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  1. August is the time to go 'Big' or go home. The 2019 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open takes place at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, FL and will run from August 1-13 with a 27-event schedule culminating in the return of their four featured tournaments, dubbed ‘The Big 4’. The schedule gets off to a fast start with a multi-flight $1 million guaranteed $600 DeepStack and is followed by a full slate of tournaments with wide-ranging variants and buy-ins that will attract every level of player, leading up to the starting dates of The Big 4. The Big 4 Since 2015, the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open has hosted The Big 4, four individual tournaments that all play down to a final table together so they can be live-streamed on the same day at the same time. This year the Big 4 include: $5,250 SHRPO Championship - $3 million guarantee $2,650 NLHE - $1 million guarantee $1,100 NLHE - $500,000 guarantee $25,500 High Rollers - $2 million guarantee. Since 2013, SHRPO has been a favorite destination for poker pros from all over the world. Headed into their fifth year of the The Big 4 promotion, organizers are looking forward to making 2019 the biggest Big 4 yet with all eyes on the $5,250 Main Event. $5,250 SHRPO Championship In 2014, the year before SHRPO Championship was a part of The Big 4, Daniel Colman took down the $5,300 tournament for $1.44 million. The $5 million guaranteed SHRPO Championship event drew 907 runners in 2015 and the big story was that Colman returned to the final table, looking to go back-to-back and defend his 2014 SHRPO Championship title. In the end Colman couldn’t get there, falling in third place for $310,000 as Omar Zazay went on to win the $1,000,000 first-place prize for a career-high score. Pennsylvania’s Paul Volpe also made an appearance at this final table, but he ended up hitting the rail in eighth place for $100,000. Even though registration dipped in 2016, the tournament still held a $5 million guarantee. That meant there was a healthy overlay for the field of top-tier players who made the trip. Ryan Fair and Joe Serock joined regular high rollers Seth Davies and Jason Koon at the final table where Koon ended up taking home the title and his very first seven-figure score of $1 million. In 2017, the tournament reduced the guarantee to $3 million when Australia’s Martin Kozlov picked up the largest cash of his career by winning the $754,083 first-place prize. Matt Berkey finished in third place this year while Aaron Mermelstein, Adam Levy, and Joe Kuether all also had a seat at the final table. Then, just last year, Brandon Eisen denied Jeremy Ausmus the title in 2018, taking home $771,444 for the win. Familiar faces Joseph Cheong, Jared Griener and Ryan D’Angelo also made the final table in what was the largest SHRPO Championship field in The Big 4 era with 914 runners. Big Buy-In, Big Moments The Big 4 have had plenty of standout performances outside of the Main Event over the years. As one might expect, the $25K High Roller has always been flush with big-name pros looking to take home six-figure scores. In 2015, Florida’s All-Time Money List leader, Jason Mercier, took down the $25K High Roller for over $517K in his own backyard, surviving an all-star final table that included runner-up Ian O’Hara, Sean Winter, Ankush Mandavia, Barry Hutter, David ‘Doc’ Sands, and Phil Laak. One year later, Marvin Rettenmaier denied Daniel Colman another SHRPO title by taking first place and over $787K. John Andress took home the High Roller title in 2017 and then in 2018, Jake Schindler topped the 123 player field for a score of over $800K after defeating Shaun Deeb heads up. Another amazing Big 4 feat has been the performance of the GPI #1-ranked player Alex Foxen who, in 2017 took down the $2,650 NLHE for $204,600 and then followed that up by defending his title in that even in 2018 for another $208,452. All the action from the 2019 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open begins on August 1 with all four of the Big 4 set to be live-streamed on August 13. 