The 2017 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open Main Event is underway with an invading horde of top professionals looking to battle against the best that South Florida has to offer. With Day 1A in the books, pro player Andy Philachack is joined by Pablo Fernandez in sitting atop the standings.
The $3 million guaranteed event had a $5000 buy-in and, in a departure for most tournaments today, only featured one rebuy for the day’s starters (if eliminated on Day 1A, players could come back for two more shots on Day 1B). With 30,000 in chips and 60-minute levels (and late registration/re-entry available until Level 9), many in the poker community have chosen this tournament to “get back in the game” after the summer’s work at the World Series of Poker. This was evident from the stacked tables that greeted the players.
The four men who have previously won the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open Main Event – inaugural champion Blair Hinkle, 2014 champion Dan Colman, 2015 victor Omar Zazay and defending champion Jason Koon – each held court on a singular table, taking on the field as they looked for a second chance at championship gold. Not only did the former champions of this tournament take their seats, the current World Champion, Scott Blumstein, was also on the tables for action. Add in such notables as former World Poker Tour champion Tony Sinishtaj (2017 WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown), Joe Kuether, Brian Altman, Maria Ho, Nick Schulman, Matt Stout, Ryan D’Angelo, Cate Hall, and a litany of other top pros amongst the 207 players who were there at the starting gun and the prestige of the tournament was obvious.
By the time late registration/re-entry ended after Level 9, the numbers were quite impressive. Seminole officials recorded 407 entries, with two players finishing with the exact same stack at the end of the evening. While Philachack was atop the standings for most of the day, Fernandez used a late evening double up while holding pocket Queens to sit alongside Philachack as Day 1A players take Saturday off:
1. Pablo Fernandez, 290,000
2. Andy Philachack, 290,000
3. Lahn Pham, 270,500
4. Alexander Turyansky, 263,300
5. Danny Schechter, 248,600
6. Jonathan Jaffe, 236,000
7. Oddie Dardon, 229,500
8. Nick Nieto, 226,300
9. Keven Stammen, 209,400
10. David Sands, 204,400
Add in players such as Paul Volpe (180,100 chips), John Hennigan (174,200), former World Champion Ryan Riess (159,600) and Ari Engel (145,900) and there are plenty of challenges still in contention.
Of the 407 entries on Friday, only 127 players will be ready to go with chips for Sunday. They will join up with the survivors from Day 1B of the tournament which, if it holds true for multi-Day One tournaments, should be a monstrous one. With less than $1 million to meeting the $3 million guarantee (less than 200 entries), the starting field on Saturday morning for Day 1B should eclipse the guarantee and potentially set up for a prize pool that may break the $6 million mark. It will be one of the things to watch for as one of the jewels of “The Big 4” – the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open final table will be contested on Tuesday as a part of “The Big 4” streaming broadcast on Twitch – continues the battle today.