Vegas’ Treasure Island has some big poker changes



The Treasure Island poker room on the Vegas Strip announced big changes in January. The $1-$3 no-limit hold’em game is now $1-$2 with a $100-$500 buy-in. There’s a $2-$5 game with a $200 min buy-in and no cap. The $3-$6 limit game has a $60 min buy-in and offers a $3 max rake. All games have a $1 jackpot drop, down from $2.

A mini bad-beat jackpot is offered as aces full of 10s beaten by quads or better will earn the losing player $1K, the winning player $500 and the other players at the table $50 each. Between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., the Aces Cracked promo can earn $100. High-hand bonuses are quads ($50), straight flushes ($250) and royals ($500).

MGM: The $2-$5 NL game offers $2/hour in comps and1.5 hours of credit per hour toward the weekly $10K invitational tournament. The min buy-in remains $200 but the max has been reduced to $500. The cash drawings have been revised as $2K is guaranteed to be given out every day. One of the six drawings will award $400 for the first ticket drawn and then $100 each to six additional tickets. The other five drawings will give $100 each to two ticket-holders. The drawings continue to be at 8 a.m., noon, 4 p.m., 8 p.m. and midnight.

HARRAH’S: The room offers $2/hour comps on all games and double Total Rewards tier points. The rake has been reduced to $4 max. There’s a $6,500 weekly freeroll on Saturdays with 12 hours needed to qualify. Players who play 24 hours or more during the qualifying period receive $100.

SAM’S TOWN: The popular locals room on Boulder Highway on the East side of Vegas is one of the few places you can find a low-limit stud game on a regular basis. The $1-$5 game starts around 10 a.m. and has a $20 min buy-in. The regular hold’em game is $2-$6 spread-limit with a $30 min buy-in. At busier times, a $1-$2 NLHE game can be found with a $100-$300 buy-in. Promos during select times include high-hand bonuses, Aces Cracked and bonuses for highest full houses.

LINQ: The property closed its small poker room in January after never recovering from being moved around frequently while the property, which was the Imperial Palace and the Quad before becoming the Linq, was being remodeled.


ATLANTIS CASINO AND RESORT: The property is offering a Steel Wheel promotion. A steel wheel is a five-high straight flush, but you must hold the ace in your hand to receive the jackpot, which starts at $500 and increases weekly if one of a certain suit isn’t hit. The Atlantis paid out more than $3,600 in January for steel wheels.

Southern California

HARRAH’S SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: The Valley Center resort, which awarded an Ante Up Poker Cruise package in a Feb. 21 drawing, is doing the same promotion in March. Players can earn tickets from cash-game play from March 1-21, with the winner of the March 21 drawing getting a cruise package for two for the Jan. 24 sailing out of Los Angeles. The poker room also will award a package in its “Super Splash and Spin” promotion during designated hours Monday through Thursdays. For more information, visit

PECHANGA RESORT CASINO: The poker room will run a special high-hand promotion starting March 1 from 1-11 p.m. on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Hold’em players win an extra $250 for first, $150 for second and $100 for third. Omaha high-hand winners will score $75. Players will have a second chance to win cash during high-hand drawings every hour on Fridays in March between 2-6 p.m. and 9-midnight. On Wednesdays, after any three hours of play between 1-6 p.m., players can get a free meal between 5-8 p.m.


Northern California

THUNDER VALLEY: The Heartland Poker Tour returned recently to Thunder Valley Casino Resort in Lincoln, Calif., as the series had something for everyone, offering variations of no-limit hold’em, Omaha/8, Open Face Chinese and HORSE.

The $1,675 main event drew 479 players for a $693K prize pool. After an intense few days of play, the final table was set at Thunder Valley’s popular Red Lantern restaurant and consisted of all California residents.

Nick Shkolnik from Van Nuys captured the $160K first-place prize, dominating the final table by knocking out five of the eight players. In the end, he won with pair over pair, defeating Galt’s Hop “Ricky” Lay, who earned $97K as runner-up.

The rest of the final table included Tom West from Los Altos (third, $64K), James Colson from Williams (fourth, $45K), Michael Hinde from Scotts Valley (fifth, $33K), Michael Riddle from Elk Grove (sixth, $26K), Mark Violetti from Red Bluff (seventh, $21K), Brett Murray from Santa Rosa (eighth, $17K) and Jared Griener from Santa Ana (ninth, $14K).

Thunder Valley hosts the WPT Rolling Thunder on March 14 with a $3,500 buy-in and is the last stop on the WPT California Swing. Last year’s Rolling Thunder prize pool reached nearly $1.5M. See the ad on Page 13 of our March issue.

Bay 101 in San Jose will be a part of the California Swing with its Shooting Star series on March 8. There will be a $2.1K preliminary event, the $7.5K main event (with bounty) and a $25K high roller.

