One of the few constants in the poker world over the last year were the ARIA High Roller events. Almost every three weeks, the game’s best congregated in Las Vegas for a weekend of high stakes action. Thirty-eight individual tournaments, with buy-ins ranging from $25,000 to $100,000, built an average prize pool of $1,016,000. To avoid drowning in lists, charts, results and figures, here’s the best of that the 2016 High Rollers had to offer.
Tom Marchese has already been pegged as the leading candidate, no pressure, to restore order to this year’s Super High Roller Bowl with another victory by a Poker Central Ambassador. The reason? Marchese crushed the ARIA High Roller series for thirteen cashes and it all began with a victory in the first event of the 2016. That win opened Marchese’s year with a $315,000 score and, thanks to three more wins and a handful of other podium finishes over the next twelve months, he eventually pushed his 2016 ARIA High Roller earnings up and over $2,000,000.
Fedor’s Fantastic Fortnight
Through the first half of 2016, Fedor Holz had a few fantastic fortnights but one of the German’s best stretches came in the heart of the summer. Holz opened the month of June with a $50,000 High Roller win, good for a $673,000 score. A week later, he won a $25,000 High Roller and then repeated that feat seven days later. Those three wins were bookended by a runner-up finish in the Super High Roller Bowl, for $3,500,000, and then a summer ending $111,111 High Roller for One Drop victory at the WSOP, for just shy of $5,000,000. Simply put, this summer the High Roller world was Fedor’s, everyone else was just living in it.
Back-To-Back Times Two
After Fedor was done winning everything there was to win, the official end to the ARIA High Roller summer schedule came with four post-WSOP $25,000 events. There were only two winners though, as Dani Stern went back-to-back to close out the month of July, before Byron Kaverman went back-to-back to end August. For Stern, those two wins were his only ARIA High Roller cashes of 2016, enough to earn just shy of $750,000. Kaverman was a little more active, cashing a half dozen times to earn just over $775,000. Slight advantage Byron.
Best of The Rest
Jake Schindler, pictured above, might not have gone back-to-back, he might not have had the most ARIA High Roller cashes or podium finishes but Schindler was seemingly always notching results in 2016. Schindler cashed a dozen times, with eight of those runs ending with 3rd place or better, amassing over $2,660,000 in Aria earnings. Add in a handful of other High Roller scores and deep runs across the country and it’s no surprise that 2016 was a banner year for the Pennsylvania native.
Most poker hobbyists tend to gravitate towards your small buy-in daily tournament. That’s because most recreational players don’t have $25,000 laying around to play Aria High Rollers but a handful of non-pros have that kind of bankroll and found some serious success in 2016. Dan Shak was the first non-pro to win last year, one of three cashes worth $482,000. Bill Klein notched three podium finishes through the second half of the year and earned over $750,000. While Klein wasn’t able to record a High Roller win, Brandon Steven was. The Kansas native took home just under $650,000 in October but he was outdone by Ali Fazeli, who cashed a staggering ten times, won three events and earned close to $1,800,000 inside the ARIA.
Katz Closes On Top
If it wasn’t for Cary Katz, ARIA High Rollers likely wouldn’t be as common as they are. Along with Tom Marchese, Katz was instrumental in the early development of the series and this year, the non-pro proved he deserves much more than just a seat at the table. Katz was the most successful ARIA High Roller player in 2016, leading the three main statistical categories of cashes, wins and total money won. Fifteen cashes, four wins and just over $3,000,000 in earnings, all helped by a historic triple to end the year, where Katz became the first player in High Roller history to record 3rd, 2nd and 1st place finishes in the same weekend. The victory came in the last $100,000 event of 2016 and his resume now suggests a seat at the table would not be enough, as Katz has pushed himself into the same conversation as the likes of Marchese when it comes to High Roller events.