With huge money at stake, local poker players were all looking to take down first place in Event 10 at the Seminole Hard Rock “Rock ‘n’ Roll Poker Open”. Ralph Campbell, a regular tournament player at The Poker Room at Seminole Hard Rock came into play on Sunday 3rd in chips with nearly 400K. Campbell rode that large stack into an even bigger stack winning numerous big pots to surge into the chip lead as final table action. When the final table was down to the final six, the players decided to make a chip count chop and Campbell had just enough chips to hold off Chris Lewis for the win.
When we started our final nine, here is how we shaped up:
|Seat 1||Jose Galvez||900K|
|Seat 2||Don Todd||900K|
|Seat 3||Alex Michaels||1 million|
|Seat 4||Ralph Campbell||5.6 million|
|Seat 5||Marvin Young||2.2 million|
|Seat 6||Paul Berger||900K|
|Seat 7||Alfonso Perez||2.5 million|
|Seat 8||Chris Lewis||2.8 million|
|Seat 9||Len St. Germain||3.4 million|
Our final table got started with a bang when Don Todd, a 46 year old software engineer from Davie, Florida re-raised all in over the top of Marvin Young’s opening raise. Todd has been fairly successful in his six years of playing poker including a win at the Seminole Hard Rock Showdown in April of 2011 for $39,721. Today, he would not be as fortunate as the pocket Queens he took up against Young’s would fall by the wayside when an ace hit the river. A few players at the table clapped in appreciation of Todd’s finish and another player congratulated Marvin telling him “you the man.”
Paul Berger, a 45 year old attorney, just started playing poker eight weeks ago. Originally from Boston, Berger now lives in Delray Beach, Florida. Paul’s favorite song is a great rock ‘n’ roll song, “Patience” from Guns n Roses and he used some patience of his own to get to the final table. The hand that catapulted him to the final table was when he had A-8 and flopped trip 8’s. On his final hand, Paul would check raise all in on a flop against Chris Lewis. Lewis would make the call with and Berger was in bad shape with his . Paul would pick up a flush draw on the turn but the river was the to give Lewis the knockout of Berger. This was Paul’s first tournament cash and final table – just a few more to go until he catches up with his poker idol, Doyle Brunson.
After Berger’s elimination, a player joked “chop now guys?” They weren’t quite ready to make a deal but it wouldn’t be long until the talks would start. Chris Lewis would take a big pot off of Alfonso Perez when he would make bets on the flop and turn on a board that Perez would call. The river was the and both players would check. Lewis would show for flopped 2nd pair with a flush draw. His pair of 5’s was good as Perez had been calling with . “Weeeeeeeeeee,” said Lewis as he gave his friend a high five.
Now somewhat short stacked with just under one million in chips, Alfonso a 54 year old forensic underwriter from Deerfield Beach, Florida knew he would have to make a move soon, especially with the blinds at 50K/100K. Perez who has been playing poker for 35 years and plays weekly at the Poker Room at Seminole Hard Rock decided to make his move and pushed all in with . It was folded to Ralph Campbell who looked at his cards, quickly saw how many chips Perez had, and said “I call”. Marvin Young, who was one seat to Campbell’s left in the big blind, took a peek at his cards and made a quick and noticeable shift in his chair. He looked again, shifting uncomfortably in his seat. Reluctant, he tossed his hand face up – he had made a monster fold with . Campbell who had pocket 7’s, stood up and yelled “don’t spike an ace on me”. The board would run to give Campbell a straight and eliminate Alfonso in 7th place. “He goes home too,” said an excited Campbell as a couple players bumped fists with him. Perez who said he loves the lady dealers here was off to collect his 2nd biggest ever tournament score.
There would then be several double ups that would shift some chips around the table. First up was Alex Michaels who moved all in for 860K with and was called by Ralph Campbell and his . The flop of would give Campbell a flush draw but the turn and river would be a harmless to give Alex the pot. Michaels would pump his fists excited at his win. “Yea!” he exclaimed. “Yea baby!”
