Bringing live poker back has its challenges whenever it has been absent for some time. In a global pandemic reliant on people staying apart from each other, it’s virtually mission impossible to do so safely. So, in one sense, it’s hats off to the PokerGO and Poker Central team as the recently-announced ARIA High Roller Series came back to Las Vegas.
Opening Night Win for Smith
On Thursday night, 34 entries took their seats for $10,000 without rake (if they in pace for the game to start) in face-masks as ARIA filled up with some great players, including the eventual winner of the event, Dan Smith. The Double Up Drive charity director Smith won $136,000 by outlasting a field including four others who cashed.
High stakes tournament regular Smith recently spoke about his run in the $100,000-entry Poker Masters final in his own ‘Run It Back with Remko’ review of high stakes action against players such as Stephen Chidwick, Christoph Vogelsang, David Peters, Bryn Kenney, and Koray Aldemir.
It was Jake Daniels who departed in fifth place for a min-cash of $27,200, and he was followed out of the door on the opening night by Sean Winter, who banked $34,000 for his efforts.
Next to go was Ali Imsirovic in what would turn out to be the first of his two cashes in three events, with the young Bosnian winning $54,400 for his podium placement. Imsirovic, of course, burst onto the high roller scene in spectacular fashion a few years ago, and recently took a look back at his stunning success in 2018.
Alex Foxen ran Smith close but lost heads-up to claim the $88,400 runner-up prize.
Friday Night Feeling for Katz
Just 22 players arrived to play on Friday, and by the end of the night, Poker Central owner Cary Katz had the victory. Brock Wilson was the first player to claim profit, cashing for $22,000 in fourth place. Two repeat cashes came in third and second place, with Jake Daniels out in third for $35,200 and Sean Winter losing heads-up to receive the runner-up prize of $80,000, only losing out to Cary Katz by way of a vaguely-ICM chop for Katz to take the win.
Saturday Night’s All Right (For Winning)
On the final night for players to gather, just 21 arrived to play. It was Christopher Brewer who won the day, cashing for an excellent $113,400 as he won the tournament. Ali Imsirovic finished in second place for his second cash of the three events, a whopping $63,000. In third place, Brock Wilson once again proved himself king of the min-cashes, sneaking into the money for a profit-returning $33,600.
With three great nights in the bag, can we expect to see more of these events in 2021? It certainly looks like they would be most welcome, even if the masks being on show more than the players don’t make it the TV spectacle fans would hope for.
ARIA High Roller Series Overall Winners (January 28th – 30th, 2021):