The 2022 World Series of Poker was a great success this year. The transition to the new digs on the Las Vegas Strip went smoothly and the turnout was tremendous. The Main Event also came extremely close to breaking its attendance record. And while we continue our long exhale from the month and a half-long poker festival, other major tournament series have resumed. One of those, the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open (SHRPO), is smashing records.

Everyone knew the very first event was going to be big. Event #1 is a $400 buy-in, Deep Stack No-Limit Hold’em tournament with re-entries and drew 6,196 entries last year. This go around, though, blew that out of the water. After eight starting flights, the final numbers were 7,703 entries and a $2,541,990 prize pool, easily destroying the $1,000,000 guarantee. It is the biggest turnout in Florida poker history.

Each flight played down to 10% of its individual field; 772 players made it through to Day 2. Everyone at that point had made the money.

The tournament was supposed to end on Sunday, but because it drew so many people, the Seminole Hard Rock in Hollywood, Florida had to tack on an extra day. Thus, Monday’s Day 3 will be the final day for the tournament, the day the winner cashes for $308,979.

There are 17 players remaining going into Monday’s action, with Corel Theuma leading the way with 16.625 million chips. Right next to him at Table 7 is the player with the next highest stack (14.950 million), Colby Covington. Tommy Morgado is just behind Covington, taking his 14.650 million chips to Table 8.

The Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open is similar to what one might see on the WSOP Circuit (size excluded): loads of tournaments with mostly low buy-ins. One significant difference is that there are some events with much higher buy-ins that are found on the Circuit, including multiple high rollers and the $5,300 SHRPO No-Limit Hold’em Championship, which begins on Friday, August 5.

Dimitri Vorbe won last year’s Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open Championship, triumphing over a 1,180-entry field and cashing for $929,365. It was only his second live cash – he said he typically just plays in home games with his friends.

It will be fun to see how the rest of the SHRPO develops. Florida’s poker scene, and the Seminole Hard Rock in particular, has absolutely exploded in the last several years. While Atlantic City has more casinos and poker rooms in a concentrated area, Florida is really the east coast poker hub now.

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