Showdown

2015 WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown Championship Recap

2015 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown
$3,500 WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown Championship
$5,000,000 Guarantee

April 16 – 22nd, 2015

Total Entries:  1,476
Total Prize Pool:  $5,000,000

Ralph Notaro04222015SHRPOShowdownFinal172 Griffin Paul champion

Recap:
The 2015 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown Championship kicked off on April 16 with a $5,000,000 prize pool and a week later we saw one player walk away with $1,000,000. After three starting flights and six total days of action, Griffin Paul was the last player standing to capture the title along with the seven-digit payday.

The showcase Championship event of the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown series had a $3,500 buy-in and drew 1,476 total entrants. They made it through more than 12 hours on the first day for a chance to play on Day 2 and make it into the money.

There was a wide range of poker professionals, champions, and Seminole Hard Rock Poker regulars in action for the big event. Four WSOP Main Event Champions took their shot at the title but none were able to make it deep in the tournament. Ryan Riess (2013), Jonathan Duhamel (2010), Jamie Gold (2006), and Carlos Mortensen (2001) were the world champions in attendance and they played alongside some of our local grinders including Ory Hen, Nigel Murray, Angel Vu, and Gregory Marcus.

The last 150 players in the tournament earned a piece of the $5 million prize pool and it was local professional Darryll “DFish” Fish eliminated in 151st spot to put the rest in the money. Some of the top names to cash in the tournament were Jason Mercier, Faraz Jaka, Brian Hastings, Jared Jaffee, Darren Elias, and Esther Taylor-Brady. Vince Van Patten was another player everyone was watching as the WPT commentator picked up his first career cash in a WPT event.

Day 4 saw the return of 18 players vying for the title including top pros Mohsin Chanaria, Dan Heimiller, Cornel Cimpan, and David Peters.  South Florida poker fans were cheering for local Eli Levy who began the day with the lead, but he was unable to sustain his momentum and was eliminated short of the final table. The pace was quick and it did not take long for Joe Ebanks, Griffin Paul, Brian Green, Shawn Nguyen, Andre Crooks, and Ryan Rivers to book their seat at the nationally televised WPT final table in Hard Rock Live.

Six-handed play lasted for two hours before play heated up. Rivers was the first player sent off the final table when he lost to Ebanks and Green followed at the hands of Paul. Two local favorites were the next to exit and silence the enthusiastic crowd. Nguyen had the biggest group of supports and their cheers could probably be heard across the property when he doubled early. He lasted another hour but was also eliminated by Paul in 4th place.

Crooks had his share of fans and family in the stands and it took a bad beat to send him out. He was ahead with pocket Kings against Ebanks’ pocket Nines but a Nine on the flop ended his day. His knockout set up a heads up battle between Ebanks and Paul for the title.

Ebanks began heads up play with a 2-to-1 advantage but Paul quickly doubled to take away the advantage. He never gave up the lead and it took just 23 more hands for him to become our latest champion along with $1,000,000 for the effort. Ebanks played great throughout the tournament and picked up the well-earned $615,000 prize for his runner-up finish.

This was easily Paul’s biggest poker success. He only had seven career tournament cashes, including a $25,000 payout at this summer’s WSOP series, but this one tops them all.

“It’s like a dream, I’m speechless.” Paul said. “It was a really tough table. I fought some amazing players and here I am.”

“I stayed here last night for the first time. It’s an amazing property.” Paul commented when asked about his experience this week. “Really nice. Beautiful. The staff here is great.”

That concludes the 2015 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown, thank you to all the players for making this a great series and congratulations to Griffin Paul on his Championship title.

Final table results:
1st: Griffin Paul (Northridge, CA) – $1,000,000
2nd: Joe Ebanks (Kent, OH) – $615,000
3rd: Andre Crooks (Lake Worth, FL) – $383,000
4th: Shawn Nguyen (West Palm Beach, FL) – $323,500
5th: Brian Green (Decatur, TX) – $269,000
6th: Ryan Rivers (Niagara Falls, ON) – $217,500

Ralph Notaro04222015SHRPOShowdownFinal171 Griffin Paul Champion

Championship: Griffin Paul Wins Championship ($1,000,000), Joe Ebanks Second ($615,000)

$3,500 WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown Championship
Level 35: 200,000/400,000/50,000 Ante

Let the celebration begin.  There’s a new name going on the WPT Champions Cup here at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Hollywood.  His name is Griffin Paul.

