The high-stakes tournament poker world had a few weeks off in the wake of the action-packed summer schedule centered around the World Series of Poker. After this brief break in play, the high roller regulars of the world have reconvened at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood for a number of big buy-in events.
The first on the schedule at the 2022 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open was the $25,500 buy-in pot-limit Omaha event. A total of 52 entries were made in the event by the time registration officially closed, building a prize pool of $1,284,400 that was ultimately paid out among the top eight finishers.
After two days of nosebleed tournament PLO action, Melad Marji emerged victorious with the title and the top prize of $443,118. This was the South Florida resident’s largest-ever live score, topping the $261,652 he earned as the fourth-place finisher in the 2016 WSOP $10,000 pot-limit Omaha championship event. Marji now has more than $1.2 million in career scores to his name.
“It’s a dream come true,” Marji told the SHRPO blog after coming out on top. “Absolutely nothing less than a dream come true. I worked hard for this.”
In addition to the title and the money, Marji also earned 420 Card Player Player of the Year points as the champion of this event. This was his fourth POY-qualified final-table finish of the year, all coming in some variant of PLO. Marji also scored 266 PokerGO Tour points for the win.
The second and final day began with just eight players remaining, with Andriy Lyubovetskiy’s elimination in the early hours of the morning having burst the money bubble to bring day 1 to its conclusion. Dom Mosley bagged up the biggest stack, thanks in part to his being the player to send Lyubovetskiy to the rail at the end of the night.
Mosley further added to his stack by knocking out David Coleman early on day 2. Coleman committed most of his stack preflop with A-Q-J-9 with a suited ace. Mosley had pocket kings with a suit. The flop brought a pair of sixes and a four. Coleman’s remaining chips went in with him in rough shape. The turn brought a second diamond to give Coleman the nut flush draw and a pair of jacks. The river was a blank, though, and Coleman was sent home with $44,954 for his eighth-place showing.
Jordan Semel was the next to fall. Semel got all-in preflop with pocket aces with a single suit, facing the pocket kings with a single suit for Mosley. The board brought Mosley’s diamonds to send the pot his way, while Semel earned $51,376 as the seventh-place finisher. This was the largest tournament score of his career.
2019 World Poker Tour Aria Summer Championship main event winner Matthew Wantman’s run in this event came to an end when his AQ94 was unable to beat out the AK52 of 2022 WSOP main event third-place finisher Michael Duek. The board brought quad deuces for Duek to see Wantman eliminated in sixth place ($64,220). The score saw him increase his lifetime live tournament earnings to nearly $3.4 million.
On the very next deal, Lev Zerkal found himself all-in and at risk after a 10109 flop with J955 for tens and nines. He was up against the KQJ5 of 2022 Wynn Millions main event runner-up Isaac Kempton. The 8 on the turn completed Kempton’s wrap draw, giving him a queen-straight which remained best after a blank hit the river. Zerkal, whose only other recorded score also came in a high buy-in PLO tournament, earned a career-best $83,486 as the fifth-place finisher.
Duek scored a double-up through Kempton that left the latter at the bottom of the leaderboard. Kempton soon committed the majority of his stack preflop with KK102. He was facing the QJ96 of Melad Marji, which hit the J108 flop hard. Kempton shoved the last of his stack with his overpair of kings and was quickly called by Marji and his queen-high straight. The 6 turn and 5 river were no help to Kempton and he was eliminated in fourth place ($122,018).
It took nearly two hours for the next knockout to arrive. Mosley got all of his chips in preflop, three-bet shoving from the big blind with AK103 over the button open of Duek, who called with JJ87. The board came down K98JK to give Duek jacks full for the win. Mosley took home $179,816 for his third-place showing, the largest live tournament payday of his career. The score increased his lifetime earnings to nearly $1.3 million.
Heads-up play began with Marji holding just better than a 3:2 chip lead over Duek. The two battled it out for more than an hour and a half. Duek held the lead at one point, but Marji was able to battle his way back into the ascendancy in time for the final hand of the tournament. Duek raised to 300,000 from the button with KJ95 and Marji announced ‘pot’ from the big blind with AAA8. Duek moved all-in and Marji made the quick call. The K73410 runout saw Duek pick up a pair and a flush draw, but a blank on the river kept Marji’s pocket aces ahead.
Duek earned $295,412 and 350 POY points for his third major score of the year. The 23-year-old venture capitalist from Aventura, Florida kicked off his incredible summer with a cash in the $25,000 buy-in pot-limit Omaha high roller at the series. He then made it down to the final three in the $10,000 PLO championship at the series, earning $548,015 and 1,400 for his strong showing in that event. Duek then managed to finish third from a field of 8,663 entries in the WSOP main event, earning $4,000,000 and 2,200 points. With three final-table finishes, 3,950 total points, and more than $4.8 million in year-to-date POY earnings, Duek now sits in seventh place in the 2022 POY standings.
Duek also earned 177 PGT points, enough to move him into fifth place on that leaderboard. He now has nearly $5 million in lifetime earnings despite only making the money ten times so far in his live tournament career.
Here is a look at the payouts and rankings points awarded at the final table:
|Place||Player||Earnings||POY Points||PGT Points|
Photo credits: SHRPO Blog.