Venetian DeepStack still shines in Las Vegas



The main event at Venetian’s DeepStack Extravaganza III in Las Vegas went to Jonathan Turner of Myrtle Beach, S.C., earning him $536K. Ukraine’s Artem Metalidi took home $330K for second and Dan Heimiller of Las Vegas received $238K for third. The $5K buy-in drew 537 players, creating a $2.4M prize pool, easily surpassing the $2M guarantee.

Next up at the Venetian is DeepStack Extravaganza 3.5, running Sept. 1-25. The biggest tourney is the $3,500 main event with a $1M guarantee. It has three starting flights starting Sept. 9. The tournament finishes on Day 3 (Sept. 13).

A $600 event with two starting flights begins Sept. 16. It has a $125K guarantee. Price-conscious players will appreciate the $250 event that has five flights starting on Sept. 20. It finishes with Day 2 on Sept. 25 and has a $250K guarantee, which is attractive for the buy-in.

A $250 PLO-PLO/8 tournament plays Sept. 16 ($7K guarantee) and $250 Omaha/8 events are scheduled for Sept. 2 and Sept. 21 ($10K guarantee). The evening tournaments are $200 or $300, a mix of turbos, bounties and rebuts.

All the events have guarantees, totaling more than $2.2M.

The Venetian has revised its regular daily schedule. The highlight is the new noon Saturday tournament. It’s called the Doublestack. Players start with 24K chips for $340. The levels are 40 minutes and there is a 45-minute dinner break after nine levels. The prize pool guarantee is $25K.

There also are two daily tournaments (noon and 7 p.m.). All of the games are NLHE and have guarantees. Except for that new Saturday tournament, all of the buy-ins are between $125 and $200.

PLANET HOLLYWOOD: The main event of Goliath completed on July 10 and saw Jan Eric Schwippert of Germany take first place for $300K.

Another German, Christian Nilles earned $240K for second, while Joseph Johanssy from Vernon, Conn., pulled down $239K for third. There were 2,300-plus entrants for the $1,625 event, creating a $3.5M prize pool, far exceeding the $2M guarantee.

Planet Hollywood is hosting the WSOPC until Sept. 4. The $1,675 main event has two starting flights beginning Sept. 2 and offers a $750K guarantee. A $5,300 high roller runs Sept. 4.

The room just revised its tournament schedule. All tournaments are $80 with 12K stacks and 20-minute levels. They run at 10 a.m., 1 p.m., 4 p.m., and 9 p.m. They all have $1,500 guarantees with $850 guaranteed for first, $450 for second and $200 for third.

Current promos include high hands: $50 for quads, $100 for straight flushes and $250 for all royals except hearts. Heart royals have a progressive jackpot, which starts at $400 and progresses by $200 a day until hit. There is no cap on the progressive.

WYNN: Joseph Cappello of New Rochelle, N.Y., won the $1,600 main event of the Wynn Classic on July 19. He outlasted 1,030 entrants and earned $281K for his victory. Barry Hutter of Bradenton, Fla., took second for $178K and Mitchell Hahn of Carmel, Ind., claimed $130K for third. The prize pool was nearly $1.5M, doubling the $750K guarantee.

The Wynn Fall Classic runs Sept. 28-Oct. 8. The $1,600 championship event begins Oct. 7 with the first of its two starting flights. It offers a $400K guarantee. A $600 tournament with three starting flights begins Sept. 30 and has a $250K guarantee.

BELLAGIO: The $10,400 championship completed July 18 when Kuljinder Sidhu of Britain won the $600K first-place prize. New York’s Nick Schulman scored $557K for second and Denver’s Chance Kornuth received $285K for third. The event drew almost 270 players and the prize pool was $2.6M.

STRATOSPHERE: The popular 12-table room at the north end of the Strip continues to offer its Stratstack tournament at least one Saturday a month at noon. The tournament is a $110 buy-in for a 20K stack and 30-minute levels. Free pizza is served to all players at the first break (2 p.m.) so make sure you don’t bust out before then. Or, you can just re-enter through that break.

