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Maria Ho produces in Poker Showdown in Florida

Fri, Apr 19, 12:19pm by Staff Writer

The big events are in the books at the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown in Florida, Poker News is reporting.

Two marquee events wrapped up play on Tuesday at the Hollywood venue, with the Championship reduced to six players and the $25,000 High Roller crowning a winner.

The Championship drew 1,360 entries and is down to a final six in contention for the $700,000 plus first prize.

The headliner of that group is Maria Ho, a popular player and sometime commentator who has put together more than $3 million in tournament casinos, but has found a major title elusive.

She sits second in the counts with more than 100 big blinds, trailing only James Carroll.

Mermelstein and Foxen go at it

In the $25,000 event, two-timer World Poker Tour champion Aaron Mermelstein topped a field of 99 entries to snag $618,955 after flattening out payouts heads up against Alex Foxen.

The $3,500 World Poker Tour Showdown Championship sported a hefty guarantee of $3 million, but the event easily eclipsed that mark, surpassing $4.3 million in the prize pool with its 1,360 entries across a couple of starting days.

There would be 170 places paid with Matt Waxman, Dylan Linde, Sam Panzica, Anthony Zinno, Darren Elias and Erik Seidel among the many notables in the money.

Former NFL star Richard Seymour made a deep run into the final day, but petered out in 15th place.

Seymour dwindled to six big blinds and then ripped in with an ace and six of spades but couldn’t overcome the ace and 10 of diamonds of Ami Alibay, despite flopping two pair as Alibay flopped top two.

The $29,690 is Seymour’s third biggest cash and 15th is his highest placing in a World Poker Tour Main Event, beating his 18th place at Five Diamond in 2016.

By the time the tournament reached the final table, Carroll held a sizable lead after getting big value against Ryan D’Angelo with ace-king on an ace-high board.

Ho would take D’Angelo’s last few blinds with eights against ace-king to reduce the field to eight.

Two time WPT champ Eric Afriat was one card from elimination with just two outs when he got tens in against kings but found himself hitting a life-saving ten on the river to survive.

He was nearly out the door against a little while after that, but made his flush on the river to survive.

$25,000 High Roller

Players toasted in the Main Event by April 15 had the opportunity for some smaller stakes redemption in the form of the $25,000 High Roller with a $2 million guaranteed prize pool.

The mark was eclipsed once again as 99 entries turned out to push the prize up to $2.4 million.

16 players made it to day two, with 14 places paid.

Ray Qartomy and Jonathan Jaffe would be the unfortunate pair bricking the payouts, the latter busting on the bubble when he five-bet ripped king-jack of clubs into Alex Foxen’s kings.

By the time the final table of nine was reached, nobody had much of a stack as everyone had under 40 big blinds.

That changed early on when Joe McKeehen coolered Brandon Adams with aces over ace-king to surge past 60 big blinds and send Adams out in eighth.

Mermelstein picked up some momentum with six left and busted Niall Farrell with nines over ace-queen in a large flip to get just under 50 bigs.

It was down to Foxen and Mermelstein and it was Mermelstein who prevailed, winning $618,955.

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