Event 6A: East Coast Grinder Warms Up in Tampa

$125 + $20 + $20 No Limit Hold’em (Re-Entry)
Level 8: Blinds 300/600/75

Wazir BakshWazir Warm and Dry in F-L-A

The weekend snow storm that gripped the East Coast is just another good reason to play in the Seminole Hard Rock Tampa Winter Poker Open tournament series.

Wazir Baksh (St. Cloud), who is originally from Queens, NY, is a familiar face on the tournament circuit in Atlantic City and glad he made the move to Florida three months ago.

Baksh is a businessman who’s taking a break from work and spending more time on poker after moving South. His career resume features 18 cashes for nearly $70,000 and a couple of wins including one for $21,000.

He’s eying a return to the job in 2014, but for now it’s a break from work and from the snow.

Event 6A: More Tough Draws

$125 + $20 + $20 No Limit Hold’em (Re-Entry)
Level 7: Blinds 250/500/50 ante

The two resident WSOP bracelet holders are back today after failing to cash in the Seniors event.  Marsha Wolak (Ft. Lauderdale) and Harold Angle (Sun City Center) are in the field on separate tables.

One of the tougher draws features two players who final tabled the Seniors. Herbert Woodbery (Winter Garden, FL), who finished 10th and Michael Lavington (Bradenton), who was part of the chop that earned him $3,438, are across from each other.

Event 6A: Tough Table

$125 + $20 + $20 No Limit Hold’em (Re-Entry)
Level 6: Blinds 200/400/50 ante

Bobby Rosetta and Wally MaddahRosetta & Maddah

Of the 12 tables in Action Table 45 is a tough draw.  Two players who chopped Event 1 ($150,000 NL Guarantee), Stephen Diamantas (Tampa) and Bobby Rosetta (Tampa) are here, as is Wally Maddah (Orlando) who final table bubbled the Seniors (Event 5) last night.

Diamantas ($13,038) and Rosetta ($9,526) were part of the 9-way deal, while Maddah’s 11th place finish was a heart breaker. Eventual winner Maroun Akiki (Orlando) flopped a straight against Maddah’s top pair.

Event 6A: 200+ & Nearly 400 Total

$125 + $20 + $20 No Limit Hold’em (Re-Entry)
Level 5: Blinds 150/300/25 ante

The numbers for this event continue to impress as the field is close to 400 players and the prize pool at nearly $50,000.


Flight 1: 190
Flight 1A: 206
Flight 1B: 7 pm

Total Entries: 396 through two flights

The 11 am flight will play into Level 13 before bagging and tagging at ~6:30 pm, just in time for the third and final flight to take over the room.

Event 6A: Another Killer Field

$125 + $20 + $20 No Limit Hold’em (Re-Entry)
Level 4 : Blinds 100/200/25 ante

Poker Room MediumPlayers Smash Guarantee

After 190 entries in the initial flight, the second of three flights is approaching that total as players blow past the $40,000 Guaranteed Prize Pool.

Registration is open until after the first break of the day with the cage closing at ~1:15 pm.

Flight 6B is 7 pm tonight, with all remaining players returning for Day 2 Wednesday at 2 pm.

Fab Four Honored at Hard Rock Tampa

20th Anniversary Celeberation
employee appreciation guitar Rudy Javier, Lue Gardner, Shirley Hajaistron, Teresa LymanJavier, Gardner, Hajaistron & Lyman

In honor of the Poker Room’s 20th Anniversary, the Seminole Hard Rock Tampa family is honoring four invaluable associates who have been here since Day 1.

Congratulations to Rudy Javier, Lue Gardner, Shirley Hajaistron and Teresa Lyman who have helped grow the room to the success it is today.

In addition to honoring the fab four, Hard Rock Tampa is having a Poker Room Appreciation Day for all 250 Team Associates. The highlight is the signing of a solid body electric guitar that will be displayed for years to come.

Thanks to everyone for all their hard work and dedication!

Shirley HajaistronHajaistron a Hard Rock Original Since ’93

Event 6A: Second Flight Takes Off

$125 + $20 + $20 No Limit Hold’em (Re-Entry)

After crowning five winners in the Hard Rock Tampa Winter Poker Open, the quest for number six continues with the second of three flights in the $40,000 Guaranteed Prize Pool.

Players start with 10k in chips and levels are 30 minutes each.

Registration is open for four levels and through the first break which keeps the cage open until ~1:15 pm.

This is a two-day event where the winner also gets entry into the $1,650 Championship Event.

