Thunder Valley hosts WSOPC Jan. 11-22


Ante Up Magazine

Thunder Valley Casino Resort in Lincoln, Calif., hosts the World Series of Poker Circuit from Jan. 11-22 with 13 ring events, enticing players from across the nation.

There will be a variety of events, including no-limit hold’em, Omaha/8, pot-limit Omaha and HORSE, with many having guarantees. The series kicks off with a $365 NLHE event Jan. 11, which will no doubt have a huge turnout.

Other highlighted events are the $365 Monster Stack on Jan. 16, which will have a $50K guarantee. Another $50K guarantee runs Jan.17, but for $580. The $1,675 main event starts Jan. 19 with a $500K guarantee. The series wraps up with a $2,200 high roller Jan. 21. For info, go to

LUCKY CHANCES: This Colma poker room continues to be one of the top places to play in the Bay Area with numerous promotions and daily tournaments. On Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, it hosts NLHE events that are guaranteed to pay $3K to first. Tuesday has a $4K guarantee for first; Thursday guarantees $2.5K for first and Sunday has the largest guarantee for first at $8K. All tournaments begin at 9:30 a.m.

As for promotions, there are multiple jackpots, high hands, which can pay $300, royal flushes pay $500 and Aces Cracked can pay $300.

ELK VALLEY CASINO: The annual Jefferson State $45K Poker Stampede runs Jan. 4-6. The buy-in is $325 with a $100 add-on and $10 dealer add-on. See the ad on Page 20 of our current issue.

Pacific Northwest

WILDHORSE RESORT AND CASINO: The Fall Round Up ran Nov. 3-13 at the property near Pendleton, Ore., and this one had $40K added to the prize pools.

Congratulations to all the winners:  Ryan Christopherson from Colefax, Wash. (Event 1, $17K), James Morris from Olympia, Wash., (Event 2, $19K), Michael Foti fromTigard, Ore., (Event 3, $8K), Cornelio McLean from Tacoma, Wash., (Event 4, $10K), Robert Mitchell from Salt Lake City (Event 5, $7K), Jose Gomez from Granview, Wash., (Event 6, $5K), David Mallett from Point Roberts, Wash., (Event 7, $14K), Carl Oman from Vancouver, Wash., (Event 8, $16K), Mel Hoelzle from Boise (Event 9, $14K), Angel Iniquez from Richland, Wash., (Event 10, $28K), Michael York from Twin Falls, Idaho, (Event 11, $45K) and Randall Palazzo from West Linn, Ore. (Event 12, $4K).

TULALIP CASINO: The Marysville, Wash., room hosts its Poker Pow Wow series Jan. 6-21, starting with a $10K guarantee for $120. Not big enough? Jan. 7 features a $240 event with
$50 bounties and a $20K guarantee.

Not into hold’em? There will be two Omaha events, both $175: Omaha/8 on Jan. 8 and pot-limit Omaha on Jan. 9. For even more Omaha fun, there will be a four-game mix on Jan. 11 and a two-game mix Jan. 15. All events will have guarantees. The second weekend features a $350 event with two Day 1s (Jan. 12-13) and a $50K guarantee. Jan. 16 is a $235 seniors event with a $15K guarantee. The $520 main event has $100K guarantee and three Day 1s (Jan. 18-20). 

SPIRIT MOUNTAIN CASINO: The nine-table poker room in Grande Ronde, Ore., about an hour from Portland, features $3-$6 limit and $1-$3 NLHE. Monte Carlo board pays $50 for quads, $300 for straight flushes and $500 for royals 8 p.m. to midnight except Saturdays. Sundays noon-8 p.m. also have $100 high hands every half-hour. The bad-beat jackpot was approaching $100K at press time. Daily tournaments are at 10:30 a.m.

Southern California

Raymond Ho outmaneuvered 698 players to take down the L.A. Poker Open Main Event at Commerce Casino in Los Angeles. Going into heads-up play, Ho and Matthew Salnick were fairly even in chips. On the final hand, Salnick got his stack in the middle holding K-9, trailing Ho’s A-5. The board ran out with no help to Salnick, despite having quite a few outs on the river, and Ho earned the crown. 

The final six struck a deal and agreed to play for the trophy and the $10K seat to the L.A. Poker Classic Main Event. So, the payouts were Salnick, $77,967; Ho, $76,231; Yasmine Hanane, $63,930; Alex Rapoport, $51,840; David “Dragon” Pham, $51,003 and Brandon Zuidema, $47,415.

