2021 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
$600 Deep Stack NLH (Single Re-Entry Per Flight)
Prize Pool: $2,048,550
April 15-19, 2021
It’s a great sign for a major tournament series when the first event more than quadruples its guarantee. Event 1 ($600 Deep Stack NLH) had a $500,000 guarantee, but the massive field of 3,902 entries created a total prizepool worth more than $2 million.
The event took five days from start to finish, and at the end of it all, Michael Casson had a huge 4.5-to-1 chip lead over Andrew Heckman when they made a heads-up deal, giving Casson the victory.
“It feels amazing,” said Casson. “I came down here from Massachusetts for only one thing, and that was the trophy. And I got it. It feels great.”
Runner-up Heckman started the final day with a substantial chip lead with 15 players remaining, while Casson didn’t make his surge until late.
When the final table got down to the final six players, the action slowed as they played for two-and-a-half hours before the next elimination. During that time, it was Shai Arbel who had the big chip lead.
But shortly after Aleksandr Denisov was eliminated in sixth place, Casson picked the best time to go on a hot streak.
“I came in, and I dominated all of them,” said Casson.
First Casson doubled thru chipleader Arbel, getting it all in preflop with pocket tens against Arbel’s pocket nines. Casson flopped a set and rivered a full house to double up, creating a three-way tie for the lead between Casson, Heckman, and Arbel.
Arbel’s struggles with the second-best hand continued a little while later, when he got it all in preflop with , only to run into Casson’s . Casson flopped a set of kings to take a massive chip lead and knock Arbel down to less than a single big blind. (Two hands later, Arbel was eliminated in fifth place.)
Shane Raikes was knocked out in fourth shortly after that, and a few minutes later Casson flopped a flush to Evan Sandberg’s top pair. They got it all in at that point, and Casson took out Sandberg in third place.
A couple of players at the final table were resistant to making any deals, but once Casson and Heckman reached heads-up, they quickly agreed to terms. As chipleader, Casson was awarded the title and the trophy, along with $280,000.
Casson was thrilled to earn the victory, which bookended the pandemic for him. One of the last things Casson did before the lockdowns hit was chop a big tournament heads-up in Massachusetts to earn $80,000, which had been the biggest score of his career by far — until this one.
Now that he has won his first trophy here, we can expect to see more of Casson here at Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood.
“I love Florida,” said Casson, “and I love this casino.”
Final Table Results:
1st: Michael Casson – $280,000* + Trophy
2nd: Andrew Heckman – $242,085*
3rd: Evan Sandberg – $158,400
4th: Shane Raikes – $122,700
5th: Shai Arbel – $92,250
6th: Aleksandr Denisov – $67,700
7th: Jose Montes – $49,060
8th: Jake Schwartz – $35,350
* Indicates results of a heads-up deal.