Win Ante Up Poker Cruises at TGT Poker Feb. 10


Ante Up Magazine Southern Poker

Looking for a chance to sail on the March 8 Ante Up Poker Cruise to Cozumel aboard Royal Caribbean’s Brilliance of the Seas? TGT Poker & Racebook in Tampa, Fla., which awarded 12 cruise packages as part of an Ante Up Poker Tour Set Sail Series, is hosting a $20 tournament with an optional $20 add-on that also will award two packages on Feb. 10 at 7 p.m.

But that’s not all. The winner of the Feb. 10 event will appear on the cover of the March issue of Ante Up as the winner of 2018’s inaugural Ante Up Poker Tour Set Sail Series.

Players can win their way into this event in the Beat the Boat promotion every Tuesday through Saturday at 1 p.m.
For more information on this promotion, please visit TGT Poker’s website at

Ante Up Poker Cruises transforms the conference centers aboard regularly scheduled Royal Caribbean sailings into a professionally staffed and equipped poker room, complete with cash games, tournaments, free poker courses and an open-bar cocktail party. For more information on Ante Up Poker Cruises, please visit our

TAMPA BAY DOWNS: The Silks Poker Room has a new spade-royal tournament bonus. Subject to change by the management, starting at $1K and increasing by $1 per tournament entry, any spade royal hit in the tournament wins you the pool. You must use both hole cards and once hit, it will reset to $1K.

HARD ROCK TAMPA: The recent Winter Poker Open had three players and the final table was a who’s who: Hard Rock Tampa ambassador Michael Laake, November Niner and WSOP brace-let-holder John Racener, Tampa pro Filipp Khavin and Colombian pro Farid Jattin. In the end, it was Jattin who came out ahead of the field and took down the $240K and coveted guitar. Jattin, who has a WSOPC ring and several other victories, wasn’t supposed to be playing the event, but sneaked it in to play an event before the end of 2017.

The rest of the final-10 payouts were Witold Wassik ($135,878), Scott Caracciolo ($85,553), Joseph Skarzynski ($69,449), Khavin ($55,358), Racener ($45,796), Satish Surapaneni ($36,737), Kevin O’Donnell ($27,679), Laake ($19,124) and Tom Nguyen ($13,085).

MELBOURNE GREYHOUND PARK: The Club 52 Poker Room hosts the $100K Championship Weekend Feb. 2-3. See the ad on Page 39 of our February issue for more details.

South Florida

After seven years and nine tournament series played at the Palm Beach Kennel Club in West Palm Beach, the WSOPC moves to Seminole Casino Coconut Creek for the first time Feb. 8-19. The kennel club was a spot for several exciting moments over the years, including a $1M guarantee for the opening event in the second year. That tourney drew a massive crowd of 2,607 entrants, the largest tournament in Florida at that time.

Past champs from South Florida such as Darryll Fish, Tristan Wade, Mukul Pahuja and Maurice Hawkins likely will return for the $1,675 main event, which has opening sessions Feb. 16-17 at noon and will feature a $1M guarantee and one re-entry al.lowed per flight. Seminole Gaming General Manager of Poker Operations Larry Frank is thrilled to see the event arrive in Coconut Creek.

“The World Series of Poker is the largest and most historic name in the industry. As we continue to grow our poker brand throughout Florida and globally, the partnership with WSOP proves a natural fit for Seminole Gaming, further establishing our position as a premier destination for top poker play.”

WSOP executive director Ty Stewart also expressed excitement at moving to the new venue.

“The poker pulse is strong in Florida and our partnership with Seminole Gaming has helped us expand our brand in the Sunshine State by working with two of its premiere properties,” he said. “With a $1M guaranteed main event taking place during peak season, the Seminole Casino Coconut Creek series is one of our most anticipated of the year.”

The 12-day series will have a $300K guarantee for Event 2 with four flights and a $365 buy-in, plus a $3,250 high roller ($100K guarantee) and a $365 PLO event with $100 rebuys.

ISLE CASINO: The Pompano Beach poker room closed out the year with the 20-tournament Isle Classic with a distinctly different look, as the main event opened the series in the first week of December. The $1,500 opener carried a $300K guarantee

Joseph Marchese of Ft. Lauderdale took home the trophy and $65K-plus after agreeing to a chop with Kevin Chan of Coconut Creek ($58,660).

Surprising news greeted tournament players as director of poker Stan Strickland, who had served in the position since April 2013, left the Isle. Strickland worked for six years at the Borgata in Atlantic City before to South Florida and had apparently taken a position at the Del Lago Casino in Waterloo, N.Y. before New Year’s.

Isle officials began the year looking for a new manager. Long.time floor manager Vinny Gatto, who started at the room when it opened in 2007, is serving as interim manager and hopes to be considered for the job. He told Ante Up plans are in the works to host the popular Battles at the Beach series in March.

