Poker pro Shawn Busse took down the largest main event in Ocean’s 11 Casino history, outlasting more than 900 players in San Diego for $48,910.
The tournament had six starting flights that drew 861 entries, as well as a Quantum Reload Day 2 direct buy-in option that had
59 players put up $1,500 to enter the final day. The prize pool was $238,100 for 116 cashers.
This was Busse’s fifth largest career score, his biggest being his win in the 2010 World Series of Poker’s $1K event for $485,971 and a bracelet.
A number of other players with impressive resumes made deep runs in this event. Gavin Griffin finished 11th for $3,360. He made headlines years ago when he captured WSOP, World Poker Tour and European Poker Tour main-event titles for a then-rare triple crown.
Finishing behind Griffin was Ebony Kenney for $3,360. Kenney has $220K-plus in earnings and was one of the WPT’s Ones to Watch.
Andrew Wisdom was chipleader heading into the final day but finished fourth for $14,525.
HUSTLER CASINO: Thomas Lindell had to beat poker legend Phil Laak heads-up to earn the Liz Flynt Spring Poker Classic, which had a $350 buy-in and a whopping $500K guarantee.
Lindell took home $150,800 for first while Laak pocketed $83,305. The event drew 2,173 entries for an $879,695 prize pool.
PALA CASINO SPA AND RESORT: Chipleader Lena Evans of Beverly Hills won $2,798 in the Quantum Reload tournament after a four-way chop April 16 to become the first woman to win a Quantum Championship.
Atrayon Trevino of San Diego was second ($2,422), Scott Aulds of San Diego was third ($2,372) and Steven Firestone of San Diego was fourth ($2,343).
The five-day event saw 90 players vie for the $16,180 prize pool. John Mitsakos of San Marcos was a double-qualifier and earned $450.
Rounding out the top 10 were Anas Adawi of Escondido, $1,115; Michael Ruter of Temecula, $870; Jerry Holland of Escondido, $660; Thomas Foote of Vista, $485; John Mitsakos of San Marcos, $330 and David Connell of San Marcos, $200.
BICYCLE HOTEL AND CASINO: The Los Angeles property hosts the World Poker Tour Legends of Poker from Aug. 22 until Aug. 29 with an estimated $5M in prize pools, including a $1M guarantee in the opening event.
See the ad on Page 35 of our June issue for more information.
BAY 101: The San Jose property hosts its Summer Madness series June 12-19 and it will have seven events throughout the week. The first begins June 12 and will be a $350 event. There will be a couple of turbos and an Omaha/8 event, too, with the remaining events being NLHE. The main event costs $1,100 and Bay 101 will be giving away a $350 voucher for the Summer Madness Series for winners of $1,500 or more in the daily tournaments until June 10. Call the poker room for more details.
THUNDER VALLEY CASINO RESORT: The Lincoln property will host its popular One Day $100K guarantee June 10 at 11 a.m. Players love this event since they’re able to have a shot at such a large payout without having to commit to days of playing. The $100K guarantee will carry a $455 buy-in, which will give players 20K chips. Levels are 30 minutes and you’re allowed one re-entry. Thunder Valley will hold satellites June 2-10 with 1-in-5 players winning a seat June 10.
LUCKY CHANCES: In Colma, the monthly $20K first-place guarantee is June 25 at 9:30 a.m. This $350 event gives players 20K chips, 30-minute blinds and offers re-entries to sweeten the prize pool. Apart from this event, daily tournaments run with the guaranteed first-place prizes from $2.5K to $8K.
JACKSON RANCHERIA CASINO RESORT: The Second Sunday $5K guarantee is June 11. This $220 event starts at 1 p.m. Players also earn bonus chips for each hour of live play before the tournament, starting at 10. Jackson Rancheria also has some great daily tournaments throughout the week, including a $1.5K guarantee bounty event ($60) on Mondays at 7 p.m. and a $1K guarantee ($50) on Wednesdays at 7:30.
TACHI PALACE: The Summer Super Series begins with satellites this month on June 3 and 14 at 11:15 a.m. for $60. The main event will be Aug. 26 for $300 so try to win your way in for a fraction of the cost. See the ad on Page 41 of our June issue for more details.
