Martin Kozlov Tops a Field of 887 to Win the SHRPO Championship and $754K at The Big 4

2017 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
Hollywood, Florida
$5,250 SHRPO Championship
$3 Million Guaranteed
Entries: 887
Prize Pool: $4,301,950
August 11-15, 2017

Martin Kozlov

After four days of poker, the final table of nine players emerged from a field of 887 in the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open Championship, and thanks to a quick play-down stretch on Day 3 the players returned on Tuesday with deep stacks for the final day of the event. That fact combined with 90 minute levels, made for an expectation of a long final table, and it played out true to form.

Martin Kozlov claimed the SHRPO Championship title, and $754,083 in prize money after more than 13 hours of play at the final table at Hard Rock Live in Hollywood, Florida. “The title means a lot because now I’m even with [Patrick] Mahoney (2016 Rock N Roll Poker Open Championship winner), he won one last time so now he has no more bragging rights. And the money is sweet, it ends a down-swing so I can’t complain,” said Kozlov right after the win, but he was also quick to thank his friends on the rail. “Yeah, I mean without my rail I would have tilted it all off for sure,” said Kozlov.

The first four levels of play saw one player fall per level. Joe Kuether was the first to fall in ninth place, but he just made his way over to the $1,100 event final table that he was also playing out on the The Big 4 television set. As the Poker Night in America cameras continued to roll, Englishman Luke Brereton hit the rail next in eighth place. Poker professional Adam Levy fell in seventh place during the next level, and the chip leader at the start of play, Aaron Mermelstein, took his leave in sixth place during the level after that.

The pace of play slowed down even more during the five-handed battle . “They had The Big 4, and after two or three hours all the tables of the other three were down to four or five players, and it took us six hours to lose two players. It was super slow, and you just had to play it one hand at a time. The structure was so good you could afford to take some beats, you could afford to lose some pots. Patience was the most important thing I guess,” said Kozlov about the slow start.

Matt Berkey and Dylan Drazen pulled away from the pack during the start of this stretch in play, and each of them took a turn with the chip lead. The three other final tables that were running as part of The Big 4 had now ended by this point of play, and you could feel a serious mood set in at the final table. Announcers Mario Ho and Joe Stapleton kept the atmosphere light as they commentated on the action for the die-hard rail birds that were still sweating the action. “It’s a great setup, yeah I loved it. With Joe and Maria commentating it was sweet,” said Kozlov when he was asked about the unique atmosphere on the television set of The Big 4.

Kozlov was the short stack at one point, but he doubled up once before the elimination of Micheal Aron in fifth place, and he doubled up again after Aron’s exit to storm to the top of the pack. “The thing that affects my mental state the most is if I’m getting downward momentum, if I’m getting upward momentum it just kind of clears my mind to focus on the strategy. So when things are going right I’m thinking more clearly about what to do strategy-wise, if things are going bad I’m just steaming,” said Kozlov about the big momentum shift and how it affected his mind-set. He continued, “Five handed I didn’t have many chips at all, and I was a bit tilted on break. I was talking to my wife, and I was like, ‘What am I going to do now. There’s not much left, I’m going to have to win a couple of all ins.’ And then I came back and won every all in, and now I’ve won the tournament.”

Yi Chi Li was down to just three big blinds when he was eliminated in fourth place, and Berkey eventually fell in third place after losing the largest pot of the tournament up to that point when Kozlov doubled up again during four-handed play. Kozlov had increased his chip lead to 16,325,000 at the start of the heads-up final against Drazen, who held 10,325,000.

Despite a double up for Drazen that brought the chip stacks close to even, Kozlov was in control of the chip lead for the entirety of the heads-up match. On the final hand, Kozlov raised to 600,000 on the button preflop, and Drazen called. The flop was dealt KdQh8h, Kozlov bet 400,000, and Drazen check-called.

The turn fell 4s, and Kozlov bet 2.6 million. Drazen check-called before the river delivered the 2h. Kozlov thought for a moment before moving all in, and Drazen tanked before check-calling all in.

Kozlov flipped over KhKc, and Drazen said, “It’s over,” before showing Jh8d. Drazen was eliminated in second place, good for $528,322, and Kozlov won the 2017 SHRPO Championship. He took home $754,083 in prize money, and the SHRPO guitar pick trophy.

“I never played with [Dylan] until today in this tournament actually, and heads up was a struggle. We were just trading pots back and forth, I doubled him up, and I got lucky and made three-of-a-kind,” said Kozlov of the heads-up final.

