Championship: Tough Times

$3,500 Championship No Limit Hold’em (Re-Entry)
$2 Million Guaranteed

Level 10: Blinds 500/1,000/100 ante

While there are very few soft spots in a field this packed, there are a few players who wouldn’t mind their table breaking next.

Table 9: Carlos Mortensen, Matt Waxman, and Andy Frankenberger
Table 10: John Dolan, David Diaz, and Chris Bolek
Table 12: Jason Mercier, Michael Mizrachi, and Derrick Simon (replacing Dennis Phillips)
Table 18: Jared Jaffe, Eli Elezra, Daren Stabinski, and Luis Santoni
Table 25: Faraz Jaka, Stuart Paterson, and Mike Beasley
Table 27: Corey Burbick, Keven Stammen, Elliott Zaydman, and Errol Massey
Table 33: Noah Schwartz, Moshin Charania, and Ross Fischer

Players are in the final level of play and will bag up chips a little after midnight for Day 2.

Championship: Bad Bluffs, Breaks And Busts

$3,500 Championship No Limit Hold’em (Re-Entry)
$2 Million Guaranteed

Level 9: Blinds 400/800/100 ante

The Mortensen/Pahuja/Bolotin table has now broken and the WSOP Main Event Champion got the worst of it.  He now joins defending champion and WSOP bracelet winner Matt Waxman and WPT Season IX Player of the Year Andy Frankenberger at Table 16.

The other table move did not help Jean Robert-Bellande as he has been eliminated.  Dennis Phillips has also fallen at tonight’s table of death and Jason Mercier has been steadily chipping up.  Two players have stunningly tried to run bluffs at Jason who put down his open-face Chinese game long enough to casually pick them off and build up his stack.

126 players still remain here on Day 1A of the Main Event.

Championship: Star Wars

$3,500 Championship No Limit Hold’em (Re-Entry)
$2 Million Guaranteed

Level 8: Blinds 300/600/75 ante

While no table in the room is going to be as loaded as the Mizrachi/Mercier/Phillips/Derrick Simon table, there are a few other intriguing matchups taking place on the remaining 16 tables.

Poker fans can enjoy the three-way battle on Table 33 between Daryll Fish, Noah Schwartz and Chile’s #1 ranked player Nick Yunis.

Table 35 features 2001 WSOP Main Event Champion Carlos Mortensen facing off with 2014 WSOP bracelet winner and the #1 player from Belarus, Alex “Diesel” Bolotin.

Finally on Table 36, the World Poker Tour Season XII Player of the Year Mukul Pahuja is staring across the table at Jean-Rober Bellande.

These tables here in the Main Event are full of intrigue tonight and tomorrow should be nothing short of spectacular with even more top pros coming in to take their shot at this prestigous title.



Championship: Hail The Bison!

$3,500 Championship No Limit Hold’em (Re-Entry)
$2 Million Guaranteed

Level 8: Blinds 300/600/75 ante

Being in the Miami area, you expect to a lot of hats and gear for “The U”, the Dolphins and even some Florida State and University of Florida for the daring.

But one you don’t see in the Sunshine State every day is….North Dakota State?  You betcha!

Tom McCormick is always around proudly sporting his Bison (properly pronounced “bi-ZON”) hat.  McCormick hopes he can get on a roll in this tournament like the three-time defending NCAA FCS football champions.  For the record,  NDSU begins their run at a fourth straight title starting next week in the second round of the NCAA playoffs.

We’ll see if McCormick can bring home another title this weekend for Bison Nation!

Tom McCormick
Tom McCormick

Championship: A Lot On The Line for Leah

$3,500 Championship No Limit Hold’em (Re-Entry)
$2 Million Guaranteed

Level 7: Blinds 250/500/75 ante

Poker superstar Mike Leah may have a little more on his mind tonight than the current matter at hand.

Leah currently stands 2nd in the Bluff Magazine Player of the Year race behind 2014 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open Main Event champion Daniel Colman.  Leah lost that heads-up match with Colman in August but quickly bounced back realizing a life-long goal by winning a WSOP braclet this October in Australia.

Leah trails by a little over 300 points but a big win here could open the door for Mike to overtake Colman.  Could Leah put a POY title and the Seminole Hard Rock “Rock N’ Roll” Poker Open Main Event trophy next to his WSOP bracelet in one fell swoop?  Only time will tell over the next few days here in Hollywood, FL.

Mike Leah
Mike Leah

Championship: Seat Change!

$3,500 Championship No Limit Hold’em (Re-Entry)
$2 Million Guaranteed

Level 7: Blinds 250/500/75 ante

Five combined WSOP bracelets, over $27 million in career tournament earnings, and the top two players on the all-time list for Florida separated by a dealer.

