By Ashley Dunkak
Cheered on as usual by family and friends in “Riess the Beast” T-shirts, Michigan State graduate Ryan Riess advanced Monday night to be one of the last two standing in the World Series of Poker. If he wins one more time, the $8.3 million prize will belong to the Michigan native.
“Everyone was playing really solid and the cards ran my way today,” Riess said after play ended. “It worked exactly like I envisioned it. I was kind of thinking it would be me and Farber.”
In the finale the 23-year-old Riess will face Jay Farber, a self-described “VIP Host, Poker player, degenerate gambler,” according to his Twitter. Farber will enter with 105,000,000 chips, while Riess will start with 85,675,000.
Reiss has worn Michigan State gear throughout the tournament, but Monday he represented the Detroit Lions – specifically superstar receiver Calvin Johnson, who had an NFL-record 329 receiving yards in the Lions’ game against Dallas.
— RunGoodGear.com (@RunGoodGear) November 5, 2013
Riess had announced after the Dallas game, which he attended, that he would be wearing Johnson’s jersey.
Calvin Johnson is the best wide receiver of all time and I will be wearing his jersey at the Final Table after his performance today @wsop
— Ryan Riess (@RyanRiess1) October 28, 2013
Whether Riess wins Tuesday or Farber does, both will walk away as very rich individuals. Fourth-place winner Sylvain Loosli and third-place finisher Amir Lehavot took home payouts of $2,792,533 and $3,727,823, respectively.
ESPN will televise the finale at 9 p.m. ET with a 15-minute delay to assure Nevada gambling regulators that competitors have no way of knowing what cards their competitors are holding.
If Riess wins, he will be the second from Michigan in five years to do so. Joe Cada of Shelby Township won in 2009.