James Gunter Returns From Tournament Hiatus With a Victory in $360 HORSE

2018 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open 
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino 
Hollywood, Florida
Event #3
$360 Buy-In H.O.R.S.E. (Re-Entry)

Entries: 88
Prize Pool: $26,400 
August 3, 2018 

James Gunter Captures HORSE title

James Gunter hasn’t played tournament poker in over a decade. The extended hiatus from tournament action ended on Friday afternoon at the Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood when the 38-year-old hopped in the $360 HORSE.

He returned to the proverbial ring with a vengeance, besting the 88-entry field and taking home $8,514 and his first Hard Rock trophy.

“I haven’t played many tournaments in the last 10 or 12 years,” said Gunter after his victory. “I’ve been playing mainly pot-limit Omaha up in Milwaukee. I just moved back to Florida. I just moved back down here in April.”

Gunter was born and raised in Plant City, located about 20 miles east of Tampa. He cut his teeth on the felt in Tampa before relocating to a colder climate, where he found himself playing more PLO cash games than anything else.

With most of his recent experience playing PLO, Gunter wasn’t even planning on taking a shot at this event. It took a little convincing from a buddy.

“My friend talked me into playing it,” said Gunter. “He ended up putting me in it. I didn’t even buy into it. He put me into it.”

Gunter’s friend made the right decision and now has a piece of the first place prize money coming his way.

Earning the trophy and $8,514 wasn’t an easy task. Gunter squared off with three-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner ‘Miami’ John Cernuto.

Cernuto started off with a slight chip lead, but with the limits rising and the stacks getting shallower, Gunter’s heater at the start of heads-up play, sealed the deal.

“I actually won seven hold’em hands in a row,” said Gunter about the heads-up match. “That’s how I got so far ahead.”

After running away in hold’em, Gunter finished the job in Omaha hi-lo, when he rivered a full house to bust Cernuto in second.

Cernuto earned $5,148 for his runner-up finish in what was his 483rd career cash. He is just two cashes behind Men Nguyen, who sits at the top of the all-time list.

Pete Walsworth made his second consecutive final table of the series. He won the $360 Omaha hi-lo on Thursday night and almost took down back-to-back events. He finished fourth for $2,165.

As for the rest of the series, Gunter doesn’t have anything set in stone. But with a win under his belt, he might be taking a shot in the near future.

“I like PLO, so I may play the 8-or-better tomorrow,” said Gunter. “We’ll see what happens from there.”

With 88 entries in the field, the top 11 spots finished in the money. Here are a look at the results:

1st: James Gunter – $8,514
2nd: John Cernuto – $5,148
3rd: Michael Soroka – $3,201
4th: Pete Walsworth – $2,165
5th: Jeff Green – $1,650
6th: Christopher Hannon – $1,320
7th: Jacobo Fernandez – $1,096
8th: David May – $924
9th: Dale Phillips – $851
10th: Reinaldo Trutschel – $792
11th: David Brown – $739

Event 3: James Gunter Wins ($8,514), John Cernuto Eliminated in 2nd ($5,148)

$360 H.O.R.S.E. (Re-Entry)
Structure | Payouts
Level 24: 30,000/60,000 Limits
Players Remaining: 1 of 88

James Gunter

Omaha Hi-Lo 

John Cernuto raised on the button and James Gunter called out of the big blind. They both checked a flop of Tc4c4h and the Ks came on the turn.

Gunter bet and Cernuto called. The river was the 3c and Gunter bet again, putting Cernuto all in. Cernuto called.

Gunter showed 4s3s9c2s, good for a full house and won the pot against Cernuto’s AhKhJd6s.

Gunter took home $8,514 for his win and Cernuto left with $5,148 for his runner-up finish.

A complete recap will be published later tonight.

James Gunter – $360 HORSE Champion
John Cernuto – Eliminated 

John Cernuto

Event 3: Mike Soroka – 3rd Place ($3,201)

$360 H.O.R.S.E. (Re-Entry)
Structure | Payouts
Level 24: 30,000/60,000 Limits
Players Remaining: 2 of 88

Mike Soroka

Seven-Card Stud Hi-Lo

John Cernuto: [x][x] / As6d4c6h / [x]
Mike Soroka: [x][x] / 8d3cAhJc / [x]

John Cernuto and Mike Soroka went heads-up to fourth street. Cernuto took the lead with ace-high and bet. Soroka called.

On fifth, Soroka took the betting lead with a better ace-high and led out. Cernuto called. They got the last of the money in on sixth street when Cernuto paired his sixes.

Soroka showed 8s7s in the hole, giving him a pair of eights, while Cernuto made a six-low to go with his pair, tabling 5s3h.

“You’re freerolling me,” said Soroka.

“I know,” said Cernuto. “I’ll let you know really quick.”

Cernuto squeezed his river card and tabled the 7c, giving him a straight, eliminating Soroka in third place for $3,201.

Cernuto takes a slight chip lead into heads-up play against James Gunter.

John Cernuto – 600,000
Mike Soroka – Eliminated 

Event 3: Mike Soroka Staying Alive

$360 H.O.R.S.E. (Re-Entry)
Structure | Payouts
Level 23: 25,000/50,000 Limits
Players Remaining: 3 of 88

Seven-Card Stud

Mike Soroka has been the short stack with just a couple of bets for most of the level. In back-to-back hands against James Gunter, he got all in on fourth street with a pair of fives against a lot of overcards.

