Shao wins Wynn Fall Poker Classic in Las Vegas for $223K


Ante Up Magazine West Coast Poker

Bob Shao of Texas won the Wynn Fall Classic’s main event in October, receiving $223K. Eugene Tito of Los Angeles scored $165K for second and Ping Liu of Michigan earned $140K for third. The $1,600 event had 1,024 entrants, resulting in a $1.5M prize pool.

The series hosted a $3,200 event with a $200K guarantee as Tucson’s Adnan Aidi earned $100K for first, while two Las Vegans, Mitch Garshofsky and Alexander Condon, claimed $88K and $44K, respectively. The prize pool of $409K more than doubled the guarantee, as the event drew 128 players. 

The inaugural Wynn Winter Classic runs Dec. 2-22. The $5,300 championship is a three-day event with one starting flight Dec. 18.  The guarantee is $1.5M. Players get a 50K stack and 60-minute levels. A $1,100 NLHE event starts Dec. 12 with a $500K guarantee. Players get 40K chips and 40-minute levels. There are plenty of $400 events, too.

VENETIAN LAS VEGAS: The October Deep Stack Showdown saw Eric Baldwin of Las Vegas win the $400 monster stack for $52K. Andrew Campbell, also of Vegas, took $33K for second and Maine’s Daniel Pickering earned $24K for third. More than 800 players created a prize pool of $275K.

Later in October, Diogo Goncalves Bento of Portugal was the big winner in the $225K Lucky Shot Series and Drawing, taking home $31K for first in the $250 main event. New Zealand’s Paul Hockin earned $19K for second and Shadd Baudoin of Vegas received $14K for third. This unique event had a fixed prize pool of $150K regardless of the size of the field. There were 645 players.

The next Deep Stack Extravaganza runs Dec. 12-Jan. 12. The biggest tournament is a three-day $3,500 event that starts Dec. 21 with one starting flight. Players start with 40K chips and play 60-minute levels. The guarantee is $500K.

A $600 doublestack has the first of its two starting flights Dec. 17.  Players get 30K stacks and 40-minute levels.  The guarantee is $150K.

The $600 monster stack is Dec. 27 with three starting flights and a $300K guarantee. Players get 35K chips and 30-minute levels on Day 1, 40-minute levels on Day 2.

The series guarantees $1.8M-plus.

SOUTH POINT: The new schedule features a 10 p.m. tournament and has guarantees for all tournaments.

The $60 NLHE tournament runs daily at 10 a.m. and
10 p.m. It also runs Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m., as well as Monday, Tuesday, Thursday at 6 p.m. Players start with 10K chips and play 20-minute levels. The guarantee is $2K for the 10 a.m., $1K for the 6 p.m., and $500 for the 2 p.m. and 10 p.m. offerings.

Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 6 p.m., a $125 deepstack. Players get 15K chips and 20-minute levels. Wednesday the guarantee is $5K, Friday and Saturday it’s $7,500 and Sunday it’s $10K.

Fans of Omaha/8 get their chance Tuesday and Friday at
2 p.m. The $60 buy-in starts players with 10K chips. The levels are 20 minutes and the guarantee is $500.

Cash games include a busy $1-$2 NLHE game with a $100 minimum buy-in and a $300 maximum. Recently, the room has been spreading a $2-$3 game ($200-$600 min-max). The room has become a popular location for the meet-up games of vloggers Andrew Neeme and Brad Owen. When they are there, there are multiple tables of $3-$5 NLHE, which has a $300-$1,500 min-max. 

Limit players will find multiple tables of $2-$4 with a $20 buy-in and there’s $3-$6 limit with a $30 minimum.

GOLDEN NUGGET: The Moose International series runs Jan. 10-15. All events, with the exception of the main event Jan. 13, are open to the public. Buy-ins are $75-$200 and a portion of each buy-in is donated to a Moose charity. Traditionally, these events are wild and loose affairs, with the juicy action spilling over into the cash games.

M RESORT: The HPT event scheduled for mid December has been postponed with an eye toward a return next year.

THE STRAT: After rebranding the casino and moving the poker room, the Strat abruptly closed its poker room in October.

