The Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open delivered on everything they promised – big fields, bigger prize pools and all the action players could handle. The Main Event exceeded the $10 million guarantee by almost $2 million, drew some of the best players from around the world and provided a world-class tournament.
Day 5 returned six players to battle for the title – two of which could become newly-minted millionaires – at the Paradise Live theater. After nine hours of play – five hours of heads-up – Blair Hinkle won the final hand and captured the title for $1.7 million.
“It feels great to win, especially since playing an event here two years ago that I final tabled but got eighth. My second trip to Florida was a win so I think I’ll be coming back to Florida a lot,” Hinkle said. “It’s not easy, it’s definitely stressful. Thankfully, I had this great rail here to keep me going and calm. I was able to grind it out, got on a little bit of a heater and it worked out for me.”
It didn’t take long for the final table to swing into action – the first elimination came in the first two orbits. Justin Bonomo raised on the button, Greg Lehn moved all in and Bonomo called holding A Q. Kehn tabled K J and watched board run 6 4 2 3 2 to eliminate him in sixth place.
Three hands later Pahuja opened to 325,000, Samuel Bernabeu Guilabert raised to 1.275 million and Bonomo four-bet to 2.225 million. Pahuja let his hand go, Guilabert called all in with pocket twos and Bonomo tabled pocket queens. The board ran 9 5 3 A 3, Guilabert was eliminated and Bonomo took the chip lead.
They settled in and played about 40 hands before Qartomy moved all in under the gun for 2.37 million and Hinkle called from the big blind with K Q. Qartomy flipped up pocket sevens and needed to dodge two over cards to stay alive. The board ran A Q 3 Q 6 and Qartomy’s day was done with a fourth place finish.
At three-handed Pahuja had 7.5 million to Bonomo’s 29 million and Hinkle’s 34 million. They played a few hands before a scheduled break and after returning Pahuja took a stand. He opened for 550,000, Bonomo made it 1.5 million and Pahuja shoved. Bonomo called with A T, Pahuja was behind with K T and the board ran 9 9 3 Q 8. Pahuja was eliminated in third place while Bonomo and Hinkle prepared for a deep stacked heads-up battle virtually even in chips.
Hinkle began to pull away from Bonomo little by little, gaining a small chip lead over a couple dozen hands. Then Bonomo opened to 625,000, Hinkle popped it to 1.8 million and Bonomo called. The flop fell 8 7 6, Hinkle bet 2.6 million and Bonomo called to see the 5 turn. Hinkle checked, Bonomo bet 4.4 million and Hinkle called and the 8 came on the river. Hinkle checked, Bonomo bet 8.8 million and after some thought Hinkle called. He tabled 5 4 for the eight-high straight but Bonomo had him beat with K 9 for the nine-high straight. Hinkle dipped to 21 million and Bonomo stacked up 50 million after the hand.
They battled for 90 minutes and Hinkle managed to cut Bonomo down to a two-to-one chip lead, but Bonomo would pull back out to a three-to-one lead. The duo stretched the heads-up match past five hours, each taking turns as the chip leader and having virtually even stacks at several points.
They played nearly 80 hands before Hinkle won a large pot and took a four-to-one chip lead. Hinkle opened, Bonomo called and the flop came T 4 2. Bonomo check-called 1.3 million, the turn came Q and he check-called four million. The river came 5, Bonomo check-called a third time for nine million and mucked when Hinkle tabled 5 4 for two pair.
The final hand came four hands later when Hinkle opened, Bonomo called and the flop came Q 9 5. Bonomo check-called 800,000 and the turn came J. Bonomo checked, Hinkle bet 2.1 million and Bonomo moved all in for eight million. Hinkle snap-called with K T for a king high straight and Bonomo tabled Q 8 for top pair and drawing dead. The river came 2, Hinkle and Bonomo shook hands and Hinkle was greeted by his family.
Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open Main Event Payouts
- Blair Hinkle – $1,745,245
- Justin Bonomo – $1,163,500
- Mukul Pahuja – $872,625
- Ray Qartomy – $639,925
- Samuel Bernabeu Guilabert – $494,490
- Greg Lehn – $378,138
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