2011 Poker Tournament Travel Guide

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With our expansion throughout the eastern United States we’d like to inform you of a few great events coming up this year with our 2011 Ante Up Tournament Travel Guide. Here is Ante Up columnist and poker globetrotter Lee Childs to give you some advice.

Getting ready to venture outside of your home game or local casinos to play some poker? Well, there’s no better time than the present.

First, do what all of us poker pros do and tell your assistant to book a first-class flight, the nicest suite in the best hotel, set up tee times with local pros and celebrities and, of course, line up a few meals at the five-star restaurants near the casinos where you’ll be playing.
Yeah right! Maybe for a few of those who’ve been on TV from Day 1 of the poker boom and have marketing behind them bigger than Microsoft!

For the rest of us, book your travel as you would for any trip, but be sure to call the casinos (if they have a hotel) and ask about poker rates. Many will have good discounted rates, especially if you’re going there for a tournament series. Once you’re at the casino, get a players card before you even step foot in the poker room. You’ll need the card to register for any tournaments, but you also want to be sure to use the card when you’re playing cash games.

Depending on how they do things where you are playing, you will want to give the floor person your card or to the dealer at the table to make sure you are “swiped in” at the beginning of your session.

Most poker rooms reward you with comp dollars based on the time you spend playing. And while it won’t amount the level of comps you can get donating your money at the blackjack or craps tables, you also won’t be donking that money away to the casino along the way, and hopefully not to the other poker players. Those comps can really add up and save you a bunch of money if you’re logging some serious hours at the tables. So be sure to take advantage of the players card and cut some of the damage off your hotel bill.

I travel to play poker a lot, and people often ask me about the best places to eat and things to do. If you are in a place like Las Vegas, obviously the choices are basically endless. However, whether it’s Vegas, Mississippi, Florida, or West “By God” Virginia, find out where the locals (or frequent visitors) go to eat, and to have a good time.

Last summer, just before my family and I headed to Vegas for the World Series, I read an article by Linda Johnson, the First Lady of Poker. It was about where the locals go to eat in Vegas, and when Linda talks, people listen. We went to several of those places multiple times over the course of the summer and I have the waistline to prove it.

Find some recreational things to do if you have the time. If you’re planning a trip of a week or more or simply going someplace you’ve never been, take in some of the sites and attractions. In fact, this may be the my most important piece of advice: Whether you play poker for a living or get to take a long weekend to go play, be sure to take in some sites and culture so you have more to bring home in your memories than a bunch of poker hands.

Lastly, if you’re not sure how to find out all of this information, make use of the social networking sites at your disposal. Send out a tweet and/or Facebook post and soak in the information. You just might be surprised at who might respond and give you the perfect nuggets of information to make your poker trip the best ever.

— Lee Childs, the founder of Acumen Poker, travels the country as a poker pro.
PokerStars

PokerStars

PokerStars is finalizing its 2011 North American Poker Tour schedule, but the first event will be the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure at the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas Jan. 7-16. Dozens of events are planned at the PCA, culminating with a $10,300 main event with a maximum 1,600 players. PokerStars has two LAPT (Latin American Poker Tour) events planned already — LAPT Lima April 6-10 and LAPT Rosario June 1-5, both of which feature $2,500 main event buy-ins. PokerStars also plans three EPT (European Poker Tour) events in 2011, with main event buy-ins ranging from 3,750 euros to 5,300 euros. www.pokerstars.com

Isle Casino Pompano Park, Fla.

Isle Casino Racing Pompano Park’s poker room is known as South Florida’s favorite amongst the local dedicated poker players. The Isle proved this by receiving four Reader’s Choice Ante Up awards in the categories of tournaments, cash games, promotions and staff. They host several large successful tournaments each year, including the upcoming $500,000 Isle Poker Classic. The tournament consists of six events, five guarantees and runs Jan. 14-24 with a final guarantee of $250,000.

