The 2017 Rock ‘N’ Roll Poker Open in Review

The 2017 Rock ‘N’ Roll Poker Open began Wednesday, November 15 at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida and ran through Wednesday, November 29. With a total of 17 primary events, it was local grind Michael Newman who stole the headline. Newman won the series Championship, defeating 585 entries in the $3,500 buy-in and winning $374,240 in the process.

Michael Newman celebrates after winning the RRPO Championship

Others joining Newman in the RRPO winner’s circle include 2015 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Player of the Year, Ory Hen, David Peters, Phil Hui and David Shmuel, the latter of which won two events during the 15-day series.

Here’s a look at all of the series winners along with links to their events:

2017 RRPO Champion Michael Newman

Next up for the Seminole Hard Rock is the Fun in the Sun Poker Open December 26-30. From there, it’s the Lucky Hearts Poker Open which kicks off January 11 with a $1,100 buy-in, $1,000,000 guaranteed WPTDeepStacks event and is headlined by a $3,500 buy-in, $2,000,000 guarantee WPT Main Tour event.

Congratulations again to all the RRPO champions and thank you to everyone who played!

Michael Newman Captures Rock ‘N’ Roll Poker Open Championship Winning $374K

2017 Rock ‘N’ Roll Poker Open 
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino 
Hollywood, Florida
$3,500 No Limit Hold’em (Re-Entry)

Entries: 585
Prize Pool: $2,000,000
November 24-29, 2017

After one week of preliminary tournaments, the Rock ‘N’ Roll Poker Open at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood rolled out the Championship event with some of the best players in the game. The Championship featured a $2,000,000 prize pool and it was local regular Michael Newman closing it out for the major title and a $374,240 payday.

“It’s probably the best thing that I’ve ever done in poker,” Newman said after his victory. “Money’s great, money’s always great, but (it’s great) to get through the toughest field I’ve ever played against in my life.”

The Championship drew 585 entries over the course of two starting flights and they were all aiming for the huge first place prize at the end. The tournament drew players from around the world including WSOP bracelet winners, WPT Champions Club members, local regulars, and amateurs taking their shot at glory.

Of those 585, there were still 215 around when they joined together for Day 2 with WSOP bracelet winner Michael Wang leading them. Eight Seminole Hard Rock Poker team members made it through their opening flight with Faraz Jaka returning with the third biggest stack of the day.

Joining Jaka for the SHRP team were Mukul Pahuja, Sheddy Siddiqui, Jared Jaffee, Matt Affleck, Michael Laake, Darryll Fish, and Matt Stout along with the Seminole Hard Rock Tampa’s Wally Maddah and Natasha Mercier. Other notables making it through included 2015 WSOP Main Event champion Joe McKeehen, Florida poker legend Robert Mizrachi, and Oscar-nominated actress Jennifer Tilly.

Tilly made it deep into the tournament but fell short of making it into the money. With 79 players taking home part of the $2,000,000 prize pool, Day 2 played at a slow pace until they burst the money bubble shortly before the dinner break. Day 2 ended with 34 players moving on and Day 3 proved to be a short afternoon.

Day 3 featured four tables of tough players including former SHRPO Champ Dan Colman, high roller master Tom Marchese, eight-time WSOP Circuit winner Ari Engel, and three SHRP team members with Siddiqui, Fish, and Jaka still in the race. The Championship was scheduled to play down to the last 18 players and it took less than four hours to finish their day.

With the big money in sight, Day 4 would continue until only six players remained for the Poker Night in America live-stream and televised final table. WPT Champions Club member Matas Cimbolas held the chip lead and continued to stay ahead for most of the day.

David Peters, Lily Kiletto, Jean “Prince” Gaspard, and McKeehen were early exits while Shaun Deeb and Engel began chipping up along the way until the Championship was down to the last ten players.

Former WSOP Big One for One Drop champ Colman was one of the toughest players at the last table and the table was relieved when he was eliminated in tenth place. Deeb saw his luck leave him as he went from a big stack to a ninth-place finish.

Brazilian Joao Simao was knocked out in eighth place and took his excitable rail with him. With the elimination of Denis Cyr in seventh place, the feature final table was set to battle it out in front of the cameras.

The RRPO Championship final table

The final table featured six successful grinders with combined live tournament earnings exceeding $28 million. Engel began the last day with the chip lead but lost it on the first hand when he doubled up Newman. The hand saw Engel make a move on the turn, putting Newman all in, but it went wrong when it was called and Engel was drawing dead.

“The first hand was very pivotal. I had top pair with the nut flush draw on the turn.” Newman said later. “I was like, ‘The first hand I’m going to be out?’ but I had to call, and I was right.”

