HOLLYWOOD, FL – Celebrating its 10-year partnership, Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood and World Poker Tour (WPT) announced the results of a record-breaking 2021 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown. There were 2,482 entries in the tournament’s $3,500 WPT NLH Championship producing a prize pool of $7,942,400. The feat also makes the 2021 Poker Showdown the largest poker field for any WPT main tour event, eclipsing the 2014 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open and the 2021 Lucky Hearts Poker Open with 1,795 and 1,573 entries, respectively.
After five days of action in the $3,500 WPT NLH Championship, the field is down to its final six who will reconvene on May 18 in Las Vegas for a televised final table. The final table features a talented group of players vying for the title with four of the six guaranteed to earn the biggest cash of their year.
France-native Sonny Franco leads the group with the highest chip count (31,900,000), while Brekstyn Schutten of Grand Rapids, MI is in close second (31,350,000). Franco has more than $2 million in career earnings and has won the WPTDeepStacks Paris title in 2020 and three WSOP Circuit rings, including a win in the WSOP Circuit Marrakech Main Event. Schutten has nearly $400,000 in earnings and this will be the biggest cash of his career no matter where he finishes. Schutten has two WSOP Circuit final table appearances, and this is his first Poker Showdown cash.
Houston’s Viet Vo makes the final table with one other WPT final table on his résumé, while Albert Calderon of Arizona will have his first WPT cash. Rounding out the six-handed final table is North Carolina’s Ken Aldridge and Steven Snyder, who will each have more than $1 million in career earnings following the final table.
Championship Final Table with Chip Counts:
Seat 1: Brekstyn Schutten (Grand Rapids, Mich.) – 31,350,000
Seat 2: Ken Aldridge (Pleasant Garden, N.C.) – 10,600,000
Seat 3: Steven Snyder (Davidson, N.C.) – 15,975,000
Seat 4: Viet Vo (Houston, Texas) – 4,150,000
Seat 5: Albert Calderon (Chandler, Ariz.) – 5,530,000
Seat 6: Sonny Franco (Montagnac, France) – 31,900,000
The 29-event Poker Showdown kicked off Thursday, April 15 with the $600 Deep Stack NLH. With 3,902 entries, the event quadrupled its $500,000 guarantee and created a total prize pool of more than $2 million. Michael Casson of Clinton, MA won the opener earning $280,000.
Players participated in a safe and socially distant tournament with the Hard Rock’s Safe + Sound initiative. In addition to thermal temperature scanning upon entry and mandatory masks/face coverings policy for all guests and team members, all tables were outfitted with protective Plexiglas between dealer and players, and in between players. There were a total of 80 tables spaced out between two of the resort’s largest ballrooms to encourage social distancing. Each table was played eight-handed, as opposed to the standard nine-handed. All chips and cards underwent routine cleaning, and all areas were sanitized once a player left the table and before another player sat.
Poker action will return to Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood with the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open (SHRPO) July 22 – August 10. Unique to South Florida, SHRPO is known for its one-of-a-kind finisher – The Big 4. The Big 4 is a collection of four-tournament finales that feature staggered structures, timed so the events play down simultaneously in front of a live audience.