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Monday, October 2, 2017 12:44 AM Local Time
Local grinder takes a shot, comes away with a ring and $12,181 in cash
On Sunday, Najeeb Reyes came to Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood with the intentions of playing some cash games. About 12 hours later, he was sitting alone at the tournament tables, posing for winner’s photos after topping the Event #11 field. Reyes collected a gold ring and the top prize of $12,181 for his work in the $365 single re-entry event.
Reyes, 33, is a mechanical engineer originally from Austin, Texas. His day job keeps him busy, but he still finds time to splash around on the felt.
“I try to grind, but nothing too serious,” he said. “I play cash, but this is my first tournament of the year. I’m psyched.”
Reyes’ poker background is intriguing in itself. He’s only been playing the game since 2015, and he found it on a complete whim. “I walked into the Hard Rock one day looking for one of the restaurants,” he said, “and I saw a final table heads-up. I was fascinated.”
The man he was watching was local standout Ory Hen, who went on to win that title. The two have become poker friends in the time since.
Hen’s knowledge has rubbed off on Reyes to some extent, but he’s putting in plenty of work himself, too, as he explained:
“In the last four months, I’ve been studying nonstop. Playing and studying and playing and studying. Recording hands. Doing all my homework. I feel like today is a culmination of this process of working to improve my game.”
Despite his brush with success, Reyes has no intentions of giving up his day job. “Why do you have to be a pro to be good? You can be an aficionado and not be a professional player. The last thing I want to do tomorrow is play more poker.”
Sunday, October 1, 2017 10:27 PM Local Time
The starting field of 145 entries has been reduced to 10 players, and they're now gathered around the last table left in the auxiliary ballroom.
Here's the lineup:
Seat 1: Wayne Lovell - 182,000 (36 bb)
Seat 2: Ryan Gianquitti - 64,000 (13 bb)
Seat 3: Paul Eastman - 147,000 (29 bb)
Seat 4: Mike Russ - 85,000 (17 bb)
Seat 5: Melisa Singh - 245,500 (49 bb)
Seat 6: Tina Tellone - 78,500 (16 bb)
Seat 7: Hoss Malek - 68,500 (14 bb)
Seat 8: Bob Chow - 116,500 (23 bb)
Seat 9: Larry O’Brien - 80,000 (16 bb)
Seat 10: Najeeb Reyes - 354,500 (71 bb)
Blinds are 2,500/5,000 with a 500 ante in the current level, putting the average stack at 29 big blinds.
Sunday, October 1, 2017 4:55 PM Local Time
Saturday, September 30, 2017 10:15 PM Local Time