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The first-ever World Series of Poker (WSOP) Circuit stop at the Seminole Hard Rock Casino in Tampa Bay, which commenced on February 5, offers a packed schedule of 18 events out of which fourteen are official ring events. The series has already crowned seven winners. The most prominent of them all, Event #8: $2,200 High Roller saw Tampa resident Romeo Mendoza outlasting the 173-strong field (Day 1 – 154, and Day 2 – 19) to win his first Circuit ring along with $88,717 in prize money.
Romeo Mendoza is well known on the Florida poker circuit as primarily a cash game player. Mendoza, before posing for winner pictures, said: “This means a lot. Especially cause I won it here in my hometown. I have been playing at this casino since it opened.”
He defeated fellow Tampa-mate Andrew Kelsall heads up with whom he has been playing poker for fifteen years. Kelsall collected $54,831 for his runner-up finish.
Commenting on his heads-up opponent, Mendoza said, “I have been playing with AJ (Kelsall) for 15 years. It’s pretty cool that two Tampa guys are here. It was really cool that it was me and him. We are always going to remember this because we are buddies. I kinda know how he plays. I felt really good playing against him heads up.”
Complete List of Winners at the Stop (To Date)
|#1 $600 Double Stack NLH $500K GTD||Byron Johnson||$166,176
|#2 $400 Pot Limit Omaha||Michael Raimon||$13,894
|#3 $400 No Limit Hold’em Turbo||David Tuthill||$15,272
|#4 $1,125 No Limit Hold’em $50K GTD||Ryan Yu||$53,725
|#5 $600 Six-Handed NLH||Arkadiy Tsinis||$39,527
|#7 $1,125 Pot Limit Omaha||David Prociak||$51,400
|#8 $2,200 High Roller $100K GTD||Romeo Mendoza||$88,717
Final Day Recap
The final day began with 49 survivors from Day 1, and another 19 players joined at the start of the day to take the total number of entries in the tournament to 173.
The top 26 spots were guaranteed a share of the $346,000 prize pool. A min-cash was worth $3,426, with $88,717 reserved for the champion.
Mack Ham, Ryan Yu, Alex Rocha, John McNulty, Loni Harwood, Ian O’Hara, Stephen Song, Christine Holubeck, and bracelet winners Will Givens, and Leif Force were some unfortunates who hit the rail empty-handed on Day 2.
Corey Thompson was eliminated on the money bubble.
Others who fell out before the final table included Brock Wilson (11th for $5,891), Brian Altman (13th for $4,995), Brad Albrinck (15th for $4,995), Peter Vitantonio (16th for $4,353), Day 1 chip leader David Russell (25th for $3,426), and WSOP bracelet winners Phillip Hui (18th for $4,353), Joseph Di Rosa Rojas (20th for $3,902), John Racener (22th for $3,602) and Brett Apter (26th for $3,426).
Andrew Kelsall entered the final table with the most massive stack of 1,587,000, while James Calderaro (866,000) and Romeo Mendoza (765,000) came in with the next top stacks. Miguel Hernandez (170,000), and Arkadiy Tsinis (159,000) were sporting the shortest two stacks at the start of the final table.
Final Table Chip Counts
Final Table Recap
The first three players to be eliminated in the final table were WSOP bracelet winner Arkadiy Tsinis, Ben Diebold, and Hamid Izadi in tenth, ninth, and eighth place, respectively, all within the first forty minutes of play.
Next to join the rail was William Medina Diaz in seventh place, when his pocket tens lost the flip to Steven Veneziano’s .
The action slowed down after that, and it took another eighty minutes before short-stacked Miguel Hernandez was eliminated in sixth place.
Soon after that, WSOP bracelet winner James Calderaro bowed out in fifth place when his were dominated by Veneziano’s .
Down to four-handed play, Steven Veneziano’s failed to hold against Andrew Kelsall’s as the latter flopped a king, eliminating the former in fourth place.
Finishing in third place was Eric Salzar. On a board reading , Salzar moved all-in with for an open-ended straight draw. Kelsall made the call with and went on to dodge his opponents out.
Kelsall entered the heads-up play holding a dominating 2:1 chip lead over Romeo Mendoza. Kelsall lost several pots, giving up the lead to Mendoza. On the final hand of the tournament, Kelsall’s were up against Mendoza’s . Mendoza got lucky as the board paired up forfeiting Kelsall`s pocket pair, declaring him the champion!
Final Table Results (USD)
Content & Images Courtesy Seminole Hard Rock Poker & PokerNews