The $25,000 High Roller at the 2016 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown crowned its champion on Thursday morning, shortly after the clock ticked past midnight in South Florida. Walking away with the title and $658,000 was American David Malka, who defeated a field of 94 entries and a tough final table.
Prior to this event, Malka's career best score in a live event was only a couple times the buy-in for this one, $70,355, and he boasted $354,132 in total live tournament earnings. Both of those numbers now pale in comparison to the new ones on his résumé thanks to this victory.
Final Table Results
The top six spots were all filled with known names in the poker world, but when the dust had settled this title was all Malka's. He began the final table of nine in last chip position, but quickly worked his way up from the bottom such that he held more chips than Lazaro Hernandez. That positioning played a big role in the clash the two had on a flop of , as, according to the live updates, the two found all the money in the middle with Malka holding the for trips and Hernandez the for two pair. After the hit the turn and the on the river, Hernandez was gone in ninth.
Steffen Sontheimer was next to go in eighth, and then Malka busted Brian Benderoff in seventh. To bust Benderoff, Malka's held up against a short stacked Benderoff's .
Yevgeniy Timoshenko went out sixth, Nick Yunis busted fifth, and Nick Petrangelo fell in fourth. Both Yunis and Petrangelo were busted by Malka.
Sylvain Loosli, who is most famous for reaching the 2013 World Series of Poker Main Event final table and finishing fourth, then busted Tim West in third place to set up the heads-up duel with Malka. Heading into it, Loosli was at a severe disadvantage with 1.985 million in chips to Malka's 7.415 million — nearly 4-1. From there, it didn't take too long for Malka to seal the deal.
With the blinds up to 30,000/60,000/10,000 in Level 23, Malka opened on the button to 135,000. Loosli reraised to 345,000 from the big blind, and Malka jammed all in. Loosli called to put himself at risk for just over 2 million with the . Malka had the for a flip.
The flop and turn kept Loosli in the lead with his sixes, but the was a dirty one for the Frenchman on the river because it delivered Malka with the win. For his effort, Loosli earned $481,750 and the third largest score of his career.
*Image courtesy of SeminoleHardRockPokerOpen.com.