Event 13: James Romero Makes Quick Work of the Eight-Handed Turbo for His First SHRPO Title

2018 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open 
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino 
Hollywood, Florida
Event #13
$1,100 Eight-Handed Turbo NLH (Freeze-Out)
Entries: 97
Prize Pool: $97,000
August 7, 2018

Event 13 Champion James Romero
Event 13 Champion James Romero

The Eight-Handed Turbo event was a classic freezeout, and with 97 entries and 15-minute levels, it played quickly. The tournament began at 5:00 pm, and registration closed after the first break at 7:30 pm. The field began playing hand-for-hand on the Money Bubble around 9:00 pm, and they were down to the nine-handed final table shortly after 10:00 pm. By 11:30 pm, it was all over — and there was no chop.

James Romero began the final table with a solid chip lead (he had 48 big blinds, and the second-closest stack had only 30), and he held the lead for the entire final table, eventually defeating Raman Afanasenka in a short heads-up battle for the title.

When asked about his general strategy for this turbo, Romero said, “I thought people might be playing a little bit too loose, so I just tightened up a bit.”

The biggest threat to Romero’s run came early (before the final table), and even then, he wasn’t the at-risk player. “I won a big all in when queen-six jammed on me, small blind vs. big blind for about 10 bigs, and I had ace-three and held. That would have left me crippled if I lost.”

This was a quick and fun one-day event, and the players at the final table were quite chatty and having a good time. Marcus Stein even had his dog Wilson with him, though Wilson obediently stayed curled up at Stein’s feet the entire time, and passersby never even knew he was there.

Jake Bazeley
Jacob Bazeley

One of the interesting stories from this event was the comeback of Jacob Bazeley. When the field was playing hand-for-hand on the Money Bubble, Bazeley was down to less than two big blinds, but he woke up under the gun with pocket aces and was able to triple up, and then he doubled up a few hands after that when his Kd7d made a flush against his opponent’s Ac6d. Bazeley not only survived into the money, but carried that momentum to the final table and all the way to third place.

But back to Romero, a WPT champion who now adds a SHRPO trophy to his poker resume. Romero made the trip to South Florida from Las Vegas, and he enjoys it here at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino even when he’s not winning trophies.

Romero said, “I really like the setup here at the Seminole Hard Rock — beautiful arena, good dealers, and everything is clean.”

Final Table Results:

1st:  James Romero  –  $26,373 + Trophy
2nd:  Raman Afanasenka  –  $15,520
3rd:  Jacob Bazeley  –  $11,543
4th:  Brandon Eisen  –  $8,148
5th:  Brett Apter  –  $6,160
6th:  Manny Tarich  –  $4,705
7th:  Marcus Stein  –  $3,783
8th:  Dustin Lee  –  $3,056
9th:  Rajesh Vohra  –  $2,425

Event 13: James Romero Wins the Eight-Handed Turbo ($26,373); Raman Afanasenka Finishes as Runner-Up ($15,520)

$1,100 Eight-Handed Turbo NLH (Freeze-Out)
Prizepool
Level 22: 15,000/30,000 with a 30,000 ante
Players Remaining: 1 of 97

James Romero
James Romero

James Romero raised from the button to 70,000, Raman Afanasenka moved all in for about 600,000, and Romero called with KhJd.

Afanasenka turned over Ah3h, and he needed his hand to hold to stay alive.

The board came Kd7d6c7c7h, and Romero paired his king on the flop to win the pot — and the trophy — with a full house, sevens full of kings. Romero earns $26,373, along with a SHRPO trophy.

Raman Afanasenka finishes as the runner-up, earning $15,520.

Stay tuned for a recap of this event, along with the official results.

Raman Afanasenka
Raman Afanasenka

Event 13: Jake Bazeley Eliminated in 3rd Place ($11,543)

$1,100 Eight-Handed Turbo NLH (Freeze-Out)
Prizepool
Level 22: 15,000/30,000 with a 30,000 ante
Players Remaining: 2 of 97

Jake Bazeley
Jake Bazeley

One hand after getting knocked down to less than two big blinds, Jake Bazeley found himself in the big blind, where he was forced to pay the 30K big-blind ante before putting out his final 15,000 for half of the big blind. (Though the amount for other players to call was still the full 30K.)

Raman Afanasenka limped from the button, and James Romero completed the small blind. There was now 75K in the main pot, and 30K in the side pot.

Romero and Afanasenka checked all the way down on a board of Ks9h7hJc8s, and everyone turned over their cards:

James Romero:  Ah5c  (ace high)
Raman Afanasenka:  9s5s  (pair of nines)
Jake Bazeley:  8c2x  (pair of eights)

Afanasenka scooped the entire pot with his pair of nines to eliminate Bazeley in third place.

Raman Afanasenka  –  615,000  (21 bb)
James Romero  –  1,300,000  (43 bb)
Jake Bazeley  –  Eliminated in 3rd Place  ($11,543)

If you scroll back in the coverage of this event (or click here to go directly to the post), you’ll see that Bazeley was down to less than two big blinds on the Money Bubble. And when you’re that short, the big-blind ante affects strategy quite a bit, making it more advantageous to shove before your big blind. And Bazeley was fortunate enough to wake up under the gun with pocket aces to triple up.

Bazeley carried that momentum all the way to third place. Not bad!

First place is worth $26,373 and a trophy, while the runner-up will receive $15,520.

Event 13: Raman Afanasenka Doubles Thru Jake Bazeley; Bazeley Down to 1.5bb

$1,100 Eight-Handed Turbo NLH (Freeze-Out)
Prizepool
Level 22: 15,000/30,000 with a 30,000 ante
Players Remaining: 3 of 97

Jake Bazeley moved all in from the button for 285,000, and Raman Afanasenka tanked for a while in the small blind before he called all in for 240,000 with Ah5s. Bazeley turned over Qc9c, and Afanasenka needed his hand to hold to stay alive.

The board came KsJh2s7s5h — Bazeley flopped a gutshot straight draw, but Afanasenka paired his five on the river to win the pot and double up in chips.

Raman Afanasenka  –  540,000  (18 bb)
Jake Bazeley  –  45,000  (1.5 bb)

Event 13: Brandon Eisen Eliminated in 4th Place ($8,148); James Romero Takes a Big Lead

$1,100 Eight-Handed Turbo NLH (Freeze-Out)
Prizepool
Level 22: 15,000/30,000 with a 30,000 ante
Players Remaining: 3 of 97

Brandon Eisen
Brandon Eisen

With the board showing AsKs6c10c on the turn and a big pot already built up in the middle, James Romero bet 150,000, and Brandon Eisen moved all in.

Romero quickly called with QcJs for an ace-high straight, and Eisen turned over Ad10d for two pair. Eisen would need an ace or a ten on the river to stay alive.

The river card was the Kc, and Romero won the biggest pot of the tournament with his straight to eliminate Eisen in fourth place and take a big chip lead.

James Romero  –  1,400,000  (47 bb)
Brandon Eisen  –  Eliminated in 4th Place  ($8,148)

The remaining three players are guaranteed at least $11,543 each.