Margereson wins Hard Rock Showdown in South Florida


Ante Up Magazine Southern Poker

The eighth edition of the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Showdown wrapped up April 19 as the Scott Margereson got his name on the WPT Champions Cup for the first time, collecting nearly $697K.

He defeated 1,308 opponents over the course of five days, finishing off a tough final table after a lengthy three-hour heads-up struggle with Faraz Jaka, who won $454K-plus. Two-time WSOP bracelet-winner Brian Hastings finished third, while Joey Couden, Matt Stout and Jeff Fielder rounded out the TV final table.

Margereson, a well-known online U.K. player who lives in Mexico, also took home a $15K seat in the season-ending WPT Tournament of Champions. The field competed in the resort’s new Hard Rock Events Center and was the fifth largest in WPT history, pushing the prize pool to nearly $4.2M.

Tournament director Tony Burns was pleased with the turnout, despite direct competition from the Live Millions tournament in Barcelona.

“With the new venue, we really didn’t know what to expect, but the opening event, with its million-dollar guarantee, drew 3,030 players and the top four players took home six-figure scores. … The $1,100 WPT DeepStacks event, which we absorbed after the original was canceled by Hurricane Irma in our Immokalee facility last September, drew more than 800 players and then we slid into our main event with 1,309 entries, which surpassed last year’s main by over 100 players.”
The Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open will be Aug. 2-14.

ISLE CASINO: The Full House Promotion started in May and is offered Thursday and Friday 7-10 p.m. The promotion is open-ended and may run throughout June. Up to 30 full houses are awarded each night and prizes vary with different categories. For example, in $1-$2 games, 10 winners receive $50 for any full house, 10 more can win $100 for better hands featuring 10s full through kings full, and an additional 10 can add $200 to their stack for an aces-full hand. The largest prize is $400 for an aces-full at a $5-$10 table. Players must use both hole cards to qualify.

The Pompano Beach cardroom has two big tournaments each month, one with a $200K guarantee for a $1,100 buy-in and another with a $175 buy-in featuring a $100K guarantee. Ben Lindemulder of Pompano Beach won April’s $1,100 Single Ante title over a tough final table, collecting $56K-plus. Previous Isle champs Uri Kadosh and Darryl Jace finished in the money along with former November Niner Neil Blumenfield.

May’s $175 event finished May 6 in a six-way chop, headed by Stephen Ibrahim of Ft. Myers, who collected the largest payoff of $16,170.

PBKC: High-hand mania has been a big part of the poker scene in South Florida for a long time and it can be difficult to keep up with who is giving away at a certain time and on a certain day. Palm Beach Kennel Club has upped the ante a bit by having high hands awarded three times an hour from noon to 10 p.m.: $200 at 20 minutes after, another $200 at 40 minutes and $400 at the top of each hour. Then, on Fridays and Saturdays on an identical schedule, those awards are doubled, meaning you have the possibility of winning $800 with a high hand in the last 20 minutes of each hour 10 times each day.

Central Florida

The Silks Poker Room at Tampa Bay Downs is gearing up for its popular Summer Series, welcoming the WSOP players back to town.

Beginning July 12 and culminating July 22 with the main event’s final day, this series will boast $200K-plus in guarantees, including $125K for the $400 main event. Some highlights of the series: a $50K guarantee kickoff event for $175 with Day 2 on July 15; a $160 seniors event July 17 at 1 p.m.; a charity tourney with dinner to benefit the Jesse Heikkila Foundation on July 17; a $230 bounty event with $100 knockouts July 18 at 6 p.m. and several satellites throughout the series (last chance July 19).

The will have five Day 1s (July 19 at 6, two flights at 1 and 6 p.m. on July 20 and 21). Players start with 25K units and blinds on Day 1 are 30 minutes and 40 minutes on Day 2. 

OCALA GAINESVILLE POKER: The Reddick room began its OGP League on May 10. The season runs for 12 weeks and points are awarded for all kinds of accomplishments. The $65 buy-in starts at 7 p.m. and rebuys are allowed until the end of the first break. Call 352-591-2345 for details.

HELPING OUT: Those who are familiar with the Tampa poker scene know the dealers in the area are so personable. Those who play daily find their favorites and two of those dealers are Stephanie Durczak-Behanic and Debbie Ulm. Sadly, these two fine dealers recently were diagnosed with cancer. So some local dealers from Derby Lane in St. Petersburg organized an event at TGT Poker in Tampa to help with their medical bills and other expenses. The reaction was better than expected as more than 100 entrants in the tournament raised nearly $3K.

North Florida

North Florida was home to two widely attended tournament series in late April. Here’s a look at those fine events.

