2023 Signature Poker Series

2023 Signature Poker Series in Review

The first-ever Tampa Signature Poker Series featured 25 trophy events over two weeks in the Event Center. The series drew players from around the country for some top shelf poker and a schedule that featured its fair share of non-Hold’em games.

Here’s a look at the numbers –

Events: 25
Guarantees: $2,640,000
Entries: 7,921
Prize Pool: $3,727,912

The series drew 7,921 for the fourth biggest turnout among any of our festivals and not far behind the 7,998 entries we drew for the huge WSOP Circuit series in 2020. We offered $2,640,000 in guaranteed prize pool and paid out $3,727,912.

A fantastic series by the numbers by any measure.

But it was more than those raw numbers; the players made it special including some big wins for big players. Willie Wiggins came storming out of the gates the first weekend with an outright win in the $1,000,000 guarantee opener for $163,290.

WSOP bracelet winner David Prociak won his second major Tampa title to go along with a WSOPC Tampa ring. Fellow WSOP champ AJ Kelsall won his second Tampa title in the $1,100 Six-Handed NLH event and had a big results from start to finish. Kelsall cashed seven times in the series including the win, two runners-up, and a third place finish.

The series was headlined by the SPS Championship which featured another $1,000,000 guarantee. It drew 778 entries and Mike Phillips defeated a tough final table to win the Championship title outright for $207,280.

Mike Phillips

Steve Trizis and Julio Delgado also won their second Tampa title and Joe Serock closed out the series with a nice day. He won a tough heads-up battle against Paul Snead to take the $3,500 Signature NLH title and finished second in the $600 Eight-Game Mix later in the day.

It’s always a great time in the Event Center when we can throw some huge tournaments. We would not be able to do it without our players; thank you for the tremendous turnout.

We hope to see you for the next big series with the 2023 Pinktober Poker Open only a few weeks away. Check the schedule below and pick some games.

2023 Pinktober Poker Open schedule

Full list of results and updates:

SPS Championship: Mike Phillips – $207,280
Event 1 ($400 NLH): Willie Wiggins – $163,290
Event 2 ($400 PLO): Doug Marro – $11,565
Event 3 ($400 PLO8): Nick Kost – $9,665
Event 4 ($400 Big O): William Clay – $8,000
Event 5 ($250 NLH): Ron Landy – $4,895
Event 6 ($400 NLH): Richard Saunders – $12,070
Event 7 ($1,100 NLH): Carl Coppola – $22,420
Event 8 ($400 Mixed PLO): David Prociak – $7,525
Event 9 ($200 NLH): James Tomblin – $28,850
Event 10 ($600 NLH): Shane Melert – $13,180
Event 11 ($1,100 Six-Handed): AJ Kelsall – $28,420
Event 12 ($2,200 NLH): Frank Brannan – $32,710
Event 13 ($400 O8): John Binns – $9,885
Event 15 ($400 T.O.E.): Charlie Wells – $6,460
Event 16 ($400 H.E.R.O.S.): Filippos Stavrakis – $6,245
Event 17 ($250 NLH): Julio Delgado – $6,955
Event 18 ($600 NLH): Tung Nguyen – $23,710
Event 19 ($1,100 NLH): Elliot Smith – $19,500
Event 20 ($400 Seniors): Steve Trizis – $16,930
Event 21 ($3,500 Signature): Joe Serock – $45,630
Event 22 ($250 NLH): Kevin Malick – $6,565
Event 23 ($200 NLH): Sam Mejad – $10,640
Event 24 ($600 8-Game): Tommy Hwang – $10,535
Event 25 ($180 NLH): Joel Deutsch – $1,910

Joel Deutsch Wins the Final Event of the SPS Series at Seminole Hard Rock Tampa

2023 Tampa Signature Poker Series
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
Tampa, Florida
Event 25
$180 Triple Stack NLHE (Re-Entry)
Entries: 74
Prize Pool: $10,730
September 19, 2023

Joel Deutsch

The final tournament at the SPS series ended in a chop seven ways to decide the title tonight with Joel Deutsch as the champion, He claimed the top prize of $1,910 along with the SPS guitar pick trophy for his efforts. The Seminole Hard Rock regular all over the state of Florida now holds above $780,000 in career tournament earnings.

Here is what he had to say right after the win to end the night, “It’s good, this was a nice series with the opener obviously [he][finished][in][sixth][place][for][$38,500], that was nicer, and then I took pleasure with this. It’s not a lot of money, but it’s nice.”

