Melad Marji Wins Seminole Hard Rock’s Inaugural $25K PLO High Roller For the Biggest Score of His Career

2022 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
Hollywood, Florida
Event 24
$25,500 Pot-Limit Omaha High Roller (Re-Entry)
Entries:  52
Prize Pool:  $1,284,400
August 3-4, 2022

Melad Marji
Event 24 Champion Melad Marji

Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood has run some very successful high roller events over the years, but this was the first time they ran one that wasn’t no-limit hold’em.

Event 24 was a $25,500 Pot-Limit Omaha High Roller, and the two-day event attracted 52 entries to create a total prizepool worth more than $1.2 million, proving the popularity of PLO among high-roller players.

After a seven-hour final table, Melad Marji defeated Michael Duek heads-up to win the title, the trophy, and $443,118.

“It’s a dream come true,” said Marji. “Absolutely nothing less than a dream come true. I worked hard for this.”

Day 1 ended when the Money Bubble burst, but it took two-and-a-half hours to knock out that last player of the day. So when the final eight returned on Thursday to play down to a winner, the blinds were relatively high, and the stacks relatively short.

That contributed to the first four players busting in the first 75 minutes or so, but then the final four battled for more than two hours before the next elimination. The pay jumps were substantial at this stage, with $122,018 for fourth place and $443,118 for first.

And there were plenty of ups and downs between the final four players.

“At one point, all of us in the final four had a turn to be the short stack,” said Marji. “So it was a wild ride for everybody. I just hung on, I did what I had to do, and I stayed focused.”

This is also part of the appeal of the seemingly chaotic game of PLO, which is Marji’s favorite version of poker.

“No-limit hold’em gets boring,” said Marji. “PLO has more action. Everybody likes it, because it’s a fun game to play. It’s more social. No-limit’s a little dry.”

Eventually, Marji knocked out fourth-place finisher Isaac Kempton when he flopped a straight to Kempton’s pocket kings, and it held up.

Then it was another two hours before Dom Mosley got it all in preflop against Michael Duek. Mosley flopped top pair, but Duek turned a set of jacks and rivered a full house to knock out Mosley in third place.

The lead continued to switch hands during heads-up play, with Marji starting with a good lead, but Duek catching some momentum early to move out in front. Marji won the next two all-in-situations to reclaim the lead, and he never lost the lead after that.

In the final hand, Marji was dealt three aces (which isn’t ideal, since you can only use two holecards at a time in Omaha), but they held up in the final hand for him to win the title outright.

This is the second Seminole Hard Rock trophy for Marji, who won a $600 Pot Limit Omaha back in January during the WPT Lucky Hearts Poker Open.

“I just moved to Miami about a year and a half ago,” said Marji, “and it’s the best move I’ve ever made. I love everything about South Florida. I love the Seminole Hard Rock, and I love the people who play here. We’ve got superstars like Colby Covington that come in, and a lot of my friends that I’ve met here. I love this place.”

Marji plans to play in the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open Championship, which starts tomorrow, though he said he will probably take a day off and enter Day 1B on Saturday.

At the end of his post-game interview from the biggest tournament score of his poker career, Marji highlighted friends and family.

“I had really good people in my corner that wanted to see me win,” said Marji, “and that meant a lot to me.”

Asked if there was anything else he’d like to add, Marji said, “I love my Mom. That’s what I’d like to add.”


Final Results:

PlaceFirst NameLast NamePrize Amount
1MeladMarji$443,118
2MichaelDuek$295,412
3DomMosley$179,816
4IsaacKempton$122,018
5LevZerkal$83,486
6MatthewWantman$64,220
7JordanSemel$51,376
8DavidColeman$44,954

Event 24: Melad Marji Wins the PLO High Roller! ($443,118); Michael Duek Finishes as Runner-Up ($295,412)

$25,500 Pot-Limit Omaha High Roller (Re-Entry)
Structure | Payouts
Level 23:  50,000/100,000 with a 100,000 ante
Players Remaining:  1 of 52

Melad Marji
Event 24 Champion Melad Marji

Michael Duek raised from the button to 300,000, Melad Marji pot-raised from the big blind. In rapid succession, Duek moved all in for about 1.1 million, and Marji called.

Melad Marji:  AhAdAc8s
Michael Duek:  KdJc9s5s

The board came Kc7h3s4s10h, and Duek pairs his king on the flop and turns a spade flush draw, but improves no further. Melad Marji wins the pot — and the Pot-Limit Omaha High Roller — with pocket aces.

