Jake Bazeley is the 2015 Rock n’ Roll Poker Open main event champion.
The seasoned poker pro from Cincinnati, OH earned the biggest paydays of his career, topping a sizable field totaling 766 entries at the Seminole Hard Rock Resort and Casino, in Hollywood FL. Bazely collected $568,687 for first place, plus a crystal blue trophy as a token of the victory. The final table was live streamed and recorded for broadcast as part of a new television program set to debut in early 2016, called “The Final Table”.
Bazeley shook off a number of setbacks, most notably a last-place standing in the chip counts at the end of the second day’s action, when 18 players remained alive in the tourney. ”When I bagged up, I was dead last — 18th in chips out of 18 players,” Bazeley recalled a day later as he was interviewed following the triumph. ”I thought just making the final table would be an accomplishment given where I was at the time, so to get all the way to this spot and win it, was just incredible.”
Bazeley defeated David Prociak, from Orlando, heads-up, in a grueling standoff that went back and forth and included several all-ins — seven by the official count. Each time, the shorter stack managed to survive, until Bazeley ultimately overwhelmed the Floridian and ended up with all the chips. The final hand saw Bazeley get dealt K-4, which were two overcards to Prociak’s underpair, two 3’s. A 4 on the river ultimately decided the outcome. The final table was certainly no pushover either, which included some formidable competition — most notably Marvin Rettenmaier (5th), Jessica Dawley (6th), Nipun Java (7th), and Matt Stout (10th).
Afterward, Bazeley thanked his bustling and rowdy rail for being a major boost to his confidence. ”Having these guys behind me really kept me focused,” Bazeley said. ”I’ve been doing this for a while and could really feel the energy from them. To have these guys come here and support me the entire time is something I’m grateful for. I really think it made a difference.”
Bazeley has been playing poker seriously since 2008, when he cashed for the first time in a tournament. Now, with more than half a million dollars to his credit for this win, he crossed the $3 million mark in total career earnings. His best previous showing was a fourth-place showing last year in a World Poker Tour event at the Shooting Stars competition in San Jose, CA. Bazeley also won the WSOP Circuit Main Event at Cherokee, NC in 2014, which netted gold ring. In 2012, he finished as runner up in a WSOP tournament in Las Vegas.
The No-Limit Hold’em tournament cost $3,500 to enter and was played over a five-day stretch. Bazeley’s victory topped off nearly three full weeks of poker action during which attendance increased significantly over the previous year. Guarantees were met easily, as the Rock n’ Roll Poker Open enjoyed one of it’s best series ever. Moreover, “Poker Night in America” television cameras were on hand to film three days of high-stakes cash game action, which was played prior to the tournament finale. The cash game included the much anticipated return of “Ladies Night,” a cash game for females only, which has routinely been one of poker series’ most-watched programs.
Bazeley’s exciting victory and other highlights can be seen when “The Final Table” airs sometime in 2016. Details on times and networks will be announced soon.