Phil Hernz is the Casino Champion for Horseshoe Baltimore, thanks in part to three final table appearances over the course of the Circuit's 12-event schedule. Hernz also collected his first gold ring and more than $10,000 in winnings across the series. In addition to the jewelry and the cash, his performance earned him one of the precious seats in the WSOP Global Casino Championship.
Here are Hernz’s full results from Baltimore:
- Event #3: $365 NLHE - 7th place ($2,017)- Event #7: $365 Big O - 1st place ($7,873)- Event #12: $365 NLHE Turbo - 6th place ($1,641)
The champion is a 23-year-old former poker dealer from the Gulf Coast of Florida. Hernz now makes his home in Plantation, a small city on the opposite end of Alligator Alley, and his career as a live tournament pro is off to a good start. After making the final table in Event #3, he broke through to claim gold in Event #7, the Circuit’s first-ever Big O event.“My mom taught me everything I know about hi/lo,” Hernz said after the win. “She’s been playing for years, and I’ve been playing since I was about nine years old. I actually learned hi/lo before I knew no-limit hold’em.”Hernz’s experience showed as the field began to shrink to a manageable number. He began the final table second-to-last in chips, but he maneuvered his way into a heads-up match with Hunter McClelland. Hernz faced an uphill climb with a 2:1 chip disadvantage, but he navigated the duel masterfully. About 90 minutes after they began, he was posing for the winner’s photos with his new ring.“I definitely think I had an edge the whole way,” he admitted, though he seemed hesitant to boast. “I’d like to think I was the best player at the final table, but there weren’t many big blinds in play. Short-stacked. Have to get lucky. Have to get cards.”Entering the twelfth and final day of the series, Hernz was in fourth place on the Casino Champion leaderboard. Justin Cooke made things even more difficult, finishing as the runner-up in the penultimate event to take a temporary lead. At the same time, Hernz was playing in the very last ring event on the other side of the room. It was a $365 turbo event with 102 runners, and he was fully aware that he needed to finish tenth or better to leapfrog Cooke once again. Just an hour after Cooke was eliminated from Event #11, Hernz locked up the title of Casino Champion as he took his seat at the final table of Event #12. He laddered up a bit before being knocked out in sixth place, finish the series with 92.5 points.Hernz cashed once in West Palm Beach last season, and he’s starting to venture a little further from home during the 2015/16 campaign. He told reporters that he was visiting a friend in Baltimore while the Circuit was in town, but he ended up spending the bulk of the week at the poker tables instead.
Here are the final standings from the race in Baltimore:
1. Phil Hernz - 92.5 points
2. Justin Cooke - 75 points
2. Dustin Murphy - 75 points
4. Sara Hall - 72.5 points
4. Karim Baruque - 72.5 points
6. Warren Wiggins - 60 points
6. Casey Montag - 60 points
8. Kevin Elia - 52.5 points
8. Josh Mischel - 52.5 points
Click here to see the full, season-long Casino Champion leaderboard.