On the final hand, Paul called Joe Ebanks big blind but Ebanks was not standing still raising to 1,500,000 and Paul made the call.

The flop came out 4hKdJc and Ebanks led out for one million.  Paul went all-in and Ebanks decided it was time to try to double up and made the call.

Unfortunately for Ebanks, his AdJh had hit second pair but Paul held Kc9d for top pair and was two cards away from the title.

After a 4d on the turn, Paul’s rail began to raise the volume in Hard Rock Live as he was one card from the title.  As the tension built, the 6s came on the turn and the 22-year old Griffin Paul was a WPT champion and a millionaire as well.  His family and friends were ecstatic screaming and celebrating all over the set.  All Paul could say that the win “unbelievable” and we won’t give the exact quote when he was asked what it was like to have won a million dollars but let’s just say he thought it was “pretty cool”.

Joe Ebanks also has reason to celebrate his second place finish as he brings home $615,000 for his efforts over the past five days.

Congratulations to the Seminole Hard Rock WPT Poker Showdown Champion and newest poker millionaire – Griffin Paul!

Championship Event Champion Griffin Paul
Championship Event Champion
Griffin Paul
Joe Ebanks - 2nd Place ($615,000)
Joe Ebanks – 2nd Place ($615,000)

Championship: Paul Wins Race To Grab Chip Lead

$3,500 WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown Championship
Level 34: 150,000/300,000/50,000 Ante

Joe Ebanks started things off with a raise to 600,000 and Griffin Paul re-raised to 1.8 million. Ebanks put in another raise, making it 3.5 million. As has been his custom, Paul had his mouth covered with his jacket, using his hand to hold it up. He peeked back at his cards and then announced that he was all in. Ebanks quickly called and turned over 6h6d. He would pump his fists as he stood up when he saw Paul was behind with his AcJs.

The crowd started yelling out different cards depending on who they were rooting for. Some were yelling for an ace or a jack, obviously that was the Paul contingent. Others yelled for any card but an ace or a jack — the Ebanks crowd.

It would be Paul’s rail that would get their wishes fulfilled as the flop came AhQd9d. Screaming and screeching ensued as their man was one step closer to taking the chip lead. He would do precisely that when the turn was the 8s and the river was the 2c.

Paul, who had been pacing the stage nervously, pumped his fists, having doubled up to nearly 31 million and taking control of the heads up match with a more than 2:1 chip lead.

Seat 1: Griffin Paul 30,950,000 (103 bb)
Seat 2: Joe Ebanks 13,275,000 (44 bb)

Joe Ebanks awaits his fate
Joe Ebanks awaits his fate

Championship: First Hand, First Blood To Ebanks

$3,500 WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown Championship
Level 34: 150,000/300,000/50,000 Ante

The first hand of heads-up turned out to be a big one to kick things off.  Joe Ebanks fired out 600,000 and Griffin Paul made the call.

The flop came out AdTc2d and both player checked.  Then the Td hit the turn.  Paul checked to open the action and Ebanks bet 700,000.  Paul decided to make the call and take the hand to the river.

After the 3h hit the river, Paul checked one more time but Ebanks was unrelenting betting 3,500,000.  Paul took some to ponder his decision and ended up making the call.

Ebanks turned over  Td7h for trip tens and Paul mucked.  Ebanks extended his lead on the hand taking his stack to 30,325,000 to Paul’s 13,900,000.

Championship: Andre Crooks – 3rd Place ($383,000)

$3,500 WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown Championship
Level 33: 100,000/200,000/25,000 Ante

Chips were flying pre-flop and it all started with Joe Ebanks raising to 550,000. Andre Crooks made it 1.1 million to go and the action was back on Ebanks who put in another raise – this time to 2.35 million total.

