The countdown to the year’s biggest event has begun and over the next 25 days, Poker Central will introduce the entire 2017 Super High Roller Bowl field. From the world’s best high-stakes players, to online crushers and successful businessmen, poker’s most exclusive event has it all. Follow Poker Central’s “25 Days of SHRBowl” to know who will be competing when cards get in the air on May 28th.
It is hard to imagine that two players with nearly $10 million in combined tournament earnings could boast such impressive tournament resumes without having a breakout win to their credit. That is the harsh reality of tournament poker though, that only one person actually breaks through in each event.
Until last summer, Pratyush Buddiga and Sam Soverel had yet to break through and were two of the world’s best without a signature win to call their own. Over the course of a few months, that quickly changed. Soverel won his first World Series of Poker bracelet in June and Buddiga claimed his first major High Roller title in August.
The EPT13 Barcelona €25,000 High Roller victory was the culmination of years of close calls for Buddiga. The Colorado-native has six-figure scores dating back to 2013 and an honor that no one else in the poker world can match, a Scripps National Spelling Bee title from 2002. That was over a decade ago though and since, Buddiga traveled the globe and turned himself into one of the poker world’s most consistent players.
2013 was the first year Buddiga made a big splash outside of the United States. He final tabled the HK$1,000,000 buy-in GuangDong Asia Millions Main Event in Macau, finishing 8th for a $772,000 score, before following that result with wins and final table finishes in Canada, Barcelona and London.
A year later, Buddiga returned to Macau to best that Asia Millions result. Buddiga notched a podium finish in the APPT Asia Championship of Poker HK$500,000 Super High Roller. His 3rd place result was good for $844,000 result and he picked up another bronze medal a few months later, in the $25,000 Challenge at the 2015 Aussie Millions Poker Championship.
Fast forward to the middle of 2016 and there were a few more close calls but when given the opportunity at his first EPT High Roller final table, Buddiga was not to be denied. Just over three years after that first breakthrough Macau score, Buddiga had made his way to the winner’s circle in a big one.
While it may have felt like a long-time coming for Buddiga, it seemed to happen all at once for Sam Soverel. Prior to last year, the Florida-native had never cashed for more than $500,000 but after a stellar 2016 campaign, that crushed that half-million threshold, Soverel, pictured above, has proved that he is here to stay.
That campaign included eight six-figure or better scores and over $2.5 million in earnings. Most of Soverel’s tournament damage has been done in ARIA High Roller events, as the Las Vegas series accounts for four of Soverel’s five best career results.
His best career score was a $1,000,000 result thanks to a $100,000 ARIA Super High Roller victory last October, while his best non-ARIA score came in last year’s WPT LA Poker Classic Main Event. Soverel finished 4th for $316,000 and those two results bookended Soverel’s first major victory from last summer. The young America won his first WSOP bracelet in the 1,106 player $1,000 Pot Limit Omaha event, picking up $185,000 in the process.
Before last year’s Super High Roller Bowl, Buddiga and Soverel could have been considered the best young American poker players that you’ve never heard of. After each recorded signature wins last summer, taking very different paths to get there, they then continued to crush both domestically and abroad. If you still haven’t heard of them, then you just aren’t listening.