Championship: 28th-36th Places

$1,500 + $100 + $50 No Limit Hold’em Championship Event (Re-Entry)
Blinds: 2,500/5k/500 ante
27 players remaining, 223k avg (45 bb)

28Alan Ramkhalawan$2,935
29Amie Martini$2,935
30Jason Goldman$2,935
31Robert O’Neill$2,935
32Andrew Graham$2,935
33Zhudi Mansur$2,935
34Glen Chorny$2,935
35Bret Gardner$2,935
36Christy Pham$2,935

Championship Event: Garia with Commanding Chip Lead

$1,500 + $100 + $50 No Limit Hold’em Championship Event (Re-Entry)
Blinds: 2,500/5k/500 ante
31 players remaining, 194k avg (39 bb)

Lance Cord Garcia
Lance Cord Garcia

You can call him Lance, or Cord, but either way Lance Cord Garcia (Katy, TX) is the chip leader.

The huge hand that took him to 650k before running it up to 850k before the last break came just after the bubble broke.

On the hand, Garcia raises to 10,500 UTG+1 and gets four callers.

Flop: 6s5c2s

The blinds and Garcia all check, Brett Gardner leads for 55k (130k behind), a middle position player and the SB both fold before Glen Chorny moves all in for 180k.

Garcia is also all in and has Chorny and Gardner covered. Gardner calls for roughly the same chip count as Chorny.

Gardner: 5h5d (set of 5s)
Chorny: As8s (nut flush draw)
Garcia: QsQh (over pair)

Turn: 10h (no change)

River: Qd

Garcia hits a two outer on the river for a set of Queens and a double knock out.  Gardner finishes in 35th place, while Chorny is out 34th.

“Lance is Cord and Cord is Lance,” says Garcia with an explanation on the two names. He also clarifies that Katy, Texas is a suburb of Houston. “Katy or Houston, it doesn’t matter,” he says.

On the last break Garcia had 4-times the chip average, but has since given some back on a double-up with AK against pocket 7s.

Garcia already has a runner-up finish in this series when he took home $5,000 in the 6-Max (Event 7).

Championship Event: Trophy Time

$1,500 + $100 + $50 No Limit Hold’em Championship Event (Re-Entry)
Next Blinds: 2,500/5k/500 ante
31 players remaining, 194k avg (39 bb)

Championship Trophy

Five quick eliminations and we’re down to 31 players. The trophy is now on display along with the winner’s guitar.

Players are on a short break with play resuming at 4:58 pm.



32nd Andrew Graham
33rd Zhudi Mansur
34th Glen Chorny
35th Bret Gardner
36th Christy Pham

Hard Rock Hardware
Hard Rock Hardware

Championship Event: Twitter Time

$1,500 + $100 + $50 No Limit Hold’em Championship Event (Re-Entry)
Blinds 2k/4k/500 ante
36 players remaining, 172k avg (43 bb)

Championship Event: In The Money

$1,500 + $100 + $50 No Limit Hold’em Championship Event (Re-Entry)

Blinds 2K/4K Ante 500: 36 players remaining, average chip stack 167K (42 big blinds)

We were down to 38 players and Matt Hoffman was facing an all in re-raise from Andrew Graham. Hoffman tanked for almost five minutes knowing any cash he might make was on the line. He finally called and turned over pocket Jacks and was ahead of Graham’s AhTc. The Jacks would hold and a relieved Hoffman said “I thought he was pushing because of the bubble so decided to call.” A big exhale and a “baby, baby, baby” and Hoffman would make it into the money a few moments later when two players would bust on the short hand. Squeaking into the money was Peter Nguyen who started the day with 7,700 in chips. He doubled up on the hand right after the bubble burst to bring his stack up to about 50K.

They have re-drawn tables and we now have four new tables with nine players at each table.

Championship Event: Almost Bubble Time

$1,500 + $100 + $50 No Limit Hold’em Championship Event (Re-Entry)

Blinds 2K/4K Ante 500: 39 players remaining, average chip stack 154K (38 big blinds)

We are three away from the money. John Pappas just took out Justin Zaki with pocket Aces against the A-K that Zaki held. Some chip counts from players left in the field:

Jack McIntyre 500K
George Lampert 300K
Dave Tiffenberg 275K
David Tuthill 250K
Lance Garcia 200K
Glen Chorny 200K
John Pappas 185K
Steve Diamantas 175K
Amie Martini 170K
Josh Erdman 150K
Matt Hoffman 140K
Andrew Graham 135K
Allen Kessler 130K
Vitor Coelto 100K
Mike Raimon 80K

Championship Event: Jack McIntyre Wins Huge Pot To Take Chip Lead

$1,500 + $100 + $50 No Limit Hold’em Championship Event (Re-Entry)

Blinds 1.5K/3K Ante 3K: 46 players remaining, average chip stack 131K (44 big blinds)

Jack McIntyre already had a big stack hovering around 300K but he just picked up another 140K when he picked up pocket Kings and tangled with a decent sized stacked player who held A-Q. The Kings prevailed and Jack is stacked at 440K. Marsha Wolak departed recently but there are still some notables in contention including Justin Zaki, Steve Diamantes, David Tuthill, Allen Kessler, and Glen Chorny. We’ll try and get some updated chip counts here soon.

