Championship: Five Guys Paving The Way

$3,500 Championship No Limit Hold’em (Re-Entry)
$2 Million Guaranteed

Level 9: Blinds 400/800/100 ante

One of the most interesting parts of tonight’s field is a group of players who have been battling it out at the tables for years before finally reaching world-wide prominence at the tables in the past two years.  All came from backgrounds of humble beginnings to recently reach superstar status.

Florida native Matt Waxman started off on the live circuit picking off cashes and getting some solid scores before winning his first WSOP Circuit ring in 2010.  He continued building on his success before winning the WPT Grand Prix de Paris in 2011 and winning his first WSOP bracelet in 2013 in one of the most brutal heads-up matches in WSOP history.  Waxman has continued his success winning last year’s “Rock N’ Roll” Poker Open Main Event and finishing 45th in the 2014 WSOP Main Event.

Jared Jaffee and Mukul Pahuja have both emerged from the Atlantic City poker scene to reach new heights.  One of the most well-liked players on the circuit, Jaffee finally broke through in 2013 winning his first WPT title taking down the bestbet Jacksonville Fall Poker Scramble, final tabling the main event at the Borgata Winter Open the next Janaury and then winning his first WSOP bracelet this past summer.

Pahuja, along with his brother Vinny, were also well-known as two of the most dangerous players on the east coast and Mukul had his breakout year in 2014.  A winner of a WSOP Circuit ring in 2009, he went on to eventually win the WPT Season XII Player of the Year title in 2014 and did it without winning an event making the feat even more incredible.  While a major title has eluded him, Puhaja showed off his talents again last week finishing 3rd in the WPT event in Montreal.

Alex Bolotin, while not necessarily a household name, also broke out on the live circuit in 2014.  The #1 ranked player in the history of Belarus, Bolotin was well-known as a feared and respected player in the poker community.  But he had also stuggled to win a major with his most important win being the WSOP Ante Up for Africa title in 2009.  Bolotin continued to travel the world chasing victory but finally hit paydirt in Las Vegas winning Event #6 at this year’s WSOP capturing the gold that had eluded him for far too long.

And now Aaron Massey has joined the championship club as well.  One of the most likeable and fun-loving players on the poker scene, Massey also struggled his way through the circuit before finally finding the winner’s magic in September 2012 at Winstar and has now followed it up with two wins on the Heartland Poker Tour in 2014 and wrapping up the tour’s Player of the Year race.

All five of these players have proven to themselves to be blueprints for building a successful poker career and they all meet tonight here at the Seminole Hard Rock “Rock N’ Roll” Poker Open Main Event.  We’ll see next week if one of them can leave Hollywood with just a little more hardware.