2018 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
$1,100 Eight-Handed Turbo NLH (Freeze-Out)
Prize Pool: $97,000
August 7, 2018
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.
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 [Kd][7d] made a flush against his opponent’s [Ac][6d]. 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
- Download: Final Results (PDF)