The chip leader after Monday’s first flight is David Tirrell (Tampa) who bagged 158k. The third and final flight kicks off tonight at 7 pm, while Day 2 is set for Wednesday.

Event 6: Bag & Tag

$125 + $20 + $20 No Limit Hold’em (Re-Entry)
Level 13 (8 min remaining): Blinds 1k/2k/300 ante

Daniel TirrellDavid Tirrell
Chip Leader

Play ends with 27 players and  holding the chip lead with nearly 158k.  The first of three flights had 190 entries and the remaining players advance to Day 2.

Tirrell was part of a five-way deal in the PLO tournament (Event 2), where he picked up $2,500 and entry into the $1,650 WPT Hard Rock Tampa Winter Poker Open Championship (Dec 13-15).

This $40,000 Guaranteed Prize Pool event has two flights Tuesday with Flight 6A at 11 am and Flight 6B at 7 pm.

Day 2 is set for 2 pm Wednesday.

Name-Chip Count

Daniel Tirrell 157,600 (53 bb)
Jesse Goulding 143,700
Marc Picarazzi 139,700
Julio Novo 120,000
Larry Thompson 119,300
Dusty West 116,800
Adam Templeman 109,000
David Bell 106,900
Jean Miccio 101,900
Richard Clayton 94,800
Michael Manticoff 75,400
AVERAGE STACK 70,000 (23 bb)
Milan Guerrero 63,100
Jacqulyn Kagan 54,200
Bruce Rimar 50,000
Christopher King 47,000
Paul Spice 46,200
Peter Williams 44,200
Craig Krden 42,100
Jordan Peralta 41,900
Brian Lawandus 39,200
Terri-Anne Crawford 38,500
Gerald McCormick 37,200
Reymundo Fermo 28,600
Ryan Gitlings 25,900
Vince Heilman 24,800
Randall Chang 20,300
Antonio Lyons 12,500 (4 bb)

Event 6: Heading for Home

$125 + $20 + $20 No Limit Hold’em (Re-Entry)
Level 12:  Blinds 800/1,600/200 ante
40 players remaining, 48k avg (30 bb)

Jesse GouldingJesse Goulding
Chip Leader, 133k

Jesse Goudling (Lansing, MI) is the chip leader at 133k with two players Adam Templeman and David Bell, both of Tampa, right behind him in the 110k-115k range.

Play will stop when the field is down to 27.

Event 5: 1st Place – Akiki

$175 + $25 + $20 Seniors 50+ NLH (Re-Entry)

Maroun Akiki Maroun Akiki (Orlando, FL)

Maroun Akiki has more than 1/4 of the chips in play nine-handed when the remaining players offered a deal he can’t pass up.  Akiki takes $8,000 to win the Seniors Event, while the others chop the balance for $3,438 each, minus $1 for Ty Guztwiller.

“I just started playing tournaments this year,” says Akiki who was primarily a cash game player.  And what a year it’s been.

This is Akiki’s fourth recorded 2013 cash, and all four have been final tables.  He now has two wins and a second place, with his two biggest scores coming from Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood for career earnings of more than $54,000.

Akiki turned 50-years-old earlier this year and is the magic number to enter the Seniors event, something he looked forward to.

“In open events players are more aggressive, especially the younger ones,” says Akiki who is a self-employed marketer. “Not that I mind it,  because I’m aggressive.”

After jumping to an early chip lead before the dinner break, Akiki put a strangle hold on the field with a big hand while holding K J. He describes the action as three to a flop for 50k with three tables left.

On a board of J-6-4, one of his opponents leads out for 50k and Akiki moves all in, prompting two folds. “That was the biggest by far,” says Akiki of the 200k chips he picked up on the hand. And it was clear sailing from there.

In addition to the win, Akiki earns a $1,650 voucher into the WPT Hard Rock Tampa Winter Poker Open Championship (Dec 13-15).  “It’s a free roll, I’m looking forward to it.”

Final Table Results

Reflects Adjusted Payout*


1 Maroun Akiki (Orlando, FL) $8,000*
2 Dan Keefer (Hampstead, NC) $3,438*
3 Seth Bobet (Orlando, FL) $3,438*
4 Bahram Akbari (Orlando, FL) $3,438*
5 Michael Lavington (Bradenton, FL) $3,438*
6 Pete Carroll (Betholden, NY) $3,438*
7 Stan German (Orlando) $3,438*
8 Morino Thomas (Clermont, FL) $3,438*
9 Ty Guztwiller (Los Angeles, CA) $3,437*
10 Herbert Woodbery (Winter Garden, FL) $960

Event 5: 2nd-9th Places

$175 + $25 + $20 Seniors 50+ NLH (Re-Entry)

Maroun Akiki & GroupAkiki at the Center of the Deal

With a huge chip lead with 9 players left, Maroun Akiki (Orlando, FL) struck a deal that gave him first place and $8,000, while the remaining players earned $3,438, minus $1 for Ty Guztwiller.