He continued, “I wish this series was a little longer with some bigger guarantees, I think they could pull it off since this is Florida. I just like the big openers, and big-field ones. I played the mixed one, it was a lot of fun, but I didn’t belong there.”

“I have two places with up here in Tampa, and close to home in Hollywood. My kids are in Hollywood, and I have a place here that’s 40 minutes away so I get really excited when they run a tournament series here. These days you don’t have to leave Florida, but I used to travel a lot. Florida is hot, so I don’t have to travel a lot. It’s tremendous, and plus my kids are here, it’s definitely very great, it’s beneficial,” said Deutsch to close out the interview about his affinity for the poker scene close to home here in Florida.

Final Results:

1st: Joel Deutsch – $1,910
2nd: Likang Berninger – $1,845
3rd: Christopher Placko – $1,640
4th: Mark Wiser – $1,485
5th: William Vedadi – $1,235
6th: Richard Glazier – $1,035
7th: Amol Dhaliwall – $470
8th: Ross Lebo – $430
9th: Lawrence Miles – $360
10th: Shane Dellus – $320

Tommy “Dragonfish” Hwang Wins the Eight-Game Mix on the Last Night at SPS

2023 Tampa Signature Poker Series
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
Tampa, Florida
Event 24
$600 Eight-Game Mix (Re-Entry)
Entries: 67
Prize Pool: $34,505
September 19, 2023

Tommy “Dragonfish” Hwang

The eight-game mixed tournament was a new addition to the tournament lineup tonight at the SPS series to close things out, and Tommy “Dragonfish” Hwang won the top prize of $10,535. Former World Poker Tour player of the year Joe Serock was gunning for his second trophy of the day after winning the High Roller earlier, but Hwang used his 2:1 chip advantage at the start of heads-up play to win the day. Hwang moved to Florida from Virginia for his retirement, and poker has become one of his hobbies that certainly proved profitable tonight.

Hwang was all smiles after the victory when we caught up with him for an exit interview. “To be honest, I wanted the trophy, so there was no discussion of chopping or anything. And I wanted to see what it would feel like to take down Joe Serock, who I knew was a long-time pro. I’ve heard of his name since probably 10 years ago,” said Hwang after the win,

Hwang continued, “I’m more of a poker fan, not a poker pro. I listen to all of the podcasts, and I follow all the news, I watch all the broadcasts, so I enjoy it from that perspective.”

“He doesn’t talk a lot, but he was enjoyable to play with. I think the whole tournament and final table were, and I normally try to liven it up with conversations and try to hold the same demeanor whether I’m up or I’m down. I was very short a couple times during the tournament, but you have fun,” said Hwang about his journey throughout the tournament today.

Final Results:

1st: Tommy “Dragonfish” Hwang – $10,535 + SPS Trophy
2nd: Joe Serock – $6,810
3rd: Nicholas Zivolich – $4,530
4th: Elias Nassif – $3,110
5th: Stephanie Behanic – $2,190
6th: Josh Kinch – $1,590
7th: Gregory Josephson –  $1,200
8th: Brian Ulich – $1,200

9th: Stephen Allen – $930
10th: David Moreno – $930

11th: Anthony Askey – $740
12th: Filippos Stavrakis – $740

Sam Majed Wins Event 23 for One of the Last Three Trophies on the Final Night at the SPS Series

2023 Tampa Signature Poker Series
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
Tampa, Florida
Event 23
$200 One-Day $50K NLH (Re-Entry)
Entries: 293
Prize Pool: $50,000
September 19, 2023

Sam Majed

Sam Majed took home one of the last SPS guitar pick trophies in Event 23 tonight in a final match that some him holding a better than 2:1 chip advantage against Michael Tweedlie. Majed won the top prize worth $10,640 after topping the field of 293 entries.

We caught up with him after the win, and here were his first thoughts after play ended, “It feels great, it’s been a really long grind, and it’s been good to find those tournaments that played big, and award big at the end. This is a really big prize pool for a $200. It’s a result of really long and hard work.”

“Yeah of course, it’s going to be my first trophy so I will start the collection from there,” said Majed when he was asked about finding a spot at home for the trophy.

Majed has played a bunch of events over the course of the tournament series, and this was his impression on the experience, “Overall this is great, the staff is amazing, and the dealers are great. They were all on point and so professional.”

“It was the aces against A-K suited. I ran really hot through the final table, and I just kept catching hands. Aces against A-K, and it was for probably like 500,000, that one was big,” said Majed about the most pivotal hand that led to his victory.

