Michael Casson wins Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown opening event for $280,000

Geoff Fisk
Published by:
Posted on: April 20, 2021 8:01 pm EDT

Series-opening $600 buy-in tournament produces $2,048,550 prize pool

The 2021 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown kicked off April 15, with the series building to a $2 million guaranteed World Poker Tour Main Event that begins April 23.

Attendance for the festival’s first event already yielded a $2 million prize pool, as players turned out en masse at the latest major poker festival at Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood.

The $600 buy-in tournament that opened the Hollywood, FL event drew 3,902 total entries, pushing the final prize money to $2,048,550. Event #1: $600 Deep Stack No-Limit Hold’em produced a quarter of six-figure winners at the top of the payout ladder, with the $500,000 guaranteed shattered by a multiple of four.

Michael Casson took the win and the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown trophy, topping the massive field for a $280,000 payday. Casson landed the winner’s share of a heads-up deal between the final two players standing, with Andrew Heckman (2nd – $242,085) coming away with a runner-up finish.

2021 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown Event #1: $600 Deep Stack final table results

PlacePlayer NamePrize Money
1Michael Casson$280,000*
2Andrew Heckman$242,085
3Evan Sandberg$158,400
4Shane Raikes$122,700
5Shai Arbel$92,250
6Aleksandr Denisov$67,700
7Jose Montes$49,060
8Jake Schwartz$35,350

A sign of things to come for U.S. live poker?

The $500,000 guarantee for Event #1: $600 Deep Stack marked the second-highest promised prize pool of the series, behind only the $2 million guaranteed WPT Main Tour event. The series opener was designed to draw big numbers to kick off the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown.

Tournament officials and Florida players probably wouldn’t have predicted that Event #1 would top the $2 million prize pool milestone, however. The $600 Deep Stack featured a structure offering six Day flights, two running per day from April 15-17.

Each of those flights were capped at a maximum of 480 players, with one re-entry available for each player. Even though that structure somewhat limited potential attendance, Event #1 played out as another major success on the Florida live poker tournament circuit.

Other final table finishers included Evan Sandberg (3rd – $158,400), Shane Raikes (4th – $122,700), and Shai Arbel (5th – $92,250).

Aleksandr Denisov (6th – $67,700), Jose Montes (7th – $49,060), and Jake Schwartz (8th – $35,350) rounded out the final eight contenders.

The huge turnout for the series opener points to a potentially massive WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open Main Event. That tournament plays as a $3,500 buy-in, $2 million guaranteed event.

The $3,500 WPT Main Event features a pair of Day 1 flights, one each on Friday, April 23, and Saturday, April 24. The Day 1 fields combine on April 25, and the tournament is scheduled to play to a champion on April 27.

Featured image source: Twitter