Mike Smith, director of poker for the Isle, said, “Last year’s Isle Poker Classic had the highest turnout with 225 players. We expect even a better turnout this year.” The Isle is also hosting its third annual $1,000,000 Battle at the Beach tournament, which will be the largest tournament to date for the Isle. The $1,000,000 Battle at the Beach will run April 6-26. www.theislepompanopark.com

Mardi Gras (Fla.) Casino

The Best Poker Room in South Florida Just Keeps Getting Better! Talk about playing a hot hand: The Big Easy Poker Room in Hallandale Beach’s Mardi Gras Casino is on fire. The beautiful poker room at Mardi Gras has upped the marketing ante with three big announcements:
• The introduction of Double Bonus Hold’em
• No-Limit Hold’em Promotions
• FREE Draft Beer, Wine and Well Drinks

Double Bonus Hold’em is the talk of Florida casino players. This is the ONLY table game in Florida that gives 100% payback to the player with multiple bonuses, including a progressive royal flush jackpot. Why limit yourself when it’s so easy to find the big game every day? In the Big Easy, our no-limit hold’em lets you play for the big money. No-limit means better action and bigger pots. The place where “it’s always a party” now features “The Big Easy Happy Hours.” Every Monday through Saturday, we serve cold, free draft beer, wine and well drinks from 5 p.m. until to 8 p.m. and again from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. Then every Sunday, come enjoy free draft beer from noon until midnight. Bigger games, new ways to win and all-new Happy Hours. Three new reasons to make Mardi Gras’ Big Easy Poker Room your next stop! www.playmardigras.com

Orange Park (Fla.) Kennel Club

The Jacksonville Poker Room at Orange Park Kennel Club is proud to present the second annual Chad Brown No Limit Texas Hold ’Em Championship Jan. 28-Feb. 1. The buy-in is $5,000 and will attract players from across the country with a structure designed by Chad: 30,000 in chips, 60-minute day-one blinds moving up to 75 minutes for the remainder.
The championship will be preceded by a week of special events, including $225 Mega-Stacks and a $150 High Heels Poker Tour. All players will receive unique North Florida hospitality, including a pre-tournament reception, gift bags, complimentary tournament buffets and access to North Florida’s renowned amenities such as world-class golf. It is the second year that the event will be nationally televised to an audience of more than 20-million available viewers on Comcast SportsNet, Bright House Sports Network, Cox Cable and online at PokerStars.net. The programs will be produced by Fallah Productions, with commentary from Ante Up’s Chris Cosenza and Scott Long. Jacksonville’s Poker Rooms at Orange Park and St. Johns’ 2011 schedules include World Series of Poker and and North American Poker Tour satellites, the North Florida Classic and the North Florida Poker Tour. www.JaxPokerRoom.com

Ante Up Scramble in the Sand

Ante Up is proud to offer a unique, exciting tournament paradise event in 2011. Hosted at the luxurious all-inclusive Hard Rock Punta Cana resort in the Dominican Republic April 6-10, the event features 10 four-player teams in a series of single-table tournaments that culminate with a heads-up championship bracket. The unique format offers prize money every step of the event, but by playing their cards right, one team can walk way with the entire $100,000 prize pool! All team members get to bring a guest for free, and each team also can bring a coach and a guest as part of the package price. No direct buy-ins are accepted for this exclusive event. Players wishing to participate must win their way in from any of the participating poker rooms in Ante Up’s coverage area. www.anteupmagazine.com/scrambl e

Calder Casino (Fla.)
Studz Poker Club is the 29-table card room at Calder Casino & Race Course in Miami Gardens, Florida. Conveniently located just off the Florida turnpike, Studz hosts over 60 guaranteed tournaments monthly. Studz is one of Florida’s only card rooms to allow tournament players to take advantage of all promotions.

From high hand jackpots to their flopped progressive straight flush payouts, it makes no difference if you are playing cash games or a tournament. Their daily guaranteed tournaments are at 11am and 7pm, and feature buy-ins ranging from $40 to $150. The weekly tournament schedule is highlighted by a $10,000 guaranteed tournament every Saturday at 11am with a $100 buy-in.

The main event this month will be the $25,000 guaranteed deepstack tournament on Sunday, Jan. 23 at noon with a $225 buy-in.

