2019 Rock ‘N’ Roll Poker Open
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
$400 Big O (Re-Entry)
Prize Pool: $26,520
November 23, 2019
Gavin Smith recently moved from Portland, Oregon, where Omaha-8 is plentiful, down to Florida, where PLO and Omaha high are more popular. So when Smith saw the Big O tournament on the Rock ‘N’ Roll Poker Open schedule, he knew he had to play it. Twelve hours later, just a few minutes before midnight, he won it.
“It feels good,” said Smith after his victory. “I have a lot of friends that are winning these trophies, so it feels good to finally be among them.”
“There’s a lot of Omaha high down here,” said Smith about the Florida poker scene, “but there’s not a lot of eight-or-better. And that’s all I’ve been playing in Portland for the last ten years. I’ve never really played high-only; it’s always been eight-or-better. So I feel like I have a slight advantage over the average player down here.”
Smith learned a lot from the Omaha 8 games he played in Oregon. “The group that I play with in Portland includes several mixed-game players and a couple of bracelet winners, and we were fortunate that they taught us as well. It was very helpful.”
At this final table, Smith was wary of Gabriel Ramos, who has already won three Omaha trophies here at Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood this year, plus two more in 2018. And when Ramos had the chip lead at this final table, he seemed headed for his sixth Seminole Hard Rock Omaha trophy.
“[Ramos] was so aggressive that I didn’t have to do anything,” said Smith. “He was the chipleader for a while before me, so everybody was focused on him, which was really nice. I just waited for hands, hoped they held up, and got paid on them.”
The turning point at this final table came with five players remaining. Smith and Ramos got it all in on the turn, with Ramos holding a set of threes for the high, and Smith holding an 8-4 low.
But a five on the river gave Smith a wheel to scoop the entire pot and double up into a huge chip lead, giving him more chips than the other four players combined. As for Ramos, he was knocked down below 20 big blinds and never recovered, eventually finishing fourth.
Now that he’s living in Florida, Smith is getting used to a different poker atmosphere.
“In Portland, there are a lot of local clubs, and they’re fantastic, but every casino down here has a minimum of 30 tables. The poker rooms are huge, which is great. There’s always variety.”
1st: Gavin Smith – $8,125 + RRPO Trophy
2nd: David Jacobs – $5,420
3rd: Nisim Cohen – $3,610
4th: Gabriel Ramos – $2,510
5th: Scott Franck – $1,820
6th: Marc Rabuse – $1,385
7th: Natan Wager – $1,100
8th: Edmond Tonnellier – $920
9th: Barry Levy – $815
10th: Charles Simon – $815