Fast keeps pace, wins WPT L.A. Poker Classic

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After six days of no-limit hold’em, Dietrich Fast emerged atop a field of 515 of the world’s best players to take home his first WPT title by winning the L.A. Poker Classic at the Commerce Casino in Los Angeles.
Fast defeated former Legends of Poker champion Mike Shariati heads-up for $1 million. In addition to the seven-figure score, the German pro also won a seat into the WPT Tournament of Champions.

Shariati was denied his second title of the season, but earned $656,540 and took a sizeable lead in the WPT Player of the Year race. At press time, Shariati had 2,400 points and Cate Hall was his closest competitor with 1,550.

Heading into the final table, Fast was sitting in fifth place of six players. He won a big pot off Anthony Spinella, the chipleader at the start of the day, by turning a set of aces against Spinella’s two pair.

Fast began heads-up play with about a 4-1 lead and never relinquished it. His A-9 held up against Shariati’s A-8 on a board of A-J-4-8-J to secure the title for the German.

Rounding out the top 10 were Alex Keating (third, $423,890), Sam Soverel (fourth, $316,440),Farid Jatten (fifth. $238,070), Spinella (sixth, $191,250), John Hennigan (seventh, $160,190), Binh Nguyen (eighth, $127,660), Ty Reiman (ninth, $96,120) and Tim Cramer ($70,480).

PECHANGA RESORT AND CASINO: The poker room is running what it is calling the Las Vegas Main Event prize package tournament on April 30 at 2 p.m.For $250, the winner gets an $11K prize package, presumably $10K for a buy-in and $1K for expenses. Qualifying players will win cash from the remaining prize pool.

Also in April, Night Owl High Hands are awarded every Monday through Thursday from 3-9 a.m. First place takes $75 and second receives $25. Mondays are high-hand table shares from 1-11 p.m. The hold’em high hand every hour gets $170 for the table. The Omaha high hand receives $90 each hour.

The High Hand Competition is every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. From 1-11 p.m., the first-place finisher pockets $250, second receives $150 and third takes home $100. The Omaha winner of the day scores $100.

The Thank Goodness it’s Friday drawings will give away $4K. Earn entries for every hour played on Wednesdays and Fridays. Drawings take place at 3, 5, 9 and 11 p.m. each Friday. One entry will be drawn and if the winner is present, he or she wins $1K. If the player isn’t in the room, two tickets will be drawn for $500 each.

Northern California

THUNDER VALLEY CASINO RESORT: In Lincoln, Calif., there was a high value event Feb. 18-21 called the Catapult, where the $155 buy-in had a massive prize pool of $100K. This event had four starting days with the top 8 percent of each day returning on the final day. With 1,106 entries, the prize pool swelled to $141K. The winner after a chop was local player Masoud Safapour from Roseville, who earned $17K. The runner-up was Robert Benedict of Folsom, who pocketed $16K. Babe Prescott from Stockton took third ($12K), followed by Rose Erhart of Sutte Creek (fourth, $10K), Bill Watchman of Reno (fifth, $10K), Arish Nat of Elk Grove (sixth, $5K), Paul White of Livermore (seventh, $4K), Hung Sam of Elk Grove (eighth, $3K) and Everett Tatro of Santa Cruz (ninth, $2.4K). See the ad on Pages 10-11 in our April issue for this month’s WPT DeepStacks series.

LUCKY CHANCES CASINO: The Colma property hosts its annual Battle of the Bay series April 23-May 2. This series will have five events, including a $40K guarantee April 24 with a $600 buy-in, a $350 Survivor event April 25, a $20K guarantee with a $350 buy-in April 26 and a $15K guarantee April 28 ($300). The main event begins April 30 and will have a $100K guarantee with a $1,080 buy-in.

JACKSON RANCHERIA CASINO: This Jackson poker room has some fine promotions this month, including Hot Seat Drawings every hour on Mondays (7:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m.), Big Wheel Stack Attacks on Tuesdays (4 p.m.-midnight) and Bonus Hours on Wednesdays (2-6 p.m.). On Thursdays, Stack Attacks run on every table from 6-10 p.m. Jackson Rancheria also has a player-favorite tournament on the second Sunday of every month, sporting a $5K guarantee and $220 buy-in.

