2013 WSOP Main Event Recap
November 6, 2013
By Jeremy Olson
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Ryan Riess wins 2013 WSOP Main Event and $8.36M
10 years ago, Chris Moneymaker won the 2003 WSOP Main Event and inspired millions of future players with his rise from an amateur to a poker millionaire. Ryan Riess is one of these players, so it's only fitting that he captured the 2013 WSOP Main Event title on the 10th anniversary of Moneymaker's victory.
Riess, who's been a poker pro for a year, mentioned the man who inspired him after winning the Main Event and $8,361,570. "I've been dreaming about it for a long time, ever since I was 14 and saw (Chris) Moneymaker win it," he told WSOP reporters.
The man whom he beat heads-up, Jay Farber, could easily be compared to Moneymaker, a former accountant before his ME win. Farber works as a Las Vegas VIP host and nightclub promoter and won his WSOP Main Event seat through a satellite. Amazingly, the amateur player turned this satellite seat into a $5,174,357 second-place prize.
Farber and Riess aren't the only interesting stories behind the 2013 WSOP ME, so let's discuss the tournament in more detail, including how a big final table favorite found himself exiting the Rio a little early.
Trimming down the Field
Once again, the Main Event was huge as 6,352 players paid the $10,000 buy-in this year, which created a $59,714,169 prize pool. 648 players shared in the prize pool, with the lowest minimum payout being $19,106.
After seven days of play in July, the large starting field was trimmed down to just nine final table participants. These lucky nine players hailed from a combined five different countries, thus reinforcing the international appeal that the game of poker has. The tradition of delaying the final table until early November continued, with players taking almost a four-month break before returning to decide the champion.
Don't believe the Hype
Before the Main Event final table started, JC Tran got by far the most attention of any remaining player. The most obvious reason why is because he was the chip lead with 38 million. Of course, the fact that he had $8.6 million in tournament winnings to go along with heartwarming stories about his commitment to family didn't hurt publicity matters either.
Unfortunately for Tran, being the favorite in poker isn't always a good thing. This is especially the case when you experience a bad run of cards and can't get anything going. Tran desperately tried to hold on as long as possible, eventually winding up in fifth place and collecting $2,106,893.
Amir Lehavot was another player who gained a considerable amount of attention prior to the ME. First off, he was second in chips with 29.7 million, and had won the 2011 WSOP Pot-Limit Omaha Championship. Lehavot also became the first ever ME final table player to publicly sell shares of his action, offering up 30% to investors.
These investors weren't disappointed either, as their horse pulled out a third-place finish - good for $3,727,823. Still, Lehavot and his supporters would've much rather grabbed the first or second-place payout.
One more player worth discussing in depth is Sylvain Loosli. The Frenchman was inspired to take up poker after watching his countryman, Antoine Saout, finish third in the 2009 ME. Loosli started the day sixth in chips, but was hoping to ascend to first and become France's first Main Event winner. He certainly made a valiant run at the title, but busted out right before Lehavot in fourth place ($2,792,533).
A Fair Match
After Lehavot was eliminated in third place, the heads-up match between Riess and Farber was finalized. And it was set up to be quite a classic since Farber had 105 million chips, while Riess returned with just under 87 million. Given that the latter was a little more experienced than Farber, this seems like a very fair matchup.
The only unfair thing was how the cards ran for one of the players. As 10-time WSOP champ Doyle Brunson tweeted, "Riess has a hand every deal. Poor Farber hasn't had a chance. Not so easy to play when u don't have the best hand everytime."
This, combined with Riess' experience, gave the 23-year-old an advantage for most of heads-up play. It only took him 20 hands to grab the lead, and it required 91 hands to finish off his opponent. On the final hand, a desperate Farber moved all-in with Q-5(s), and Riess called with A-K(s). Farber got nothing from the board, and Riess was crowned the champion.
The Self-Proclaimed Best
Following his big win, Riess created a bit of a stir after making the comment, "I'm extremely excited. I'm excited for what the future holds...I just think I'm the best player in the world."
While winning the Main Event is certainly a prestigious honor, there are plenty of pros who begged to differ with the 'best in the world' comment. WSOP champ Eric Baldwin was one of these players as he tweeted, "Gave the kid the benefit of the doubt until that interview during Sportscenter. Far more disappointing than the performance is the lack of class. So 23 years old is now below the cutoff of being able to expect some class?"
Maybe Riess will need a longer resume and more experience to convince Baldwin and others that he's truly the world's best poker player. But one can't deny that winning the WSOP Main Event is no doubt an incredible accomplishment. And it's one that boosts Riess' career tournament winnings to $8,679,876.
2013 WSOP Main Event Final Table
1st - Ryan Riess (USA) - $8,361,570
2nd - Jay Farber (USA) - $5,174,357
3rd - Amir Lehavot (Israel) - $3,727,823
4th - Sylvain Loosli (France) - $2,792,533
5th - JC Tran (USA) - $2,106,893
6th - Marc-Etienne McLaughlin (Canada) - $1,601,024
7th - Michiel Brummelhuis (Netherlands) - $1,225,356
8th - David Benefield (USA) - $944,650
9th - Mark Newhouse (USA) - $733,224