BESTBET JACKSONVILLE: Benjamin Diebold, 24, collected $75,655 and the CPPT title in the $1,100 championship main event. Diebold, of Charleston, S.C., defeated runner-up Phillip Pompper ($53K) to take the title. Diebold is a PLO cash-game specialist but plans to play more tournaments as a result of this impressive win. There were 373 players entered and created a prize pool of $361,810.

The other 12 events in the series drew 1,478 entries and awarded nearly $500K.

In June, bestbetjax will host a $100K guarantee for $360 (June 22-24) with two flights Friday and two Saturday and the final on Sunday.

Also, see the ad in this issue to learn about bestbet Live, which streams live cash games at bestbet Jacksonville.

EBRO GREYHOUND PARK: Jayson Lee won the Emerald Coast Spring Classic Main Event after a four-way chop, topping a field of 362. The top four each took home $12K out of prize pool of $90,500 and played it out for the remaining $2,772 and the bracelet. In the end, Lee beat Heather Mae of Destin, Fla. Lee also won a bracelet for overall series MVP as he made three final tables out of seven events.

The other six events drew 639 entries and included an Ebro-record 242 players for Event 2, as $81,350 was awarded in all events along with bracelets for each champion.

In other tourney news, a four-flight $300 megastack runs June 6-10 and a $10K guarantee with a $120 buy-in is June 22.
Royal flush and bad-beat jackpots are in play each day at the cash tables. Find tournament and cash-game calendars at

BESTBET ORANGE PARK: The April deepstack went to Paul Petraglia of Jacksonville, outlasting 200 others and taking home $5,199. Payouts went to the top 30 spots from a prize pool of $32K.
Cash-game promos this month include $300 high hands noon-midnight every Thursday.

ORANGE CITY RACING AND CARD CLUB: In addition to the Monday and Tuesday weekly tournaments, Orange City is awarding some aggressive high-hand bonuses in June, such as $500 high hands every 20 minutes Fridays noon-2 a.m., $1K half-hour high hands on selected Saturdays and a $3K high-hand champion June 2-30. See for further info.

PENSACOLA GREYHOUND TRACK: Ned Griffis won April’s $20K championship. Griffis, a frequent winner at Pensacola, won $3,570 in a tourney that paid 15 spots. The June tournament is a $50K that begins with four Day 1 flights, June 27-30 at 1 p.m. each day. Day 2 will be July 1.

CREEK GRETNA: Scott Hermance won the April $10K for $3,933. The next $10K is June 16 at 1 p.m. Satellites are available multiple times throughout the month. A $5K, $120 buy-in is June 29 at 7. Full-house promos and high hands are in play every day at Gretna. See f or dates and times.

DAYTONA BEACH RACING AND CARD CLUB: Tournaments and high hands in cash games are incentives to play here, but don’t forget the property will be celebrating its 70th birthday with promos in July.


COUSHATTA CASINO: There are a ton of promos at the Kinder property, including a mini-bad-beat jackpot, splash pots, Aces Cracked, Kings Cracked and Sets Cracked. Call the poker room for days and hours of these and other promotions.

GOLDEN NUGGET LAKE CHARLES: The bad-beat jackpot was approaching $130K at press time. 

BOOMTOWN CASINO NEW ORLEANS: The bad-beat jackpot was near $130K at press time. Also, ask about Faces Cracked for $25 and splash pots.  

L’AUBERGE CASINO RESORT LAKE CHARLES: Any quads beat Monday-Friday (5 a.m.-5 p.m.) gets you $500. Straight flushes pay $100 and royals earn $200 as both hole cards must play, and ask about high-hand Fridays.

HORSESHOE BOSSIER CITY: The bad-beat jackpot was $150K at press time. Also, look for a mini-bad beat, Aces Cracked and daily high hands.

ISLE LAKE CHARLES: Wednesday is Fun Flop where if you flop an ace-high flush with the ace in your hand you win $500.

North Carolina

Dylan Wilkerson of San Francisco won his second World Series of Poker Circuit main-event ring, this time in the $1,675 tourney at Harrah’s Cherokee for $294,152.

Wilkerson’s win came after a lengthy heads-up duel against veteran pro Erick Lindgren, who put in a surprise appearance. Wilkerson began heads-up action against Lindgren with a 4-to-1 edge in chips, then watched as Lindgren dominated the early stages to take an 8-to-1 lead.

Wilkerson fought back to grab the lead and his pocket kings dealt a cooler to Lindgren’s pocket queens on the final hand. Lindgren earned $181,864 for second.

“I feel relieved,” Wilkerson said. “I had such a big lead when we started heads-up and I pretty much blew it as bad as you can. But I came back and won. So I feel pretty good. … Nothing went my way (early on against Lindgren), and I probably didn’t play very well. Those things happen and you usually don’t get the chance to come back.”
Finishing in third and fourth, respectively, were Daniel Wagner of West Seneca, N.Y., and Howard Setzer of Concord, N.H. Wagner earned $135,150 and Setzer collected $101,601.

