23-year-old MSU Grad Wins $8.3M and World Series of Poker Title

Ryan Reiss is the third Michigan native to win the World Series of Poker title.

23-year-old MSU Grad Wins $8.3M and World Series of Poker Title

By Jane Sugiyama. CREATED Nov 6, 2013

Fans were roaring and cheering "Riess the Beast!" and "Go Green! Go White!" 

The stakes were high and you could sense the tension in the air at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, but that didn't affect 23-year-old Ryan Riess' focus. Riess won the World Series of Poker (WSOP) main event title late Tuesday evening, after roughly three hours of play. 

The journey to the championship game began back in July at the $10,000 buy-in tournament with over 6,000 participants. During the July tournament, participants battled for the nine spots in the "November Nine." The final nine reconvened Monday night, November 4, to continue the tournament and battle it out for the final two spots in the WSOP Main Event championship game.  

Riess not only secured a seat in the "November Nine," but Monday night he knocked out four players. Opponent Jay Farber, a Las Vegas native, eliminated three players, which guaranteed both Riess and Farber each a spot in the championship round to play "heads up." 
Last night on the final hand of the Texas Hold 'Em duel between Riess and Farber, Riess had a dominant chip lead and his Ace King of Hearts held up against Farber's queen-five of spades. 

Riess took home the $8.3M prize and the coveted diamond-encrusted championship bracelet. 

A Michigan native from Waterford Township, Riess is the 3rd WSOP Main Event champion from Michigan. (Tom McEvoy, Grand Rapids won in 1983 and Joe Cada, Shelby Township in 2009). He graduated from Michigan State University with honors and a hospitality-business degree in December. While at MSU, Riess was a dealer at Stacks Holdem Bar in East Lansing and played at Tripper's Sports Bar in Lansing. Upon graduating, he planned to work at a casino. 

But, the cards held something much bigger than Riess ever dreamed. A WSOP championship title holder and $8.3M richer, his friends and family are very proud of his accomplishments.