2022 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
$1,100 Deep Stack No-Limit Hold’em (Re-Entry)
Prize Pool: $460,750
April 6, 2022
Event 30 of the 2022 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown was a $1,100 Deep Stack No-Limit Hold’em (Re-Entry). A field of 475 entries generated a prize pool of $460,750, demolishing the $100,000 guarantee.
After about 17 hours, Valerie Novak emerged victorious, winning outright for $91,835.
“I’m overwhelmed, grateful,” said a gushing Novak afterward. “I still can’t believe that happened.”
What happened was Novak topping an absolutely loaded final table. Chance Kornuth and Kristen Bicknell boast nearly $15 million in career live tournament winnings according to the Hendon Mob poker database between them, while the rest of the final table adds another roughly $3.5 million to that. Novak, who plays recreationally, only recently got back into the game after taking a break in 2019.
“I started playing again in September, and have been putting a lot of effort into upping my game. A lot more studying, and then applying it to some smaller tournaments. I’ve watched everything that I can on PokerGO.”
At the Lucky Hearts Poker Open in January, Novak finished seventh in the $2,200 No-Limit Hold’em Deep Stack for $27,215 and was determined to make a better showing out of this final table.
“I always seem to be short when I get to a final table. Always. That’s why it never seems to work out. In this case, I was sitting pretty well with chips.”
Novak began the final table second in chips with 44 big blinds and really picked up steam when she picked off a bluff from Kornuth to double up with five players left. She would eventually get heads-up with Kornuth.
“When I saw Chance at the table I thought I had no chance, as silly as that sounds.”
Novak began heads-up play with the chip lead, and found a good spot when she check-raised all on a ten-high board with pocket kings. Kornuth called with top pair and didn’t improve, officially locking up the victory for Novak.
The win marks Novak’s largest career score on Hendon Mob, with the other two coming in the aforementioned event at the 2022 Lucky Hearts Poker Open and a 19th-place finish in the $3,500 Wynn Fall Classic Championship for $41,420 this past October. In addition to her commitment to studying the game, Novak credits family life back home in Maryland for her success.
“I have a family, a job, a grandson, so I just can play when I can. My husband is super supportive about me traveling, so I pick like three or four places throughout the year I wanna go to, and spend about two weeks there and kinda focus on the game. It’s just been working out. I’ve definitely seen an improvement in my game since September.”
|Place||First Name||Last Name||Prize Amount|