Event 11: RJ Sullivan Captures Purple Chip Bounty Title

2016 Lucky Hearts Poker Open
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Hollywood
$1,650 No Limit Hold’em Purple Chip Bounty (Re-Entry)
Entries: 165
Prize Pool: $167,500
January 18-19, 2016


The 2016 Seminole Hard Rock Lucky Hearts Poker Open schedule featured two big bounty tournaments and Event 11 was the biggest of them. The $1,650 buy-in tournament drew 165 entrants looking to capitalize on knocking out other players. When all was complete, Florida poker pro RJ Sullivan was the player posing with the trophy.

Event 11 put $1,000 of each entry into the regular prize pool while a $500 bounty was placed on each player. Knock someone out, get a purple chip worth $500 cash.

The tournament was scheduled to play across two days and the field made it into the money with 18 remaining shortly before play concluded on Day 1. Joey Couden began Day 2 with the chip lead but could only convert that into an eight place finish.

Jason Wheeler and Joe Kuether traded the chip lead several times at the final table but Sullivan took it away during four-handed action. He never relinquished the lead and extended it as he knocked out the last three players.

All told, Sullivan collected ten bounties during the tournament including six at the final table enroute to the victory. This isn’t his first success in this style tournament, he made the final table and finished sixth in the $1,500 WSOP Bounty event this summer.

Sullivan also has success in the ballroom. He won two events here within one week during the 2013 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown.

“I live three hours away,” Sullivan said. “But I always make sure to come down here for the big series.”

Sullivan earned $48,574 for his title along with $5,000 in collected bounties. A great way to wrap up his Seminole Hard Rock Lucky Hearts Poker Open run.

Final table results:

1st: RJ Sullivan – $48,574
2nd: Marcus Stein – $28,475
3rd Jason Wheeler – $16,750
4th Joe Kuether – $13,400
5th: Gaston Miculitzki – $10,050
6th: Timothy Banks – $8,375
7th: Daren Stabinski – $6,700
8th: Joey Couden – $5,025
9th: Justin Zaki – $3,769

Full results available from our friends at TheHendonMob.com.

Main Event: Salomon Ponte Wins the WPTDeepStacks Main Event

2016 Lucky Hearts Poker Open
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Hollywood
$1,100 Lucky Hearts WPTDeepStacks Main Event
Entries: 1,684
Prize Pool: $1,633,480
January 14-18, 2016

Salomon Ponte, 2016 Lucky Heart WPTDeepStacks Main Event Champion

Hollywood, Fla. (January 18, 2016) – The showcase event on the 2016 Seminole Hard Rock Lucky Hearts Poker Open schedule drew a huge crowd of players aiming for a piece of a seven-digit prize pool. Salomon Ponte outlasted a large field and earned the Main Event title along with the top prize of $344,420.

The WPTDeepStacks Main Event played out over five total days with the three starting days drawing 1,684 entries. There was a $1,000,000 guaranteed prize pool on the tournament and the great turnout pushed it up to $1,633,480 when registration closed.

The Main Event drew poker stars from around the world including Matt Affleck, Allen Kessler, Kathy Liebert, 2010 WSOP November Niner John Dolan, WPTDeepStacks Player of the Year Tristan Wade, former WPT Player of the Year Mukul Pahuja, WPT World Champion Asher Conniff, and 2010 WSOP Main Event Champion Jonathan Duhamel.

Of those 1,684 starters, only 346 players moved on to Day 2 for a chance to take home a piece of the prize pool. With 169 players getting paid, the tournament quickly played down and was in the money when 2015 WSOP Main Event runner up Josh Beckley eliminated Michael Foley.

Kelly Minkin made the final table of the 2015 Lucky Hearts Poker Open Championship and was looking to do it again this year. Despite a deep run, she was eliminated on Day 2.

Nine players survived Day 2 and booked their spot at the live-streamed final table in The Paradise Theater. Ponte began the last day of play with the chip lead and only briefly gave it up over the short, four-hour final table.