2019 SHRPO Schedule of Events DATE EVENT # EVENT TIME BUY-IN 8/1 1A Deep Stack NLH Flight A (Re-Entry) - $1,000,000 GTD 11:00 AM $600 8/1 1B Deep Stack NLH Flight B (Re-Entry) - $1,000,000 GTD 6:00 PM $600 8/2 1C Deep Stack NLH Flight C (Re-Entry) - $1,000,000 GTD 11:00 AM $600 8/2 1D Deep Stack NLH Flight D (Re-Entry) - $1,000,000 GTD 6:00 PM $600 8/3 1E Deep Stack NLH Flight E (Re-Entry) - $1,000,000 GTD 11:00 AM $600 8/3 1F Deep Stack NLH Flight F (Re-Entry) - $1,000,000 GTD 6:00 PM $600 8/4 1 Day 2 1:00 PM -- 8/1 2 Omaha 8 Or Better (Re-Entry) - $30,000 GTD - One Day Event 12:00 PM $400 8/2 3 H.O.R.S.E. (Re-Entry) - One Day Event 12:00 PM $400 8/3 4 PLO 8 (Re-Entry) - One Day Event 12:00 PM $400 8/4 5 Deep Stack NLH (Re-Entry) - $50,000 GTD - One Day Event 12:00 PM $400 8/4 6 Purple Chip Bounty (Single Re-Entry) - $100,000 GTD 3:00 PM $1,700 8/5 6 Day 2 2:00 PM -- 8/5 7 Seniors 50+ (Re-Entry) - One Day Event 11:00 AM $400 8/5 8 Big Stack Black Chip Bounty NLH (Single Re-Entry) - $50,000 GTD - One Day Event 12:00 PM $400 8/5 9 PLO (Re-Entry) - One Day Event 3:00 PM $400 8/5 10 Big Stack NLH (Re-Entry) - $30,000 GTD - $5,250 Championship Seat Added - One Day Event 6:00 PM $150 8/6 11 Six-Max NLH (Single Re-Entry) - $100,000 GTD - One Day Event 11:00 AM $600 8/6 12 Big O (Re-Entry) - One Day Event 12:00 PM $400 8/6 13 Omaha 8/Stud 8 (Single Re-Entry) - One Day Event 3:00 PM $400 8/6 14 Eight-Handed Turbo NLH (Freeze-Out) - One Day Event 5:00 PM $1,100 8/7 15 Eight-Handed NLH (Single Re-Entry) - $200,000 GTD - One Day Event 12:00 PM $2,200 8/7 16 Jeff Conine Celebrity Poker Classic - One Day Charity Event 7:00 PM $300 8/8 17 Six-Max Big Stack NLH (Single Re-Entry) - $100,000 GTD - One Day Event 12:00 PM $1,100 8/8 18 Super High Roller NLH (Single Re-Entry) - $1,000,000 GTD - Held In Salon East 1:00 PM $50,000 8/9 18 Day 2 1:00 PM -- 8/8 19 Six-Max PLO (Single Re-Entry) - One Day Event 3:00 PM $400.00 8/9 20A SHRPO Championship Day 1A (Single Re-Entry) - $3,000,000 GTD 11:00 AM $5,250.00 8/10 20B SHRPO Championship Day 1B (Single Re-Entry) - $3,000,000 GTD 11:00 AM $5,250.00 8/11 20 Day 2 12:00 PM -- 8/12 20 Day 3 12:00 PM -- 8/13 20 Final Table Televised And Live Streamed As Part Of The Big 4 1:00 PM -- 8/11 21 NLH (Single Re-Entry) - $1,000,000 GTD 2:00 PM $2,650 8/12 21 Day 2 12:00 PM -- 8/13 21 Final Table Televised And Live Streamed As Part Of The Big 4 1:00 PM -- 8/12 22 NLH (Re-Entry) - $500,000 GTD 11:00 AM $1,100 8/13 22 Final Table Televised And Live Streamed As Part Of The Big 4 1:00 PM -- 8/12 23 High Roller (Re-Entry) - $2,000,000 GTD - Held In Salon East 12:00 PM $25,500 8/13 23 Final Table Televised And Live Streamed As Part Of The Big 4 1:00 PM -- 8/11 24A NLH Day 1A (Re-Entry) - $50,000 GTD 5:00 PM $150 8/12 24B NLH Day 1B (Re-Entry) - $50,000 GTD 5:00 PM $150 8/13 24 Day 2 - Held In The Poker Room 5:00 PM -- 8/12 25 PLO (Re-Entry) 6:00 PM $2,650 8/13 25 Day 2 - Held In The Poker Room 3:00 PM -- 8/13 26 Deep Stack Turbo (Re-Entry) - $30,000 GTD - Held In Salon East - One Day Event 11:00 AM $400 8/13 27 NLH (Re-Entry) - $500,000 GTD - Held In Salon East - One Day Event 12:00 PM $10,000
  2. [caption width="680"] Martin Kozlov navigated a 13-hour final table to win the SHRPO Championship. (SHRPO photo)[/caption] Australian Martin Kozlov made a name for himself in the United States last summer when he made multiple final tables at the World Series of Poker, capped off by his win in the $10,000 Six Max Championship event. On Tuesday, Kozlov made his way through a field of 887 to make it to the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open Championship final table as part of the SHRPO Big 4. Following a marathon 13-hour session, Kozlov walked away with the title and $754,083 first place prize. The first player ousted was Joe Kuether, who was playing with history on his side. Kuether became the first player in the three-year history of the Big 4 to make multiple final tables, as he was also in the $1,100 lineup. Kuether started the final table as the short stack and was out on the 22nd hand of play. Kuether was all in for 1,120,000 and was in the middle of a major cooler with [poker card="kc"][poker card="kd"] against the [poker card="ac"][poker card="ah"] of Dylan Drazen. There was no help on the board