2018 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
$300 Deep Stack Turbo (Re-Entry)
Prize Pool: $51,765
August 5, 2018
Mark Smith came back to the Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood on Sunday afternoon with hopes of a victory in the $570 no-limit hold’em. He busted shy of the money and his dreams of a six-figure scores were squashed.
He missed out on a six-figure score, but the he still left with a victory. The Naples resident hopped in the $300 no-limit hold’em turbo event and walked away with a trophy and $12,734. Smith defeated a field of 203 entries and bested Timothy Hand heads-up to take home the title.
“It feels awesome,” said the native of South Carolina. “I’ve been playing really good cards. I went deep in event #1 and I knew I was due. I missed [the money] by about 70 place and that’s the reason I hopped into this one. This is the equivalent of cashing in event #1.”
Coming into the final table, Smith was bunched in between a bunch of the short stacks, while it was local player Jorge Gomez with a massive chip lead.
Gomez’s chip lead didn’t last long as he ended up busting in fifth for $2,492. Smith took a couple of pots off Gomez which helped propel him to the top of the counts and eventually to the win.
“He was stacked,” said Smith of Gomez. “He had a couple of bad beats and then I hit him twice. Jorge is a good player. I was surprised that he went down as fast as he went.”
Smith doesn’t truly consider himself a poker pro, but poker is his main source of income. And he’s won enough to earn the right to be called one.
“Everything that I have on, I won,” said Smith, pointing to a plethora of wrist jewelry. “I play in a league over in Naples, I’ve played out at the [World] Series [of Poker]. I didn’t get to play this year, but the year before I got to play in eight tournaments and cashed in five. I do travel and I came down here specifically for [the $5 million guaranteed championship event].”
Smith plans on heading back to the other side of the state to regroup and then come back for the Seniors event, as well as some of the bigger tournaments that are set to kick off near the end of the series.
The 56-year-old has been playing poker long enough to understand the swings. Even after busting out of the $570 no-limit hold’em, he stayed calm and let the cards fall where they may en route to his victory.
“At the beginning of the tournament, I wasn’t running good,” said Smith. “I had to be patient and let the game come to me. That’s just how it was. Some people start out fast and some people start out slow.”
The 203-entry field paid out the top 26 players. Here is a look at the results:
1st: Mark Smith – $12,734
2nd: Timothy Hand – $8,838
3rd: William McKown – $5,306
4th: Jill Fiorentino – $3,228
5th: Jorge Gomez – $2,492
6th: Aaron Speer – $2,065
7th: Israel de la Cerda – $1,760
8th: Dwight Cool – $1,517
9th: Michael Harley – $1,273
10th: Chad Freedman – $1,108
11th: Paul Domb – $1,108
12th: Allen Levine – $1,108
13th: Carlo Rodriguez – $942
14th: Rene Martinez – $942
15th: Michael Seago – $942
16th: Vladimir Kovalchuk – $776
17th: Michael Rodriguez – $776
18th: Ronnie Tate – $776
19th: Franke Velasquez Soto – $621
20th: Joseph Duchman – $621
21st: Marc Levy – $621
22nd: Daniel Wilson – $479
23rd: Paul Alvarez – $479
24th: Steven Weintraub – $479
25th: Bobby Bryant – $387
26th: Raminder Singh – $387