$1,100: Marc MacDonnell Defeats Joey Couden Heads Up for Outright Win ($119,465)

2018 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open 
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino 
Hollywood, Florida
$1,100 Big 4 No Limit Hold’em (Re-Entry)
$500,000 Guaranteed

Entries: 640
Prize Pool:  $640,000
August 13-14, 2018

Champion Marc MacDonnell

After more than six hours of play  Marc MacDonnell, a professional poker player, took down the Event 21 $1,100 Big 4 No Limit Hold’em  title. Event 21 boasted a field of 640 entries, besting last years  mark, and easily surpassing the $500,000 guarantee.

The starting field contained the usual suspects like, Chance Kornuth, Marvin Rettenmaier, Phil Hui, and TK Miles all finishing in the money. Joe Elpaaya was the bubble boy when he ran his Ace Jack into Mike Newman’s Ace King. The final 80 players took home at least $1,824 for their efforts.

It was MacDonnell however who took home the biggest piece of the $640,000 prize pool with his first place finish. He earned $119,465  as well as the prestigious Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open trophy.

MacDonnell, who finished third in this very same event last year came into the final table with the second to smallest chip stack. Joey Couden, his heads up opponent had a large lead over the other seven players.

MacDonnell said he didn’t feel any pressure to best last years third place finish ($53,349) saying “It’s just nice to make a final table, I didn’t feel any pressure really”.

When asked about 2018’s final table versus 2017’s MacDonnell said “They were pretty similar, maybe one or two better players this year. When [Brian] Altman won last year he had all of the chips.. ”

First to be eliminated was Adam Zeltser ($15,923) when pocket nines fell to the Ace Five of Couden when Couden flopped an ace. The next to go was Maria Ho ($19,981), who got right back into her hosting duties when she she couldn’t win the flip with Ace King against Paul Balzano’s pocket nines.

Balzano took out the six place finisher, Dennis Rodriguez ($24,045) when Balzano spiked a king on the turn to defeat Rodriguez’s Ace three with King Queen. It was Balzano himself who was sent to the rail next when his Ace Nine couldn’t come from behind against Couden’s Ace Queen. Balzano took home ($29,933)

After briefly holding the chip lead, James Salmon moved all in with pocket sevens and got called by Michael Graffeo’s pocket tens. Graffeo wound up with a set of tens to eliminate Salmon in fourth place ($39,008) and take the chip lead three-handed.

The lead went back and for multiple times with Graffeo, MacDonnell, and Couden battling it out. At one point Couden said “Good job guys, regardless of what happens”. The counts were relatively even at the time looking like this:

Joey Couden – 4,800,000 (48 bb)
Marc MacDonnell – 3,375,000 (34 bb)
Michael Graffeo – 4,500,000 (45 bb)

It was Graffeo who eventually fell in third place ($53,939) after being chipped down by the other two. Graffeo moved his last ten blinds in with Jack Seven of Diamonds and got snapped called by MacDonnell’s pocket aces. The aces held and it was heads up with MacDonnell and Couden having very similar stacks.

It didn’t take long for MacDonnell to take the lead, it was soon 2-1 when this pivotal hand took place. Shortly after that the final hand occurred when Couden moved all in with Ace Five and quickly got called by MacDonnell’s Ace King. The king kicker held and MacDonnell became the $1,100 Big 4 No Limit Hold’em Champion.

The Irish poker pro, hailing from Dublin, says he keeps making the trip over seas to play here the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino  because “They look after us here, there’s good tournaments, good action, the cash games are good…” It was a great way for MacDonnell to close out the series.

Final Table Results:

1st: Marc MacDonnell – $119,465 + Trophy
2nd: Joey Couden – $83,750
3rd: Michael Graffeo – $53,939
4th: James Salmon – $39.008
5th: Paul Balzano– $29,933
6th: Dennis Rodriguez – $24,045
7th: Maria Ho – $19,981
8th: Adam Zeltser – $15,923

Event 23: Tim Piperakis Wins $150 NLH Outright for $19K Score

2018 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
Hollywood, Florida
Event #23

$150 No Limit Hold’em (Re-Entry)
$50,000 Guaranteed
Entries: 610
Prize Pool: $73,200
August 12-14, 2018

It was nearly 2am local time Thursday when Tim Piperakis claimed the final trophy of the 2018 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open. Officially Event 23, the $150 No Limit Hold’em Re-Entry tournament drew 610 entries easily besting the $50,000 guarantee to the tune of a $73,200 prize pool. Piperakis’ outright victory earned him $19,760 along with a Seminole Hard Rock trophy.

The victory marked the Florida residents’ first major and moved him over $50,000 in career earnings.