HARD ROCK HOLLYWOOD: The facility closed out 2017 with a small six-event series called Fun in the Sun during the busy week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

Bill Farnan, 57, of Jupiter, captured the $560 main event and collected $21,848 after agreeing to a chop with Nathaniel Anderson. Dani Dayan of Miami Beach, known for bringing her teacup puppy to the felt, won Event 5, a $130 deepstack turbo, then made the final table of the main, finishing fifth.

Tournament Director Tony Burns is bringing back his Escalator series this month, an event that will play on four consecutive weekends, beginning with Event 1 Feb. 21-25 with a $150 buy-in. The price points for Escalator II go up from there, with a $250 buy-in in Event 2 (Feb. 28-March 4), a $350 Event 3 (March 8-11) and a $560 final event (March 15-18).

The four tourneys combined will total $1M-plus in guarantees and players who make the final table of the first three events will receive an entry into the following week, while the winner of each event will receive a free buy-in to April’s $3,500 WPT Showdown Championship.

BEST PLAYER AT PBKC? After finishing second to Mitchell Smith in October for Player of the Month, Victor Walker captured back-to-back honors in November and December, and at the end of the first week of January, held the early lead, too.


HORSESHOE CASINO: At the northern end of the state in Tunica, the Horseshoe has a $50K guarantee coming up just in time for Valentine’s Day. The $165 buy-in runs Feb. 9-11. The three-flight event begins on Friday at 6 p.m., with two more flights on Saturday at 11 a.m. and 6 p.m.

The structure, found at, is slow-moving and allows for a lot of play. Players may enter multiple times and take their largest stack to the restart Feb. 11. These events rarely have an overlay and instead often exceed the guarantee. Contact the poker room for info about discount.ed room rates.

BEAU RIVAGE: In Biloxi, poker room manager Henry Garrison is keeping promotions rolling and tournaments fun. Every Monday night at 6 is a Military Monday Tournament where the house adds $20 to the prize pool for every military ID shown during buy-ins.

Thursday nights feature one of the only regularly running PLO tournaments in the area. For only $50 and with a $1,500 guarantee, this is an awesome and affordable opportunity to work on a game that isn’t frequently spread in a tournament format outside circuit events.

Every Friday and Saturday at noon, sign up for the $5K guarantee as $150 gets you a seat and a regular opportunity to make a great score.

The Beau also showcases a lengthy list of promotions for live games, upcoming events and daily tournaments. The lineup changes frequently, but the website is updated with a monthly calendar of events. For more information or to view the calendar, visit or see our Where to Play section in the back of this issue. Call for a poker-room rate.

SCARLET PEARL: Big Slicks Poker Room closed. If you are owed any fees associated with February tournaments, they will be re.funded by check. Call the casino if you have questions.


COUSHATTA CASINO: The Coushatta Winter Classic at Coushatta Casino in, La., had a great turnout with 365 entries for a $75,500 prize pool, paying 41 places. The event chopped five ways, $8,231 each to Gene McDowell, Niels Lenz, Mike Troung, Scott and Ward Pawlowski.

There are a bunch of promos for cash-game players, including a mini-bad-beat jackpot, Aces Cracked, Kings Cracked and high hand bonuses. Call the poker room for details.

GOLDEN NUGGET LAKE CHARLES: At press time, the bad-beat jack.pot was $294K. Other promotions include high hands such as paying royals ($200) and straight flushes ($100) around the clock. See our Where to Play section in this issue or call the poker room for more info.

L’AUBERGE CASINO BATON ROUGE: Seniors receive a $20 food voucher for 2.5 hours of play in a jackpot-qualifying game.

BOOMTOWN CASINO NEW ORLEANS: The room has a new $65 Omaha/8 tournament every Monday with registration at 5:30 and closing at 8:30. The bad-beat jackpot was $165K at press time and there are other promotions, such as Faces Cracked and Splash the Pot. Call for details.

HARRAH’S CASINO NEW ORLEANS: The bad-beat jackpot at press time was $108K and the mini-bad beat is 10 percent of the main. The Power Hand promotion still runs.

Two random cards are drawn every hour from midnight until 4 a.m. Win with exact match and get $150, but win any suit of the same cards and get $100. Rules are posted in the poker room.

L’AUBERGE CASINO RESORT LAKE CHARLES: Ask about the $28K freeroll that runs each month on the 28th. Players also get paid for certain high hands. Ask about details at the poker room.

HORSESHOE BOSSIER CITY: The room features a mini-bad-beat jackpot of $5K for aces full of 10s beaten. Also, there are promos, such as Aces Cracked, Splash Pots and daily high hands.

ISLE LAKE CHARLES: Look for plenty of promotions here, including Queens Cracked, Kings Cracked, Aces Cracked, high
hands and Saturday’s Fun Flop (1 p.m.-3 a.m.) where, if you
flop an ace-high flush, you have a chance to win $1K.


