Anthony Zinno stormed back from seven big blinds to win the World Poker Tour’s L.A. Poker Classic Main Event at the Commerce Casino in Los Angeles.With the victory, Zinno, who won the WPT Fallsview Classic less than three weeks earlier, became the third player to capture three WPT titles, joining Gus Hansen and Carlos Mortensen. He also is the third player to win back-to-back WPT titles, joining Marvin Rettenmaier and Darren Elias.
“My adrenaline is still flowing,” Zinno said after the win. “I feel so grateful. I guess you could say I followed my dreams. I followed my passion.”
Zinno topped a field of 538 players in the $10K event, earning $1,015,860. The Cranston, R.I. native has more than $2.8 million in tournament earnings and a commanding lead in the WPT Player of the Year race.
PALA: After 12 hours of action, Steve Kaliszewski of San Diego, Umberto Tripoli of Vista and Mahmood Mahdavi of La Jolla agreed to a three-way chop in the Pala Winter Open River Card Quest for the Cup Main Event on Feb. 21. Kaliszewski was the leader, so he won $4,718 and the River Card traveling trophy. Tripoli and Mahdavi earned $4,716 each. The main event paid 14 places from 170 entries and a $25,500 prize pool.
PECHANGA: Throughout April, the poker room will give players the chance to earn a big cash-back bonus. For 40 hours of live play Monday-Wednesday, players will receive $150. Hours can be redeemed for cash between April 29 and May 1.
THE 101 CASINO: The Petaluma poker room hosts multiple World Series of Poker mega satellites in April on Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m. Buy-in is $110 on April 1 and 15 but $60 on April 8 and 22. The winners will be entered into the $490 WSOP satellite on May 23 at 2 p.m. There will be one seat guaranteed to the $10K WSOP main event and additional seats for every 25 entrants. Winners also receive $1K for expenses.
GRATON CASINO: The Rohnert Park property is one of the area’s newest casinos and has some fine tournaments to offer, including a $60 event on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 10 a.m. (5K chips, 20-minute blinds). The big event, which costs $140 and has 8K chips, is Sunday at 10 a.m.
LUCKY CHANCES: The Battle of the Bay series runs April 19-26 (six NLHE events) at the Colma room. Preliminary buy-ins are $120-$600. All events will have a guaranteed first prize ranging from $10K-$40K. The $1,080 main event starts April 25 at 9:30 a.m. and sports a $100K first-place guarantee.
OAKS CARD CLUB: The Emeryville poker room is giving away a seat to the WSOP main by awarding points to players who finish in the money in their weekend events until May 3. The top 100 players will qualify for the $25K freeroll and extra freeroll chips will be awarded to the top point-earners. First place in the freeroll receives the $10K seat.
THUNDER VALLEY CASINO RESORT: There will multiple WSOP main-event satellites at the Lincoln property as 1 in 25 players will win a $10K seat, $500 and an invitation to the Winners Dinner at High Steaks Steakhouse. These satellites will be April 4, 11 and 18.
STONES GAMBLING HALL: The Citrus Heights room now has daily jackpots, triple player points and wheel spins. It also has $200-$300 Aces Cracked from 6-7 p.m. and $200-$300 Rack Attacks at 3 p.m., 4 p.m., 11 p.m. and midnight.
TURLOCK POKER ROOM: Players can win a Chevy Camaro and a Kawasaki Brute Force 300 by playing live during select hours. Players will earn drawing tickets per hour of play and will receive one ticket from 4 p.m.-2 a.m., two tickets from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. and three tickets from 2 a.m.-8 a.m. Ten tickets are drawn every Saturday and the final drawing will be Aug. 2 at 7 p.m.
GRAND SIERRA: The Heartland Poker Tour’s $1,650 main event at the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno, Nev., drew 261 players as Stephen Foutty walked away with the trophy and $89,484, the biggest score of his career. Zak Gilbert, the lone local to make the final table, busted in fourth place ($26,472) when his straight draw didn’t get there.
Out of Sacramento, Michael Hirohama won the first event for $2,993. Joe Grandberry of Redding, Calif., won the first $40K guarantee, beating a field of 390-plus players for nearly $12K. Loren Cloninger won the other $40K guarantee for $16K, beating 115 entrants.
PEPPERMILL: The NV Spring Challenge kicks off May 15-25 and features a $171K guarantee main event.
MONTE CARLO: The stylish eight-table room spreads $1-$2 NLHE with a $100-$300 buy-in and $2-$6 spread limit with a $20 minimum buy-in. It also offers a $1-$3 NLHE game with a $100-$500 buy-in. There are four tournaments a day (9 a.m., 2 p.m., 6 and 11) with buy-ins $40-$70. On Wednesdays. the 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. have $10 bounties. Promotions include a biweekly $8K freeroll. Qualifying starts at 13 hours but extra hours played earns extra starting chips. There are high-hand bonuses for quads ($50), straight flushes ($100) and royals ($300), plus a mini-bad-beat jackpot for $10K.
