2018 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
$2,650 No Limit Hold’em (Single Re-Entry)
Prize Pool: $1,023,350
August 12-14, 2018
The final table of nine players emerged from a field of 422 entries after two days of play in the $2,650 No Limit Hold’em event at the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open, and those players returned on Tuesday at 1 p.m. to play for the top prize and tournament title in front of the Poker Night in America television cameras. Alex Foxen claimed the repeat title after 12 hours of play and a lengthy heads-up battle.
That heads-up battle took place between two of the most talented poker professionals in the field who both hold more than $4 million in career earnings. Foxen was the defending champion in this event, but the final thing that stood between him and a successful title defense was Blair Hinkle.
That test proved to be a difficult one, but in the end Foxen prevailed. “It was pretty crazy, it was a really long heads-up match. I’m exhausted from that but it’s an amazing experience to get to go deep in this one again, and I managed to get the right cards in the end and win it,” said Foxen.
You could tell that Foxen had a lot of respect for his final opponent. “Obviously you’re always hoping for your opponent to make mistakes, but Blair did very little of that today. I was very, very impressed with his heads-up play, he was a really tough opponent. I was at his table all day yesterday, so we have been battling for a couple days now. It was cool to get heads up with him, and we had a really good match,” said Foxen. He continued, “I feel like everything is a little bit sweeter when it’s more difficult, so having someone like Blair who plays so well and it lasted so long it definitely feels a little bit sweeter.”
A little while after cards got into the air at the final table this afternoon Matthew Kuba scored a double up before Michael Esposito hit the rail in ninth place to kick off the eliminations, and then Matt O’Donnell (eighth place), Rick Alvarado (seventh place), and Matthew Kuba (sixth place) all busted within the next hour of play.
In what would become a theme at the final table, Foxen and Hinkle played many pots throughout the day with a lot of post-flop action. Meanwhile, Brandon Hall took fifth place a little before 4 p.m.
Four-handed play took place for close to two hours before Tom Nguyen fell in fourth place, and then it was only a matter of minutes before Jake Schwartz busted in third place. That set up the epic heads-up battle between Foxen and Hinkle, and the two players stacks were pretty evenly matched when the final kicked off.
Hinkle pulled away a little bit by the time the final two players took their first break heads up, but soon after they returned Foxen scored a double up to take back the lead. It was Hinkle who then doubled up twice to take back the chip lead after he saw his stack get down to just 20 big blinds at one point.
The two players continued to trade the lead back and forth for several hours until the length of the heads-up final was longer than the rest of the final table combined.
The final hand came a little bit after 11 p.m. Foxen called preflop on the button, and Hinkle moved all in. Foxen called to cover him so the final two remaining players revealed their cards.
Foxen won the hand, and the tournament to successfully defend his title. Foxen won the top prize of $208,452, and Hinkle took home $146,042 after a hard-fought heads-up final.
Congratulations to our repeat champion – Alex Foxen!
Final Table Results:
1st: Alex Foxen – $208,452
2nd: Blair Hinkle – $146,042
3rd: Jake Schwartz – $93,892
4th: Tom Nguyen – $62,936
5th: Brandon Hall – $48,404
6th: Matthew Kuba – $40,115
7th: Rick Alvarado – $33,668
8th: Matt O’Donnell – $27,242
9th: Michael Esposito – $20,846