CALIFORNIA GRAND CASINO: In Pacheco, look for some of the best promotions in the Bay Area. The Progressive Bad Beat Hold’em Double Jackpot starts at $140K and increases daily. Players must have quad eights or better beaten and there’s also a $200 room share when the jackpot is hit. The Progressive Hold’em Jackpot starts at $70K with the same hand requirements. California Grand has other promotions such has a $5K hold’em bad-beat jackpot, $5K Omaha jackpot, $100 high hands, progressive royals and chip bonuses for cash players.

Pacific Northwest

CHINOOK WINDS CASINO: The PacWest Poker Classic recently wrapped up in Lincoln, Ore., and here are some of the winners: Gary Goff of Sequim, Wash., nabbed the first event for $13K and Kyle Andrew won the fourth event for $4K. Steve Dunning of Anchorage captured the seniors title and $4K, while Michael Kokkeler of Junction City, Ore., won the Omaha event for $2K. Brendan Mahoney won Event 9 for $2K; Jacob Dahl of Aloha, Ore., won the Big O event for $4K; Eli Parsons captured Event 12 ($3K) and Mervin Peters won Event 16 ($1K). Andrew Johnson of Hillsboro, Ore., grabbed the main-event title for $23K.

WILDHORSE RESORT AND CASINO: From April 7-17, the property just east of Pendleton, Ore., hosts its Spring Poker Round-Up.Buy-ins range from $120-$1K, including a two-day $530 main event the second weekend.Also, $225 Omaha/8 and HORSE events will run.A total of $40K will be added to the 16 tournaments. Call the poker room for the schedule.

FINAL TABLE POKER CLUB: The Portland club has 15 tables.On April 30 is a $100K guarantee event, which has a $300 buy-in for 12K chips and an optional $100 add-on for 10K more.

Las Vegas

PLANET HOLLYWOOD: The poker room recently moved to a central location in the casino next to the Pleasure Pit, which is an area where table games are dealt by attractive women wearing provocative clothing. That should give the poker players something to distract them when they are card dead.The new room has 10 tables.
The tournament schedule has been revamped, too. The $75 tournament runs daily at 10 a.m., 1 p.m., 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. Each has a $1,250 guarantee with guarantees for the first three places.First place pays $700, second is $400 and third is $150.Players start with 10K chips and play 20-minute levels.

A $65 bounty tournament runs nightly at 6. The bounties are $25, the starting stack is 8K and the levels are 20 minutes.The $125 WSOP.com Players Choice tournament runs Tuesdays 11 p.m. with the same starting stack and levels, but the bounties are $50 and there’s a $500 guarantee.

The main cash game is $1-$2 no-limit hold’em with a $100 minimum, $300 maximum buy-in. Promos include high-hand bonuses and hourly splash pots of between $25 and $250.

The next Phamous Poker Weekend is April 22-24.The main event will be the River Card Poker Tour event that offers a $100K guarantee.The buy-in is $350 and there are four starting flights, two a day beginning April 22.The evening events are $130 double-stack turbos.On April 24, while the second day of the main event is taking place, there’s a triple-stack turbo bounty tournament ($50 bounties) for $130.That one offers a $5K guarantee.

BINION’S: The downtown poker room has changed the buy-ins for its tournaments. The daily (except Saturday) 1 p.m. tournament is $75 for 10K chips, with a $10 add-on for 5K chips more. At the first break, players may buy 5K chips for $10. The levels last 20 minutes. There’s no change in the popular $160 buy-in Saturday deepstack with a $10K guarantee.

The 7 p.m. is $55 for 5K chips, with a $10 add-on for 3K and a $10 add-on at the first break 2K more. The levels are 15 minutes.

