2023 Tampa Signature Poker Series
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
$1,700 SPS Championship
Prize Pool: $1,167,000
September 14-19, 2023
Mike Phillips won a hard-fought battle at the final table tonight that saw an outlier of three chopped-pots in a row during heads-up play to take home the top prize worth $207,280 along with the monolith SPS guitar pick trophy specially made for the championship. You could tell the emotion of the moment hadn’t quite hit him yet minutes after Phillips’ victory since he was overwhelmed by the pure joy and appreciation for the win.
Here is what he had to say after the victory tonight, “It’s great, it’s my first live tournament that has been recorded that I’ve won. I’ve actually won a tournament in the country of Panama. This is the first one on Hendon Mob, and recorded and stuff like that. It’s a nice big trophy, I’m really impressed by this trophy.”
“Seth played great, he’s a great player, I knew I always had to play my A-game, and just the fact that poker is a roller coaster always. I knew that even when I was down to 4 million in chips all I had to do was double up and be right back in it. That’s just the nature of the game. You can’t punt your chips, because with a chip and a chair you always have a chance,” said Phillips about the final match in the tournament.
He continued, “I started 18 million to 12 million, so I had the lead at the start of heads-up. I was a little disappointed when he started rolling over me. But the cards went his way, and then they started coming my way, and that’s how it goes sometimes.”
When he was asked about keeping his composure when he was one of the short stacks at the final tables, Phillips offered this response,” It’s not too much about composure, I’ve just played enough that I know you just have to play every hand the best that you can play it, and you can’t chase back the chips you’ve lost or anything. You’ve gotta play every hand the best way, and whatever happens … happens. I’ve played poker since middle school so I’m pretty familiar with how it goes up-and-down. There’s always emotions, but you just have to keep them at bay and they don’t affect how I play.”
“It was great, it was my first time here in Tampa actually. It started off pretty bad for me, I came Monday and fired five bullets in the $1k six-max, and didn’t cash in that. And then I played the $2k, and I was two spots away from the bubble. So I was stuck a bit yeah, so I was thinking I needed to make the last couple tables to break even on the trip, so I did that and more, and I’m really happy about it,” said Phillips when he was asked about his overall experience in the SPS tournament series to end the interview.
Final Table Results:
1st: Mike Phillips – $207,280 + SPS Trophy
2nd: Seth Fischer – $138,150
3rd: Ray Mancini – $101,930
4th: Heitor Saraiva – $75,990
5th: Jeremy Joseph – $57,250
6th: Craig Varnell – $43,580
7th: Karl Manouchakian – $33,530
8th: Eric Edwards – $26,070
9th: Shane Melert – $20,490