Event 1: Niovel Chirino Alvarez Wins $135K and a Gold Ring in WSOP Circuit Opener

2017 Seminole Hard Rock WSOP Circuit
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
Hollywood, Florida
Event 1

$580 No Limit Hold’em (Re-Entry)
$500,000 Guaranteed
Entries: 1,612
Prize Pool: $806,000
September 21-25, 2017

Hollywood, Florida — The first-ever World Series of Poker Circuit at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino kicked off in grand fashion Thursday with a $580 buy-in re-entry opener. The tournament boasted six starting flights over the course of three days with Day 2 kicking off Sunday. Ultimately, it was Miami Lakes resident Niovel Chirino Alvarez who bested the 1,612-entry field taking home $135,022 along with the tour’s token prize, a gold ring.

“This is just my hobby,” Alvarez said afterward. “I’m not a pro at all. I’m shaking because I didn’t even think I could win.”

The event featured two starting flights daily Thursday, Friday and Saturday and permitted unlimited re-entry throughout. The weekday action was modest to start, but Saturday’s play nearly doubled the field settling it in at the 1,612 tally. The $806,000 prize pool handily bested the $500,000 guarantee and paid each of the final 171 players a piece of it.

Five-time WSOP Circuit ring winner Kurt Jewell, former Seminole Hard Rock Poker Player of the Year David Prociak and tournament pro Brian Hastings were among the standouts to play the event. There was a huge local turnout, too, as another former POY, Ory Hen, Seminole Hard Rock Poker team members Stewart Newman and Sheddy Siddiqui, Paul Balzano, Nancy Birndbaum and Abbey Daniels were among those jockeying for gold jewelry.

Day 2 began Sunday at 1pm with 218 players remaining and only 171 finishing in the money. The bubble burst shortly thereafter sending the remaining players home with a guaranteed payday. Daren Stabinski (26th), Steven McKoy (29th), Daniels (42nd) and Seminole Hard Rock Tampa ambassador Wally Maddah (57th) were among those who finished in the money.

It was late in the day when then 10-handed final table was reached. Gil Aboodi — the eventual runner-up — lead the action. Day 2 played until just before 3am when only three players remained. Aboodi retained the lead while Alvarez was second and Scott Sanders third. The trio returned for an additional, unscheduled day of play Monday and it moved along at breakneck speed.

Sanders busted third just a couple minutes into the action care of chip leader Aboodi. Aboodi had a two-to-one advantage over Aboodi at that point, but doubled up Alvarez and the tables quickly turned. On the final hand, Aboodi got his stack in holding KhJc and was second best to Alvarez’s AhJs. He never caught up and Aboodi was eliminated in second place earning $83,751.

The win marked the first major tournament cash for Alvarez, a 41-year-old married father of two. He was born in Cuba and now resides here in Florida where he owns a trucking company.

2017 marks the first time for the Seminole Hard Rock and the WSOP to team up in a co-branded series. In addition to their hefty cash prizes, all players who cash during the series will earn points toward the Casino Championship. Following the final ring event, the top points earner will be awarded with a $10,000 entry in the season-ending Global Casino Championship. Joining them at the one-of-a-kind event will be the Main Event champion who also earns a seat in the event.

“I always come [to][the][Seminole][Hard][Rock],” Alvarez said. “I don’t play anywhere else. I like it here. It’s cool, the people are nice here, I get along with basically everyone.”

Event 1 final table results:

1st: Niovel Chirino Alvarez – $135,022 + Gold Ring
2nd: Gil Aboodi – $83,751
3rd: Scott Sanders – $62,255
4th: Nagui Yassa – $46,974
5th: John Magnetta – $35,843
6th: Jordan Meltzer – $27,565
7th: Ruslan Dykshteyn – $21,585
8th: Vytautas Semaska – $17,031
9th: Matyas Csiszar – $13,589

Continue reading Event 1: Niovel Chirino Alvarez Wins $135K and a Gold Ring in WSOP Circuit Opener

Event 1: Niovel Chirino Alvarez Wins Re-Entry ($135,022); Gil Aboodi – 2nd Place ($83,751)

$580 No Limit Hold’em (Re-Entry)
$500,000 Guaranteed | Payouts
Level 32: 60,000/120,000 with a 20,000 ante
Players Remaining: 1 of 1,612

Event 1 champion Niovel Chirino Alvarez ($135,022)

Niovel Chirino Alvarez opened the button to 475,000 and short stack Gil Aboodi shoved. Alvarez called and Aboodi was at risk.

Alvarez: AhJs
Aboodi: KhJc

Runout: 7s6s2h2cTh

Alvarez’s ace-jack high was good and he officially won the event. The score earned him $135,022 along with a WSOP Circuit gold ring. For the runner-up finish, Gil Aboodi pocketed $83,751.

Event 1 runner-up Gil Aboodi ($83,751)

A full report on the tournament will be posted shortly. In the meantime, here’s a look at the final table results:

1st: Niovel Chirino Alvarez – $135,022 + Gold Ring
2nd: Gil Aboodi – $83,751
3rd: Scott Sanders – $62,255
4th: Nagui Yassa – $46,974
5th: John Magnetta – $35,843
6th: Jordan Meltzer – $27,565
7th: Ruslan Dykshteyn – $21,585
8th: Vytautas Semaska – $17,031
9th: Matyas Csiszar – $13,589
10th: Rafael Oropesa – $10,962

Event 1: Niovel Chirino Alvarez Doubles through Gil Aboodi

$580 No Limit Hold’em (Re-Entry)
$500,000 Guaranteed | Payouts
Level 31: 60,000/120,000 with a 20,000 ante
Players Remaining: 2 of 1,612

Niovel Chirino Alvarez called from the button and Gil Aboodi raised to 1,220,000. Alvarez shoved for 6,800,000 and Aboodi called.

Aboodi: 5s5c
Alvarez: As3h

Runout: 4c2c2hAd4d

Alvarez took the lead on the turn pairing his ace and never looked back. He doubled through Aboodi to take the chip lead.

Niovel Chirino Alvarez – 13,820,000
Gil Aboodi – 5,524,000

Event 1: Scott Sanders – 3rd Place ($62,255)

$580 No Limit Hold’em (Re-Entry)
$500,000 Guaranteed | Payouts
Level 31: 60,000/120,000 with a 20,000 ante
Players Remaining: 2 of 1,612

Scott Sanders

Action started with Niovel Chirino Alvarez folding the button. Gil Aboodi was in the small blind and raised to 460,000. Next up was Scott Sanders in the big blind. He promptly shoved for what he estimated to be about 2,700,000. Aboodi called and Sanders was at risk.

Aboodi: AsTs
Sanders: KhJs

Runout: 5s5h4s7dTc

Sanders stood when the flop fell two spades giving Aboodi outs to the nut flush, too. The turn and river were not game changers and Sanders was second best. He busted in third place earning $62,255.

Scott Sanders – Eliminated