Nguyen shines at Hustler poker series


Ante Up Magazine West Coast Poker

The annual Liz Flynt Spring Classic at Hustler Casino in Gardena, Calif., recently wrapped up its series of mixed games and guarantees with buy-ins for every budget.

Huy Nguyen was the big winner, taking down Event 19 for $89,150. The $550K guarantee attracted 2,176 entries to the Day 1 option for $350 while 53 players paid $2,800 to enter on Day 2 for a prize pool of $766,882.

Nguyen also took eighth in Event 6 for $1,150 and 100th place in Event 1 for $350. Nguyen adds to his impressive resumé, including 22 WSOP cashes, 15 WSOPC cashes (three rings) and $1.134M in career earnings.

Jin Park won Event 1 ($150 NLHE) for nearly $13K from the $170K prize pool. This event drew 1,404 entries.

Marc Spitaleri earned $6,550 for beating 142 entries in Event 2 ($220 NLHE). He also took second in Event 6 for $6,250.

Nader Arfai took down Event 3 ($250 PLO), outlasting 60 entries for $3,900. Mark LeBlanc earned $32,640 for winning Event 5, making it past 780 Day 1 entries and 52 Day 2 entries. He also cashed in Event 1 (55th place, $500).

Rajesh Jagannadham won Event 6 for $9K. Sean Yu, who has four WSOPC rings, grabbed the $300 NLHE title (Event 8) for $7,700. He cashed in several other events in this series, including third in Event 19 for $89,150. Yu has racked up 22 cashes this year and he has $1.74M in career earnings.

Other winners included Steven Markowitz (Event 10, $2,405); Ly Tran (Event 16, $11K); Christopher McFarland (Event 12, $48,670) and Eugene Tito (Event 13, $5,200), who cashed in five other events during this series, including fourth in Event 1 for $10,560. He has $670K-plus in career winnings.

BICYCLE CASINO: The Summer Poker Series runs June 1-30. This series offers a wide range of buy-ins and a nice mix of games, including Big O-Omaha/8, PLO and Big O-stud/8. Guarantees range anywhere from $20K to $500K.

Northern California

LUCKY CHANCES CASINO: In Colma, the Anniversary Tournament runs June 22-25. It’s one of the largest tournaments this poker room hosts.

This $2,100 four-day event will have a $200K guarantee for first place. Day 1A, 1B and 1C will be played out each day on June 22, 23 and 24 and will begin at 9:30 a.m. The final day will be June 25 at noon.

BAY 101: Since the grand re-opening, this San Jose room has adjusted its daily tournament schedule. Tournaments include Monday-Thursday ($150, 9:30 a.m.); Friday is a deepstack turbo ($200, 9 a.m.) and Saturday and Sunday tournaments begin at 9 a.m. and have a $250 and $200 buy-ins, respectively. The last Saturday of the month is a $550 event at 9 a.m.

OAKS CARD CLUB: The Emeryville property has one of the top rooms around the Bay Area for live-action jackpots. There’s the $100K Super Hold’em where the qualifier is quad eights. There’s also a $10K hold’em jackpot (aces full of queens). Mixed-game jackpots include a $15K stud jackpot (quad deuces) and a $10K Omaha/8 jackpot (quad sixes).

JACKSON RANCHERIA: Are you looking for rewards? Then this Jackson poker room is for you. Live-action players can earn $10 per hour on double days, which are Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday (3-6 p.m.). Other promotions include Aces Cracked and Hot Spot Poker Bad Beat. Call for details.

Las Vegas

The South Point Poker Room, in conjunction with Helix Poker, is hosting some women’s events in late June. A $300 event with a $20K guarantee is June 27. Players get 20K chips and play 30-minute levels. There also are $130 satellites for the WSOP Ladies Championship on June 26. Pro Jamie Kerstetter hosts Helix Poker University on June 26. Admission is $100 but there’s a $10 discount for registering for the $300 event the next day.

South Point has added some variety to its 2 p.m. tournaments. Mondays and Wednesdays offer a micro-tournament, with a $20 buy-in for 2K chips and $20 add-ons of $2K chips available for the first six 15-minute levels. 