The table featured players from around the world mixing with some of our local regulars. Canada, Jamaica, New York, and South Carolina were represented along with five others from nearby.

Ryan D’Angelo and Harrison Gimbel were the most accomplished players at the final table but neither was able to take the lead away from Ponte. D’Angelo went out in seventh while Gimbel was eliminated in fourth.

The heads up match between Edward Mallon and Ponte had several lead changes but Ponte was the top player on the last hand. He earned the $344,420 payout by eliminating five of his opponents at the final table.

“I felt like I was the best,” Ponte quipped. “Clearly I won so I’m better than them.”

Ponte is a Toronto-based CPA specializing in taxes and came down to Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Hollywood for better weather, better poker games, and to win the Main Event.

“Florida is amazing but I have to go back for tax season,” Ponte said.

With only $19,000 in career poker earnings in his career, this is easily his best tournament result and we hope to see him back in the future.

Final table results:

1st: Salomon Ponte (Toronto, ON) – $344,420
2nd: Edward Mallon (Boynton Beach, FL) – $192,885
3rd: Thong Ho (N Charleston, SC) – $139,730
4th: Harrison Gimbel (Jupiter, FL) – $93,915
5th: Kenneth Watson (Montego Bay, JM) – $66,525
6th: Michael LaRocca (Boynton Beach, FL) – $56,740
7th: Ryan D’Angelo (Endwell, NY) – $48,260
8th: Zack Goodman (Boca Raton, FL) – $31,630
9th: Paul Balzano (Sunrise, FL) – $27,390

Full results available from our friends at TheHendonMob.com.

Event 1: Thai Ha Wins Ultimate Re-Entry

2016 Lucky Hearts Poker Open
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Hollywood
Event #1
$350 Ultimate Re-Entry No-Limit Hold’em
Entries: 4,075
Prize Pool: $1,222,500
Multi-Stack Payouts: $137,500 (55 @ $2,500)
Day 2 Prize Pool: $1,085,000
January 7-12, 2016

Thai Ha, Event 1 Champion
Thai Ha, Event 1 Champion

Hollywood, Fla. (January 12, 2016) – The 2016 Seminole Hard Rock Lucky Hearts Poker Open kicked things off with a new tournament format and the results were huge. The tournament drew 4,075 entries across eight starting flights to create the biggest field in Florida poker history. When all was complete, Thai Ha was the last player standing to earn the tournament victory and its $230,423 top prize.

The huge field easily surpassed the $500,000 guarantee and built it up to $1,222,500 when registration closed Sunday evening.

The unique Ultimate Re-Entry format rewarded players who were able to make it into the money on multiple starting flights. They were given a $2,500 multi-stack award for the second stack advanced and another award for each time they managed the feat afterward.

There were a total of 55 multi-stack winners with local Gregory Marcus advancing four stacks out of the eight flights. Day 2 saw 345 players return, already in the money, and the field shrank in a hurry as the payouts increased.

The slow structure and deep stacks gave players plenty of room to make moves and it took longer than scheduled to find a winner. The tournament was paused during Day 2 to give the remaining 12 players a break before coming back for a bonus day.

Ha bagged up a big chip lead for the return and held it for most of Day 3. Raminder Singh and David Shaw also spent time at the top of the counts while the rest of the players fell away. Those three made the final table along with a gang of locals that included David Prociak, runner-up finisher in the 2015 Seminole Hard Rock “Rock ‘N’ Roll Poker Open” Championship a few months ago.

There were long stretches of time with no big hands followed by quick eliminations. Richard Hutchings was eliminated four hours into the action and set up a long three-handed battle. Shaw’s time at the top of the counts ended against Ha right before a break and he was gone shortly afterwards.

The heads up battle began with local favorite Singh holding a small lead over Ha but that quickly changed. Ha took a big lead with a rivered flush and the tournament was over a few hands later. It was a great result for Ha, the pro poker player who made the trek down from the frigid Northeast for some Sunshine State poker.

