Expand Your Poker Horizons by Patricia Chavira

We have a poker tournament at my job every few months. Whether it’s a cash game or tournament, the game we always play is the ever-popular No-Limit Hold’em.

It’s hard to get people out of their comfort zone whether it’s a friendly game at work or at home. Luckily, Los Angeles card rooms host several non-Hold’em poker tournaments for players ready to expand their poker horizons.


Hollywood Park Casino in Inglewood, California added 7-card stud to its line up recently, including the only weekly 7-card stud  tournament on the west coast.


The stud tournament features a $60 buy-in and is held every Tuesday night at 6 p.m.

You will see some great stud players from around town.


If you want to try your hand at stud before you play in the tournament, Hollywood Park features a live-action stud game everyday hosted by poker great Mike Rocco. The game is played high only.


Stud is one of the oldest card games, and in past decades was a staple in Las Vegas and the east coast. The late Chip Reese and Danny Robison were great stud players and moved to Las Vegas to play higher stud.


Players need to play all games to be a well- rounded player. And another game to add to your poker arsenal is Omaha.


BIG O Omaha Comes to Town


5-card Omaha, or Big O Omaha as it’s popularly called, has exploded in popularity around Los Angeles’ card rooms. It is certainly a game full of action.


Hollywood Park Casino also started the new wave of Big O games and is the only casino with a weekly tournament featuring  Big O high low.


The Big O tournament has a $60 buy in and is played every Saturday at 3 pm. It features some added perks of a food voucher and $2,000 guarantee. The tournament is hosted by Omaha creator Robert Turner.


For Big O cash action, there are several games of $4/8 and $6/$12 daily. Hollywood Park Casino also spreads PLO Omaha and $40/$80 Omaha daily.


So, if you are a Hold’em player, Hollywood Park Casino spreads a variety of games to take you to the next level.  Their speciality tournaments help you practice for the WSOP and mixed games.

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

 

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Pioneering Women in Poker: Phyllis Caro, Part 2

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Last week I wrote about how Phyllis Caro got her start in poker and how she ended up working with her husband at the time, Mike Caro, and founder of the Bicycle Club, George Hardie, to clean up poker in California.

People like myself who have been playing poker since the boom times have no idea how bad it was, especially for the dealers. As a dealer herself at one time, Phyllis can tell you some horror stories, but as she says, it was an accepted part of poker.

Players acted out and blamed the dealers for everything. She says players were not only verbally abusive towards dealers, but physically as well.  My husband Robert Turner described a horrific incident where a player actually got out a lighter and tried to burn a dealer.

It did not happen overnight, but Phyllis was instrumental in helping stop dealer abuse. Players were given warnings and then time out (yes, like children). Poker was changed forever once management took a stance against dealer abuse.

Phyllis continued to rise through the ranks from Dealer Coordinator to Vice President of Casino Operations of the Bicycle Club. In between, she worked tournaments becoming the first female Tournament Director making such innovations as starting the first non-smoking tournaments.

Always an advocate for women in poker, she started the annual Queen of Hearts tournament, which runs to this day; in fact, it was just held this Sunday at the Bike.

As Tournament Director of the Bike, she also ran the second largest tournament in the industry at the time, the Diamond Jim Brady. In 1993, when Phyllis became the Vice President of Casino Operations, she was the first female to hold that position in the industry.

In April 1990, the Bicycle Club was seized by federal authorities making federal government part owner of the most valuable asset ever seized at that time under federal racketeering laws.

The government appointed a trustee named Harry Richard to oversee operations at the Bike. Under the trusteeship, Phyllis fought to keep poker honest. As Phyllis says, “Mike ingrained the fact that all games should be honest.”

In 1995, Phyllis was hired as Casino Manager at Hollywood Park Casino and eventually became Director of Poker Operations where she continued making history.

Phyllis may be retired from poker now, but she will always stand for integrity in poker; she has committed her life to it.

Listen to me and Robert discussing Phyllis’ career on High Roller Radio here: https://youtu.be/bmhuFvCUw38

 

LAPC Underway at Commerce Casino

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The Los Angeles Poker Classic (LAPC) got underway at the Commerce Casino on Friday with Event #1: $175 No-Limit Hold’em. This tournament featured a $100,000 guarantee and drew 1,079 players.

Event #1 Winner Jeffrey “Lee” Peterson took home $16,995 and the Remington trophy. In his winner’s interview, Peterson stated that he is a business owner who plays for entertainment. He took a five-year break from poker and last played in the LAPC’s Main Event last year.

He came back with a vengeance and plans on playing more events this year.

