The World Poker Tour $10,000 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown Finale returned for the final table following an off day. The six finalists from the 349 entrants assembled at noon and Ryan Riess won his first WPT title after a back-and-forth heads-up match with Alan Sternberg.

“It feels amazing to win – the final table was so hard. It feels good to beat a table with Cliff Josephy, Jason Koon and Alan played great, he was tough,” Riess said. “He was very aggressive and put me in a lot of hard spots.”

“There wasn’t much pressure – I put a lot on myself, but none from the lights or anything like that, but I really wanted to win,” he continued. “If you would have told me today that I could just come in and take second place money and have second place, I would have said no – that’s how bad I wanted it.”

Riess said he regretted claiming he was the best player in the world when he won the WSOP Main Event in 2013. “It was something I said in the moment and now I realize how bad I was four years ago,” Riess said. “I’ve been working on my game a lot and I feel l’m among the great players. If you don’t feel like you’re one of the best players in the world and you’re playing big buy-ins, then you probably shouldn’t be playing them.”

Heading into the final table the combined earnings of the six players was $29.3 million along with three WSOP bracelets, one WPT title and a former SHRPO winner. Here’s how they stacked up before cards hit the air:

Seat 1.  Tim West  –  1,995,000
Seat 2.  Jason Koon  –  1,030,000
Seat 3.  Ryan Riess  –  3,090,000
Seat 4.  Cliff Josephy  –  1,855,000
Seat 5.  Terry Schumacher  –  1,385,000
Seat 6.  Alan Sternberg  –  4,605,000

Three orbits into play West opened, Josephy shoved and Sternberg asked for a count. He called, West mucked queens face up, Josephy was at risk with As Jc and Sternberg had him beat with two kings. The board ran ten-high and the 2016 November Niner was the first player eliminated on the day.

An hour into the final table Koon opened on the button and Schumacher called from the big blind. The flop came Ad Jh 4c, Schumacher check-called 45,000 and the turn came 7h. Schumacher check-called 225,000 and the river came 8h. Schumacher checked a third time, Koon shoved for over 700,000 and Schumacher tanked. He called holding Ah 6c for a pair of aces and Koon rolled over Qh Td for a busted straight draw turned bluff.

West never got much momentum going and found himself with ten big blinds. He open-shoved from the small blind with Kh Jd and Riess called in the big blind with Ac Ts. The board ran Broadway cards and Riess made a straight to West’s two pair.

Schumacher moved all in with a little over 20 big blinds from the big blind after Sternberg opened and Riess called. Sternberg let his hand go, Riess called with pocket nines and Schumacher was in a tough spot with Jh 7h. He never improved, was eliminated in third place and the remaining two players took a short break. 

Heads-up play began with Riess on the shorter stack holding 6.2 million (104 bb) and Sternberg held 7.7 million (129 bb). They traded the lead back and forth over the course of three hours and 100 hands of heads-up. Riess took the chip lead out of the gate but an hour into play Sternberg doubled up holding Ah 6s to make two pair.

On the 80th hand of heads-up play both players had the same chip count, but Riess pulled away on the next hand with a two million chip pot holding pocket aces. Over the next half hour Riess built a significant chip lead until they had a preflop confrontation with pocket pairs. Sternberg had eights, Riess held sevens and Sternberg’s hand held to double up.

The final hand came shortly after with a classic race. Sternberg was at-risk with pocket sevens and Riess called holding Ah Kh. The board ran Kc 6s 6d Kd Tc, Riess made a full house to claim his first WPT title and gained entry into Friday’s Tournament of Champions.


Final Table Payouts

1. Ryan Riess – $716,088*
2. Alan Sternberg – $491,081
3. Terry Schumacher – $315,726
4. Tim West – $204,466
5. Jason Koon – $157,599
6. Cliff Josephy – $130,370
*includes entry into the $15,000 Tournament of Champions