— Check out Rob Solomon’s blog at

Pacific Northwest

MUCKLESHOOT CASINO: The Fall Classic ran Oct. 9-13 with four big events that drew players from as far away as New Jersey and Florida. Deals were done in every tournament, starting with Damon Kerkes (from Auburn, Wash., home of the casino) taking first for $11,300 in Event 1 and Richard White (Edgewood, Wash.) and Cade Beyer (Seattle) each taking home $7,900. Event 2 split the top money seven ways, with Dennis McLeod (Enumclaw, Wash.) and WSOPC regular Maxwell Young (North Palm Beach, Fla.) earning $8,780 and $8,170, respectively, and five others taking about $7,700 each. 

Event 3 split four ways with Adam Croffut (Shoreline, Wash.) making $16K and Dan “Goofy” Beecher (Brush Prairie, Wash.), Kenneth Richardson (University Place, Wash.) and Chong Lee (Tacoma, Wash.) all getting $11,300. 

The two-day $140K guarantee main event worked up to a prize pool of $236,250 with 350 entries and resulted in a seven-way chop. The top five all made more than $20K: Alex Ding (Dupont, Wash., $22,557), David Van Weerdhuizen (Bellingham, Wash., $22,516), Jennifer Hughes (North Las Vegas, Nev., $21,643), Travis Preng (Las Vegas, $21,042) and Jon Andlovec (Mound House, Nev., $21,042). Andlovec also placed third in Event 2.

BEACH POKER ROOM: The Eugene, Ore., property has cash games daily (10 a.m.-2:30 a.m.) with players earning points to play in a $20K freeroll. Cash games require payment of a club membership fee ($5 daily to $100 annually). There are two monthly tournaments: $135 the first Sunday and $250 the third Sunday. Both include a catered lunch.

CHINOOK WINDS CASINO RESORT: The poker room at the Lincoln City, Ore., resort just moved back to the first floor to a remodeled space. The poker room is closed Wednesdays and Thursdays and opens at 11 a.m. the rest of the week.

TULALIP RESORT CASINO: One of the largest casinos in the Pacific Northwest (Marysville, Wash.) closed its poker room Oct. 31.

Northern California

Hit any straight or better in cash games until Dec. 20 to earn entries into Jackson Rancheria Casino Resort poker room’s Dec. 20 drawing where the grand-prize winner heads off on an Ante Up Poker Cruise. 

The Northern California poker room also will throw in $1K for travel expenses and more.

Ante Up Poker Cruises transforms the conference center aboard regularly scheduled Royal Caribbean sailings into a professionally staffed and equipped poker room, complete with cash games, tournaments and an open-bar cocktail party.

For more information on this promotion, visit Jackson Rancheria’s website, and for more information on Ante Up Poker Cruises, you can visit 

BEAR RIVER CASINO RESORT: The Humboldt County poker room’s tournaments draw 40-65 players and has $1-$2 and
$5-$10 NLHE games. The room had only been open Wednesdays, but added Sundays in November to expand to two days per week.

BLACK OAK CASINO RESORT: Ex-world champion Greg “Fossilman” Raymer spent three days here in October, joining cash games and the Saturday monthly $150 deepstack. 

On Raymer’s Twitter account, he said, “Had a ton of fun in the deepstack tourney today at Black Oak Casino.” Check in with manager Joe Bernardi to learn when the next time Fossilman is going to be in town.

THUNDER VALLEY RESORT CASINO: The World Series of Poker Circuit returns Jan. 9-20, offering more than $1.1M in guarantees, including $300K for the $400 opener, $100K in the $400 monster stack, $100K for the  $400 Last Call and $500K for the $1,700 main event.

TURLOCK POKER ROOM: Dec. 8 is the annual Santa Bounty Tournament, a $125 event with 10K stacks and 20-minute levels.

Registration and re-entries are allowed until the start of Level 7.

Knock out Santa and get his $250 bounty; knock out one of his seven elves and earn a $50 bounty. Ante Up Ambassador Dan Ross was Santa twice in the past.