Short-stacked Marchese was the first eliminated from the final table and he was quickly followed by Engel. Siddiqui’s day came to an end when he ran his top pair into Newman’s aces and Fish followed suit after losing a big pot against the leader.

Third-place finisher Darryll Fish
Fourth-place finisher Sheddy Siddiqui

Newman held a 7-to-1 chip lead over Cimbolas at the start of heads-up play and the match lasted only three hands before Newman won a race to take the title along with the $374,240 first place prize.

Michael Newman (left) and Matas Cimbolas

“I always like a challenge and I always want to be playing against the best. That was the best of the best. It was absolutely amazing.”

Newman’s stack was the third biggest of the final six and he came back ready to play despite a restless night at home.

“I didn’t sleep, not even one second, last night,” Newman admitted. “I was so excited about today. I played really well and my cards held and I won.”

The 48-year-old New York native used to work on Wall Street and is still in the banking industry now that he lives in Florida. Even though he plays a lot of poker and has the results to show for it, Newman still does not consider himself a professional player.

“I’m glad I’m able to play at this level, but it would take a lot of time to be a pro,” Newman said. “As much as I love the game, I don’t know if I could handle the ups, the downs, and the swings. No matter how good you are, you also need the luck.”

Newman is a familiar face in our tournament fields and he already won owned SHRP trophies before he added this huge fifth title. He plays all levels of tournaments, regardless of the buy-in, and works on his game.

“I love the game,” Newman commented. “That’s why I even play the small events – the $150s – I just love the action.”

“I love to try to better myself and become a better player each time I play,” he continued.

This Championship title is the biggest cash of Newman’s career, topping his previous high from a 12th place finish in this tournament in 2015. He had the biggest cheering section of all players at the final table and it was obvious his friends and family were as excited as he was with the accomplishment.

Congratulations to Michael on the RRPO Championship win and to everyone who cashed in the tournament along the way. It was a great event and he represents the best of what our players have to offer.

Final table results:

1st: Michael Newman – $374,240 + Trophy
2nd: Matas Cimbolas – $262,440
3rd: Darryll Fish – $168,920
4th: Sheddy Siddiqui – $121,920
5th: Ari Engel – $93,560
6th: Tom Marchese – $75,380

Full Rock ‘N’ Roll Poker Championship results

Antonio Campbell Wins Final Event of RRPO In Honor of Late Father

2017 Rock ‘N’ Roll Poker Open 
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino 
Hollywood, Florida 
Event 17
$100 No Limit Hold’em 
Entries: 221 
Prize Pool: $20,000 
November 29, 2017 

Antonio Campbell

Antonio Campbell took credit for the win in a 10-way chop in the final event of the 2017 Rock ‘N’ Roll Poker Open.

He wasn’t going to chop unless he got credit for the win and a trophy. The money was secondary for the New York native. This win was personal.

The 36-year-old came out on top of a field of 221 entries to win $2,006 in the $100 no limit hold’em. He wanted to win the event in honor of his father, who passed away earlier this year.

“The win means everything,” said Campbell. “I lost my dad in February, so I’m pretty emotional right now, but I’m blessed and happy to win. I enjoy the game and I’ve taken some bad beats over the last couple of months, but to get a trophy here at the rock, it feels awesome.”

This is Campbell’s second trophy. His first trophy came with his father supporting him from the rail. He didn’t technically win the tournament with pocket eights, but the hand has sentimental value.

“My dad was with me when I won my first trophy ever at [Coconut] Creek,” he said. “I had the pocket eights just like I had now, so that was really important for me to take this down. I’m pretty emotional right now, but I know he’s smiling down on me.”

Campbell was born and raised in Brooklyn, but ended up leaving after joining the Navy. He spent a decade in the armed forces before leaving active duty and doing work for the federal government.

It wasn’t until after he was finished with his active duty that he picked up poker. He got his first cash here in the Sunshine State, which gave him the confidence to stick with the game and try to improve.

“I didn’t learn how to play poker until 2012,” said Campbell. “I took a risk. I was living in Oklahoma and I flew out here for the WSOP Circuit. I played the one milly guarantee. I said to myself that if I just  cash in it, I’m going to take poker serious.”

Campbell finished 119th and was in the money on just one bullet. From there, he put in the effort to work on his game. So far, he’s got two trophies to show for his hard work.

“There were a lot of ups and downs, but to get a couple trophies under my belt feels pretty good. Especially tonight.”