Congratulations to the 2017 SHRPO Champion Martin Kozlov!

Final Table Results:

1st: Martin Kozlov – $754,083
2nd: Dylan Drazen – $528,322
3rd: Matt Berkey – $341,618
4th: Yi Chi Li – $252,481
5th: Michael Aron – $191,437
6th: Aaron Mermelstein – $152,547
7th: Adam Levy – $126,305
8th: Luke Brererton – $100,408
9th: Joe Kuether – $75,413

Championship: Martin Kozlov Wins the SHRPO Championship ($754,083) – Dylan Drazen Eliminated in Second Place ($528,322)

$5,250 SHRPO Championship
$3 Million Guaranteed | Payouts | Live Stream
Level 32: 125,000/250,000 with a 25,000 ante
Players Remaining: 1 of 887

Martin Kozlov

Hand #246: Martin Kozlov raised to 600,000 on the button, and Dylan Drazen called. The flop was dealt [Kd Qh 8h], Kozlov bet 400,000, and Drazen check-called.

The turn was the [4s], and Kozlov bet 2.6 million. Drazen check-called before the river delivered the [2h]. Kozlov thought for a moment before moving all in, and Drazen tanked before check-calling all in.

Kozlov flipped over [Kh Kc], and Drazen said, “It’s over,” before showing [Jh 8d]. Drazen was eliminated in second place, good for $528,322, and Kozlov won the 2017 SHRPO Championship. He took home $754,083 in prize money, and the SHRPO guitar pick trophy.

Congratulations Martin Kozlov!

Championship: Hands #242-245

$5,250 SHRPO Championship
$3 Million Guaranteed | Payouts | Live Stream754,083
Level 32: 125,000/250,000 with a 25,000 ante
Players Remaining: 2 of 887

Hand #242: Martin Kozlov limped from the button, and Dylan Drazen checked his option.

The flop came down [9h][8h][4h], Drazen bet 300,000, and Kozlov folded.

Hand #243: Dylan Drazen limped his button, Martin Kozlov popped it to 1,000,000 from the big blind, and Drazen called.

They checked to the turn of a [9s][4s][3s][3d] board where Kozlov bet 1,350,000. Drazen folded.

Hand #244: Martin Kozlov limped on the button, and Dylan Drazen checked from the big blind.

The flop was [10c][9d][3c], and Drazen led for 375,000. Kozlov called. The turn was the [7s], Drazen checked, Kozlov bet 1,050,000, and Drazen called. The river was the [Qc], and Drazen bet 2,650,000. Kozlov tanked for a bit before Drazen called the clock. As time ran down, Kozlov folded.

Dylan Drazen – 12,650,000 (51 bb)
Martin Kozlov – 14,000,000 (56 bb)

Hand #245: Dylan Drazen raised to 625,000 from the button, and Martin Kozlov called from the big blind.

The flop came down [5d][4h][2d], and Kozlov check-called 625,000 from Drazen. The turn was the [6c], Kozlov led out for 800,000, and Drazen folded.

Championship Event: Dylan Drazen Doubles Up to Nearly Even the Match

$5,250 SHRPO Championship
$3 Million Guaranteed | Payouts | Live Stream754,083
Level 32: 125,000/250,000 with a 25,000 ante
Players Remaining: 2 of 887

Hand #240: Martin Kozlov limped his button, Dylan Drazen raised to 850,000 from the big blind, and Kozlov called.

They checked to the turn of a [Qh][9s][2d][2h] board where Drazen bet 800,000. Kozlov called, the [7h] river completed the board, Drazen checked, and Kozlov bet 1,100,000. Drazen called after a few moments.

Kozlov showed [Qc][7c] for queens and deuces, Drazen mucked, and Kozlov won the pot.

Hand #241: Dylan Drazen raised to 625,000 from the button, Martin Kozlov reraised all in, and Drazen called all in for exactly 6,000,000.

Drazen: [10d][10c]
Kozlov: [Ad][4d]

The board came down [Jd][9h][3c][6c][2c], safe for Drazen to double up.

Dylan Drazen – 12,050,000 (48 bb)
Martin Kozlov – 14,600,000 (58 bb)

Championship: Hands #229-239

$5,250 SHRPO Championship
$3 Million Guaranteed | Payouts | Live Stream
Level 31: 100,000/200,000 with a 25,000 ante
Players Remaining: 2 of 887

Hand #229: Dylan Drazen raised to 450,000 preflop on the button, and Martin Kozlov called. The flop was dealt [As Qc 7c], Drazen bet 275,000, and Martin folded.