Tournament Director Matt Savage has put together a great schedule this year that should appeal to pros and recreational players alike. This week will feature a mix of events for mixed-game players starting with the $350 Omaha 8 or Better tournament on Monday.

$350 Stud 8 or Better will be held on Wednesday at 1 p.m. Thursday will feature the $350 Omaha 8 or Better/Stud 8 or Better.

This weekend will feature several No-Limit events, including a $1,100 WPT Main Event Mega Satellite that guarantees two $10,000 seats on Saturday, January 21 at 7 p.m.

On Sunday, January 22 at 12 p.m. a $240 No-Limit Hold’em Knockout Big Bounty event will feature a $50,000 guarantee. Also, on Sunday at 5 p.m. a $175 No-Limit Hold’em All in or Fold Bounty carries a $10,000 guarantee.

Beginning the week of Monday, January 23, the schedule will feature several other mixed games, including a $350 H.O.R.S.E. event on Thursday, January 26 at 1 p.m.

On Wednesday, January 25 at 5 p.m. the first flight of the $350 No-Limit Hold’em begins and features a $300,000 guarantee. Additional flights will take place Thursday at 5 p.m. and Friday at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. and Saturday at noon and 5 p.m.

The rest of the schedule in January and February will feature bigger buy-in events, such as a $570 Big O tournament on Thursday, February 2 at 5 p.m. and a $570 H.O.R.S.E. event on Friday, February 3 at 1 p.m.

An event you don’t see on very many schedules is the $1,100 2-7 Triple Draw. This event will take place on Wednesday, February 8 at 5 p.m.

The $10,000 WPT Championship will begin on Saturday, February 25 at 12 p.m. The series will end with the Championship final table taping on Thursday, March 2 at 4 p.m.

Follow all the action on Twitter @LAPC or at lapcnews.com

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

 

SoCal Poker Championships Starts Today by Patricia Chavira

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The inaugural SoCal Poker Championships (SCPC) kicked off today at the Gardens Casino in Hawaiian Gardens, California. In a rare casino collaboration, four Los Angeles card rooms are hosting a $3,000,000 guarantee poker tournament for a mere $350 buy-in. First place is guaranteed $500,000 and a Mercedes.

Each casino will feature eight Day 1’s with two flights each day at 12 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. for a total of 64 starting flights. From Sunday, September 18 through Sunday, September 25, the Gardens Casino will host Day 1A’s of the SCPC during its 6th Annual The Gardens Poker Classic.

10% of the field of each Day 1 will be in the money and 6% will advance to Day 2. Players who advance to Day 2 will be paid $800, and if they qualify more than once, they will be paid $2,500.

The same format will be used at all four casinos.

On Monday, September 26, at 1 p.m., Day 2 gets under way at the Gardens Casino. Because the tournament is a Quantum format, there is a direct buy-in of $4,500 into Day 2 for 210,000 chips. Day 3 will be played on Tuesday, September 27 at 1 p.m.

Big Poker Oktober

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The SCPC then moves to the Bicycle Hotel & Casino during its Big Poker Oktober. From Saturday, October 1 through Saturday, October 8, Day 1B’s will be held twice a day at 12 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Day 2 will be held on Sunday, October 9 at 1 p.m. with Day 3 on Monday, October 10 at 1 p.m.

The last two stops are at Hustler Casino from October 21 through October 30 and at the Commerce Casino from November 5 through November 14.

Day 4 will be held at the Bike on December 14 with the tournament concluding on December 15.

Players can also earn points towards a $100,000 freeroll each time they register for a Day 1 starting flight. The top 50 point leaders combined from all properties will win a spot to the freeroll scheduled for December 13.

The amount of points awarded depends on what casino the points were earned at:

  • The Gardens Casino: 12 points per entry
  • The Bicycle Hotel & Casino: 10 points per entry
  • Hustler Casino: 8 points per entry
  • Commerce Casino: 6 points per entry

Players who qualify for Day 2 earn an additional 33 points.

Where to Find Additional Information

Visit socalpokerchampionships.com for additional information. Follow @SoCalPokerChamp on Twitter for the latest updates.

Watch the video below where the tournament directors explain the format.

 

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.

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.

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.

Play with the Creator of Omaha Poker at Club One

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Being married to a professional poker player has its perks. Most of our vacation destinations and entertainment decisions involve poker. Our summer vacation is spent making multiple trips to Las Vegas for the World Series of Poker and throughout the year, when my husband asks where I want to go for a weekend getaway, as long as there are great poker games and a spa nearby, I am happy.

