Hard Rock Destinations

Press Room

Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Announces Winner of the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown $5 Million Guaranteed Championship

Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Announces Winner of the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown $5 Million Guaranteed Championship

 HOLLYWOOD, Fla. (April 23, 2015) – Griffin Paul of Northridge, Calif. walked away with $1,000,000 after winning first place in the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown $5 Million Guaranteed Championship televised final table held Wednesday, April 22 at Hard Rock Live at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Hollywood. Runner up Joe Ebanks of Kent, OH walked away with $615,000.

The $3,500 buy-in $5 million guaranteed Championship showcase event ran April 16 – April 22, 2015 featuring 30,000 in starting tournament chips and three starting flights that drew 1,476 entries.

Ebanks began heads up play with a 2-to-1 advantage but Paul quickly doubled up to take the lead, and inevitably the title along with $1,000,000.

The WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown was Paul’s biggest poker success to date. When commenting about the play, Paul said “It’s like a dream, I’m speechless. It was a really tough table. I fought some amazing players and here I am.” He continues, “Last night was the first time I stayed at Seminole Hard Rock. It’s an amazing property with great staff.”

The play down pace was quick and did not take long for Joe Ebanks, Griffin Paul, Brian Green, Shawn Nguyen, Andre Crooks and Ryan Rivers to claim their seat at the nationally-televised final table. Six-handed play lasted for two hours before heating up. Rivers was the first off the final table after losing to Ebanks, with Green following at the hands of Paul. Nguyen lasted another hour before being eliminated by Paul. Crooks was ahead with pocket Kings against Ebanks’ pocket Nines, but a Nine on the flop ended his day. His knockout set up a heads up battle between Ebanks and Paul for the title.

Final table results:

1st: Griffin Paul (Northridge, CA) – $1,000,000

2nd: Joe Ebanks (Kent, OH) – $615,000

3rd: Andre Crooks (Lake Worth, FL) – $383,000

4th: Shawn Nguyen (West Palm Beach, FL) – $323,500

5th: Brian Green (Decatur, TX) – $269,000

6th: Ryan Rivers (Niagara Falls, ON) – $217,500

A wide range of poker professionals, champions and Seminole Hard Rock Poker regulars joined the Championship action. Taking their shot at the title were WSOP Main Event Champions Ryan Riess (2013), Jonathan Duhamel (2010), Jamie Gold (2006) and Carlos Mortensen (2001) who played alongside local grinders Ory Hen, Nigel Murray, Angel Vu and Gregory Marcus.

The 17-day series featured several major buy-in events, attracting some of the best poker players in the world. The $1 million guaranteed tournament, the largest before the Championship, featured a $1.2 million prize pool and 2,474 entrants. The $570 tournament played out over six starting flights from Thursday, April 9 – Monday, April 13. The resort’s ballrooms housed a packed field each day with poker pros and locals at the tables. Tristan Wade, Stewart Newman and Mike Beasley were just a few of the professional players to finish near the top. Leonard Benitez outlasted Richard Zipes and Sam Panzica, earning the first place title, along with $113,000.

On Tuesday, April 14 and Wednesday, April 15, the $2,200 buy-in, Six Max No Limit Hold’em $200,000 guaranteed tournament, had a star-studded field that drew 125 entries with a total prize pool of $250,000. The final day of the tournament featured 13 players with more than $31 million in career earnings and titles won all over the world. Jonathan Duhamel, Anthony Zinno, Zo Karim, Joe Kuether and Barry Hutter were all in contention for first place. World Champion Ryan Riess inevitably took the title after a long, three-player battle.

The WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown final table broadcast information will be released at a later date. For a recap of the series, or to follow upcoming series, visit www.SHRPO.com; Follow us on Twitter at @SHRPO, Hashtag #SHRPO.