Hand #230: Martin Kozlov called preflop on the button, and Dylan Drazen raised to 700,000. Kozlov folded.

Hand #231: Dylan Drazen called on the button, and Martin Kozlov checked his option before the flop was dealt [Qc 10h 7c]. Drazen bet 225,000, Kozlov raised to 700,000, and Drazen folded.

Hand #232: Martin Kozlov called on the button preflop, and Dylan Drazen checked his option. The flop was dealt [Jc 3d 2h], Kozlov bet 300,000, and Drazen folded.

Hand #233: Martin Kozlov got a walk on his big blind.

Hand #234: Martin Kozlov called on the button, and Dylan Drazen checked his option before the [Ad Ks 9d] fall on the flop. Kozlov bet 200,000, and Drazen folded.

Hand #235: Martin Kozlov got a walk on his big blind.

Hand #236: Martin Kozlov called on the button, Dylan Drazen raised to 600,000, and Kozlov called before the flop fell [5s 5h 3d]. Drazen bet 400,000, and Kozlov called. Both players checked the [7h] on the turn, and the [6s] on the river. Drazen showed [Jh 9c],  but Kozlov won the pot with [2h 2d] in the hole.

Hand #237: Martin Kozlov got a walk on his big blind. Dylan Drazen folded 9-3 offsuit face-up on the table.

Hand #238: Martin Kozlov called on the button, and Dylan Drazen raised to 600,000 preflop. Kozlov called, and the flop was dealt [Ad 8s 4s]. Drazen bet 600,000, and Kozlov folded.

Hand #239: Dylan Drazen raised to 550,000 preflop on the button, and Martin Kozlov called before the flop fell [7d 3d 3c]. Both players checked, and the turn fell [5h]. Kozlov checked, Drazen bet 500,000, and Kozlov folded.

Championship: Hands #223-228

$5,250 SHRPO Championship
$3 Million Guaranteed | Payouts | Live Stream
Level 31: 100,000/200,000 with a 25,000 ante
Players Remaining: 2 of 887

Hand #223: Dylan Drazen limped on the button, and Martin Kozlov checked his option.

The flop was [Ad][Jd][4s], Kozlov checked, Drazen bet 200,000, and Kozlov called. The turn was the [Qd], and Kozlov check-folded to Drazen’s bet of 600,000.

Hand #224: Martin Kozlov raised to 450,000 from the button and Dylan Drazen folded his big blind.

Hand #225: Dylan Drazen raised to 450,000 from the button, and Martin Kozlov called from the big blind.

The flop came down [10d][7s][2h] and Kozlov check-called 400,000 from Drazen. Both checked the [Js] turn and [4d] river. Kozlov won the pot with [10h][3c] for a pair of tens.

Hand #225: Martin Kozlov limped the button, and Dylan Drazen checked his option.

The flop came down [10h][7c][3c] and Drazen check-called 300,000 from Kozlov. Both checked the [3h] turn and [Jc] river.

Kozlov won the pot with [Ks][Qh].

Hand #227: Dylan Drazen raised to 400,000 from the button, and Martin Kozlov called from the big blind.

The flop was[Ac][8s][7s], Kozlov checked, Drazen bet 500,000, and Kozlov folded.

Hand #228: Martin Kozlov limped on the button, Dylan Drazen raised to 600,000, and Kozlov called.

The flop was [Qh][6h][6d], Drazen bet 600,000, and Kozlov called. The turn was the [Ks], Drazen bet 600,000, and Kozlov called. The river was the [8s], and both players checked.

Drazen showed [Ad][Ac] and Kozlov mucked.

Dylan Drazen – 9,500,000
Martin Kozlov – 17,150,000

Championship: Hands #217-222

$5,250 SHRPO Championship
$3 Million Guaranteed | Payouts | Live Stream
Level 31: 100,000/200,000 with a 25,000 ante
Players Remaining: 2 of 887

Hand #217: Dylan Drazen raised to 400,000 preflop on the button, and Martin Kozlov called. Both players checked the [Js 8h 4d] on the flop, and the [6d] followed on the turn. Kozlov bet 1.05 million, and Drazen folded.

