Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open Day 1A: Poker’s Finest Flood Florida For $10 Million Guaranteed Main Event

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Looking like the epitome of the statement “if you build it, they will come,” the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open’s $10 million guaranteed prize pool Main Event seems to have been a huge success on Day 1A as some of poker’s finest professionals turned out in Hollywood, FL, for the first significant action after this year’s World Series of Poker.

Without the draw of a major tournament “name” (re: WSOP, World Poker Tour, etc.) but with one of the finest poker arenas in Florida (if not a challenger for the U. S.), officials with the Seminole Hard Rock took the risk of putting up a $10 million prize pool way before knowing if there would be such a crowd for their $5300 buy in tournament. On Day 1A, the players’ reaction to the guarantee paid off for Seminole officials as they turned out in droves for the action. By the time the final numbers were in, 634 players had put up the buy in for Day 1A, which bodes well for what are traditionally bigger fields for subsequent Day Ones of a high-dollar buy in tournament.

The format of the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open Main Event could either ensure that the guarantee will be smashed…or that they will be putting up what could be a sizeable overlay. Players who bust before the end of late registration for any of the three Day Ones can re-enter the tournament on the same day and, if a player busts out after late registration has closed, they are able to fire another bullet on either or both of the subsequent Day Ones. There is quite a bit of play in the tournament as, on the Day One agenda, the levels will be 40 minutes long until the dinner break. After that, the action will move to 60 minute levels until the end of Day Two. From Day 3 onward, levels will be 90 minutes in duration, allowing for some ability to play and not make the tournament a shove-fest.

Included in the field for Thursday’s Day 1A were some of the bigger names in the game. Even with a start time of noon, such players as Shannon Shorr, Ari Engel, Jonathan Little, Dan Shak, Joe Serock, Faraz Jaka, Eric Baldwin, Noah Schwartz, Jeremy Ausmus, Tom Marchese, David ‘Doc’ Sands, Isaac Haxton and Matt Stout were at their tables and ready for battle. Engel would have the worst story of these players as he would be eliminated within the first level of play after his pocket Queens were squashed by pocket Aces and was finished off when his K-Q couldn’t catch up to another pocket pair of Aces.

As the day wore on, more professionals took their seats alongside the best poker players that Florida has to offer. Chris Moorman, Joseph Cheong, Amanda Musumeci, Dan O’Brien, Erick and Erica Lindgren, David “Chino” Rheem, Shaun Deeb and Shawn Buchanan all took their chairs in the middle of the afternoon. There were even some celebrity players in the mix as rapper Nelly (who will be performing a concert during the run of the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open) and actress Shannon Elizabeth stepped up to the felt.

With the format of the tournament, the chips were flying around the room as players looked to build a stack. The resulting carnage saw such players as Darryll Fish, Terrence Chan (who re-entered), Matt Salsberg, Matt Brady, Justin Young, Russell Thomas, Tyler Patterson, Daniel Buzgon, Jake Cody, Kyle Julius, Sands and Shak relegated to the rail by the end of the evening. Elizabeth, who was on life support at one point, picked up a big boost to her chip stack when, on one of the final hands of the evening, her pocket Queens picked off two opponents (with A-10 and pocket eights, respectively) to move her up to slightly more than 95,000 in chips.

That is a far cry from where the chip leaders are after Day 1A of the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open, however:

1. Aaron Schaaf, 326,600
2. Robert Kleinfeld, 293,400
3. Jacob Naquin, 276,500
4. Tony Sinishtaj, 267,700
5. Joe DeGeorge, 261,900
6. Jarod Ludemann, 247,000
7. Irving Lorenzo, 238,700
8. Blake Bohn, 235,000
9. Jorge Gomez, 227,600
10. Dan Dyke, 226,000

Other notable names in the Top 50 among the 194 players remaining after Day 1A include Philipp Gruissem (11th, 225,800), Noah Schwartz (34th, 164,800), Pratyush Buddiga (36th, 157,000), Adam Levy (37th, 147,600), Tyler Patterson (42nd, 131,600) and Mark Radoja (44th, 129,500).

Day 1B will begin at noon today and it is expected that many of those who didn’t find their way to the end of the night on Thursday (or aren’t happy with the stack they finished with) will take another shot at the tournament. It promises to be an interesting weekend in Florida and perhaps the beginning of a new “big” tournament on the poker calendar as the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open Main Event rolls along.

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