Here’s a look at the other eight players that split the balance of the prize pool:

Dan Keefer Dan Keefer (Hampstead, NC)

Seth Bobet
Seth Bobet (Orlando, FL)

Bahram Akbari
Bahram Akbari (Orlando, FL)

Pete Carroll
Pete Carroll (Betholden, NY)

Stan German
Stan German (Orlando)

Morino Thomas
Morino Thomas (Clermont, FL)

Camera Shy:

Michael Lavington (Bradenton, FL)

Ty Guztwiller (Los Angeles, CA)

Event 5: Final Table

$175 + $25 + $20 Seniors 50+ NLH (Re-Entry)
Blinds 5k/10k/1k ante

Seat-Name-Chip Count

1 Pete Carroll (Betholden, NY) 194k
2 Herbert Woodbery (Winter Garden, FL) 120k
3 Morino Thomas (Clermont, FL) 187k
4 Stan German (Orlando) 191k
5 Dan Keefer (Hampstead, NC) 259k
6 Seth Bobet (Orlando, FL) 90k
7 Ty Guztwiller (Los Angeles, CA) 244k
8 Maroun Akiki (Orlando, FL) 300k
9 Bahram Akbari (Orlando, FL) 740k
10 Michael Lavington (Unavailable) 190k

Event 5: 10th Place – Woodbery

$175 + $25 + $20 Seniors 50+ NLH (Re-Entry)
Blinds 5k/10k/1k ante

Herbert Woodbery
Herbert Woodbery (Winter Garden, FL)

On one of the first hands at the final table and the last hand of the level, Herbert Woodbery and Ty Guztwiller see a lop of 8-7-3.  Gutzwiller bets 50k, Woodbery calls all in for 39k.

Woodbery: JQ (Jack high)
Gutzwiller: AT (Ace high)

There’s no help on the turn or river for Woodbery who busts in 10th place for $960.

Event 5: 11th Place – Maddah

$175 + $25 + $20 Seniors 50+ NLH (Re-Entry)
Blinds 5k/10k/1k ante

Wally MaddahWally Maddah (Tampa, FL)

Wally Maddah calls the preflop raise of chip leader Maroun Akiki and the board comes down Q-9-8.  Maddah moves all in for 125k and Akiki snap calls.

Maddah: KQ (top pair)
Akiki: JT (straight)

There are no running full house cards for Maddah who goes out in 11th place to the flopped straight.

“I should’ve pushed preflop,” says Maddah who wonders if an all in would’ve gotten Akiki to fold. “I knew he was raising light.”

Maddah earns $919 and sends the remaining 10 players to a final table redraw.

Event 6: 7 pm Registration Closed

$125 + $20 + $20 No Limit Hold’em (Re-Entry)
Level 5: Blinds 150/300/25 ante
$40,000 Guaranteed Prize Pool

The last of the 191 entries are in the field and registration is closed.  This first of three flights will play 16 levels before bagging and tagging at ~ 4 am.

The second flight (Day 1A) goes at 11 am Tuesday, with the third flight (Day 1B) at 7 pm tomorrow night.

Event 5:

$175 + $25 + $20 Seniors 50+ NLH (Re-Entry)
Next Blinds 2.5k/5k/500 ante
25 players remaining, 104k avg (21 bb)

Morino ThomasAll Smiles for Thomas

One of the the nicest players left in the field does the honor of breaking the bubble to send the last 25 players into the money.  Morino Thomas (Clermont) says, “my whole life,” he’s had to explain that his surname should be a first name and vice versa.

Thomas calls the all in of his friend, “Ron something,” with A3 and flops two pairs against KK, “how did I know he had pocket Kings,” he laughs.

“They call me the Godfather in my poker league,” he adds, which is where he knows “Ron” from.

Thomas is up to 160k (32 bb) and is right next to Maroun Akiki (Orlando) who continues to be the chip leader with 355k (71 bb).

Players are on a color-up break as the black (100) chips are raced off.  The next race will be to the cage where everyone will collect their cash.