Dimitri Vorbe, an amateur poker player, won the $5,250 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open (SHRPO) Championship Tuesday night, overcoming an 1,180-entry field and winning $929,365. It was only the second recorded live tournament cash for the man who typically just plays home games with his buddies. His only other score was for just over $2,000 in May, also at the Seminole Hard Rock.
“It’s unbelievable,” Vorbe told the SHRPO media afterward. “I dreamed about this, but I did not understand what it would be. It’s a great feeling.”
As a guy who has stuck to home games most of his life, much like a lot of us, starting to play tournaments over the past few years has certainly been a challenge.
“Poker is fun,” he said. “But a tournament is very, very different. It’s a sport like all the other sports. There’s a physical energy that you have to put into it.”
Vorbe began Tuesday’s nine-handed final table as the chip leader, but it was AP Louis Garza who took over four-handed. In a massive pot, Ian O’Hara raised to 325,000 pre-flop, Mark Dube re-raised to 875,000, Garza called, and O’Hara let it go. On an all-club flop of 8-A-T, Dube bet 650,000 and Garza called. A red 9 on the turn prompted Dube to bet 1.25 million and Garza called again. A meaningless-looking non-club 4 hit on the river and Dube bet 3.5 million. Garza then shoved all-in for 7 million and Dube, after some thought, made the call.
The river was meaningless (you thought I was setting something up there, admit it), but the flop was not. Garza turned over K-Q, both clubs, for the flopped nut flush, while Dube had A-T for top two pair. Garza had doubled up to 20.025 million, while Dube was down to 6.2 million chips.
After Vorbe eliminated O’Hara in third place, Garza went into heads-up with the lead, 27 million to 20.2 million. The Haitian-born Vorbe, who now lives in South Florida, turned the tables immediately and never let up. As the SHRPO website reported, in a short ten-minute span, he won with Kings and hit full houses with J-7 and pocket Jacks.
“You have to be good, and you have to have some luck,” said a modest Vorbe. “I was running over him [Garza] heads-up because all the cards were coming to me, and every single time I had a hand. It was a hurricane.”
On the final hand, Garza moved all-in for 2.7 million chips with K-3 and Vorbe called with 8-8. The board improved neither hand and Dimitri Vorbe claimed the title and close to a million bucks. And while the money is ridiculously awesome, Vorbe is mainly just proud of his accomplishment.
“The trophy means more to me than anything, because this is an achievement,” he said. “It means that I started from scratch, and I won. I’m not a professional poker player, and some people spend 20-30 years playing poker professionally and never achieve that.”
2021 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open Championship – Final Table Results
- Dimitri Vorbe – $929,365
- AP Louis Garza – $674,285
- Ian O’Hara – $437,350
- Mark Dube – $324,035
- Matt Affleck – $244,775
- Darren Rabinowitz – $197,850
- Jeff Trudeau – $163,390
- Harrison Brown – $130,455
- Michael Wang – $100,215