David Malka Wins High Roller Event For $658,000

Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Hollywood
$25,000 High Roller No Limit Hold’em (Re-Entry)
Total Entries: 94
Prizepool: $2,350,000

David Malka
David Malka

David Malka is the champion of the $25,000 High Roller event, outlasting a field of 94 entries to win the $658,000 top prize. Malka also collected the glass trophy for this event, one of the last pieces of hardware to be awarded during this series.

This event began on Tuesday evening with just a few tables in play, but the field ballooned to nearly 100 entries by the time registration closed. Among the elite field were a couple WSOP Main Event Champions — Joe Hachem and Joe McKeehen — along with former WPT Players of the Year Darren Elias, Faraz Jaka, and Mukul Pauja. None of them were able to finish in the money, however.

The same can be said for defending champion of this event, Jason Mercier. The Florida pro was eliminated by Malka on the direct money bubble, shoving his short stack with Qh7c into Malka’s As9s. Mercier flopped a flush draw on the Jh5h4h, but that’s as close as he’d get to salvation. The turn and river bricked off, and Mercier’s elimination left the final 13 players in the money.

That knockout signaled the end of a long Day 1 around 5:00 a.m., and the survivors returned to play for the title on Wednesday, beginning at 4:00 p.m. Local high-stakes player Brian Benderoff was the chip leader when Day 2 began, and he rode his big stack to a seventh-place finish, good for more than $80,000.

When the final six players broke for dinner, Nick Petrangelo was the chip leader. Things went sour for him in the levels after the break, though, and he was eliminated on a cooler in fourth place, holding an overpair and a straight draw against Malka’s flopped straight. The turn and river failed to keep Petrangelo afloat, and his knockout gave Malka more than 60% of the chips in play with three remaining.

The champ continued his late domination of the final table, whittling Tim West down to less than 10 big blinds before Sylvain Loosli eliminated him in third place. Despite his opponent scoring the penultimate knockout, Malka still entered the heads-up duel with a 4:1 chip lead over the 2013 WSOP November Niner.

The battle lasted about a half hour before a coin flip decided the match. On the final hand, Malka shoved with ace-ten, and Loosli called all in with pocket sixes. The first four cards kept the Frenchman in the lead, and he was one card from drawing nearly even in the match. The river was the Ah, though, giving Malka the pot, the knockout, and the title.

Malka is a 28-year-old pro from Los Angeles. Although he’s been playing poker since he was 19, he’s only recently started to dabble in tournaments, citing the desire to travel and the thrill of tournament poker as his motivations. Things seem to be going well so far. This most recent victory is the largest of his young career, and it brings his total earnings to just over $1 million.

Here are the full results:

1st: David Malka – $658,000
2nd: Sylvain Loosli – 481,750
3rd: Tim West – $298,450
4th: Nick Petrangelo – $206,800
5th: Nick Yunis – $133,950
6th: Yevgeniy Timoshenko – $101,050
7th: Brian Benderoff – $82,250
8th: Steffen Sontheimer – $70,500
9th: Lazaro Hernandez – $68,150
10th: Jake Schindler – $65,800
11th: John Dolan – $63,450
12th: Dan Shak – $61,100
13th: Fedor Holz – $58,750

High Roller Final Results

The above results reflect corrected finishing positions for 11th and 12th places.