Kasabyan wins WSOPC in L.A. at the Bike

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Southern California

Gevork Kasabyan took down the $1,675 World Series of Poker Circuit’s main event on March 18 at Bicycle Casino in Los Angeles, pocketing $205,720. He beat nearly 670 players over three days, starting Day 3 in fifth place out of 14 remaining players. Adam Weinraub, who entered the final day as chipleader, finished runner-up for $127,295.

Maxwell Lineberger bested a field of 1,177 entries in a tournament that ran so long an extra day had to be added. He won Event 1 ($365 re-entry) to earn $62,685 and his first WSOPC ring.

Edward Liu won his second ring by capturing the $580 Event 2. He had won his first ring almost exactly a year ago, also at the Bike. Liu secured his victory, which earned him $13,800, after a heads-up match that only lasted one hand. His opponent was David Tuchman, a commentator whose voice is often heard on Live at the Bike.

A.J. Fernandes won Event 3 ($365 Omaha/8) for his first ring and $11,005 and Bill Donnelly also won his first ring by taking down Event 4 ($365) for $14,505.

Scott Stewart’s second final table of this WSOPC came in the $1,125 Event 5 and this time he got the third ring of his career and $27,205.

Jeff Murphy (Event 6, $13,280) joined the first-timers club and later won Event 13 ($17,312).

Steve Foutty earned his second ring in Event 7 ($365 six-max) for $14,525. David Zarrin won Event 9 ($13,135) and Sara Elwood made her first WSOPC cash count by winning her first ring and more than $10K in Event 10.

Josh Hale won Event 11 (PLO) and Dylan Davis won the first WSOPC event he played, earning $11,845 for Event 12 ($365 turbo).

PALA CASINO: William Lam of Temecula, Calif., and Tim Anders of Las Vegas, agreed to a two-way chop after almost 12 hours of play on March 29. Lam won $6K, the tournament championship and the River Card trophy while Anders took home $6,300 in the Quest for the Cup, which drew 288 players for a $46,080 prize pool.

Pacific Northwest

FINAL TABLE POKER: The Portland property’s $300 event with a $100K guarantee was a big success in March with more than 300 entrants for a prize pool of more than $135K. First place would have been $35K, but the final table chopped with Kevin Nguyen getting the biggest piece ($18K).

MUCKLESHOOT CASINO: The Spring Classic’s main event in Auburn, Wash., chopped between Paterno Pascua and Dong Vuu for $37,500 each. Other winners were Kao Saechao ($8K), Art Dahlen ($6K) and Ray Spencer ($21K). The overall championship went to Kao Saechao for $6K.

Reno

ATLANTIS CASINO: A recent series here had $300K in guarantees up for grabs and Nick Weinberg took down $38,625 by winning the $1,080 main event. He beat a field of 149 to win his first tournament.

“It’s my first big win. It’s my first little win. It’s my first anytime win,” Weinberg said.

Reno local Larry Korgan took first ($11,195) in the $50K guarantee while navigating his way through nearly 160 players.

More local winners: Gary Waters (Event 10, $2,645), Marty Gorence (Event 17, $2,458) and Mike Harvey (Event 22, $12,513).

ELDORADO CASINO: The downtown room has a variety of hold’em games and still offers $1-$5 stud.

PEPPERMILL CASINO: The Poker NV Spring Challenge runs May 15-25 with $171K in guarantees.

Northern California

CACHE CREEK CASINO: The Brooks, Calif., room hosts World Series of Poker main-event satellites each Sunday for $60 with re-entries allowed (3K chips, 20-minute levels). The top three weekly finalists return June 14 to play for a $10K seat and $2K for expenses. Cache Creek also runs a Saturday event at noon with $500 added to the prize pool. This is a $55 buy-in with an optional $50 rebuy during the first three rounds.

WIN-RIVER RESORT & CASINO: The $1,100 World Poker Tour DeepStack event comes to Redding in November, so look for $120 satellites on select Saturdays this month at noon. Ten percent of the field will earn a seat. The room also has First Step satellites on Thursdays at 6 p.m., which cost $27 and will award seats into the Saturday satellite. Win-River also has a weekly $1K guarantee on Sundays at 4 that has a $55 buy-in for 5K chips.