Hand #218: Martin Kozlov raised to 400,000 preflop on the button, and Dylan Drazen called. Both players checked the [Kd 10d 2d] on the flop, and the [4c] followed on the turn. Kozlov bet 650,000, and Drazen folded.

Hand #219: Dylan Drazen raised to 400,000 on the button, and Martin Kozlov called. The flop was dealt [Ad Jh 5h], Drazen bet 300,000, and Kozlov called. Both players checked the [4s] on the turn, and the [2c] on the river. Kozlov flipped over [Kh 7h], and Drazen folded.

Hand #220: Martin Kozlov raised to 450,000 preflop on the button, and Dylan Drazen reraised to 1,225,000. Kozlov folded his cards.

Hand #221: Dylan Drazen raised to 500,000 preflop on the button, and Martin Kozlov called. The flop was dealt [Kc 5d 2s], Drazen bet 300,000, and Kozlov folded.

Hand #222: Martin Kozlov raised to 450,000 preflop on the button, and Dylan Drazen reraised to 1,225,000. Kozlov called, and the flop was dealt [Ad Qs 7s]. Drazen bet 1.5 million, and Kozlov called. The turn fell [2d], Drazen checked, and Kozlov moved all in. Drazen folded, and his stack was down to 8 million after the hand. Kozlov stacked up 18.65 million after collecting the pot.

 

Championship: Hands #213-216

$5,250 SHRPO Championship
$3 Million Guaranteed | Payouts | Live Stream754,083
Level 31: 100,000/200,000 with a 25,000 ante
Players Remaining: 2 of 887

Hand #213: Dylan Drazen raised to 500,000 from the button, and Martin Kozlov called from the big blind.

The flop came down [10d][10s][4d], and Kozlov check-folded to a bet of 500,000 from Drazen.

Hand #214: Martin Kozlov raised to 450,000 from the button, Dylan Drazen three-bet to 1,100,000 from the small blind, and Kozlov called.

The flop came down [Qd][10s][9c], Drazen bet 1,400,000, Kozlov raised to 3,400,000, and Drazen folded.

Martin Kozlov – 17,950,000
Dylan Drazen – 8,700,000

Hand #215: Dylan Drazen limped from the button, and Martin Kozlov checked his option.

The flop fell [Ks][6c][2h], Kozlov checked, Drazen bet 200,000, and Kozlov called. The turn was the [8h], Kozlov checked, Drazen bet 500,000, and Kozlov folded.

Hand #216: Martin Kozlov raised to 450,000 from the button, and Dylan Drazen called from the big blind.

They checked to the turn of a [Jc][4h][3s][5c] board where Kozlov bet 650,000. Drazen check-raised to 1,850,000, Kozlov called, and the [8s] river completed the board. Drazen bet 4,250,000, and Kozlov tanked for several minutes before he folded.

Dylan Drazen – 11,500,000
Martin Kozlov – 15,150,000

Championship: Hands #209-212

$5,250 SHRPO Championship
$3 Million Guaranteed | Payouts | Live Stream
Level 30: 75,000/150,000 with a 25,000 ante
Players Remaining: 2 of 887

Hand #209: Dylan Drazen called preflop on the button, and Martin Kozlov checked his option. The flop was dealt [10c 5h 3c], Kozlov checked, Drazen bet 200,000, and Kozlov folded.

Hand #210: Martin Kozlov raised to 350,000 preflop on the button, and Dylan Drazen called. The flop was dealt [Qs Qh 9d], Kozlov bet 200,000, and Drazen folded.

Hand #211: Dylan Drazen raised to 300,000 preflop on the button, and Martin Kozlov reraised to 1.2 million. Drazen reraised all in, and Kozlov folded.

Hand #212: In the last hand of the level, Martin Kozlov raised to 350,000 preflop on the button, and Dylan Drazen called. The flop was dealt [10d 7d 7c], and Kozlov bet 200,000. Drazen called, and the turn fell [2s]. Kozlov bets 1.5 million, and Drazen folded.

Championship: Heads-Up Chip Counts

$5,250 SHRPO Championship
$3 Million Guaranteed | Payouts | Live Stream754,083
Level 30: 75,000/150,000 with a 25,000 ante
Players Remaining: 2 of 887

The players are in the midst of a break before heads-up play begins. Runner-up will receive $528,322, while the winner of the $5,250 SHRPO Championship will pocket $754,083.

Martin Kozlov – 16,325,000 (109 bb)
Dylan Drazen – 10,325,000 (68 bb)