Event 14: Steve Bennett Earns Turbo Crown in Eight-Way Chop

2016 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open 
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Hollywood
Event #14
$360 No Limit Hold’em Turbo 
Total Entries: 283
Total Prizepool: $84,900

Steven Bennett Wins $360 No Limit Hold'em Turbo
Steven Bennett Wins $360 No Limit Hold’em Turbo

Every tournament player is looking to pick up a sizable tournament score, but some players need it more than the others.

Steven Bennett took home a much-needed five-figure score on Monday night by besting a field of 283 players and winning the $360 No Limit Hold’em Turbo event in an eight-way deal. At the time of the deal, Bennett was the chip leader. He took credit for the win and earned $11,000.

“It feels great because I really needed the money,” said Bennett after his win. “I haven’t been running that well lately and I haven’t been playing that well either. Even when I have been playing well, I haven’t been running well. This really fells awesome and I get a trophy.”

Winning $11,000 in one day is a good showing, but the turbo format of this event ensured a great hourly rate for Bennett. The tournament got cards in the air at 3 p.m. and a deal was struck before the clock hit 11 p.m.

The faster structure requires a different set of skills. Bennett generally prefers non-turbo events, but at the end of the day found a way to outlast the competition.

“Honestly, I just played my hands,” said Bennett. “I got lucky and picked up a lot of big hands. I never doubled up at the final table. I just got so many big hands that I was just shoving over people or taking down the blinds. And the blinds were so high that I was chip leader with like 19 big blinds at the end.”

Bennett said that he picked up pocket jacks, queens, aces, and ace-king while at the final table. He either shoved over an initial raise and took down the blinds. He came into the final table as the second shortest stack and used those premiums to chip up without showdown and secure the chip lead at a fairly stacked final table.

He scored the only knockout at the final table as well when his 9h5h bested Anderson Blanco’s Kd8s. Shortly after that elimination, the chop discussions began and eventually agreed upon.

Bennett wasn’t facing your run of the mill $360 buy-in final table. This final table featured Bill Gazes, Randy Pfeifer, Frankie Flowers, and Steve McKoy. Flowers is a well-known East Coast grinder, McKoy is one of the best players in South Florida, while Gazes and Pfeifer combined to win over $4.3 million playing tournament poker.

Bennett had high praise for his competition in general, but felt McKoy was his biggest threat.

“I thought Steve McKoy would be the most dangerous player if he had a lot of chips,” said Bennett. “But the structure made it hard for there to be a lot of play.”

Bennett never referred to himself as a professional poker player, but has made all of his income from the last several years from his time spent on the felt.

He moved from Dallas to Florida in 2008 and started playing poker in 2011. As each year went by, he spent more time playing the game and by 2013, he was depending on it as his main source of income.

“I’ve been lucky enough to win enough to money to keep going and going,” he said of his poker history.

It wasn’t long after, that he started earning some large scores. In 2014, Bennett significantly padded his bankroll with a 67th place finish in the World Series of Poker Main Event. It was a score worth $103,025 and followed it up with a win at Seminole Hard Rock Tampa Winter Poker Open event and a fifth place a the Rock n’ Roll Poker Open here in Hollywood.

“I’ve had some decent scores,” he said. “But I haven’t done very well with my money. I’ve spent a lot and not played well. So this is huge for me.”

Bennett prefers tournaments with longer structures, but he is happy with his decision to enter the turbo.

“I’m really glad I played it.”

Here is a look at the final table results:

1st: Steven Bennett – $11,000
2nd: Kenneth Culbertson – $10,480
3rd: Steve McKoy – $8,793
4th: Bill Gazes – $8,752
5th: Frankie Flowers – $7,900
6th: Robert Elias – $7,250
7th: Yigal Hen – $7,003
8th: Randy Pfeifer – $6,487
9th: Anderson Blanco – $1,698

Download Final Results (PDF)

Event 14: Steven Bennett Wins In Eight-Way Chop

$360 No Limit Hold’em Turbo
Level 27: 25,000/50,000 with a 5,000 ante
Players Remaining: 8 of 283

A few hands after losing Anderson Blanco in ninth place, the final eight players agreed to an ICM chop. Steven Bennett had the chip lead when the deal was finalized and took the most money and the trophy.

Here is a look at the final table results:

1st: Steven Bennett – $11,000
2nd: Kenneth Culbertson – $10,480
3rd: Steve McKoy – $8,793
4th: Bill Gazes – $8,752
5th: Frankie Flowers – $7,900
6th: Robert Elias – $7,250
7th: Yigal Hen – $7,003
8th: Randy Pfeifer – $6,487
9th: Anderson Blanco – $1,698

A recap will be posted later tonight.

Event 14: Anderson Blanco Eliminated in 9th Place ($1,698)

$360 No Limit Hold’em Turbo
Level 26: 20,000/40,000 with a 5,000 ante
Players Remaining: 8 of 283

Anderson Blanco
Anderson Blanco

Action folded to the Steven Bennett in the small blind, who bet enough to put Anderson Blanco all in in the big blind.

Blanco called from the big blind and was all in for about 130,000. Blanco showed Kd8s and was in the lead against Bennett’s 9h5h.

The flop was Kc9s4c and Blanco keeps the lead with a pair of kings against Bennett’s pair of nines.

The turn was the 4d, putting Blanco further in the lead with kings and fours. Bennett was drawing to two outs and hit it with the 9c on the river.

Blanco was eliminated in ninth place and took home $1,698 for his final table appearance, while Bennett chipped up.

Steven Bennett – 550,000 (14 bb)
Anderson Blanco – Eliminated 

Event 14: Steve McKoy Doubles Through Anderson Blanco

$360 No Limit Hold’em Turbo
Level 26: 20,000/40,000 with a 5,000 ante
Players Remaining: 9 of 283

Steve McKoy got all in out of the big blind against Anderson Blanco in middle position.

McKoy showed AhJd and was in great shape to double up against Blanco’s AcTs.

The flop was QdTc3c, however, and Blanco hit a ten to take the lead. The turn was the Qc, which gave Blanco the nut flush draw as well. The river was the Jh to give McKoy a better two pair and the pot.

Steve McKoy – 450,000 (11 bb)
Anderson Blanco – 130,000 (3 bb)

Event 14: Robert Elias Doubles Through Steve McKoy

$360 No Limit Hold’em Turbo
Level 26: 20,000/40,000 with a 5,000 ante
Players Remaining: 9 of 283

Robert Elias moved all in for 190,000 from early position and Steve McKoy called from middle position. Everybody else got out of the way and Elias was heads-up with McKoy for his tournament life.

McKoy showed 9h9c and was in the lead against Elias’ 8d8s.

The flop was AdTh8h and Elias flopped a set to take the lead. The turn was the 6s to give McKoy some extra outs with a straight draw, but the river was the 3c and Elias doubled up.

Robert Elias – 425,000 (13 bb)
Steve McKoy- 230,000 (6 bb)