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LAS VEGAS (AP) — A 23-year-old poker pro from Michigan won the World Series of Poker main event late Tuesday, claiming the $8.4 million title after pushing past his last opponent in a brief, dramatic match.
Ryan Riess started out behind on Tuesday, but used cleverly varied play to seize and maintain a lead amid the unpredictability of no-limit Texas Hold ’em.
On the last hand, 29-year-old Las Vegas club promoter Jay Farber went all-in with a Queen-Five. Riess, dealt an Ace-King, rightly suspected his opponent wasn’t holding much and called instantly.
Riess backed into the stands to watch the cards turn, and won the championship with the arms of his girlfriend around his shoulders.
Moments later, he kissed the diamond-encrusted championship bracelet he’s been chasing since he was 14 years old. After tearfully thanking his friends and family, he told reporters, “I just think I’m the best player in the world.”
Riess came out sparring as the night began at the 1,600-seat theater at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino off the Las Vegas Strip.
Farber started 19 million chips ahead, but Riess soon brought the score virtually even.
The tide turned definitively about two hours in, when Riess took a 58.5 million chip pot with pocket Jacks.
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