EXCALIBUR: You can find 10 tables of action here and it only takes $60 to buy in to the $1-$2 NLHE game ($300 max). The $2-$6 spread-limit game has a $30 minimum buy-in. The room has unique promotions, highlighted by the big Wheel of Fortune that players spin when they hit a high hand (quads or better) or when they have their aces cracked. The prizes vary from $20 to $100. There’s also a “deuces never loses” promo that awards $222 for quad deuces and it has a $555 payout for royals. The bad-beat jackpot is progressive starting at $1K and requires aces full beaten by quads. Inexpensive tournaments run four times daily (9 a.m., 1 p.m., 5 and 8) for $40-$45.
LUXOR: The main game in this nine-table room is $1-$2 NLHE ($60-$300). The $2-$4 limit game offers $3/hour in comps and a $1 max rake from 8 a.m. to noon. Promotions include graveyard drawings. Prizes of $100 are given away at 6, 7 and 8 a.m. If no one claims the prize, the money is carried over to the next drawing. Tickets are earned between 2-8 a.m. whenever a player wins a pot. Two daily $45 tournaments run at 10:30 a.m. and 8:30 p.m.
MANDALAY BAY: The action in this 10-table room can get quite wild. The normal game is $1-$2 NLHE ($100-$300), but on the weekends look for a $1-$3 game with a $1K max buy-in. This game has a mandatory button straddle of $6-$10. There’s also $2-$4 and $3-$6 limit as demand requires. Daily $40 tournaments run at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. and a $65 turbo is at 10 p.m.
The daily progressive high-hand bonuses offer extra payouts during the week. On Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays there is a tiered bonus with players getting an extra $300 if they flop the high hand, an extra $200 for turning the hand and an extra $100 for hitting it on the river. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, designated high hands earn a $500 bonus with a $50 table share.
VENETIAN: William Sturiano ($178,870) defeated Joe Kuether ($109,877) for the Deep Stack Extravaganza Main Event title on Feb. 22. The event had 585 entrants for an $851,760 prize pool. With the regular tournament schedule back, the Venetian increased the guarantees. Every daily tournament has a guarantee of between $5K and $20K. The buy-ins are $125-$300 and $137,500 is guaranteed each week. The tournaments run daily at noon and 7 p.m.
ORLEANS: The Orleans Open runs May 20-27. The main event is $540. Also featured are two $230 Omaha/8 events, a $330 Omaha/8 event, a $230 HORSE and two $230 NLHE tournaments, one with $50 bounties. Satellites run daily. All events start at noon.
BINION’S: The downtown room is offering a cash-back bonanza and a freeroll. Players earn $50 for 25 hours of live play, up to $750 for 125 hours in a calendar month. Players qualify for the $15K freeroll with 25 hours of live play. The minimum starting stack is 1K but players can earn more chips for more hours, up to 7K for 100 hours.
The room has been running some deepstack cash games lately. A $2-$5 game is starting to run fairly regularly during the afternoon, with a $1K min buy-in and no max. The room always spreads $1-$3 NLHE ($100 min, no max) and a $3-$6 limit game (min $30).
The popular $140 Saturday deepstack is still going strong. It starts at 2 p.m. and offers a 20K starting stack and 30-minute levels with a $10K guarantee. The event averages 120 players and recently away $4,500 for first.
GOLDEN NUGGET: Here are the top-three finishers of the Golden Saturday event on Feb. 21: Margaret Stuart ($7,647), Jared Lichtin ($6,224) and Jeremiah Moore ($5,000). It had 625 entrants for a $71,760 prize pool. The next $150 Golden Saturday is April 4 at noon ($50K guarantee, 15K chips, 30-minute blinds) and registration is from 10 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Must have a 24kt card to register. Also, see the AUPT preview on Page 16 of our April 2015 issue.
HOOTERS: The two-table room on the south end of the Strip closed in February after struggling for years to build business.
— Check out Rob Solomon’s blog at robvegaspoker.blogspot.com.
WILDHORSE RESORT AND CASINO: The four-table poker room gives way to the property’s bingo hall and one of its big meeting rooms for the Spring Round Up on April 9-19. No-limit hold’em buy-ins are $120 to $1,500, with a two-day $530 main event the second weekend. There also will be $225 Omaha/8 and HORSE events and $40K will be added to the 15 tournaments. For more info, call the poker room.
Meet Keith Dames
Keith Dames is the poker room manager at Atlantis Casino in Reno, Nev.
Why did you get into the poker industry? When I left the military, my father was dealing table games. He seemed to be having fun and making decent money, so I did that for a short time. When the announcement was made that the casino I was at was going to start pooling tips, I switched to poker. I fell in love with the game. I’ve had a blast dealing, supervising and playing over the years. Now I’ve got a new adventure as the poker room manager.
What makes your poker room different? It’s the friendliest poker room I’ve ever played in. This starts with the staff and is contagious. The players pick up on it and reflect it back. We listen to player feedback and constantly strive to provide the best possible poker experience. We offer tableside dining from several of our award-winning restaurants as well as a self-service soup and beverage station. The Atlantis as a whole is gorgeous and every team member takes responsibility to keep it clean. — Ross Nicholas