The 23-year-old East Lansing native has taken it easy in the nearly three months since he bagged up for the summer, but it’s getting close to go-time.
“I’ve been mainly been relaxing,” said Riess, “Only playing a little bit of poker. I’ve been trying to prepare, but I haven’t done as much studying as some of the other players.”
Riess has a lot of valuable assets to help him prepare for the biggest final table of his life. Loni Harwood, Jonathan Taylor, Jonathan Hilton and Bryan Campanello each won bracelets this year, and Riess has them helping him to prepare for November. He hopes to add his name to that list in grand fashion, but regardless of where he finishes, Riess believes that this group of players will have some serious staying power in the game.
“I think so,” said Riess. “We’re all really young, but we had really successful summers. A couple of them are doing well here in the re-entry. I think that we’re going to keep getting better, and we should be pretty good one day.”
Riess will also have something of a psychological edge at the final table. His rail during the last few days of the Main Event during the summer was incredibly loud and supportive of their friend. The ‘Riess the Beast’ chants filled the room and drowned out nearly everyone else in the Amazon Room.
“It was awesome,” said Riess. “I hope that it’s even louder come November. We have at least 100 people coming, so it should be pretty epic.”
He won’t have much time to recover after WSOP Europe – there are only three weeks until the final table resumes.
“I’m going straight from here to Vegas on the 30th [of October],” said Riess. “I’ll be able to relax a little bit there, but I’m not going home first.”
Riess will start the final table in the middle of the pack, but there’s barely anything separating the chip counts of Amir Lehavot (29.7 million) in second and Riess (25.875 million) in fifth. He has the confidence in his game and a support system to match, allowing Riess to put his expectations as high as they can go.
Will anything short of a victory be a letdown?
“Yes, it would be very disappointing,” said Riess, matter-of-factly.