Final Results:

1st: Sam Majed – $10,640 + SPS Trophy
2nd: Michael Tweedlie – $7,080
3rd: Branden Rosario – $5,160
4th: Anthony Askey – $3,810
5th: Mark Kingsland – $2,850
6th: Rhett Van Leeuwen – $2,160
7th: George Hortelano – $1,660
8th: Sanjib Acharya – $1,300

9th: Chase Besuden – $1,030
10th: Jason Durant – $1,030

11th: Ryan Wuebbels – $840
12th: James Bates – $840

13th: Billy Papadopoloulos – $700
14th: Oran Haynes – $700

15th: Marcus Carter – $590
16th: Daniel Lobato – $590

17th: Anderson Premdas – $510
18th: Joseph Steven – $510
19th: Michael Reynolds – $510
20th: Edgardo Rosario Figueroa – $510

21st: Liam Hagens – $450
22nd: April Wilmoth – $450
23rd: Christopher Perry – $450
24th: Mark Elliman – $450

25th: David Tanner – $410
26th: Ray St. Jacques Carrion – $410
27th: Ryan Luker – $410
28th: Longyi Wen – $410
29th: Haley Taylor-Pappalarado – $410
30th: Mark Picarazzi – $410
31st: Duff Charette – $410
32nd: Ramon Gonzalez – $410

33rd: Scott Thompson – $380
34th: Bradley Grossman – $380
35th: Pedro Vega – $380
36th: Daniel Zucker – $380
37th: William Vedadi – $190
38th: Asif Mohammed – $190

Event 25: Final Table Seating Chart with Chip Counts

$180 Triple Stack NLH (Re-Entry)
$10,000 Guaranteed | Structure
Level 17:  6,000/12,000 with a 12,000 ante

Here is a look at the current final table seating chart with chip counts in the final event on the tournament schedule.

Seat 1: Bud Wiser – 385,000
Seat 2: Ross Lebo – 176,000
Seat 3: Amol Dhaliwal – 107,000
Seat 4: Joel Deutsch – 340,000
Seat 5: William Vedadi – 198,000
Seat 6: Likang Berninger – 548,000
Seat 7: Rich Glazier – 147,000
Seat 8: Christopher Placko – 236,000

Results Update:

9th: Lawrence Miles – $360
10th: Shane Dellus – $320


Event 24: Results Update

$600 Eight-Game Mix (Re-Entry)
Structure Payouts
Level 20:  25,000/50,000 Limits
Players Remaining: 4 of 67 entries

Here is a look at the recent run of results in Event 24.

5th: Stephanie Behanic – $2,190
6th: Josh Kinch – $1,590
7th: Gregory Josephson –  $1,200
8th: Brian Ulich – $1,200
9th: Stephen Allen – $930
10th: David Moreno – $930
11th: Anthony Askey – $740
12th: Filippos Stavrakis – $740

Event 23: Final Table Seating Chart with Chip Counts

$200 One-Day $50K NLH (Re-Entry)
$50,000 Guaranteed | Structure Payouts
Level 23:  20,000/40,000 with a 40,000 ante

Here is a look at the final table seating chart with chip counts for Event 23.

Seat 1: Mike Tweedlie – 1,473,000
Seat 2: Chase Besuden – 190,000
Seat 3: Rhet Van Leeuwen – 1,330,000
Seat 4: Sam Majed – 440,000
Seat 5: MarkKingsland – 415,000
Seat 6: George Hortelano – 526,000
Seat 7: Anthony Askey – 615,000
Seat 8: Branden Rosario – 690,000
Seat 9: Achayra Sanjib – 171,000

Event 24: Final Table Seating Chart with Chip Counts

$600 Eight-Game Mix (Re-Entry)
Structure Payouts
Level 18:  15,000/30,000 Limits
Players Remaining: 6 of 67 entries

Here is a look at the seating chart with chip counts for the final table of Event 24. Two interesting story lines running tonight with Joe Serock looking for his second SPS guitar pick trophy of the night, and Nick Zivolich looking for another 8-game mixed title after winning the same event at Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood a few weeks back.

Seat 1: Tommy “Dragonfish” Hwang – 345,000
Seat 2: Stephanie Behanic – 154,000
Seat 3: Joe Serock – 670,000
Seat 4: Josh Kinch – 85,000
Seat 5: Elias Nassif – 260,000
Seat 6: Nick Zivolich – 408,000.