Additional amenities include tableside food and beverage service, massage service, and parimutuel wagering on live and simulcast Thoroughbred racing. Calder Casino & Race Course is located on South Florida’s Miami-Dade/Broward county line, and offers gaming action with over 1,200 slot machines in the Calder Casino, Thoroughbred horse racing during two consecutive meets, and year-round simulcasting. www.calderracecourse.com/poker

Tampa Bay Downs, Tampa, Fla.

The Silks Poker Room at Tampa Bay Downs offers two tournaments a day (three on Sundays) with buy-ins for all players.

The $350 monthly gives players 8,000 units (with the optional dealer add-on), and players have multiple opportunities to win tickets into the weekly $30 satellites for the event.

Other popular events include the “Double Mega Stack” three times a week that give players 20,000 units, and the “Cheap Stack” every Sunday night with a buy-in of just $20. The Silks also runs numerous special tournament events every month, often hosting High Heels Poker Tour events and many charity events that benefit worthy causes in the Tampa Bay area.

When not playing tournaments, players can enjoy cash games, including a regular $25-50 no-limit hold’em game. Each day of the week offers different promotions, including $599 high-hand payouts on Fridays and Saturdays. www.tampabaydowns.com

Dania (Fla.) Jai-Alai

Watch for upcoming special tournaments at the Dania Jai-Alai poker room in 2011 starting with the $40K guarantee Fun-N-Sun Hold’em Tournament on Jan. 29 at noon with a $250 buy-in. Tickets may be purchased any time at the cashier cage. Our $40K guaranteed theme tournaments are not only well-structured and reasonably priced, they’re also lots of fun. Play satellites to win your ticket to the $40K tournament ($30 for one ticket, $55 for two). The Fun-N-Sun tournament is a welcome back to the snow birds and everyone, including the staff at Dania Jai-Alai, is welcome to join us wearing their favorite beach clothing.

• Dan Lebatard Celebrity Tournament is once a month on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. is always an exciting night (dates TBD).
• The players’ favorite tournament is the $15K guarantee on Fridays at 6:30 p.m. with a $105 buy-in and 30-minute levels.
• Daily tournaments at 12:30 and 6:30 p.m., starting with a $40 buy-in. Wednesdayst at 6:30 p.m., $40 multi with a $5 bounty, guaranteed $1K. Also Saturday and Sunday at 12:30 p.m. $50 freezeout $1K guarantee. All tournaments are eligible for jackpots and have a guaranteed prize pool. Email poker@betdania.com or call the poker room 954-927-2841 ext. 1414. www.dania-jai-alai.com

Seminole Casino Immokalee, Fla.

Seminole Casino Immokalee, where paradise plays! The poker room, winner of the 2009 Ante Up Magazine Reader’s Choice as the Best Small Poker Room in Florida offers an exciting gaming experience! Poker players can earn food and beverage comps and extra starting tournament chips for their live raked play. Full schedule of no-limit hold’em and Omaha tournaments, along with private tables, tournaments and all limits are offered.
Qualify for the largest poker tournament in Florida history! $60 could win you a seat in the $10,000 televised WPT Hollywood Hard Rock Seminole Showdown. $60 single-table qualifiers Sunday through Tuesday will get you into our $530 Super Satellite March 1 or April 12. We are the only WPT-branded poker room in Southwest Florida! The place to play in the Ante Up Poker Tour, too. Join in the action! www.seminoleimmokaleecasino.co m

Delaware Park

Looking for tournament poker on the East Coast? Then the Poker Room at Delaware Park is where you want to be, where we host three tournaments daily with the featured event being the $150 buy-in Saturday night tournament with a $10,000 guarantee! Morning tournaments (11 a.m. Monday-Friday/noon Saturday-Sunday) are $65 with 7,500 units and 20-minute levels. Evening tournaments (7 p.m.) are $65 with 7,500 units and 20-minute levels Sunday-Thursday and $150 with 10,000 units and 20-minute levels Friday-Saturday. Late-night tournaments (11 p.m.) are $85 bounty events with 7,500 units and 20-minute levels. If it’s cash games you’re looking for, we have 45 tables available, so you may be seated in your favorite game. For no-limit hold’em, we offer $1-2, $2-5, $5-10 and higher upon request. For limit hold’em, we offer $2-4, $4-8, $8-16 and higher upon request. Are you looking for something other than hold’em? The Poker Room at Delaware Park consistently runs pot-limit Omaha and Omaha/8. www.DelawarePark.com

Harrington Raceway & Casino, Del.

