2016 Lucky Hearts Poker Open
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Hollywood
$1,100 Lucky Hearts WPTDeepStacks Main Event
Prize Pool: $1,633,480
January 14-18, 2016
Hollywood, Fla. (January 18, 2016) – The showcase event on the 2016 Seminole Hard Rock Lucky Hearts Poker Open schedule drew a huge crowd of players aiming for a piece of a seven-digit prize pool. Salomon Ponte outlasted a large field and earned the Main Event title along with the top prize of $344,420.
The WPTDeepStacks Main Event played out over five total days with the three starting days drawing 1,684 entries. There was a $1,000,000 guaranteed prize pool on the tournament and the great turnout pushed it up to $1,633,480 when registration closed.
The Main Event drew poker stars from around the world including Matt Affleck, Allen Kessler, Kathy Liebert, 2010 WSOP November Niner John Dolan, WPTDeepStacks Player of the Year Tristan Wade, former WPT Player of the Year Mukul Pahuja, WPT World Champion Asher Conniff, and 2010 WSOP Main Event Champion Jonathan Duhamel.
Of those 1,684 starters, only 346 players moved on to Day 2 for a chance to take home a piece of the prize pool. With 169 players getting paid, the tournament quickly played down and was in the money when 2015 WSOP Main Event runner up Josh Beckley eliminated Michael Foley.
Kelly Minkin made the final table of the 2015 Lucky Hearts Poker Open Championship and was looking to do it again this year. Despite a deep run, she was eliminated on Day 2.
Nine players survived Day 2 and booked their spot at the live-streamed final table in The Paradise Theater. Ponte began the last day of play with the chip lead and only briefly gave it up over the short, four-hour final table.
The table featured players from around the world mixing with some of our local regulars. Canada, Jamaica, New York, and South Carolina were represented along with five others from nearby.
Ryan D’Angelo and Harrison Gimbel were the most accomplished players at the final table but neither was able to take the lead away from Ponte. D’Angelo went out in seventh while Gimbel was eliminated in fourth.
The heads up match between Edward Mallon and Ponte had several lead changes but Ponte was the top player on the last hand. He earned the $344,420 payout by eliminating five of his opponents at the final table.
“I felt like I was the best,” Ponte quipped. “Clearly I won so I’m better than them.”
Ponte is a Toronto-based CPA specializing in taxes and came down to Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Hollywood for better weather, better poker games, and to win the Main Event.
“Florida is amazing but I have to go back for tax season,” Ponte said.
With only $19,000 in career poker earnings in his career, this is easily his best tournament result and we hope to see him back in the future.
Final table results:
1st: Salomon Ponte (Toronto, ON) – $344,420
2nd: Edward Mallon (Boynton Beach, FL) – $192,885
3rd: Thong Ho (N Charleston, SC) – $139,730
4th: Harrison Gimbel (Jupiter, FL) – $93,915
5th: Kenneth Watson (Montego Bay, JM) – $66,525
6th: Michael LaRocca (Boynton Beach, FL) – $56,740
7th: Ryan D’Angelo (Endwell, NY) – $48,260
8th: Zack Goodman (Boca Raton, FL) – $31,630
9th: Paul Balzano (Sunrise, FL) – $27,390
Full results available from our friends at TheHendonMob.com.