The Wynn recently opened its new poker room and the new location is in the Encore, connected to the Wynn by a shopping promenade. Conveniently, the room is just a short walk from the Encore and Wynn self-parking garages.
The room is beautiful with 28 tables spread out over 8,600 square feet, so there’s plenty of space between the tables, which have USB ports for charging devices. The chairs are adjustable and quite comfortable. Players never need to leave the room. There’s a sports-betting window and players who want to see how their wagers are doing have 37 65-inch high-definition TVs to view. The restrooms inside there are nicer than most you will see anywhere at the average casino. There’s an exclusive menu for players to get food delivered to the table. There’s also a separate area for bigger limits and players receive $1.50 per hour in comps.
The Wynn offers $140 tournaments daily at noon, Monday-Thursday. On Fridays and Sundays, there’s a $200 event with a $10K guarantee. The Saturday tournament is $225 and has a $25K guarantee. Thursdays at 5 p.m., a $120 PLO event is featured. The first Wednesday of the month, a $300 seniors tournament, replaces the daily and has a $12,500 guarantee.
GOLDEN NUGGET: The Grand Poker Series had a $760K prize pool for its $570 main event, beating the $500K guarantee. There were 1,520 players over the three starting flights. The final two players made a deal in the end, with Darrell Smith of Sugar Land, Texas, taking home first-place money, $109K. Robert Stan from Bridgeport, Conn., settled for $103K. Ante Up strategy writer Brent Philbin of Hallandale Beach, Fla., took home $55K for third.
The Nugget also offered a $150 event with a $100K guarantee, drawing nearly 1,800 players to more than double the guarantee at $202K. Canada’s Cameron Bartolatta was the winner, earning $21K.
BINION’S: Andrew Kloc of Naugatuck, Conn., was the last player standing from a field of 500-plus to win the Binion’s Classic. Kloc earned $48K for the $565 main-event victory. Second place went to Tony Gordy of Los Angeles, who took home $36K. Rajappa Chidambaram from Sugar Land, Texas, grabbed third for $27K.
ARIA: Andreas Olympios of England won $260K for capturing the WPT 500 title on July 6. The $565 event had a $2M prize pool. Wesley Hickey of Canada earned $185K for second and Drazen Illich of Lincoln, Neb., scored $135K for third.
VENETIAN: As part of the Deep Stack Extravaganza, the Mid-States Poker Tour held its main event in early June. The Venetian offered a $2M guarantee, but the event drew almost 2,900 players, creating a prize pool exceeding $2.8M. Thomas Boivin of Belgium won, taking home $352K. Makul Pahuja of Long Island was runner-up ($300K). Third went to Thupten Thondup of Santa Fe ($187K).
The Venetian also offered a $3,500 event with a $3M guarantee. The final prize pool was almost $3.6M with more than 1,100 entries. The top three were Andjelko Andrejevic of Belgrade ($655K), Antonin Tesseire of France ($402K) and Darren Elias of Los Angeles ($298K). The Venetian hosts the Weekend Extravaganza Aug. 10-14, with more than $145K in guarantees. The biggest event is a $550 mega-satellite to the Mega Millions tournament at the Bicycle Casino in Bell Gardens, Calif.
HOLLYWOOD POKER OPEN: The $2,500 HPO at the M Resort in late June went to Dejuante Alexander of Houston, earning $332K. Philadelphia’s Aaron Mermelstein was second ($205K) and Denver’s Brady Bullard was third ($134K). The event drew 655 entrants for a $1.47M prize pool.
—Check out Rob Solomon’s blog at robvegaspoker.blogspot.com.
Jason DeWitt of San Diego won the $1,500 Millionaire Maker at the World Series of Poker, pulling in $1.06M, making it the biggest victory of his career. This marked his second WSOP victory after winning a $5K bracelet in 2010 for $818,959.
“It’s hard to get through these big fields,” DeWitt said. “I usually play just no-limit and pot-limit and they draw the biggest fields. So, it’s not surprising that it would take so long to get back here again. I mean these fields are so big. To win a tournament with a 7,000-player field is just insane. It’s just incredible.”
The tourney attracted 7,190 entrants, making it the eighth largest of all time.
Danny Le, a businessman from Westminster, Calif., won the $1,500 limit tournament for $188,815 and the biggest win of his career. This was the third cash of Le’s career at the WSOP, making final table in 2013 good for seventh place. Le had to overcome a final table that included one bracelet-winner, Tyler Bonkowski. That task was made much easier by Le’s commanding chip advantage, which he maintained pretty much from start to finish.