Final Table Results:

1st: Antonio Campbell – $2,006
2nd: Jermaine Phang – $1,891
3rd: Adan Hernandez – $1,845
4th: Peter Fellows – $1,593
5th: Luis Mantilla – $1,564
6th: Francisco Milanes – $1,377
7th: Yigal Hen – $1,343
8th: Karen Duffy – $1,214
9th: Errol Massey – $1,001
10th: Francisco Pulido Castillo – $976

**Payouts were adjusted to fit the final table deal 

Event 17: Antonio Campbell Wins in 10-Way Chop

$100 Big Stack No Limit Hold’em (Re-Entry)
$20,000 Guarantee | Structure
Level 20: 10,000/20,000 with a 3,000 ante
Players Remaining: 10 of 221

When the unofficial final table of 10 players was reached in the $100 big stack no limit hold’em event, the talk of a chop began.

After a couple minutes of running ICM numbers and working out a few numbers, the final 10 players agreed on a chop. Antonio Campbell was the chip leader at the time of the agreed deal and he gets credit for the win.

Here are the final table results:

1st: Antonio Campbell – $2,006
2nd: Jermaine Phang – $1,891
3rd: Adan Hernandez – $1,845
4th: Peter Fellows – $1,593
5th: Luis Mantilla – $1,564
6th: Francisco Milanes – $1,377
7th: Yigal Hen – $1,343
8th: Karen Duffy – $1,214
9th: Errol Massey – $1,001
10th: Francisco Pulido Castillo – $976

Dennis O’Connor Finishes Out His RRPO With $250 No Limit Hold’em Victory

2017 Rock ‘N’ Roll Poker Open 
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino 
Hollywood, Florida 
Event 16
$250 No Limit Hold’em 
Entries: 91 
Prize Pool: $30,000 
November 29, 2017 

Dennis O’Connor

Dennis O’Connor’s 2017 Rock ‘N’ Roll Poker Open got off to a rough start, but he finished strong with back-to-back final tables and a win to close out his series.

O’Connor defeated 91 entries in the $250 no limit hold’em on the final day of the series. He took first place as part of a three-way chop and earned $6,000.

“It feels wonderful,” said O’Connor. “It was a long series for me. I didn’t cash in much. So, finishing up the last day was very much needed.”

The Pennsylvania native made two final tables in as many days after finishing sixth yesterday in the $300 HORSE. Despite, by his own admission, pretty green in 60% of the games in the mix, it was a nice confidence boost heading into Wednesday’s $250 no limit hold’em.

“The HORSE defnitely helped me out a lot because I was busting out of so many tournaments prior to that,” said O’Connor. “So, when I finally finished up int he HORSE tournament, especially since thy weren’t my strongest games, that helped a lot.”

O’Connor was comfortable in the two flop games, but avoided the stud variants until he was forced into some pots at the final table, which is what inevitably sent him to the rail.

On Wednesday, he was playing a game he was playing a game that he’s made a living playing for the last three years. O’Connor has been making his living playing no limit hold’em cash games for the last three years.

He is new to the tournament scene, however, having only started playing tournaments a month ago at a tournament stop in Jacksonville. He talked to a few friends of him and worked on his tournament game.

His early tournament success brought him down to South Florida to take his shot at this tournament series.

“I just came in for the series,” said O’Connor. “I have a couple of friends that have done very well in some tournaments and stuff. I just started playing tournaments last month.”

It’s no surprise that O’Connor enjoys Florida after his success. He just recently sold his house in Pennsylvania and is traveling around the country for the next few months playing cards and looking for a new place to live.

He might just become a new regular at the Hard Rock.

“I love Florida overall,” said O’Connor. “And the poker scene in Florida is wonderful.”


1st: Dennis O’Connor – $6,000*
2nd: Kane Lai – $5,800*
3rd: Adam Koppel – $4,996*
4th: Daren Stabinski – $1,890
5th: Mitchell Mantin – $1,470
6th: Daiane Mendes – $1,230
7th: Eric Rivnki – $1,065
8th: Matthew Yorra – $947
9th: David Moreno – $839
10th: Alain Rodriguez – $735
11th: Gregory Baird – $735
12th: Jesse Hatfield – $735
13th: Ethiel Garcia – $638
14th: Butchie Mitchell – $638
15th: Marc Kropf – $638
16th: Syed Shah – $548
17th: Lev Parnas – $548
18th: Solange Lucas – $548

Event 16: Dennis O’Connor Wins in Three-Way Deal

$250 No Limit Hold’em (Re-Entry)
$30,000 Guarantee | Structure
Level 20: 3,000/6,000 with a 500 ante
Players Remaining: 3 of 91

Dennis O’Connor

Mitchell Mantin was eliminated in fifth place and Daren Stabinski was eliminated in fourth, leaving the three bigger stacks discussing a deal.

