Tony Sinishtaj Wins WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown
Tony Sinishtaj secured the biggest cash of his live poker career and his first major title, winning World Poker Tour $3,500 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown for $661,283 over a final table that included Darryll Fish, Rob Mizrachi and Dan Colman.
Sinishtaj had never even cashed in a WPT Main Event before the win, which came over a field of 1,207 players and more than doubles his career live cashes of $540,689.
"That's pretty bad, as I play a ton of them," he said with a laugh when told it was his first WPT Main Event score. "It's really hard to put into words. It's a long time coming. I've been playing a long time, and it feels great to finally put your name on the trophy."
Official Final Table Results
The official final table of six began with Sinishtaj nearly tied with Colman atop the chip counts, according to the live updates.
It took just 13 hands for the first domino to fall, and it was Simeon Naydenov, the only non-American at the final table, who went out in sixth. The Bulgarian, at his second WPT final table in a little over a month after finishing runner-up in the L.A. Poker Classic, came in as one of the shorter stacks. He shoved all in for 19 big blinds over a button open from Colman and received a call.
Naydenov's cards were live, but nothing came of it as Colman turned him dead on .
After 13 more hands, Eric Beller was gone as well. He jammed from the cutoff with 20 big blinds holding , and Mizrachi woke up with kings behind him. A king-high flop and a brick turn later, the lawyer with under $20,000 in live cashes was shaking hands and going to collect his payout of $164,438.
After that, an extended four-handed battle ensued. The players exchanged several doubles, including Sinishtaj taking a rough beat when he lost all in preflop with pocket tens to the of Fish. Sinishtaj bounced back by winning a race against Colman for a double, and then he and Colman played a crucial pot at 100,000/200,000/25,000.
It began with Colman raising on the button and Sinishtaj defending his big blind for 425,000 total. On the non-descript flop, Sinishtaj led out for 550,000. Colman made it 1,500,000, and Sinishtaj responded by shoving all in for 8,275,000, with Colman barely covering.
After almost four minutes in the tank, Colman finally decided to call with . He had the best of it, as Sinishtaj held for top pair.
"When I lead out there, I'm expecting him to call with a lot of better hands and raise with not so great hands," Sinishtaj explained when asked his thought process on the hand. "When he raised me, I put it all in and put him to the test. He happened to have a hand I didn't expect."
Luckily for Sinishtaj, he got there as the turn and river gave him a backdoor flush. Colman was left with dust and busted in short order.
"I know Dan is great and he can read hands really well," Sinishtaj said. "I tried to do something different, something he wasn't expecting. I felt the whole time playing with him, I had him guessing. He guessed right, and I had to get there."
Sinishtaj had a little over half of the chips after that, and he increased that to about two-thirds by the time Fish busted Mizrachi in a flip with ace-queen against fours.
Fish didn't take long to erase that 2-1 lead, dominating the early stages of heads-up play to move into a 2-1 lead of his own. However, Fish limp-shoved with pocket twos and ran into Sinishtaj's pocket sevens for almost 30 big blinds, handing the lead back to Sinishtaj.
Five hands later, the two got stacks in on an flop, with Sinishtaj holding for a flush draw and Fish for a pair of threes. A turn locked it up for Sinishtaj, much to the delight of a rail clad in "Tony the Bulldozer" shirts that included recent November Niner Cliff Josephy.
"From Poker X-Factor to talking to him one-on-one, he's obviously been a great help to my game," said Sinishtaj, who added that Josephy has been helping him out for going on eight years now. "I wouldn't be here without him."
Now, Sinishtaj gets to fire in the WPT Tournament of Champions, which starts Friday. The season-ending tournament features a value-added prize pool and awarded over $380,000 to first in its inaugural running last year.
"It hasn't even sunk in yet, but I can't wait," he said.
Photos courtesy of WPT