The Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open $5,250 Championship has a brand new champion and his name is Martin Kozlov. The player emerged as the victor after an action-packed and prolonged final table, during which he had his ups and downs. Kozlov eventually collected $754,083 and the tournament trophy as a reward for his hard work throughout the tournament.
The final day of the Championship kicked off with nine players left to be seated at the official final table. The remaining hopefuls were led by Aaron Mermelstein, who took the chip lead on Day 2 of the tournament and retained it all the way to final table. However, Day 4 was not that lucky for the player as he exited the tournament in sixth place.
All nine finalists but Joe Kuether were deep-stacked with an average stack of more than 70 big blinds. That together with the 90-minute levels promised for long and exciting battle. And expectations were met as the final table lasted more than 13 hours.
The first four levels of play saw one player being eliminated per level. Action then slowed even more and it took several more hours before the heads-up match was set. During that time, Kozlov eyed carefully opportunities to improve and delivered on his goal. The player dropped to being the short stack at one point but recovered quite quickly to eventually scoop the chip lead. From that point on, he never looked back, never let go of the chip advantage he had strived for so fiercely.
Kozlov entered heads-up against Dylan Drazen with a stack of 16,325,000 and with a good advantage over his final opponent. Drazen did not give up easily on the title and even managed to bring the chips close to even. Yet, he never managed to take a commanding advantage. The two players battled it out for good 38 hands before the name of the champion became clear.
Hand #246 was the final one to be played within the tournament. It saw Kozlov raise to 600,000 pre-flop and Drazen call. The [Kd][Qh][8h] appeared on the flop and Kozlov bet 400,000. Drazen called. The [4s] turn saw Kozlov bet 2.6 million and Drazen call. The [2h] ran out on the river. Kozlov challenged his opponent into an all-in confrontation, which Drazen accepted after giving it some thought.
Kozlov turned over [Kh][Kc] to hear Drazen announce the end of the tournament before showing his [Jh][8d]. Drazen’s runner-up finish secured him with a payout of $528,322.
Happy with his accomplishment, Kozlov did not miss the opportunity to praise his opponent for putting up a good fight. The champion pointed out that the two-handed match was a struggle and that he was lucky to make the final set that secured his victory and the trophy.