WSOP 2013 Champion Ryan Riess

November 6, 2013

The 2013 WSOP has come to a close and with a new champion, 23-year-old Ryan Riess, who is now $8.3+ million richer. He defeated second place Jay Farber after a long heads up battle, who won a cool $5+ mill himself. Riess outlasted 6,351 other players to come out as the best in poker for 2013.

Riess was fifth-stacked when play resumed two days ago in Las Vegas, and JC Tran was the chip leader, who ended up in fifth place (a little irony there). By the onset of heads-up play, Farber was in the lead with around 20 million chips more than Riess. But our champion pushed and pushed, taking pot after pot. A double up by Farber extended the tournament just that much longer, but ultimately, Riess reigned stronger.

The last hand, the 261st hand of the final table, came. Reiss had AH/KH against Farber’s QS/5S. Farber was all in. The flop: JD/4D/10C . The turn revealed a 3C. It wouldn’t help Farber. Finally the river was dealt. A 4D paired the board, and the rail flooded the stage in celebration of Riess, with a fanfare of, “Riess the beast!” chanting through the Penn & Teller Theater. Riess fought his way back to give congratulations to Farber before hugging each one of his railbirds individually.

After winning, Riess said with tears, “I want to thank my family and my friends, they’re the best friends in the world.”

Farber believes all the publicity will be good for his business, so he’s not going to quit his night job as a VIP host in the Vegas nightlife scene, despite his million-dollar upswing.

Eliminated in third place was Israeli player Amir Lehavot, who won nearly $3.8 himself. He was widely supported by Israeli flags from the sidelines. Going in to the final table, he was second in chips.

Lehavot, who moved to Florida from Israel at 16, now proudly plays under his home nation flag from south Florida. He had asked the WSOP organizers to play Hatikvah, the national anthem of Isreal, had he won.

“I have some family and friends there and I visit regularly. I very much love the country. No one from the Israeli government has gotten in touch with me and I’m not expecting it. I’m very happy as is.”

Lehavot isn’t the first Israeli to make the final table. In 2003, Tomer Benvenisiti finished fifth and won $320K.


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