Safiya Umerova, a 28-year-old aspiring pro player from Los Angeles, won the $1,500 shootout for $264K. She’s been playing about 18 months and until recently limited herself to recreational poker in the local L.A. clubs. This was her first year at the WSOP.
“I studied the game almost every day,” she said. “I read a lot of books. I had people help me. I worked very much on my game to get here. I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t work hard on my game. … When the day began, I was just trying to make the final table. It’s just surreal to win.”
Allan Le, a pro from Huntington Beach, Calif., won the $1,500 mixed pot-limit Omaha/8-Omaha/8-Big O tournament for $189K. He has 30 cashes at the WSOP and is one of three prominent poker-playing brothers. He’s the youngest of a family that includes Nam Le and Tommy Le. However, Allan is the first to win a bracelet.
There were some strong WSOP final-table showings by NorCal players who brought back one bracelet and a combined $2.1M from final tables alone.
The bracelet went to Marco Johnson of Walnut Creek, winning the $3K HORSE Event 18 for an outstanding $260K. This was Johnson’s second career WSOP bracelet and 36th career cash. He also placed third in Event 57 ($1,500 PLO) for $87K and had five cashes at this year’s series, bringing his lifetime WSOP earnings to $1.8M.
The most won by a NorCal player this series was Wil Wilkinson from Pacheco, coming in third in Event 16 ($10K no-limit deuce-to-seven) for $120K and fifth in Event 55 ($50K Players Championship) for $272K. Wilkinson has 15 cashes and $1M-plus in lifetime earnings at the WSOP since he started playing in 1994.
Dmitry Savelyev of San Bruno also had a hugely profitable summer, finishing runner-up in Event 45 ($1,500 NLHE-PLO) for $150K and sixth in Event 62 ($25K high roller PLO) for $187K.
Some big-name pros from NorCal also made some final-table appearances. Faraz Jaka of San Jose finished ninth in Event 42 ($3K shootout) for $21K. Bracelet-winner and 2012 November Niner Steve Gee from Sacramento was seventh in Event 46 ($1,500 bounty) for $40K. J.C. Tran of Sacramento finished third in Event 47 ($10K deuce-to-seven) for $142K and Phil Hellmuth of Palo Alto fell just a bit short of his 15th bracelet, finishing eighth in Event 48 ($5K NLHE) for $46K.
There were many other NorCal players who represented their respected region. Spencer Bennett of Sacramento was fourth in Event 1 ($565 casino employees) for $22K. Alex Benjamen of San Jose took home $154K for seventh in Event 2 ($565 Colossus). Andrew Jenkins of Monterey was eighth in Event 10 ($1,500 six-max) for $40K. Richard St. Peter of Susanville came in fourth in Event 12 ($565 PLO) for $63K. Daniel Huseman of Alameda was eighth in Event 22 ($1,500 NLHE) for $16K. Roger Sippl of Woodside finished third in Event 27 ($1K seniors) for $245K. Henry Grunzweig from Berkley finished fifth in Event 54 ($888 NLHE) for $167K. Matt Lefkowitz of Carmel Valley was ninth in Event 57 ($1,500 PLO/8) for $13K and Darren Terazawa of San Ramon grabbed fourth in Event 58 ($1K NLHE) for $70K.
While technically not from Reno, 34-year-old Loren Klein lives in Verdi and he captured the only bracelet in this WSOP for the Northern Nevada area, earning the unique $1,500 NLHE/PLO title for $241K in Event 45. The poker pro had 22 cashes in his WSOP career and four final tables before finally breaking through for his first WSOP title. He finished second in an event in 2010.
“It’s about money,” he said. “It’s about glory. It’s about bracelets. I guess I like them all.”
The duel-game competition was played over three days. “They are definitely my two best games,” Klein said.
Klein later finished runner-up in Event 51 ($10K eight-handed PLO) for a whopping $552K to put his career WSOP earnings past $1M.
There were a few other bright spots for Reno players. Wesley Chong finished fifth in Event 27, the $1K seniors tourney, for $136K. Anil Gurnaney was 10th in Event 64 ($3K PLO/8) for $14K and Shelly Johnson-Ochoa was sixth in the $1K ladies event ($24K).
ATLANTIS CASINO: The WPT DeepStacks is in town Aug. 18-29. Call for details.
Pacific Northwest players were well-represented at final tables at the WSOP, starting with Event 1 (Michael Coombs from Bremerton, Wash., took third for $32K) and ending with Event 57 (Stephen Johnson from Eugene, Ore., took seventh for $78K).