for Kuether and he exited the final table. Kuether finished in eighth place in the $1,100 event and earned a combined $91,000 for his two cashes. The final table played deep throughout and it took another 34 hands before Luke Breretonwas eliminated next. Yi Chi Li opened to 150,000 and Brereton shoved for 1,180,000. Li called with [poker card="ad"][poker card="jh"] and had to hit against the [poker card="6d"][poker card="6h"] of Brereton. A jack hit the flop and that was it for Brereton. Following the cooler of an elimination for Joe Kuether, Adam Levy experienced a similar fate against Michael Aron. Aaron Mermelstein opened under the gun to 175,000 and Aron three-bet to 475,000 on the button. Levy ripped it in for 2,650,000 from the small blind and only Aron called, showing down [poker card="kd"][poker card="kh"]. Levy’s [poker card="qd"][poker card="qh"] was dominated and he headed to collect his $126,305 consolation prize once a king hit the flop. Mermelstein started the final table as the chip leader but wound up finishing sixth with Matt Berkey the one to send him packing. Berkey limped under the gun and Li did the same from one seat over. Dylan Drazen raised to 500,000 in the cutoff and Mermelstein shoved for 2,350,000 in the big blind. Berkey called with [poker card="ad"][poker card="ah"] and showed the bad news to Mermelstein’s [poker card="jd"][poker card="js"] after the table folded. Once the board ran dry, Berkey was in control of the chip lead. It took three hours for the next elimination to take place and then the field was down to two in only 30 hands. With the blinds at 75,000/150,000, Aron shoved the button with [poker card="ad"][poker card="ts"] for 3,900,000 and Berkey called with [poker card="9c"][poker card="9h"] from the big blind. The board was no help to Aron and he took home fifth place. Kozlov was able to gain control of the chip lead from Berkey shortly after the elimination of Aron. Kozlov opened to 300,000 under the gun and Berkey three-bet to 800,000 on the button. Kozlov shoved for 6,000,000 and Berkey called with [poker card="jd"][poker card="js"]. Kozlov’s [poker card="qd"][poker card="qh"] was in the lead and he held through the nine-high board to double up. A severely short-stacked Li busted in fourth. All in for only three big blinds, Li was up against Drazen and Berkey. On a board of [poker card="jh"][poker card="9d"][poker card="3s"][poker card="3c"], Drazen bet out Berkey and showed [poker card="jd"][poker card="9c"] against the [poker card="qd"][poker card="5h"] of Li. A queen did not come on the river and Li left to collect $252,481. Berkey was on the ropes not long after and met his end in Hand 208. Kozlov opened to 300,000 on the button with [poker card="ac"][poker card="qh"] and called the 3,900,000 shove from Berkey, who held [poker card="ad"][poker card="5s"]. Kozlov flopped trip queens and would enter heads up play with 16,325,000 chips to the 10,325,000 of Drazen. The heads up match lasted 37 hands with Kozlov never relinquishing the lead and ending the long final table. With the blinds at 125,000/250,000, Kozlov opened the button to 600,000 and Drazen called. The [poker card="kd"][poker card="qh"][poker card="8h"] flop was check-called for 400,000 by Drazen. Drazen checked the [poker card="4s"] turn and Kozlov bet 2,600,000. Drazen called and then checked the [poker card="2h"] river. Kozlov moved all in for effectively 6,000,000. Drazen thought it over and called with [poker card="jh"][poker card="8d"] but Kozlov’s set of kings [poker card="kh"][poker card="kc"] would seal him the victory. Final Table Payouts Martin Kozlov – $754,083 Dylan Drazen – $528,322 Matt Berkey – $341,618 Yi Chi Li – $252,481 Michael Aron – $191,437 Aaron Mermelstein – $152,547 Adam Levy – $126,305 Luke Brererton – $100,408 Joe Kuether – $75,413
