Seminole Hard Rock Lucky Hearts Poker Open
$3,500 Championship No Limit Hold’em (Re-Entry)
February 5th-11th, 2015
Total Entries: 1,027
Total Prize Pool: $3,286,400
The 2015 WPT Seminole Hard Rock Lucky Hearts Poker Open Championship kicked off on February 5 after more than two weeks of events leading up to the start. The tournament drew a huge field but in the end it was Brian Altman holding all the chips for the title and huge $723,008 first place payout.
The Championship had a $3,500 buy-in and featured a $3,000,000 guaranteed prize pool. Three starting flights drew 1,027 entrants to easily surpass the guarantee to generate a $3,286,400 prize pool and the last seven players set to have a six-digit payday. Local players mixed it up with top professionals in the biggest event of the series and they held their own.
Some of those Seminole Hard Rock Poker regular grinders included Ory Hen, Robert Campbell, Scott Efron, Nigel Murray, Adam Rouse, and reigning Seminole Hard Rock Poker Player of the Year Angel Vu. Several major event winners were also in attendance with Jason Mercier, Faraz Jaka, Ryan Van Sanford, Will Failla, Allen Kessler, Shannon Shorr, and Darryll Fish seen throughout the first starting flights. Former WSOP Main Event Champion Jonathan Duhamel made his first trip to Florida to play in the Championship but he was unable to make it past Day 2. Former NFL defensive star Richard Seymour was also in the field but he also fell short of the money.
The last 100 players were set to earn a piece of the big prize pool and the money bubble burst late on Day 2 when two-time WSOP bracelet winner Josh Arieh went out in the 101st spot. Plenty of top players returned for Day 3 when they played down from the 78 players to the last two tables. Mark Dube and Brian Altman ended the day with the two biggest stacks with professionals Jared Jaffee and Justin Zaki not far behind. They quickly made it down to the final table but neither of those top players made it to the live-streamed WPT table of six hosted at the Paradise Live Theater.
Altman and Dube had 23 of the 30 million chips in play to start the last day and Jon Graham, Sanjay Gehi, and Greg Rosen were quickly eliminated. Kelly Minkin was the last female standing in the tournament but the Arizona-based attorney had to settle for a 3rd place finish and $262,912. Her knockout set up a huge heads-up battle between the players who dominated the previous two days of action. There were 260 big blinds between them when they started with Dube holding a slight lead.
Altman quickly took command of the match after just a few hands but the two Massachusetts natives were in for a long battle. It took 55 hands to settle the matter when Altman’s flopped flush topped Dube’s set of Aces.
“I stayed patient. I tried to keep pots small against him [Dube]. I don’t think I raised a single small blind all final table.” Altman commented afterwards. “I kind of played small ball and just played a lot of post-flop poker. Things were going my way, today was just my day.”
“It’s certainly nice, it’s pretty amazing that things materialized the way they did. It’s just a nice bonus to get away from the winter snow up north.” he continued.
“This is my first time here. I was very impressed with the venue, the staff, the dealers, and this beautiful casino. I was really impressed, it’s nice to check out new casinos with nice facilities.”
Final table results:
1st: Brian Altman (Longmeadow, MA) – $723,008
2nd: Mark Dube (Newbuyport, MA) – $434,462
3rd: Kelly Minkin (Phoenix, AZ) – $262,912
4th: Greg Rosen (Coral Springs, FL) – $220,189
5th: Sanjay Gehi (Atlanta, GA) – $180,752
6th: Jon Graham (Longwood, FL) – $146,245