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