The big tournament win was a great start to 2016 for Ha after a year that saw him finish one spot from the winner several times. The 24-year-old Philadelphia resident finished in the runner-up spot in three Big Stax tournaments at Parx casino but he now has the biggest tournament win of his career.

“It feels really great!” Ha exclaimed. “I got second place three times at Parx and I’m very happy.”

Ha now has over $470,000 in career earnings and has his sights on another deep run, he hopes that will be in the WPTDeepStacks Main Event.

Event 1 Final Table Results:

1st: Thai Ha (Philadelphia, PA) – $230,423
2nd: Raminder Singh (Delray Beach, FL) – $141,227
3rd: David Shaw (Pompano Beach, FL) – $74,330
4th: Richard Hutchings (Boca Raton, FL) – $57,977
5th: David Prociak (Orlando, FL) – $41,996
6th: Evgeniy Catane (Sunny Isles Beach, FL) – $31,962
7th: Jordan Meltzer (Delray Beach, FL) – $24,529
8th: Claudio Piedrabuena (Hallandale, FL) – $17,839
9th: Daniel Perez (Caracas, Ven) – $12,636
10th: Ronald Campillo (Pembroke Pines, FL) – $8,176

Full results available from our friends at the TheHendonMob.com.

Event 2: Gustavo Moscon Wins Six-Max Title

2016 Seminole Hard Rock Lucky Hearts Poker Open
Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood Hotel & Casino
Event #2
$570 No Limit Hold’em 6-Max (Single Re-Entry)
Total Entries: 176
Prize Pool: $88,000
January 11, 2016

Gustavo Moscon, Event 2 Champion
Gustavo Moscon, Event 2 Champion

Hollywood, Fla. (January 11, 2016) – The second event on the 2016 Seminole Hard Rock Lucky Hearts Poker Open schedule was perfectly placed to draw a big crowd. The six-max tournament was set to run at the same time a large amount of players were cashing out in the Ultimate Re-Entry tournament. When play was complete, Gustavo Moscon was the last player standing for $20,291, his biggest career tournament result.

Despite the single re-entry structure, the tournament clearly surpassed its $50,000 guarantee and handed out $88,000 in prize money.

The tournament drew some big names and local grinders including Matt Affleck, Stewart Newman, Nancy Birnbaum, and 2015 November Niner Neil Blumenfield.

The short-handed format kept things moving at a quick pace and they were soon at a final table that included WSOP bracelet winner David Diaz. It was a fast, friendly final table with plenty of jokes and good times.

Moscon, Diaz, and Marc Sacheli took their time determining a winner but it was Moscon defeating Diaz in the end for the title.

Final table results:

1st: Gustavo Moscon (Coral Gables, FL) – $20,291
2nd: David Diaz (Bartlett, TN) – $13,728
3rd: Marc Sacheli (Miami, FL) – $8,976
4th: Michael Mernin (Robbinsdale, MN) – $7,172
5th: John Utley (Morganfield, KY) – $5,386
6th: Yoandri Almaquer Mulet (Hialeah Gardens, FL) – $4,145

Full results available from our friends at TheHendonMob.com

Event 5: Recap

2015 Seminole Hard Rock “Rock ’n’ Roll Poker Open”
$570 Deep Stack No Limit Hold’em (Re-Entry)
$250,000 Guaranteed Prizepool

November 23rd-25th, 2015

Total Entries:  830
Total Prizepool:  $415,000

Ory Hen - Winner
Ory Hen, Event 5 Champion


Last year, Ory Hen won Event 1 of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Poker Open on his way to becoming the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Player of the Year. This year, Hen waited until the second big-field event of the series, winning Event 5 against a field of 830 entries to win $52,153, the Seminole Hard Rock “Rock ‘n’ Roll Poker Open” trophy, and a custom-framed winner’s photo courtesy of Image Masters.

Event 5 needed to attract 500 entries to reach the $250,000 guarantee, but over four starting flights, there were 830 entries, even with Day 2 playing down to a winner the night before Thanksgiving.