The regular 7 p.m. runs nightly and has a $50 buy-in for 4,500 chips, 20-minute levels. There’s an optional $20 add-on for 6K more chips. On Mondays and Wednesdays, the same tournament is offered with a bounty format, and the buy-in is $70. The bounties are $20. Free pizza is served on the first break (8 p.m.), too.

The main cash game is $1-$2 NLHE with a $50-$300 min-max. Promos include high hands, which double when flopped between 11 a.m and 5 p.m. There’s a $50 high hand of the hour between 11 a.m.-noon, 2-3 p.m. and 7-8 p.m. Aces Cracked pays $50.

HARD ROCK: Just a bit east of the Strip, the Hard Rock offers two daily $70 tournaments at noon and 8 p.m. Players get 10K chips and play 20-minute levels. There’s a $600 guarantee and the tournament features a $2K bad-beat jackpot.

The cash game is $1-$3 NLHE. The minimum buy-in is $100 and there’s no cap. Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. through 5 p.m., the highest hand of each hour receives $100. Aces Cracked pays $100 during that same time. There’s a progressive royal-flush bonus that starts at $300 and is capped at $2,500. High hands pay $75 for quads and straight flushes 24-7.

CLOSURE: The Linq closed its poker room in August.

— Check out Rob Solomon’s blog at


PEPPERMILL RESORT SPA CASINO: The Heartland Poker Tour returns Sept. 29-Oct. 10. The highlight of the series is the nationally televised $1,100 main event with its final table filmed and live-streamed Oct. 9. There are numerous $65 and $85 satellites, plus special tournaments such as Omaha/8 and HORSE are on the schedule. Players can get 20 percent off of room rates by calling 866-821-9996 and mentioning code HPT.

GRAND SIERRA RESORT: There’s a free buffet for players daily at 2 p.m. and 10 p.m. Other promotions include $500 drawings every Monday at 4 p.m. and $2-per-hour comps for live play.

Pacific Northwest

LITTLE CREEK CASINO RESORT: The South Sound Fall Championship runs Sept. 5-11, including seven NLHE tournaments with a total of $7K added. There’s a Tuesday seniors event and a Sunday Survivor event. Buy-ins range from $50 for the opening super satellite to $340 for Saturday’s main event. Little Creek is a five-table room routinely offering $4-$8 limit and $3-$500 spread-limit.

MUCKLESHOOT CASINO: The $55K-added Summer Classic runs Sept. 14-18.Event 1 will be a $250 shootout with $4K added. Event 2 is $200 with $4K added;Event 3 is $300 with $5K added;Event 4 is $500 with $10K added and Event 5 is $750 with $20K added.The remaining $12K in added money will be distributed to the series’ top three players.

LEGAL ISSUES: The Portland Regulatory Program Administrator sent a letter July 12 to the Portland-area poker “social gaming membership clubs” that said a recent Oregon Bureau of Labor ruling that only charities may use volunteer dealers implies that all locations have to go back to player-dealt games, as they were before 2010. As of this writing, two of the rooms in the city, Aces Full and PDX Poker, formerly Encore, have closed and the rest of the rooms are talking to the city and state to determine whether there are acceptable alternatives. The change in interpretation of the existing Oregon regulations will not affect the three tribal casinos that spread poker in the state as dealers there are paid employees.

Northern California

Gordon Vayo of San Francisco has achieved one of the most sought-after accomplishments in the poker world: He made the World Series of Poker Main Event final table and will be competing for the $8M first prize in November. The Northern California resident is third in chips with 49M of the 336M in play. Vayo has come close to winning a bracelet in the past with a runner-up in 2014 in the $3K six-max Event 15 ($314K) and a fourth in the 2012 $1.5K six-max Event 16 ($121K). Before this main event, he’s had 26 WSOP cashes for $608K and close to $1M live earnings in his career.

STONES GAMBLING HALL: The Citrus Heights room hosts its Fall Classic from Sept. 23-Oct. 2 with five events in the series. Some highlights are the $75K guarantee Sept. 24 ($500, 10 a.m.) and the $125K guarantee Sept. 29-Oct. 2 ($450, 10 a.m.).

TURLOCK POKER ROOM: Look for amazing player-friendly promotions, including a daily progressive royal jackpot, which adds $50 to each suit daily, a daily bad-beat progressive jackpot and Omaha high hands on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Turlock is one of the only rooms in the region to have a Mexican Poker high hand (Thurs.-Sun.).