Along the way, Washington players earned four bracelets: Ian Johns from Newcastle won two, capturing Event 8 for $213K and Event 28 for $291K; Rep Porter from Woodinville grabbed Event 13 for $143K and Rafael Lebron of Puyallup took home Event 38 for $169K. Porter also was ninth in Event 38 ($12K) and 10th in Event 55 ($117K) and Lebron was second in Event 30 for $213K.
Other fine finishes included Noah Bronstein from Kirkland, Wash., (fourth, Event 8, $66K), Tesfaldet Teklet from Tukwila, Wash., (third, Event 12, $86K), Charles Coultas of Seattle (fifth, Event 12, $47K), Lisa Meredith of Vancouver, Wash., (third, Event 14, $500K), Scott Farnsworth from Snoqualmie, Wash., (second, Event 22, $117K), Paul Runge from La Pine, Ore., (sixth, Event 27, $103K), George Wolff of Portland (fifth, Event 30, $66K), Jack Bridges from Springfield, Ore. (10th, Event 33, $25K), Esther Taylor-Brady from Vancouver, Wash., (10th, Event 36, $13K; fourth, Event 43, $108K), Bryce Eckhart from Auburn, Wash., (ninth, Event 37, $14K), Matt Affleck from Mill Creek, Wash., (10th, Event 41, $78K; third, Event 56, $184K), Scott Clements from Mt. Vernon, Wash., (seventh, Event 43, $46K), Tommy Hang from Newcastle (seventh, Event 55, $151K) and Colin Gelker from Bellingham, Wash., (sixth, Event 57, $32K).
HIDEAWAY: The Hideaway Restaurant and Casino is getting ready to celebrate its eighth anniversary this month with a $5K freeroll Aug. 14 for its cash players with more than 80 hours in the two months leading up to the anniversary and the top-10 tournament players during that timeframe.
For cash hold’em and Omaha players, there will be $1,800 in high-hand money distributed each on Aug. 15, Aug. 17 and Aug. 19. A $60 Omaha/8 tournament will be Aug. 16 and a $60 charity event benefitting Northwest Harvest hosted by popular pro Phil Gordon on Aug. 18.
The wrap-up will be a $250 tournament with $2K added Aug. 21.
The Hideaway is a poker-only, seven-table cardroom just north of Seattle in Shoreline, Wash., with two tournaments daily and a variety of cash games.
CHINOOK WINDS CASINO: The Fall Coast Classic will be Sept. 6-11 with 11 events, starting with a $120 seniors event and ending with a two-day $550 main event with a $100K guarantee. Along the way will be a pot-limit Big O event and an Omaha/8 event.
MUCKLESHOOT CASINO: The $100K bad-beat jackpot hit on June 14 as Rich Gilmore, with pocket aces flopped quads and Jesse Ortega, with pocket kings flopped a full house and hit a king on the river. Ortega pocketed $50K for losing the hand and Gilmore got $25K. The players’ share was $3,571.
In other news, the Summer Classic will run Sept. 14-18.
SPIRIT MOUNTAIN CASINO: The 15-table poker room in Grande Ronde, Ore., just about an hour southwest of Portland, features $3-$6 limit and $1-$3 NLHE.On weekends, it often gets a bigger game with $5-$10 blinds.Promotions are $100 high hands every half-hour 10-8 p.m. Sundays, a fixed Monte Carlo board 8 p.m. Sundays through noon Fridays and a variable Monte Carlo board 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturdays.
Tournaments are Thursdays at 10:30 a.m. and 7 p.m., Friday at noon ($500 added) and noon on Sundays.Stud/8 tournaments are 10:30 a.m. Tuesdays and Omaha/8 events are 10:30 a.m. Wednesdays.
Meet Artur Antaplyan
Artur Antaplyan is tournament director-floor manager at Diamond Jim’s Casino in Rosemond, Calif. He has been there for almost 11 years and has played poker for more than 15, getting started in the casino business as a prop player. He has worked in most departments including dealer, cage and floor-pit boss.
“Even though I am the tournament director at our casino, I am a cash player at heart. I do play tournaments occasionally. I just like the rush of winning a cash pot.”
He loves the challenge of playing the best game in any given session, reading tells and trying to improve his game.
“One day I was playing in a $40-$80 limit game. I picked up pocket eights in late position in a capped pot and flopped quads. The remaining action was all capped as well. Long story short, I ended up winning a very nice pot and treated myself to a new timepiece that I had my eye on.” In his leisure time, he enjoys wine-tasting, listening to music and traveling. — Kittie Aleman