2022 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
$25,500 Pot-Limit Omaha High Roller (Re-Entry)
Prize Pool: $1,284,400
August 3-4, 2022
Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood has run some very successful high roller events over the years, but this was the first time they ran one that wasn’t no-limit hold’em.
Event 24 was a $25,500 Pot-Limit Omaha High Roller, and the two-day event attracted 52 entries to create a total prizepool worth more than $1.2 million, proving the popularity of PLO among high-roller players.
After a seven-hour final table, Melad Marji defeated Michael Duek heads-up to win the title, the trophy, and $443,118.
“It’s a dream come true,” said Marji. “Absolutely nothing less than a dream come true. I worked hard for this.”
Day 1 ended when the Money Bubble burst, but it took two-and-a-half hours to knock out that last player of the day. So when the final eight returned on Thursday to play down to a winner, the blinds were relatively high, and the stacks relatively short.
That contributed to the first four players busting in the first 75 minutes or so, but then the final four battled for more than two hours before the next elimination. The pay jumps were substantial at this stage, with $122,018 for fourth place and $443,118 for first.
And there were plenty of ups and downs between the final four players.
“At one point, all of us in the final four had a turn to be the short stack,” said Marji. “So it was a wild ride for everybody. I just hung on, I did what I had to do, and I stayed focused.”
This is also part of the appeal of the seemingly chaotic game of PLO, which is Marji’s favorite version of poker.
“No-limit hold’em gets boring,” said Marji. “PLO has more action. Everybody likes it, because it’s a fun game to play. It’s more social. No-limit’s a little dry.”
Eventually, Marji knocked out fourth-place finisher Isaac Kempton when he flopped a straight to Kempton’s pocket kings, and it held up.
Then it was another two hours before Dom Mosley got it all in preflop against Michael Duek. Mosley flopped top pair, but Duek turned a set of jacks and rivered a full house to knock out Mosley in third place.
The lead continued to switch hands during heads-up play, with Marji starting with a good lead, but Duek catching some momentum early to move out in front. Marji won the next two all-in-situations to reclaim the lead, and he never lost the lead after that.
In the final hand, Marji was dealt three aces (which isn’t ideal, since you can only use two holecards at a time in Omaha), but they held up in the final hand for him to win the title outright.
This is the second Seminole Hard Rock trophy for Marji, who won a $600 Pot Limit Omaha back in January during the WPT Lucky Hearts Poker Open.
“I just moved to Miami about a year and a half ago,” said Marji, “and it’s the best move I’ve ever made. I love everything about South Florida. I love the Seminole Hard Rock, and I love the people who play here. We’ve got superstars like Colby Covington that come in, and a lot of my friends that I’ve met here. I love this place.”
Marji plans to play in the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open Championship, which starts tomorrow, though he said he will probably take a day off and enter Day 1B on Saturday.
At the end of his post-game interview from the biggest tournament score of his poker career, Marji highlighted friends and family.
“I had really good people in my corner that wanted to see me win,” said Marji, “and that meant a lot to me.”
Asked if there was anything else he’d like to add, Marji said, “I love my Mom. That’s what I’d like to add.”
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