James Diaz Wins the Seniors Event in His First Year of Eligibility

2021 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
Hollywood, Florida
Event 7
$400 Seniors 50+ NLH (Single Re-Entry)
Entries:  386
Prize Pool:  $129,310
April 19, 2021

James Diaz
James Diaz

The previous record field for a Seniors Event here at Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood was 226, but when today’s Seniors Event began at 10:00 am, there were already 221 players in the field, and the record was broken shortly after that. When registration finally closed, there were an incredible 386 entries, which created a prizepool worth $129,310.

This event was only open to players who were at least 50 years old, and James Diaz won the title in a six-way ICM chop in his first year of eligibility.

“This was my first Seniors Event,” said Diaz after his victory. “I just turned 50 in January, and I was really looking forward to playing in this one.”

Sometimes things just seem to go your way, and Diaz had some luck on his side as he got pocket aces far more often than you’d expect in this one-day tournament.

“I had aces ten times today,” said Diaz. “I knocked out a few people with them, and they held up every single time, all ten times. That helped me out quite a bit.”

Diaz is originally from South Florida, though he has been living in Cincinnati, Ohio for the past 15 years. He still returns frequently to visit his parents, and when he does, he often finds his way here at Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood to play some poker.

“This is the best place to play when I come down to Florida,” said Diaz. “I appreciate everybody’s hospitality, and this was an excellent tournament.”

PlaceFirst NameLast NamePrize Amount
1JamesDiaz$15,975*
2AlRiccobono$13,581*
3YefimVakser$13,411*
4MattYorra$12,507*
5JesseLawrence$11,703*
6PhilipRigby$11,358*
7EbrahimFigueroa Noboa$4,215
8WilliamRincon$2,955
9ScottRobbins$2,955
10ChadDucharme$2,275
11HarveyFreedman$2,275
12RobertOmer II$2,275
13MarcDuquette$1,710
14KennethHarbaugh$1,710
15JacquelynScott$1,410
16JonathanShapiro$1,410
17MichaelSchoen$1,180
18KennethBruno$1,180
19FrankGiordano$1,180
20DavidVurgait$1,180
21DonaldO'Kelly$1,000
22JeffreySilverstein$1,000
23MichaelReed$1,000
24MiguelRodriguez$1,000
25ThomasHunnicutt$860
26MarshaWolak$860
27JesseBlack$860
28KenAldridge$860
29MarkCannon$860
30ArthurDemmerley$860
31MarieHarrell$860
32DennisTaylor$860
33KeithLoftus$750
34DietrichKuhlmann$750
35GeorgeColli$750
36CarlaPoindexter$750
37GaryMentro$750
38MartyGorenic$750
39RobertMantin$750
40GaryTennyson$750
41MichaelDaum$665
42NickBlackburn$665
43DavidWilliams$665
44BarbaraCardin$665
45PeterForsstrom$665
46HowardHankin$665
47HoraceFord$665
48BernardKrueger$665
49TimothyFlatt$665

* Indicates results of a six-way deal.

Event 7: James Diaz Wins in a Six-Way ICM Chop

$400 Seniors 50+ NLH (Single Re-Entry)
Structure | Payouts
Level 25:  20,000/40,000 with a 40,000 ante
Players Remaining:  6 of 386

James Diaz
James Diaz

After playing a while longer, the final six players agreed to an ICM chop. These were their chip counts:

Seat 1.  Yefim Vakser  –  795,000  (20 bb)
Seat 2.  Jesse Lawrence  –  570,000  (14 bb)
Seat 3.  James Diaz  –  1,240,000  (31 bb)
Seat 4.  Al Riccobono  –  820,000  (21 bb)
Seat 5.  Matt Yorra  –  670,000  (17 bb)
Seat 6.  Phil Rigby  –  530,000  (13 bb)

And these were the payouts they agreed to. As chipleader, James Diaz was awarded the trophy and the title.

1st:  James Diaz  –  $15,974 + Trophy
2nd:  Al Riccobono  –  $13,580
3rd:  Yefim Vakser  –  $13,411
4th:  Matt Yorra  –  $12,507
5th:  Jesse Lawrence  –  $11,703
6th:  Phil Rigby  –  $11,358

Stay tuned for a recap from this event, which will be posted later tonight.

