Norcal poker scene has something for everybody

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Allow me to introduce myself to the Ante Up Nation in NorCal. I’m the new ambassador for Northern California, previously writing for the Central Florida region. I’m also the Where to Play editor for Ante Up and having just recently moved, I was excited to experience what the Bay Area had to offer in its poker community, and it has not disappointed.

I’ve quickly learned the poker scene in NorCal is well-established with numerous game variations for every variety of player. Whether you’re a tournament regular or a cash-game grinder, there are countless events and promotions that will fill your weekly calendar. Here are a few notable tournaments and promos going on in local cardrooms that are worth checking out.

• Thunder Valley Casino (Lincoln) has an amazing variety when it comes to its monthly tournaments. On the first Monday of each month is an Omaha/8 event ($75) at 7 p.m. Hold’em events are on the first Saturday ($250) and second Sunday ($125) of each month at 11 a.m. Thunder Valley also runs some great promotions, such as Moonlight Splash the Pot, which rewards the late-night crowd from 3-8 a.m. (Mon., Wed., Fri.) when players vie for an extra $100/hour. They are also hosting the inaugural Ante Up Poker Tour series this month.
• Lucky Chances (San Bruno) is a great room with many choices in tournaments and cash games. It holds guarantee tournaments Sunday-Thursday with first prizes guaranteed from $3,500-$40K. During November, it hosts the Gold Rush series (Nov. 11-18), which includes hold’em, six-max, Omaha/8 and a partners tournament. The main event will start Nov. 18 at 9:30 a.m. ($1,080). Lucky Chances also has bad-beat jackpots, Aces Cracked and royal-flush payouts.

• Cache Creek Casino (Brooks) is a prime destination for players looking for extra incentives in ring games. Promos such as Pigskin High Hand that pays $100 to the highest hand every quarter during Sunday and Monday night football games (aces full of 10s is minimum qualifier).

Also, $50 Splash the Pot is Monday-Friday (2-9 a.m.) and Aces Cracked on Monday-Friday (10 a.m.-10 p.m.). On Fridays, it has a $50 winner for the highest hand every hour from noon-4 p.m. Cache Creek also runs a $55 tournament with one $50 optional rebuy on Wednesday (6 p.m.), Saturday (noon) and Sunday (noon).

• Napa Valley Casino (American Canyon) is a must-stop location when you come to the West Coast. From its call-ahead service in cash games, free food and friendly staff, Napa Valley certainly knows how to make its customers feel comfortable. Tournaments are Saturday ($40, 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.), Sunday ($40, 9 a.m. and $60 KO, 2 p.m.) and Monday ($60, 7 p.m.). On the first Saturday of each month is a deepstack event with a $115 buy-in at 2 p.m. Napa Valley also runs promotions such as bad-beat jackpots, royal-flush bonuses and cruise giveaways.

— Garrett Roth is the Ante Up Ambassador for Northern California and the Where to Play editor. Email him at roth@anteupmagazine.com and follow him on Twitter @GarrettRoth.