Championship Event: Korfonta Leads Way As Money Bubble Approaches

$1,500 + $100 + $50 No Limit Hold’em Championship Event (Re-Entry)

Blinds 1.5K/3K Ante 3K: 52 players remaining, average chip stack 116K (39 big blinds)

Steven Korfonta is leading the way as we get closer to the money bubble with approximately 310K in chips. Others hovering around the 300K mark are Jack McIntyre and George Lampert. Top female in the field at the moment is Amie Martini with approximately 225K.

Steven Korfonta
Steven Korfonta
Amie Martini and David Tuthill
Amie Martini and David Tuthill
Jack McIntyre
Jack McIntyre
George Lampert
George Lampert

Championship Event: Get Me Out Of This Tournament

$1,500 + $100 + $50 No Limit Hold’em Championship Event (Re-Entry)

Blinds 1.2K/2.4K Ante 3K: 56 players remaining, average chip stack 107.5K (45 big blinds)

“He was on full blown tilt,” said Marsha Wolak when describing the recent behavior of Mike Browne before he was eliminated. “I’m glad he was though because he doubled me up.”

Lance Garcia, probably isn’t, however, as he ran into some unfortunate timing. Browne open shoved blind saying “Get me out of this tournament” and Garcia looked down at Ah9h and figured he was in good shape to do just that. Unfortunately right beside Garcia lying in wait was George Lampert who woke up with pocket Kings at the perfect time. He moved all in for another 20K or so and Garcia made the crying call./ Browne had Q-7 and would be eliminated and Garcia would send over a stack of chips to Lampert who nearly tripled up. Garcia is still in good shape though as he’s just shy of 150K.

At another table, Steve Diamantas was down to his last 75K and called a raise from a player with J-9. The flop was a good one for Diamantas as it came QhJs9c to give him bottom two pair. He checked and his opponent bet. Steve moved all in and was quickly called by his opponent who held pocket Kings. The turn was the As and the river was the 7c and the player with pocket Kings was eliminated and Diamantas is up to approximately 175K after the hand.

Other chip counts of notables still remaining (approximate):

Robert Harwell 125K
Justin Zaki 100K
Marsha Wolak 80K
David Tuthill 140K
Glen Chorny 90K

Josh Erdman who started the day with 62K is the chip leader currently with approximately 275K in chips. There are 56 players remaining, still 20 from making the money.

Josh Erdman
Josh Erdman

Event 11: Prize Pool And Payouts

$175 + $25 +$20 No Limit Hold’em (Re-Entry)

There were 132 total entrants creating a prize pool of $23,100, more than double the guarantee. 13 players will get paid and payouts are as follows:


Championship Event: Photo Gallery

Mouse over to see the player’s name and click on image to see full image (based on starting day seating assignment – if someone moved in the first ten minutes, our apologies for the incorrect name):

Seminole Hard Rock Tampa Poker Diary

Hard Rock Exterior1
“Welcome Back  My Friends to the Show that Never Ends.”

Over the years I’ve heard nothing but good things about the Hard Rock brand, so getting the last minute call to cover the Seminole Hard Rock Tampa Winter Poker Open tournament series was a no brainer.

The first thing you notice on arrival are the lyrics of Emerson, Lake & Palmer displayed in large letters, “Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends.” And that’s just the beginning, Rock ‘n’ Roll quotes are sprinkled throughout.

On the way to the Poker Room you pass costumes worn by the Jackson 5, just one of the many iconic displays throughout the hotel and casino. Bruce, Madonna, Liberace and dozens of other framed musical greats grace the walls, most with one name recognition.

The Poker Room is a unique balance of spacious luxury and a cozy home game.

When the 50 tables are packed with tournament and cash tables the vibe is electric. Yet when the last $2-$4 Limit or $2-$5 PLO wraps in the early morning, the room is intimate, not a cavernous pit.

The entire room makes customer service the top priority, from dealers to supervisors, from the brush desk to the cage, it’s a well oiled machined.

Poker Room
Poker Room

And don’t forget the Hard Rock Girls. They’re everywhere!

Calendar cover girl Kayla signed autographs as her year came to an end. And the Hard Rock Cafe was rocking Saturday night with the 2014 Hard Rock Girls Calendar Unveiling Party.

The Beattles, The Who, Chuck Berry and Sinatra all have displays and memorabilia surrounding the casino floor. At nearly every turn there’s something for everyone, even a ’90s throwback Justin Timberlake outfit.

When you’re not grabbing a quick bite at the Cafe, there are plenty of dining options.

The Council Oak Steaks & Seafood is the most talked about restaurant and for good reason. Steaks are dry-aged on site and Alaskan King Crabs are stored fresh in saltwater tanks.

