2019 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
$300 Jeff Conine Celebrity Charity Event
Prize Pool: $15,000 + Prize Packages
August 7, 2019
When Randal Fernandez arrived at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino to play in the Jeff Conine Celebrity Charity Event after winning it last year, he thought, “Maybe I could win it back-to-back.”
That thought likely goes thru the mind of every poker champion who returns to the same event the following year, but defending a title isn’t easy, especially in a charity event with a turbo structure. But Fernandez managed to pull it off, going back-to-back to repeat as champion.
“It was so crazy,” said Fernandez. “The levels were going by so quick, and I couldn’t get past 50K.” But the same hand that saved him from a short stack last year — — brought him back from the brink this year.
“I found myself down to 15,000, and I just bounced back with the same five-eight that got me back in the tournament last year.” Fernandez was all in and made a flush with suited to double up, and he carried that momentum to the final table, and ultimately, the winner’s circle.
The final three players made a deal to split the money more evenly, and for winning, Fernandez earned $3,250 in cash, plus a $5,250 seat into the SHRPO Championship, which begins on Friday. Of course Fernandez also wins another SHRPO trophy, and a custom-framed winner’s photo, courtesy of IMPDI.
“I have my picture frame from last year hanging in the living room by the TV,” said Fernandez. “So I guess I’m going to put this one on the other side.”
Fernandez is self-employed; he and his wife April own TightBunz.com, which sells women’s active wear. They have their own line of active wear, designed by April, but also sell other brands.
Of course, the Jeff Conine Celebrity Charity Event is primarily about the charity — the Conine Clubhouse, which is part of the Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital. Money was raised not only from the tournament buy-ins, but also a silent auction and a live auction for a variety of different packages, including sports memorabilia and travel packages.
“It’s a great charity event,” said Fernandez. “I love playing it, and I love supporting the cause. You also get to meet a bunch of great people.”
1st: Randal Fernandez – $3,250 + prize package
2nd: Haitham Kaki – $3,000 + prize package
3rd: Chris Cote – $3,000 + prize package
4th: Steve Iodice – $1,250 + prize package
5th: James Scott – $950 + prize package
6th: Ronald Benedetto – $850 + prize package
7th: Daniel Genachte – $750 + prize package
8th: Rob Lenkey – $700 + prize package
9th: Robbie Kubusheski – $650 + prize package
10th: Raul Cabrera – $600 + prize package