Seminole Rock ‘N’ Roll Poker Open Blowing Away Guarantees

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Great balls of fire! The Seminole Rock ‘N’ Roll Poker Open is lighting up Hollywood, Florida, with a $3,500 WPT Championship event that more than doubled its $2 million guaranteed prize pool. It continues a trend of surpassing prize pool guarantees — sometimes in a big way — throughout the series that began Nov. 17.

Luke Martinelli
Luke Martinelli brings a big stack to Day 3 of Seminole Hard Rock Casino’s Rock ‘N’ Roll Poker Open. (Image: BJ Nemeth/Seminole Hollywood)

Day 3 of the $3,500 WPT championship event is currently underway. Day 4 action will take place on Tuesday, with the six-player final table being streamed live starting at 2:30 pm ET on Wednesday.

The $5,011,200 prize pool was generated by 1,566 total entrants. All of the remaining players are guaranteed to bank at least $11,675, but are all chasing the six-figure, first-place payday worth $778,490. 

Big names in the mix

Luke Martinelli, an Australian pro with more than $721K in tournament cashes, started the day as the chip leader with 2.68 million (107 bb’s). Nate Silver of fivethirtyeight fame and fresh off a second-place finish at the WSOP in Las Vegas last month was second in chips with 2.345 million (94 bb’s), while Delray Beach’s Scott Levitt rounded out the top three with 2 million even (80 bb’s).

Other notables taking seats on Day 3 included low-key tournament crusher Joseph Cheong who started just outside the top-10, and Kristen Bicknell who has two WPT Online Championship wins on her resume.

Rock ‘N’ Roll Poker Open smashing records

Since its start on Nov. 17, the Rock ‘N’ Roll Poker Open has been drawing record turnouts and shattering guarantees across its schedule.

Aside from the $3 million the players added to the $3,500 championship, all eight of the preliminary events surpassed their guarantees.

  • Event 1: $1 million guarantee — 2 million prize pool generated by 6,196 entries.
  • Event 8: $50K guarantee — $204K prize pool generated by 51o entries.
  • Event 9: $100K guarantee — $183K prize pool generated by 189 entries.
  • Event 10: $250K guarantee — $505K prize pool generated by 972 entries.
  • Event 12: $30K guarantee — $44K prize pool generated by 372 entries.
  • Event 15: $10K guarantee — $27K prize pool generated by 249 entries.
  • Event 16: $10K guarantee — $31K prize pool generated by 259 entries.
  • Event 18: $20K guaranteed — $35K prize pool generated by 289 entries.

Record-breaking series

Michael Laufer won the tournament with the most entries in Seminole Hard Rock poker history when he took down the $400 No-Limit Hold’em deep stack rebuy tourney which saw 6,196 entries. The prize pool of $2,044,000 beat the guarantee by more than $1 million. He had the most chips when the final six players remaining agreed to chop.

The massive prize pool came with the help of eight starting flights, generating the most buy-ins the RRPO has ever seen, beating 2016’s previous record of 5,018 by nearly 1,200 players.

Meanwhile, Robert Brandl won $23K in a $400 No-Limit Hold’em event that attracted 510 entries last Sunday. The one-day event quadrupled its guaranteed prize pool to $200K. Brandl had the most chips when the final six agreed on a chop after 16 hours of play.

At around 4 am on Thanksgiving morning, “Luscious” Loni Hui won $85,355 in the $600 No-Limit Hold’em event which smashed its $250K guarantee thanks to 972 entrants across four starting flights. 

Hui, who won two WSOP bracelets and five WSOP Circuit rings as Loni Harwood, has nearly $3.3 million in tournament cashes. The victory at Seminole Hard Rock happened a year and three days after she got hitched to poker pro Phillip Hui. 

The RRPO continues with a $25K high-roller event featuring a $1 million guarantee, an $1,100 event with a $100K guarantee, a $150 event, and a $400 bounty event. 

Tuesday’s action will feature a $400 seniors (50 and older) event with a $20K guarantee, a $5K tourney with a $200K guarantee, and an $1,100 turbo event.

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