Crooks wasn’t done yet though as he put in yet another raise, for 4.8 million which was nearly half of his remaining stack. Ebanks didn’t think long before moving all in and he was immediately called by Crooks who had the second best starting hand in poker with his KcKs. Ebanks had a pair of his own, nines again, as he held 9h9d.

To say nines have been treating Ebanks well today would be an understatement as the flop came AsJh9c causing the crowd to let out some “ooooohhhhhs” and “aaaaaahhhhhs” as Ebanks had seized control of the hand with his set.

Someone on the rail yelled “deuce” as the dealer put out the 4d. “Deuce,” came the yell again as they paused the action for dramatic effect. Finally, they burned and flipped over the river card.

It was the Th and that was the end of Andre Crooks tournament life who could at least take some consolation in getting it in with the best hand and the $383,000 payday he took home for his third place finish.

They are taking a brief break to set up for the money presentation. Here are the chip counts as we enter heads up action:

Seat 1: Griffin Paul 17,750,000 (89 bb)
Seat 2: Joe Ebanks 26,475,000 (132 bb)

Ralph Notaro04222015SHRPOShowdownFinal158 Andre CrooksAndre Crooks – 3rd place

 

Championship: Shawn Nguyen – 4th Place ($323,500)

$3,500 WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown Championship
Level 33: 100,000/200,000/25,000 Ante

As this final table, the players had split into two groups: three big stacks and three short stacks.  And the final one of the short stacks was just knocked out as Shawn Nguyen has fallen to the dismay of his large group of fans.

Before the flop, Joe Ebanks bet 450,000.   Shawn Nguyen then raised to 1,100,000 million.  Ebanks did not back down and re-raised to 2,150,000.  And now with a choice of letting it go or playing for his tournament life, Nguyen pushed the remainder of his chips in the middle and saw he was in a race to stay alive.

Ebanks: 9c9s
Nguyen: AdTs

With a raucous crowed cheering for Nguyen, the flop didn’t go their way as the cards came out 3cJs6h. Every possible chant for ace Nguyen’s fan base could come up with was shouted but the 4c showed up on the turn. Ebanks then got a chance to celebrate as the 4h came out on the river giving him the hand and the elimination.

Shawn Nguyen’s tournament was over and he finishes in 4th place for $323,500.

Here are the chip counts for the remaining three players:

Seat 1: Griffin Paul 16,725,000 (84 bb)
Seat 2: Joe Ebanks 18,400,000 (92 bb)
Seat 6: Andre Crooks 9,100,000 (46 bb)

Shawn Nguyen - 4th Place ($323,500)
Shawn Nguyen – 4th Place ($323,500)

 

Championship: Nguyening Without A Showdown

$3,500 WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown Championship
Level 33: 100,000/200,000/25,000 Ante

Shawn Nguyen opened to 475,000 and Andre Crooks called out of the small blind. The flop came  AcKs9d and both players checked. The turn was the 7c and Crooks bet 650,000. Nguyen made the call.

The river was the Jd and Crooks made another bet, this time for 1.375 million. Nguyen thought for a bit and then made the call. Crooks mucked his hand which meant Nguyen did not have to show his hand. He slid his cards to the dealer and once again his rail let out a load roar of approval.

Championship: Brian Green – 5th Place ($269,000)

$3,500 WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown Championship
Level 33: 100,000/200,000/25,000 Ante

The second of the three short stacks has been eliminated from our championship event.

Griffin Paul bet 400,000 pre-flop and Brian Green went over the top for his remaining 1,950,000. Green couldn’t have timed it much worse as Paul was sitting on a big hand.

Paul: JdJs
Green: AsTc

The flop ran out 4s7cQh leaving Green hoping to pull off the miracle. He got no help on the 4c turn and with 5d coming out on the river, Brian Green’s outstanding run through this tournament was ended.

Green finishes in 5th place for $269,000.

