NorCal offers bankroll builders

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Summer is here and the smell of the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas is in the air. Before you head to the desert to play the largest tournament series in the world, there are some great bankroll building opportunities in cardrooms across Northern California. Whether you want to sharpen your tournament game or get in the live-action arena, these rooms have you covered.

• The 101 Casino (Petaluma) offers some great cash games and numerous promotions to please its players, including four types of jackpots such as Super Bad Beat Jackpot, Mini Bad Beat Jackpot, Omaha/8 Jackpot and PLO Jackpot. 101 Casino also pays its players for Aces Cracked and a royal-flush bonus. Make sure to put your name on the backroom PLO game for some high-stakes action with fun players.

• California Grand Casino (Pacheco) has some large progressive jackpots in its cash games. The two main jackpots start at $70K and $140K and increase daily until they are hit. There’s a $5K hold’em and Omaha jackpot, $100 high hands and progressive royal-flush bonuses.

• If you happen to be near wine country, stop by Napa Valley Casino (American Canyon) for a chance at a progressive royal-flush bonus and a bad-beat jackpot in hold’em and Omaha. The monster bad-beat jackpot pays $50K if your quad eights or better are beaten. There’s also a morning bonus from 9-11 where you earn free chips just by showing up early.

• Thunder Valley Casino Resort (Lincoln) is always a nice place to relax and play some poker before heading to the Vegas madness. It has some of the best cash games in NorCal and also a player-favorite $40K guarantee tournament on the first Saturday of the month (June 7, 11 a.m.). This event has a $300 buy-in, which gets you 15K chips and has 30-minute levels. Thunder Valley is known for hosting the most well-known tournament series, including the Ante Up World Championship in August (See our preview here).

• Finally, Bay 101 (San Jose) is hosting its Summer Madness series, which runs June 10-14 and features five no-limit hold’em events. The first four events have a $345 buy-in with the final event being $550. These events consistently draw large numbers and with the great structure of Bay 101, it’s easy to see why players from all over the Bay Area flock to Summer Madness series.

Poker in Northern California is as vibrant as ever with some of the most prestigious tournament series coming to town. The incentive to come play at these venues is greater than ever, which means nothing but growth for the Bay Area poker scene.

— Email Garrett at roth@anteupmagazine.com.