Poker Central has announced 20 of the final 21 players for the 2017 Super High Roller Bowl. The list of players is not incredibly surprising with some players like Daniel Negreanu, Jason Mercier, Phil Hellmuth and Dan Smith getting invites.
One big name has taken exception to the list of players and voiced his concerns over the recent lottery held for the at-large seats. While some may agree with his point, he is forgetting that the Super High Roller Bowl is still a TV poker product and not your standard High Roller tournament.
Holz Calls Out Poker Central and Aria Over Lottery
One player that wasn’t happy with the players announced was 2016 runner-up Fedor Holz. He took exception to the fact that the majority of players picked were famous players rather than allowing more “unknown” players into the field.
What a joke that lottery at @PokerCentral was if you take the famous players anyways. Pretty unfair for the less known players…— Fedor Holz (@CrownUpGuy) February 21, 2017
Justin Bonomo and Daniel Negreanu both chimed in to defend the event but Holz took exception to the following comment:
Negreanu pointed out:
Holz didn’t choose to respond further, but at the same time, he probably would make little headway in an argument with the Poker Central Ambassador.
His feelings about the event were made evident in the following tweet:
The WSOP started in 1970 with a small collection of pros and the rest is history. The Super High Roller Bowl is the modern day version.— Daniel Negreanu (@RealKidPoker) February 21, 2017
Negreanu Argues Honestly for Lottery and Event Selections
Some have agreed with Holz regarding the lottery, with one argument being that it is a bit “bogus” that players took part in the lottery that were likely to be picked anyway by Poker Central and ARIA.
In defending the lottery, Negreanu pointed out:
While the Super High Roller Bowl is being considered the Championship for High Roller tournaments, one has to remember that it is also still a TV poker program.
There’s always going to be some interest from players to play in the event, but ultimately the officials running the event have to choose between “great poker” and producing a “great TV product.”
Luckily, this event offers a bit of flexibility where they can have both. At the same time, when you get down to picking spots that will enhance the event, officials are going to select players that viewers and poker fans can identify with over picking random “unknown” or lesser known high stakes pros.
Personally, I was a bit surprised that Phil Ivey was not on the list of players selected by tournament officials. One would assume that this means that Ivey has no interest in playing the event, which would seem odds based on the fact he’s playing in other High Roller events this year.
Perhaps Ivey is simply not coming out to Vegas for the WSOP again in 2017. Other arguments are that he’s planning on just focusing on the World Series of Poker over other tournaments. Granted, it would seem a bit silly for Ivey to pass on a potential monster payday if he’s already going to be in Vegas.
Another reason this surprises me is that 2017 is the year that Ivey is finally eligible to be inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame. Unless there’s some type of protest amongst PHOF voters, there’s no reason he won’t be inducted this year. As such, it seems like he would be a bit more public just to remind people he’s still Phil “F******” Ivey.
Lack of Female Participants Disappointing
Lauren Roberts is the only woman in this year’s field, and that’s a bit disappointing on multiple fronts. I would have thought that Vanessa Selbst, Maria Ho or maybe even Loni Harwood would have tried to get into the event. Even if they didn’t want to put up the buy-in, it seems that someone would have attempted to back one of these talented pros.
The High Stakes arena is one that has been particularly male dominated. We might see the occasional female amateur or pro in a High Roller, but there’s yet to be any regular female pros frequenting these tournaments. A successful female high stakes tournament pro would be a boon to promoting women in poker, but it’s something we’ve still yet to see.
Be Prepared for a Great Show
Ultimately, the mix of at-large and hand selected players will bode well for the event. You have a mix of high stake grinders, virtual unknowns and flamboyant poker pros in the field and this promises to make the 2017 Super High Roller Bowl a memorable one.
At this point, it almost doesn’t matter who the celebrity pro is as the field is already a solid one. My hopes is that the celebrity is NOT one of the names being floated around but rather one that will draw true interest.
Negreanu made the following “guess” as a bit of a joke:
Oh I have a guess! A man who now has some free time after 8 years working in a house that is white? https://t.co/ctBrjubnGx— Daniel Negreanu (@RealKidPoker) February 21, 2017