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Businessman Cary Katz Scores $2.5m in Super High-Stakes Poker Tourney

Cary Katz
Poker Central

Businessman Cary Katz made the biggest score of his poker career last week and he only had to outlast 11 opponents to do it.

Katz won the inaugural Super High Roller Bowl event in London for a hefty $2.5 million. The No-Limit Hold’em event, which featured a £252,500 buy-in, only attracted 12 entrants, making it more of a Sit & Go and less of a proper multi-table tournament.

The event may have been extremely small but it did feature an extremely difficult field with the likes of Stephen Chidwick, Christoph Vogelsang and Mikita Badziakouski.

Only the top two spots paid in the event with up-and-coming American poker pro Ali Imsirovic taking second place for a little over $1 million.

Katz Up Over $3 Million in Seven Days

Cary Katz is one of the original businessmen/poker players but these days you have to wonder if he’s devoting more time to the poker than business. He certainly seems to have found a strategy that works, even playing against some of the best poker players in the world.

Katz, who made his fortune in the student loan business, is one of the few players who seems sufficiently bankrolled to consistently play super high roller tournaments. In 2014 he founded media company Poker Central, which hosts tournaments like the Super High Roller Bowl in London and the annual SHRB in Las Vegas. Poker Central’s sister site PokerGO live-streams some of the biggest poker competitions in the world.

Earlier last week, Katz finished runner-up in the British Poker Open £100,000 buy-in tournament for £360,000, which brings his weekly haul up to over $3 million.

Katz has been on one hell of a hot streak with just under $7 million earned in 2019 alone. He has been playing poker since 2004 but it wasn’t until 2014 that he recorded over $1 million in poker earnings.

He’s now up to $24 million in lifetime live tournament earnings, which places him 18th on the all-time list. He is the only full-time businessman who ranks in the top 20 all-time poker earners.

Here’s a look at Katz’ biggest results in 2019 alone (according to highstakesDB):

DateEvent PlacePrize
13-Sep-2019£ 250,000 + 2,500 NLHE 1st$2 million
11-Sep-2019£ 100,000 + 3,000 NLHE 2nd$444,527
31-Aug-2019€ 25,000 No-Limit Hold'em 2nd$344,592
13-Aug-2019€ 25,000 + 500 No-Limit Hold'em 4th$84,604
12-Aug-2019€ 100,000 No-Limit Hold'em 5th$305,920
06-Aug-2019 £ 100,000 Short Deck Main Event 13th$233,494
31-Jul-2019 £ 25,000 No-Limit Hold'em 4th$306,188
08-Jul-2019$ 50,000 No-Limit Hold'em 12th$112,357
31-May-2019$ 50,000 No-Limit Hold'em 8th$151,755
22-Mar-2019$ 25,000 + 1,000 No-Limit Hold'em 1st$192,500
18-Feb-2019$ 25,000 Pot Limit Omaha 2nd$234,000
17-Feb-2019$ 25,000 No-Limit Hold'em 2nd$295,000
01-Feb-2019A$ 100,000 No-Limit Hold'em 1st$1 million

Getting Lucky Against Poker’s Elite

Katz was humble in his victory at the SHRB London and praised his competitors, which included the aforementioned Ali Imsirovic, Stephen Chidwick and German Cristoph Vogelsang.

“This is my biggest score and I was just remarkably lucky,” he told Poker Central after winning.

“I think Stevie really deserved to win, he played absolutely perfect but he just kept losing all the races. Vogelsang also played terrific, and Ali played unreal so I think I played by far the worst today but I just got the luckiest but I’ll take it.”

Katz had a significant chip advantage heading into the final table and that proved to be enough to carry him to victory. The final table proved to be a marathon affair that took over 10 hours to play out.

Meanwhile, Ali Imsirovic continues to prove himself as one of poker’s brightest up-and-comers. The Bosnian-born American is one of the few players who’s managed to make an impact on the high roller circuit without being an established player from pre-2010.

Imsirovic has only been playing super high roller tournaments for a few years now and in that time he’s managed to rack up over $7 million in earnings. He’s on a $3.7-million winning streak in 2019 alone and is showing no signs of slowing down.