Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open Concludes With Victory Worth Nearly $1 Million

Written By Steve Schult on August 12, 2022
Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open

Sergio Aido put a bow on a wildly successful poker series at the Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood earlier this week with a victory worth $900,100.

The Spanish poker pro won the $5,300 championship event of the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open. He topped a field of 1,110 and defeated fellow poker pro Jim Collopy heads-up. The nearly seven-figure score vaults Aido’s career tournament earnings to just north of $14 million.

The Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood runs four major Florida poker series every year. Three of which, the Lucky Hearts Poker Open, Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown and Rock N’ Roll Poker Open, culminate with a World Poker Tour-branded main event.

But the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open is the only one run independently by the property. It’s arguably the most successful of their quarterly series.

Hard Rock breaks records and smashes guarantees

Aside from Aido’s huge payday, all the other primary events on the schedules also saw large turnouts. The 45-event series got cards in the air on July 27 and concluded in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

The 2022 SHRPO kicked off with a bang. The first event, a $600 no-limit hold ’em multi-flight, broke the record for the largest tournament in Florida poker history.

The record was set last November in the Rock N’ Roll Poker Open’s opening event. The tournament attracted 6,196 total entries.

This year’s event featured eight starting flights and drew a whopping 7,703 entries. However, since the tournament allowed for unlimited re-entries, there were 6,196 unique players. Ironically, the unique players alone would be enough to tie the record even if it were a freezeout.

It featured a $1 million guarantee on the prize pool, but the record-setting field more than doubled that amount. Andrew Pecina was crowned the winner in a six-way chop. He took home $225,906 for his efforts.

But this wasn’t an outlier. Throughout the entire series, the Hard Rock guaranteed a combined $9 million in prize pools for the events. But by the end of the schedule, the total prize pools swelled to more than $18.6 million.

UFC star Colby Covington exhibits poker prowess

Plenty of well-known poker pros left the Seminole Hard Rock with a trophy. But the most famous winner of the series was not a poker player, but a fighter.

Former UFC welterweight champion Colby Covington played several events throughout the series. He showed he could hold his own both in the octagon and on the poker felt.

The local South Florida resident finished seventh in the record-setting opening event, cashing for $48,298. It was the largest score of his poker career.

But Covington wasn’t done there. Less than a week later, he won the $1,100 pot-limit Omaha hi-lo event outright for another $25,875. Given his success as a fighter, it’s likely he isn’t going to be switching careers any time soon, but it’s still an impressive feat.

“I wanted to come back and prove that it wasn’t just a fluke,” Covington told Seminole Hard Rock staff after his victory. “And show that I could play with the best players in the world.”

Women shine in South Florida

Over the final two weeks of the series, four women won open events. As a result, females made up nearly 10% of the winners. With two seniors’ events and a ladies’ event, 42 of the 45 tournaments were open to anyone with the buy-in.

On a percentage basis, it’s one of the best showings for women in a Seminole Hard Rock series.

Sheila O’Connor took down the $400 pot-limit Omaha hi-lo, Donna Stutts won the $400 deep stack no-limit hold’em, Jennifer Borsini topped the $600 no-limit hold’em turbo and established pro Esther Taylor won the $2,200 pot-limit Omaha six-max just before the end of the series. Mica Lamar was the fifth female champion, winning the $300 ladies event.

High-stakes pros got their piece of the pie as well

Over the last decade, the Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood established itself as one of the country’s premier poker destinations. The world-class amenities and high-stakes poker tournaments attract many of the game’s best players.

Thus, it’s no surprise that the series saw plenty of top pros leave with trophies. Three-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner Phil Hui won the $600 HORSE event and Ian O’Hara won the $2,200 no-limit hold’em.

David Peters, who is fifth on poker’s all-time money list and a regular in the nosebleed-stakes tournaments, won the $50,000 no-limit hold ’em super high roller for a whopping $407,545.

Rounding out some of the more notable winners is Jeremy Ausmus. The Las Vegas-based pro with two WSOP bracelets earned $36,675 with a victory in the $1,100 pot-limit Omaha.

“Big 4” draws large fields as always

Since its inception, the SHRPO has always concluded its series with what is called the “Big 4.” Essentially, four events run towards the end of the schedule, simultaneously playing their respective final tables just a few feet apart.

The $5,300 no-limit hold’em championship, the $25,000 no-limit hold’em high roller, the $2,700 no-limit hold’em and an $1,100 no-limit hold’em made up this year’s Big 4 events. There were 1,110 entries in the championship, 105 in the high roller, 435 in the $2,700 and 563 in the $1,100.

