Sam Panzica Goes From Short Stack to H.O.R.S.E. Champion

2021 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
Hollywood, Florida
Event 31
$1,100 H.O.R.S.E. Championship (Freeze-Out)
Entries:  78
Prize Pool:  $75,660
August 5-6, 2021

Sam Panzica
Sam Panzica

The two-day $1,100 H.O.R.S.E. Championship attracted a field of 78 players, and after a three-hour heads-up battle, it was Sam Panzica who won the title of SHRPO H.O.R.S.E. Champion.

The previous night, Panzica was all in on the Money Bubble facing elimination, but he rivered an 8-6 low in Razz to narrowly win a huge pot and triple up in chips.

Even with that Razz hand, Panzica began the final table as the short stack with less than four big bets. But as other players busted, Panzica slowly built up his stack, taking a big leap forward when he scooped a three-way pot in Stud Hi/Lo to eliminate Barak Zaken in sixth place.

Panzica eventually got heads-up with Jean “Prince” Gaspard, who began the final table as the chipleader, and they battled for about three hours, with Panzica holding a sizable lead for most of that time.

“It was a lot of back-and-forth,” said Panzica, “and then we got short, and it was whoever ran better.”

It ultimately came down to two hands of Hold’em, with Sam taking the first on the turn to knock Gaspard down to two big bets. The final hand saw Gaspard get it all in preflop with Ac6s, but he was dominated by Panzica’s AsJc. Panzica flopped a jack, and Gaspard never caught up.

Even with this victory coming during a round of Hold’em, Panzica prefers other games in the H.O.R.S.E. rotation.

“I’d say Razz or Stud-8 are probably my favorites,” said Panzica. “My least favorite is limit hold’em. It’s so boring.”

After his victory, Panzica immediately entered Day 1A of the $5,250 SHRPO Championship.

“The tournaments are great here,” said Panzica. “Great dealers, and the fields are huge.”

Final Results:

1st:  Sam Panzica  –  $23,185 + SHRPO Trophy
2nd:  Jean “Prince” Gaspard  –  $15,455
3rd:  Chris Tryba  –  $10,305
4th:  Aaron Kupin  –  $7,160
5th:  Mark Gallo  –  $5,200
6th:  Barak Zaken  –  $3,945
7th:  John Fahmy  –  $3,140
8th:  Esther Taylor  –  $2,630
9th:  “Miami” John Cernuto  –  $2,320
10th:  Renato Labadan  –  $2,320