CSOP/Jeff Conine: Huge Turnout Raises Thank $130K for Conine’s Clubhouse

2017 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open 
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino 
Hollywood, FL
$300 CSOP/Jeff Conine Celebrity Poker Classic (Re-Entry)
Entries: 307
August 7, 2017

From left to right: Jeff Conine and Matt Stout pose with the Seminole Hard Rock’s Director of Poker Marketing Jason Newman and Tournament Director Tony Burns

The Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open is about to get pretty serious, with the big-buy-in events arriving and the Big 4 drawing toward its finale.

It’s always nice to cut loose a bit before a long grind, and Monday’s charity event provided the perfect opportunity to lighten the mood and enjoy an evening of entertainment with poker as the backdrop. And all the fun was for a good cause, too.

The $300 re-entry event was run with the help of the Charity Series of Poker (CSOP) to benefit Conine’s Clubhouse, the invaluable nonprofit facility run by former Major League Baseball player Jeff Conine.

Jeff Conine welcomes players to the event

Conine’s Clubhouse serves as a home away from home for families of children who are under care at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital. Located on the hospital campus itself, they can stay for free as long as necessary to have the best access to their child’s care.

“It provides all the amenities of a three-star hotel,” Conine said of his facility. “But, more importantly, [it] gives families a temporary place to call home when they need it most.”

So far, Conine’s Clubhouse has served more than 11,000 families thanks to events like this one. Visit their website for more information or to make a donation.

An elegant dinner party at Kuro opened the evening’s festivities at Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood. Cocktails were ordered, sushi was consumed, and elbows were thoroughly rubbed.

The Jeff Conine Celebrity Poker Classic Player Party kicked off at Kuro

Once the cocktail hour ended, the group made the walk down to the tournament ballroom for the evening’s main event. And there were droves of them — a total of 307 entries by the time registration closed.

Conine’s ties to the local sports community attracted folks like baseball player Gaby Sanchez, hockey commentator Randy Moller, former professional wrestler Rocky Johnson, and local radio personalities Andy Slater and Kimmy B.

Miami play-by-play legend Dave Lamont served as the emcee for the show.

Emcee Dave Lamont

Matt Stout is the grunt behind the CSOP side of things, and he helped bring some of his fellow poker pros to the tables, too. Michael Mizrachi donated to the cause, as did Chance Kornuth, Kurt Jewell, Jessica Dawley, Neil Blumenfield, and Ronit Chamani, to name a few.

Stout was good for a few donations of his own throughout the course of the night.

Charity Series of Poker President and Founder Matt Stout

The huge turnout raised $69,810 for Conine’s Clubhouse, and that number doesn’t include all the silent auction donations, sponsorships, and individual contributions that have yet to be tallied. It was the largest event for both the CSOP and the Conine Poker Classic in its six-year history.

There were some prizes reserved for the players, too. A cash prizepool of $16,150 was up for grabs, including payouts for the final 10 players and two $1,000 bonuses which were awarded at the first break. There was also a variety of additional prizes on the line for the finalists, ranging from deluxe gift baskets to Hard Rock tournament entries.

Patrick Eskandar

Patrick Eskandar claimed one of the $1,000 bonuses for having the chip lead at the first break, and Jonathan Cronin collected the other for being the most determined player in the field, tallying six entries himself.

The tournament’s guest of honor and “Mr. Miami” himself, Jeff Conine, outlasted about 200 players before ultimately succumbing to elimination.

Lamont dropped by for a tableside interview, and Conine took another opportunity to thank the players and facility staff in attendance for their support.

Jeff Conine in action

“You guys make it happen,” Conine said. “Thank you.”

The final table was reached around 1 a.m. as Gaby Sanchez exited in 11th place, leaving the final 10 players in the money. Here was the remaining lineup:

Seat 1: Adele Harrington – 95,000 (2 bb)
Seat 2: Hugh Joiner – 155,000 (4 bb)
Seat 3: Jeff Rose – 85,000 (2 bb)
Seat 4: Aron Dermer – 340,000 (9 bb)
Seat 5: James Scott – 495,000 (12 bb)
Seat 6: Jason Southwell – 270,000 (7 bb)
Seat 7: Matthew Yorra – 465,000 (12 bb)
Seat 8: Randy Moller – 430,000 (11 bb)
Seat 9: Jordan Rothenberg – 315,000 (8 bb)
Seat 10: Patrick Eskandar – 330,000 (8 bb)

The average stack was quite short at that point, and Aron Dermer won the war of attrition, defeating Jason Southwell in a two-hand heads-up match. He collected $5,000 in cash and a $5,250 seat to the upcoming SHRPO Championship for his efforts, and he promptly gave $1,000 of it right back to Conine’s Clubhouse.

