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The first-ever World Poker Tour (WPT) Seminole Rock ‘N’ Roll Poker Open at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida, saw a total of 898 entries participate in the event, collecting $2,873,600 in prize pool. Czech Republic-based pro Pavel Plesuv (cover image) created history by winning his maiden WPT title at this inaugural event for a handsome $504,820 payday.
Taking pole position on the Moldova All Time Money List, Plesuv is a familiar figure on the international circuit with $4,057,995 in total live earnings.
Plesuv entered the event through the first starting flight and ended Day 1A with 245,500 in the bag. Battling against such a huge playing field, the Moldavian national ended Day 2 with 790,000 and bettered his count to 3,760,000 by the end of Day 3. Day 4 came to a close with the formation of the six-handed final table and Plesuv emerged as the chip leader with the largest stack of 10,920,000.
The intensely competitive final table saw Plesuv eliminate Marius Gierse and Jeremy Joseph on his way to the heads-up play against Jim Gilbert. In the end, Plesuv’s commanding chip lead proved to be impossible for Gilbert to overcome, and the former took down the event along with a $15,000 entry into the season-ending Baccarat Crystal WPT Tournament of Champions.
113 spots were assured a min-cash of $5,845 and the notables who finished in the money included Brent Kallman (8th for $62,110), Indian origin player Kunal Patel (16th for $25,770), Lexy Gavin (21st for $17,830), Adam Hendrix (25th for $15,105), Aaron Massey (45th for $11,250), David Peters (51st for $9,895) and Marle Cordeiro (76th for $7,285).
Bubbling the final table, Roberto Bendeck finished 7th for $79,650.
1. Pavel Plesuv – 10,920,000
2. Jim Gilbert – 8,655,000
3. Marius Gierse – 6,180,000
4. Jeremy Joseph – 5,045,000
5. Chris Kennedy – 3,800,000
6. Ravi Raghavan – 1,320,000
Indian-origin Ravi Raghavan barely made the cut for the six-handed final table and was the shortest stack at the start of the final day. It came as no surprise that he was also the first to depart very early on. Just after two hands into level 28, Pavel Plesuv raised from the cutoff to 175,000, Raghavan shoved all-in from the small blind for 1,160,000 and Marius Gierse moved all-in over the top from the big blind for 6,100,000. Plesuv folded, while Raghavan tabled and Gierse showed . The dealer flipped over on the board and Gierse’s king-high kicker won him the pot, as Raghavan was eliminated in sixth place.
Sometime later, Chris Kennedy‘s luck ran out and he too joined Raghavan at the rail. When Jeremy Joseph raised from under-the-gun, he was met with calls from Kennedy, who was on the button, and Plesuv, who was in the big blind. The flop opened , Plesuv checked and Joseph bet to 225,000. Kennedy raised all-in for 2,625,000, prompting Plesuv to fold. Joseph called with and Kennedy turned over . The remaining two streets brought and . Joseph rivered three-of-a-kind kings and Kennedy busted out in fifth place.
On the 41st hand of the day, Marius Gierse’s ran into Plesuv’s . With the board failing to improve Gierse’s hand, he exited in fourth place.
Three-handed play between Gilbert, Plesuv and Jeremy Joseph continued for almost an hour before the next elimination. It was Joseph who had to depart when his could not sustain against Plesuv’s . With the board running , Joseph was sent packing in third place.
Heads-up play began with Pavel Plesuv (30,700,000) in a massive lead over Jim Gilbert (5,225,000). Play continued for nearly two hours, during which time Gilbert tried hard to bridge the chip gap, but ultimately the event wrapped up on the 136th hand of the day.
Gilbert raised to 750,000 with and Plesuv jammed all-in with . Gilbert snap-called and the community cards spread out . Plesuv hit two pairs of aces and jacks on the turn to bag his career-first WPT title for an impressive $504,820 in first-place prize money.
1. Pavel Plesuv – $504,820*
2. Jim Gilbert – $326,565
3. Jeremy Joseph – $240,945
4. Marius Gierse – $179,710
5. Chris Kennedy – $135,505
6. Ravi Raghavan – $103,310
*includes $15,000 entry into the season-ending Baccarat Crystal WPT Tournament of Champions