Jeff Cookson Completes Comeback, Takes HORSE Title

2018 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino 
Hollywood, Florida
Event 20
$360 HORSE
Entries: 47
Prize Pool: $14,100
April 17, 2018

Jeff Cookson Wins $360 HORSE

Jeff Cookson needed to complete an epic comeback heads-up against an experienced mixed game player to take home the $360 HORSE title.

Cookson started out in a big hole against AJ Kelsall, who is a regular in high-stakes mixed games, both cash games and tournaments at the start of heads-up play. But by the end of the day, Cookson ended up with all of the chips to take defeat a 47-entry field and take home $5,499.

“He had me 4-to-1 at the start of heads-up play and then we had a big hold’em hand where I made a straight and he missed a flush draw,” said Cookson. “That got me back to even. From there, I just kind of wore him down a little bit.”

Cookson was short on chips for most of the final table, but that didn’t deter him from staying around long enough to give himself a chance to win.

“It feels good,” he said. “I played solid most of the time. I hung around until I got some chips and then I won it.”

The retired air traffic controller from Miami is a fan of limit games, but doesn’t get to take part in much of them besides limit hold’em and Omaha hi-lo. There aren’t many stud games spread throughout the state.

“I just always play limit hold’em and any time there is a limit game, I want to play,” said Cookson.

Kelsall took home $3,243 for his runner-up finish. Matt Axelrod, Peter Cleven, Steven Kaplan and Michael Conti rounded out the top six finishers, who all finished in the money.


1st: Jeff Cookson – $5,499
2nd: AJ Kelsall – $3,243
3rd: Matt Axelrod – $1,974
4th: Peter Cleven – $1,410
5th: Steven Kaplan – $1,128
6th: Michael Conti – $846