Harrington Raceway & Casino is the home of no-ante tournaments. There are no antes ever in tournaments! The schedule features four tournaments every week.
At 11 a.m.on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturdays, the $60 buy-in gets you 3,000 units. At 7 p.m. on Wednesdays, the $115 buy-in gets you 8,000 units. All tournaments feature one $5 add-on for an additional 500 units before the first hand is dealt and one $60 rebuy up to the first break.

Cash games are available 24/7 and the Bad Beat Jackpot starts at $70,000 and goes up $500 every day. In order to qualify you need Aces full of Kings beaten by quads or better and both cards in your hand must play. www.harringtonraceway.com

Harrah’s Tunica

The World Series of Poker Circuit events return to Harrah’s Tunica Jan. 27-Feb. 15. The eighth stop of the 2010-11 season, the WSOP Circuit events at Harrah’s Tunica will consist of nine ring events and offer a variety of poker events ranging from $100+$20 buy-ins to $500+$55 buy-ins, including no-limit hold’em, Omaha/8, six-handed no-limit hold’em, seniors no-limit hold’em, and the $1,500+$100 buy-in Harrah’s Tunica Main Event Championship. The Main Event Championship begins Feb. 13 and is a three-day structured event. The winner of the main event will receive a buy-in to the 2011 World Series of Poker in Las Vegas.

“Harrah’s Tunica has always been one of the biggest and brightest stops on the circuit,” said tournament director Jimmy Sommerfeld. Last year’s main event saw Paul Wasicka best 96 poker players including local favorites and more well-known players such as Matt “All in at 420” Stout, Allen Kessler, Tommy Vedes, and Gavin Smith to take home the $139,000 top prize. Harrah’s Tunica is offering special WSOP room rates to players participating in the circuit events. www.harrahtunica.com

Isle Casino Lake Charles (La.)

Isle of Capri Casino Hotel Lake Charles has six big tournament series on tap for 2011, highlighted by its signature Louisiana State Poker Championship April 25-May 8. The Louisiana State Poker Championship features more than $200,000 in guaranteed prize money over 14 events, six of them bracelet events. Isle of Capri Casino Hotel Lake Charles kicks off its 2011 schedule with the $15,000 Mardi Gras Freeroll: Men vs. Women from Jan. 11 to Feb. 19. From March 17-19, the Isle of Capri Spring Fling will take place with a $1,000 buy-in main event. The Hot Summer Hold’em Series features seven days of no-limit hold’em tournaments Aug. 22-28, ending with a $500 buy-in main event. The Louisiana Fall Classic runs from Oct. 10-16, highlighted by a $1,000 buy-in main event and $300 buy-in pot-limit Omaha event. Finally, the Isle of Capri Holiday Hold’em Series Dec. 5-11 features seven days of guaranteed prize pool tournaments, including a $500 buy-in main event. www.lake-charles.isleofcaprica sinos.com

Ante Up Tour, Series and Cruises

• The Ante Up Poker Tour is Ante Up’s live tournament series, revamped for its second season. The AUPT designation is granted to several qualifying tournaments throughout the year. There is no additional charge or pre-registation required for AUPT events.

Just play as you normally would, and the top 10 players in each event receive points toward Ante Up’s Player of the Year title. The POY wins a cover story in Ante Up, a featured interview on the Ante Up PokerCast, a custom silver bracelet from Madison Jewelers and other prizes from Ante Up sponsors. www.anteupmagazine.com/tour

• Ante Up’s online tournament series, the Ante Up Intercontinental Poker Series (AIPS), is hosted on PokerStars and features monthly small buy-in events in a variety of games. The current season concludes in February, but look for the 2011 schedule in Ante Up when it’s finalized. www.anteupmagazine/aips

• Each year, Ante Up hosts three poker cruises aboard Royal Caribbean cruise ships. Each cruise offers a professionally staffed and equipped poker room in the ship’s Conference Center, offering cash games for all levels and four free poker training courses, including one taught by a professional player. All also feature at least three multitable tournaments — $100 warm-up event, a $50 main event satellite and a $350 Ante Up Poker Tour Main Event with a generous structure. Single-table tournaments are offered whenever the rooms is open.