Final results:

1st: Efthimios (Tim) Piperakis – $19,760 + Trophy
2nd: Andrew Dymburt – $11,712
3rd: George Rovero Spyropoulos – $7,686
4th: Dan Avitsur – $5,307
5th: Ryan Miller – $3,916
6th: Lee Stewart – $3,111
7th: Eric Piderit – $2,379
8th: Brian Gelrod – $1,720
9th: Juan Ferrer – $1,244
10th: Christopher Mull – $952
11th: Juan Diaz – $952
12th: Francois Zayas – $952
13th: Kristian Tsotsoros – $769
14th: Marc Schiller – $769
15th: Joshua Wasserman – $769
16th: Phong Nguyen – $659
17th: Franco Otiniano-Hurtado – $659
18th: Didier Bramy – $659
19th: Hany Ayoub – $549
20th: Gil Guadalpi – $549
21st: Jonathan Brody – $549
22nd: Nestor Torres Saldana – $549
23rd: Roberto Bonilla Rivera – $549
24th: William Farnan – $549
25th: Jonathan Joffey – $549
26th: Jacob Ristich – $549
27th: Julie Phyuthinn – $549
28th: Carlos Torres Vazquez – $476
29th: Igor Evseev – $476
30th: Douglas Baer – $476
31st: George Navarro – $476
32nd: Armando Del Pozo – $476
33rd: Daniel Quesada – $476
34th: Pedro Merced Estevez – $476
35th: Allan Bieler – $476
36th: David Maddox – $476

$2,650: Alex Foxen Wins ($208,452) – Blair Hinkle Out 2nd ($146,042)

$2,650 Big 4 No Limit Hold’em (Single Re-Entry)
$1,000,000 Guarantee | Payouts | Live Stream
Level 30: 75,000/150,000 with a 150,000 ante
Players Remaining: 1 of 422

Alex Foxen called preflop on the button, and Blair Hinkle moved all in. Foxen called so the final two remaining players revealed their cards.

Foxen: Ac10c
Hinkle: 2d2c

Board: 10d7h7c4s6h

Foxen won the hand, and the tournament to successfully defend his title in this event. Foxen won the top prize of $208,452, and Hinkle took home $146,042 after a hard-fought heads-up final.

Congratulations to our repeat champion – Alex Foxen!

Ryan Riess Wins Event #25 $10,000 Single Day ($236,838) After Heads-Up Chop w/ Ray Qartomy ($206,297)

2018 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open 
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino 
Hollywood, Florida
Event #25: $10,000 One-Day
$500,000 Guaranteed
Entries:  91
Prize Pool:  $873,600
August 14, 2018

Ryan Riess – Champion

The 2018 SHRPO Event #25: $10,000 One-Day tournament drew 91 entries, which crushed the $500K GTD by creating an $873,600 prize pool. This year the format was changed to 30-minute levels throughout, and that resulted in some fast and furious action.

Among those to compete but fall short of the money were 2018 SHRPO $50K Super High Roller champ Elio Fox, World Poker Tour champ James Romero, and bubble boy Aaron Mermelstein, who had his kings cracked to fall in 13th place.

After James Calderaro (12th – $21,857) and Stanley Lee (11th – $23,587) bowed out, the final 10 players combined to a single table.

After a tough final table, the title came down to 2013 World Series of Poker Main Event champ Ryan Riess and Ray Qartomy. The latter had controlled the action for most of the final table, but the former came on strong late to seize the chip lead.

The two opted to strike a deal in which Riess was deemed champion for $236,838 while Qartomy officially finished as runner-up for $206,297.

“There was a long while where I was the shortest and Ray had all the chips,” Riess explained. “Four handed I busted a couple guys and then I had all the chips. We chopped and I’m very happy.”

He continued: “I love the bigger buy-ins, the $10Ks and $25Ks are my favorite to play. This casino is just awesome, I can’t say enough good things about it. Tony Burns and all the staff do a great job. I love it here and try not to miss it.”

Indeed, back in April 2017, Riess won the $10,000 World Poker Tour Seminole Hard Rock Finale for $716,088, and in April 2015 took down the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown Event #11: $2,200 NLH for $63,891.

Final Results:

1st – Ryan Riess – $236,838*
2nd – Ray Qartomy – $206,297*
3rd – Jay Kovoor – $104,832
4th – Ben Yu – $67,704
5th – Shannon Shorr – $52,416
6th – Jun Ji – $41,496
7th – Barry Hutter – $34,944
8th – Almedin Imsirovic – $30,576
9th – Stephen Chidwick – $27,719
10th – Jerry Robinson – $25,334
11th – Stanley Lee – $23,587
12th – James Calderaro – $21,857

*Denotes heads-up deal