Players from four states packed the poker room at the Isle of Capri Lake Charles for the inaugural Spring Fling Poker Series (March 17-19). The Isle continues to assert itself as a leader of tournament poker in Louisiana while an increasing number of players add it to their list of favorite places to play.
A huge room and player-friendly promotions have contributed to the Isle’s popularity, but adding series tournaments such as the Spring Fling and the Louisiana State Championship have succeeded in extending the room’s appeal to serious players. Most of these ideas can be attributed to Matthew Dodd, who recently took the helm at the Isle of Capri’s Colorado property. The Isle has indicated it intends to keep enhancing its product, taking an aggressive approach for a highly competitive market that includes the neighboring Coushatta Casino, which held its Seven Clans Poker Cup Series in early April. (See results below.)
Successful poker rooms must find a way to maintain a base of regular players and attract new ones. This is what the Isle has done by creating these tournament series. Some of the rounders who come to play are seeing the Lake Charles room for the first time, and they must like what they see. The Isle is one of the few rooms in Louisiana I’ve visited this year that operates around the clock, even mid week. With a marketing department that’s solidly on board, you can expect even bigger events in the future.
There were three days of exciting action during Spring Fling, but in the end it all came down to a final table of nine men and one woman vying for the title of Spring Fling champ. Rick Tyler of Beaumont, Texas, walked away with the bragging rights and a $3,750 payday. Here’s a quick recap of the events.
Things got rolling on Thursday evening with a satellite tournament. Players ponied up a $135 buy-in for a chance to play in the $1,000 main event. Four seats were guaranteed giving players who made the final table an almost even-money shot to get a spot. The Isle also added $140 to each seat, which made the event a true freeroll for the winners. Once the final table got down to five players a deal was reached to award all of the added money to the fifth-place finisher, Robert Cummings. Jake Seale, Doug Baxley, Moises Garcia and Brad Baker earned the main-event seats.
The highlight of Friday evening was a $20,000-guarantee event with a $300 buy-in. The final table included some familiar faces as Baxley and Seale remained perfect in their quest for the championship. After a lengthy battle that resulted in only one elimination, an even chop awarded the final eight players $2,215. Afterward, Baxley and Seale were asked about their respective strategies for the main event.
“Just keep playing solid poker, that’s it,” said Baxley, who hails from Kingwood, Texas. “Today was definitely tougher than yesterday, and tomorrow will probably be even tougher. I’ve been running good, though, so we’ll see.”
Seale, who also won an Omaha/8 event at the Beau’s Spring Break series in March, was happy with his progress. When asked about his chances to run the table and score in all three events, Seale was low key.
“That’s the plan,” he said. “I’ll give it a good shot and we’ll see what happens.”
The main event began on Saturday at noon and once again Baxley and Seale found themselves at the final table along with satellite winner Brad Baker and seven others. Seale made a nice effort but found himself all-in early and came up short, finishing eighth. Next out was satellite winner Moises Garcia, followed by the lone woman at the final table, Ada Lang. Russell Koch hit the rail in fifth and the final four commenced a lengthy battle for the title.
After three hours Rick Tyler won the title. Baxley finished second, making him the player of the series with cashes in all three events.
It’s interesting to note of the 13 players who cashed in the Spring Fling events nine were from Texas.
Many of those who participated in the Spring Fling indicated they would be returning in late April for the state championship, and in that regard the Spring Fling was an unqualified success. Giving new players a chance to experience the room and competition in advance could result in a bigger turnout for the bracelet events.
— Scotty “The Spokesman” Rushing is a poker professional and sports journalist. Email him at email@example.com.
at Isle Lake Charles
Event 1 • $135 satellite
1. Doug Baxley, Kingwood, TX
1. Jake Seale, Lumberton, LA
1. Brad Baker, Westlake, LA
1. Moises Garcia, Houston
5. Robert Cummings, Lake Charles, LA
Event 2 $300 NLHE
1. Ray Oliver, Seabrook, TX, $2,215
1. Jake Seale, Lumberton, LA, $2,215
1. Peter Sheppard, Lake Charles, LA, $2,215
1. Chris Hoffmeyer, Orange, TX, $2,215
1. Frederick Turner, Richmond, TX, $2,215
1. Doug Baxley, Kingwood, TX, $2,215
1. Alex Montes, Houston, TX, $2,215
1. Gloria Davila, Pasedena, TX, $2,215
* This event had an eight-way chop
$1K Main Event
1. Rick Tyler, Beaumont, TX, $3,750
2. Doug Baxley, Kingwood, TX, $3,250
3. Brad Baker, Westlake, LA, $2,500
4. Jerome Moon, Houston, $500
7 CLANS POKER CUP
at Coushatta Casino
$1K Main Event
Entries: 189 • Prize Pool: $176, 928
1. Southisak Seunsom, $31,290
2. Ricky Romero, $23,000
3. Robert Niehay, $23,000
4. Gregory Besse, $18,500
5. Frederic Roetker, $13,062
6. Neil Steinly, $9,579
7. Johnny Ludwig, $8,708
8. Michael Davis, $7,808
9. Johnny Marlow, $6,096
10. Orben Slaughter, $5,225
Entries: 274 • Prize Pool: $71,760
1. Brian Hunt, $16,146
2. Daniel Holmes, $10,047
3. Gary Delome, $7,176
4. Gerald Vidallier, $6,100
5. Omar Nawim, $5,382
6. William Dudley, $3,947
7. Ricky Fryer, $3,588
8. Aaron Williams, $3,229
9. Wade Allred, $2,512
10. Alex Rivas, $2,153