GAUTENG, SOUTH AFRICA – World Series of Poker action continued Friday with the conclusion of the $10,000 buy-in, No-Limit Hold’em High Roller Event.

The third of six events scheduled for the second annual WSOP Africa, the High Roller Event was included in the schedule to cater to the best of the best here in South Africa.

The Thursday-start event was nestled among what can best be described as a “poker bonanza” with both the final table of Event #1, day two of Event #2 and a celebrity charity event all taking place simultaneously at the Emerald Resort Hotel and Casino.

The winner of the High Roller event was 34-year-old Johannesburg consultant, Rob Fenner. For the win, he was awarded $97,000 and the coveted WSOP Circuit gold ring. Both he and the runner-up, Kinesh Pather had taken an earlier shot at Event #2, the $560 buy-in NLH six max event, but after a day of play in the 189 player field, decided to jump ship and play in the higher stakes event before the close of registration.

“I purposely busted out of the six-max event so that I could play in the high roller event. I’m glad I did” said a smiling Fenner after the win.

Pather, who also yielded his stack in order to compete in the $10k buy-in No-Limit Hold’em Event was also pleased with his decision.

“I would say it turned out well,” said Pather with a laugh.

The high roller event drew 20 entrants, including the one and only Scotty Nguyen, who was unable to overcome the tough field of local professionals and finished in ninth place.

Nguyen was not at all perturbed by his results in the High Roller Event, as he has been having the time of his life here at the Emerald Resort and Casino. Check out Scotty’s video blogs of his antics here at the Emerald.  

With deep stacks and optimal play among the field, day one ended with seven players still remaining in the event. The final seven returned on day two and after a few hours of play were in the money.

The High Roller Event in-the-money finale will be included as bonus coverage along with streaming of the Main Event Final Table on Wednesday, February 29th at 8 pm local time, 10 am PT at WSOP.com.

Taking home third place in the High Roller event was Bennie Lingenfelder, Lingenfelder is a 40-year-old married entrepreneur from nearby Kempton Park. He collected $38,800 for his third place showing.

Heads up play would last an hour between Fenner and Pather, with Fenner coming away with top prize, worth $97,000 and the ring. Pather is a 47-year-old corporate director from Johannesburg. In addition to his success playing online tournaments, he has numerous local final table finishes and wins, including a seventh place finish in the 2009 All-Africa Poker tour Main Event. He states that his poker ambitions are to “Enjoy life, and to one day play with poker legend, Phil Hellmuth.” For his runner-up finish, Kinesh pocketed a handsome $58,200.

A consummate player who finished in 5th in the inaugural WSOP Africa Main Event, Fenner highly touts the WSOP coming to Africa and says that with the recent ban on online poker in the country, is the best thing that could happen to South African poker.

“The online poker ban has really hurt the economy in South Africa, you know and it came at a bad time as poker has grown tremendously here over the last few years.” Players are going to play regardless, whether in casinos or in friend’s garages, we play because we love the game. We hope the government reverses course, but in the meanwhile tournaments like WSOP Africa are helping to keep the up momentum we’ve built here over the years.”

Still to come are 3 events. See the complete WSOP Africa schedule and previous results here. WSOP Africa runs through February 27th. You can find the complete 2010/2011 WSOP CIRCUIT SCHEDULE here.

Media Contacts:

Marli Wolmarans

Emerald Casino and Resort

+27 16 982 8063