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Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open winner captures $1.7m prize

September 10, 2013 3:03 AM by H. Scot Krause

Seminole Hard Rock, Seminole Florida, Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open Tournament Over the past month, I’ve given out details on the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open. Time for the results! The winners are “all-in!”

Blair Hinkle of Kansas City, Missouri, walked away as the $1.7 million champion of the inaugural event held Aug. 8-28 in South Florida. The tournament, which featured no TV coverage and was not tied to a major poker tour, exceeded industry expectations by beating its own $10 million guarantee (the largest in the world) by nearly 20%, and creating an actual prize pool of $11.92 million from 2,384 entries.

Hinkle began the final table with the chip lead. With a World Series of Poker bracelet under his belt and seven figures in online earnings, Hinkle has shined on poker’s biggest stage before. Second in chips was Justin Bonomo, who has more than $6 million in tournament earnings to his name.

The final table began at a fast pace, as four players fell in the first 58 hands. What followed next was a 165-hand heads-up duel between Hinkle and Bonomo. With career tournament earnings of nearly $10 million between them, both top professionals gave it everything they had for nearly six hours before Hinkle emerged victorious, having fought back from several chip deficits.

On the final hand, with more than a 6-to-1 chip lead, Hinkle called Bonomo’s all-in raise after the turn. Bonomo held top pair with a queen-high straight draw, but was drawing dead against Hinkle’s king-high straight.

Final table results (1-to-6): Blair Hinkle, Kansas City, Missouri, $1,745,245; Justin Bonomo, Denver, $1,163,500; Mukul Pahuja, Coconut Creek, Florida, $872,625; Ray Qartomy, Spring, Texas, $639,925; Samuel Bernabeau Guilabert, Valencia, Spain, $494,490; Greg Lehn, Plantation, Forida, $378,138.

In addition to the top six, the tournament attracted a broad mix of poker pros and local dreamers, many of whom entered via $575 satellites for their shot at a piece of the $11.92 million prize pool.

There were also three celebrities in the field — rapper Nelly, actress Shannon Elizabeth, and actor/DJ Danny Masterson. All three survived to Day 2 with Elizabeth and Masterson both finishing in the money. Elizabeth earned $11,635 for 165th place, and Masterson won $14,544 for 112th.

More information can be found at

H. Scot Krause is a gaming industry analyst, researcher and journalist. He is a former entertainment director and 18-year resident of Las Vegas. Questions or comments for Scot may be addressed to:

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