Newman, a 48-year-old recreational player originally from Nanuet, New York, earned $374,240 for the win, after getting the best of a final table that included several top pros.
The event drew 585 entries, which left Seminole Hard Rock to pick up $130,000 worth of slack on the $2 million prize pool guarantee.
Among the big names making the final ten were Dan Colman, Ari Engel, Tom Marchese, Shaun Deeb and Seminole Hard Rock Ambassadors Darryll Fish and Sheddy Siddiqui.
The Rock ‘n’ Roll Poker Open TV final table
However, none could outlast Newman, who took the lead in the first hand at the six-handed TV final table, doubling up through Engel. Newman got it in with top pair aces and a flush draw versus a worse flush draw with one card to come, leaving Engel drawing dead.
Technical difficulties forced a delay to start the Poker Night in America-produced final table live stream. When they did kick it off, it was already four-handed. A lack of commentary, further audio difficulties and excessive tanking by at least two of the players rendered the stream almost unwatchable. Fortunately, all the kinks were ironed out soon after.
Before the broadcast began, Marchese had run two Broadway cards into Fish’s aces, and Engel ran eights into Siddiqui’s jacks.
Siddiqui was then the first to exit the on-air live stream stage. Dedicating the effort to his recently deceased wife and mother of his two children, Siddiqui’s run fell short when he flopped top-pair top-kicker and check-raised all in versus Newman’s aces. Aces held and when the dust settled, Newman had almost two-thirds of the chips in play three-handed.
Fish then took third running a straight steal in the blinds only to find himself dominated by Newman’s king-high call. Newman flopped a king for good measure.
Lithuanian Matas Cimbolas was facing a 5:1 chip deficit when heads-up play began and it didn’t take long before he found a pair and went with it. In the end, his threes couldn’t fade two overs and a light call from Newman, who was crowned the $3,500 Rock ‘n’ Roll Poker Open champion when he made a pair of sevens on the river.
‘The best thing that I’ve ever done in poker’
“It’s probably the best thing that I’ve ever done in poker,” Newman told Seminole Hard Rock bloggers. “Money’s great, money’s always great, but (it’s great) to get through the toughest field I’ve ever played against in my life.”
Other six-figure winners throughout the Rock ‘n’ Roll Poker Open prelims included $360 Ultimate Re-Entry champion Francois Zayas ($107,973) and $5,000 One-Day champion David Peters ($104,309).
Seminole Hard Rock will next be hosting the Fun in the Sun Poker Open Dec. 26 to 30. Then, the Lucky Hearts Poker Open begins January 11 featuring a $1,100 WPT DeepStacks event with $1 million guaranteed and a $3,500 WPT Main Tour event with $2 million guaranteed.