The second annual Ante Up NorCal Classic kicks off Nov. 7 at Thunder Valley Casino Resort, and, to borrow the poker room’s motto, the second edition of this Ante Up Poker Tour event promises to “up the ante” from its wildly successful debut a year ago.
This year’s four-day $1,100 Main Event boasts a $250,000 prize pool guarantee – $50,000 more than the guarantee in 2013’s event, which drew 342 players to the AAA Four Diamond resort just north of Sacramento, Calif. This year’s main event features three starting flights and a final table that will be streamed live on the Internet. And, of course, the winner will appear on the cover of the January 2014 edition of Ante Up Magazine and get a personalized Ante Up tour champion’s jacket.
The series features 12 other events, highlighted by a $425 buy-in multi-day no-limit hold’em deepstack event that boasts a $150,000 guarantee. All told, this year’s Ante Up NorCal Classic is guaranteeing a cool $500,000 in prize pools. Also on the schedule are three bounty events and ante-only, HORSE and limit Omaha/8 events. The top 10 players in each event will earn Ante Up Player of the Year points, and with the 2013 season ending on Dec. 31, a good run at the Ante Up NorCal Classic could propel a player to the top of the leaderboard. Also, two-time World Poker Tour champion Cornel Cimpan will teach poker seminar on Nov. 6 to get players ready for the series.
Players with limited bankrolls will have numerous chances to satellite into events, thanks to director of poker operations Ben Erwin and and tournament director Miguel Cardenas. Pre-series satellites begin Nov. 2, and during the Ante Up NorCal Classic, daily satellites will not only give players a shot at playing in the Main Event, but also a chance to qualify for the $150,000 guarantee event and a $300 “black chip bounty” event on Nov. 14. Single-table satellites will be offered, too.
As with most tournament series, plenty of cash-game action is expected. The room regularly spreads limit poker from $3-$6 up to $6-$12, but the $1-$3 no-limit game is the most popular. No-limit is also spread at $2-$5 and $5-$10, with $25-$50 offered during big events.
Players driving in for the event will be impressed with the resort’s amenities, some of which are tailor-made for a grinding tournament series, including a spa with a steam room that is free for hotel guests. Dining options at the resort include the High Steaks steakhouse and Red Lantern Asian restaurant, plus a buffet, cafe and food court. The poker room also has a tableside menu.