2017 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino
$360 No Limit Hold’em
Total Entries: 265
Nipun Java can generally be found in tournaments with six-figure or seven-figure first place prizes. Thanks to some flaky friends bailing on golf plans, Java took home a title in a smaller event than what he is used to playing.
On Tuesday, Java defeated a field of 265 entries and defeated Jorge Gomez heads-up to win $17,949 in the $360 no limit hold’em. A few days earlier, he made a deep run in the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Championship, finishing in 22nd place for $20,968.
“I told myself that I was happier to come in anything better than 22nd,” said Java with a laugh.
The pro from Southern California had originally planned to golf during the day and play the $2,200 pot limit Omaha in the evening. When his friends decided they wanted to change plans and not golf, Java found himself in the tournament area earlier than normal and playing the one-day $360 no limit hold’em.
“I was just like ‘Okay, let’s just play this and see what happens,'” said Java. “I was most likely going to bust and then I would just play the PLO. But as I got deeper, I kept looking at the late registration of the PLO and seeing when it was going to close and then I was like ‘Okay, I got to concentrate on this.’ But I won it and it feels good. Winning anything feels good.”
Java is usually on the west coast playing in the California casinos, but even with his roots out in the Golden State, he doesn’t like to miss stops at the Hard Rock.
“I just love this venue,” said Java about the Seminole Hard Rock. “I actually pick Florida as the best venue to play poker. It’s like the most well-run tournaments, the dealers are fantastic, and everything is around.
“The pool is so close by on breaks. You can go rest in your room on your break. That’s huge for me. If I can go get a nap or just 10 minutes of getting straight on my back. Cause I’m not longer young anymore, so I need the rest. I love it here.”
While he is arguably one of the best players traveling the tournament Circuit, Java is constantly strive to get better and credits the help of SHRP team member Chance Kornuth with a lot of his improvements in his game.
“I’ve been working with Chance,” said Java. “Chance has a coaching website called Chip Leader Coaching and that has helped me immensely. We have weekly sessions and we have a bunch of smart people in the group.
“So, just like brainstorming with them on how to play different hands helps. Also, I know a lot of people like Upeshka [De][Silva] and Daniel Strelitz and Dylan Wilkerson and on breaks, we discuss hands. It helps, you know, just hearing from other people who have been successful is generally a good idea.”
When Java was unable to take a shot at the pot limit Omaha event, he decided to buckle down and prove to himself that he could play his best regardless of buy-in.
After, by his own admission, a disappointing 2016, he wanted to rededicate himself to the game and not take anything for granted.
“Part of me was not taking poker seriously in the sense, like as a game,” said Java. “And maybe getting a little bit of entitlement creeping in and that can happen as you move up the stakes. You feel like you deserve more, but you’re playing better players. I just wanted to get back to the trenches and it’s still money in the end.”
In the end, he did get the money and can leave the Seminole Hard Rock on a high note.
“I thought I played really well this tournament,” he said. “And I never really got super lucky. I just played well.”
Final Table Results:
1st: Nipun Java – $17,949
2nd: Jorge Gomez – $12,636
3rd: Jonathan Hilton – $8,126
4th: Carlos Rodriguez Rojas – $4,957
5th: Jeffrey Trudeau Jr. – $3,828
6th: Ray St. Jacques Carrion – $3,172
7th: Matthew Zarcadoolas – $2,663
8th: Homero Molina – $2,226
9th: Bryce McVay – $1,795
10th: Ghassan Toubia – $1,511