LIVERMORE CASINO: There’s a new daily tournament schedule, including $100 buy-ins Thursday-Sunday at 10:30 a.m. and a $1K first-place guarantee. 

That same $1K first-place guarantee is offered in the $45 events Monday-Wednesday mornings and for the Monday, Wednesday and Sunday evening tournaments. 

The Third Saturday 10:30 a.m. tournament each month features a $175 buy-in with 15K stacks, 20-minute levels and a $2K first-place guarantee. Check out the Where To Play section in the back of the magazine for more information.

BAY 101 CASINO: The annual Fall Classic wrapped up with Auguste Sherry winning the $1,100 main event for $43,190 after a six-way deal at the end of the 332-entry tournament. Victor Shih ($36,870), Guy Hadas ($33,270), Yanki Koppel ($31,700), Zachary Grech ($31,155) and Paul Richardson ($26K) rounded out the top finishers. Other winners included Hieu Le (Event 1); Ruomeng Dong (Event 2); Tri Tran (Event 3); Ferit Bulutoglu (Event 4) and Simon Santiago (Event 5).

— Dan Ross, the northern California Ante Up Ambassador, is owner of Hold’em Media, including Hold’em Radio Podcast Network and the Hold’em Live Updates tournament reporting team. He can be reached at

Southern California

The LIPS California State Championship returned to the Bicycle Casino in L.A. in November, sponsored by the Women’s Poker Association. The weekend started off with a $130 warm-up event and Joani Short took it down after a chop for $650.

Debby Rolland won the $240 main event, which had 74 entries, for $3,010.  Rounding out the top eight were Jennifer Gianera ($2,060), Terri Breer ($1,880), Sunny Chen ($1,785), Leslie Grodin ($1,555), Linda Lesterson ($1,455), Andra Hoffman ($1,060) and Anna Kazarian ($1,005).

Short and Rolland also earned a $300 seat to the annual LIPS Grand Championship in Las Vegas.

HUSTLER CASINO: The Liz Flynt Fall Classic saw Marvin Rettenmaier win the $500K guarantee event for $101,286. The event drew 1,443 Day 1 entries and 46 Day 2 buy-ins for a $566,456 prize pool. Event 2 went to Anthony Pitesa, who outlasted 1,006 players to earn $25K.

GARDENS CASINO: Binh Nguyen took down the $300K guarantee main event at the Gardens Classic. Nguyen earned $39,280 after beating nearly 1,600 players. The prize pool for the $350 event grew to $478,200.  Rounding out the top five were Peter Hengsakul ($38,185), Hoang Le ($30,595), Yong Woo Chung ($29,125) and Senik Stepanyan ($28,220). 

Looking ahead, the World Poker Tour returns Jan. 9-13.

CHUMASH CASINO: There’s a $100 Sunday Knockout Tournament at 1:15 p.m. and a pot-limit Omaha event Mondays at 7. Also, ask about the freeroll and the bad-beat jackpot (quad deuces).


GRAND SIERRA: The Aces Cracked promotion pays $100 in free play or $50 cash. Also, Monday Night Football Squares will be daily (4 p.m.-6 a.m.) as the high hand of the hour wins a square.

NUGGET CASINO: The bounty freeroll will be Dec. 8 at 2 p.m. The top 40 players in hours of live play (Sept. 27-Nov. 30) earned entry. Alternates will be allowed to play based on available seating.

PEPPERMILL CASINO: The Run It Up $600 main event winner was to Jordan Spurlin. The $66K first-place prize marked a career-best for Spurlin. Jason Somerville’s event returns here on April 3-13.

Meet Devin Sweet

Devin Sweet is the tournament director at Portland Meadows in Oregon, helping to ensure the PacWest Poker Classic runs smoothly. On top of that, she also handles all the social media for the PWPC and spends her summers dealing at the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas. 

She once was chosen to be one of the five final-table dealers for the WSOP main event and she not only dealt Joe Cada’s knockout hand, but she dealt the final hand of the event after a grueling heads-up fight. 

Sweet has been involved in poker for about a decade and is passionate about poker and seeing its advancement in the Pacific Northwest. — Scott Strouf


Chris Cosenza

Chris Cosenza