By Christopher Cosenza
Things are about to heat up at Atlantis Casino Resort Spa, and poker players will be reaping the benefits. With the only World Poker Tour Regional stop in the Reno market, Atlantis is proud to again give players a chance at a prestigious WPT title with its Western Poker Challenge on Sept. 14-24.
“To be able to have a WPT event in Reno is not only good for the Atlantis, but for the entire region,” Atlantis poker room manager Daniel Chiu said. “It draws player interest from all over and allows us to showcase Reno as a destination.”
This will be the second WPT event at Atlantis, and Chiu said there are some significant changes this time around.
“We’re offering $200K in guarantees with a $30K guarantee event ($340 buy-in) the first weekend and a $150K guarantee for the $1,650 main event (on Sept. 22),” he said. “We also have lowered the buy-ins for practically all the events to have them be more accessible.”
Preliminary events begin Sept. 14, offering a variety of deepstack tournaments, including no-limit hold’em, Omaha and mixed-game disciplines. Atlantis is offering a free hotel night stay for main-event players who pre-register (by Sept. 9 online and Sept. 16 in person). Please see the ads on Pages 49-53 or visit atlantiscasino.com/wpt.
“World Poker Tour is pleased to return to Reno for the Western Poker Challenge,” WPT president Adam Pliska said. “With its great selection of tournaments and excellent customer services, the Atlantis epitomizes what players can expect when they sign up for a WPT experience.”
But the Atlantis poker tournament experience doesn’t end with the Western Challenge. One of the most popular charity events in all of poker is Jennifer Harman’s knockout tournament, landing at Atlantis on Nov. 10.
“It was first held at the Grand Sierra Resort, and then later at the Peppermill, with the idea that it would rotate around to different casinos every year,” said Chiu, who expects to sell out the 800 seats available in the Atlantis ballroom for this tournament. “We are ecstatic to be the host this year to such a wonderful event.”
The event, a unique knockout tournament that can be played individually and as a team, used to benefit just the Nevada SPCA, but now the winners can choose a qualified Nevada charity.
“The changes were made to ensure a more collaborative community-oriented approach,” Chiu said. “The goal is to involve as many different organizations in the region as possible to make a positive impact on the Northern Nevada community by raising funds for worthwhile charities, and highlighting the region.”
Buy-in is $250 per individual or $2,500 per 10-person team (though if your team registers by Sept. 1 you get a $250 discount).
Harman said she is happy to be able to use her profession as a way to help her furry friends.
“I love animals and all the joy and love they bring into our lives,” said Harman, a World Series champ and Reno resident. “My teams will be playing for the Nevada SPCA, which ensures these once-abandoned and abused animals are cared for, adopted, or live humanely in Nevada SPCA’s no-kill shelter for the rest of their lives. I am looking forward to raising much-needed funds for these special animals.”
For more information, visit charityknockout.com.
Meet Daniel Chiu, poker room manager for Atlantis Casino Resort Spa
Ante Up’s Christopher Cosenza recently had a chance to chat with Daniel Chiu to discuss his career and poker room at Atlantis.
How long have you been in poker and when were you named manager at Atlantis? I have been working in poker operations for six years, and was the assistant manager and tournament coordinator at the Atlantis since August 2010. I’ve been the manager since October. Before working in the industry, I spent some time in my early 20s as an aspiring semipro poker player.
What can players expect from a poker room run by Daniel Chiu? Having been somewhat of a serious player, I think I am attuned to the type of experience poker players are seeking. We always strive to provide well-run games with a friendly competent staff, offer the best possible value and be player-friendly by always eliciting feedback on ways to improve the players’ experience.
You mentioned you used to be the Atlantis tournament coordinator. Will you still have your hands in that arena? I still plan on being hands-on in overseeing our tournaments, but have tremendous confidence in the team we bring on to work the events. The tournament staff that has been working with us has many years of experience working major events all over the world, including World Series and World Poker Tour events.
With the Reno market recently shrinking, have your numbers increased? While the Reno market may have retracted the past few years due to increased options outside of our market, we have actually seen our tournament events increase in numbers year over year. I believe this is due mainly to the fact that a lot of other poker rooms in our market (Reno/NorCal) do not offer tournament series.
How difficult is it to have competition so close and what are some of the things you’re doing to stand apart from those poker rooms? Our goal is to have the best tournament offerings in terms of value and play. Our tournaments offer deepstack structures that allow for a lot of play. We also pride ourselves on providing the best possible guest service. We highly value all of our players, and want to always make them feel welcome and comfortable when playing with us. All suggestions are considered and we’re willing to make necessary changes.
Tell our readers more about your poker room: Our poker room features nine tables offering games starting as low as an introductory $.50-$1 NLHE game to our core games of $1-$2 NLHE, $3-$6 limit and higher. We feature daily small $40 buy-in tournaments with the deepest structures in the market. We offer amenities such as a self-serve beverage/soup station, tableside dining, massage services and programs that allow for players to be notified of games and when their seats are available. We also offer the best and most unique comp rate in the Reno market, which allows for players to receive comps back through cash for their hours played.
What else can we expect from the Atlantis poker room in the future? You can expect for us to constantly seek ways to offer the best possible poker experience by providing first-class service, innovation and continually listening to our guests.