JACKSON RANCHERIA: A host of tournaments run throughout the week, including a $2.5K guarantee on Fridays at 11 a.m. ($60). The room also appeals to mixed-game players with an Omaha event on Tuesdays at 11 a.m. ($40) and a crazy pineapple tournament on Thursdays at 11 a.m. ($30). If you play at least one hour of cash games you earn 1K in bonus chips.

ARTICHOKE JOE’S CASINO: In San Bruno, you’ll find incredible jackpots, paying players more than $672K over the past year. There are many jackpots, including Big Hand Double Hand, Double Hand 9 High and Omaha. The featured jackpot is NLHE, which is $100K and requires quad eights be beaten.

CLUB ONE CASINO: A bunch of guarantees run in this Fresno room throughout May with the largest one being the Sunday DeepStack, which costs $75 and starts at 1:15 p.m. (10K chips). There’s also a $3K guarantee on Tuesday ($60) and Friday nights ($70) at 7:15. Club One has some great promotions, including a Monster Jackpot with a $20K payout where you must play both hole cards and must have quads beaten. The royal flush progressive jackpot, high hands and splash pots run throughout the week.

Las Vegas

VENETIAN: The Deep Stack Extravaganza runs May 20-July 19 and offers $11 million in guarantees. Every event offers a guarantee. The $5K main event starts July 12, has three starting flights and a $2 million guarantee. Many of the noon events have multiple starting days and guarantees between $120K and $1.25M, with buy-ins between $400 and $1,600. The Mid-States Poker Tour has a $1,100 event June 1 with a $1M guarantee.

The series features many non-hold’em events, offering plenty of Omaha/8, PLO and PLO/8. There’s also a $600 Big O event on June 23 and an Omaha/8-stud/8 mix June 1. The evening events feature many bounty events and the guarantees are a minimum of $10K.

In other news at the Venetian, long-time poker director Kathy Raymond retired in February. Tommy LaRosa, the tournament director for several years, is running day-to-day operations.

PLANET HOLLYWOOD: “Goliath” is the name of its summer event. It runs May 31-July 15. The two-day, $1,150 main event starts June 28 and has a $1 million guarantee. The guaranteed prize pool is more than $4.5 million.

The series features quite a few events that mirror the WSOP. It opens with Colossus Jr., a $565 event with a $500K guarantee. There’s a “$100K maker” event June 7 that has a $565 buy-in and a $500K guarantee, with a guarantee of $100K to the winner. Also, a $565 Monster Stack (20K chips) runs June 14-15 and has a $500K guarantee.

There’s plenty of variety in this series, with three $250 Dealers Choice tournaments, all offering $5K guarantees. The dates of these tournaments are June 2, 9 and 24. Two triple-stud events (also $250 with $5K guarantees) run June 4 and 11. There are a number of PLO and PLO/8 events as well.

The LIPS National Championship runs June 27-28, with a $250 buy-in. The seniors event runs June 20-22, featuring a $250K guarantee and a $565 buy-in.

WYNN: Maxim Sorokin ($101,619) defeated Kevin Calenzo ($82,024) for the Spring Classic Main Event title on March 18. The event had a $481,120 prize pool and 248 entrants.

The Wynn Summer Classic runs June 4-July 11. All events are NLHE and have guarantees. The $1,600 main event has two starting flights beginning July 3 and offers a $300K guarantee.

In other news, Ryan Beauregard is the new director of poker, returning from his Wynn Macau position to run the room.

BELLAGIO: Bellagio Cup XI runs July 9-15. The five-day main event starts July 10 and has a $10,400 buy-in. The event also features a three-day, $2,140 Seniors Summer Championship beginning July 13. Satellites run starting on July 9, priced at $1,900 or $240.

SOUTH POINT: The popular locals casino on the south end of Vegas is definitely worth a tourist’s time to check out. The room has 22 tables that are spaced out for comfort. The main game is $1-$2 NLHE with a $100-$300 buy-in. Equally popular is the $2-$4 limit game with a $20 minimum buy-in. The limit game has a half-kill. The room also has been known to spread $4-$8 limit and a $2-$5 game ($200-$1K).

