Aaron Schaff Leads Day 1A of Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open

Aaron Schaff ended Day 1A as the only player to cross the 300,000 mark. (Photo by Thomas Keeling)

Aaron Schaff ended Day 1A as the only player to cross the 300,000 mark. (Photo by Thomas Keeling)

The first flight of the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open Main Event attracted a massive crowd, with 634 entries by the close of registration and 194 players who bagged up a stack for Day 2. The $10,000,000 guaranteed prizepool and $1.5 million guarantee for first place brought some of poker’s biggest names down to South Florida, and when the tournament clock hit zero for the day Aaron Schaff was on top of the leader board with 326,660.

The event created a buzz within the poker community and not only did some the of the biggest players from Las Vegas show up – Erick Lindgren, Carlos Mortensen and Jeremy Ausmus – but so did some international players like Chris Moorman, Jake Cody, Philip Gruissem and Jose “Nacho” Barbero. Three 2013 November Niners showed up – Ryan Riess, Amir Lehavot and David Benefield. Actress Shannon Elizabeth and rapper Nelly were also in attendance.

Chasing Schaff are Tony Sinishtaj (267,700), Irv Gotti (236,700) and Giusseppe Pantaleo. Also bagging up stacks were Erick Lindgren, Will Failla, Noah Schwartz, Elizabeth and Andrew Lichtenberger. All three November Niners – Benefield, Lehavot and Riess all made it through the day.

The format for the event allows for players to re-enter as many times as they like and they can play all three starting starting days if they wish. If a player bags up more than once then that player can take the healthiest chip stack to Day 2.

Players eliminated throughout the day included Ari Engel, David Peters, David “Doc” Sands, Lauren Kling, Cody, Russell Thomas, Matt Salsberg, Shaun Deeb, Justin Young, Kyle Julius, Anthony Gregg, Nelly and Terrence Chan. Thomas had a jaw-dropping elimination where he made quads but his opponent made a straight flush.

During the last level of the night Table 5 became a Table of Death. Seated at the table were Erik Seidel, Chris Bell, Philip Gruissem, Matthew Waxman, Jon Aguiar and Isaac Haxton.

Julius was eliminated after he opened in early position and Lehavot raised on the button. Julius moved all in for about 25,000 and Lehavot called with pocket kings. Julius tabled pocket queens and watched the board run J 3 2 9 A. Julius was eliminated, but will most likely re-enter another flight and Lehavot passed the 100,000 chip mark.

Gregg, the winner of the $111,111 One Drop High roller at the 2013 WSOP, was eliminated when he moved all in with his short stack holding K J. Two players called and they both turned up pocket fours. The board ran all rags with 3 3 2 6 9 and Gregg will have to fire another bullet to get his share of his the $10,000,000 prize pool.

With just 20 minutes remaining in the last level of the day Benefield and Andrew Lichtenberger saw a flop of 8 2 2. Lichteberger bet, Benefield moved all in for around 40,000 and Lichtenberger called with A 6. Benefield tabled pocket tens and had to avoid an ace or a club to take the pot. The board completed 7 J and Benefield chipped up to just over 80,000 and Lichtenberger slipped to around 25,000.

Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open Main Event Top Ten Chip Counts

  1. Aaron Schaff – 326,660
  2. Robert Kleinfeld – 293,400
  3. Jacob Naquin – 276,500
  4. Tony Sinishtaj – 267,7000
  5. Joe DeGeorge – 261,900
  6. Jarod Ludeman – 247,000
  7. Irving Lorenzo – 238,700
  8. Blake Bohn -235,000
  9. Jorge Gomez – 227,600
  10. Dan Dyke – 226,000


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Paul Oresteen

Senior Writer: Paul Oresteen originally joined BLUFF in 2008 as an intern. He covered two World Series of Poker’s before leaving to join PokerNews.com. After a two year hiatus Oresteen returned to BLUFF in November 2012. Since starting as a poker journalist Oresteen has covered the World Series of Poker, WSOP Circuit, World Poker Tour and European Poker Tour. He graduated from Georgia State University with a B.A. in Communications in 2008.
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