There’s a new Live Play Bonus promo offered for tournament players.Those who have played 5-20 hours of live poker in the seven days before any tournament they play are eligible for a progressive prize should they win the tournament.The minimum prize is $1K for the afternoon tournament and $500 for the evening offering.If the tournament winner has played five hours the previous week, he earns 25 percent of the progressive prize pool. For 10 hours it’s 50 percent, for 15 hours 75 percent and 20 hours gets the player 100 percent of the progressive pool. The prize pools increase daily by $100 for the afternoon and $50 for the evening tournaments.

Cash-game players get $2 per hour in comps and there’s a cash-back program for playing. It’s $50 for 20 hours, $150 for 30 hours, $250 for 40 hours and $400 for 50 hours. The main cash games are $1-$3 NLHE with a $100 minimum and no max and a $2-$6 spread-limit hold’em game with a $30 minimum.

WYNN: The poker room is moving and the property is promising an “elevated experience” for players.The new location will be adjacent to the Encore Players Club, the Encore Beach Club, the Surrender nightclub and Andrea’s restaurant.The room will occupy 8,600 square feet and have 28 tables.There will be sportsbook window in the room as well as 35 65-inch televisions.The room is scheduled to open May 26.

MANDALAY BAY: On the south end of the Strip, the 10-table room offers great tournament and cash-game action.Two $40 buy-in tournaments run daily, at 10 a.m and 3 p.m. Players start with 4K chips and get 20-minute levels. A $5 staff bonus is worth 1K chips.The 10 p.m. tournament is $65 and offers 15-minute levels and a $10K starting stack.

The main cash game is $1-$2 NLHE, with a $100-$300 min-max. The room also offers a $1-$3 game with $100-$1K min-max, as well as a $2-$5 game ($200-$2K min-max). On occasion, a $5-$5 game runs ($500-$2K).

The room also offers a Luckiest Player Challenge. There are two periods per week, one Monday through Thursday and the other Friday through Sunday.Players earn points toward these challenges for hours played and for hitting qualified high hands. The top-five point-earners on weekdays get paid between $100 and $900, while top-four point-earners on weekends get between $200-$600.

Another promo is the Big Slick Royal Progressive. Catching a royal flush with ace-king as the player’s hole cards earns a progressive jackpot that starts at $500 and grows $25 a day until it hits.

In addition to progressive high-hand bonuses for quads or better on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays there’s a tiered bonus for hitting the high hands. Catching the high hand on the flop is worth $300, on the turn $200 and on the river $100.

VENETIAN: Jordon Cristos of Palmdale, Calif., took home the $132K prize for winning the $1,600 main event at the Deep Stack Extravaganza on Feb. 22.Angelo Spinazzola of Las Vegas was runner-up ($93K).Eric Baldwin and Ryan Welch, both Vegas residents, each claimed $80K.The prize pool was $750K and there were 509 entrants.

ALIANTE: The three-table room, using electronic tables in North Las Vegas, closed in March.

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

Meet Shawn Van Asdale

A Reno player with more than $1M in earnings, Shawn Van Asdale won his first World Series of Poker Circuit ring at Harveys Lake Tahoe in November.

How would you describe your playing style? Social. I can be tight or loose, even a little crazy, to fit any situation, but I’m almost always talking to people. I’m learning about them, getting tells and trying to get them to relax. I like a table with a party atmosphere and I’m the bartender. Who check-raises a bartender?

Are you really a lawyer? If yes, are you better at practicing law or playing poker? I am a lawyer and a nuclear engineer. By the numbers, I was probably a better lawyer. I won nine figures for my clients and was pretty much undefeated in trials. But I was a ruthless attorney who pressed every advantage. As a player, I’m honest, generous and gregarious. So as a person, I’m a happier being a poker player. Besides, there were almost no cocktail waitresses in the courtroom, so screw that.

What do you think is the most important attribute to your success as a player? A big bankroll. No, really, I would say my ability to concentrate for long periods of time because I mostly play tournaments. Even when there are lots of distractions like alcohol, banter and sexual tension, I’m concentrating on the game. — Cary Marshall