A South Florida player who has been at the tables since even before the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino opened finished fifth in the World Poker Tour Hard Rock Poker Showdown Tuesday, earning $122,275.
Daniel Letts, 38, of Miami won his way into the $5,000 main event by prevailing in a $560 satellite. He plays $2-$5 and $5-10 at the Hard Rock, he says, and this was by far his biggest score.
If you haven't heard of him, you're not alone. Poker room managers and fellow players say Letts is one of the nicer guys in the room.
"He comes in and plays, and never causes problems," one Seminole Hard Rock poker employee said. "One of the good guys."
Letts moved to Miami from Jamaica when he was 25, and like many people who come to South Florida but live here now, was torn in declaring his "hometown." The WPT introduced him as "from Jamaica," but he mentioned he wanted to be known as a South Floridian -- which drew a polite debate from his Jamaican friends during a break in the action.
"You could be the first Jamaican to win a WPT title," remarked one.
Letts has been playing since the days of Seminole Classic Casino, starting with 25-cent limit 7-card Stud, then moving on to one-table "sit-and-go" tournaments when poker was capped at a $100 buy-in. He had the largest crowd during the WPT taping of the final six, including his wife of almost three years, Laura Tonello, who is from Italy and does marketing for a yacht charter company.
"I don't know much about poker," she said. "I just want to know how much he wins or loses."
Before his $122K haul Tuesday, his best win had been $3,176 in a WSOP $1,500 event last year, according to TheHendonMob.com.
Kevin Eyster ended up winning the title and $660,395. Get more at WorldPokerTour.com.
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