WILDHORSE RESORT: The $40K-added Spring Round Up in Pendleton, Ore., ended on April 15 as Ryan Dahl of Kennewick, Wash., won the two-day main event for $38K. He also won Event 9 for $15K.
Here are the winners of the undercard events: Teemu Karvonen of Boise (Event 1, $15K); Angel Iniquez of Portland (Event 2, $18K); Joseph Becker of Spokane (Event 3, shootout, $7K); Jon Williams of Happy Valley, Ore., (Event 4, Big O, $7K); Jason Adams of Salmon Creek, Wash., (Event 5, Omaha/8, $10K); Denny Edwards of Hermiston, Ore., (Event 6, HORSE, $7K); Edgar Gardner of Redmond, Ore., (Event 7, $5K); Ricky Gore of Port Hadlock, Wash., (Event 8, seniors, $12K); Derek Burns of Pasco, Wash., (Event 10, $13K); Bill Patton of Vancouver, Wash., (Event 11, $26K), and Jason Helmick of Everett, Wash., (Event 13, $4K).
LEGISLATION: In a move to clarify the legality of Oregon’s non-Tribal poker rooms, and not necessarily in the way Portland players wanted, the Oregon House passed HB2190, banning “social” games unless they are “operated and controlled by a charitable, fraternal or religious organization.”
If it becomes law, it likely would doom Portland’s dozen or so for-profit social clubs.
The World Series part of the summer is the best time of the year for poker players here. In addition to all that great action at the Rio, there are great tournament series all over town, as we’ve documented in previous issues.
Of course, that’s not all. Every poker room is busier and you can find great cash games everywhere. Be warned: Waitlists for cash games can get extra long and it’s not just for no-limit hold’em. You may see PLO, Big O and even mixed games in rooms that never spread them the rest of the year. And you’ll see small rooms spreading $2-$5 NLHE and bigger games.
Tournament players have plenty to appreciate, too. If the buy-ins for those series events are too much for your bankroll, consider playing in the smaller, regular tournaments at just about any room in town. The turnouts will be much more than usual, meaning prize pools will be larger, too.
Let’s take a look at some of the regular tournament offerings.
MIRAGE: The 11 a.m. $120 tournament Friday through Sunday starts players with a 25K stack and has 25-minute levels. The rest of the week, a $65 tournament with a 10K starting stack and 20-minute levels runs at that time, as well as 2 p.m., 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. most days. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, the 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. tournaments offer $25 bounties and a $100 buy-in.
FLAMINGO: Tournaments are six times a day, all featuring a 20K stack. At 10 a.m., it’s a $60 buy-in with a $500 guarantee. At 1 p.m., 6 p.m., 9 p.m., and midnight it’s a $60 buy-in with a $600 guarantee. All of these have 15-minute levels. The 4 p.m. is a turbo with 10-minute levels, a $50 buy-in and a $500 guarantee.
BALLY’S: The $60 tournament runs daily at 9 a.m., noon, 3 p.m., 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. Players start with 5K chips and play 20-minute levels. Each tournament has a $500 guarantee.
SOUTH POINT: The $60 tournament runs daily at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., and has a 4,500 starting stack, 20-minute levels and a $5 bounty. The same structure is offered at 7 most evenings, except for Sundays and Wednesdays.
On those days, the evening tournament starts at 6 and has a $100 buy-in for 7,500 chips and 30-minute levels. A $10 dealer add-on option gets players 2,500 more.
MGM: There are two $70 tournaments daily (11 a.m. and
7 p.m.). Players start with 15K chips. The levels start at 15 minutes and increase to 20 at Level 10. The morning tournament has a $2K guarantee ($1K in the evening). Turbo tournaments for $50 run daily at 2 p.m. and 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday. The levels are 10 minutes and the starting stack is 10K. The guarantee is $500.
ORLEANS: The room offers great variety in its schedule. Tournaments run at noon and 7 p.m. daily and events include HORSE, Omaha/8, Omaha/8-stud/8, PLO and NLHE. The room is expected to adjust buy-ins and starting stacks for the WSOP.
One thing not likely to change is the Friday 7 p.m. $130 NLHE event, the most popular regularly scheduled tournament in town. Players get a 15K stack and enjoy 30-minute levels. Expect to compete with between 175 and 250 players in this one.