Good luck Table 12 dealing with Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi in the 1-seat and Jason Mercier in the 9-seat.

Additional big money at the table, 2008 November Niner Dennis Phillips is sitting in the 6-seat with his $5.7 million career total.

14RRPO Championship Jason Mercier Michael Mizrachi

Championship: Ain’t No Party Like A JRB Party

$3,500 Championship No Limit Hold’em (Re-Entry)
$2 Million Guaranteed

Level 7: Blinds 250/500/75 ante

One of poker’s most eccentric figures has made his way to Hollywood.

Jean-Robert Bellande, known for mastery of “broke living” and most recently finding his way into the WSOP One Drop Tournament, has bought into Flight 1A and has taken his seat.  Could Bellande be the next Seminole Hard Rock “Rock N’ Roll” Poker Open Champion?  No matter what, he’ll have a great time trying.

Championship: King Me

$3,500 Championship No Limit Hold’em (Re-Entry)
$2 Million Guaranteed

Level 7: Blinds 250/500/75 ante

Elliott Zaydman found a bottle of super glue to fix his cracked kings.

Zaydman had his tournament life on the line with KsKh against his opponent whose 8s8d flopped a full house on an 8c7d7c board.  He got no help with the 3h on the turn.  But just as he was getting up, he spiked the Kd on the river for the double-up.  Zaydman left his oppenent with around 1,000 chips and chair and stayed alive here on Day 1A.

Championship Profile: Carolyn Zegeer

14RRPO Championship Carolyn ZegeerCarolyn Zegeer has been a regular in the ballroom during the 2014 Seminole Hard Rock “Rock ‘N’ Roll Poker Open” and she’s back in action for the Championship event. She’s a full-time lawyer, some-time TV host, but poker is her passion.

“I love the game, I think it really hits my passions; I’m a very competitive person.” Zegeer said. “I have a lot of interests so this puts everything in a neat, little package. If I could do this more often, and travel the circuit, I would do it.”

Zegeer has been practicing law for 10 years as a graduate from Duquesne University and the University of Florida but she picked up poker at a young age.

“My grandfather has four grandchildren, three boys and me, the only girl and he’s my only grandfather. We always had a really special relationship.” Zegeer recalled.

“We went on a trip when we were much younger and he wanted to teach the boys how to play poker, and of course I’m the favorite so I tagged along. I’m the only one who picked it up. I fell in love with (poker) ever since then.”

Zegeer only has one result during this series, cashing in Event 1, but she found success in the secondary events and has a “trophy” to prove it (pictured below). The secondary events draw a different crowd and she is trying to transition her success in those events to the bigger tournaments.

“I actually think there’s a hole in my game for the bigger events; I think I take them too seriously because I want it so bad.” Zegeer laughed, “My personality doesn’t come out as much and I notice when I’m just myself, I just relax and have fun with it and joke around, the hands start hitting in a strange way.”

“These bigger events, because I’m new to them, have gotten into my head a little bit. But that’s going to change because I’m aware I’m doing it.”

Zegeer also thinks her career as an attorney helps with her game at the tables. The two have a lot in common and it might give her an edge.

“Poker is a lot like practicing law.” Zegeer explained, “If you’re a trial lawyer, your job when you’re negotiating is to know where you’re at, to know how strong the other person is and how serious they are and when they’re not.”

“You’re trying to see where the holes and weakness are in your case and poker is the same way. The psychology of it is very much like law.”

Zegeer set her passion for poker aside for a few years but that changed when her Grandfather passed away in 2012. Since then she’s picked the game back up and hoping to do well.

“He passed away two years ago this December and ever since then I’ve had a renewed passion for the game.” Zegeer explained, “I’ve played in home games and smaller tournaments for a long time but really in the last year I’ve said, ‘I’m going to start playing in the bigger tournaments.’

“I practice law, I can afford to do it, and I’m going to go deep in one of these big events. I hope this is the one.”

While this is Zegeer’s first large tournament series, she likes how the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino runs the bigger series.

“This is the closest you’ll get to a WSOP-type event outside of Vegas for the Florida area. You’ve got the massive fields, with the ballroom and tables lined up.” Zegeer said, “They really go out of their way to make this feel it’s equivalent to any of the big events you find out in Vegas.”

“For people who are local, who are just starting to think ‘Could I go on the circuit? Could I travel for an event?’ this is a chance for them to whet their appetite and see if they can do it.” She continued, “Nobody else really provides that of than the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.”

Carolyn Zegeer

Championship: More Big Names In The House

$3,500 Championship No Limit Hold’em (Re-Entry)
$2 Million Guaranteed

Level 7: Blinds 250/500/75 ante

Two more poker superstars have bought into Day 1A over the break.