The 25th anniversary of the LAPC kicks off Jan. 9 with a $1M guarantee for $350. The series will run through March 1 with the final event being the $120 Sendoff with a $25K guarantee. There also will be four Player of the Series promotions with Commerce adding $50K-plus: $10K for the best NLHE player, $10K for the best mixed-game player, $10K for the best mega-satellite player and $20K for the best overall player.

The series has a wide range of games, including stud, stud/8, Omaha and deuce-to-seven triple-draw with buy-ins ranging from $175 to the $25K high roller. Also, the Social Experiment event is back, with no electronics, hoodies or sunglasses allowed. Find the schedule of 67 events at 

HUSTLER CASINO: Jorge Walker won the $200K guarantee at the Holiday Series in November. He took home $54,294, moving his career tournament winnings past $500K. 

This $250 event had four Day 1s, but players had the option to buy in for $1,750 on Day 2 and receive 220K chips. There were 1,086 Day 1 entries and 49 Day 2 entries for a prize pool of $292K. Rounding out the top three were Jerome Courshon ($30,425) and Al Homsi ($20,310). 

Boghos Marashlian won the $50K guarantee, which had a $230 buy-in with 353 entries for an $81,190 prize pool. He received $18K, followed by Michael Gil ($11K) and Michael Nia ($8,250).

Emad Bastawros captured the $20K guarantee for $5,800.  

GARDENS CASINO: The Hawaiian Gardens poker room’s Poker Championships runs Jan. 1-9.

PALA CASINO: There’s a $10K satellite Jan. 10-14 ($175, 6 p.m.).

Las Vegas

The Deep Stack Extravaganza runs Jan. 29-Feb. 25. One of the highlights is the Mid-States Poker Tour Poker Bowl II, starting Feb. 1. The $1,100 event has two starting flights and offers a $500K guarantee. Players start with 20K chips and play 40-minute levels.

The $1,600 main event begins Feb. 19 with a $1M guarantee. Players start with 30K and play 60-minute levels. Registration is open through the first two levels of Day 2 on Feb. 22.

A few new events highlight the schedule. A two-day, $400 SuperStack with a triple add-on starts Jan. 30. Players get 18K chips and during the first break, after Level 4, they may purchase a 12K add-on for $100 regardless of stack size. Four levels later, they may purchase an 18K add-on for $200. After another four levels, they may purchase a 24K add-on for $300. The levels are 30 minutes and the guarantee is $50K.  

Also, a “progressive bounty” event is new. There are two price points for this format. On Feb. 6 and 24 at 7 p.m., the buy-in is $200. The bounty starts at $50. When the tournament is at the final 27 players, the bounty jumps to $100. At the final table, the bounty is worth $150. The guarantee is $9K. A $400 version runs Feb. 22 at 2 p.m. For this one, the initial bounty is $100 and increases to $200 when down to 27 players. The bounty at the final table is $300.  The guarantee is $20K. All of these start players with 12K chips and have 30-minute levels.

As for the last DSE IV main event in November, Eric Baldwin of Las Vegas took down the $114K first-place prize.  Christopher Moorman of Great Britain earned $70K for second and Las Vegas resident Venerando Villarino received $51K for third. The $1,600 event drew 345 players, resulting a $498K prize pool.

PLANET HOLLYWOOD: In November, the $1,675 main event of the World Series of Poker Circuit drew 845 players and had a prize pool of $1.26M. Fernando Galvan won it and earned $247K. Corey Hochman was second for $152K and Chris Tham scored $112K for third.

SAM’S TOWN: On the east side of town on Boulder Highway, the popular locals room has added a 10 p.m., $35 tournament to its schedule on Friday and Saturday. The starting stack is 5K and the levels are 20 minutes. An optional $5 add-on is offered for 2K chips.

The daily 10 a.m. hold’em tournament is $23 for 500 chips, with the starting blinds at 5-10. The first hour of the tournament is limit, then switches to no-limit. The daily 1 p.m. tourney is $30 for a 3K stack with a $5 add-on for 2K more. There’s also a $10 rebuy for the first hour for 2K chips. The levels are 20 minutes.