A short stacked Jose Galvez would double through Marvin Young when his T-7 would hit a 7 to ensure a win against Young’s . Galvez would clap and add “last chance to chop guys” as he started to stack his chips.
Alex Michaels would pick up 600K off of Len St. Germain when Len would call 300K bets on the turn and river and muck when Alex showed A-T on the A-9-4-Q-Q board.
The players would spend the better part of ten minutes debating a chip count chop with Chris Lewis trying to convince the others at the table that he deserved a little more. No one was having any of it and the deal was about to fall through when Lewis decided that more than 2nd place money was good enough for him. A deal was made and the order of finish was determined by the amount of chips the players had in front of him. The final order of finish and their winnings was as follows:
Jose Galvez, 6th place – $17,852
This was easily Jose’s biggest tournament score as his best finish prior to this was a 40th place finish in Event 1, the $125,000 guaranteed tournament. Jose, a 25 year old business owner originally from Cuba who now lives in Miami has been playing poker for four years. He lists Kid Poker, Daniel Negreanu, as the poker player he admires most and loves coming to the Poker Room at Seminole Hard Rock for their tournaments. A avid pool player when not playing poker, his favorite song is “Somewhere I Belong” by Linkin Park. Jose proved he was somewhere he belonged today with his 6th place finish.
Marvin Young, 5th place – $21,065
Marvin started Day 2 with the chip lead and was able to ride that lead all the way to the final table and an excellent 5th place finish. Young is a regular at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino tournaments and this is his 8th career listed cash in a tournament here. This was easily his biggest score, exceeding the $3,305 he had won in a $150 No Limit Hold ‘Em tournament here in April of 2012.
Alexander Michaels, 4th place – $35,917
Michaels, an attorney from Hollywood, Florida who has two World Series of Poker cashes in the 7 years he has been playing poker to his name, picked up his biggest tournament score today with his 4th place finish.
Len St. Germain, 3rd place – $36,978
Len, a 67 year old from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida that has been playing poker longer before many players were born plays here at The Poker Room at Seminole Hard Rock 3-4 times a week. He had a key hand with two tables remaining where he picked up Aces against Arthur Peacock’s Kings to give him a big stack. When asked what his favorite hand was St. Germain joked “what ever hand wins.” Despite three World Series of Poker cashes and numerous other final table finishes, this is easily Len’s biggest poker payday as it almost doubles his career earnings.
Chris Lewis, 2nd place – $45,375
Chris “SEVEN9TEN” Lewis is a successful poker player from Hollywood, Florida who celebrated his 28th birthday today with his biggest tournament cash ever. This isn’t a small feat considering Lewis has several wins to his name including two five figure scores. Chris has been playing poker for seven years and claims his friend and rail bird today, Mike Ortiz, is his biggest poker inspiration. When asked how often he plays at the Poker Room at Seminole Hard Rock, Chris said “Errryday” and added that the Twisted Mac and Cheese is his favorite thing here. Apparently his dog also plays poker, which must make for some interesting home games. A key hand that got him to the final table was when he three barreled with on an ace high flop and got his opponent to fold A-Q.
Ralph Campbell, 1st place – $46,223
Ralph, a 44 year old CEO of an insurance agency from Key West, Florida, said after the win “these boys didn’t know who they were up against.” The amiable, always smiling, Campbell’s has been playing poker for 12 years and his favorite hand is J-T suited. He states his biggest poker accomplishment as finishing in 120th at the 2012 WPT tournament at the Poker Room at Seminole Hard Rock. Ralph told us that he loves playing here and that his favorite thing is “Jeff, the poker room manager.” This is Ralph’s 2nd tournament win here, proving he’s no fluke and maybe even as he describes himself a poker “assassin.”
Congratulations on the win Ralph!