From left to right: Jeff Conine, Aron Dermer, Tony Burns

Dermer is a marketer and investor from Miami, though his business has taken him all throughout Asia over the course the last decade. His transition from cash game grinder to tournament semi-pro is going well so far; he picked up 10 cashes at this summer’s World Series of Poker across a wide range of game types and is starting to gain some traction.

In his postgame interview, Dermer revealed that he almost passed on the event entirely. “Grinder made me late-register,” he said of Mizrachi, a longtime friend. “I was waiting to play the $10/10 PLO game, and he told me to come play in this.”

Mizrachi and Dermer both entered late with 10 big blinds, and both ran their stacks deep into the night. Mizrachi eventually dropped out with four tables left, but Dermer ended up as the very last man standing, posing for winner’s photos around 2 a.m. with an armada of prizes.

Aaron Dermer and his haul

“I’m really excited to play the [Championship],” he beamed. “I get to play the $5k on a freeroll!”

As the evening wound down, the hard-working tournament staff finally had a moment to absorb the occasion, too.

“The event was a great success,” said Tony Burns, the Tournament Director for Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood. “It was the largest charity event under my tenure, if not in the history of charity events here at Hard Rock.”

Tournament Director Tony Burns (left) and Jeff Conine (right)

“We’re thrilled to host something that gives back to the community,” Burns continued. “It helps show our philanthropic side and the real culture of Hard Rock.

“With Jeff being such a big face of South Florida, with everything the Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital does for the community, and with what we can do to host a premier event at Hard Rock — it was just a perfect storm. It feels good to give back.”

Results:

1st: Aron Dermer
2nd: Jason Southwell
3rd: James Scott
4th: Patrick Eskandar
5th: Jeff Rose
6th: Randy Moller
7th: Hugh Joiner
8th: Adele Harrington
9th: Matthew Yorra
10th: Jordan Rothenberg

Prizes:

Place Cash Prize Additional Prize
1st $5,000 SHRPO Championship Seat
2nd $2,000 Hard Rock Punta Cana Package & $1,000 Travel Money (3 Night Stay)
3rd $1,500 Party Like a Rock Star Guitar Package (An authentic electric guitar autographed by Flo Rida, Deluxe Accommodations for a 2 Night stay at The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Hollywood ($600 max value), Dinner for 2 to Council Oak Steaks and Seafood ($150 max value), Dinner for 2 to Kuro ($150 max value), $100 Gift card to Rock Spa, Assorted logo items)
4th $1,150 Party Like a Rock Star Guitar Package: (An authentic acoustic guitar autographed by Ronnie Dunn from Brooks & Dunn, Deluxe Accommodations for a 1 Night stay at The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Hollywood ($300 max value), Dinner for 2 to Council Oak Steaks and Seafood or Kuro ($150 max value), Assorted logo items)
5th $950 SHRPO Big 4 Seat ($1,100)
6th $850 SHRPO Big 4 Seat ($1,100)
7th $750 Stay Like a Rock Star Package: (A Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino black leather duffle bag, Deluxe Accommodations for a 1 Night stay at The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Hollywood ($300 max value), Dinner for 2 to Council Oak Steaks and Seafood ($150 max value), Dinner for 2 to Kuro ($150 max value), Assorted logo items)
8th $700 Stay Like a Rock Star Package: (A Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino black leather duffle bag, Deluxe Accommodations for a 1 Night stay at The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Hollywood ($300 max value), Dinner for 2 to Council Oak Steaks and Seafood ($150 max value), Dinner for 2 to Kuro ($150 max value), Assorted logo items)
9th $650 Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Men’s Spa Package: ($100 gift certificate to The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Rock Spa, One Black Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino luxurious bathrobe, Four premium cigars, One bottle of Maker’s Mark w/ a pair Waterford Crystal glasses, Peace of Mind Soy Delicious candle, Naturopathica Sweet Birch Deep Muscle Rub, Bvlgari cologne for men)
10th $600 Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Women’s Spa Package: ($100 gift certificate to The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Rock Spa, One White Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino luxurious bathrobe, One bottle of Grey Goose w/ Martini set, Lotus Soy Delicious candle, Naturopathica Sweet Birch Magnesium Bath Flakes, N5 Chanel perfume for women)