Naples, Fla., series begins March 29

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Naples-Ft. Myers Greyhound Track in Central Florida will host its Championship series March 29-April 5. Daily satellites at noon for $50 run until the main event. 

The series kicks off March 30 at 6 p.m. with a $200 event that has a $15K guarantee. The $175 NLHE $10K guarantee at March 31 at 6. There’s a $300 black-chip bounty $20K guarantee April 2 at 6. Flights for $560 main event has a $125K guarantee April 3 at noon and 6. Flights 1C and 1D on April 4 are noon and 6. Day 2 is April 5 at noon. See the ad on Page 5 for details, including March 29 satellites.

OXFORD DOWNS: The $100 Ante Up Against Cancer tournament is March 19 at 6 p.m. It has a $4K guarantee with nine spots paid. The stacks are 6K and there will be 15-minute levels. Rebuys are available through the break, at which point a one-time $20 add-on for 2K chips is offered. There will be a bounty on Ante Up Central Florida Ambassador Sharon Fekete and the amount will be announced the night of the tournament. There will be a $25 admission for non-poker players. 

During this event, there will be a high-stakes table, $500 NLHE, 10K stack, 20-minute blinds. Limited seats are available so call to reserve. There will be live music, free wine and beer, free hors d’oeuvres and raffle prizes.   

TGT POKER: There’s a $125 NLHE $5K guarantee the first Sunday of the month at 1. Blinds are 25 minutes and players get 25K chips.  

Every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at 7 is the $20 Night Quickie Tournament. Players get 8K chips and 10-minute blinds. You can win $10 Quickie Tournament tickets all month in cash games and tournaments. 

TAMPA BAY DOWNS: Daily tournaments include Sunday’s Super Stack ($55, 1 p.m.) and Cheap Stack ($20, 7 p.m.); Tuesday and Thursday mini-stack ($45, $1K guarantee, 1 p.m.); Wednesday and Friday ($55, 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.) and Saturday ($90, 1 p.m., $70, 7 p.m.). 

HARD ROCK TAMPA: Fabian Foster of Davenport captured the $500 One Day $100K guarantee on Jan. 4.  With 395 entries, Foster chopped the victory in a four-way deal, taking home $24,837. Marcus Little of Riverview took second for $24,085. Little also won the $200 Little Slick on Jan. 13. He beat a remarkable 1,067 entries for a $29,980 payday.  

Ken O’Donnell won the largest one-day $180 daily tournament Jan 22, beating 583 entries. 

HRT hosts its Poker Classic series March 18-29. 

Visit shrtpoker.com for tournament schedule, including secondary and satellite schedule.  

MELBOURNE GREYHOUND TRACK: Club 52 will hold its $300 Poker Championship, which has a $100K guarantee, March 3-8. Starting stacks are 30K and players get 30-minute blinds in a big-blind-ante structure. 

Daily flights begin March 3 at 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. through March 7. Day 2 is March 8 at 11 a.m.  

DERBY LANE: The St. Petersburg room hosts its Combat Wounded Veteran Megastack Challenge event March 11-15. This $175 tourney, which has a $50K guarantee, has flights as follows: Day 1A is March 11 at noon; 1B, March 12, noon; 1C, March 13, noon; 1D, March 13, 6 p.m.; 1E, March 14, noon; 1F, March 14, 6 p.m. Day 2 will be March 15 at 1. In other news, Julio Marrero-Sosa won the January Megastack Challenge.

South Florida

Vinny Gatto, a 13-year employee at the Isle Poker Room in Pompano Beach, was named its director of poker after serving as interim manager. Starting in poker as a chiprunner in the mid 1990s, he worked his way to floor supervisor and is well-liked by the Isle patrons.

“We plan to continue our strong guest service and will address the needs of our entire player base,” he said. “There will be an expansion of our social media to attract new players and keep our regulars informed.”  

The popular Battles at the Beach series returns this month for its 11th year; check with the poker room for more details on the list of events and starting dates at (954) 633-6680.

HIALEAH PARK: Tournament action returns in March with this poker room’s largest tournament in recent memory. A multiday schedule of opening sessions run for a week, with two flights per day March 7-13 at 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. Stacks will be 15K and players can enter more than one opening flight, but can only carry their largest stack to Day 2. The $50K guarantee will move to Day 2 on March 14 and start at 2. There’s a guaranteed first prize of $20K. 

