Blair Hinkle is the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open Main Event ChampionWednesday, September 4th, 2013 by Ryan
We did plenty of talking about the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open Main Event over the past week or so, and it was for good reason. Obviously any time that a casino ends up putting up a massive guarantee like $10 million without having any idea as to how many players would end up signing up, then you know that it’ll get some attention. The event not only surpassed that $10 million guarantee, but they beat it by almost $2 million, meaning that we were going to end up having some big pay days to the eventual winners. This event was one of the most prestigious and followed poker events since the World Series of Poker, and when all was said and done the first place winner was going to get paid $1.7 million.
At the end of the final day, there was one man standing above the rest, and it was Blair Hinkle, who officially went from being a successful player, to being one of the players to watch in the near future this year. It was absolutely a huge grind for Hinkle, who had to beat out a huge field of more than 2,000 players. After that, he had to go against an incredibly strong group of players at the final table, one of which is the battle-tested and incredibly strong Justin Bonomo. Just to add more drama and fun to the action, it was Hinkle against Bonomo to decide the championship at the end of the day, and it took 80 hands and more than an hour and a half of action before Hinkle was able to knock out Bonomo in second place.
The end of the heads up battle featured a bit of a strange hand, and Hinkle may have actually gotten lucky. Bonomo ended up mucking his hand on this specific hand, so we aren’t sure exactly what he had, but he did call down three streets of bets from Hinkle. Hinkle had bottom pair on this hand until the river where he hit two pair, and also got three streets of value, so he took down a nice pot when all was said and done. After this pot alone, he was sitting with a 4 to 1 chip lead over his opponent, and it took just a few more hands for Bonomo to get knocked out in second place. Bonomo moved all-in on the last hand with top pair, but Hinkle turned over the nut straight to end it.
As far as the final table payouts go, Hinkle took $1.745 million home, while Bonomo got over a million dollar pay day still, worth $1.163 million. Third place went to Mukul Pahuja with a payout of $872,625, and fouth went to Ray Qartomy at $639,925. Fifth paid out $494,490 to Samuel Bernabeu Guilabert, and sixth was $378,138 to Greg Lehn.
Hinkle is still well-known in the poker world for many different things, and back in 2008 he won a gold bracelet in a $2,000 No Limit Hold’em event at the World Series of Poker. This was two weeks after his brother Grant won a $1,500 event to get his own gold bracelet as well. Since that point, the two Hinkle brothers have been very, very successful, and Blair Hinkle won the FTOPS Main Event back in 2011. This was a huge pay day worth seven figures for Hinkle, but unfortunately Black Friday hit soon after, so all of his Full Tilt money was locked up online.
Hinkle has made the move from gold bracelet winner to incredibly strong young player in recent years, and the $1.7 million pay day that he got this past week matched his career live poker tournament earnings. He also has won just around $2 million playing online poker, and in total he has more than $5 million in total tournament winnings throughout his young career.
The same strong play could be talked about with the runner up in this tournament in Bonomo too though. Bonomo was busted for multi-accounting back in 2006, but he turned things around quickly after that and has shown that the one mistake was not going to define him at the end of the day. In total now, with the $1.1 million score that he had here, it gives him a total live tournament earnings of more than $7 million, and if he keeps going in this direction it’s likely that he could be one of the top players in the game when he retires from poker.