However, once the clock struck midnight (meaning it was officially Thanksgiving) and the final table was still eight-handed after playing for more than an hour, the players began serious negotiations for a chop. Eventually a deal was reached so that even the shortest stacks would receive more than fifth-place money. While the players debated how to distribute the prize money, there was no doubt as to who would claim the trophy, as Hen had nearly a million chips more than his closest competitor.

No better way for a poker player to head into Thanksgiving (and the holiday shopping season) than a big score at a final table, and the final eight all earned at least $23,261.

Happy Thanksgiving, and congratulations to Ory Hen!

Final Table Results:

1st:  Ory Hen  –  $52,153
2nd:  Christpoher Nomikos  –  $42,144
3rd:  Gunther Rowohlt  –  $38,788
4th:  Steven Bennett  –  $35,774
5th:  Nigel Murray  –  $34,523
6th:  Phil Hernz  –  $27,584
7th:  Zack Goodman  –  $26,504
8th:  Lisa Teebagy  –  $23,261
9th:  Kenneth Watson  –  $7,885

Event 6: Recap

2015 Seminole Hard Rock “Rock ‘n’ Roll Poker Open”
$350 Pot Limit Omaha/8 (Re-Entry)

November 23, 2015

Total Entries:  51
Total Prize Pool:  $15,300

Bryce Fox
Bryce Fox, Event 6 Champion


Event 6 was a one-day PLO-8 event that attracted 51 entries, and the final six would finish in the money. After a marathon final table where nobody seemed to be able to score a knockout, Bryce Fox managed to finally scoop a pot against runner-up Charles Chan to win the title and the trophy.

The final four players battled for three straight levels without a single double-up or elimination — every all-in situation ended in a split pot. Over three levels, that created a situation where the chipleader had only nine big blinds in his stack. Repeated for emphasis: that’s not the average stack, but the chipleader.

There had been talk of a deal from the final five players on down, but they couldn’t come to an agreement because everybody wanted the trophy. At one point during the long period of four-handed play, third-place finisher Robert Wachtel suggested (perhaps only half-jokingly) that they should break the trophy into equal pieces so they could each claim a partial victory.

Once they got past the final four, it didn’t take much longer, as Fox built up his stack by knocking out the final three players to win the title, the Seminole Hard Rock “Rock ‘n’ Roll Poker Open” trophy, and a custom-framed winner’s photo courtesy of Image Masters.

While this is the first victory in south Florida for Fox, it is actually his seventh live tournament win in the past two-and-a-half years, with the rest coming in Las Vegas and his hometown of Pittsburgh.

Congratulations to Bryce Fox!

Final Table Results:

1st:  Bryce Fox  (Pittsburgh, PA)  $5,202
2nd:  Charles Chan  (Panama City, FL)  $3,519
3rd:  Robert Wachtel  (Delray Beach, FL)  $2,295
4th:  Gui Thi Van  (Pembroke Pines, FL)  $1,836
5th:  Steve Novak  (Clearwater, FL)  $1,377
6th:  Marc Sacheli  (Miami Beach, FL)  $1,071

Event 1: Recap

2015 Seminole Hard Rock “Rock ’n’ Roll Poker Open”
$350 Deep Stack No Limit Hold’em (Re-Entry)
$500,000 Guarantee

November 19th-22nd, 2015

Total Entries:  3,022
Total Prizepool:  $906,600

Ivan Freitez
Ivan Freitez, Event 1 Champion


Event 1 was scheduled as a two-day event (with six starting flights) and a $500,000 guarantee. But a massive turnout of 3,022 entries pushed it to a three-day event with a prizepool worth $906,600. After a hard-fought battle at the final table, it was Ivan Freitez who won the title, the Seminole Hard Rock “Rock ‘n’ Roll Poker Open” trophy, and a custom-framed winner’s photo courtesy of Image Masters.