Here are the chip counts for the final four players:

Seat 1: Griffin Paul 15,475,000 (77 bb)
Seat 2: Joe Ebanks 12,775,000 (64 bb)
Seat 4: Shawn Nguyen 4,000,000 (20 bb)
Seat 6: Andre Crooks 11,975,000 (60 bb)

Brian Green - 5th Place ($269,000)
Brian Green – 5th Place ($269,000)

Championship: Griffin Paul Moves Back Into The Chip Lead

$3,500 WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown Championship
Level 33: 100,000/200,000/25,000 Ante

Griffin Paul opened to 400,000 and Shawn Nguyen  called out of the blinds. The flop came Qd9c8s and Nguyen check-called a bet of 425,000 from Paul.

The turn was the 3s and Nguyen again check-called a bet from Paul, this time for 975,000. The dealer put out the Qh on the river and Nguyen checked a third time. Paul moved all in for an effective 4.15 million and Nguyen would tank for two minutes before letting his hand go.

Championship: Ryan Rivers – 6th Place ($217,500)

$3,500 WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown Championship
Level 32: 75,000/150,000/25,000 Ante

With three players light on chips, it was a matter of time before someone finally was dropped from this final table and Ryan Rivers was the first to fall.

Rivers fired out his stack of 1,525,000 and was called by Joe Ebanks. And when the cards were turned over, Rivers was in dominated and in big trouble.

Rivers: Kc8c
Ebanks: Ac8d

After a flop of 3h8sTc, the crowd sensed the first elimination of the day could be coming. And when the cards ran out 5d2d, Ryan Rivers dream of a WPT Championship had gone up in the red glow of the WPT set.

Rivers finishes our championship event in 6th place for $217,500.

Seat 1: Griffin Paul 12,900,000 (86 bb)
Seat 2: Joe Ebanks 13,350,000 (89 bb)
Seat 4: Shawn Nguyen 4,975,000 (33 bb)
Seat 5: Brian Green 2,500,000 (33 bb)
Seat 6: Andre Crooks 10,500,000 (17 bb)

Ryan Rivers - 6th Place ($217,500)
Ryan Rivers – 6th Place ($217,500)

Championship: Nguyen Doubles

$3,500 WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown Championship
Level 32: 75,000/150,000/25,000 Ante

It’s been a quiet level thus far but we finally had a hand worthy of talking about. Joe Ebanks opened to 300,000 and Shawn Nguyen moved all in for 2.025 million. Ebanks thought for a moment and then made the call with JsTc. Nguyen was in the lead with his Ac3s and his contingent of fans, easily the largest and most vocal in the room all rose to their feet in anticipation.

The flop kept their hero in the lead as it came 7d3h2h but he wasn’t safe yet. The turn would change that as it was the 3c to give him trip threes and a lock on the hand. His rail roared, whooping it up, hands in the air, excited to know that their friend was safe and very much alive.

The river was meaningless but the dealer put it out anyway… the 7s. Chip counts after the double up by Nguyen:

Seat 1: Griffin Paul 13,550,000 (90 bb)
Seat 2: Joe Ebanks 10,175,000 (68 bb)
Seat 3: Ryan Rivers 1,775,000 ((12 bb)
Seat 4: Shawn Nguyen 4,425,000 (30 bb)
Seat 5: Brian Green 2,500,000 (17 bb)
Seat 6: Andre Crooks 11,800,000 (79 bb)

Shawn Nguyen celebrates his double up
Shawn Nguyen celebrates his double up

Championship: Break Time And Chip Counts

$3,500 WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown Championship
Level 31: 60,000/120,000/20,000 Ante

It’s been fairly slow action here on Level 31.  Both Griffin Paul and Shawn Nguyen went all-in late in the level but no one bit.

It’ll be good for the room every time Nguyen wins a pot as by the sound of it he’s got the loudest cheering section on the set. With the action being somewhat restrained so far, the room can always use pepping up a little bit.

In the meantime, the players have reached the break and here are the updated chip counts:

Griffin Paul – 13,650,000
Joe Ebanks – 11,300,000
Andre Crooks – 10,675,000
Shawn Nguyen – 3,275,000
Ryan Rivers – 2,675,000
Brian Green – 2,650,000

Championship: Ebanks Makes The Tough Call

$3,500 WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown Championship
Level 31: 60,000/120,000/20,000 Ante

Andre Crooks opened pre-flop for 250,000 and Joe Ebanks called from the small blind. The flop was Ah5d4s and both players checked.