AMERISTAR ST. CHARLES: The Heartland Poker Tour wrapped up its season Nov. 29-Dec. 12 with more than 3,400 tournament entries over the course of the 10-day, 10-event series. Ari Engel topped a field of 316 players in the $2,500 championship event to take home his second HPT title and $162,154.

The victory also garnered him just enough points to overtake Gary Herstein in the Player of the Year race, who would’ve taken home those honors if Engel had lost his heads-up match to fellow pro Jake Bazeley, who went back to Cincinnati with $102,647. As POY, Engel will receive buy-ins to six HPT main events plus hotel accommodations this year.

St. Charles’ Neil Patel was the last local standing before losing to Engel and going to the rail in fourth place for $47,940.

Patel knocked out the other St. Louis pro at the final table when his pocket eights held up against the A-Q of Josh Turner who, despite six WSOPC rings and $1.2M-plus in lifetime tournament earnings, has yet to win an HPT title Turner add.ed another $23,829 to that tally with his seventh-place finish.

Local attorney Bill Byrnes, who won a satellite to get into the event, was the next player to bust, finishing sixth for $28,200.

North Florida

CREEK GRETNA: The December monthly $10K tournament finished in a chop between Bryan Eiler and Adam Wells. This month’s $10K will be 1 p.m. on Feb. 17.

Other guarantees this month include a $2K on Feb. 3 and a $5K on Feb. 23. Satellites into the $10K are available multiple times each week.

Cash games feature daily promos and Feb. 10 sports an $200 high-hand bonus. See the ad on Page 41 for more info.

EBRO GREYHOUND PARK: Cash-game high hands and royal-flush bonuses run daily.
Guarantees this month are a $5K on Feb. 9, a $10K event on Feb. 18 and a $2K on Feb. 27. Each Thursday of the month is a $3K. Call for details.

BESTBET ORANGE PARK: The December deepstack exceeded the $30K guarantee as 277 players created a prize pool of $44,320 and paid 34 places. Six players, including Brian Washington, John Redlitz, Neil Autrey, Nicholas Raio, Daniel Cosenza and Robert Rawlins, agreed to a chop as each received $4,787.

BESTBET JACKSONVILLE: The December $50K saw Kevin Theel of Fayetteville, N.C., take the $10K top prize as 494 entries created a prize pool of $79,040 and paid 54 spots.

There’s a four-flight, $200 deepstack Feb. 9-10 (two seatings per day). The survivors will finish the tournament Feb. 11. Call for details. Also, cash-game high hands are each Thursday with a special promo Feb. 18.

The WPT DeepStacks Festival begins in March and the February calendar shows three $350 mega-satellites into the main event and four $90 satellites into the festival package.

On Feb. 17, there’s a one-day $30K for $350 at 11 a.m. Cash-game promos are available daily, too.

DATYONA BEACH RACING AND CARD CLUB: Raymond Steadman won December’s Great American Poker Tournament $330 Extravaganza. He took home $4,868 and a coveted 2018 GAPT championship seat.

ORANGE CITY RACING AND CARD CLUB: Tournaments are twice a week on Monday and Tuesday nights. Call for details or see our Where to Play section.

PENSACOLA GREYHOUND TRACK: Tom Augustine, Tami Terrana, Shane Watts and Ryan McLane each pocketed $3,390 after a four-way chop in the December $20K, which paid 18 spots.

This month’s $20K has Day 1 flights Feb. 22, 23 and 24 with Day 2 Feb. 25. Satellite tournaments into this event are throughout the month.

Meet Paul McGuire

Paul McGuire was born and raised in St. Louis. An avid Blues fan, he works in sales by day and usually plays $5-$10
NLHE, but also enjoys playing Omaha, his favorite game, whenever he gets a chance. The 32-year-old made his first HPT
final table at Ameristar, coming into the day fifth in chips.

He was fairly active, putting himself in several situations that could have propelled him to the win. He even made a royal
flush, but failed to get much value from his hand because of his opponent’s mediocre holding.

“That might be the first royal flush I’ve ever seen at an HPT final table,” tournament director Jeremy Smith said on
the mike. He finished fifth for $24,478, his largest score.

How long have you been playing poker? How did you get started? I’ve been playing poker since I was 16. Started at friends’ houses on the weekends, then joined a bar league. I would watch poker daily on ESPN and was counting down the
days down until I turned 21 so I could play in the casino.

What are some of your goals in poker? To keep playing in main events and cashing. I’m also planning to play in the World Series of Poker Main Event next year. It will be my first
time. I’m very excited.

What are some of your interests and hobbies outside of poker? I’m a very avid racquetball player. I play competitively and have won state two years in a row. — Todd Lamansky

Ante Up Magazine

Ante Up Magazine