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.
After the 2017 Super High Roller Bowl field was finalized, there were a few mind-melting numbers and talking points that drove the conversation for the next few weeks. One of those talking points was the amount of Germans competing in the $300,000 buy-in event. Eight players will be carrying the Bundesflagge and while some have past Super High Roller Bowl success, defending champion Rainer Kempe and runner-up Fedor Holz, three other Germans will be looking to make a big splash come the end of the month.
While Kempe and Holz have been treading water in the High Roller pool for the better part of the last few years, Christian Christner is just starting to get his feet wet. Christner’s first successful foray into the world of high buy-in events came in one of the biggest of the year, as he closed out his first World Series of Poker trip with a cash in this summer’s $111,111 buy-in High Roller for One Drop.
Christner, pictured above, returned to the states at the end of the year to record a career-best score in the $100,000 Super High Roller at Bellagio. The young German finished 5th, good for a $223,000 result after making a deep run in the $10,000 buy-in WPT Five Diamond Main Event. A few smaller cashes through the first quarter of 2017 have pushed Christner’s career earnings over $600,000 and that makes him one of just two professionals that currently have under $1 million in live earnings, with the other dangerously close to eclipsing that number.
That quickly ascending player, is Steffen Sontheimer. Prior to last week, Sontheimer had just over a half-million in career earnings but after a 6th place finish in the PokerStars Championship Monte Carlo €100,000 Super High Roller, he’s now just one meaningful score away from breaking $1,000,000. Sontheimer’s deep run earned him just over $415,000 and maybe more importantly, some valuable Super High Roller experience.
The cash was his first in an event with a buy-in over $25,000, although Sontheimer, pictured below, has a handful of those dating back to last year from ARIA and Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood based High Rollers. The result also came against some of the best competition in the world, including Super High Roller Bowl veteran Bryn Kenney and reigning GPI Player of the Year David Peters.
Rounding out the German rookie wave, is potentially the most intriguing player heading into this summer’s event. While Christner and Sontheimer each have a few results in High Roller tournaments, Stefan Schillhabel has just one recorded High Roller cash to his credit. That came during last year’s EPT Grand Final €25,000 event in Monte Carlo but on either side of that result, Schillhabel is clearly more Ankush Mandavia than Sean Winter.
Schillhabel, pictured top, may not be your prototypical High Roller but he has a tremendous top-to-bottom tournament resume, which includes a victory in last year’s WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star Main Event. Schillhabel navigated the over 750-player field to record his first major tournament win and a nearly $1,300,000 score. Neither Christner or Sontheimer can match either of those accolades and since his WPT win, Schillhabel has recorded three more European victories, in events ranging from €600 to €10,000, to push his career earnings near $2.5 million.
Come the end of the month, the Super High Roller Bowl will be the biggest event that Christner, Sontheimer and Schillhabel will ever compete in. While some may be intimidated by the massive price point or the enormity of the event itself, it is hard seeing those pressures weigh on any of them. Each has the experience to contend and if things go right, they won’t just be testing the High Roller waters, it will be another German pool party in the winner’s circle.
Tomorrow, “25 Days of SHRBowl” will move away from the rookies and feature two veteran High Rollers. You can follow all of Poker Central’s coverage of the year’s biggest event here.