First up is Davie, Florida native Jason Mercier.  Mercier is ranked #12 on poker’s all-time money list with nearly $13 million in career live earnings.  Mercier’s most recent big scores include two high roller runner-up finishes putting $2.25 million into his pocket.

And next is Dennis Phillips.  The St. Louis native who now resides in Las Vegas is most remembered for his unforgettable third place run and massive fan support in the 2008 World Series of Poker Main Event.  Phillips finished 5th in the Seniors Event at the 2014 WSOP picking up over $150,000.

The stars of the poker universe keep rolling into the Seminole Hard Rock “Rock N’ Roll” Poker Open with more to come tomorrow chasing the title in this $2,000,000 Guaranteed Championship Event.

Jason Mercier
Jason Mercier
Dennis Phillips
Dennis Phillips

Championship: Players Back From Break, Schwartz Leads

$3,500 Championship No Limit Hold’em (Re-Entry)
$2 Million Guaranteed

Level 7: Blinds 250/500/75 ante

Players are back from break and registration has closed with an unoffical count of 259 entries. After the first six levels, former WPT champion and WSOP bracelet winner Noah Schwartz leads the way with 147,200 chips followed by Yaron Wasserman and Gregory Marcus. Below are the top ten chip stacks plus other notables in the field.

Noah Schwartz – 147,200
Yaron Wasserman – 138,575
Gregory Marcus – 118,750
Michael Mizrachi – 115,000
Eric Lazarus – 113,400
Anthony Zinno – 113,375
Matthew Smith – 104,500
Ronald Katz – 97,700
Derrick Simon – 96,800
David Bell, Jr. – 94,450

Other Notables:
Carlos Mortensen – 79,125
Jarred Jaffe – 75,900
Randy Ohel – 71,225
Luis Santoni – 66,800
Angel Vu – 65,700
Yung Hwang – 60,075
Nancy Birnbaum – 57,000
David Diaz – 55,825
Daren Stabinski – 42,800
Brett Bader – 42,150
John Dolan – 33,650
Bradley Young – 29,100
Bob Bounahra – 28,350
Andy Frankenberger – 27,950
Faraz Jaka – 27,300
Errol Masey – 20,400
Ory Hen – 16,750
Shaun Deeb – 12,950
Chance Kornuth – 9,950

Championship: Dinner Rush

$3,500 Championship No Limit Hold’em (Re-Entry)
$2 Million Guaranteed

Level 6: Blinds 200/400/50 ante

It’s time for the remaining players to enjoy a 90-minute dinner break at one of the many fine dining establishments on property.

There are 250 in the Championship so far with registration closing at the end of dinner.

Championship: Flight A Photo Shoot

$3,500 Championship No Limit Hold’em (Re-Entry)
$2 Million Guaranteed

Level 6: Blinds 200/400/50 ante

Championship: Natural Born Killers

$3,500 Championship No Limit Hold’em (Re-Entry)
$2 Million Guaranteed

Level 6: Blinds 200/400/50 ante

Table 18 has another nice lineup of results in action. Three players sitting together all hold Seminole Hard Rock “Rock ‘N’ Roll Poker Open” hardware with two coming this series.

Luis Santoni has over $1,000,000 in career earnings including a championship last week in the $300 H.O.R.S.E. along with a Seven Card Stud title during the 2013 WPT Seminole Hard Rock Showdown. His biggest payday came pre-WPT days when he won the 1995 Legends of Poker Main Event at the Bike.

Daren Stabinski has three cashes in this series alone including a win in the $1,100 No Limit Hold’em event and a runner-up finish in the $1,100 Six-Max tournament. He also has a title from the 2013 WPT Lucky Hearts Poker Open Six-Max event and a Seminole Hard Rock “Rock ‘N’ Roll Poker Open” trophy from 2012.

Jeff Kessler won his trophy when he outlasted the field to win the 2013 Seminole Hard Rock “Rock ‘N’ Roll Poker Open” Seniors title and earned his biggest cash when he won the Isle Poker Classic in 2013.

The three are sitting next to each other but the big dog at the table is Eli Elezra with his $2.5 million in career tournament earnings, two WSOP bracelets, and single WPT title.

Luis Santoni, Daren Stabinksi, and Jeff Kessler
Luis Santoni, Daren Stabinksi, and Jeff Kessler

Event 15: Payouts

Seminole Hard Rock “Rock ’N’ Roll Poker Open”
Event 15:  $250 Holiday Deep Stack No Limit Hold’em (Re-Entry)
$30,000 Guaranteed

November 28, 2014

Total Entries:  228
Total Prize Pool:  $47,880

1: $13,405
2: $7,900
3: $4,549
4: $3,687
5: $2,873
6: $2,394
7: $1,915
8: $1,436
9: $958
10-12: $622
13-15: $527
16-18: $479
19-27: $431


Championship: The Count

$3,500 Championship No Limit Hold’em (Re-Entry)
$2 Million Guaranteed

Level 5: Blinds 150/300/50 ante

We tracked down the big stacks in the room plus a few other notables including recent addition Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi making his first 2014 Seminole Hard Rock “Rock ‘N’ Roll Poker Open” appearance.

