Day 1B at the World Poker Tour’s Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown was everything that it was billed to be. The players once again came out to utterly crush the $3 million guaranteed prize pool as 648 entries hit the tables. By the time the final hands were dealt on Saturday night, Shawn Nguyen had emerged as the Day 1B and overall leader heading to Sunday’s action.
Stunning Hand Opens the Day
The day started a bit slower on Saturday than it had 24 hours previously. “Only” 130 players were entered on the tournament clock when the “shuffle up and deal” call went out, but the numbers would ramp up from that point. Those that decided to wait until later in the day to register for the event (or come back for a second shot) would miss out on a historically memorable hand that people might be able to say they will never see again.
Barely an hour into the day’s proceedings, a hand occurred that was, without a doubt, one of the most memorable for those involved if not for any poker fan. After a raise from under the gun to 400 (with the blinds at 100/100), Irfan Siddiqui put out a three-bet of 1600 from the plus one. It folded around to the cutoff before Bob Mather made the 1600 call.
The action wasn’t done yet. Henry Tran, on the button, decided to FOUR-bet the action to 6600, which was enough to get the blinds out of the way. The original raiser simply called the bet from Tran, but that wasn’t enough for Siddiqui. He would push out his stack for his tournament life – remember, this was only one hour into the day’s action – putting his remaining 50K in the center. Mather sat for several moments before he, too, announced that he was all in for less than Siddiqui’s bet. Tran grumbled but tossed his cards to the center before the original raiser opted to get out of the way by open folding his pocket Queens.
What do you think the hands were? If you’ll remember an old strategy piece here on Poker News Daily, you probably figured out that the hands were these:
Siddiqui: pocket Aces
Mather: pocket Kings
Making the hand even more intriguing – remember, the original raiser mucked pocket Queens face up – the big blind commented that, with all the action in front of her, she knew her pocket sixes weren’t good and Tran said that, once the all-ins started flying, he knew his pocket fours were toast. That’s right…FIVE pocket pairs in one hand.
An Ace in the window was exactly what Siddiqui was looking for and, once a seven peeled off on the turn, Mather was drawing dead. The nearly 120K pot was pushed to Siddiqui as Mather headed to the rail.
Third Largest SHRPS in History
About the only drama after the five pocket pairs hand was just how large the field size was going to be for the 2019 WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown. By the time Level 9 began, the players had that information.
648 entries were racked up on Saturday which, along with the 712 that came out on Friday for action, meant the total size of the field was 1360 entries. This beat last year’s 1309 entry field and was the best since 2015, when the tournament drew in 1476 entries, and 2014, when the record was set with 1795 entries (prior to 2014, the tournament was a freezeout event instead of a re-entry tournament). As the third largest Poker Showdown in history, the prize pool settled in at $4,352,000 million, of which 170 players would partake. The winner, of course, will walk away with the lion’s share of the pool, $715,175, and the seat to the 2019 WPT Tournament of Champions.
At the end of the Day 1B action, Shawn Nguyen emerged not only as the leader of the Saturday flight but of the tournament overall, racking up 319,500 in chips:
1.Shawn Nguyen, 319,500
2. Aman Singh, 293,000
3. Sam Soverel, 288,500
4. Ubaid Habib, 276,000
5. A. J. Gambino, 261,000
6. John Miller, 247,500
7. Christopher Brown, 237,000
8. Jim Crouch, 235,500
9. Nizar Dajani, 227,000
10. Jorge Martinez, 219,500
Overall the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown leaderboard looks like this:
1.Shawn Nguyen, 319,500
2. Davian Santana, 318,000
3. Frank Russo, 304,000
4. Aman Singh, 293,000
5. Sam Soverel, 288,500
6. Paul Snead, 276,500
(tie) Javier Zarco, 276,500
8. Ubaid Habib, 276,000
9. A. J. Gambino, 261,000
10. Dan Chalifour, 257,000
Day 2 is underway right now as the 524 players left in the tournament come together for the first time. The plan for WPT and Seminole Hard Rock officials is to work down as close as possible to the money as they can in ten, 60-minute levels. Tuesday will be the day the final table is determined, with that final table set to be played out in Las Vegas at the HyperX eSports Arena on May 30 as one of the “delayed” final tables for the WPT.