HARD ROCK HOLLYWOOD: The Lucky Hearts Open recently concluded with 29 events and $5M-plus in prize money.  

One familiar champion was the winner of the $2M guarantee WPT main event: Brian Altman of Boston won the event for the second time in five years after capturing the guitar trophy in 2015 and earning his top career cash of $723K-plus. This year, Altman bested John Dollinger in heads-up play and defeated a field of 823 entries to take home the top prize of $482K, which included a $15K entry into the Tournament of Champions. 

Several other standout players had impressive performances during the series, including two players who won a pair of trophies: William Muniz of Tampa won the $400 Big O tournament for $8,725 and then went on to best 1,404 entries in the $1,100 WPT DeepStacks event for nearly $229K.  

The other double-winner was Canadian Jonathan Bussieres, who won a $600 turbo, then one week later, took down a $5K NLHE tourney. 

One of the more interesting tournament conclusions came in the final event, the $2,200 PLO tourney, with Timothy Banks of Canada awarded the title after a three-way chop with Melisa Singh and David Prociak. Though Banks had a huge lead over both players, he offered to take an equal chop with the couple, who quickly accepted. Banks shrugged off suggestions that he was the nicest man in the world when he said, “They are two young kids who are very nice and polite and are trying to build a career. And I don’t need the money.” 

Banks added that the three of them had an enjoyable time competing for several hours and hoped they could use the extra cash to further their careers.

North Florida

The WPT DeepStacks series returns to bestbet Jacksonville for a 13-event run March 20-30. The main event features a $300K guarantee for $1,500. Two flights (March 27-28) lead up to Day 2 (March 29) with a live-streamed final table on March 30. 

Event 1 is a $360 buy-in with a $100K guarantee featuring four flights (two per day March 20-21). Other events include a stud/8-Omaha/8 mix, bounty, $150 deepstack, $240 NLHE, $350 Monster Stack, women’s event, six-hour Iron Man, Big O/8-PLO mix, turbo, turbo with bounties and a $350 buy-in with $100 bounties.

January’s Winter Open main event drew 370 entries for a $358,900 prize pool, eclipsing the $200K guarantee. 

After a three-way agreement, John Pappas of South Carolina took a first-prize payout of $61,288. Antonio De La Cruz was second ($51,923) and Charles Campos was third ($48,150). Other winners in the series were Joseph Kepple, Tennyson Phillips, Paul Petraglia, Qi You, Christopher Gosney, Raminder Singh and Daniel Morrison.

The 1010XL tourney had 221 players as John Ewan and Roger Lacharite each took $3,897 out of the $19,340 prize pool.

PENSACOLA POKER ROOM: There will be guarantees Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays each week in March and satellite events (Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Thursday) into the April $30K. Also, full-house promos run daily at the cash tables.

ORANGE CITY RACING AND CARD CLUB: GAPT games are Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Event winners for January included Brian Harris, John O’Connell, Gabriel Saliba, Luis Gonzalez, Erwin Bautista, Gary Cohen and David Smith.

EBRO GREYHOUND PARK: The Emerald Coast Spring Classic runs April 18-26. Ebro will host seven guarantees, including a $100K main event. Look for a detailed schedule in next issue.

DAYTONA BEACH RACING AND CARD CLUB: March 13-22 is a $50K guarantee. The January $75K ran for nine days that produced 725 entries and grew the prize pool to nearly $88K as 12 players each earned just shy of $5K. 

Gary Boone earned the coveted GAPT Championship seat. Sherri Manassa took the premier event and $4,715 and Tracy Peterson won a $500 GAPT seat as champ of a seniors event.

CREEK GRETNA POKER: There was a seven-way chop that earned $1,500 per player in the January guarantee. This room, closest to the state capital, runs a big tourney each month with satellites available multiple times.

BESTBET ORANGE PARK: There are $50 tourneys Sundays and Tuesdays. Bad-beat jackpots are in play in hold’em, Omaha and stud.

Mississippi

The first of two World Series of Poker Circuit stops just wrapped up in Tunica, Miss., drawing 4,613 entries across 13 events for $2.1M in prize pools.  

Christopher Nunnally captured Event 1, which had 339 entries, for $23,984, his largest career cash. 

