A Winning Hand
Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open out to capture poker spotlight again with 2nd Annual $10 Million Guaranteed Championship
By Sean Chaffin
Poker is the word in the casino world each summer as the World Series of Poker dominates in Las Vegas. Other Sin City casinos also schedule corresponding poker series at the same time to take advantage of the large player pool looking for even more action. In that same vein, the Seminole Hard Rock Casino Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, FL, is taking advantage of the booming poker scene in Florida and the poker buzz post-WSOP with the second annual Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open tournament series, set for Aug. 14 – Sept. 3.
The $5,300 Main Event proved extremely popular in 2013, with a guaranteed $10 million prize pool enticing big name players from across the country. Last year’s event was topped by two veteran players in the poker world, with Kansas City, Missouri, native Blair Hinkle taking home the trophy, a Hard Rock electric guitar, and of course, $1.7 million. Hinkle has been a regular winner—with more than $3.6 million in live tournament winnings including one WSOP bracelet. Finishing second was poker pro Justin Bonomo, who has more than $7.3 million in tournament winnings and several top finishes, including his first WSOP bracelet in June.
Last year’s event featured the highest guaranteed prize pool in the world and the large number of player entries (2,384) helped drive that up to $11.92 million despite there being no television coverage for the Main Event. The tournament series has become successful as a stand-alone event and not part of a major national poker tour.
This year’s series will kick off on Aug. 14 in the casino’s ballrooms with the $5,300 Main Event running from Aug. 28 – Sept. 3 and again guaranteeing a $10 million prize pool. Players will start with 30,000 in chips and there will three starting days when action gets underway.
In addition, there will be 23 preliminary tournaments (ranging in buy-ins beginning at only $150), along with additional daily satellite and second chance tournaments. And similar to the WSOP, the SHR Poker Open will feature different poker variations not seen at many average tournament series including Omaha, Omaha hi-lo, no limit hold’em (including a bounty tournament), HORSE, a seniors event, eight-game mix, and more.
And for cash games players, there will also be 41 live action tables running in the Seminole our poker room, which has been expanded and brings the total number to more than 130 tables. The poker area spreads various games and tournaments of limit and no limit Texas hold’em, Omaha hi-lo and 7-card stud. Live sports are shown on numerous projection and flatscreen TVs.
“Our team continues to listen to our players and is committed to providing the best poker experience, both for live action games and tournaments,” says Seminole spokesperson Ashley Svarney.
The Poker Open will be the final of a four-tournament series included in the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Player of the Year program. Following the tournament, the Player of the Year will be announced with a prize package valued at more than $30,000. The Hard Rock also hosts the annual Poker Showdown and the Seminole Coconut Creek hosts the Lucky Hearts Poker Open, both part of the World Poker Tour (which airs on Fox Sports). Two other series, the Spring and Summer Poker Open tournaments in March and June, have also proven popular with players. The tribe’s casinos have become synonymous with big poker action and continue to up the ante.
Beyond the Main Event, the Seminole Hard Rock is offering other major guarantees for those looking to maximize the return on their buy-ins. Some highlights of the series include:
• Event 1 ($350 buy-in) – This no limit hold’em deep stack re-entry features a $500,000 guaranteed prize pool, a big return on a small investment.
• Event 3 ($250 buy-in) – A deep stack no limit hold’em turbo re-entry tournament with $25,000 guaranteed.
• Event 4 ($1,100 buy-in) – No limit hold’em re-entry with a $100,000 guarantee.
• Event 5 ($150 buy-in) – No limit hold’em re-entry with $150,000 guaranteed.
• Event 8 ($560 buy-in) – Deep stack no limit hold’em re-entry with a $1 million guarantee.
• Event 15 ($2,200 buy-in) – Six-max no limit hold’em with a $200,000 guarantee.
• Event 19 – This $100,000 Super High Roller should attract a field of big name rounders.
The Seminole Hard Rock is one of South Florida’s most luxurious entertainment destinations with three acres of gaming floor. Away from the poker room, the casino features more than 90 table games with all the favorites—blackjack, mini-baccarat, pai gow poker, three card poker, Texas hold’em bonus poker, let it ride, and more. For slot machine players, there are also 2,500 machines including the Native American casino-linked multi-area progressive jackpots.
There is also a separate high-limit room for table games and slots, and a non-smoking room available for guests. The casino offers numerous entertainment, shopping, and dining options—17 restaurants, the Rock Spa, 21 boutique shops, 12 bars, nightclubs and lounges, the 350-seat Paradise Live theater, and 5,500-seat Hard Rock Live concert arena (great for a night out of live music). For a cool night out, visit the Hard Rock Cafe-Hollywood, part of brand’s 141 globally recognized rock ‘n’ roll restaurants.
With big payouts, a top-notch location and property, and super tournament action, the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open is becoming a major part of the national poker scene. With such a huge success in the first year, the Seminole will be looking for an even bigger turnout in August. For more information, visit www.HardRockPoker.com or follow @SHRThePokerRoom on Twitter.
Sean Chaffin is a freelance writer in Crandall, Texas. His new book, RAISING THE STAKES: True Tales of Gambling, Wagering and Poker Faces, is available as an eBook and in paperback at Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com. He is also editor of www.PokerTraditions.com, all about poker history, lore, and people. If you have a gambling or poker story idea, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @PokerTraditions.