The promotions include progressive high-hand payouts. Periodically, South Point offers one of the biggest single-room freerolls in town. The most recent one required 100 hours of play in a three-month period, and the room gave away $145K.

South Point has three daily tournaments: At 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., it’s a $60 buy-in. The same tournament runs most evenings at 7, except on Wednesdays and Sundays. On those two nights, the tournament starts at 6 and is a $100 deepstack. It has 7,500 chips, but a $10 dealer add-on brings it to 10K.

FLAMINGO: This 11-table room in the middle of the Vegas Strip is sometimes overlooked, but it’s one of the busiest rooms for its size in town. Across the street from Caesars Palace and next to Harrah’s, this room is pretty much the last place in the tourist corridor to play $2-$4 limit hold’em. The minimum buy-in is $20 and there are always a couple of games being spread, sometimes as many as five. When the Mirage temporarily closed, the Flamingo started offering a $3-$6 limit game ($30 min) as well. Of course, it spreads a $1-$2 game, too. The buy-in is $100-$300 with multiple tables running.

The promotions include a bad-beat jackpot, which was just hit for $38K as Ante Up went to press. Aces full of kings lost to quad kings, resetting the jackpot to $20K and the qualifying losing hand to quad sixes. The rank of the qualifying hand drops each Tuesday.

The room also offers a weekly $5K freeroll for 10 hours of live play, as well as a monthly $10K freeroll for 60 hours. There are high-hand bonuses for quads and better. Flamingo runs a $50 tournament five times a day: 10 a.m., 1, 6, 9 and midnight.

GOLDEN NUGGET: Don’t forget the Ante Up Poker Tour is partnering with the Nugget Las Vegas for its Grand Poker Series, which runs May 27-July 3.

There will be 11 events with $100K guarantees and, of course, the main event, a $560 buy-in that boasts a $500K guarantee. That champion will be featured on the August cover of Ante Up and earns entry into the Ante Up World Championship Main Event and a personalized AUPT champion’s jacket.

Of the 56 events on the schedule, 16 are in disciplines other than hold’em, including two HORSE events (one is no-limit) and an eight-game mix. Buy-ins range from $150 to $560 and most days feature two events, one at 11 a.m. and the other at 1 p.m., with an occasional
5 p.m. start.

STATIONS FREEROLL: There’s still time to qualify for $325K Poker Plus freeroll. A total of 75 combined hours of play in any Stations poker room qualifies. The rooms are Red Rock, Green Valley Ranch, Boulder Station, Santa Fe Station and Palace Station. The first prize is $40K. Players can get more starting chips for more hours of play and everyone who qualifies gets a minimum of $90.

— Check out Rob Solomon’s blog at robvegaspoker.blogspot.com

Meet Marcee Topp

After losing her wife to leukemia in 2009, Marcee Topp has been semi-retired. She spent most of her time since leaving Canada in 2010 as a caregiver to a woman with dementia, which is how she ended up living in Southern California in a 55-plus community. She recently renewed her focus on poker and enjoys being a snowbird. After the WSOP, she goes to Montana for family fun.

Since starting to play poker again, Topp has had some good tournament runs. In July 2012, she came in 71st out of a field of 6,598 in the $10K WSOP Main Event for $106,056. Recently, she played in the 2014 WSOP seniors event and out of a field of 4,425 made it to 50th place for $10,354.

What got you started in poker? My youngest sibling, Melissa, had a family Christmas hold’em game and I loved it. At the time I was living in Canada and jumped into a ladies tournament weekend at a local casino. I lost big and spent the next year learning the game online. I came back and won the shootout event. The roller-coaster ride was just beginning.

Why do you love poker? It’s such a rush, and for me it has provided a lifestyle that I love, which includes the time to travel in my RV as well as golf and garden as much as I’d like.

What is your biggest poker achievement? I made it to Day 6 in my first WSOP main event, which was a freeroll. It was an amazing experience and I know I will be back.

Cash games or tournaments? Tournaments, because it’s what I know and it’s where I found success. But building my cash game into a steady part of my income is my current focus. I’m also spending some of my tournament bankroll on mixed games. Always learning keeps it challenging. — Kittie Aleman