Event 5 winner Steven Snyder, of Huntersville, N.C., earned the Casino Championship title after finishing runner-up in Event 9 and adding a third cash later.


AMERISTAR ST. CHARLES: Greg Radosh is $99,612 richer after winning his second Heartland Poker Tour Main Event, joining a short list of players with multiple HPT titles, including Greg Raymer, Aaron Massey and HPT’s all-time leading money winner, Craig Casino. It’s the second-largest cash of his career; his biggest was two years ago when he took home $113K for winning the same HPT main event. He also dealt the same final table in 2015, which means Radosh has sat at the final table of this event three out of the past four years.

Mike Esquivel came to the final table as chipleader and had been responsible for knocking out everyone save for third-place finisher Neil Patel ($42,660). But Radosh led by six big blinds after busting Patel. He owned the heads-ups play, scooping pot after pot until he had amassed almost 80 percent of the chips.

Esquivel finally got it all-in with top pair and a backdoor flush draw, Radosh rivered a straight, sending Esquivel home with $63,666, his biggest tournament score.

One of the players Esquivel eliminated at the final was John Richards, who finished eighth for $12,560. A week later, he finished 47th out of 1,954 in the Party Poker Millions Main Event in Canada for another $13,667. Before travelling to Canada, he cashed in three events at the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown in Hollywood, Fla., including fourth in the $1,650 bounty event ($9,067) and 130th in the $3,500 WPT Showdown Championship ($6,380).


If you avoided the desert and are looking for some cool cash promos, Biloxi is a great place for a summer vacation.

GOLDEN NUGGET: Earn $2 an hour in cash comps. If you play three consecutive hours, you’ll get a free breakfast or lunch buffet. Every day of the week there’s an Aces Cracked Splash the Pot bonus ($25 added to the next hand). Tuesday-Thursday and Friday and Saturday, any player who makes a five-card flush on the flop using both hole cards could be eligible to spin the wheel for cash.

On Wednesday, the top half of each hour one table and seat will be drawn for a chance to spin the wheel for cash. 
Daily (10 a.m.-noon), enjoy $100 an hour for the Early Bird High Hand of the Hour promotion.

If you’re playing Omaha and you start out with four wheel cards in your hand and don’t receive any portion of the pot, you get $100.

For more information, visit  or stop by the poker room for a flyer.

IP: On Tuesdays and Thursdays, if you’re dealt pocket queens and lose, you receive $100 ($150 if they are red and $200 if they are black). On Wednesdays, take advantage of the “Jacks Can’t Lose” promotion. If you get pocket jacks and win the hand, you get $75. If you lose, you get $150.

On Friday, if your aces get beat, you get $100 ($150 if they’re red and $200 if they’re black). 

On Tuesdays, the IP has an “Aces or Faces” promotion where the floor supervisor will draw a card (either aces or a face card) at the top of each hour and for that hour if you’re dealt a pocket pair of the pre-selected card and they don’t win the pot, you win $100. You’ll be paid $200 if your cards are the same color. 

All of these promotions and more have specific times and pot minimums to be eligible (usually $30). To check out the details, please visit or stop by the poker room for additional information.

PEARL RIVER RESORT: The Choctaw, Miss., property hosts a $50K guarantee for $160 June 7-10. This event runs monthly so see the ad on Page 23 for future dates. For poker-rated hotel rooms, call 601-663-1040. S

Meet Chrissy Holubeck

Chrissy Holubeck started playing home games with friends about eight years ago. 

“About five years ago, a friend of mine had a friend visiting from New York who played poker professionally and suggested we go to Derby Lane to play their tournament,” she said. “My hopes were to watch the pro win and learn something.”

Well, Holubeck ended up winning, beating 150 players, and she was hooked immediately. She’s drawn to the competition and mind-set that you must outlast all opponents to win.

“Tournaments are much more appealing to me than cash games for this reason,” she said.

Her greatest accomplishment came in her first World Series multiday tournament. Out of a field of 2,600-plus players, she finished 34th.
And what’s Holubeck’s advice for balancing poker and life? Make a schedule and stick to it.

“Mark your calendar with the events you want to play and mark your calendar with fun stuff to do with your family and friends,” she said. “You won’t regret it and you will appreciate and enjoy your life and poker even more.”

Her advice for the average poker player would be to pay attention to your position and play it accordingly.

“Playing too many hands out of position will just cause you to lose chips more quickly,” she said. “If you play your position properly, pay attention to the other players and be patient; you will be more successful.” — Sara Malowitz

Ante Up Magazine

Ante Up Magazine