Past champions Blake Whittington, Michael Lech and Aaron Gamino picked up more rings in Events 2, 3 and 4, respectively. 

First-time ring-winners included Bryan Salerno with his Event 5 victory and Grant Hart, who took down Event 6. 

The $1,700 championship had 491 entrants for a prize pool of $743,865.

Day 1 leader Lytle Allen never really lost momentum and, despite an action-packed final day, won his first circuit ring, $144,313 and a seat into the Global Casino Championship. 

Gamino won the Casino Champion title with four cashes, including three final tables and one victory. 

If you missed this event, you’ll get a second chance when the WSOPC returns April 23-May 4.

If you’re looking for something a little sooner, RunGood is hosting a five-day event at Horseshoe Tunica. The All-Stars season goes live March 3-8 and will feature six ring events, which include a $25K guarantee deepstack and a $100K guarantee main event. 

This stop will award two exclusive $550 seats to play on a filmed 64-player Pro-Am Tournament at the PokerGO Studios in Las Vegas in December. One seat will go to the main-event champion and the other to the casino-points champion.

To book discounted room rates for either event, call  662-357-5608. Rooms will sell out quickly.

Missouri

LOCALS DO WELL: Neil Patel won his second career WSOPC ring in Event 9 at Horseshoe Tunica in Mississippi in January, the same stop where he won his first three years ago. “It feels great; I’ve been working for this,” he said. “That was the goal: to come here and win my second ring.” He outlasted a field of 303 entrants and pocketed $13,354, putting his lifetime earnings just shy of $800K. Patel also cashed in the Monster Stack.

HOLLYWOOD CASINO: The latest installment of the Heartland Poker Tour, which ran Feb. 13-24, had not yet kicked off at press time. Check back next month for results.

Louisiana

L’AUBERGE CASINO BATON ROUGE: The bad beat jackpot (quads) was at a whopping $222K at press time. Other promos include $200 high hands, Aces Cracked, Faces Cracked and a mini-bad-beat jackpot (aces full of jacks) for $5K max.

HARRAH’S CASINO NEW ORLEANS: There’s a bounty tourney on Wednesday nights at 6 for $150 with $50 bounties. Saturday’s $200 event starts players will a 12K stack and there’s unlimited re-entry. Also, the bad-beat jackpot (quad fives) was nearly $190K at press time.

BOOMTOWN CASINO NEW ORLEANS: It’s easier to hit the bad beat now as the qualifier has been changed to aces full of jacks. 

COUSHATTA CASINO: Promotions in the Kinder room include a bad-beat jackpot (aces full of kings), splash pots, high hands, Sets Cracked and Kings Full Frenzy.

ISLE CASINO LAKE CHARLES: This poker room’s promos include daily minor jackpots for quads, straight flush and royals. There’s also Kings Cracked, Aces Cracked, splash pots and a dealer’s choice game on Sundays. Call for details. 

L’AUBERGE CASINO RESORT LAKE CHARLES: The bad-beat jackpot (quad fives) was $110K at press time. Ask about random drawings, quad rollovers and hot-seat drawings, too.

GOLDEN NUGGET LAKE CHARLES: Royals and straight flushes get paid and ask about the quads rollovers.  

HORSESHOE CASINO BOSSIER CITY: If you get your aces full of 10s beat, you’ll win $5K.

Meet Kevin Winters

Kevin Winters is a casual player from Dunedin, Fla., a small town in the Tampa Bay area. He has been hosting monthly tournaments and cash games for 10-plus years. He has no intention of being a pro, but he has a passion and love for the game that shows when he’s at the table. His passions include NASCAR, boating and spending time with his wife, Gail and two children, Jay and Holly. His son also is an avid poker player. 

How long have you been playing poker? I’ve been playing poker for more than 20 years.  

As a recreational player, do you prefer tournaments or cash games? I prefer tournaments. I occasionally play home cash games, but definitely prefer tournaments.

What is your favorite poker room to play and why? I play at the Silks Poker Room at Tampa Bay Downs in Tampa, mainly because it’s the closest to me. My favorite place to play in Las Vegas is at the Aria poker room. 

Is there any place that you haven’t played that’s on your bucket list? Like many other players, I would like to play in a World Series of Poker event, so I would have to say I would like to play at the Rio in Las Vegas. — Sharon Fekete