If you were offering odds at the start of Super High Roller poker tournaments, you would list a clutch of about three or four players as all-but inseparable favourites. The likes of Steve O’Dwyer, Fedor Holz, Ole Schemion and Erik Seidel have all been there and done that numerous times.
Smart bookmakers, however, would have another name at the top of their lists. And if they didn’t, then wise punters would.
Although Bryn Kenney may not attract the attention of the others, nor the “unbeatable”, “immortal” superlatives that are often bandied about, his results in high buy-in poker tournaments are amazing. In €100K/$100K tournaments on the PokerStars circuit, they’re actually the best.
The 30-year-old from New York has won a Super High Roller and a “regular” High Roller at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure and finished third in two more PCA $100,000 buy-in events.
And now, after an intriguing final day of the €100,000 Super High Roller event at the PokerStars Championship presented by Monte-Carlo Casino®, Kenney has another major title.
Today he dominated the first flagship event of this jamboree, winning €1,784,500 for three days work. It is the biggest single cash of all those spectacular successes, and the reward for outlasting 47 of the best in the world.
“It’s just where I feel the most comfortable, I guess,” Kenney said of life in the Super High Roller tournaments. “I’ve just been playing lights out. Everything’s been going really smooth this year. I’m just feeling good and playing good.”
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The last man in Kenney’s way today was Viacheslav Buldygin, the 27-year-old from Yekaterinburg, Russia, a heads-up online specialist but who is also putting together some tremendous results in live High Roller events.
Nobody away from the online game knew anything about Buldygin when he turned up at a €10,000 event in Malta in October last year and finished second. Then he made a final table at a Super High Roller in Prague a couple of months later, before cruising through another terrifying field to the final here of this €100K event.
Buldygin is as animated at the tables as Kenney is calm, and it was only fitting that those two went heads up at the end. After an obdurate bubble had finally burst, Buldygin and Kenney knocked out everyone else, ending the challenges of spectacular talents. And then Buldygin couldn’t get past Kenney.
“He’s actually one of the last people you want to play heads up against,” Kenney said, paying tribute to his opponent and acknowledging Buldygin’s online prowess. They played the whole day in good spirits and embraced warmly at the end.
LAST DAY, BLOW-BY-BLOW
Bubbles in Super High Roller tournaments are never small, and it follows that play tends to slow in the period leading up to the money. Last night nine players endured at least 90 minutes in the knowledge that one of them would go home empty handed–only eight places paid–and today another level passed before anybody could either celebrate or commiserate.
As it turned out, the man to depart in ninth, winning not even the “min”-cash of €237,950, was the man who was most fortunate still to be involved heading into Day 3. Isaac Haxton needed a come-from-behind victory against Daniel Dvoress–Haxton’s ace-queen outrunning Dvoress’s ace-king–late on to survive, but it proved to be only about a 14-hour stay of execution.
Today, Haxton’s A♦Q♦ couldn’t beat David Peters’s J♦J♣ when they got their chips in. With that, the bubble finally burst and the remaining eight could set their eyes on the near €1.8 million first prize.
With the bubble tension now released, action became free and easy. In very short order, four players were knocked out as first Buldygin and then Kenney seized control.
Buldygin eliminated Sam Greenwood and then Martin Kabrhel. Then Kenney sent both Steffen Sontheimer and Schemion to the rail.
Short version: a lot of aces and a grim outdraw. Not that Schemion, the recipient of the outdraw, was bothered. He’s already picked up more than €750,000 this week, having also won the €10,000 opening tournament.
But back to this one, and it was now down to Daniel Dvoress and David Peters to see if they could rein in the big stacks. Readers, they could not. Although Dvoress picked up a double up through Buldygin, Peters slammed his short stack and A♠7♦ into Kenney’s Q♠Q♦. Kenney’s hand held.
Then Dvoress–at yet another major final table on the PokerStars circuit–perished in third, adding another €832,800 to his long list of prizes. It’s the biggest of his career so far and, for a player who is still yet to win a maiden title, his more than $4 million in tournament cashes is sensational. He’s done that in a little more than four years, and has never played at the World Series.
This time Dvoress lost a race with 6♠6♦ against Buldygin’s Q♠J♠.
With that, they were heads up and Kenney had a big lead. Buldygin scored a couple of heart-racing double ups–winning races is imperative in this game–and even edged ahead at one point. But Kenney hunkered down and doubled back up through Buldygin.
They briefly discussed a deal, but quickly ruled it out, and then sat down to finish it off. As the clock tick towards 6.30pm, Kenney found 2♠2♦ and Buldygin K♦Q♦. A deuce on the flop all but sealed it.
PokerStars Championship presented by Monte-Carlo Casino® Super High Roller
Dates: April 27-29, 2017
Buy-in: €98,500 + €1,500
Entries: 61 (including 14 re-entries)
Prize pool: €5,948,415
|1||Bryn Kenney||USA||€ 1,784,500|
|2||Viacheslav Buldygin||Russia||€ 1,290,800|
|3||Daniel Dvoress||Canada||€ 832,800|
|4||David Peters||USA||€ 630,600|
|5||Ole Schemion||Germany||€ 487,715|
|6||Steffen Sontheimer||Germany||€ 380,700|
|7||Martin Kabrhel||Czech Republic||€ 303,350|
|8||Sam Greenwood||Canada||€ 237,950|