From the Military to “Deadliest Catch” to Poker Champion: Scott Woodring Overcomes a Field of 4,535 to Win His First Title and $190,939

2023 Seminole Hard Rock Lucky Hearts Poker Open
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
Hollywood, Florida
Event 1
$600 Deep Stack No-Limit Hold’em (Re-Entry)
$1,000,000 Guaranteed
Entries:  4,535
Prize Pool:  $2,358,200
January 12–16, 2023

Event 1 Champion Scott Woodring
Event 1 Champion Scott Woodring

“It’s always fun to come down to Hollywood and show off your poker skills.”

The first event of the Lucky Hearts Poker Open was a massive affair with 4,535 entries paying $600 each across six starting flights, creating a prizepool of $2,358,200 that more than doubled the $1 million guarantee. On Tuesday night, the final seven players agreed to a deal to end the tournament and split the remaining prizepool.

As chipleader, Scott Woodring was awarded the title, the trophy, and $190,939.

“It was a great tournament,” said Woodring. “There were a lot of roller-coaster rides for a lot of folks, especially at the final table.”

When Woodring began Day 2 with 36 big blinds, his goal was to tighten up a bit.

“The cards fell in my favor when I was playing tight,” said Woodring. “I got some more chips, and then I got more aggressive with my bigger stack, which everyone does, and it worked out in my favor. When I was bluffing, I never got caught, and when I was getting called, I had the best hand.”

Woodring was chipleader for a while on Day 2, and never seemed too far away from the lead. He came into Day 3 fifth in chips with 25 players remaining.

When the nine-handed final table began, Woodring was in the middle of the pack with an average chip stack, but it quickly took a turn for the worse after he lost an all in against Jake Schwartz to drop down to just eight big blinds. (Click here for details.)

“Then I woke up with the queens against two ace-kings, and that was a crucial turning point,” said Woodring.

Woodring had QhQd in a three-way preflop all-in situation against two players who both had ace-king — and his queens held up to triple him up to 29 big blinds. (Click here for details.)

Pocket queens not only saved Woodring in his darkest hour, they also catapulted him into the lead shortly before the dinner break.

Woodring got it all in with QdQc against Schwartz’s Js10s, and the queens held up again for him to double into the chip lead. (Click here for details.)

Woodring held onto the chip lead, and shortly after the dinner break, the final seven players agreed to a deal to split up the remaining prizepool. As chipleader, Woodring won the title, the trophy, and $190,939.

“The title and the trophy is why we come here,” said Woodring. “The money is great, but it’s more about the bragging rights. Everybody looks each other up when we get to a table. You’re always looking up who’s been where and who’s cashed what. So these are the patches on your shoulder, if you will, if you’re in the military.”

In addition to being a military veteran, Woodring appeared on Season 17 of the reality TV show, Deadliest Catch.

“I retired from the military in Alaska,” said Woodring, “and I knew some guys up there and I started salmon fishing.”

That’s when he met the Hillstrand brothers who captained the fishing vessel Time Bandit.

“They asked me to go out and go crab fishing for the Deadliest Catch. So I did Season 17 with those guys. It was a really cool experience, and I had a great time doing that. We played a lot of poker on that boat.”

Nowadays, Woodring lives in central Florida, and he spends more time playing poker.

“You can’t really beat the Florida tournament circuit,” said Woodring. “The fields are just as good if not better than most other places in the U.S.”

“I appreciate Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood, and their hospitality,” said Woodring. “It’s a beautifully run tournament, with a great staff and great dealers. Everything’s been tip-top.”

Final Table Results:

PlaceFirst NameLast NamePrize Amount

* Indicates a seven-way deal.