Memorial Day Poker Tournaments

Oceans 11 Memorial Day

Memorial Day weekend is a great time to play poker. Whether you are in Los Angeles, San Diego or the Central Valley of California, there is a tournament near you.

The Normandie Casino in Gardena, California, will be hosting its $10,000 Memorial Day Poker Tournament on May 30 at 1 p.m. The $85 buy-in tournament features 10,000 starting chips, and the first three rounds will be 30 minutes. All subsequent rounds will be 20 minutes. There are no rebuys or add-ons

The newly-opened Gardens Casino in Hawaiian Gardens, California, is the most beautiful cardroom in Los Angeles and the largest card room in the world. To celebrate its completion, the Gardens is holding its $75,000 No-Limit Hold’em Main Event in the Inaugural Gardens Poker Festival.

Starting at 12:15 p.m., the $320 buy-in tournament has no rebuys or add-ons. The series began on May 15 and concludes on Tuesday, May 31 with a unique No-Limit Hold’em Tournament Turbo Steps Tournament.

With three starting times at 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. and buy-ins ranging from $25 to $110, 40% advance to the next step, the $20,000 No-Limit Hold’em Turbo Steps Poker Festival Finale at 4 p.m. The Gardens Poker Festival featured over $1,000,000 in guarantees, and I hope it becomes a regular part of the poker circuit in Los Angeles.

Ocean’s 11 Casino in Oceanside, California, will present its annual Memorial Day Tournament on May 30 at 10 a.m. The $240 buy-in tournament features an estimated $50,000 prize pool. Last year the prize pool swelled to $69,000.

Players start with 10,000 starting chips, and for a $10 optional staff add-on, they can receive an additional 2,000 chips. The tournament features 30 minute levels, and there is no re-entry permitted.

Registration opens one hour before the start of the tournament and continues until the end of the first break. The tournament is limited to the first 300 players. According to tournament director Anthony Canlas, a free bbq will be provided for the players.

In Fresno, California, Club One Casino will present the 8th Annual Memorial Day 100 which runs from May 28-30 and features a $30,000 guarantee. The $125 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament features two starting days on May 28 and 29.

The top 20% advance to Day 2 on May 30. All three days start at 2:15 p.m. Last year the tournament had over 377 entrants, and Club One is expecting another tremendous turn-out.

Patricia Chavira is a freelance writer and social media consultant specializing in poker. She writes a column called the “Poker Scene” for Gaming Today. Follow her on Twitter @pinkchippoker.

The Rise of Big O Omaha Poker by Patricia Chavira

Big O Hand

It is no surprise No-Limit Hold’em is the most popular game in card rooms. With its popularity on television and in home games, No-Limit Hold’em is the first game that many players learn.

But after you have been playing for a while, it’s important to expand your horizons, and Omaha poker is a great way to do that. As I have written before, I played my first hand of Omaha at Pechanga Resort & Casino.

When I discovered they were spreading five-card Omaha, also known as Big O, I would make the 90-minute drive to Temecula just to play $3/$6 Big O.

Big O Big at Hollywood Park Casino

Hollywood Park Casino

Lately, however, Hollywood Park Casino in Los Angeles has been spreading $3/$6 Big O, so I can play much closer to home, and on Saturdays, I play the Big O tournament, which draws around 30 Omaha players.

Corey Silver, Hollywood Park Casino’s Tournament Director, explains the details of the tournament, “Our Big O tournament held every Saturday at 3 p.m. is the only one in town! The buy-in is $60 for 10,000 chips with an optional $60 rebuy for 15,000 chips before the second break. Players that sign up for the Big O tournament are rewarded with a food voucher and a Double Jackpot slip for cash game play.”

Hollywood Park Casino is catering to Big O players. As Silver says, “Big O is becoming very popular in Southern California. Players really enjoy getting 5 cards to play with to make a high and a low hand instead of the regular 4 cards in traditional Omaha.”

You can usually find three $3/$6 Big O and one $6/$12 Big O games on any given night at Hollywood Park. These games are a great way for beginners to get acquainted with Omaha poker.

Hollywood Park Casino is paying Omaha players $2/hour, which can be used for food or cashed out. The $3/$6 Big O features a $6/$12 kill that leads to monster pots.

Road to WSOP Promotion

Road to WSOP

For those players with dreams of playing on poker’s biggest stage, Hollywood Park Casino is also sending players to the World Series of Poker via the “Road to WSOP” promotion.

On Saturday May 21 and May 28 at 12 p.m., the $6,000 guarantee $60 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament will send the top two finishers to the $565 Colossus event. A 3-night’s hotel stay in Las Vegas from June 4-June 6 is also included in the prize package.

With the Colossus paying $1 million for first place, this will be a great chance to turn a $60 buy-in into a nice 7-figure payday.

Patricia Chavira is a freelance writer and social media consultant specializing in poker. She writes a column called the “Poker Scene” for Gaming Today. Follow her on Twitter @pinkchippoker.

California State Poker Championship Going Strong at Commerce Casino

CSPC

The California State Poker Championship is currently running at Commerce Casino in Los Angeles, California. The series kicked off on Friday, April 29 with a $175 buy-in No Limit Hold’em Double Stack tournament featuring a $50,000 guarantee.

Matt Savage

Tournament Director Matt Savage always runs tournaments that feature a mix of games that appeal both to the professional and recreational player. Savage says, “The Commerce California State Poker Championship is an annual series with 20 events and guarantees in excess of $1,000,000 with great structures you’ve come to expect at the Commerce.”

Savage continues, “The Cal State series is a great way for you not only to build your summer bankroll but to play many of the games you don’t see in other venues.”

The California State Poker Championship is also a great lead up to the World Series of Poker. It’s always interesting to follow the winners of the California Championship and see how they do at the World Series of Poker at the Rio in Las Vegas this summer.

Paul Vinci

One such player to look out for is Paul Vinci, a familiar face on the Los Angeles poker scene. He won Event #8: $350 Pot Limit Omaha 8 or Better on May 3rd.  In 2014 he came in 5th in the same event.

Vinci is off to a great start in 2016. Back in January, he cashed in back-to-back tournaments at the prestigious Los Angeles Poker Classic (LAPC) at Commerce Casino. On January 20, he placed 7th in the $350 Stud 8 or Better, then came in 12th in the $350 Omaha 8 or Better/Stud8 or Better on January 21st.

His biggest score to date came in Event #19: $1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha at the 2005 WSOP where Vinci’s second place win was good for $70,680. Barry Greenstein won his second gold bracelet in that event.

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Vinci started dealer school across the street from the Bicycle Club in 1993. He burst on the poker scene in 1995 with his first cash in the LAPC IV when he placed 6th in a $330 Lowball tournament.

That year he continued to cash in tournaments in a variety of poker variants from Seven-Card Stud to Omaha Hi/Lo leaving dealing behind forever. The fact that he is still winning and cashing in tournaments twenty years later is a testament to his skill. He is definitely one to watch.

Patricia Chavira is a freelance writer and social media consultant specializing in poker. She writes a column called the “Poker Scene” for Gaming Today. Follow her on Twitter @pinkchippoker.