After two Day Ones that stretched the limits of the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino’s tournament floor, the World Poker Tour’s Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown played through Day Two on Sunday in Hollywood, FL. They were able to get the money bubble popped from the 287 players who were fortunate enough to earn a line on their Hendon Mob resume for their performance. Sitting in the prime position on the top of the standings is Alex Nguyen, who has a 2.57 million chip stack to lead ‘Rampage’ Yau and a host of WPT Champions’ Club members into play today.
Day 1B Brings Another Massive Field of Players
After holding its largest-ever Day 1A field, the WPT and the Seminoles looked to turn the same trick again on Saturday. They were able to do just that, bringing out another 1155 entries for action, and the battles were fierce around the felt with people taking their last chance at the tournament. Within the first few levels of the day, players like Matt Stout, Kathy Liebert, Stan Jablonski, and WPT Champions’ Club member Jonathan Jaffe were all in their chairs for action.
Liebert was one of the unfortunate departures from the event. With the flop and turn reading J-6-3-6 with two spades and two clubs, Lester Rainey cagily checked his option out of position. On the button, Liebert read this as weakness and plopped a bet in the center of the felt. Rainey now woke up and moved his stack to the center and Liebert didn’t waste time with the call. It was an unfortunate move – Rainey showed two red Aces in the pocket while Liebert could only muster an A-J for battle. Looking for a Jack to salvage the hand, Liebert instead saw a five and was out of the tournament.
She would have plenty of company. Jaffe ran into a flopped set of treys to end his event, while Martin Zamani was coolered when his pocket tens ran into Alex Jim’s pocket Aces for a hefty pot. It was Akash Seth, however, who rode some good fortune to the end-of-the-day chip lead.
Late in the evening’s action, two players put their stacks on the line ahead of Seth, who looked down to see pocket Kings. He called his two opponents’ wagers, holding a larger stack and a monster hand, and was in great shape against an A-Q and an A-J. Seth was able to dodge any Aces in the deck and he would scoop the pot that pushed him into the Day 1B chip lead.
1. Akash Seth, 730,500
2. Luke Brereton, 628,500
3. Joel Weisberger, 600,500
4. John Miller, 540,000
5. Senhoo Coo, 502,500
Day Two Takes Field to the Money
765 players returned on Sunday from the 2290 entry field, and they were aware of what they were playing for. Announced at the start of the action, 2290 $3500 buy-ins more than doubled the $3 million guarantee, settling in at $7,328,000. Of most importance to the players was the fact that 287 of them would be receiving a payday from the tournament, with the eventual champion walking off with a $1,128,250 first-place prize (and a trip to the WPT World Championship at the end of 2023).
The Day 1B players dominated the leaderboard as Day 1A chip leader Anthony Spinella’s paltry 473,000 in chips did not even crack the overall Top Five. Day 1B chip leader Akash Seth would do well through the action on Day Two, building his stack up to 1.715 million by the end of the action, but Spinella would not be as fortunate, departing before the money bubble just after the dinner break.
Big movers on the day included Ethan ‘Rampage’ Yau, who motored his way into the Top Ten, along with Nick Palma, Natasha Mercier, Mark Seif, and the aforementioned Seth. It was Alex Nguyen, however, who stealthily moved through the field to capture the overall chip lead with 107 players left for Day Three’s play:
1. Alex Nguyen, 2.57 million
2. David Lakein, 2.4 million
3. Raffaelle Sorrentino, 2.38 million
4. Nick Palma, 2.295 million
5. Zachary Eichenbaum, 2.23 million
6. Champie Douglas, 2.16 million
7. Ethan Yau, 2.135 million
8. Leo Taffe, 2.085 million
9. Thomas Carroll, 2.035 million
10. Scott Bohlman, 2.01 million
Cards are back in the air at noon on Monday as the field looks to whittle the pack a bit further. Tuesday’s Day Four action will take the tournament to the six-handed final table, but then the event will be paused until later in the month. The final table will be played out in Las Vegas, so the six fortunate members of that finale will have some time to recharge ahead of the resumption of the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown later this month.