Stay tuned for a recap from this event, coming later tonight.

Congratulations to Melad Marji!

1st:  Melad Marji  –  $443,118
2nd:  Michael Duek  –  $295,412
3rd:  Dom Mosley  –  $179,816
4th:  Isaac Kempton  –  $122,018
5th:  Lev Zerkal  –  $83,486
6th:  Matthew Wantman  –  $64,220
7th:  Jordan Semel  –  $51,376
8th:  David Coleman  –  $44,954

Michael Duek
Runner-Up Michael Duek

Event 24: Michael Duek Doubles Thru Melad Marji; Melad Marji Still Leads 2-to-1

$25,500 Pot-Limit Omaha High Roller (Re-Entry)
Structure | Payouts
Level 22:  50,000/75,000 with a 75,000 ante
Players Remaining:  2 of 52

Michael Duek
Michael Duek

Michael Duek limped from the button for 75,000, Melad Marji raised from the big blind to 225,000, and Duek called.

The flop came QsJh3d, Duek got it all in for 525,000, and they turned over their cards.

Melad Marji:  KcJs9s5s  (pair of jacks, gutshot straight draw)
Michael Duek:  Jc8c7c7s  (pair of jacks)

Duek needed to improve to stay alive.

The turn card was the 4s, giving Marji a spade flush draw to negate some of Duek’s outs.

The river card was — the 8d. Duek rivered two pair, jacks and eights, to win the pot and double up in chips.

Michael Duek  –  1,575,000  (21 bb)
Melad Marji  –  3,625,000  (48 bb)


Here are the remaining payouts at stake:

1st:  $443,118
2nd:  $295,412

Event 24: Melad Marji Doubles Thru Michael Duek to Take the Lead

$25,500 Pot-Limit Omaha High Roller (Re-Entry)
Structure | Payouts
Level 22:  50,000/75,000 with a 75,000 ante
Players Remaining:  2 of 52

Melad Marji (button) and Michael Duek (small blind) put in 225,000 each to see a flop of Ac9h6h. Duek checked, Marji bet 125,000, and Duek check-raised to 400,000. Marji thought for a while before he called.

The turn card paired the board with the 6s, Duek bet 350,000, and Marji thought for a while before he called.

The river card was the Qs, Duek bets, and Marji quickly moves or calls all in for 800,000. Once they are poth all in, Marji proudly turns over his cards.

Melad Marji:  AsAhKh3h  (full house)

Marji showed a full house, aces full of sixes, to win the pot and double up in chips. Duek mucked.

Melad Marji  –  3,625,000  (48 bb)
Michael Duek  –  1,575,000  (21 bb)

Marji then won six of the next seven hands to increase his lead even further.

Melad Marji  –  4,425,000  (59 bb)
Michael Duek  –  775,000  (10 bb)


Here are the remaining payouts at stake:

1st:  $443,118
2nd:  $295,412

Event 24: Melad Marji Doubles Thru Michael Duek

$25,500 Pot-Limit Omaha High Roller (Re-Entry)
Structure | Payouts
Level 22:  50,000/75,000 with a 75,000 ante
Players Remaining:  2 of 52

Melad Marji
Melad Marji

Melad Marji (button) and Michael Duek (big blind) put in 225,000 each to see a flop of 9d4s4c. Duek checked, Marji bet 175,000, and Duek check-raised to 500,000. Marji tanked for a while before he called.

The turn card was the 8s, and both players checked.

The river card was the Jh, and Duek bets 1,100,000, nearly enough to put Marji all in. Marji tanks for a long time before he folds, and Duek takes the pot.

Michael Duek  –  3,950,000  (53 bb)
Melad Marji  –  1,250,000  (17 bb)

About half a dozen hands later, Melad Marji raised to 225,000, and Michael Duek called from the big blind.

Both players checked to the turn on a board of 6d3s2d3d, Duek bet 200,000, and Marji thought for a while before he called.

The river card was the 5s, and Duek moved all in. Marji tanked for a long time before he called all in for 425,000.

Marji showed KdQcJs3h for trip threes, and Duek mucked. Marji won the pot to double up in chips.

Melad Marji  –  1,775,000  (24 bb)
Michael Duek  –  3,425,000  (46 bb)


Here are the remaining payouts at stake:

1st:  $443,118
2nd:  $295,412