After a second straight year of overwhelming interest, 61 players entered the 2018 Super High Roller Bowl Lottery. Of those players, 30 locked up a seat in the year’s most exclusive event. Over the last month, Poker Central has introduced those players, but ARIA’s Super High Roller Bowl VIP selections also need to be introduced. Follow along as Poker Central runs down the rest of the field, from legends of the game to High Roller regulars, successful non-professionals, and more.
While Antonio Esfandiari has yet to crack the Super High Roller Bowl code, he did crack the biggest tournament in poker history at the 2012 World Series of Poker. The inaugural $1 million buy-in BIG ONE for One Drop boasted a $42 million prize pool and Esfandiari took home just over $18 million by defeating Sam Trickett heads up. That score catapulted Esfandiari into the top-five of poker’s all-time money list, but even before that historic victory Esfandiari was already a household name. That’s the kind of star power that two World Poker Tour titles, three WSOP bracelets, and a residency in some of the world’s biggest cash games will get you. Despite a lengthy tournament resume, cash games are where Esfandiari does most of his damage these days, but “The Magician” is still a regular in the year’s biggest events.
The $1 million buy-in One Drop runs every other year, it returns to the WSOP in 2018, and in between those monstrous events, a $111,111 buy-in High Roller for One Drop takes center stage at the World Series. Last year, PokerGO opened the WSOP with live coverage of the High Roller for One Drop and that coverage concluded with Doug Polk in the winner’s circle. The victory was Polk’s third at the World Series and the $3.6 million score was the biggest of his career. Since that One Drop win, Polk has recorded a few cashes in ARIA High Roller events, but the Super High Roller Bowl is likely to be one of the only events Polk plays in 2018. Despite a significantly lower volume than past years, the Upswing Poker talisman turned YouTube personality will be a player to watch next month.
Not all retirements are created equally. When Fedor Holz announced his in 2016, after earning over $16 million through the first half of the year, High Rollers around the world likely exhaled with relief. They likely thought the reign of terror that included a runner-up finish in the 2016 Super High Roller, for $3.5 million, and a victory in the WSOP’s High Roller for One Drop, for $4.9 million, was over. They thought wrong. Holz continued to play at a leisurely pace, earning another $6 million in 2017 to move into the all-time money list’s top-five. Two ARIA High Roller wins and a seven-figure score from Macau highlighted Holz’s first full year of retirement, but also proved that there is no rust to shake off for the German wunderkind.