The turn was the 6c and Ebanks checked again. Crooks bet 475,000 and Ebanks made a quick call.

The river was the 7s and Ebanks checked with no hesitation. Crooks made a large bet of 1,450,000. Ebanks shifted uncomfortably in chair and then tanked for several minutes, often with a perplexed look on his face. Eventually he made the call, tabling Ac9c for a pair of aces. That was good enough as Crooks mucked his hand.

Championship: Crooks Takes Charge

$3,500 WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown Championship
Level 31: 60,000/120,000/20,000 Ante

Early in Level 31, Andre Crooks and Joe Ebanks have locked horns.

Pre-flop, Crooks raised 260,000 and Joe made the call.  After a flop of 3cAdJd Joe checked and Andre fired out 380,00 with Joe making the check-call.

Then the chips started flying on the Ks turn.  Joe checked again and Crooks put in 705,000.  The time, Ebanks put Crooks to the test re-raising to 1,7000,000.  Crooks did not hesitate and made the call.

The action slowed after the Kc showing up on the river as both players check.  Andre turned over AhTc for top pair and Ebanks mucked his hand.

With that hand, Andre Crooks took over the chip lead going to 13,275,000 and will lead the race for the WPT Champions Cup.

Seat 1: Griffin Paul 12,875,000 (107 bb)
Seat 2: Joe Ebanks 7,930,000 (66 bb)
Seat 3: Ryan Rivers 2,775,000 (23 bb)
Seat 4: Shawn Nguyen 2,560,000 (21 bb)
Seat 5: Brian Green 4,780,000 (40 bb)
Seat 6: Andre Crooks 13,275,000 (111 bb)

Championship: Ebanks Draws First Blood

$3,500 WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown Championship
Level 31: 60,000/120,000/20,000 Ante

Griffin Paul opened to 240,000 and one spot to his left, Joe Ebanks made it 625,000 to go. It was folded back around to Paul whose mouth was covered by his shirt as his hand held it tightly to his face. He peeked back at his cards and then removed his mouth long enough to verbalize another raise to 1.5 million total.

Ebanks thought for about thirty seconds before announcing that he was all in. Paul quickly folded to give Ebanks the pot.

Championship: Televised Final Table Ready to Go

$3,500 WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown Championship
Level 30: 50,000/100,000/15,000 Ante

Ralph Notaro04222015SHRPOShowdownFinal103

The final day of the 2015 WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown Championship is about to get underway with just six players left with a chance to take home the top $1,000,000 prize.

The Championship started on April 16 and drew 1,476 entrants competing for the $5,000,000 prize pool. That number was whittled down until we have our final table set to go. Griffin Paul will start the final day with the chip lead with Andre Crooks his nearest competitor. Joe Ebanks, Brian Green, Ryan Rivers, and Shawn Nguyen round out the rest of the final table.

The average stack is 74 big blinds and it will be a long grind for the table with the added pressure of a live audience and the WPT cameras. Cards are scheduled to be in the air at 4pm and we’ll be here all day with live updates.

Final table mini-bios

Final table lineup:
Seat 1: Griffin Paul – 14,290,000 (143 bb)
Seat 2: Joe Ebanks – 6,585,000 (66 bb)
Seat 3: Ryan Rivers – 4,170,000 (42 bb)
Seat 4: Shawn Nguyen – 3,615,000 (36 bb)
Seat 5: Brian Green – 5,205,000 (52 bb)
Seat 6: Andre Crooks -10,350,000 (104 bb)

Final table payouts:
1st: $1,000,000
2nd: $615,000
3rd: $383,000
4th: $323,500
5th: $269,000
6th: $217,500

Championship: Final Table Profiles

The 2015 WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown Championship is down to just six players after three starting flights and five total days. The tournament stared with 1,476 and here’s a little look at the only players remaining with a shot at the $1,000,000 first place prize.