Top ten:
Alfonso Perez – 87,100
James O’Grady – 86,075
Carl Pipitone – 85,775
Sam Panzica – 84,125
Matthew Smith – 78,500
Jacom Bazeley – 78,250
Scott Efron – 77,875
Shaun Deeb – 73,150
Hans Winzel – 72,550
Noah Schwartz – 68,200

Other notables:
Elliott Zaydman – 62,425
Angel Vu – 59,500
Derrick Simon – 58,750
Randy Ohel – 55,775
Matt Waxman – 55,100
David Hass – 50,875
Cornel Cimpan – 45,325
David Diaz – 42,675
Michael Mizrachi – 39,250
Chris Bolek – 38,325
Keven Stammen – 32,250
Aaron Massey – 31,800
Harrison Gimbel – 28,225
Andy Frankenberger – 27,300
Carter Gill – 27,275
Mike Leah – 26,525
Chance Kornuth – 22,825
Stuart Paterson – 20,400
John Dolan – 15,900

Championship: Break Point

$3,500 Championship No Limit Hold’em (Re-Entry)
$2 Million Guaranteed

Level 5:  Blinds 150/300/50 ante

Players are back from their second break of the day.  Players entering during this level are sitting down with a 100-big-blind stack.

Keven Stammen
Keven Stammen

Some of the big names we’ve yet to mention today are Keven Stammen, reigning WPT World Champion and Mike Leah, 2014 SHRPO Championship runner-up for over $1 Million and freshly minted WSOP Bracelet winner.  He won the $25k High-Roller event at the WSOP-APAC last month.

Mike Leah
Mike Leah

Championship: The Break Up

$3,500 Championship No Limit Hold’em (Re-Entry)
$2 Million Guaranteed

Level 4: Blinds 100/200/25 ante

The first Championship flight is closing in on 225 entrants as they head off on the second break with more than three hours to get in the game. Two players were expect to see after the break are Jared Jaffee and Will “The Thrill” Failla, both are floating around the lobby area waiting to get in the game.

We will return shortly with the first round of notable chip counts.

Championship: Smokin’ Aces

$3,500 Championship No Limit Hold’em (Re-Entry)
$2 Million Guaranteed

Level 4:  Blinds 75/150/25 ante

Randy Ohel
Randy Ohel

A while back over on table nine, a big pot played out with Randy Ohel (Las Vegas, NV) as the benefactor.

Picking up the action on the flop, which read 8c3h2h.  The player in seat 4 was all-in for 7,200 and Seat 7 called.  Then Randy shoved for another 12,125 on top.  Seat 7 gave it some thought, then called, having Randy covered.

Seat 4 had ah9h for the flush draw with two overs.  “Uh oh” said seat 7, as he tabled his kh4h for a useless flush draw with one over.

Randy rolled over pocket Aces and he was ahead, but needed to fade all the hearts and back-door draws.

The last two cards safely fell jd5s and the player in seat 4 was busted.  Randy chipped up to over 50k.

Randy grew up in this area before moving to Las Vegas and came back to town to spend Thanksgiving with family.

Championship: Local Grinders

$3,500 Championship No Limit Hold’em (Re-Entry)
$2 Million Guaranteed

Level 4: Blinds 100/200/25 ante

While there are a lot of big names in the field, there are also a bunch of Seminole Hard Rock Poker regulars in the Championship with some nice results this series.

Ory Hen, Mike Beasley, Angel Vu, Carolyn Zegeer, Jeff Kessler, Scott Efron, Daren Stabinski, Ross Fischer, and Elliott Zaydman are in the field today along with proven top players Eli Elezra, Alex Bolotin, Nancy Birnbaum, David Diaz, Chris Bolek, TJ Shulman, Brett Bader, and former November Niner John Dolan.

Dolan has recent Championship success on Seminole properties with a final table during the 2014 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open and the title in 2014 Coco Poker Open Championship.

Another tough (half) table has formed at the front of the room with Stuart Paterson, Natasha Barbour, and Noah Schwartz sitting in the 2/3/4 seats.

Championship: Van Sanford’s New Table

$3,500 Championship No Limit Hold’em (Re-Entry)
$2 Million Guaranteed

Level 4:  Blinds 100/200/25 ante

Ryan Van Sanford thought his first table was the “worst in the room”.

Now he’s re-entered and landed one table over with Chance Kornuth, Andy Frankenberger, Cornel Cimpan, Shaun Deeb, and Cord Garcia!

How’s that for a tough table?