Gunter failed to improve either time and neither did Soroka. He doubled up twice with unimproved fives and now has a few more bets to work with.

Mike Soroka – 240,000
James Gunter – 440,000

Event 3: James Gunter Moves Back Into the Lead

$360 H.O.R.S.E. (Re-Entry)
Structure | Payouts
Level 23: 25,000/50,000 Limits
Players Remaining: 3 of 88

Omaha Hi-Lo 

After a couple of Omaha hi-lo hands that went James Gunter’s way, he took over the chip lead.

On the river with the board reading AdTs8d4s5c, Gunter scooped the pot with an eight-high straight and six-low against John Cernuto’s aces up and a live three.

The next pot, Gunter got to the river on a board of 9s8s6h5s8c against Cernuto. Both players checked the river and Gunter dragged the whole thing with KxKxJxJx.

James Gunter – 540,000
John Cernuto – 365,000

Event 3: Pete Walsworth – 4th Place ($2,165)

$360 H.O.R.S.E. (Re-Entry)
Structure | Payouts
Level 22: 20,000/40,000 Limits
Players Remaining: 3 of 88

Pete Walsworth

Limit Hold’em 

In a battle of the blinds between John Cernuto in the small blind and Pete Walsworth in the big blind.

Cernuto check-raised on the turn with the board reading KsJd9c7s and Walsworth called all in.

Walsworth was on the wrong end of a cold deck with his KdJh, needing to fill up against Cernuto’s QdTd.

The river was the 6h and Cernuto won the pot to take a big chip lead into three-handed play.

John Cernuto – 600,000
Pete Walsworth – Eliminated 

Event 3: Jeff Green – 5th Place ($1,650)

$360 H.O.R.S.E. (Re-Entry)
Structure | Payouts
Level 21: 15,000/30,000 Limits
Players Remaining: 4 of 88

Jeff Green

Seven-Card Stud 

Jeff Green: [x][x] / Qc8sKh3s / [x]
John Cernuto: [x][x] / Td2c7s2s / [x]

Jeff Green got all in on fifth street against John Cernuto.

“You got a pair yet?” asked Cernuto.

“Oh yeah,” said Green.

Green was in the lead with queens and eights, but Cernuto had buried aces and made aces up on sixth. Green couldn’t fill up on the river and Cernuto won the pot to eliminate Green in fifth place.

John Cernuto – 370,000
Jeff Green – Eliminated 

Event 3: James Gunter Takes Over Chip Lead

$360 H.O.R.S.E. (Re-Entry)
Structure | Payouts
Level 21: 15,000/30,000 Limits
Players Remaining: 5 of 88

Omaha Hi-Lo 

James Gunter limped in from under the gun and John Cernuto raised out of the small blind. Pete Walsworth called from the big blind and Gunter called.

All three players checked a flop of 5s4d2d and the Tc came on the turn.

Cernuto bet, Walsworth called and so did Gunter. The river was the 6d and Cernuto bet again. Walsworth called and Gunter called as well.

Cernuto showed Ad3c4cKh, giving him the wheel, Walsworth mucked and Gunter tabled KcKd9d4h, good for a king-high flush.

Gunter and Cernuto chopped the pot at Walsworth’s expense, while Gunter took over the chip lead.

James Gunter – 355,000
John Cernuto – 280,000
Pete Walsworth – 180,000

Event 3: Chris Hannon – 6th Place ($1,320)

$360 H.O.R.S.E. (Re-Entry)
Structure | Payouts
Level 20: 12,000/24,000 Limits
Players Remaining: 5 of 88

Chris Hannon

Limit Hold’em 

On the turn with the board reading Kc9c9d7s, James Gunter checked from the small blind and Chris Hannon bet from the big blind.

Gunter called and the river was the 8h. Gunter led out and Hannon called, all in for just less than a full bet.

Gunter showed JhTd, good for a straight and won the pot against Hannon’s AhKh.

Hannon took home $1,320 for his sixth-place finish and Gunter is in contention for the chip lead.

James Gunter – 290,000
Chris Hannon – Eliminated 

Event 3: Jacobo Fernandez – 7th Place ($1,096)

$360 H.O.R.S.E. (Re-Entry)
Structure | Payouts
Level 20: 12,000/24,000 Limits
Players Remaining: 6 of 88

Jacobo Fernandez

Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo 

James Gunter: [x][x] / 2h4s4hJh / [x]
Mike Soroka: [x][x] / 2cQdfolded
Jacobo Fernandez: [x][x] / 3d6d4d8c / [x]

Mike Soroka was the bring-in, Jacobo Fernandez called and James Gunter called as well.

On fourth, Soroka took the lead with queen-high and checked. Fernandez bet, Gunter called and Soroka folded.

On fifth, Gunter took the lead with after pairing fours. He checked and Fernandez bet. Gunter called. The same action took place on sixth street and the river was dealt face-down.

Gunter checked dark and Fernandez committed his last 15,000 in the dark. Gunter checked his river card and tried to raise, not realizing that Fernandez was already all in.

“I’ve got the wheel,” said Gunter, showing Ax5x3x in his hand.

Fernandez showed a six-low and a pair of aces, but was eliminated in seventh place for $1,096.

James Gunter – 270,000
Jacobo Fernandez – Eliminated