2016 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Hollywood
$300 HORSE (Re-Entry)
Total Entries: 89
Total Prize Pool: $22,695
Ziya “Zee” Rahim doesn’t normally play a lot of mixed games, but he found a way to outlast a field of 89 players to take home $6,261 in the $300 HORSE on Monday evening.
“It’s always awesome,” said Rahim. “I love getting the trophy.”
The 41-year-old retired businessman and current stay-at-home dad plays mostly Pot Limit Omaha. His experience in the stud variations are limited, but that didn’t stop him earning his biggest score of his poker career.
“I think this is probably my fifth HORSE tournament ever,” said the Leesburg, VA native. “And I think this is my second cash in a HORSE tournament. It’s like a guilty pleasure of mine to be able to come and have fun and not worry about people going ‘pot, pot, pot’ every five minutes. This is more of a fun way for me to come and relax and play a different game.”
While the buy-in might not be large, Rahim still needed to go go through top-flight mixed game pro Phil Hui to take down the title. Hui won a WSOP bracelet in 2014 in the $3,000 Omaha Hi-Lo and is a regular in high-stakes mixed game tournaments.
Hui started the heads-up battle with a sizable chip lead, but after several showdowns went Rahim’s way, it was Rahim with the lead and the momentum. Rahim scooped a couple pots in a row during a round of Omaha Hi-Lo to leave Hui on a very short stack. It wasn’t long after that that Rahim finished him off to take down the title.
Defeating such an accomplished opponent made the victory a little sweeter for Rahim.
“My heads-up opponent was very tough and I was fortunate enough to be able to come back and beat him because I could tell he was a very experienced opponent,” said Rahim. “I’m really proud of this result.”
The final table itself was a roller coaster for Rahim. The father of two started the final table with a chip lead and extended it in the early goings of the final table. But during the middle stages of the final table, Rahim couldn’t seem to drag any pots and was one of the shorter stacks at the table.
“I never give up,” said Rahim. “I try to keep a peaceful zen-type mind state. So when things weren’t going great for me, I just envisioned some success and I was able to make that come true. I caught a little bit of luck when I short. I got some fortunate cards in the right spots and I was able to play my A-game the rest of the way.”
Rahim found some success on the felt, but he takes more pride in being a father to his two kids than anything he could do in the poker world.
“They are the joy of my life and I do almost everything with them,” said Rahim. “Coaching soccer and volunteering at school and that kind of thing. I play some poker when I have some time, but that’s not the center of my life.”
10 years ago, Rahim sold his company and has been semi-retired ever since, which has given him some more time to play poker. But Rahim has been looking into some things that would allow him to get back into the business world.
“I’m taking on some new projects here and there,” said Rahim. “I’m starting some new companies right now and I’m excited to get back into the business world.”
Here is a look at the final table results:
1st: Zee Rahim – $6,261
2nd: Phil Hui – $4,444
3rd: Jamie Dobay – $2,828
4th: Harold Mahaffey – $2,020
5th: Mark Hurst – $1,616
6th: John Duhig – $1,212
7th: Zachary Milman – $1,010
8th: Rod Neubauer – $808