18 Mins Read
The 2018 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open (SHRPO) that was hosted at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida, played out a full platter of 26 events from August 2 to 14.
While Alex Foxen claimed the title in $2,650 No Limit Hold’em for $208,452, it was one of the three Indian WSOP bracelet winners – Nipun Java, who made headlines after a commendable deep run in the $25,500 High Roller where he finished 12th for $69,926 (~₹49.12 Lakhs). The event was eventually taken down by Jake Schindler for $800,758.
The series was headlined by the return of The Big 4 with $6,500,000 in combined guarantees and crowned champions in Brandon Eisen (Event 19 for $771,44) and Marc MacDonnell (Event 21 for $119,465), apart from Foxen and Schindler.
The $2,650 No Limit Hold’em (Single Re-Entry) event drew in a field of 422 runners that generated a prize pool of $1,023,350. After a two-day long battle, New York based pro Alex Foxen emerged victorious and was responsible for eliminating four out of the nine players on the final table including Matt Kuba, Brandon Hall, Tom Nguyen and Blair Hinkle.
He had won this same event, Event#12 $2,650 No Limit Hold’em, last year for $204,600, and this year he took home the top prize worth $208,452 for his efforts. Currently ranked third on the Global Poker Index, Foxen has accumulated total live earnings of $4,531,286.
Talking about his heads-up battle, Foxen said, “It was pretty crazy, it was a really long heads-up match. I’m exhausted from that but it’s an amazing experience to get to go deep in this one again, and I managed to get the right cards in the end and win it”.
When asked about his opponent, runner-up Hinkle, the winner said, “Obviously you’re always hoping for your opponent to make mistakes, but Blair did very little of that today. I was very, very impressed with his heads-up play, he was a really tough opponent. I was at his table all day yesterday, so we have been battling for a couple days now. It was cool to get heads up with him, and we had a really good match.” He continued, “I feel like everything is a little bit sweeter when it’s more difficult, so having someone like Blair who plays so well and it lasted so long it definitely feels a little bit sweeter”.
Final Day Recap
With only the top 53 places assured paydays, many noteworthy pros finished in the money including Brian Cowman (11th for $17,602), Felipe Ramos (12th for $17,602), Paul Volpe (13th for $14,634), Indian-origin player Sanjay Dulhab (20th for $10,029), Kristen Bicknell (36th for $5,710), Victor Figueroa (47th for $4,462) and Timothy Miles (53rd for $4,462).
Stephen Sullofinished 10th for $17,602 and became the final table bubble.
Final Table Chip Counts
1. Alex Foxen – 2,915,000
2. Tom Nguyen – 1,970,000
3. Matt O’Donnell – 1,190,000
4. Blair Hinkle – 1,095,000
5. Michael Esposito – 960,000
6. Jake Schwartz – 765,000
7. Rick Alvarado – 735,000
8. Brandon Hall – 555,000
9. Matthew Kuba – 380,000
Final Table Recap
The first to depart from the nine-player final table was Michael Esposito. When Jake Schwartz raised to 75,000 from middle position, Esposito re-raised to 220,000 from the hijack. Schwartz moved all-in for 700,000 and Esposito called.
The board missed both players and Schwartz’s pocket queens defeated Esposito’s pocket tens, eliminating him in ninth place.
Finishing in eighth place was Matt O’Donnell. O’Donnell moved all-in from the cutoff for approximately 350,000 and Brandon Hall called from big blind. O’Donnell tabled against Hall’s . Hall flopped a top pair of kings with , while the remaining two streets and missed both and O’Donnell made his way to the rail.
Sometime later, Rick Alvarado moved all-in and Blair Hinkle who had him covered, called from the small blind. Both players tabled their cards.
The runout brought and Hinkle’s queen kicker ended Alvarado’s run in seventh place.
Next to go was Matt Kuba. With the pot touching 195,000, the board ran . Kuba bet 100,000 from big blind and Alex Foxen called from the middle position. The river fell and Kuba bet 140,000. Foxen moved all-in and Kuba pushed his remaining stack in the middle, putting his tournament life at risk. While Kuba picked up three-of-a-kind queens with , he still lost the pot to Foxen who rivered a flush with , resulting in the formers exit in sixth place.
Soon thereafter, Brandon Hall went all-in from the button and Foxen called from the big blind. Hall held against Foxen’s . The flop gave Foxen the top pair but Hall had outs with a straight draw. However, the turn and river were not the cards he needed and he moved on to collect the fifth place prize money.
The game came down to four handed play and continued for a while, until Tom Nguyen raised preflop from under-the-gun and Foxen called from the big blind. The flop fell , Nguyen moved all-in and Foxen called covering the former.
Foxen completed a clubs flush on the turn , while the river sent Nguyen packing in fourth place.
At level 26, Foxen raised to 100,000 from the button, preflop. Hinkle re-raised to 425,000 from small blind and Jake Schwartz moved all-in for 695,000 from the big blind. Foxen folded, while Hinkle called.
The board ran and Hinkle flopped a pair of aces busting Schwartz’s pocket tens in third place.
The heads-up play between Blair Hinkle (6,900,000) and Alex Foxen (3,675,000) began with Hinkle as a 2-to-1 chip leader over Foxen. Over the course of the heads-up play, the chip lead changed hands several times. On the final hand of the event, Foxen limped in from the button and Hinkle moved all-in. Foxen called and both players tabled their cards.
