2021 Lucky Hearts Poker Open Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood, Florida Event 1 $600 Deep Stack NLH (Single Re-Entry Per Flight) $300,000 Guaranteed Entries: 3,004 Prize Pool: $1,577,100 January 14-17, 2021
The much-anticipated return of a big poker series to South Florida began on January 14 and the opening tournament of the 2021 Lucky Hearts Poker Open was everything we hoped it would be. Event 1 drew more than 3,000 entries and Tampa regular Fernando Rodriguez outlasted them all to book a $205,000 win.
Players were eager to come out and play live poker in a safe and sound environment. The $600 buy-in Deep Stack tournament had six starting flights that combined to put 3,004 entries in the field. The $300,000 guarantee was bested before Flight B even started and they pushed the prize pool up to $1,577,100 by the time registration closed Saturday evening.
Rodriguez came into Day 2 with the third biggest stack among the 375 returners and only had a few problems along the way.
“I lost a couple bad hands but I got moved to a new table.” Rodriguez said of his run. “They didn’t know me and I didn’t tilt or make bad plays. It was good from then.”
Rodriguez had a clear lead at the end of Day 2 when nine players advanced to a bonus day of poker. He was joined by fellow Tampa Poker regular Peter Walsworth and Fabian Foster with the biggest stacks and all three would be there at the end.
Walsworth was in control to start the final table and quickly amassed a huge stack. But those chips did not last after a series of tough hands while Scott Blackman built a stack and Jason Johnson stayed alive with a handful of nice doubles.
Rodriguez regained the lead in a big way when he sent both Walsworth and Johnson out within a few minutes. Those two hands left only three players in the tournament and Rodriguez holding the lion’s share of the chips. They worked out a deal to divide up the remaining prize pool with Foster earning $143,355 for third place, Blackman $200,000 for second, and Rodriguez took home $205,000 along with the LHPO trophy.
“It feels really great,” Rodriguez said. “I said I’d be back here and here I am.”
This is the first Hollywood win for Rodriguez and the biggest score of his career. He is a familiar face in our sister room in Tampa and his previous best cash was a fourth-place finish in the 2020 Tampa Winter Poker Open Main Event in December.
“I’m going to play everything,” Rodriguez laughed when asked about his plans for the series. “I want to play everything I can.”
Final table results:
1st: Fernando Rodriguez – $205,000 + LHPO Trophy * 2nd: Scott Blackman – $200,000 * 3rd: Fabian Foster – $143,366 * 4th: Jason Johnson – $86,047 5th: Peter Walsworth – $63,762 6th: Jesse Lott – $46,877 7th: Brandon Navarrete – $34,557