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Seminole Hard Rock announces two World Poker Tour Season XV winners

7 April 2017

(PRESS RELEASE) -- Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood announced winners of two World Poker Tour Season XV events, part of the 2017 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown. Tony Sinishtaj from the Bronx Borough of New York walked away with $661,283 after winning first place in the $3,500 buy-in, $2 million guaranteed Championship held 31 March through 5 April. Ryan Riess from East Lansing, Michigan won first place in the $10,000 buy-in, $2 million guaranteed WPT Finale held 2-6 April, taking home the top payout of $716,088. Included in the payout, both Sinishtaj and Riess earned a seat into the $15,000 buy-in, WPT Tournament of Champions held 7-9 April, a televised event reserved for Season XV Champions and WPT Champions Club members only.

The $3,500 buy-in Championship drew a total of 1,207 entries that easily surpassed the $2,000,000 guarantee, for a total prize pool of $3,862,400.

Sinishtaj outlasted a tough final table that included Daniel Colman, champion of the 2014 World Series of Poker $1 million Big One for One Drop, as well as South Florida professional poker player Robert Mizrachi and Seminole Hard Rock Poker team member Darryll Fish. In all, the six finalists combined to boast over $40 million in career earnings. While Colman, Mizrachi and Fish bowed out in fourth, third and second respectively, Sinishtaj hung on to claim the top spot and his first major victory.

"It feels amazing," Sinishtaj said. "I can't wait, I just want to keep playing. It's awesome."

"I love playing [at the Seminole Hard Rock]," he continued. "It's a great place to play. [They] do an amazing job with the tournament."

Six-handed Championship finishers:
1st: Tony Sinishtaj (Bronx, NY) – $661,283 + $5,250 SHRPO Seat
2nd: Darryll Fish (Cape Coral, FL) – $453,185
3rd: Robert Mizrachi (Hollywood, FL) – $293,864
4th: Daniel Colman (Holden, MA) – $217,686
5th: Eric Beller (Plantation, FL) – $164,438
6th: Simeon Naydenov (Sofia, Bulgaria) – $132,889

Concluding the day after, the Championship was the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown WPT Finale held 2-6 April. Attracting 349 players, the $10,000 buy-in quickly surpassed the $2,000,000 guarantee for a total prize pool of $3,315,500. A first place prize of $716,088 was set aside for the champion. Earning the tournament's number one spot was Riess, a professional poker player best known for his 2013 WSOP Main Event victory in which he won over $8.3 million.

Riess battled a difficult final six that included Jason Koon. Koon boasts over $8.6 million in earnings, $1 million of which were earned during last summer's Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open in Hollywood, Florida. In the end, Koon was eliminated fifth and Riess went on to beat WPT champion Alan Sternberg heads up. Sternberg earned $491,081 for the runner-up finish.

"To win a tournament where all the best players in the world, minus the few that are in Macau, are all here, it feels really good," Reiss said.

Six-handed finishers:
1st: Ryan Riess (East Lansing, MI) – $716,088
2nd: Alan Sternberg (North Bellmore, NY) – $491,081
3rd: Terry Schumacher (Verviers, Belgium) – $315,726
4th: Tim West (Mountain View, CA) – $204,466
5th: Jason Koon (Las Vegas, NV) – $157,599
6th: Cliff Josephy (Syosset, NY) – $130,370

Final tables for the Championship and Finale were live-streamed with hole cards on WPT.com. Hard Rock Live will be home to the WPT TOC final table. The WPT TOC will be televised on Fox Sports Network, as well as live-streamed on WPT.com.

The SHRP Showdown kicked off on 16 March, with headline events that included a $360 buy-in, $500,000 guarantee and a $570 buy-in $1 million guaranteed events. The tournaments were combined to draw more than 6,000 entries, and generated prize pools with a total of over $2,300,000. On 29 March, a $300 charity poker tournament presented by Seminole Hard Rock and the WPT Foundation benefited the Jason Taylor Foundation. Half of each buy-in – $16,660 total – was donated to help the pro football legend's non-profit organization to support and create programs that facilitate the personal growth and empowerment of South Florida's children in need by focusing on improved health care, education and quality of life. Additional funds were raised through silent auction items and personal donations.

A $25,500 buy-in, $1 Million Guaranteed Seminole Hard Rock Poker High Roller event took place 4-5 April. A total of 116 entrants played in the big game to create a prize pool worth $2,900,000 and marking the largest field ever in a Seminole Hard Rock High Roller event. The event drew some of the top players in the game, including the eventual champion, Florida's Jason Mercier. Mercier earned $794,600, bringing his total reported cash winnings to over $18,000,000.

The SHRP Showdown runs through 9 April, when it concludes with the WPT Tournament of Champions final table.

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