Southern California

BICYCLE CASINO: The World Series of Poker Circuit visits the Bike on March 6-April 7. There will be 35 events with buy-ins as affordable as $75. Don’t forget the Mega Millions, which has a $5,300 buy-in and a $1 million guarantee April 7.
PECHANGA: The $125 Basketball Madness tournament will be March 28 at 2 p.m. and will have a $16K guarantee. If you wear a college basketball jersey, you will knock $10 off the price and qualify for cash giveaways throughout the tournament. 
SAN MANUEL: The Kings vs. Ducks Alumni tournament will be March 19 at 7 p.m. The buy-in is $25 and all proceeds will benefit the Anaheim Ducks and Kings Care charity foundations. The field is limited to 1,000 players, including pro athletes and celebrities.

PLAYERS CASINO: The $230 St. Paddy’s Day $20K guarantee is March 22 at 11 a.m. Players start with 20K chips and get 30-minute levels. There will be a $500 bounty on the leprechaun and re-entries will be allowed the first two hours.


The Spring Classic at the Muckleshoot Casino will feature five tournaments with a total of $55K added to the prize pool in Auburn, Wash., from March 18-22. 

Don’t forget the $300 event that has a $100K guarantee at the Final Table Poker Club in Portland on March 14.
And finally, Little Creek is having a series with $7K added on March 9-15. Buy-ins range from a $45 super satellite to the $340 main event. There’s a $125 seniors event and a $125 ladies event.

Las Vegas

ARIA: The Race for the Clover series, which runs March 14-22, features 16 $345 tournaments held twice daily that will lead up to a $10K heads-up championship March 22. The winner of each tournament will participate in the championship.
VENETIAN: The Deep Stack Extravaganza is March 18-April 19 featuring $2.5 million in guarantees. The $500K guarantee main event is $1,600 and has three starting flights beginning April 9. All 7 p.m. events offer $200 buy-ins and have $10K or $20K guarantees.

TREASURE ISLAND: The poker room has house-funded guarantees for all four of its daily tournaments. The 2 p.m. and10 p.m. events have $1K guarantees and offer 20-minute levels and 10K chips for $65. The 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. tourneys have the same buy-in with a $500 guarantee and an 8K stack.

MGM: A $70 tournament is offered daily at 11 a.m. and Sunday-Thursday at 7 p.m. The starting stack is 15K and the levels are 15 minutes to start and go to 20 minutes at the start of the 10th level. Turbo tournaments for $50 are offered at 2 p.m. daily and 10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday that start with 10K chips and have 10-minute levels.

SAM’S TOWN: The new $25 Friday night tournament has 1,500 chips, with an optional $5 dealer add-on for another 1,500. There are unlimited rebuys for $10 (1K chips) through the first three 20-minute levels. There’s an optional $20 add-on for 6K chips. Players who register a half-hour before the start get 500 more chips. The room has dailies at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. The 10 a.m. $23 tournament is unusual in that the first three levels are limit hold’em and it becomes no-limit thereafter.  

BINION’S: The legendary property will host a celebrity tournament March 27. Entrants receive a free signed caricature print of one of the celebrities in the tournament.

GOLDEN NUGGET: The $150 Golden Saturday event on Jan. 24 drew 745 players for an $85,675 prize pool as Shaun Suller ($7,988), Robert Hackett ($7,987), Thomas Cierano ($7,987), Bohn He ($7,987) and David Willoughby ($7,987) chopped.

WYNN: The $100K Winter Weekend guarantee ($400 buy-in) on Jan. 25 saw 636 entrants and a $220K prize pool. James Matteucci ($28,016) won the title, followed by Chen Wang ($25,251) and Michael Cribb ($23,843).


ATLANTIS CASINO: The poker room hosts a series March 19-29 with buy-ins ranging from $120 to the $1,080 main event. You can register online at If you register for the main, you receive one free weekend night stay.

Meet Dominick Muzio

He’s been a dealer and a floor person at the seven-table Treasure Island poker room on the Strip since 2012.

How did you get into poker? I used to come to Vegas six or seven times a year to play blackjack. A friend introduced me to playing poker in a casino, and while I was still playing blackjack I won $5K in a six-table shootout at the Stardust. That was the first poker tournament I ever played. After I got laid off in Florida, where I was managing furniture stores, I would come to Vegas once a month to make money playing poker. A friend of mine said he could get me a temporary dealing job during the WSOP. He taught me how to deal and I worked the WSOP. So not long after, I packed up the family and moved here.

Why play at TI? It’s absolutely the friendliest room on the Strip. We have fun in here. … There are no professionals here. It’s not intimidating. It’s like a home game except we deal cards for you; that’s what I tell people.

What do you do when you’re not playing poker? I’m in a local band called Wicked Garden, which does ’90s alternative rock. We play all over the city. I’ve been a musician since I was 15. One of the reasons I moved to Vegas, aside from the poker, was because it has a better music scene. — Rob Solomon

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