With the massive prizepool, there was sporadic talk of making a deal at the final table, but Freitez himself was the most reluctant to chop, pointing out that when he won the 2011 EPT Grand Final, he didn’t make a deal even though first prize was worth more than $2 million. He even said the line, “I chop with my wife. I chop with my children. Other than that, I don’t chop.”

Ultimately, the final three players did come to a deal, and it wrapped up the other big storyline from this event — T.J. Shulman’s comeback from a literal chip-and-a-chair with 12 players remaining. Shulman was down to a single ante before mounting his comeback, and went on to outlast the next players to bust to finish in the top three, bumping his payday from $8,159 to $97,366 in the process.

This is the third title for Freitez in his live tournament career, and each of them has been for at least six figures, making him the winningest player in Venezuelan history.

Congratulations to Ivan Freitez!

Final Table Results:

1st:  Ivan Freitez  (Grand Caracas, Venezuela)  $117,366
2nd:  Taylor Fortini  (Vero Beach, FL)  $109,366
3rd:  T.J. Shulman  (Jackson, GA)  $97,366
4th:  Thomas Collazo  (Davie, FL)  $55,983
5th:  Jake Melen  (Cedarhurst, NY)  $45,557
6th:  Jack Rolnitzky  (Commerce Township, MI)  $35,811
7th:  Marcus Stein  (Pembroke Pines, FL)  $26,291
8th:  Mike Chiappetta  (Boca Raton, FL)  $17,679
9th:  Pedro Palacio  (Delray Beach, FL)  $12,692

Event 3: Recap

2015 Seminole Hard Rock “Rock ’n’ Roll Poker Open”
$350 Pot Limit Omaha (Re-Entry)

November 21, 2015

Total Entries:  49
Total Prize Pool:  $14,700

Matt Silva
Matt Silva, Event 3 Champion


Event 3 was a one-day event that attracted 49 entries, and the final five would finish in the money. When the field reached the final five, they battled a surprisingly long time, with players taking turns as to who was the chipleader and who was the short stack.

When it finally got down to the final three, two were nearly even in chips and a deal was struck to award the title to chipleader Matt Silva. Second place went to Joel Harwood (father of famous poker player Loni Harwood), who had about a single big blind more in his stack than Michelle Shah, who finished third.

The shortest stack during five-handed play belonged to Krystal Harris, who was knocked down to just two big blinds, and then tripled up on the next hand when she woke up with pocket aces, flopped a set, and rivered quads. For a little while it looked like Harris would mount a full comeback, but it was short-lived, and she was eliminated about 20 minutes later in fifth place.

Harris was followed to the rail by Evan Shaughnessy, who got it all in after the flop with a pair of tens against Silva’s pair of deuces and gutshot straight draw. The turn improved Shaughnessy to a set of eights, and only a king could keep him from doubling up. Even though he had one of the kings in his hand, Shaughnessy watched as the Ks hit the river to complete Silva’s straight, ending the tournament for Shaughnessy in fourth place.

At that point, Silva held 43.1% of the chips in play, and a three-way deal was struck. As chipleader, Silva was awarded the title, the Seminole Hard Rock “Rock ‘n’ Roll Poker Open” trophy, and a custom-framed winner’s photo courtesy of Image Masters.

This victory is particularly sweet for Silva because just last month he finished second in Event 9 of the Fall DeepStack Poker Series at the Seminole Rock Hotel & Casino in Tampa, FL. When a deal was struck in that event, Silva was second in chips by a single big blind, and missed out on the guitar trophy. This time, Silva’s lead was substantial enough that there was no doubt.

Silva has already locked up a chip stack for Day 2 of Event 1, winning this title on his day off, though he is heading home to Atlanta for Thanksgiving and will have to miss the Championship Event next weekend.

Congratulations to Matt Silva!