HR-SHO EV13F Table 2-S9_0680_1 Griffin PaulSeat 1: Griffin Paul – 14,290,000 (143 bb)

From Calabasas, CA with over $74,000 in career tournament earnings and his biggest coming in the 2014 WSOP Main Event for $25,746. Paul has two career WSOP cashes and one WPT cash. He lists his special talent as “country line dancer”.

 


HR-SHO EV13F Table 1-S7_0714 Joe Ebanks

Seat 2: Joe Ebanks – 6,585,000 (66 bb)

From Lubbock, TX with nearly $2.4 million in career tournament earnings and his biggest cash earned for winning the $10,000 WSOP 6-Handed Championship for $1,158,481. Ebanks has tournament cashes in 17 different countries. (US, Uruaguay, Spain, Netherlands, Italy, Romania, Monaco, Aruba, France, Bahamas, Austria, Costa Rica, Estonia, Germany, Portugal, Panama, and Brazil)


HR-SHO EV13F Table 1-S4_0679 Ryan Rivers

Seat 3: Ryan Rivers – 4,170,000 (42 bb)

From Belleville, ON with over $200,000 in career tournament earnings and most of it coming from a 3rd place finish at the PokerStars Canada Cup in 2014. He has one WSOP cash and his first WPT cash came in this event last year. Rivers plans to help his mother retire with this result.


HR-SHO EV13F Table 1-S3_0721 Shawn Nguyen

Seat 4: Shawn Nguyen – 3,615,000 (36 bb)

From West Palm Beach, FL with $28,000 in career tournament earnings making this his biggest cash by far. Primarily a cash game player with one WSOP to his credit, this is his first big buy-in tournament and he lists his special skills as talking and tilting people.


HR-SHO EV13F Table 2-S1_0689_1 Brian Green

Seat 5: Brian Green – 5,205,000 (52 bb)

From Arlington, TX with nearly $800,000 in career tournament earnings including a 2nd place finish in the $5,000 WSOP Limit Hold’em event in 2012. He has one WPT final table with four WPT cashes along with 11 career WSOP cashes.

 


HR-SHO EV13F Table 1-S1_0695 Andre Crooks

Seat 6: Andre Crooks – 10,350,000 (104 bb)

From Lake Worth, FL with over $75,000 in career tournament earnings and the biggest coming from a 2nd place finish during the 2013 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown $1,100 No Limit Hold’em event. Crook’s most recent cash was here two weeks ago in Event 4 and a 4th place finish.

Event 20 Recap

2015 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown
$250 No Limit Hold’em (Re-Entry)
$30,000 Guarantee

April 21st, 2015

Total Entries:  184
Total Prize Pool:  $38,640

Event 20 Champion Alex Boytan
Event 20 Champion
Alex Boytan

Recap:

The players on the final table in Event 20 seemed determined to make sure that they were the last table to play in the ballroom for this year’s Poker Showdown and they did not disappoint.   A final table filled with twists, turns, table chatter and a man with nine lives took this table to the 3:30 AM mark with Alex Boytan finally making a deal with Howie Hershkovich and winning the title.

Following the eliminations of Jose Navarete in 9th, Allan Bieler in 8th and Gregory Marcus in 7th, the action slowed considerably for the final six players.

But then in rapid-fire fashion just minutes apart, Kenny Bhakta was out in 6th followed by Tony Burns in 5th.  Then the knockdown-dragout conflict that seemed like it had no end was on.

Alex Boytan, Gil Morgenstern, Howie Hershkovich and Dave Albertson got to know each other very well over the next two hours.  Despite the fact that the blinds were threatening to put all the players in jeopardy, they could not come an agreement and continued to trade chips.  Boytan eventually got most of the chips in play but couldn’t clear the table.

Albertson kept stunning the table as he was continally winning all-in after all-in whether ahead or behind.  All the while, Albertson kept up some testy table chatter with Boytan telling him he would not knock him out and he was going to come back and win the tournament.

