The 2018 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown concluded during the early morning hours of Thursday at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. Action kicked off April 5th and in the 14 days since 22 champions were anointed. A total of 17 winners carded six-figure scores — including four in the $570 buy-in opener — with Scott Margereson taking the cake as the WPT Poker Showdown Champion.
2018 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood, Florida WPT Poker Showdown Championship $3,000,000 Guaranteed $3,500 No Limit Hold’em (Re-Entry) Entries: 1,309 Prize Pool: $4,188,800 April 13-18, 2018
Nearly two weeks of tournaments in the new Hard Rock Event Center led the way toward the headline event on the 2018 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown schedule. The $3 Million Guarantee WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown Championship started on April 13 and, after six days of play, the UK’s Scott Margereson defeated Faraz Jaka in a lengthy heads-up battled for the title and $696,640 win.
“I’ve run incredible this year,” Margereson said of his victory. “It feels a little ridiculous to win this much money, but it’s huge.”
The Championship was another huge success with the 1,309 entries making it the fifth biggest field in the World Poker Tour’s 16 years of operation. The great turnout pushed the prize pool to nearly $4.2 million by the time registration closed.
Those 1,309 entries were whittled down to 480 players returning for Day 2. They made the money late in the day with 164 spots taking home some cash. Former WSOP November Niner Joseph Cheong was the chip leader of the 81 players who advanced to Day 3.
That lead helped Cheong make it deep in Day 4 but he went out in 11th place, short of the final table. Margereson moved to the top of the counts late in the day but it was Brian Hasting holding the lead when only six players remained for the WPT televised final table.
Besides Hastings and Margereson, the final table lineup included two-time WPTDeepStacks champ Jeff Fielder, local favorite Joey Couden, popular pro Matt Stout, and former WPT Player of the Year Jaka.
The structure was slow and the 82 big blind average stack meant they had plenty of room to make their move at the final table and it was destined to be a long day.
Fielder was the first eliminated from the final table when his flush ran into a full house and Stout followed shortly after when his pockets tens lost to the quad queens of Jaka. Couden booked a $250,000 payout when he ran into Jaka’s king as the former WPT POY extended his lead.
After a long stretch of three-handed play, Hastings was eliminated by Margereson when he made a flush on the river. Margereson held nearly a three-to-one chip lead to begin heads-up play.
The two battled for nearly three hours before Margereson was able to eliminate his tough opponent. This was the second WPT runner-up finish for Jaka and he took home $454,496. Margereson earned $696,740 for his first WPT title and the biggest tournament cash of his career. In addition, he punched his ticket into the season-ending WPT Tournament of Champions set to take place next month in Las Vegas.
“When there were four left, we were all guaranteed huge sums of money,” Margereson said. “I try not to focus on it and I’m very, very fortunate to have won the poker tournament.”
“I ran really good all week and I feel like I played pretty good, too.”
Congratulations to Scott on the win and thank you to our players for another great Championship.
Final table results:
1st: Scott Margereson – $696,740* 2nd: Faraz Jaka – $454,496 3rd: Brian Hastings – $336,466 4th: Joey Couden – $251,523 5th: Matt Stout – $189,880 6th: Jeff Fielder – $144,775 * – Includes $15,000 WPT Tournament of Champions seat
2018 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood, Florida Event 18 $150 No-Limit Hold’em Entries: 565 Prize Pool: $67,800 April 16-18, 2018
James Scott dreamed about winning the $150 no-limit hold’em event, literally.
Shortly after the clock struck midnight and the calendar switched to Thursday, Scott made a deal with Manuel Jo and took credit for the win in the $150 no-limit hold’em. Scott earned $15,574 and defeated a field of 565 entries for his first live tournament win.
“It was great because I had a dream today,” said Scott. “I took a nap and I had a dream that I was heads-up and playing for the money. So, it’s unbelievable. It was very exciting.”
Scott came into the final table near the bottom of the chip counts. He took his time and waited for his spots to come up while several other players hit the rail.
It all fit into his strategy to fulfill a modest goal.
“My strategy was to come in fourth because I was so short stacked,” said Scott. “Then, I got that double up and then I got that triple up with the three jacks. So, that was fantastic.”
That was the turning point for Scott. He scored a triple up when he shoved the button with ace-jack, got called by Alfredo Fernandez in the small blind and Jo shoved over the top in the big blind. Fernandez folded and Scott was able to suck out with against Jo’s pocket queens.
That moved Scott from the short stack three-handed into the chip lead. He never relinquished his lead after that. After Jo eliminated Fernandez, the two agreed on an almost dead even chop, which left Scott with the trophy as the chip leader.
Scott is a local player from Fort Lauderdale. He lives a busy life as a business owner, a husband, a father and a grandfather.
He owns a jewelry store in North Miami, which was opened by his grandfather in 1949 and has been in business ever since. With so much on his plate, poker isn’t even close to the top of his priorities, but he makes time to play when some of the major series are in town.
“I try to play once a month,” said Scott. “Then, when they have the series, I play for two weeks straight.”
Scott’s win nearly puts a bow on the entire 2018 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown, with only the $3,500 WPT main event still running.
The top 36 players earned a payday and here are the results:
1st: James Scott – $14,574* 2nd: Manuel Jo – $14,573* 3rd: Alfredo Fernandez – $7,119 4th: Christopher Zito – $4,916 5th: Claudio Piedrabuena – $3,627 6th: Antonio Colon – $2,882 7th: George Navarro – $2,204 8th: Joaquin Sosa – $1,593 9th: Bob Tanner – $1,153 10th: Angelo Castaldi – $881 11th: Homero Molina – $881 12th: Daniel Saffer – $881 13th: Ariel Rosello Quintana – $712 14th: Jarrett Vaughn – $712 15th: Jay Klitzner – $712 16th: Larry Klur – $610 17th: Mitsuru Sano – $610 18th: Paul Nguyen – $610 19th: Eric Rivkin – $509 20th: Raymond Nalbandian – $509 21st: David Wyatt – $509 22nd: Elnatan Aminov – $509 23rd: David Jacobs – $509 24th: Thomas Kornechuk – $509 25th: Richard Contell – $509 26th: Julien Durity – $509 27th: Trent Smith – $509 28th: Carlos Torres Vazquez – $441 29th: Nashaat Antonius – $441 30th: Alexis Moreda – $441 31st: Justin Molis – $441 32nd: Brett Taylor – $441 33rd: Julio Rodriguez – $441 34th: Iftikhar Memon – $441 35th: Jermain Phang – $441 36th: Darrell Carril – $441