The winner of the just-completed Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open (SHRPO) Championship event shows that poker is still anyone’s game, and doesn’t always have to be won by a poker superstar. Brandon Eisen, who has had limited success at the tables over the past five years, outlasted a WSOP bracelet winner, a poker pro with $5 million in live-action earnings and a former SHRP champ to taste victory and pick up $771,444 – almost exactly the amount he had won combined over his five-year grind at the felt.
The event had a buy-in of $5,250 and attracted a number of well-known players, including Jason Mercier, Mike Leah and Matt Berkey. There would ultimately be 914 entries into the event, helping the prize pool swell to $4.4 million. None of these three would make it to the final table, however, with Berkey going home in 105th place with $8,733, Leah out in 63rd with $13,919 and Mercier making to 37th being sent to the rail with $17,333.
The final table saw some tough competition and action moved quickly with Marcos Exterkotter being the first to go. Joseph Cheong, who finished third at the 2010 WSOP Main Event, met an untimely demise at the hands of Jeremy Ausmus and was eliminated in eighth place for $102,843. Cheong’s A-10 off-suit proved unlucky against the K-J off-suit of Ausmus, and he hit the bricks. It was his first six-figure win of the year. In total, only 61 hands were played to eliminate seven players, leaving Eisen to face off against Ausmus.
84 hands into the heads-up battle and the two were still going at it. However, Eisen had a significant edge over Ausmus and pulled off an easy win. Ausmus shoved all-in preflop with his remaining 19-big-blind chip stack and Eisen called. His K-5 didn’t hold up, as Eisen scored two pair on the board and the win. Ausmus took home $540,459 for his second-place finish.
While Eisen, who resides in Hawaii, may have been a relatively little-known player before, his name is certainly going to be more familiar now, especially among those pros that were in the SHRPO. He now has a little more than $1.5 million in lifetime live-action winnings and is the all-time winningest player in Hawaii’s poker history.