Wednesday, November 6, 2013

23-year-old wins $8.4 million in World Series of Poker ... year after being flat-broke

A 23-year poker player from East Lansing, Michigan, who was almost completely broke a year ago, stormed to victory in the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas — taking home $8.4 million in prize money.

Ryan Riess — slightly disheveled and wearing a Detroit Lions Calvin Johnson jersey — burst into tears of joy, embraced his mother and sister and simply screamed out 'yes' after he outlasted Jay Farber.

The victory marks an incredible journey and turnaround for the former part-time poker dealer and senior at Michigan State.

Almost one year ago, Riess was down on his luck and out of cash but on a final whim registered to the main poker circuit and took runner-up in a 2012 WSOP event in Indiana and his meteoric rise has continued since.

With 10 million chips, Farber was forced to shove all-in with Queen-5 suited. Riess called immediately with Ace-King suited to win — raising his hand to the air.

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.

"I've been dreaming about this for a long time," Riess said after the win. "Ever since I was 14 and saw [Chris] Moneymaker win it. I just had a great feeling about it."

Farber took home a tidy $5,174,357 for his second-place finish.

Bet Reiss will be pretty popular with the coeds back at MSU.

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