Sunday through Thursday at 7 p.m., the $35 tournament has the same details as the new 10 p.m. tournament. The Friday 7 p.m. is $25 for 1,500 chips, with a $5 add-on for 1,500. It offers unlimited $10 rebuys for 1K chips available any time a player has 2,500 chips or fewer. After the third level, a $20 add-on for 6K is optional.

Tournaments alternate on Saturdays at 7 p.m. The first is a $55 buy-in for 6K chips, $5 add-on for 2K, 20-minute levels. On the second and fourth Saturdays of the month, it’s a $25 bounty tournament that has a $105 buy-in. Players start with 10K chips, there’s a $5 add-on for 2K chips and the levels are 20 minutes.

The main cash game is $2-$6 spread limit with a $30 minimum buy-in and no max. A $30 minimum buy-in Omaha/8 game frequently runs. The $1-$2 NLHE game ($100-$300 min-max) runs less frequently. And the $2-$10 stud game with a $50 min. buy-in sometimes runs.

The promos vary each day. On Mondays and Thursdays, flopping quad aces is worth $100. Also, Aces Cracked wins the amount of the pot. On Tuesdays and Fridays, the best full houses made win $150, $100 and $50 twice a day. On Wednesdays and Sundays, players who win pots with all four flushes get $150. And on Saturdays, the high hand of each hour wins $50. The minimum high hand is aces full of deuces and if no hand qualifies the money rolls over into the next hour.

WESTGATE:  The room is working with popular Vegas vloggers (that’s video bloggers) to host games there. The Trooper, a.k.a. Tim Watts, hosts a regular game every Thursday at 6 p.m. It’s $1-$3 NLHE with a $100-$300 min-max. PokerKraut, Andrew Neeme and Brad Owen have hosted games and Westgate is interested in regularly scheduling them. These games are well-attended and a lot of fun. They do come up with a few twists on regular poker rules for these games. Some of the ones have filled five tables. Westgate is more than happy to let the vloggers record the games for their vlogs. So if you show up to one, be prepared to appear on YouTube a few days later. 

The Westgate hosts an industry freeroll Tuesday nights at 7. Casino workers are eligible to compete for a $300 prize and there’s no cost to enter. 
SANTA FE STATION: The rebuy for the $50 weekly Omaha/8 tournament costs $20.

— Check out Rob Solomon’s blog at .


HARVEYS LAKE TAHOE: The WSOP Circuit recently finished its annual visit to the property that’s hosted the tour in each of its 13 seasons. The 12 ring events generated a total of 2,770 entries and awarded more than $1.4M in prize money.

Max Young, a ring-winner last year in January in West Palm Beach, Fla., added another big victory in Lake Tahoe. The 32-year-old pro from Oregon outlasted a field of 458 entries in the main event, claiming the WSOPC’s most-cherished ring and $147,699. It’s a career-best result for Young and it brings his total earnings across the $500K mark.

As is the case for all stops on the WSOPC, there were two seats for the Global Casino Championship up for grabs. Young claimed one and the other went to Daniel Lowery, the player who accumulated the most points over the series to be Casino Champion. He had three cashes, making the final table each time, and he won Event 7 for his fifth ring, accumulating 110 points and $32,237.

CARSON VALLEY INN CASINO: The poker room has four tables and features five TVs. The non-smoking room has free beverages, including self-serve draft beer and a variety of tourneys, games and promotions. It opens Monday-Saturday at noon and Sunday at 8:30 a.m. For more details, call (775) 783-7763.

Meet Jason Sanborn

The South Point Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas recently named Jason Sanborn poker room manager.

How did you get into poker? I started working in a casino at 18 and shortly thereafter lessons to deal poker were offered and I jumped on the chance. After working a few years in Michigan, I moved to Vegas and have worked exclusively in poker ever since. After working as a dealer, floor supervisor and shift manager in many locations, the opportunity to lead my own room came up at the South Point and I couldn’t be happier.

Why should poker players play at South Point? South Point is a place where you can still get a fair gamble without having to worry about incidental fees and inconveniences. Close parking, limit or no-limit games and friendly staff are the hallmarks of our room. Regular promotions include a free-roll that runs for three months and gives out $185K-plus. Plenty of football promotions make this the best time of the year to be at South Point.

What do you do in your spare time? When not on the clock, I like to golf, bowl and spend time with family. I have two great kids and a wonderful wife. Vegas truly has been good to me and I look forward to many more years here in Vegas and at the South Point. — Rob Solomon

Ante Up Magazine

Ante Up Magazine