How high can Florida live poker go? Tampa Poker Classic Main Event hits $1.48 million prize pool

Geoff Fisk
Published by:
Posted on 03/02/2021

James Kerr scores the win and a $228,038 payday as TPC Main Event draws huge attendance

To say that the Tampa Poker Classic Main Event smashed its guarantee might be a bit of an understatement.

The $1,700 buy-in tournament that rounded out the 2021 Tampa Poker Classic advertised a $300,000 guaranteed prize pool, playing out at Seminole Hard Rock Tampa Feb. 25-March 1.

Massive attendance, however, created a first-place prize that by itself nearly reached the $300,000 mark. A total of 959 entries pushed the final prize pool to $1,486,450, yielding an advertised first-place payout of $286,471.

A three-way deal at the final table flattened out the top of the payout structure, with the top three finishers in the Main Event walking away with six-figure paydays.

James Kerr earned the official title of 2021 Tampa Poker Classic Main Event champion, earning $228,038 per the terms of a three-way chop. The other two players involved in the deal, Alex Ivan (2nd – $197,172) and Kyrylo Kobzyev (3rd – $166,915) also took home big cash as the $1,700 Main Event wrapped up Monday.

2021 Seminole Hard Rock Tampa Poker Classic final table results

FinishPlayer NamePrize
1James Kerr$228,038*
2Alex Ivan$197,172*
3Kyrylo Kobzyev$166,915*
4Gary Bowker$94,620
5Stephen Brite$70,543
6Kenneth O’Donnell$53,299
7Scott Robbins$40,819
8Jeremy Becker$31,692
9Raminder Singh$24,950
*reflects the terms of a three-way deal

Another big win for the Florida live poker scene

The status of open live poker rooms goes back and forth in several states as the reality of COVID-19 wears on. Florida and Nevada stand at the forefront of pandemic-era live tournament poker.

As a result, both states mark epicenters for live tournament poker on their respective coasts. The Tampa Poker Classic ran at Seminole Hard Rock Tampa from Feb. 17-March 1, advertising more than $500,000 in guaranteed prize pools across eight trophy events.

The trophies, as with all Seminole Hard Rock major tournaments, come in the form of custom electric guitars. Kerr finished up the Tampa Poker Classic holding the $1,700 Main Event guitar trophy, capping off a final day in which he entered with the chip lead.

Florida poker rooms set the scene for some of the biggest live tournament festivals on the east coast. Bestbet Jacksonville’s Fall Frenzy, Fall Frenzy II, and Winter Open all ran in the past six months.

Seminole Hard Rock’s sister venue in Hollywood played host to several big recent events, including the ongoing Escalator V Series and the Pinktober Poker Open.

The Tampa Poker Classic represents the most successful event yet for Florida poker rooms in the COVID-19 era. The pandemic appears to finally be receding across much of the U.S., and the Tampa Poker Classic gives a glimpse of what could be a booming return for live tournament poker post-COVID.

Featured image source: Twitter