Event 7: Al Riccobono Doubles Thru Matt Yorra

$400 Seniors 50+ NLH (Single Re-Entry)
Structure | Payouts
Level 25:  20,000/40,000 with a 40,000 ante
Players Remaining:  6 of 386

Al Riccobono
Al Riccobono

At the start of Level 25, the final six players wanted to run the numbers on a possible ICM chop. These were their chip counts:

Seat 1.  Yefim Vakser  –  835,000  (21 bb)
Seat 2.  Jesse Lawrence  –  670,000  (17 bb)
Seat 3.  James Diaz  –  980,000  (25 bb)
Seat 4.  Al Riccobono  –  510,000  (13 bb)
Seat 5.  Matt Yorra  –  1,180,000  (30 bb)
Seat 6.  Phil Rigby  –  450,000  (11 bb)

They spent several minutes discussing the numbers, but ultimately decided to keep playing.

A few minutes later, Al Riccobono moved all in from the hijack for 410,000, Matt Yorra called from the cutoff, and Jesse Lawrence folded JxJx face up from the big blind.

Riccobono turned over Ah10h, and he needed to improve to stay alive against Yorra’s 6d6c.

The board came Ac9h5dQdJd, and Riccobono paired his ace on the flop to win the pot and double up in chips.

Al Riccobono  –  920,000  (23 bb)
Matt Yorra  –  675,000  (17 bb)

With six players remaining, the average chip stack is about 770,000 (19 big blinds), and the remaining players are all guaranteed to earn at least $5,460 each.

Event 7: Ebrahim Figueroa – 7th Place ($4,215)

$400 Seniors 50+ NLH (Single Re-Entry)
Structure | Payouts
Level 24:  15,000/30,000 with a 30,000 ante
Players Remaining:  6 of 386

Ebrahim Figueroa
Ebrahim Figueroa wanted to send out a “Happy Birthday” to his wife Lorna today.

Ebrahim Figueroa moved all in under the gun for 119,000, James Diaz called from the hijack, and Yefim Vakser called from the big blind.

The flop came 8c7h4s, Vakser bet 100,000, Diaz moved all in for 328,000, and Vakser asked for an exact count before he called.

All three players showed their cards:

Yefim Vakser:  Ad4d  (pair of fours)
James Diaz:  8s8d  (set of eights)
Ebrahim Figueroa:  Jc5c  (gutshot straight draw)

The turn card was the 5s, the river card was the 2d, and the set of eights held up for Diaz to scoop the entire pot, doubling thru Vakser and eliminating Figueroa in seventh place.

James Diaz  –  1,058,000  (35 bb)
Yefim Vakser  –  640,000  (21 bb)
Ebrahim Figueroa  –  Eliminated in 7th Place  ($4,215)

With six players remaining, the average chip stack is about 770,000 (26 big blinds), and the remaining players are all guaranteed to earn at least $5,460 each.

Event 7: William Rincon – 8th Place ($2,955)

$400 Seniors 50+ NLH (Single Re-Entry)
Structure | Payouts
Level 23:  12,000/24,000 with a 24,000 ante
Players Remaining:  7 of 386

William Rincon
William Rincon

After a flop of Jd10d6d, both blinds check, and Matt Yorra bet 75,000 from the cutoff. William Rincon check-raised all in from the small blind for about 375,000, and Yefim Vakser folded the big blind.

Yorra called with AdJh for a pair of jacks, and Rincon turned over Js10h for two pair, jacks and tens. Rincon needed his two pair to hold to stay alive.

The turn card paired the board with the 6h, and the river card was — the Ah.

Yorra rivered a higher two pair, aces and jacks, to win the pot and eliminate Rincon in eighth place.

Matt Yorra  –  1,185,000  (49 bb)
William Rincon  –  Eliminated in 8th Place  ($2,955)

With seven players remaining, the average chip stack is about 662,000 (28 big blinds), and the remaining players are all guaranteed to earn at least $4,215 each.