TREASURE ISLAND: At 11 a.m., a $65 tournament with an 8K stack starts things off. At 2 p.m., it’s $75 for 15K chips. That one has a $500 guarantee. The 7 p.m. is $55 for 8K in chips. At 10 p.m., the $75 buy-in starts players with 15K and features a $1K guarantee. Late Saturday night, at 1 a.m., an extra $65, 8K stack tournament is offered. All levels are 20 minutes.
SUNCOAST: Saturdays and Sundays at 10 a.m., it’s $45 for 4K chips, with a $20 add-on for 4K more. Fridays and Saturdays at 6 p.m., it’s $60 for 6K, with an optional $10 add-on for 2K more. The evening tournament has a $1K guarantee. All levels are 20 minutes.
VENETIAN: First place in the main event of the Deep Stack Extravaganza went to Joshua Berman-Turnball from Brookline, Mass. He took home $112K, followed by Steve Sung of Torrance, Calif., ($69K) and Hien Nguyen of The Colony, Texas ($50K). The $1,600 buy-in drew 338 players and had a $488K prize pool.
The Venetian will host another DSE Aug. 10-20. Among the events is a $340 doublestack event with the first of its two starting flights on Aug. 15. Players start with 25K chips and play 40-minute levels. The guarantee is $75K.
The series starts Aug. 10 with a $250 event that has three starting flights and an $80K guarantee.
The starting stack is 15K and levels 30 minutes, increasing to 40 at Level 19. Along with bounty and rebuy tournaments, there’s a PLO-PLO/8 event Aug. 16 that has a $250 buy-in and offers a $7K guarantee.
WYNN: Kenna James of Las Vegas and Gary Margolis of Southern California each took home $55K at the Wynn Signature Weekend in April, with James claiming the title. Bob Shao of Northern California was third ($44K). More than 700 players paid $600 to enter, resulting in a $368K prize pool.
ARIA: The room is hosting several high roller events this summer. In June, $25K buy-in events run June 9, 10, 16, 17 and 24. All of these events start at 2 p.m.
— Check out Rob Solomon’s blog at robvegaspoker.blogspot.com.
GRAND SIERRA: Receive a free tournament entry for two hours of live play. The entry is valid for daily $25 tournaments from Sunday to Thursday (11 a.m. or 6 p.m.). Play 40 hours per week and receive $300 in free play (30 hours for $200, 20 hours for $100). This weekly promotion expires June 30.
SILVER LEGACY: The new poker room should have new promotions for our next issue so stay tuned.
ATLANTIS CASINO: Players will earn $4 an hour in comps until Dec 31.
PEPPERMILL CASINO: The high-limit room spreads $5-$10 NLHE and $20-$40 limit consistently on weekends and $4-$8 Omaha runs daily in the main room.
NUGGET: Bonus hands, including quads, straight flushes and royals, offer generous payouts with royals possibly paying $599. Both hole cards must play to qualify.
Meet Julie Shozi
When she was 6 years old, Julie Shozi’s dad and grandfather taught her how to play stud and they would play after family meals and holidays.Her love for the game has continued over the years. During the poker book, she and her dad would watch poker on TV, discussing hands and players.Shozi also started playing tournaments online.
In 2009, she played her first women’s event hosted by LIPS.
“I just love the mind game of poker and I can’t wait to see a woman take down the biggest and best tournament of the year, the WSOP main event.”
She said 2012 was great to her. “In January, I finished in seventh place for $20K at the WSOPC main event at the Bicycle Casino. I won my $1,600 entry in a $160 satellite. I was chipleader of the tournament on Day 2 and last woman standing. In August, I was the only woman to enter the Legends of Poker six-max tournament and I won it. I had several other cashes that year, making it a really fun poker year for me.”
Shozi said poker has been so rewarding. “I have met some of the most fun, amazing, wonderful, often unique people from every walk of life. I love the social aspect of poker and at the same time the anti-social aspect of it.”
While in Reno for a charity tournament, she got to play “an awesome cash game with Lou Diamond Philips. … I’ve met some amazing celebrities and lots of poker pros, but I have to say that playing with Lou that evening was the best.” — Kittie Aleman