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Blair Hinkle wins Seminole Hard Rock tourney and $1.7M

 Blair Hinkle, 27, of Kansas City, prevailed in an epic five-hour heads-up battle Wednesday night to win the inaugural Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open.

 The tournament, which carried a $10 million guarantee, paid $1.7 million to the winner.

  Hinkle, who won a bracelet in a 2008 World Series of Poker preliminary event, and Justin Bonomo, who bought into the tournament five times, battled Tuesday after the final table of six began at noon and narrowed to two in less than four hours. Bonomo, of Toronto, held a 3-to-1 chip lead but Hinkle caught up during the 165-hand head-to-head portion, and took control at the end.

"It means a lot more beating a great player like Justin," Hinkle told "I was behind but I just kept grinding and eventually the cards went my way."

His official take was $1,745,245. Bonomo earned $1,163,500.

 Mukul Pahuja, who moved to South Florida about two years ago from New York, was third, with $872,625, followed by Ray Qartomy ($639,925), Samuel Bernabeau Guilabert ($494,490) and Greg Lehn  ($378,138).

 In the $100,000 buy-in World Poker Tour Alpha8 that ended Tuesday, Steven Silverman finished first and won $891,660, followed by JC Tran ($526,890), Jeff Gross ($364,770) and Matt Glantz ($243,180). Jason Mercier of Fort Lauderdale finished Day 1 on Monday in second place, but lost two big hands early Tuesday and finished eighth.

More on the tournament and the SouthFlorida casino scene in Friday's Showtime section. 

Photo/Courtesy of Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino

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