Other dining options include the Fresh Harvest buffet and the Noodle Bar at Jubao Palace, where fresh duck is hanging by the counter.

You can’t help but tap along to Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer” or any Queen song that filters through the Hard Rock. Whether you’re waiting for the next hand of blackjack or making your way to the Center Bar, Rock n’ Roll permeates the air.

After a night of poker, table games or high limit action, the Lobby Bar is a great place to unwind. It’s a laid back ambiance with a wall of flaming candles.

And after taking it all in, knowing there’s more to absorb on your next trip (the Water Wall, Kiss costumes, Sklar guitar to name a few),  there’s the perfect line as you leave the Hard Rock.

“You can checkout anytime you like, but you can never leave.” – Eagles

Can’t wait for the next trip!

Championship Event: 15 players already gone

$1,500 + $100 + $50 No Limit Hold’em Championship Event (Re-Entry)

Blinds 1K/2K Ante 3K

We’re down to 69 players meaning we’ve already lost 15 players. At one table there was set over set – understandable how we’d lose a player in that situation. We’ll have a photo gallery from the start of the event soon. In the meantime, here is what they are playing for:

The "Trophy"
The “Trophy”

Championship Event: Cards In The Air

$1,500 + $100 + $50 No Limit Hold’em Championship Event (Re-Entry)

Blinds 1K/2K Ante 3K

84 excited poker players have taken their seats and cards are in the air for the Championship Event of the WPT Regional Winter Tampa Bay Open. Among the notables who will be going after the $121,900 first place prize are Lance Garcia, David Tuthill, Justin Zaki, Steve Diamantas, Glen Chorny, Allen Kessler, and Marsha Wolak.

We’ll be here providing continuous live coverage throughout the day.

Event 11: Level 2

$175 + $25 +$20 No Limit Hold’em (Re-Entry)

Blinds 75/150

There are 86 entrants thus far in Event 2 meaning we’ve already easily exceeded the $10,000 Guarantee. The tournament clock is showing we’ve already had 4 eliminations. Registration will be open for approximately 90 more minutes.

Event 11 (am): Cards in the Air

$175 + $25 +$20 No Limit Hold’em (Re-Entry)
$10,000 Guaranteed Prize Pool

One Last Deal
One Last Deal

The last chance to win a title in the Seminole Hard Rock Tampa Winter Poker Open tournament series is underway.

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

Re-entry and late registration is open for four levels and closes at the end of the first break (~1:15 pm).

Cards are in the air for this one-day tournament


Championship Event: End Of Day One Chip Counts & Day 2 Seating Assignments

Here are the chip counts and seating assignments for the 84 remaining players. Play resumes at noon on Sunday.

PlaceFirst NameLast NameChip CountTableSeat
5Robert Quintana149,000376
8William G.Redmond IV139,800372
13Robert Harwell125,100364
36Oscar JavierLindo70,100469
41Josh Erdman62,200362
58Robert Oneil42,100367
82Chris Hyden15,000378

Championship Day 1B: That’s A Wrap

$1,500 + $100 + $50 No Limit Hold’em Championship Event (Re-Entry)

We were at 39 players and it looked like we might lose two players on the last hand of the night when we had a three way all in with the big stack holding K-Q and the two shorter stacks holding Q-9 and J-T. The flop had a little something for everyone as it came Q-J-T. The player with J-T was able to fade all the outs and tripled up while eliminating the short stack.

At another table, pocket aces got it all in against K-J on a J-T-3 flop only to see it come turn 9 river Queen to make a straight for the player with K-J. The player with aces wasn’t out but was down to less than 5 big blinds after that unlucky hand.

Unofficially we ended with 38 players for the day bringing the total to 84. With only 36 places getting paid there is still some work to do until we make the money. Dave Tiffenberg is the Day 1B and overall tournament chip leader after bagging 186,500. We will have full chip counts and seating assignments as soon as they become available.

Dave Tiffenberg, Chip Leader
Dave Tiffenberg, Chip Leader

Championship Day 1B: Women Hanging On

$1,500 + $100 + $50 No Limit Hold’em Championship Event (Re-Entry)

Blinds 600/1.2K Ante 200

There are 45 players remaining with just over an hour left of play. Of those 45, five are women including Marsha Wolak who just added some chips to her stack when she check called turn and river bets with A-Q on an ace high board. “What are you going to do with my stack,” she said after her opponent mucked his hand.

As one player was eliminated he went up to a friend and said “That was the worst 8 hours of my life.” Slight exaggeration?

Championship Day 1B: Dinner Break

$1,500 + $100 + $50 No Limit Hold’em Championship Event (Re-Entry)

Blinds 400/800 Ante 100

60 players are on a one hour dinner break. Matt Hoffman, an air traffic controller in the United States Navy stationed in Jacksonville, Florida is the current chip leader in this flight with 145K. Natasha Barbour is no longer with us. Andy “Cong” Pham and Marsha Wolak are among the notables still in contention.