Boca Man Wins $290K, Lucky Hearts Main Event

Lucky Hearts
Michael Graffeo of Boca Raton walked away with $290,687 (Photo: Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino)

Michael Graffeo of Boca Raton walked away with $290,687 after winning the Seminole Hard Rock Lucky Hearts Poker Open (LHPO) WPTDeepStacks Main Event on Tuesday at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood.

The series finale carried a $1,100 buy-in, $1 million guarantee and featured three starting flights. A total of 1,509 players entered the event, creating a prize pool of $1,463,730. In addition to the six-figure prize, Graffeo was awarded a $3,000 WPTDeepStacks Championship package and a $5,250 seat in the $5 million guaranteed Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open Championship, taking place this August.

Graffeo, 41, works in the mortgage industry and was born in Brooklyn, NY. He previously played poker semi-professionally and took a few-years hiatus from the game to raise his children. Graffeo recently moved to Boca Raton and now plans to pursue poker more seriously.

Final table results:

1st: Michael Graffeo – $290,687
2nd: Dantonio Brown – $178,209
3rd: Loni Harwood – $110,431
4th: Marc Levy – $93,049
5th: Charlemagne Benjamin – $77,127
6th: Timothy Banks – $62,081
7th: Timothy Miles – $47,766
8th: Luis Torres – $34,473
9th: Aaron Massey – $25,563

Kicking off the 2017 LHPO was a $360 Ultimate Re-Entry event. Last year, the tournament drew a field of over 4,000 players, marking the largest poker tournament in Florida state history at that time.

This year’s installment saw a year-over-year attendance increase of nearly 700 entries putting the final player count at 4,756. Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood has since broken the Florida state attendance record following a 5,000-entry field in November, casino officials say.

The Ultimate Re-Entry’s 4,756-player field is the second largest in the state’s history and the resort now holds the top three spots in tournament attendance records. Winning the event was Florida local Jerry Wong. Wong, best known for his appearance as a member of the November Nine, turned the $360 buy-in into $250,000.

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By Nick Sortal,, posted on, Jan. 26, 2017

Nick Sortal is semi-retired after 35 years as a newspaper writer and editor, with 30 of those years dedicated to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. He spent the majority of his career as a community news writer and editor, delving into the issues and topics most newsworthy to local residents. He has a reputation for being fair – weighing every sides of an issue – and checked and re-checked information almost to the point of being annoying