Ryan Riess took down Jay Farber in heads up play in the 2013 World Series of Poker Main Event on Tuesday, November 5th, and took home $8,361,570, the platinum bracelet with a value of $500,000, and wrote his own piece of poker history. The 45th World Series of Poker crowned the 23-year-old Michigan native as the standing champion.
"I've been dreaming about this for a long time," Riess said after he took down the championship. "Ever since I was 14 and saw Chris Moneymaker win it. I just had a great feeling about it."
Jay Farber played his heart out to take home $5,174,357 for his second-place finish.
JC Tran was the chip leader when the final table started and his incredible tournament record gave the impression that he was a strong candidate for first place. Tran entered the final table with a big chip lead that separated him from second place but he left the tournament in fifth place. Read the complete recap of the first day of the final table here.
After it got down to heads-up play, Farber held almost 20 million in chips over Riess's stack. Riess wasted no time in powering his way to the chip lead with applying just the right moves at the right time and with a big skill set. Riess was in a position to win all the big pots but Farber won one double up that kept the competition running.
Once Farber double, he went to work with a straight draw against Riess' top pair on the flop, he hit the straight on the turn to give him more ammo for the battle but Riess never slowed down. Farber was short again before too long.
The final hand, Hand #261, found Farber all-in with the against Riess' . Riess' hand was a monster but Farber had two very live cards until the flop hit.
Once the hit the flop, Farber was drawing to a five to stay alive; if he hit a queen, Riess would have an ace-high straight. The turn was the and Riess only needed to dodge a bullet on the river.
The river hit with the to pair the board Riess' rail went crazy, storming the stage and running around him in a human wave of joy. Riess was on the floor, underneath the crowd and they kept piling on top of him. Chants of "Riess the beast!" filled the Penn & Teller Theater and Riess managed to work his way out of the pack to congratulate Farber.
Riess had so much emotion running across his face as the cameras caught him waiting for the river card to finish or keep the competition running, it brought tears to the eyes of more than one spectator. He made it a point to hug each of his railbirds — showing special attention to his close family members — and his confidence and conviction in his own ability to play took him all the way to the championship with a grand finish where emotion was the name of the game.
Riess is unsure of his future, but when asked about being poker's next ambassador, he broke out into a smile.
"I'm extremely excited," Riess said. "I'm excited for what the future holds," was his response when asked about being poker's next ambassador...of course he said it with a smile.
"I don't know about playing in any $100K's unless I sell action," he said.
Riess received some hate on Twitter from professional poker players on his game play but he's moved past that and doesn't care.
"There's going to be people like Scott Seiver who say I suck," Riess said. "I obviously don't care."
When the Main Event kicked off with 6,352 runners back in July, all of them were looking to end up as the last player standing in the final event of the 2013 WSOP. Riess was right there, a youngster chasing rainbows, but that all changed over the next seven days of hard battles, long hours, and heartbreak as many fell by the wayside. After Day 7 Riess had joined an elite field, he was one of the famed November Nine, taking the fifth-largest stack into the final battle. And then Riess was the last man standing.
Congratulations go out to the reigning champion of the 2013 World Series of Poker Main Event — Ryan Riess!
Catch PokerNews' Kristy Arnett interviews Ryan after his win.