GRATON RESORT & CASINO: The Rohnert Park property has Hot Seat Drawings, which can pay $650 per hour on Sundays (1-10 p.m.). There’s also a variety of high hands Monday through Friday (10 a.m.-10 p.m.). Aces Cracked runs Monday-Friday (midnight-8 a.m.) and the Early Bird special runs 9-10 a.m. Monday-Friday.

Southern California

Josh Weiss of La Jolla came in 10th place at the World Series of Poker Main Event, making him the bubble for the November Nine and earning $650K.Weiss went into the final 10 as the smallest stack at 3.7M chips.He pushed all-in when he was down to 850K in early position with A-8 but lost to Michael Ruane’s J-5, which made two pair. Weiss had two earlier cashes to bring WSOP winnings to $768,397 this summer.

Garrett Greer of Newport Beach took second in the $1,500 Millionaire Maker, which earned him $1M.This gave him seven WSOP cashes and nearly $1.3M in earnings.

Davis Aalvik of Long Beach earned $270,842 for second in Event 6 ($1,500 NLHE). He also cashed in the main event (863rd, $16K) and the Colossus (513th, $3,256). His combined winnings for 12 cashes between the WSOP and WSOP Circuit are $450K-plus.

John Smith of from La Habra Heights took second in Event 9 ($10K heads-up). The military veteran has been playing poker for 50 years and collected $198K. Before this impressive showing, Smith had cashed in only one event,the same tourney in 2014, when he made it to 11th place.

Erik Silberman, a high school biology teacher from Rancho Santa Margarita, took second in Event 17 ($1K NLHE). He banked $195,738 in prize money for his first WSOP cash and final table.

Wenlong Jin, originally from Shanghai but living in Arcadia, finished second in Event 44 ($1K NLHE).This was Jin’s 13th career cash at the series and second time he made a final table. His payout, $184,631, was the largest of his career.

Daniel Strelitz, a pro from Torrance, made a noble effort to win the bracelet but came up just short in Event 48 ($5K turbo). His fourth final table paid $338,774 for second, his biggest yet.With six cashes this series, it brings his total at the WSOP to 19.

Tommy Le of Tustin had three final-table appearances this series.He took second in Event 62 ($25K pot-limit Omaha high roller) for $696,558, third in Event 51 ($10K eight-handed PLO) for $376,667 and fifth in Event 37 ($1,500 PLO) for $46,452.

John Monnette of Palmdale cashed in nine events, including second in Event 7 ($1,500 deuce-to-seven) for $57,061. He also had two thirds (Event 11, $10K dealer’s choice, $135K and Event 60, $1,500 stud/8, $66,601). His overall winnings this summer came to $325K-plus, bringing his lifetime WSOP earnings to $1,850,571.

Meet Alex Masek

Alex Masek is a tournament circuit grinder who started playing in 2003.
Originally from St. Louis, Masek moved to San Diego in 2008 for law school. After graduation, he moved to Los Angeles to pursue playing professionally. He has more than 120 cashes, $1.3M-plus in tournament earnings and a record nine WSOPC rings.

What is your greatest accomplishment as a player and why? Winning nine WSOP circuit rings. I first started playing the WSOPC because it was the only tournament series that came through San Diego while I was in school there. I won three rings by the time I graduated in 2011. At the time, Mark “Pegasus” Smith had the most rings with five, so after graduating I started to travel to several circuit stops each year to try to get the record.

Have you ever regretted your decision to pursue poker full time instead of going into law? Never. I think being able to set my own schedule, work for myself and travel to play tournaments really suits my personality. I’m highly motivated to succeed in poker and there’s still a lot of things that I want to accomplish within the game.

What are your goals now? My main goal is to win a WSOP bracelet or a WPT title. I’ve come close a couple of times, which has made me really appreciate how hard it is to win a prestigious major tourney. Outside of poker, I’m just looking forward to getting married to my fiancée Hannah in April 2017, as well as focusing on staying healthy, exercising and eating well now that I’m in my 30s. — Chris Cronin

Ante Up Magazine

Ante Up Magazine