The summer is quickly approaching and over the next week Poker Central’s finest minds are putting their heads together to predict and preview the poker world’s busiest stretch of action. Talking everything Super High Roller Bowl are editorial members Remko Rinkema, Paul Oresteen, Will O’Connor, along with contributions from Sam Simmons, Brent Hanks and Carly O’Loughlin.

Who will be the first player eliminated?

Remko: It’s never fun picking someone to get knocked out from the biggest tournament of the year, but I am going to go with Rainer Kempe. Yes, the defending champ will be the first one out! This – of course – has nothing to do with Kempe’s skill, but I think that he’ll run into the freight train that is Kevin Hart.

Sam: I think the bad luck wins out and JRB is the first to bite the dust…, wait, he’s not playing.

Paul: I’m stepping out on a limb here and I’m going to choose Scott Seiver trying to force action early. He’s got a long history of success in high stakes, but hasn’t been running very well lately compared to his peers.

Brent: Fedor Holz – he misses his morning session with Elliot Roe and Primed, riddled with anxiety and five-bet bluffs all in preflop against Phil Hellmuth’s pocket aces.

Will: There are a few boom or bust players in this year’s field, players who could be the first one out or the last man standing. Andrew Robl is one of them and while his aggressive style of play is perfect for accumulating chips, it can also easily backfire.

Carly: Doug Polk, I think he’s been focusing on his gym gains too much lately.

Who will be last German left standing?

Remko: Where last year was the rise and breakthrough of Rainer Kempe, flanked by his good friend and arguably the youngest legend in the game, Fedor Holz, I think it’s time for another big breakthrough. Steffen Sontheimer has a mere $938,138 in live tournament earnings, putting him near the bottom of this stacked field from the perspective of past accomplishments, but one hot week in Las Vegas could forever cement his name into poker’s history. Whether he wins remains to be see, but I think we’ll see him at the final table.

Brent: None of them. Kevin Hart and Daniel Negreanu will have them all kicked out of the tournament for tanking too long. None of them will be standing.

Sam: Fedor Holz.

Will: Germany’s participation in this year’s event has been well documented and while a huge portion of the field is German, none will make the final table. That’s right, not Fedor Holz, not Koray Aldemir or defending champion Rainer Kempe will notch single-digit finishes but the young Aldemir will be the last German left standing, bowing out in 12th place.

Fedor Holz’s retirement goes on hiatus this summer. (Photo: PokerPhotoArchive.com)
Carly: Fedor Holz will be the last German standing as “retirement” seems to be helping his live game quite a bit.

Paul: While Fedor Holz or Christoph Vogelsang might be the sexy picks, I’m going with Dominik Nitsche. He’s young, landed a sponsorship deal recently and has the advantage of flying under the radar compared no matter who is seated at his table.

Who will be last rookie left standing?

Will: The rookie pool is extremely diverse this year, with professionals and non-pros, high rollers and players taking their first dive into a $300,000 buy-in event. Since he is my last German standing, Koray Aldemir satisfies this category also, with experienced players ruling this year.  

Paul: Most of us weren’t yet driving the last time John Juanda was a rookie at anything in poker. He has over $20 million in earnings, won titles all over the planet and has six-figure buy-in experience – he won’t be easily eliminated.

Brent: John Juanda because he annihilates super high rollers.

Remko: While I picked Steffen Sontheimer for my last German standing, I have to go with one of poker’s biggest legend in his debut on the Super High Roller Bowl stage. You just can’t get around John Juanda’s name on this list, as his accomplishments alone should never make him qualify for any “rookie” list. Juanda was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame back in 2015 and he’s spent the better part of 15 years in the Top 50 of poker’s all-time money list. A big result here could vault him back into the top 10 where he belongs.

Sam: Ankush Mandavia

Carly: Juanda, I just like his name so I’m going with him.

Who will be the last non-pro left standing?

Brent: Cary Katz and it’s a no-brainer. He plays more poker than 99% of most poker professionals. In fact, he is a poker professional.

Will: High rollers became popular when players like Bill Perkins and Dan Shak started battling the professionals in huge buy-in events. Since they joined the High Roller arena, the non-pros have gotten better and better and none are going to be easy outs. Shak has experience in this event, final tabling last year, but Cary Katz has arguably been the most successful non-professional High Roller over the last year. Katz, who was ARIA’s most successful High Roller in 2016 and has two $1,000,000 buy-in One Drop cashes, makes the final table and finishes in the top four.

Paul: Dan Shak has to be the favorite among the businessman with the amount of experience he has at the table with many of the pro players. Where David Einhorn and John Morgan might be playing for the love of the game, Shak is playing to win.

Cary Katz may be the most accomplished “non-pro.”
Sam: Cary Katz

Remko: The classification of “non-pro” hardly applies to most of these players, as many of them have proven time and time again that they below among the best in the game. Especially Talal Shakerchi has shown both live and online that he can battle with the best of them, and therefor I’m going with him. Shakerchi has High Roller wins under his belt, and cashed in no less than three events with a buy-in $100,000 or bigger. He’ll be a real force to be reckoned with.

Carly: Dan Shak because he made it through to the final table last year, sorry Kevin Hart.