Martin Kozlov Wins SHRPO 2017 Championship, John Andress Proves ‘Chip and a Chair’ Theory Once More

Earlier this week, the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino completed its 18-event 2017 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open (SHRPO) series in South Florida. Among the highlights was “The Big Four,” four final tables simultaneously live streamed worldwide.

From top clockwise: Martin Kozlov wins SHRPO Championship, John Andress takes down $25K High Roller, Alex Foxen celebrates win in Event #12, and Brian Altman closes out $1,100 NLHE. (Image: SHRPO)

Kozlov Becomes SHRPO Champ

The highlight of “The Big Four” was the $5,250 SHRPO Championship tournament that drew 887 entries and surpassed the $3 million guarantee by creating a $4,301,950 prize pool. No doubt a big relief to organizers, as the SHRPO had missed several guarantees in the past, including the biggest overlay in poker history ($2.5 million) back in 2014.

It took more than 13 hours of play at the final table for Martin Kozlov to come out on top, which was good for $754,083. And it turns out his wife was instrumental in getting his mind back in the game, which should be good for some extra-nice holiday trinkets.

“Five handed I didn’t have many chips at all, and I was a bit tilted on break,” he told reporters after his win. “I was talking to my wife, and I was like, ‘What am I going to do now. There’s not much left, I’m going to have to win a couple of all ins.’ And then I came back and won every all in, and now I’ve won the tournament.”

Final Table Results
1 Martin Kozlov $754,083
2 Dylan Drazen $528,322
3 Matt Berkey $341,618
4 Yi Chi Li $252,481
5 Michael Aron $191,437
6 Aaron Mermelstein $152,547
7 Adam Levy $126,305
8 Luke Brererton $100,408
9 Joe Kuether $75,413

Historic High Roller Comeback

The latest $25,500 High Roller ended up being the largest-ever in SHRPO’s four-year history with 117 entrants, which easily surpassed the $2 million guarantee by creating a $2,925,000 prize pool. With 17 players remaining, which was the money bubble, John Andress was down to less than a big blind.

He even folded jacks from the small blind after Matt Glantz raised the button with what turned out to be pocket queens. The 29-year-old Andress was hoping someone else would bubble, which they did. Amazingly, he proceeded to spin it up and wound up winning the whole thing for a career-high $801,450.

“Two orbits later, I had 800,000,” he said in his post-victory interview. “I was just happy to be at the final table. Things went pretty well.”

The defending champ, Marvin Rettenmaier, who last year spoke to CardsChat after his win, finished 14th in his title defense for $61,425.

Final Table Results
1 John Andress $801,450
2 Mike Leah $561,600
3 Brandon Adams $351,000
4 Chris Hunichen $242,775
5 Tom Marchese $155,025
6 Omar Zazay $114,075
7 Chance Kornuth $93,600
8 Sam Panzica $78,975

Rounding Out the Big Four

Over in Event #12: $2,650 No-Limit Hold’em Freezeout, the only tournament in “The Big Four” not to make its guarantee, Alex Foxen finished as the last player standing in a field of 395 runners to win $204,600. Like Andress, Foxen made an impressive comeback after being down to less than two big blinds with 20 players left.

“I feel like I’m playing the best I ever have,” Foxen said. “And I hope to keep it going. I’ve been putting a lot of work into the game for a long time and that’s made a big difference in my game.”

Final Table Results
1 Alex Foxen $204,600
2 Charles Gomez $143,340
3 Jason Koon $92,150
4 Paul Balzano $61,550
5 Jack Duong $47,350
6 Faraz Jaka $39,250
7 Darryl Ronconi $32,950
8 Tom Thomas $26,700
9 Jacquelyn Scott $20,460

In Event #10: $1,100 No-Limit Hold’em, a tournament that drew 633 entrants, Brian Altman came out on top to capture an $118,157 top prize. It marked the second major victory for Altman at the venue after he won the 2015 WPT Seminole Hard Rock Lucky Hearts Poker Open for $723,008.

“I’ve always loved coming down here to Seminole Hard Rock,” said Altman. “I’ve had success here in the past and the Big 4 set up in really cool. There’s electricity in the air, it’s cool to be a part of.”

Final Table Results
1 Brian Altman $118,157
2 Phong Nguyen $82,834
3 Marc MacDonnell $53,349
4 Nigel Murray $38,581
5 Jewook Oh $29,605
6 Nick Ahmadi $23,782
7 Nick Chiappetta $19,762
8 Joe Kuether $15,749
9 Phil Rigby $11,818

Finally, while “The Big Four” was playing out inside Hard Rock Live, the one-day Event #17 $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em was held inside the tournament ballroom. That event drew 118 entries and saw Alexander Turyansky emerged victorious after 16 hours of play.

Turyansky, who had finished 17th in the SHRPO Championship for $40,094, is perhaps best known for bubbling the 2015 World Series of Poker November Nine for $756,897. He earned $334,176 for his SHRPO win, defeating Bryn Kenney in heads-up play.

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