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Ryan Riess Wins 2017 World Poker Tour Seminole Hard Rock Poker Finale Main Event

2013 WSOP Main Event Champion Captures First WPT Title and Wins $716,088


Ryan Riess exploded into the poker consciousness when he won the 2013 World Series of Poker main event for $8,361,570. The 26-year-old poker pro from East Lansing, Michigan has had plenty of tournament success since then with a couple six-figure scores in the intervening years, but nothing to compare with the win he notched this week. Riess topped a field of 349 entries in the 2017 World Poker Tour Seminole Hard Rock Poker Finale $10,000 no-limit hold’em main event, capturing his first WPT title and the top prize of $716,088. This is the second largest score of his career, bringing his lifetime live tournament earnings to more than $10 million.

Coming into the six-handed final table 2011 WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star main event champion Alan Sternberg was the chip leader with Riess sitting behind the second largest stack. Sternberg started off the final table in dominant fashion, eliminating Cliff Josephy in sixth place ($130,370) and breaking the 6 million chip mark as a result. The rest of the table’s stacks only totaled roughly 7.5 million combined, so it looked like Sternberg would dominate the table for the time being.

Jason Koon, who was at his fifth final table of the year, was eliminated in fifth place when he ran a three-barrel bluff that got picked off. He earned $157,599 for his latest deep run. The 500 Card Player Player of the Year points he earned for this latest score were enough to move him into 15th place in the overall POY standings, which are presented this year by Commerce Hotel & Casino.

Tim West was the next to hit the rail, eliminated by Riess. That helped him close the gap with Sternberg, leaving Belgium’s Terry Schumacher the short stack during three-handed play. Riess was able to pick up pocket nines in the small blind facing an all-in from Schumacher on the button. Schumacher could only show the JHeart Suit7Heart Suit and after he failed to improve he was eliminated in third place, taking home $315,726.

That set up the final heads-up showdown Sternberg, who had 7,715,000 in chips, and Riess with 6,245,000. The two battled it out for 105 hands, with several lead changes along the way. By the time the final hand arose Riess was in the lead, but only had Sternberg covered by a couple big blinds.

With betting limits at 100,000 – 200,000 with an ante of 25,000, Reiss raised to 450,000 from the button and Sternberg made it 1,150,000 to go. Reiss announced that he was all-in and Sternberg made the call with the 7Spade Suit7Diamond Suit. It was a classic coinflip, with Riess holding the AHeart SuitKHeart Suit. The board ran out KClub Suit6Spade Suit6Diamond SuitKDiamond Suit10Club Suit to give Riess the full house and the pot, eliminating Sternberg in second place. He earned $491,081 for his impressive run.

Here is a look at the payouts and POY points awarded at this final table:

Place Player Earnings (USD) POY Points
1 Ryan Riess $716,088 1200
2 Alan Sternberg $491,081 1000
3 Terry Schumacher $315,726 800
4 Tim West $204,466 600
5 Jason Koon $157,599 500
6 Cliff Josephy $130,370 400

Photo courtesy of WPT / Joe Giron/