The 2011 schedule includes a five-night cruise in March leaving from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., and visiting Jamiaca and Haiti, a four-night cruise in August leaving from Port Canaveral, Fla., making two stops in the Bahamas, and a seven-night cruise in December leaving from New Orleans, La., visiting Mexico, Jamaica and Grand Cayman. www.anteupmagazine.com/cruise

High Heels Poker Tour

High Heels Poker Tour is gearing up for a very busy 2011. With Tournaments stretching across the U.S. and abroad it’s going to shape up to be a banner year. The High Heels Poker Tour and Academy are focusing on making sure women in poker are the highlight of 2011 and thier impact that they make in the poker market are represented in every aspect of this indusrty. This year the HHPT will be holding the first ever Ladies World Poker Classic where women from around the world will converge on the Allure of the Seas in September to participate in this innagural event. So be on the look out for opportunities to qualify and win your way to this event. The schedule so far for 2011 will bring the HHPT to many venus such as:
• January: Beau Rivage and Jacksonville Kennel Club
• February: Gold Strike and Tampa Bay Downs
• March: The Bike, Palm Springs Dinah Shore Weekend, The Isle
• April: Northern Quest in Washington, Caesars
• May: Seneca Niagara, Harrah’s New Orleans
www.highheelspokertour.com

2011 CALENDAR

JANUARY
PokerStars, Nassau, Bahamas, PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, Jan. 7-16
Isle Pompano Park, Pompano Park, FL, $500,000 Isle Classic, Jan. 14-24
Isle Lake Charles, Lake Charles, LA, $15K Mardi Gras Freeroll, Jan. 11-Feb. 19
Orange Park Kennel Club, Orange Park, FL, Chad Brown Poker Series, Jan. 21-Feb. 1
Calder Casino, Miami Lakes, FL, $25K guarantee deepstack, Jan. 23
Harrah’s Tunica, Tunica, MS, World Series of Poker Circuit, Jan. 27-Feb. 15
Dania Jai-Alai, Dania Beach, FL, Fun N Sun Hold’em Tournament, Jan. 29

MARCH
Seminole Casino, Immokalee, Immokalee, FL, $530 WPT satellite, March 1
Ante Up, Ft. Lauderdale, FL, Ante Up Poker Cruise Main Event, March 7-12
Isle Lake Charles, Lake Charles, LA, Spring Fling, March 17-19
PokerStars, Saalbach-Hinterglemm, Austria, EPT Snowfest, March 20-25

APRIL
PokerStars, Berlin, Germany, EPT Berlin, April 5-10
Hard Rock Punta Cana, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, Ante Up Scramble in the Sand, April 6-10
PokerStars, Lima, Peru, LAPT Lima, April 6-10
Seminole Casino, Immokalee, Immokalee, FL, $530 WPT satellite, April 12
Isle Lake Charles, Lake Charles, LA, Louisiana State Poker Championship, April 25-May 8
Isle Pompano Park, Pompano Park, FL, $1,000,000 Battle at the Beach, TBA

JUNE
PokerStars, Rosario, Argentina, LAPT Rosario, June 1-5

AUGUST
Isle Lake Charles, Lake Charles, LA, Hot Summer Hold’em Series, Aug. 22-28
Ante Up, Port Canaveral, FL, Ante Up Poker Cruise Main Event, Aug.29-Sept. 2

OCTOBER
Isle Lake Charles, Lake Charles, LA, Louisiana Fall Poker Classic, Oct. 10-16

DECEMBER
Isle Lake Charles, Lake Charles, LA, Holiday Hold’em Series, Dec. 5-11
Ante Up, New Orleans, LA, Ante Up Poker Cruise Main Event, Dec. 10-18

* Read the Where to Play pages each month in Ante Up for an up-to-date schedule.