Final Table Results:

1st:  Matt Silva  (Marietta, GA)  $3,901
2nd:  Joel Harwood  (Hallendale, FL)  $3,709
3rd:  Michelle Shah  (Delray Beach, FL)  $3,709
4th:  Evan Shaughnessy  (Pittsford, NY)  $1,911
5th:  Krystal Harris  $1,470

Event 2: Recap

2015 Seminole Hard Rock “Rock ‘N’ Roll Poker Open”
$250 Limit Omaha/8 (Re-Entry)

November 19, 2015

Total Entries:  72
Total Prize Pool: $15,120

Mitchell Smith, Event 2 Champion
Mitchell Smith, Event 2 Champion


It wasn’t the first tournament of the Seminole Hard Rock “Rock ‘N’ Roll Poker Open” series but Event 2 crowned the first champ. It was an Omaha/8 tournament which played out in one-day with Mitchell Smith as the last player standing for the title and $3,251.

The tournament 72 entrants to the $250 buy-in event, a nice improvement over the same tournament last year. Several former champions were in the game, including Robert Campbell, but none were able to stick around until the final table.

They were never deep at the final table but the limit betting aspect and split pot possibilities kept them grinding away until every player was in the danger zone. Judith Green made the final table ten but fell short of making the money with nine getting paid.

There was some brief discussion about a nine-way deal but it was only talk. Three-time WSOP Circuit champ John Holley dropped out in 9th place for a min-cash and he was followed by Marc Levy, someone who really wanted the trophy.

Played slowed down once again with Jerry Kowalski trying to climb the payout ladder while wielding a micro-stack. He caught a couple small doubles but fell in 6th place. Michael Guardino would have liked to have improved on his runner-up finish in the 2015 Coco Poker Open Omaha/8 tournament but the best he could manage was 5th place.

Scott Sharp fell shortly after Guardino and the last three players chopped up the remaining prize pool evenly. Smith held the chip lead and was awarded the title along with the Seminole Hard Rock “Rock ‘N’ Roll Poker Open” trophy and custom-framed winner’s photo courtesy of Image Masters.


1st: Mitchell Smith (Palm Beach, FL) $3,251
2nd: Steven Gray (Conway, SC) $3,251
3rd: Joey Prosper (Miami, FL) $3,251
4th: Scott Sharp (Lauderhill, FL) $1,512
5th: Michael Guardino (West Haven, CT) $1,134
6th: Jerry Kowalski (Hollywood, FL) $907
7th: Leonard St. Germain (Southwest Ranches, FL) $756
8th: Marc Levy (Boynton Beach, FL) $605
9th: John Holley (Destin, FL) $454

Event 25 Recap

2015 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open
$150 No Limit Hold’em (Re-Entry)
$50,000 Guaranteed Prize Pool

August 17-19th, 2015

Total Entries:  690
Total Prize Pool: $82,800

Yves Fequiere, Event 25 Champion
Yves Fequiere, Event 25 Champion


Event 25 was the last multi-day event on the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open schedule. The small buy-in, big prize pool tournament drew 690 entrants for $150 buy-in and the $50,000 guarantee prize pool. After two starting days and a long final table, Miami resident Yves Fequiere was the last player standing.

Day 2 saw 86 players return with only 45 of them getting a piece of the $82,800 prize pool. The field quickly played down into the money before the second break and it didn’t slow down until the final table.

Those ten players settled in for the long haul and action didn’t pick up until after Robert Chusid went out in 9th place. That set up a quick succession of bustouts until there were just three players remaining.

Fequiere, Joe Pozos, and Ariel Rosello battled it out until Rosello ran his pocket pair into the bigger one of Fequiere. The hand solidified Fequiere’s lead and he was declared champion after a heads up deal with Pozos.

Final Table Results:

1st: Yves Fequiere (Miami, FL) $17,344
2nd: Joe Pozos (Lewes, DE) $17,344
3rd: Ariel Rosello (Hialeah, FL) $8,321
4th: Marshall White (Garner, NC) $5,796
5th: Richard Hembree (Archdale, NC) $4,181
6th: Peter Chin (Hollywood, FL) $3,353
7th: Marc Levy (Boynton Beach, FL) $2,567
8th: Pat Tiller (Palm Beach Gardens, FL) $1,822
9th: Robert Chusid (Sunrise, FL) $1,325