2017 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino
$360 No Limit Hold’em
Prize pool: $71,400
April 2, 2017
Carey Dukes is persistent if nothing else. After coming down from Georgia to play in the $570 no limit hold’em re-entry event with his son, he came back down this past weekend to take another crack at the 2017 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open.
Dukes’ persistence paid off in spades. He took down the $360 no limit hold’em event for $14,405 in a heads-up deal with Mitchell Mantin. He bested a 238-entry field to earn his first title and add a poker trophy to his mantle.
In his first trip to the Hard Rock, the 48-year-old manager of a trucking company came with his son to take a shot at multi-flight, massive field last week. Both him and 21-year-old Garrett left empty-handed, but that didn’t sit well with the Marietta resident.
“We came down last weekend and I left thinking that I didn’t know how to play poker anymore,” said Dukes. “During the week, I told my wife, I said ‘I want to play that $3,500’ and she said ‘Ok, go ahead.’ So I came down here and I min-cashed.”
With a min-cash under his belt, Dukes felt good about his play again and he was set to make the ride back up north. Then, his friend informed him about the one-day $360 no-limit hold’em event.
“I ran jacks into ace-king and then my buddy said ‘Well, they got this $360 today. Just play that before you go home.’ So, I played it, but I came down for the $3,500 and ended up playing this one as a consolation prize,” said Dukes.
It was a consolation prize that earned him his first title, a good payday and a little bragging rights to his kids.
“My kids are always asking if I’m ever going to win anything,” joked Dukes. “I finally won one. It feels great.”
Dukes’ job managing a trucking company keeps him busy. He isn’t able to spend as much time on the felt as he would like. One way to change that is to find a new profession.
Dukes recently went back to school and is almost done with his Doctorate at Georgia State. Once he receives that, he plans on becoming a college professor. The schedule of a professor will open up more time for Dukes to get on the felt.
“I went back to school and I’m going to become a teacher come the fall,” said Dukes. “And actually, to do that, it was so that I could play some more poker. Because with work right now, I’m not able to get out all that often.”
By Dukes’ own account, he only gets to play 3-4 tournaments a year. He’ll travel to Jacksonville, Biloxi, or Cherokee to play, but he does get to keep his skills somewhat sharp with his home poker club.
“The average age of my poker club is about 70 years old and we’ve been doing this for about 12 years,” said Dukes. “We’ve been playing once a month in my basement and [my][wife] doesn’t want me to quite because she likes the guys. So, we play once a month at the end of the year and we send four guys to Vegas to play poker tournaments.”
Through his home poker club, Dukes is no stranger to high-stakes tournaments like the WPT Championship event that he min-cashed.
Dukes was one of the guys his club sent to Las Vegas in 2012 and he earned a 365th place finish in the World Series of Poker Main Event for over $32,000, which is his biggest cash to date.
He didn’t match his career-best cash, but Dukes still had a very profitable second trip to South Florida. He had never been Seminole Hard Rock, but when asked if he would make another trip to another tournament series, he didn’t hesitate with his answer.
“Absolutely. I actually got a win here,” he said with a laugh. “I thought this place was possessed when I left here last week. I said ‘These people are not going to make me quit poker.’ Overall, I came back and I made like $20,000. That’s a lot for me.”
Final Table Results:
1st: Carey Dukes – $14,205
2nd: Mitchell Mantin – $14,204
3rd: Jared Palmer – $7,319
4th: John Palace – $4,452
5th: John DeSoto – $3,438
6th: Kao Choy Saechao – $2,849
7th: Bienvenido Santiago – $2,428
8th: Cody Pack – $2,071
9th: TM Williams – $1,669