2023 Tampa Signature Poker Series
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
$600 Deep Stack NLH (Re-Entry)
Prize Pool: $47,250
September 11, 2023
Shane Melert decided to a chop at the start of heads-up play tonight with Liam Higgins to take home the top prize worth $13,180 along with the SPS guitar pick trophy at Seminole Hard Rock Tampa. His career earnings are now above $250,000, and this was his third tournament victory.
We caught up with Melert shorty after the win for an interview, and here is what he had to say about claiming the victory, “It feels great, I’ve been running pretty bad lately, and complaining about not having a trophy. So this is cool, I ran good tonight and got a trophy.”
He continued, “It wasn’t for a ton of money, but it was good enough to freeroll the rest of the series. So everything can be pleasant the rest of the way [laughs]. I will be playing them all except for maybe the $3,500. I don’t know how many players will be in it.”
“I play a lot online, so it has been nice to play at a table with humans. I live 20 minutes away so that’s nice, and the competition is awesome and it’s fun. Getting to compete in real life is a lot more fun than sitting in my bedroom alone. I get to see a lot of friends, and I get to make a small community. I think a lot people kind of know me, and I have like a group chat with of a lot of nerds. None of them talk to people, and no one knows who they are, but then I’m like I have this friend, I have this friend, and this friend at the casino. It’s cool to just have people that I see when I’m here. People are like oh no Shane’s coming, but sometimes they’re like at least he’s fun,” said Melert about his experience in the tournament today with the social aspect of poker. And indeed poker is supposed to be fun, it’s a social game, because otherwise why are any of us here in the first place other than money and the thirst for competition?
“It was pretty much just up, I never really took a hit where I lost a big all in. The biggest one was to Wally [Maddah], but it was the first hand of the final table. UTG opened, and Wally jammed with 13 bigs. I was the big blind with A-K, me and UTG were the two biggest stacks so it was actually a weird spot but he folded. Wally had A-Q, but he hit two queens. That was for 150k, and that was my biggest beat, but I ran pretty good,” said Melert when he was asked about any setbacks he had to overcome on the path to victory.
His most pivotal hand at the final table was the hand that led to the chop heads-up. “That final one is probably the biggest, I played a lot of small hands, but that one against Scooter was for a couple 100k and that got us the deal. It was J-9 versus 7-8 on an 8-7-5 flop with a Jack turn. He floated the flop a little, and then hit top pair and called off. But other than that all the pots were 100k, they were all tiny, tiny pots,” said Melert. He hit a lot of singles and doubles around the base path to victory tonight, and Melert appreciated the metaphor at the end of the interview. “A lot of singles and doubles, yeah, that’s a good analogy [laughs].”
1st: Shane Melert – $13,180 + SPS Trophy
2nd: Liam Higgins – $10,790
3rd: Scott “Scooter” Nichols – $5,670
4th: Wally Maddah – $3,660
5th: Dana Caruso – $2,840
6th: Jamison Alford – $2,240
7th: Tom Nguyen – $1,890
8th: Paul Strandquist – $1,650
9th: Ashraf Chehata – ($1,500)
10: John Colucci – $1,370
11: Gabriel Fuller – $1,280
12: Carlos Loving – $1,180