By Scott Long
A lot has changed since the Ante Up NorCal Classic kicked off the Ante Up Poker Tour back in November 2012, but one thing hasn’t: Players still love Thunder Valley Casino Resort.
The casino in Lincoln, Calif., has hosted five Ante Up Poker Tour events, more than any other casino, and keeps finding ways to raise the bar with each. Fresh off hosting its second successful Ante Up World Championship in August, Thunder Valley will host its fourth Ante Up NorCal Classic Nov. 21-29 with nearly $400K in guarantees across 12 events.
The highlight, of course, will be the two-day $1,100 main event with a $150K prize pool, the winner of which will appear on the cover of Ante Up and get a personalized tour champion’s jacket. The event will mirror the main event from the Ante Up World Championship in August, with a single flight, one re-entry and 30K chips.
“It’s going to be one of the deepest $1,100 events you’ll find,” said Ben Erwin, director of poker for Thunder Valley. “It’s going to play like a lot of people’s $1,650 events.”
After experimenting with a single-weekend series last year, Erwin has expanded the NorCal Classic back to two weekends in 2015, kicking off with a $100K guarantee $400 buy-in one-day event that will pay 15 percent of the field.
“The one-day monster event is just going to be huge,” Erwin said. “We expect over 500 entries.”
The rest of the series features events Thunder Valley players are accustomed to seeing, including three bounty events, Omaha/8, HORSE and escalator events, as well as some new tourneys. Among those are a pot-limit Omaha/8 event with two rebuys, a marathon event with 40-minute levels and no breaks and a “countdown” event that starts eight-handed, switches to six-handed when 36 players remain and goes to four-handed for the final 16 players, with a five-handed final table.
As usual with Thunder Valley events, players will have numerous opportunities to satellite into not just the main event, but the first event, too. Thanksgiving Day will be reserved solely for main-event satellites, with multitables going off at 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. and single tables going all day based on demand. Single- or multitable satellites, or both, will be offered Nov. 20-28.
Players who make the trip to the resort just north of Sacramento won’t be disappointed. The AAA Four Diamond resort features 300 expansive luxury guests rooms and suites, a full casino, spa and several dining options, including the award-winning High Steaks steakhouse.
Anteupmagazine.com/thundervall ey has more information on the event, including discounted room rates.
Ante Up NorCal Classic
Nov. 21, 11 a.m.: Event 1 ($400)
Nov. 22, 7 p.m.: Event 2 ($150 Double Knockout)
Nov. 23, 11 a.m.: Event 3 ($150 Double Stack Escalator)
Nov. 23, 5 p.m.: Event 4 ($200 PLO/8)
Nov. 24, 11 a.m.: Event 5 ($125 HORSE)
Nov. 24, 5 p.m.: Event 6 ($300 Black Chip Bounty)
Nov. 25, 11 a.m.: Event 7 ($125 Omaha/8)
Nov. 25, 5 p.m.: Event 8 ($150)
Nov. 27, 11 a.m.: Event 9 ($340 Countdown)
Nov. 28, 11 a.m.: $1,100 Main Event
Nov. 29, 1 p.m.: Event 11 ($235 Marathon)
Nov. 29, 7 p.m.: Event 12 ($100 Knockout)
Visit anteupmagazine.com/thundervall ey for satellites and structures