If it’s August, poker reigns at Seminole Hard Rock

The cards are flying at the fourth annual Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open, and the series of 28 tournaments climaxes on Aug. 16 with the final tables from four big tournaments concluding simultaneously at Hard Rock Live.

The series, which made a big splash in the poker world in 2013 by guaranteeing $10 million in prize money for the main event – the largest guarantee in history at the time – has now cemented its spot on the calendar for poker players across the world, who also enjoy playing non-tournament “cash” games at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino if they are eliminated early from event.  The first tournament began July 28.

Hard Rock officials set up a booth at the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas this year, making themselves available to answer questions or concerns from players looking to head to Florida after a month of tournaments in Las Vegas.

“We continue our efforts to expose our brand and create our own footprint in the market as a destination for top tournament play,” Tournament Director Tony Burns said.

Among the details:

What’s new: There’s a $1,100 Shoot-Out on Aug. 9, with 10 tables of players convening, and the survivor of each table comprising the final table. (Usually tournament officials combine tables as the fields dissipate.) Buy-in is $1,100. There’s also a 64-player Heads Up tournament Aug. 14, where players go one-on-one, like in an NCAA basketball bracket. That costs $1,650 to enter.

The Big 4:  Final tables from the main event, a $25,500 high roller tournament and two other events all will take place Aug. 16, and will be filmed by Poker Night in America to air eventually on CBS Sports Network. Television personalities and poker players Ali Nejad and Maria Ho serve as live emcees and provide commentary for all four final tables simultaneously. The events also will be live-streamed on PokerNight.com.

Guarantees: The main event guarantees $5 million in total prize money after starting off with a $10 million guarantee in 2013. Entries were down in 2014, resulting in only $7.5 million in the guarantee pool, so the Hard Rock was on the hook for the remaining $2.5 million. In 2015, the guarantee was lowered to $5 million.

Charity event: The Charity Series of Poker hosts a tournament at 7 p.m. Aug. 12, benefiting the Maximum Hope Foundation. Brad Garrett, the charity’s founder and actor best known for his role on “Everybody Loves Raymond,” will be in attendance. Buy-in is $300. There’s a kickoff party at 5 p.m. and the pros usually have a cocktail or two, so the room is often boisterous for a change.

For those on smaller budgets, players can enter a $150 buy-in tournament on Aug 15 or 16. There are also satellite events, giving players a chance to win a seat into the more lucrative events.

Check SHRPO.com for details. Twitter: @NickSortal