonight. Ryan Riess, the 2013 WSOP Main Event champion, made this high roller final table as well, but eventually bowed out in fourth place (€230,071).
Riess had the best finish among former WSOP Main Event champs in the field, a group that included Chris Ferguson and Phil Hellmuth. Other familiar faces in the event included Mike Leah, Igor Kurganov, Sam Trickett, Adrian Mateos, Ole Schemion, Patrik Antonius, Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier, Bryn Kenney, Liv Boeree, Sam Grafton, David Peters, Nick Petrangelo, Anthony Zinno, Davidi Kitai, Mustapha Kanit, and Pierre Neuville.
“Everyone is very good,” Farrell said about the strong field. “Poker players always think they’re the best player in the field, but to be honest I would say I’m in the top third, because it’s quite tough. A lot of it was just good fortune. I played really well. At the final table I made a couple of small mistakes as I was getting a bit tired, but up until then the previous day and everything I played really well and I’m really proud of how I played. In the end I got on the right side of some of the all-ins and won!”
The tournament started Wednesday with 104 entries. By the end of Day 1, only 45 remained, led by Phillip Gruissem. He led a strong German contingent which made up four of the top five spots on the leaderboard. Claas Segebrecht was in second, Rainer Kempe in third, and Dietrich Fast in fifth. But of that group, only Segebrecht made the final table. He finished in third place. Gruissem also made the money, and he was the first in-the-money bustout.
Late-registration remained open until the start of Day 2, and there were an additional nine entries before Day 2 began. Among them was Chris Ferguson, who won his sixth career WSOP bracelet Wednesday night, just barely too late to jump into the High Roller before Day 1 wrapped up.
The 113 entries generated a prize pool of €2,651,545, and the top 17 players made the money
Here are the final table payouts. Click here for full results.
1 – Niall Farrell - €745,287
2 – Benjamin Pollak - €460,622
3 – Claas Segebrecht - €321,863
4 – Ryan Reiss - €230,071
5 – Sylvain Loosli - €168,323
6 – Andre Leathem - €126,113
7 – Stefan Schillhabel - €98,819
8 – Antoine Saout - €96,209