German Rainer Kempe's 2015 was definitely a breakout year considering he's a newcomer poker player, but still not a lot of people knew his name in the world of pro poker gaming. Now, thanks to his colossal $5 million win in the $300K buy-in 2016 Super High Roller Bowl at Aria Resort & Casino early Thursday, Kempe absolutely earned an unforgettable place in poker's history records.
The 26-year-old Kempe had overcome a tough field of 49 of poker's stars to ensnare the championship ring, the title, and the first-place prize of $5 million dollars. The four-day long, no-limit hold'em event showcased a buy-in worth $300,000, considered the most expensive of any tournament this summer, and attracted 49 entrants. The CBS Sports Network covered the live tournament on TV.
Kempe beat fellow German Fedor Holz in a heads-up match that went on for almost four hours and the spectators saw many lead changes right before the conclusion at just about 1 a.m. on Thursday. The final hand showed Kempe's pocket eights, which clearly defeated Holz's pocket twos.
Fedor Holz, who earned $3.5 million for second place, is known as a rising star in poker tournaments. Last December, he collected the first-place prize of $1,589,219 at the WPT Alpha8 Las Vegas. Less than a month later, he took home $3,463,500 in the first-ever WPT National Philippines $200K Triton Super High Roller event.
The final table included Poker Hall of Fame members Erik Seidel and Phil Hellmuth. All of the seven players, when combined, have over $74 million in career live tournament winnings and 23 WSOP gold bracelets. Kempe has the chip lead when he entered the final table, and he's also responsible for the final four eliminations.
Place, Player, Country, Prize
1 Rainer Kempe Germany $5,000,000
2 Fedor Holz Germany $3,500,000
3 Erik Seidel USA $2,400,000
4 Phil Hellmuth USA $1,600,000
5 Matt Berkey USA $1,100,000
6 Bryn Kenney USA $800,000
7 Dan Shak USA $600,000
Seidel ended up in third place ($2.4 million), while Hellmuth settled in fourth ($1.6 million).
This poker tourney in Aria was the second major title in recent months for Rainer Kempe, who in December 2015 won over $591,000 at a European Poker Tour's High Roller event. The first-place prize of $5 million dollars is his career's best cash to date.