2017 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino
$360 No Limit Hold’em (Single Re-Entry)
March 26, 2017
Abdel Bouanani is the newest winner at the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown. Bouanani took down the $360 one-day event, outlasting a field of 300 entries to claim the trophy and the top prize of $15,862 in a five-way deal. As part of the win, he also earned a seat in the special freeroll, with seats to the $10,000 WPT Finale and the $3,500 WPT Showdown up for grabs.
Bouanani is a 30-year-old recreational player from Tampa. By day, he’s the Director of Operations for Nike Camps, where he teaches kids between from ages eight to 18 to excel in sports of all sorts. “It’s what I do,” he said proudly. “Internationally, we see about 3,000 athletes every summer.”
Fully committed to his day job, poker is nothing more than a part-time distraction for the Bouanani. “I play poker casually,” he said. “It’s a hobby; nothing really serious.” He’s been playing the game on the side for about 10 years, but only on the side. “Nothing serious,” he repeated.
The champ nursed a short stack for the majority of the long day, but the momentum started to swing in his direction as the field shrank down to the final couple tables.
“I was really low in chips for the whole day, to be honest,” he said. “I finally started picking up hands and… it just works out sometimes.” Bouanani cracked pocket kings with pocket queens in a life-saving pot late in the day, and by the time the final 10 players combined around the final table, he was third in chips.
With nine players left, Bouanani played the largest pot of the tournament, a pot in which he tried to isolate himself against the short-stacked Richard Chouinard, who had shoved with ace-queen of clubs. Bouanani re-shoved behind him with pocket fours, but Henry Meacham put both players at risk with the larger stack and the best hand — pocket jacks. Bouanani found another four on the turn, though, and he ended up winning the huge pot with a full house to soar into the overall chip lead.
That lead would only increase over the next few hands. Just a moment after that knockout, Bouanani eliminated Max Le in eighth place, then Meacham in seventh, reducing the field to six players in short order.
When Brandon Shields was eliminated in sixth place, the final five players took a quick break to look at the numbers. They quickly agreed to a straight ICM chop, and Bouanani’s big stack earned him the lion’s share of the prize pool, the trophy, and the title.
“This is… you could call it my lucky night,” he said as he admired his haul. Call it what you will, this result is a fine one for Bouanani. The five-figure payout is the largest of his part-time poker career and more than the sum of his previous tournament results combined.
Final Table Results:
1st: Abdel Bouanani – $15,862*
2nd: Carlos Hostos Musso – $11,661*
3rd: Steve Yagudaev – $8,902*
4th: Howard Mash – $8,854*
5th: Charlie Riley – $7,198*
6th: Brandon Shields – $3,578
7th: Henry Meacham – $3,006
8th: Max Le – $2,471
9th: Richard Chouinard – $1,977
*Denotes five-way deal