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Poker: 23-year-old Ryan Reiss wins WSOP 2013, $8.4 million


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LAS VEGAS — A 23-year-old poker professional from Las Vegas by way of Michigan won the World Series of Poker main event late Tuesday, lasting roughly 3½hours in a dramatic card session to push past his last opponent for the $8.4 million title.

Ryan Riess emerged with the title after a session that proved a showcase for his skills amid the unpredictability of no-limit Texas Hold ‘em.

Riess put his final opponent Jay Farber all-in with an Ace-King.

Earlier, the men entered the 1,600-seat theater at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino off the Las Vegas Strip like prizefighters, with showgirls looking on and a UFC announcer introducing Riess as “Riess the beast” and Farber as “the panda”.

The prize they competed for — a sparkling bracelet as well as the $8.4 million in cash — sat between them on the table.

Riess, Farber and seven other finalists beat out a field of 6,352 entrants in the no-limit Texas Hold ‘em tournament in July. On Monday night, Riess eliminated four competitors with a sly, steady playing style, and Farber took out the other three with more straightforward, aggressive plays.

A VIP club promoter with heavily tattooed forearms and a bouncer’s build, Farber has said he considers poker a hobby. Some are calling him a new-age Chris Moneymaker, after the amateur who famously won poker’s richest tournament in 2004, catapulting the championship into the mainstream and convincing every computer nerd with a pair of mirrored sunglasses that he could take on the pros.

Farber adopted the panda as his symbol, settling a mini-stuffed animal on the green felt and bringing along a plush mascot who was kicked out for disorderly behavior Monday but returned with a bit less swagger Tuesday.

The 29-year-old had left the brightly lit stage in the wee hours of Tuesday morning vowing to spend the rest of the night clubbing in triumph.

Reiss, a native of East Lansing, Mich., kept a lower profile at the final table. The youngest of the nine finalists, with a boyish manner and a mop of strawberry blond hair, he attributed his survival Monday to lucky cards.

“Everything played pretty standard. No one had a huge blow-up and bluffed off their whole stack. Everyone was playing really solid and the cards ran my way today,” he said.

<Farber adopted the panda as his symbol, settling a mini-stuffed animal on the green felt and bringing along a plush mascot who was kicked out for disorderly behavior Monday but returned with a bit less swagger Tuesday.>

Is there something you're not telling us, Adam?

Jay Farber with his panda:

jay farber panda

jay farber panda

jay farber panda

jay farber panda

jay farber panda

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