Dolan right at home with latest victory

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With a comfortable spot on the schedule, the Seminole Coconut Creek Casino got its opening event of the CoCo Poker Open under way three weeks after the conclusion of the Hard Rock Poker Open in Hollywood.

A respectable 984 players ponied up the $350 buy-in during the five starting flights and the tourney easily passed its $250K guarantee with Steven McCoy of Birmingham, Ala., taking home $42K for first place.

The 12-day series proceeded smoothly into the main event, which carried a $1 million guarantee with its $2,500 buy-in and three opening-day sessions.

In the end, it was a recognizable Florida native, John Dolan of Bonita Springs (Ante Up’s 2012 Player of the Year), who bested 418 players to earn the trophy and $219K after agreeing to an uneven chop with Ray “Skip” McDonough of Jupiter and Bruce Snell of Okeechobee.

Those two players agreed to accept $150K during the Monday night late break, as Dolan’s 4-million chip count held a solid lead on McDonough (2.4M) and Snell (2M).

For Dolan, now living in Biloxi with his wife and 2-year-old daughter, this victory is another in a string of six-figure paydays since finishing sixth in the 2010 November Nine, when he collected a life-changing $1.77M.

They include a victory at the 2012 Million Dollar Heater Main Event in his adopted hometown, but three others have come in South Florida. A second-place finish at the WPT Showdown in Hollywood netted him $459K in April 2012, then he finished fourth at the Hard Rock’s $10M guarantee in August to collect another $548K. Now this win in Coconut Creek, which pushes him past $4M in career earnings, caused him to joke, “I might never leave Florida.”

This event drew most of South Florida’s biggest names and as the final day started with 27 players left, it looked like a marquee name would capture the title. One did, but not before Jason Mercier went out in 22nd place, followed to the rail by Mike Beasley in 17th, Noah Schwartz in 15th and Abbey Daniels in 13th. Miami’s Hans Winzeler, the leader for much of Day 2, made the final table, but was eliminated in fourth for $70K.
Next up for the area is the Rock ‘N’ Roll Poker Open in Hollywood with its $3,500 main event, which sports a $2M guarantee Nov. 28-Dec. 3. The series kicks off Nov. 13 at the Seminole Hard Rock. The Seminoles also announced the Lucky Hearts series, which will be a part of the World Poker Tour’s Season XIII, will start Jan. 22 and will be played in Hollywood. The 2014 edition was won by Matt Giannetti in February at Coconut Creek.

BETTING FOR JUSTICE: Be sure to stop by and say hello as I help host the third annual Betting For Justice charity tournament benefitting Legal Services of Greater Miami and is presented by the Miami Poker Society.
LSGMI is a non-profit organization that provides legal aid to those in need and is entrenched in helping the Miami-Dade community.

The tournament will be Nov. 2 at the Hard Rock poker room in Hollywood, with cards in the air at 1 p.m. The $150 event gives you 7,500 units with special opportunities for add-ons. Prize money and several great prizes will be awarded to those who reach the final table, and there will be a nice trophy for the winner and the pro lasting the longest.

Some of the prizes on the line include gift certificates to some of Miami’s finest restaurants and clubs, along with autographed music memorabilia.

Entrants will have a chance to compete with some of South Florida’s elite poker pros as early commitments include Anthony “Boston Tony” Ruberto, Nigel Murray, Michael Ortiz, Michael Tait, Juan Mubarak and Zoltan Czinkota. I won’t include myself in the same sentence with these great players, but you may have an opportunity to knock me out, which shouldn’t be too difficult.

For more information, go to lsgmi.org.

DANIA POKER: The poker room at Dania Casino and Jai-Alai wrapped up poker business in late September as a lack of players and employees put an end to play a couple of weeks early.

“The lights are on, but nobody’s home,” said one patron as he peered through the glass walls at the empty poker tables. Several slot machines had been removed and the casino’s last day was posted as Oct. 13. Owners said a renovation will commence soon and hope to reopen in about 14 months.

— Email Dave at bigdave@pokeractionline.com.