Tuesdays and Thursdays offer a $50 tournament with $30 bounties. Players start with 7,500 chips and play 15-minute levels. A double-stack event runs Fridays. Players start with 5K chips but can take 5K more at any time during the first six levels at no more cost. The levels are 15 minutes.

A $125 Stamina tournament runs Saturdays. Players start with 20K chips and play 30-minute levels. The breaks are every four levels but they are only five minutes; that’s where the stamina comes in. A $50 Survivor runs on Sunday, with the final 10 percent of the field splitting the prize pool. The starting stack is 7,500 and the levels are 15 minutes.
High hands hit in tournaments receive cash. Quads are worth $25, straight flushes earn $50 and royals win three times the tournament buy-in.

VENETIAN LAS VEGAS: David Ormsby of Canada took home $62K in the $1,100 doublestack in the DeepStack Extravaganza. Robert Elliott of Trussville, Ala., earned $38K for second and Kathryn Lindsay from West Hollywood, Calif., claimed $28K for third. The event attracted 278 players, creating a $271K prize pool, easily surpassing the $200K guarantee.

The series had another $200K guarantee, a $600 doublestack, as local Dustin Goff took first, winning $46K. Colorado’s Don Patrick received $29K for second and Tamas Lendvai of Vegas won $21K for third. There were 413 entrants and the prize pool was $210K.

The room is running a Quad Royal promotion for royal flushes. Initially, all four suits are eligible. Once a suit is hit, it’s no longer available for the promo. First suit to hit wins $1,250. The second suit wins $2,500. The third wins $5K and the last suit is worth $10K. After all four suits are hit, the promo restarts. Players must use both cards in their hand to qualify.

This is in addition to the $20K static bad-beat jackpot (quad deuces). The losing hand gets $10K, winning hand gets $5K and the rest of the table shares $5K. Again, both cards must play.

WYNN: Viacheslav Fentisov took first in the Signature Weekend $600 main event in April, earning $58K. Ryan LaPlante earned $38K for second and Faye Sonntag took third for $26K. All three hail from Las Vegas. The prize pool was $293K for the $250K guaranteed event. There were 560 entrants.

WESTGATE: The Heartland Poker Tour visited in early April. The $1,650 main event drew 329 entrants. Terry Fleisher was the winner, taking home $114K.  Jeremy Joseph received $72K for second and Kainalu McCue-Unciano claimed $48K for third. The prize pool was $500K.

CLUB FORTUNE: The small but friendly locals room in Henderson offers fine, affordable buy-in tournament action. Every Saturday at 2 p.m., a $40 tourney runs. Players get a 5K stack and can get another 3K for a $5 dealer bonus.  The levels start at 20 minutes and switch to 15 minutes starting with Level 4.

Every other Wednesday, a $65 deepstack is offered. Players get 15K chips, with a $5 add-on for another 4K. The levels are 20 minutes.

Every other Monday, there’s a $45 bounty event. Players get 7K chips with a $5 dealer add-on for 3K more and play 15-minute levels. The bounty is $10 and there’s also one $15 mystery bounty per table, which is funded by the house.
Players can get 1K in chips for all tournaments for bringing a canned-food donation. All tournaments have high-hand bonuses and tournament chips are awarded for quads or better. 

The cash games include a 50-cent-$1 NLHE game with a buy-in of $20-$200. There’s also a $1-$6 spread-limit game with a $20 minimum buy-in and no max. A $1-$2 NLHE game runs less often with a $100-$300 buy-in.

Promos include a progressive bad-beat jackpot. The losing hands must be quads or better and the losing hand gets 50 percent, the winning hand gets 25 percent and the table shares 25 percent. The high-hand payouts also are progressive. Quads start at $50, straight flushes at $75 and royals at $100. All high hands are worth $222 on Tuesdays.

Players get a $100 bonus for making all four flushes on Thursdays and Fridays. A $1K biweekly freeroll is available to the first 30 players to play 20 hours in the two-week period before the freeroll.

Players get $1 an hour in comps and from noon to 2 p.m., the comps are $5 an hour.

MANDALAY BAY: Kay White has retired. The new poker room manager is Joe Mignano, who has been at Mandalay Bay for five years, most recently as the swing-shift manager.

