The Third Rail: High Roller round up from WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown and WSOPC UK

It’s been a quiet month on the high roller front. Let’s call it the calm before the Triton Poker Series Montenegro storm. The Poker Gods are up there sharpening forks of lightning and creating boom boxes full of thunder. The greatest players in the world are in the starting blocks, finding traction, hearts beating in anticipation of another chance to create history. 

Until then….

The World Poker Tour (WPT) may have failed in their bid to create a home for High Rollers when the Alpha8 dream collapsed and drowned beneath a wave of something devastating, but they are slowly adding more $25,000+ events in conjunction with casino partners. 

The WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown in Hollywood had two such events. Elio Fox defended his title in the $50,000, $1m GTD No-Limit Hold’em Super High Roller. Fox conquered a field of 20-entrants to bank the $440,000 first prize, five fewer than when he won this title in August. 

Elio Fox

The win was Fox’s sixth live tournament victory in $10,000+ events since he re-emerged on the live tournament scene since winning his second gold bracelet in the summer, as well as finishing runner-up to Nick Petrangelo in the $100,000 No-Limit Hold’em event in the same series. 

Here are the ITM results.

ITM Results

  1. Elio Fox – $440,000
  2. Sam Soverel – $260,000
  3. Alex Foxen – $180,000
  4. Ali Imsirovic – $120,000

$25,500, $2m GTD No-Limit Hold’em High Roller

Poker Central High Roller of the Year, Sam Soverel, Global Poker Index (GPI) World #1, Alex Foxen, and the Poker Master, Ali Imsirovic, also cashed in the $25,500, $2m GTD No-Limit Hold’em High Roller.

Foxen went the furthest, losing to the eventual winner, Aaron Mermelstein, in heads-up action. Foxen has had a bright start to 2019, making eight final tables in live tournaments asking for $10,000+. And yet he hasn’t crossed the finishing line, making it to the last three places, on four separate occasions.

It’s there, around the corner.

The victory was Mermelstein’s first at these stakes, and the first time he has cashed in a $10,000+ buy-in event outside of the WSOP Main Event. The two-time WPT Main Event champion picked up $618,955 for the win, but it wasn’t his most significant score. That came in 2015 when he defeated 989-entrants to win the $3,500 WPT Borgata Winter Open for $712,305.

ITM Results

  1. Aaron Mermelstein – $618,955
  2. Alex Foxen – $545,000
  3. Joe McKeehen – $305,665
  4. James Calderaro – $210,295
  5. Shannon Shorr – $136,935
  6. Niall Farrell – $100,255
  7. Alan Schein – $83,140
  8. George Adams – $70,915
  9. Ben Yu – $68,470
  10. Sean Winter – $66,025
  11. Andjelko Andrejevic – $63,580
  12. Sam Soverel – $61,135
  13. Ali Imsirovic – $58,690
  14. Rainer Kempe – $56,240

$3,500, $3m GTD WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown Main Event

The WPT do things a tad different these days. Main Event players that have generated enough heat to set fire to a forest have to cooldown as they wait for the final table to play out at the HyperX Esports Arena in the Luxor Hotel & Casino on the Las Vegas Strip.

The $3,500, $3m GTD WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown Main Event is one such event. It attracted 1,360-entrants, and one player who frequents the High Rollers had made the final table. 

Maria Ho sits second in chips behind the WPT Champions Club member, James Carroll. Ho is in fine form. She became a WPTDeepStacks Champion in October after beating 387-entrants to win the $69,166 first prize, and since then she has had a deep run in the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA) Main Event (29th), and beaten Kristen Bicknell, heads-up, to win a $25,000 High Roller during the WPT LAPC for $276,690. Also, Ho won the Broadcaster of the Year award at the Global Poker Awards, so if poker doesn’t work out, she can still feed Rainer. 

The final table reconvenes on Thursday, May 30.

Final Table

Seat 1: Maria Ho – 16,650,000
Seat 2: Chad Eveslage – 3,350,000
Seat 3: Jerry Wong – 3,225,000
Seat 4: Eric Afriat – 4,425,000
Seat 5: Ami Alibay – 8,175,000
Seat 6: James Carroll – 18,525,000


1st. $715,175*
2nd. $465,120
3rd. $344,960
4th. $257,815
5th. $194,610
6th. $148,380
*Includes a seat in the $15,000 Tournament of Champions

High Rollers who carried a cross deep into this one included Erik Seidel (35th), Aaron Mermelstein (53rd), Niall Farrell (55th), Robert Mizrachi (57th), Seth Davies (64th), Darren Elias (89th), Anthony Zinno (96th) and Brian Hastings (139th).

The Best of the Seminole Rest

Brian Altman made the final table of the $5,000 No-Limit Hold’em finishing seventh, and then went on to win both the $1,100 No-Limit Hold’em Six-Max, and the $1,650 No-Limit Hold’em Purple Chip Bounty for approx. $100k in total. Altman is currently the leader of the Global Poker Index (GPI) Player of the Year race. 

The Irishman, Gavin O’Rourke, had a fine festival, winning two events, despite a whole host of High Rollers on his coattails in the  $2,200 No-Limit Hold’em 8-Handed event, with Jake Schindler (4th), Elio Fox (5th), Niall Farrell (14th) and the former NFL star, Richard Seymour (21st) running deep.

Ben Yu finished 5/56 in the $2,200 Pot-Limit Omaha Deep Stack event, and Kristen Bicknell (6th) and Brian Altman (7th) both made the final table of the $5,000 No-Limit Hold’em. 

World Series of Poker Circuit UK – Dusk till Dawn

The World Series of Poker Circuit (WSOPC) in Dusk till Dawn, Nottingham, UK, didn’t have any $25,000+ buy-in events on the schedule, but there was one high roller who turned up, unperturbed. 

Orpen Kisacikoglu was the star of the show cashing in three events, and winning one. The Turkish High Roller finished 57/1737 in the £330 No-Limit Hold’em Colossus, 20/1023 in the £1,100 World Series of Poker Circuit (WSOPC) Main Event, but he saved his best for the £5,300 No-Limit Hold’em High Roller.

The event attracted 31-entrants, and Kisacikoglu beat Sam Trickett in heads-up action to win the £90,000 first prize. It’s a significant milestone for the Turkish star as it’s only his second live tour win, and his first in two years, after winning a $10k event at the PokerStars Championships in Panama (beating a final table housing Adrian Mateos, Koray Aldemir, Mike McDonald and Michael Watson). 

Kisacikoglu made 11 final tables in High Roller events in 2018 without booking a win. 

The only other WSOPC UK event that saw several High Rollers float towards the top of the pile was the £2,200 No-Limit Hold’em High Roller. The former World Series of Poker Europe (WSOPE) Main Event winner, Jack Sinclair, finished third, Paul Newey finished sixth, and although he isn’t a High Roller, he does put enough food on their table, so it’s worth mentioning that partypoker MD, Tom Waters, finished 10th. The event attracted 104-entrants.