2016 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino
Event 3: $300 Deep Stack Turbo NL Hold’em (Re-Entry)
Prize Pool: $40,800
July 31, 2016
Bill Johnson is the newest Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open Champion, topping a field of 160 entries to win Event 3 in a three-way deal. Johnson turned his $300 investment into a $7,616 payout over the course of a short day’s work.
Poker is the only serious work Johnson does nowadays. Born and raised in Jackson, Ohio, the champ is retired from his career as a government contractor, giving him enough free time to pursue the game recreationally. He’s married with four children, and he spends most of his time at home with his wife. “I live out in the country, about a mile from anybody,” he said.
Johnson was in his chair for the start of this event at noon, and by the time registration closed four hours later, just four tables remained in play. A couple hours thereafter, the field had been trimmed to the final nine, and they gathered around the final table set up like so:
Seat 1: Bill Johnson – 472,000
Seat 2: John Duhig – 63,000
Seat 3: Danny Romano – 132,000
Seat 4: Jeff Sanders – 165,000
Seat 5: Steve Pollack – 162,000
Seat 6: Ricardo Robles – 358,000
Seat 7: Zoltan Czinkota – 281,000
Seat 8: Jorge Gomez – 400,000
Seat 9: Thomas McFarland – 1,080,000
Thomas McFarland was in control of more than one third of the total chips when nine-handed play began, and he only increased that lead over the course of the first few orbits. The turbo format doesn’t leave much room for missteps, though, and four-handed play was unkind to the once-commanding chip leader. McFarland ultimately fell in fourth place, sending most of his chips to Jorge Gomez.
It looked like Gomez had the match nearly sealed at that point, but he was similarly unable to close it out. Eventually, the three stacks drew nearly even, and the three gentlemen decided to split the remaining prize money evenly and call it a night.
Johnson was declared the champion, congratulated by his final two opponents, and photographed with his shiny new trophy. When asked about his path to the win, he was modest in victory. “I got lucky,” Johnson said. “Well, you know… You run good, play good, and keep from being unlucky. That’s the key.”
Johnson learned the game while recovering from a triple bypass in 2004. He says he misses online poker in the worst way, but only the tournament half of it. “I’ve never played a cash game,” he admitted after the win. “Never. There’s a reason for that. I’m afraid I’d like it too much.”
Sticking to tournament poker is a plan that’s worked out just fine so far for Johnson. Despite only playing “two or three times a year,” he’s racked up nearly $400,000 in total tournament cashes. This one was worth $7,616, and it comes with a shiny glass trophy for his mantel.
Here are the full results for Event 3:
1st: Bill Johnson – $7,616 + trophy
2nd: Jorge Gomez – $7,616
3rd: Jeff Sanders – $7,616
4th: Thomas McFarland – $3,264
5th: Zoltan Czinkota – $2,448
6th: Steven Pollack – $2,040
7th: Daniel Romano – $1,632
8th: Ricardo Marte Robles – $1,224
9th: Johnie Duhig – $918
10th: Harold Rodriguez – $816
11th: Kai Koppe – $816
12th: Angelo Castaldi – $816
13th: Jose Sued – $714
14th: John McCaffrey – $714
15th: Walter Bravo – $714
16th: Jeffrey Milman – $612
17th: Mathew Paulson – $612
18th: Yves Fequiere – $612