At 3 AM, Boytan managed to finish off Morgenstern in 4th place as he hit a queen-high flush off a flop leaving Morgenstern’s pair of sevens in the rear view mirror and the players played on three-handed.  Amazingly, after Albertson was down to just 35,000 chips he kept coming from behind and winning all-ins shrinking Boytan’s stack.  But it was not meant to be as Hershkovich finally stopped Albertson’s streak coming from behind himself with Ad5d against Albertson’s AsKd.

Boytan now found himself in a position where only a couple of blinds separated him and Hershrovich.  Hershkovich offered a deal to split the money evenly forgoing the title and after some convincing, Boytan accepted and the championship trophy was his.

Congratulations to our Event 20 Champion – Alex Boytan!

1st – Alex Boytan –  $9,468
2nd – Howie Hershkovich – $9,467
3rd –  Dave Albertson – $4,444
4th – Gil Morgenstern – $3,130
5th – Tony Burns – $2,415
6th – Kenny Bhakta – $1,835
7th – Gregory Marcus- $1,430
8th – Allan Bieler$1,063
9th – Jose Navarrete – $753

Event 17 Recap

2015 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown
$150 No Limit Hold’em (Re-Entry)
$50,000 Guarantee

April 19 – 21st, 2015

Total Entries:  652
Total Prize Pool:  $78,240

Event 17 Champion Emil Soffer
Event 17 Champion
Emil Soffer

Recap:

There was no question when the dust settled in Event 17 who deserved to win this title as Emil Soffer played outstanding poker on Day 2 to capture the trophy.

The story early on was Ross Lebo. Lebo had been on cruise control most of the way to the final table. At one point, he held over 2.6 million chips with three tables remaining and was on cruise control to the final table. But along the way Josias Santos and Soffer started doing some damage of their own. But in the major confrontations they had with two tables left, Soffer had mostly gotten the best of Santos.

Two fast eliminations with eleven players remaining got Event 17 to the final table with Brandon Pinkerton going out first. And just when Lebo had slipped to 1.1 million, he came from behind on two consecutive hands eliminating Ravi Shanmugam in 8th and Michael Corbett in 7th. But Lebo could not keep the momentum going. Jamie Gomez started to assert himself and took most of Lebo’s chips before finally ending his night in 5th. Then things got a little strange.

Louis Leo IV had survived a couple of all-ins leaving Sean Yu as the short stack and Gomez had taken the lead away from Soffer. Despite Yu’s position, he insisted during a chop discussion that he should be declared the champion. His bold attempt to convince the other players to end the touranemnt didn’t work out and play continued.

Gomez and Soffer hooked up in a key hand which turned out to the be the difference in the tournament with Soffer barely getting the best of it after a great call putting him back in the lead. After a few more hands, the players agreed to discuss a chop after the end of the next hand. Ironically, the hand ended up putting Yu and Soffer against each other. Yu had decided to press as hard as possible to double up and put himself all-in on the turn. Had Soffer lost the hand, his chip lead would have been in jeopardy. But Soffer picked off Yu’s semi-bluff and sent him out in 5th place.

After the conclusion of the hand, the remaining four players agreed to the chop leaving Soffer the winner following the key hands he’d won against Gomez and Yu.

“I took some chances with 4-5 suited, 7-8 suited and got the cards and it paid off. I thought he (Yu) was bluffing and I had the high pair with the low kicker. It was not an all-in for me so nothing hurt – go for it. It’s a great feeling to win – very nice. I love coming here!”

Congratulations to our Event 17 Champion – Emil Soffer!

Results:
1st – Emil Soffer (Miami, FL) – $15,394
2nd – Jamie Gomez (Miami Gardens, FL) – $11,468
3rd – Josias Santos (Sao Paulo, Brazil) – $10,208
4th – Louis Leo IV (Coral Springs, FL) – $9,056
5th – Sean Yu (Los Angeles, CA) – $3,951
6th – Ross Lebo (Lehigh Acres, FL) – $3,169
7th – Michael Corbett (Fort Lauderdale, FL) – $2,425
8th – Ravi Shanmugam (San Jose, CA) -$1,721
9th – Brandon Pinkerton (Jupiter, FL) –  $1,252