Seminole Hard Rock Tampa Winter Poker Open Event 9: $1,650 Buy-In Championship No Limit Hold’em (Re-Entry) $300,000 Guaranteed
December 18-21, 2014
Entries: 297 Prize Pool: $445,500
AJ Kelsall has been playing poker professionally for about 14 years, but is primarily a cash-game player. Today he booked his first-ever six-figure cash, winning the 2014 Seminole Hard Rock Tampa Winter Poker Open Championship for $124,731. In addition to the cash, he also takes home the Championship trophy and signature Hard Rock guitar.
“This is only the fourth tournament I’ve played since the Main Event at the World Series of Poker this summer,” Kelsall said. Despite his focus on cash games, he has recorded almost $388,000 in career tournament earnings before this event.
Runner-up John Holley made his first-ever trip to Seminole Hard Rock Tampa for this series and he did incredibly well. He min-cashed Event 5, finished 4th in Event 7, finished 2nd in Event 11, and now has booked another 2nd place finish in this event. His earnings in this series have put his career total over $1 Million.
This event carried a $300,000 guarantee on the total prize pool and featured three starting days. A total of 297 entries crushed the guarantee, building a total prize pool of $445,500. The final 27 players got paid.
Ninety players advanced to Day 2 and Matt Rose led the field with 483,700 chips. He finished 15th. Michael Laake was second in chips coming into Day 2. He held on to finish in 3rd place. Timothy ‘TK’ Miles won the 2014 Summer Poker Open Championship here in Tampa and was looking to repeat. He was 5th in chips at the start of the day and wound up finishing 11th, bubbling the final table.
A couple of Las Vegas pros made their mark on this event. Allen ‘Chainsaw’ Kessler final-tabled last year, finishing 6th. This year he busted out in 17th place. David Levi made the final table, finishing in 7th place when his Aces got cracked.
The last woman remaining in this event and the only one to cash was none other than Angel Vu, the 2014 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Player of the Year. She finished 26th.
WSOP Ladies Champion Marsha Wolak made day two, but busted out five spots short of a payday. Last year’s Winter Open Champion, Stephen Diamantas, also made it to Day 2, but busted out about a dozen spots short of the money.
AJ Kelsall is originally from Philadelphia, but has lived in the Tampa area for the last 20 years. Despite the relocation, he is a self-proclaimed “die-hard Eagles fan”.
Regarding the Poker Room here in Tampa, he said “They’ve done a great job with the new people they brought in the last year, improving the room. It’s definitely a lot better than it was a year ago.”
After playing for over 17 hours on Day 2, everyone was ready to call it a night, wrapping up the 2014 Winter Poker Open.
1: AJ Kelsall (Tampa, FL) $124,731 2: John Holley (Niceville, FL) $73,508 3: Michael Laake (Boca Raton, FL) $42,323 4: Derek Bowers (Alliance, OH) $34,304 5:Alan Ramkhalawan (Tampa, FL)$26,730 6: Jared Reinstein (Tallahassee, FL) $22,275 7: David Levi (Las Vegas, NV) $17,820 8: Steve Karp (N Miami Beach, FL) $13,365 9: Al Krux (Fayetteville, NY) $8,910 10: Greg Jennings (Overland Park, KS) $5,792 11: TK Miles (Miami, FL) $5,792 12: Herbert Woodbery (Winter Garden, FL) $5,792 13: Robert Gill (Tampa, FL) $4,901 14: Jesse Cook (Tampa, FL) $4,901 15: Matt Rose (Largo, FL) $4,901 16: David DeBernardi (Youngstown, OH) $4,455 17: Allen Kessler (Las Vegas, NV) $4,455 18: Kevin Blewitt (Tampa, FL) $4,455 19: Rick Clayton (St. Louis, MO) $4,010 20:Kozma Llazari (New Port Richey, FL) $4,010 21: Josias Santos (Sao Paulo, Brazil) $4,010 22: Rob LeBeau (Tampa, FL) $4,010 23: James Dill (Apopka, FL) $4,010 24: Kyle Peck (Lakeland, FL) $4,010 25: Amelio Amato (Sarasota, FL) $4,010 26: Angel Vu (S Daytona, FL) $4,010 27: Julio Novo (Tampa, FL) $4,010
$1,650 Buy-In Championship No Limit Hold’em (Re-Entry)
Level 24: Blinds 12k/24k/3k ante
Herbert Woodbery shoved from the button and got called by AJ Kelsall in the big bling. Herbert’s pocket Tens were ahead of AJ’s pocket 5s, but a 5 hit the board, giving AJ a set and the pot. He’s up to nearly 2 million and once again the chip leader.
Herbert Woodbery finished in 12th place, earning $5,792.