The community cards came . Foxen picked up a stronger pair of tens on the board to crack Hinkle’s pocket deuces and successfully defended his title!
Final Table Results (USD)
1. Alex Foxen – $208,452
2. Blair Hinkle – $146,042
3. Jake Schwartz – $93,892
4. Tom Nguyen – $62,936
5. Brandon Hall – $48,404
6. Matthew Kuba – $40,115
7. Rick Alvarado – $33,668
8. Matt O’Donnell – $27,242
9. Michael Esposito – $20,846
Attracting 123 entries, the $25,500 High Roller created a prize pool of $3,136,500. Another ‘Big 4’ that played out over the course of two days, the event pulled in some of the biggest names from the poker fraternity including Barry Hutter, Paul Höfer, Toby Lewis and Ryan Riess. But besting them all was the former WSOPC gold ring winner Jake Schindler, who claimed the trophy along with the first-place prize money of $800,758.
Ranked 18th on the All Time Money List Current Rank and sixth on the Global Poker Index, this American pro has raked in $20,881,255 in total live earnings.
Talking about his victory in the post-event interview, Schindler said, “It’s a combination of practice and luck. I got good cards, made mostly right decisions and it worked out.”
Final Day Recap
With only the top 16 finishers assured a min-cash of $59,778, many poker heavyweights posted scores starting with Toby Lewis (11th for $69,926), Alan Schein (13th for $63,407), Ian O’Hara (14th for $63,407), Darren Elias (15th for $59,778) and Ryan Riess (16th for $59,778).
Indian pro Nipun Java was also seen in action. His deep run in the event ended when he moved all-in from under-the-gun for 465,000 and Paul Hofer raised from the button. The blinds folded, and the cards were tabled.
Java flopped a pair of tens with . But the turn and river did not improve his hand and he finished 12th for $69,926 (₹49,12,651).
Chris Hunichen (10th for $80,073) was the final table bubble boy.
Final Table Chip Counts
1. Shaun Deeb – 2,100,000
2. Jake Schindler – 2,050,000
3. Paul Hofer – 1,525,000
4. Mark Fisher – 1,300,000
5. Barry Hutter – 1,200,000
6. Tom Marchese – 1,150,000
7. David Peters – 900,000
8. Omar Zazay – 800,000
9. Ory Hen – 650,000
Final Table Recap
Short-stacked David Peters was the first elimination on the final table. He raised to 80,000 from the hijack and Mark Fisher called from small blind. Shaun Deeb 3-bet to 325,000 from the big blind, prompting Peters to move all-in for about 650,000. Fisher folded and Deeb called.
The rundown brought Deeb a pair of aces and Peters was railed in ninth place.
Following Peters to the rail was Paul Hofer when he moved all-in from small blind with and Fisher called from big blind holding . The flop put Fisher in the lead with top pair of aces. The turn and river didn’t help Hofer and he exited in eighth place.
The action then folded to Ory Hen who moved all-in from the hijack for 580,000 and Omar Zazay called from small blind. Hen held pocket tens against Zazay’s pocket nines. On the board , Zazay rivered three-of-a-kind nines which led to Hen’s departure in seventh place.
Barry Hutter was next to go. Tom Marchese opened for 100,000 from the cutoff and Hutter moved all in for 1,330,000 from the button. Marchese called tabling pocket rockets against Hutter’s . While Hutter picked up a pair of queens on the runout, it wasn’t enough and he was sent to the rail in sixth place.
When Mark Fisher opened to 300,000 from the cutoff, Deeb took a long look at his opponents remaining stack and then moved all-in for approximately 3,800,000. Fisher called for his last 790,000.
Both players picked up pairs on the flop but Fisher’s higher pair of queens gave him the lead. The on the turn missed both players but the on the river gave Deeb two pairs of aces and tens and Fisher had to leave in fifth place.
Not long thereafter, Omar Zazay open-shoved for 710,000 from the button holding and Jake Schindler called from big blind with . The board ran , confirming Zazay’s fourth place elimination.
Down to three-handed play, Schindler folded on the button, while Deeb put out enough chips to cover Tom Marchese in the big blind. Marchese called with his remaining 1,375,000, putting his tournament life on the line.
The flop came , giving Deeb a solid lead. With the last two streets and not running in his favour, Marchese`s deep run ended in third place.
The heads-up play began with Shaun Deeb (7,475,000) in the lead against Jake Schindler (4,825,000), but Schindler played exceptionally well to overcome Deeb’s lead. On the final hand, Schindler opened to 250,000 from the button and Deep raised to 750,000. Schindler moved all-in with his remaining stack of 2,700,000 and Deeb called.
Schindler flopped a stronger pair of queens with the community cards fanning out . Deeb was relegated to the runner-up spot as Schindler took away the trophy and top prize of $800,758.
Final Table Results (USD)
1. Jake Schindler – $800,758
2. Shaun Deeb – $534,989
3. Tom Marchese – $371,183
4. Omar Zazay – $265,311
5. Mark Fisher – $195,570
6. Barry Hutter – $148,769
7. Ory Hen – $116,942
8. Paul Hofer – $95,110
9. David Peters – $80,073