Van Sanford bests tough bestbet field



To say that bestbet Jacksonville’s second televised World Poker Tour main event was a success would be an understatement. The 461 entrants generated a $2 million prize pool, doubling the guarantee and making it one of the largest in North Florida poker history. And who claimed that historic title? It was pro Ryan Van Sanford, who pocketed $421K from the $5K buy-in event.

A series of 19 events warmed up the felt before the main event and some of the biggest winners of the Fall Series included pro Aaron Massey and locals Alan Franco, Taurus Jackson and Kristen Kober.

Kober had a monster series, winning the $240 event and the $200 opening event, to bring her earnings for the two weeks to $30K and the Player of the Series title.

The property was rife with anticipation as the Bounty Scramble main-event final table started. Jared Reintstein looked to become the second bestbet regular to take down a televised event, but he fell short of his dream, losing a coin-flip with 8-8 vs. the A-10 of South Florida pro and runner-up Chris Bolek. He earned $135K, his largest career cash.

Eventual winner Van Sanford had a remarkable few days as he turned 21 during the tournament. What better way to celebrate such a special occasion than with a monster payday?

The Bounty Scramble was like no other event in Florida history as 40 celebrity players wore custom bestbet medallions, marking them as bounties worth $2,500. Some made early exits, such as James Calderaro and “Mad” Marvin Rettenmaier, while others such as Zohair Karim, local radio personality Allie “McDeal” Hollander and world-class player Shannon Shorr, who was also the last bounty standing, went deep and made the money. Other notables who cashed included one-time Ante Up Player of the Year Darryll Fish, David Diaz and former World Series of Poker champion Jamie Gold, who was also the only player in the field to collect two bounties.

The Mid-States Poker Tour hits bestbet Jan. 23. There will be plenty of satellites into the $1,100 main event and the poker room is giving away more than 40 seats via high hands. Call the room for more details.

DBKC: If Daytona Beach is synonymous with anything, it’s NASCAR and the Daytona 500, aka the Great American Race. In a tribute to the event that put the city on the map, DBKC will be holding its first Great American Poker Tournament in February. Promotions for the event run until the big day, which will coincide with the Daytona 500.

EBRO: The Panhandle room is making great strides in cementing its tournament scene. Aside from holding the yearly Emerald Coast Championship, Ebro also was one of the first rooms in the state to offer a weekly tournament featuring a guarantee with its $30 event, which has a $3K guaranteed prize pool every Thursday night.

— Email Charles at

Ante Up Magazine

Ante Up Magazine