2015 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open
$250 Limit Omaha/8 (Re-Entry)
July 31, 2015
Total Entries: 101
Total Prize Pool: $21,210
In a event where one player was looking for his 12th career mixed game title and another was trying to join his daughter in the winners circle, two players ended up being the spoilers dominating the final table with John Reese standing tall at the end.
The final table started off fast as Phillippe Gourreau was quickly eliminated in 10th followed by Chico Pho in 9th. Pho was knocked out on a rivered straight by Jeff Bunims who had stormed to the chip lead taking command of the table. And his lead grew even larger as he eliminated Robert Campbell in 8th with a pair of 2’s ending Campbell’s quest for fourth Seminole Hard Rock championship and an incredible 12th mixed title.
In the meantime, the news hit the table that Loni Harwood had won the WSOP National Championship which was very special to one player in particular. Her father, Joel Harwood, was at the final table and let out a scream of celebration when he saw the news getting the attention of the room and the congratulations from his table mates. Her win set up an incredibly rare possibility of a father/daughter duo winning major events on the same day if Joel could pull through.
But Jeff Bunims was having none of it. Bunims continued to play a wide open game and he and Alban Torres split a four-way pot which ended up sending Geoff Mikukla to the rail in 7th and then took out Ryan Leto in 6th. Bunims was now in a commanding position to put away the tournament but fate and John Reese had different ideas. A huge three-way pot saw Reese hit broadway against Bunims king-high straight scooping the pot and also sending Christian Ivens out in 5th place. Joel Harwood has also managed to chip up in the meantime and was in the mix for title as well. And with the elimination of Alban Torres in 4th, the final three were ready to battle it out.
John Reese hit a nut flush and scooped against Harwood setting up Harwood’s elimination shortly afterward in similar fashion ending Harwood’s quest to join his daughter in the winner’s circle but still ending up with a superb third place finish.
After the elimination of Harwood, Reese and Bunims had enough and decided to chop the remaining prize money leaving John Reese as the first champion of this year’s Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open.
Reese looked back on his game plan and how the final table played out. “Coming into a new table I didn’t know half the players at the table and I was a short stack at that point. So I just sat back and waited until I caught a hand and was just fortunate it started to roll at the end at the right time. It’s been a long time since I’ve played serious Omaha but going back twenty-five years ago I put myself through two years of college playing in Tampa at the Seminole in $40 Omaha tournaments so I’ve played a lot of Omaha and it was just nice to come in here and catch cards.”
And given his unique perspective on life and what he’s been through to have a moment like this victory was incredibly special to him. “Without getting emotional for what I’ve been through in the last seven years this was by far the biggest tournament that I’ve won. I’ve had serious health problems – three heart attacks and a sudden cardiac arrest and actually was dead for four and a half minutes two years ago. I’m happy to be here.”
Reese was also very generous in his praise for the Seminole Hard Rock-Hollywood team. “Look, it’s a class act. I’ve played a lot of poker and I love Hollywood. They do a great job here. I live in Ft. Myers and I come here and it’s mostly because of the people. They treat you right here. Everyone’s friendly and they take care of their customers.”
Congratulations to our Event 2 Champion – John Reese!
1st: John Reese (Ft. Myers, FL) – $5,076
2nd: Jeff Bunims (Loxahatchee, FL) – $5,075
3rd: Joel Harwood (Hallandale Beach, FL) – $2,687
4th: Alban Torres (Miami, FL) – $1,992
5th: Christian Ivens (Miami Beach, FL) – $1,493
6th: Ryan Leto (Tampa, FL) – $1,194
7th: Geoff Mikulka (St. Petersburg, FL) – $995
8th: Robert Campbell (Miami, FL) – $795
9th: Chico Pho (Memphis, TN) – $598
10th: Phillippe Goureau (Bal Harbour, FL) – $435