2017 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino
$1,650 Purple Chip Bounty NLH (Single Re-Entry)
March 26-27, 2017
Josias Santos is the newest winner at the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown, topping a field of 139 entries in the $1,650 Purple Chip Bounty to win the trophy and the top prize of $31,656 in a heads-up deal. Santos also earned a seat into the limited freeroll for the winners of the series’ first 14 events, where he’ll have a chance to snag either a $10,000 or $3,500 seat into one of the WPT events on the upcoming schedule.
Santos is a 53-year-old semi-professional poker player from Brazil, his previous career involving the management of soccer players in his home country. He now makes his home in Tampa, where he runs a transportation company as his new primary source of income. That may soon be changing, though.
Three years ago, Santos found poker for the first time, and it’s been a happy partnership, so far. After two years of studying and practice, Santos felt prepared to take the next steps. “I decided to play more this year,” he said. “And I choose tournaments with structures that fit my play.”
The Purple Chip Bounty met his requirements, and he stormed his way into Day 2 of the event with one of the biggest stacks of the 12 remaining players. By the time the field shrunk to nine, he was third in chips and breathing down the necks of chip leaders Jordan Meltzer and Phong Nguyen.
Those three were eventually the last three players left at the table, and Santos won the largest pot of the day against Nguyen to take a huge lead and leave the former chip leader with just two big blinds. Meltzer eliminated Nguyen one hand later, entering the heads-up duel with a significant chip disadvantage.
“I stared heads-up with two thirds of the chips,” Santos said in his postgame interviews. He actually had closer to three quarters of the chips, but that lead was short-lived. “I lost some hands so I had to slow down a little bit and wait for better spots,” he said of the encounter with Meltzer. “He’s a very tough player. Very good player.”
Meltzer put up a mighty fight, even taking the chip lead at one point in the duel before the stacks returned to even. Locked in a stalemate, the two finalists stepped away from the table to talk numbers, and they quickly agreed to an equal chop, with Santos’ big stack earning him the extra $1, the trophy, and the freeroll seat.
The champ has only been playing poker for three years, but he’s already racked up more than $300,000 in tournament earnings as a part-time player. A big chunk of that has come early in 2017, a year in which he’s decided to dedicate more time to the game.
So far, the decision has been a profitable one. This result is his third big five-figure score over the span of the last two months. Santos outlasted a huge field of 1,883 entries to win a $340 event at Parx, earning nearly $70,000 for that victory alone. A month later, he finished fourth of 482 entries in a $1,500 event here in Florida, and he’s just added more than $30,000 for this win at Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood.
If his heater continues like this, Santos will most certainly be someone worth watching when the big-buy-in events arrive on the calendar later this week.
Final Table Results:
1st: Josias Santos – $31,656*
2nd: Jordan Meltzer – $31,655*
3rd: Phong Nguyen – $14,526
4th: Marc Schiller – $8,757
5th: Hyon Kim – $6,811
6th: Christian Harder – $5,699
7th: TK Miles – $4,935
8th: Jack Duong – $4,385
9th: Victor Merkel – $3,885
*Denotes heads-up deal