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.

With the Super High Roller Bowl roster populated with some of the world’s most recognizable names and most successful players, it is easy for poker fans to get excited about the $300,000 buy-in event. It is also easy to forget or overlook the players making their first-ever Super High Roller Bowl appearance. While the first two players featured in our 25 Days of SHRBowl series are technically rookies, their resumes are anything but raw.

Most of this year’s field almost exclusively play High Rollers, and crush doing so, but Ankush Mandavia is one of the exceptions to that rule. Since late last year, the Atlanta native has recorded tournament scores and crushed events with buy-ins ranging from $545, to $5,000, all the way to $100,000 buy-in Super High Rollers. Mandavia won the $25,000 High Roller at the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic at Bellagio in December of last year, before cashing in the $100,000 Super High Roller later in the series.

Those two scores, totaling nearly $590,000, capped a banner year for Mandavia but they weren’t his first dive into the High Roller pool. That was during the 2016 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, when Mandavia notched a podium finish in the PCA $100,000 Super High Roller. The 3rd place result was good for a career-best $787,000 score and jump-started the best year of Mandavia’s poker career.

Mandavia’s crowning achievement of 2016 though, was his first World Series of Poker bracelet. Mandavia won a $5,000 No Limit Hold’em event this past summer, good for a $548,000 score and he has since showed no signs of slowing down. Four six-figure scores in the last calendar year have pushed Mandavia’s career earnings north of $4 million and few players will enter this summer’s Super High Roller Bowl with more volume and experience at every level of poker than Mandavia.  

They may be rookies and hail from the same region of the United States but that is where the similarities between Ankush Mandavia and Sean Winter, pictured below, end. The Florida native has been a regular on the High Roller circuit for the last two years and has proven that he belongs on that circuit, with ten six-figure scores since 2015.

Winter’s live tournament run began at the end of the 2015 summer, with a victory in the $10,000 buy-in Bellagio Cup XI. Winter edged other Super High Roller Bowl participants Dominik Nitsche, Byron Kaverman and Nick Petrangelo for $562,000 and the title. His tournament run continued in the Bahamas, perhaps another overlooked similarity between he and Mandavia, as Winter chopped the PCA $25,000 High Roller for a career-best $914,000 score at the start of 2016.

While Winter missed out on a seven-figure score in that event, he’d record his first midway through the year on the virtual felt. Winter finished runner-up to Talal Shakerchi, another player that will be competing in this year’s Super High Roller Bowl, in the 824-player PokerStars Spring Championship of Online Poker Main Event for $1,048,00.

Nolez7” then returned to the live arena and recorded his first two World Series of Poker final tables, finishing 8th in both the $3,000 Pot-Limit Omaha Six-Handed event and the $25,000 Pot-Limit Omaha High Roller. Those results, along with two High Roller scores from the close-to-home Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood, have pushed Winter over the $5 million mark in terms of career earnings and while he is newer to the High Roller arena than some, Winter has shown he can compete at the biggest stakes.

Tomorrow, “25 Days of SHRBowl” will feature three more Super High Roller Bowl rookies and you can follow Poker Central’s coverage of the year’s biggest event here