  3. The 2016 World Series of Poker crowned two new champions on Saturday, the Monster Stack Part Deux fielded a huge crowd and the $10,000 Seven Card Stud HiLo Championship was the late event. Martin Kozlov Wins $10,000 Six Max Championship in 6th Final Table [caption width="640"] Martin Kozlov won his first gold bracelet in second Six Max final table.[/caption] Martin Kozlov played his way to the final table of one of the most prestigious events on the WSOP schedule, just came off a fifth place finish in last week’s Six Max event and won his first bracelet for a whopping $665,709. Kozlov’s win came in of a Hollywoodesque hand where knocked out Davidi Kitai and Justin Bonomo holding the best hand and flopped a monster. “That was crazy, I picked up a hand, raised and two players move all in – then I hit quads,” Kozlov said moments after his win. He opened on the button, Bonomo moved all in from the small blind and Kitai re-shoved from the big blind with pocket sixes. Kozlov called with pocket queens, covered both players and Bonomo tabled pocket nines. The flop came hit with two queens and Kozlov’s opponents were drawing dead. “I was expecting it to play out longer with these two good players,” he added. “I feel blessed. I’m going to take some time off from come poker, but come back and play the Main (Event).” Chris Ferguson made his first final table since 2009 and was greeted by boos from rail. He finished in fourth and the crowd sung, “Nanana, nanana, nanana, hey hey, goodbye,” when he was eliminated. Reportedly former Full Tilt CEO Ray Bitar was on the rail to support Ferguson. Final Table Payouts Martin Kozlov - $665,709 Davidi Kitai - $411,441 Justin Bonomo - $271,856 Chris Ferguson - $183,989 Nick Petrangelo - $127,622 Jack Salter - $90,783 Christopher Vitch Wins 1st Bracelet in 2nd Final Table of 2016 [caption width="640"] Chris Vitch, co-ownder of DeucesCracked, won first WSOP bracelet.[/caption]The WSOP added a new event to the schedule in 2016; a mix of three popular Lowball variants – Deuce to Seven, Ace to Five and Badugi. The mix of games are generally favored by cash game players over tournament players and Christopher Vitch stepped away from the cash games to take down his first bracelet. “I don’t play many tournaments… I used to come out and play the cash games,” Vitch said. “I’d rarely play the tournaments, but when I came out last year I got bitten by the bug. To me, it’s not about the money, I looked at the World Series and I wanted to win a bracelet.” “I became one of the better players in Triple Draw before there was much information about the game,” he added. “I feel like I had lots of experience in the game compared to most people who were just picking it up.” Vitch was a coach and co-owner of the training site DeucesCracked. Final Table Payouts Christopher Vitch - $136,854 Siegfried Stockinger - $84,572 David Gee - $55,511 Damjam Radanov - $37,375 Michael Schiffman - $25,830 Gary Benson - $18,336 Steven Harper Tops Monster Day 1B Field, 2001 Players to Day 2 The second of two starting flights drew 4,507 entrants – more than twice of Day 1A – for a total field of 6,927 total runners. The total Day 2 field has 2,001 survivors, 697 from Friday and 1,304 from Saturday. Steven Harper leads the Day 1B field with 279,700, well above Gregory Alexander’s stack of 253,300 of Day 1A. Jake Schindler bagged up in the top ten but joining him with six-figure stacks at the top are Matt Gianetti, Christina Lindley, Gaelle Baumann and Brian Yoon. The field built a $9,351,450 prize pool to payout 1,040 players. Five-figure payouts begin with 90th place, a trip to the final table guarantees $100,185 and the winner earns $1,120,196. Day 1B Top Ten Chip Counts Steven Harper – 279,700 Peter Braglia – 232,500 Patrick Muleta – 213,000 Bart Lybaert – 190,500 Joseph Wurtz – 188,600 David McLaughlin – 183,000 Jake Schindler – 182,600 Christopher Stammet – 178,600 Evan Jarvis – 171,400 Harry Lodge – 171,300 Event 42: $3,000 No Limit Hold’em Shootout The field drew 400 players, a rare sell out, and 40 players returned for Day 2. Instead of four ten-handed tables for a short-handed final table the WSOP opted for ten four-handed tables on Day 2. Sunday’s final table features ten players with effectively even stacks. Maria Ho, Faraz Jaka and Stephen Chidwick look to be the favorites on paper but all three players look to win their first bracelet. Final Table Chip Counts Faraz Jaka - 598,000 Jesse Yaginuma - 598,000 Christopher Kruk – 597,000 Maria Ho – 597,000 Marcos Antunes – 597,000 Andreas Freund – 597,000 Rhys Jones – 597,000 Kyle Montgomery – 596,000 Stephen Chidwick – 596,000 Phillip McAllister – 596,000 Event 43: $10,000 Seven Card Stud HiLo Championship One of the four remaining $10,000 Championship buy-in events on the schedule kicked off at 3 pm with Seven Card Stud HiLo. The tournament drew 136 entrants, 51 players advance to Day 2 with Randy Ohel leading the field. The field is loaded with notables and Dzmitry Urbanovich, Mike Gorodinsky, Brian Rast and Scott Clements bagged up just outside the top ten. The field combined for a $1,278,400 prize pool for the top 21 finishers. A trip to the final table locks up $36,044 and the winner walks with $338,646 for three days of work. Top Ten Chip Counts Randy Ohel - 372,000 George Danzer - 338,000 Ali Abduljabbar - 252,000 Eli Elezra - 244,000 Ryan Miller - 225,000 Edouard Mignotbonnefous - 215,000 Adam Friedman - 214,000 David Benyamine - 212,500 Tom Koral - 210,000 Per Hildebrand - 201,500 Sunday Funday with Low Buy-ins Two budget conscious events kick off on Sunday for the weekend crowd in for the Monster Stack event. The early event is a $1,000 No Limit Hold’em event and action junkies will like the $1,500 No Limit Hold’em/Pot Limit Omaha Mix at 3 pm.
  4. [caption width="640"] Jason receiving his second bracelet of the year from his father Rick.[/caption]The 2016 World Series of Poker has 40 events in the books, a bit over halfway, and Player of the Year race is heating up. A handful of high value tournaments are slated over the next couple weeks and even though Jason Mercier’s lead looks to be solid, a win or couple deep runs from a contender could end the Summer of Mercier. Simply put, a motivated Mercier is a player to be feared. The five-time bracelet winner won two this year and a third would not only etch his name in history as the seventh player in history to win three in a year, he stands to collect mind-numbing money from bracelet bets. Mercier has seven cashes so far, with five final tables, one runner-up and in four $10,000 championship events. In a one-week span Mercier earned 366.26 points in the Deuce to Seven win, 287.70 points in Razz and 434.24 in the HORSE victory. Additionally, all of his cashes have come in different disciplines and not a single No Limit Hold’em event. Martin Kozlov sits in second place after five cashes on the Series. He most recently won the $10,000 Six Max No Limit Hold’em Championship and earlier this year he finished fifth in the $3,000 Six Max NLH event. He made a deep run in the Summer Solstice event, barely missing the final table in 11th place for $25,335. Paul Volpe is the first former PocketFives Number One ranked player to win a bracelet in 2016 and the last player over 1,000 points. Volpe has played the WSOP regularly since 2011 and has racked up 27 cashes since playing full time. Volpe began the summer with a fourth place finish in the $1,500 Dealers Choice event and followed that up with his second career bracelet in the Eight Game Mix for $149,943. His five cashes this year have come in five different games and most recently finished in 10th place in the Six Max Championship Kozlov took down. Benny Glaser has had a very unique Series – for starters he won two bracelets in four cashes for a total of $718,669. He first took down the $1,500 Omaha HiLo event and a few days later he took down the $10,000 Omaha HiLo championship. Glaser’s first cash of the summer came in the $1,500 No Limit Deuce to Seven event and a week later he final tabled the $10,000 No Limit Deuce to Seven Championship. His first career bracelet came in 2015 in the Triple Draw variant of the same game. Ryan Laplante has spent the most time in the cashout line with nine cashes on the Series. His largest came in his first career bracelet – the $565 Pot Limit Omaha event. He earned $190,328 to push his career WSOP earnings over the $500,000-mark. He has cashed in HORSE, Six Max No Limit Hold’em, PLO, Limit Hold’em and Omaha HiLo. WSOP Player of the Year Top Ten Standings Jason Mercier – 1,695.02 Martin Kozlov – 1,252.58 Benny Glaser – 1,156.57 Michael Semenov – 1,125.12 Ryan Laplante – 1,073.13 Ian Johns – 1,059.50 Paul Volpe – 1,044.15 David Vamplew – 998.25 Bart Lybaert – 984.90 Michael Gathy – 969.30
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