Dennis O’Connor held the chip lead and got credit for the victory. Kane Lai took second and Adam Koppel finished third.

Here are the final table results:

1st: Dennis O’Connor – $6,000
2nd: Kane Lai – $5,800
3rd: Adam Koppel – $4,996
4th: Daren Stabinski – $1,890
5th: Mitchell Mantin – $1,470
6th: Daiane Mendes – $1,230
7th: Eric Rivkin – $1,065
8th: Matthew Yorra – $947
9th: David Moreno – $839

Kane Lai
Adam Koppel

Event 16: Dennis O’Connor Pulling Away With Five Left

$250 No Limit Hold’em (Re-Entry)
$30,000 Guarantee | Structure
Level 19: 3,000/6,000 with a 1,000 ante
Players Remaining: 5 of 91

Dennis O’Connor

After eliminating Daiane Mandes in fifth place, Dennis O’Connor took the chip lead with five remaining and then extended it in a pot with Daren Stabinski.

On the river with a completed board of Js9s6hTd3d, Stabinski checked from the big blind and O’Connor moved all in for Stabinski’s remaining 49,000. Stabinski thought for a couple minutes and then folded.

O’Connor flashed KxQx, giving him the nuts, and has a huge lead with five players remaining.

Here are how the chip counts look for the remaining five players;

Adam Koppel – 215,000
Mithcell Mantin – 65,000
Daren Stabinski – 49,000
Kane Lai – 135,000
Dennis O’Connor – 405,000

Event 12: David Shmuel Wins His Second Trophy of the Series

2017 Rock ‘N’ Roll Poker Open 
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino 
Hollywood, Florida
Event 12
$150 No Limit Hold’em (Re-Entry)
Entries: 1,027
Prize Pool: $123,240
November 27-29, 2017 

Event 12 Champion David Shmuel

For the second time during the 2017 Rock ‘N’ Roll Poker Open, David Shmuel has earned a Hard Rock trophy. He won Event 7 last week, and has concluded his series by getting the official victory in Event 12.

Over six starting flights, there were 1,027 entries. Only 97 players returned for Day 2, and Shmuel began the day third in chips. He steadily increased his stack throughout the day, and twice scored double eliminations. First, it was to send the field to the final three tables, and shortly thereafter he did it again to thin the field to players.

When the final 10 players redrew for seats at the unofficial final table, the players agreed to an ICM chop. As the overwhelming chip leader, Shmuel was rewarded with his second trophy of the series.

“I guess I was pretty lucky today to win another trophy. In a series to win two trophies, that’s never happened to me. I had a massive chip lead. When the other players asked why I agreed so quickly to a chop, I just said for $150 to get this kind of payout was great for me.”

Final Table Results

1st: David Shmuel  – $16,573
2nd: David Inselberg – $10,339
3rd: Deanna Williams – $10,127
4th: Philip Consolo – $9,938
5th: Cliff Conners – $9,855
6th: Soren Morales – $7,953
7th: Dejan Petkovic – $7,823
8th: Yvonne McQuillan – $6,208
9th: Roberto Monteiro – $5,862

Event 17: Oz Aharon Scores a Knockout

$100 Big Stack No Limit Hold’em (Re-Entry)
$20,000 Guarantee | Structure
Level 12: 1,000/2,000 with a 300 ante
Players Remaining: 63 of 221

Oz Aharon

A player in middle position moved all in for about 25,000 and Oz Aharon called from the big blind.

Aharon showed KdKs and was in great shape against his opponent’s AdJh.

The flop was Qs7s2s and Aharon flopped a flush draw to leave his opponent with just two outs.

The turn was the 3h and the river was the Js. Aharon rivered a flush, sent his opponent to the rail and nears the 100,000-chip mark.

Oz Aharon – 94,000

Event 17: Francisco Milanes Leads

$100 Big Stack No Limit Hold’em (Re-Entry)
$20,000 Guarantee | Structure
Level 9: 500/1,000 with a 100 ante
Players Remaining: 99 of 221

Francisco Milanes

Now that registration is closed, the field is starting to thin and with 20 minute levels, eliminations are happening at a rapid pace.

Francisco Milanes sits atop the chip counts with 134,000. Oz Ahron is the only other player with a six-figure count. He’s in second with 122,000.

Here are the rest of the top stacks:

Clauden Osorio – 96,000
Rodolfo Rodriguez – 83,000
Dolphus Powers – 72,000
Lizhi Gong – 68,000