2017 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino
$25,500 High Roller
$2 Million Guaranteed
August 14-15, 2017
Late Monday evening, John Andress was on the direct money bubble in the $25,500 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open High Roller, with 17 players remaining and not even half a big blind in his stack.
Less than 24 hours later, he was sitting alone at the final table, posing for winner’s photos with the trophy.
Andress won the whole thing, claiming the $801,450 top prize along with the property’s token guitar pick award. The turnout was the largest in the four-year history of SHRPO High Roller events.
The champ is a 29-year-old professional poker player who makes his home in Berkley, California. He’s been playing poker for about 10 years, and although he primarily plays cash games, he claimed nearly $1 million in live tournament earnings entering this event.
He has more than that now. This result this evening is by far the largest of Andress career on the felt, and it brings him closer to two million than one.
Regarding his short-stacked situation on the bubble, Andress remarkably folded pocket jacks in the big blind after Matt Glantz had shoved from the small. Anthony Spinella was also short-stacked at the other table, and he had received a penalty which would have blinded him entirely out.
Andress chose to save his scant few chips in the big blind, and it turned out to be a prudent decision; Glantz showed him two queens.
The antes in the ensuing orbit chipped Andress down to just 11,000 chips as the bubble burst, and things turned around in a hurry.
“Two orbits later, I had 800,000,” he beamed. “I was just happy to be at the final table. Things went pretty well,” he said, understated.
When the final table began on Tuesday, Andress was in the middle of the pack. Everyone was chasing Mike Leah and Brandon Adams, who were well out in front of the other six. Adams dropped out in third place, though, leaving Leah heads-up against Andress with a huge chip lead.
The match was mostly one-sided in Andress’ favor, though. On the last hand, Leah limp-shoved with ace-jack, and Andress put him at risk with pocket eights. Five cards later, the two were shaking hands, with Leah headed for the cashier to collect his runner-up consolation prize.
While Andress was preparing for his postgame interview with a celebratory beer in his hand, Leah strolled by on his way out the door. “You just had it [every] time, huh?” he smiled.
“Most of the time,” Andress smiled back. “Not heads-up… but yeah. I did.”
During the subsequent interview, Andress was complimentary of his last two opponents. “Mike is real tough, and Brandon was playing a lot of hands,” Andress said. “I had some good spots, and things went well when it mattered.”
With four final tables running concurrently in the arena, Andress won the biggest prize of the day at Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood. “It’s great here,” he said. “The tournaments are good. It’s nice that everything is bang-bang-bang. You’re not stuck here for two weeks. You can come in, get some good action, and get out.”
Andress went on to talk about his heads-up experience, and how his time grinding six-max and heads-up matches prepared him well for this battle. There was certainly some run-good involved, though.
“I’m not taking anything away from Mike. He played great. But I definitely made some big hands, and all the spots went my way.”
1st: John Andress − $801,450
2nd: Michael Leah − $561,600
3rd: Brandon Adams − $351,000
4th: Chris Hunichen − $242,775
5th: Tom Marchese − $155,025
6th: Omar Zazay − $114,075
7th: Chance Kornuth − $93,600
8th: Sam Panzica − $78,975
9th: Matt Glantz − $76,050
10th: Joseph Cheong − $73,125
11th: Alex Papazian − $70,200
12th: Jeff Gross − $67,275
13th: Rainer Kempe − $64,350
14th: Marvin Rettenmaier − $61,425
15th: Zachary Smiley − $58,500
16th: Anthony Spinella − $55,575