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Earlier this month, the inaugural Super High Roller Bowl kicked off at the Aria Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. This event just missed becoming the richest tournament of the year and showed that there is plenty of interest among the pros for high roller tournaments.

The Super High Roller Bowl proved to be one of the most popular High Roller tournaments in recent memory. The $7.52 million for first is the third-largest prize for a high roller event in poker history. Couple this with some great stories at the final table and we believe that Poker Central has a runaway hit with the Super High Roller Bowl.

Super High Roller Nearly Tops WSOP Main Event For Top Prize

When Poker Central first announced the Super High Roller Bowl earlier this year, there were doubts whether they would be able to meet the lofty expectations for the event. By the time that registration was completed on Day 1, 43 players had registered to create a prize pool of $21.5 million.

That $21.5 million prize pool beat the ONE DROP High Roller at the WSOP and created the 15th-largest prize pool in live poker history. The winner received $7.52 million and that top prize almost topped that of the World Series of Poker Main Event, as this year’s Main Event will pay $7.68 million to the winner in November.

As we already mentioned, the Super High Roller Bowl awarded the third-largest first place prize for a high roller tournament in poker history. Only the two $1 Million ONE DROP events paid more to first place.

The Big Names Went Where the Money Was

When this event was first announced, some wondered whether the primary draw would be “TV exposure” over the hefty prize pool. Based on the names that turned out for the event, it became obvious that players viewed this as a true high roller event instead of a “made for TV” event such as the ONE DROP.

Look at the players that showed up. Phil Ivey skipped the majority of the 2015 WSOP, but he showed up for this event. Ben Lamb barely plays at the WSOP anymore, but he bought into this tournament and nearly made the final table.

Dan Colman has been vocal about not caring about “promoting poker,” but a potential $7.52 million score was certainly worth his $500,000 buy-in. How often do you hear of former Main Event Champion Bobby Baldwin playing in a major event? He was at this event.

With this event drawing the support of the high-stakes community as it did, that bodes well for its future. Don’t be surprised to see the next installment draw higher numbers and possibly even beat the Main Event for first place prize money.

Great Stories at the Final Table

This final table had so many great stories and should come off great on TV. First, you have Erik Seidel who could have jumped to #1 on Poker’s All-Time Money List with a victory in the event.

Timofey Kuznetsov made his first ever live tournament cash in this event. If you have never heard this name, you probably know him better as “Trueteller” in the high stakes nosebleed games online. This score instantly vaulted the Russian into 15th on Russia’s All-Time Money List.

Connor Drinan has made a name for himself playing high stakes tournaments around the world. The 2011 Florida State Poker Championship winner finished 11th in the 2013 ONE DROP High Roller and 4th in the 2014 Asia Championship of Poker Super High Roller.

Thomas Marchese continues to climb the All-Time Money List and earned his fifth career seven-figure score in this event. David Peters is in the middle of a sick two-year run in live tournaments. This event gave him his first career seven-figure score.

Scott Seiver finished 6th in last year’s $1 Million Big One for ONE DROP and third in the 2015 Aussie Millions $100,000 Challenge. He looked to solidify his legacy and the largest score of his professional career in this event.

Finally, Brian Rast was looking for a career-defining score in this event. A victory could nearly double his career earnings and place him among poker’s elite.

Every player at this final table is talented and would be the “premier story” at any other final table. We get seven in this event, which should make for awesome television.

Let’s Not Forget the Celebrity Pro-AM!

In case you’ve forgotten, the Super High Roller Bowl isn’t the only event that will be televised. The Super High Roller Celebrity Shootout is a fun event that will feature stars from both poker and Hollywood.

Kevin Pollak, Norm Macdonald, Brad Garrett, Don Cheadle, and Hank Azaria faced off against each other with the winner to face off heads-up against the winner of the pros match for $1 million. The pros competing were Doyle Brunson, Daniel Negreanu, Antonio Esfandiari, Phil Hellmuth, and Vanessa Selbst.

Below is a preview for the upcoming event on NBC SN:

The Celebrity Shootout will begin airing on NBCSN on July 29th and continue every Wednesday through August 12th. This event should provide a lot of the fun and excitement of shows such as Celebrity Poker Showdown and others. It should prove a fun novelty event that we hope continues along with the Super High Roller Bowl.

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James Guill

James Guill began his poker career in 2006, spending two years traveling the US tournament circuit. Since 2008, he has covered the game extensively for some of the biggest names in the industry. When not writing about the latest poker news, he can be found hunting for antique treasures in Central Virginia.