2016 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Hollywood
$570 No Limit Hold’em
Total Entries: 207
Total Prizepool: $103,500
If you’re looking for Michael Newman, he can usually be found in the tournament area at the Seminole Hard Rock.
The New York native is a regular tournament grinder in the South Florida area and has gone deep in several events, but the trophy has eluded him.
That all changed in the early hours of Wednesday morning when Newman bested a field of 207 players as part of a five-way chop in the $570 No Limit Hold’em. Newman was the chip leader when the final five players agreed to an ICM chop. Newman took home his first career SHRPO trophy and $17,579.
“A win is always great,” said Newman after the win. “I’ve gotten so deep so many times, but if you don’t run well at the end it doesn’t matter. Even if you are playing well, the cards have to hold up. And they did for me tonight. I got lucky.”
Newman didn’t get into poker until a couple years ago when he was still working on Wall Street. He worked for Paul Snead, who finished 21st in the 2008 World Series of Poker Main Event. It was Snead who took him under his wing and taught him the game.
“I started working for his place back in 2011,” said Newman. “So I kind of got real series into poker around 2012 or 2013. I got real serious about it when I moved down here about a year ago.”
Newman left Wall Street about a year ago to move to Florida. He still is in the banking industry, but has much easier access to a poker room than he did living in New York.
“I couldn’t really play much up in New York,” said Newman. “Borgata was kind of far away and so was Foxwoods. But living down here, this place is only 10 minutes away. So it’s great.”
Having only been playing serious tournament poker for about a year, Newman has quickly racked up quite a resume. The win tonight gives him over $150,000 in career tournament earnings.
Even with his own personal success, Newman stays in touch with Snead to go over hands and talk strategy. He gives Snead credit for some of the concepts that he uses at the table today.
“He pretty much wants me to take my time,” said Newman of Snead’s advice. “I would say that the most important thing is knowing the percentages and the odds.
“And to try to get max value for my hands. I wasn’t getting max value and [Paul] told me that I needed to get more max value for my hands.”
Newman started off the final table on the right note by winning a massive pot in one of first few hands after the re-draw. He eliminated George Abdo in 10th and nearly tripled up after getting it in with the nut flush draw against the second nut flush draw and Abdo’s bare king-high.
Newman turned the flush to leave both players drawing dead. He eliminated Paul Balzano two hands later and had a huge chip lead over the field. He was able to ride that chip lead down to the final five players. When they agreed to an ICM chop, he just barely edged out Frankie Flowers for the chip lead and the title.
This is Flowers’ second chop in as many days as he continues his post-WSOP heater.
Newman finally gets the thrill of victory and the trophy, but it seems like he will continue to grind the tournaments at the Hard Rock and look for more hardware.
“This is the best place for tournaments,” said Newman. “I love it here. Nobody runs better series than here at the Hard Rock.”
Here is a look at the final table results:
1st: Michael Newman – $17,579
2nd: Frankie Flowers – $16,742
3rd: Nicholas Baurichter – $15,459
4th: Zoltan Czinkota – $11,039
5th: Brian Blanchard – $9,243
6th: Joseph Hubbell – $5,175
7th: Robert Engle – $4,190
8th: Silvio Derubeis – $3,105
9th: Paul Balzano – $2,070