Poker Team Spotlight

Some of those in town this weekend may only have experience playing tournaments in the Seminole Ballroom and missing out on the action in our brand new poker room.

The new room debuted in October with 45 tables, comfortable chairs, and more than 50 high def flat-screen TVs all over the walls for easy viewing of whatever sporting matches are playing. If you are a visitor in town for the Lucky Hearts Poker Open, you should make a stop and find your favorite game.

In addition to the great game selections available, the poker room is staffed by some of the best in the business. The mutual respect between management and staff is evident when you realize many have been around since the poker room originally opened.

We had a chance to sit down with some of the staff and pick their brains about their careers, the new Poker Room, and working for Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood.

Leanna Mack

Both Leanna Mack and Efrain Palencia began their poker careers before we even had a poker room. Efrain worked in the snack shop at Seminole Classic Casino and Mack was a brush in the poker room before taking a seat in the box.

“I was looking around to see any other opportunities,” Efrain said. And I started noticing poker dealers.”

“As a child I liked to play card games.” he continued. “I went out to the floor, saw people playing cards and said ‘this is for real’ and went to dealer school.”

“I started in 2004 as a brush at Seminole Classic and in 2005 I became a dealer,” Leanna told us. “I came over when (Hollywood Hard Rock) opened.”

Efrain Palencia

Amanda Wright went in a different direction. She initially wanted to be a dealer but quickly switched to become a floor/shift supervisor.

“I started here when I was 18 as a brush. That was like really my first experience with the casino industry,” Amanda said of her beginnings.

“I went to dealing school and I was like, oh my God, this is not what I want to do.” she laughed. “I really took the time to read books and Robert’s Rules of Poker and read over our SOP information. I moved to floor supervisor because I like to move around and talk to people.”

Amanda Wright

Amanda isn’t the only one who loves their job because of the player interaction, both Efairn and Leanna said something similar.

“(The best part) is the people you meet. Hands down.” Efrain said. “Absolutely great that you get the diversity of people all the time.”

“I like the fact that I get to meet different people, hear their stories,” Leanna added. “You have that personal experience.”

Now all three are part of the poker team in the new poker room and love their new home.

“I think this room is our best room that we’ve been in because I feel like it was built to us,” Amanda said. “It’s a really beautiful room just like the whole property itself. I’m proud to be a part of it.”

“The new Poker Room is amazing. It’s so very, very nice.” Leanna continued. “It’s everything that we need right now. I love it and they (the players) love it.”

If you are visiting us this weekend, please feel free to come by and play your favorite game. Enjoy the amenities and say hi to our fantastic staff.

Championship Day 1B: Victor Adams vs. Jean Gaspard

$3,500 WPT Lucky Hearts Poker Open Championship
$2,000,000 Guaranteed | Structure
Level 6:  300/500 with a 500 ante
Day 1B Entries: 330

Victor Adams
Victor Adams

On a flop of 9c9s7s, Jean Gaspard bets 2,500 from early position and Victor Adams calls from the hijack.

The turn brings the Jh, Gaspard bets 5,600 and Adams calls again.

Both players check the 3h on the river. Adams tables 10d10c and scoops the pot.

Victor Adams – 80,000
Jean Gaspard – 65,000

Event 20: Saturday Night Turbo

$400 Deep Stack Turbo NLH (Re-Entry)
Level 1:  100/100

If you need some poker on a Saturday evening and already bagged up in the Championship, we have a quick moving tournament kicking off at 5 pm in the Seminole Ballroom.

Event 20 is a $400 buy-in tournament with deep stacks and a turbo structure.

They’ll sit down to 25,000 stack and all levels will run at a fast clip of 15 minutes each. Late registration and unlimited re-entries are available until the start of Level 14 at 8:45 pm.

This one will fly right along and we’ll have another LHPO trophy awarded before too long.

  • Players begin with 25,000 in chips and 15-minute levels
  • Late registration/re-entry available until start of Level 14
  • This is a one-day tournament and plays until completion
  • Event 20 Structure Sheet

Ladies Event: Guarantee Met; Terry Bastien Leads

$250 Ladies No Limit Hold’em (Re-Entry)
$10,000 Guaranteed | Structure
Level 7: 300/600 with a 600 ante
Entries:  53

Terry Bastien

While the Championship is playing out in the front of the room, the Ladies Event is cruising right along. The tournament cruised right past its $10,000 guarantee before the first break and there’s still time to join up.

Terry Bastien had the biggest stack at the break as her 91,000 leads the field. Other big stacks include Matilde Fernandez (76,000), Elissa Pincus (65,000), and Wendy Mentro (40,000).

We also had two special guests in today’s tournament. WPTDeepStacks Director Cathy Zhao and WPT Royal Flush crew member Tugba Ercan both entered the Ladies Event, though only Tugba was still around at the first break.

WPT Royall Flush crew member Tugba Ercan
wPTDeepStacks Director Cathy Zhao