While Aido won the championship, Nolan King won the high roller, Josh Adcock won the $2,700 and Ivan Ruban took down the $1,100.

In his first-ever high roller event, King outlasted one of the toughest fields on the schedule and earned $713,190 for his efforts. But at the start of the series, he was very unlikely to play the event, let alone win it. One of his friends convinced him to play a satellite tournament to get his entry fee.

A satellite tournament is an event with a smaller buy-in that awards the top finishers a seat in an event with a larger buy-in. Chris Moneymaker famously used an $86 online satellite to enter the 2003 WSOP main event. He was credited with kickstarting the poker boom after he won the 2003 world championship for $2.5 million.

Here is a look at all the winners from the 2022 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open:

Event Entries WinnerFirst-Place Prize Money
$600 No-Limit Hold'em Multi-Flight7,703Andrew Pecina$225,906
$400 No-Limit Hold'em Seniors272Robert Garcia$15,364
$400 Big O129Hal Rotholz$11,860
$200 No-Limit Hold'em Bounty212Eric Halpern$5,495
$600 Omaha Hi-Lo 109Aaron Kupin$17,015
$400 Pot-Limit Omaha Eight-Max144Kahlil Francis$13,220
$150 Big Stack No-Limit Hold'em297Darrell Carril$7,196
$400 Omaha Hi-Lo/Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo81Chris Labrie$5,328
$600 No-Limit Hold'em Double Black Chip Bounty188Steve Olivier$12,478
$600 No-Limit Hold'em Black Chip Bounty149Vincent Fiorenza$17,240
$400 Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo124Sheila O'Connor$10,000
$300 No-Limit Hold'em Ladies66Mica Lamar$5,000
$400 No-Limit Hold'em 505Donna Stutts$19,197
$1,100 No-Limit Hold'em Six-Max262Vincent Chauve$58,030
$600 Pot-Limit Omaha 500Duff Charette$48,075
$600 No-Limit Hold'em Turbo100Jennifer Borsini$12,500
$1,100 No-Limit Hold'em Seniors137Neil Blumenfield$31,670
$200 No-Limit Hold'em Big Stack2,532Carlos Pino$54,720
$600 HORSE86Phil Hui$14,460
$400 No-Limit Hold'em Turbo86Rob Brown$9,320
$600 No-Limit Hold'em Six-Max257Nick Yunis$31,415
$1,100 Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo84Colby Covington$25,875
$1,100 No_limit Hold'em 314Michael Tweedlie$66,500
$25,000 Pot-Limit Omaha High Roller52Melad Marji$443,118
$600 Pot-Limit Omaha Bounty158Brandon Duvdivani$13,660
$200 No-Limit Hold'em Bounty395Jarett Minkoff$8,460
$1,100 No-Limit Hold'em Turbo97James Rodriguez$29,185
$1,100 HORSE72Filippos Stavrakis$24,045
$2,200 No-Limit Hold'em229Ian O'Hara$107,155
$50,000 No-Limit Hold'em Super High Roller25David Peters$407,545
$600 No-Limit Hold'em Bounty 303Rostyslav Huriak$15,885
$400 No-Limit Hold'em Bounty241Michael Sautner$13,150
$150 No-Limit Hold'em Big Stack302Christopher Sweeney$5,320
$2,700 No-Limit Hold'em (Big 4) 435Josh Adcock$151,469
$1,100 Mixed Pot-Limit Omaha78Matt Bretzfield$20,165
$200 No-Limit Hold'em Big Stack696Shannon McCloud$21,580
$600 No-Limit Hold'em Turbo65Filippos Stavrakis$12,060
$1,100 No-Limit Hold'em (Big 4) 563Ivan Ruban$107,125
$25,000 No-Limit Hold'em High Roller (Big 4) 105Nolan King$713,190
$2,200 Pot-Limit Omaha115Esther Taylor$59,825
$400 No-Limit Hold'em Bounty 153David Baize$6,599
$10,000 No-Limit Hold'em Single-Day111Ed Sebesta$311,915
$1,100 Pot-Limit Omaha 139Jeremy Ausmus$36,675
$200 No-Limit Hold'em Bounty264Aleksandr Tishchenko$5,610
$5,300 No-Limit Hold'em Championship1,110Sergio Aido$900,100
Photo by / Allen Rash
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Written by
Steve Schult

As Managing Editor of PlayFL, Steve will stay on top of all things related to the Florida gaming industry. He is also a veteran of the gambling world. The native New Yorker started covering high-stakes tournaments in 2009 for some of poker's most prominent media outlets before adding the broader U.S. gaming market to his beat in 2018.

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