GREEN VALLEY RANCH: Longtime poker legend Kathy Raymond has come out of retirement to take over the reins of the Henderson poker room, which is part of the Stations chain. Raymond had a long career at Foxwoods before coming west to open The Venetian Poker Room in 2006. She retired from there in 2015.

SUNCOAST: The poker room closed in April.

— Check out Rob Solomon’s blog at .


Jason Somerville’s Run It Up Reno at the Peppermill Casino was another success.

But the $600 main event, which sported a $150K guarantee, was the big story of the week, setting a record with 500 entries, crushing the guarantee with a $261,900 prize pool.

D.J. Fenton came back from an 11-to-1 deficit to take the crown and $56,200, his biggest cash.

The $1,100 event, which featured $500 bounties drew almost 130 entries as James Cappucci won the title for $18,680, followed by David Lander ($12,240) and Lech Boltryk ($8,030). It was a record-fourth RIU trophy for Cappucci.

Team PokerStars Pros and Twitch Streamers Jaime Staples, Kevin Martin, Chris Moneymaker, Lex Veldhuis and Jeff Gross were on hand during the 15-event series.

Results can be found at The next Run It Up will be here in October.

ATLANTIS CASINO RESORT SPA: The poker room waitlist, featuring games and number of tables, can be viewed at Under the poker section, the website also shows daily tourneys, promotions and special room rates. Get ready for the Ante Up Poker Tour as it makes its Reno debut Aug. 16-26, including a $200K guarantee main event.

SILVER LEGACY: The upcoming Beat the Boss freeroll will be Aug. 3 at 6 p.m. Log 25 hours of live play in July to qualify.

Pacific Northwest

Not all interesting tournaments are hosted in casinos and cardrooms. The Die Hard Poker Series, sponsored by the Coyote Creek Golf Club in Surrey, B.C., had 10 events running every two weeks over the long winter, culminating in a
$670 tournament April 7.  

Guy Bottin and Grant Taylor survived a field of 88 players to chop for $14K each.

WILDHORSE RESORT: The $40K-added Spring Round Up series completed April 14. Here are all of the winners: James Austin, Bothell, Wash., (Event 1, $15K); Stephen Elliott, Richland, Wash., (Event 2, $20K); Shane Stonemetz, Zillah, Wash., (Event 3, $17K); Jim Klindworth, Moses Lake, Wash., (Event 4, $7K); Tony Glidden, Eugene, Ore., (Event 5, $4K); Kao Saechao, Kent, Wash., (Event 6, $9K); Saechao, (Event 7, $6K); Robert Covert, Everett, Wash., (Event 8, $4K); Ron Rausch, Boise, (Event 9, $14K); Ronnie Anderson, Yakima, Wash., (Event 10, $17K); Richard Jutte, Colton, Wash., (Event 11, $27K), Bob Schulhauser, Spokane Valley, Wash., (Event 12, $43K) and Donald Coy, Rathdrum, Idaho, (Event 13, $4K).

Saechao won the overall championship for a bracelet and jacket.

Meet Nipun Java

A former software engineer for a medical devices company, Nipun Java started playing poker professionally in May 2014.

“I used to play variations of card games growing up with my cousins during festival nights,” he said. “I was fairly competitive at chess and enjoyed strategy board games as well.”

When he moved to Los Angeles in 2008, he joined a group, Rounders, a home-game group in L.A. hosting small-stakes tournaments. At the same time, he started playing $10 multitables and $5 SNGs online.

“Winning two bracelets last summer at the World Series, followed by a win at the Seminole Hard Rock prelim is probably my biggest accomplishment,” he said. “My WSOP tag-team bracelet with Aditya Sushant was a unique and fun experience. To play a team format in poker is extremely rare and it made the event special.”

He recently signed with the Global Poker League as an international ambassador for its upcoming season in India.

“I think poker is a perfect combination of fun, fulfillment and independence. It also fits my analytical personality.”

When he isn’t playing poker, he’s “kind of obsessed with golf currently. Started playing a year ago. It has given me some good balance.” He also enjoys watching tennis, movies and shows, playing board games and following and investing in the cryptocurrency market. — Kittie Aleman

Ante Up Magazine

Ante Up Magazine