So when my husband told me he was invited as a special guest to a casino in Fresno, California, that I had never played in, I was eager to pack our bags.

On Saturday, May 7, Club One, the largest cardroom in California’s Central Valley will be hosting its 2nd Annual Central Valley Omaha Championships at 12:15 p.m. The $150 buy-in tournament features a $20,000 guaranteed prize pool.

Su Kim, Club One Casino’s casino manager stated, “Club One has a long-standing commitment to the Omaha community and wanted to provide Omaha players with a major event to test their skills against their peers.  We’re offering the largest committed prize pool in California, a custom winner’s bracelet and onsite broadcast of our featured and final table.”

I can’t wait to play especially now that I have been playing the weekly Big O Omaha tournament on Saturdays at Hollywood Park Casino trying to hone my tournament skills.

I remember playing my first hand of Omaha poker at Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula, California, years before I had ever heard of Robert Turner. It was the most frightening poker experience of my life.

Not only did I have to figure out how to handle four cards, I had trouble reading the board and determining what my hand was. Instead of embarrassing myself by showing a hand I wasn’t sure even qualified as a low, I would just fold.

Marrying the Godfather of Omaha

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I left that session vowing never to play Omaha again. Then I met and later married Robert Turner, the godfather of Omaha. I was taught how to play Omaha by the best poker player I had ever met–according to Robert.

He had one simple rule, and I hope he doesn’t mind me sharing it with the world; he simply said, “Omaha is a game of the nuts.”

Every time I sit down at the table, Robert’s advice is always in my mind.

Visit http://www.clubonecasino.com for more details.

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.

Friday Poker Tournaments in Los Angeles

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One of the great things about living in Los Angeles is the non-stop poker action. On weekends I like to play the Quantum Reload tournaments at the Bicycle Hotel & Casino, but with the World Series of Poker Circuit running there all month, these tournaments have been suspended.

Hollywood Park Casino

Corey Silver

Corey Silver, Tournament Director for Hollywood Park Casino

On my quest to find a new Friday night tournament, I discovered some great poker values around town. Hollywood Park Casino in Inglewood has two tournaments on Friday. At noon is a $60 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament with a $10,000 guarantee. At 7 p.m. there is another $60 buy-in tournament with a $12,000 guarantee.

Both tournaments feature 20 minute levels, 10,000 starting chips and one $60 re-buy for 15,000 chips. In my experience, Tournament Director Corey Silver runs some of the best tournaments in town.

Commerce Casino

Commerce Casino

Commerce Casino, the world’s largest poker casino with over 240 tables, runs two tournaments on Friday. At noon is the $65 buy-in Deepstack Turbo, which features 10,000 starting chips, 15 minute levels and a $2,500 guarantee.

At 6 p.m. Commerce runs the $150 No-Limit Hold’em Megastack with 15,000 starting chips and 15 minute levels. There are no rebuys or add-ons in this tournament, and registration closes at 8:15 p.m. giving you plenty of time to make the tournament even if you get caught in L.A.’s traffic.

Gardena

Hustler

Across town in Gardena, the Normandie and Hustler Casino host Friday night tournaments at 7 p.m. Normandie’s No-Limit Hold’em tournament features a $40 buy-in, 6,000 starting chips and a $3,000 guarantee.

Players registered by 6:45 p.m. receive 500 bonus chips. Registration is open until 8:30 p.m. There are no rebuys or add-ons.

Hustler Casino’s $100 Super Friday tournament starts with 10,000 chips and features a $5,000 guarantee. There is one $70 add-on for 15,000 chips. The levels are 20 minutes with the exception of Level 5, which is 60 minutes. Players may re-enter during the first five levels. Late registration lasts until 9:20 p.m.

Hawaiian Gardens

Gardens Casino

The Gardens Casino in Hawaiian Gardens hosts a $15,000 guarantee No-Limit Hold’em tournament at 6:45 p.m. Players receive 7,000 starting chips for their $115 buy-in. Players can purchase 3,000 bonus chips for $10.

There is one $50 rebuy for 7,000 chips. Levels last 30 minutes for the first three levels and 25 minutes for the remainder of the tournament. Registration closes at the end of the 15-minute break after the third level.

Visit http://www.thegardenscasino.com for more information.

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

 

Card Player Poker Tour Comes to Los Angeles Casinos by Patricia Chavira

Corey Silver, Tournament Director for Hollywood Park Casino, with the Heavyweight belt to be awarded to the winner of the Championship Event.

Corey Silver, Tournament Director for Hollywood Park Casino, with the Heavyweight belt to be awarded to the winner of the Championship Event.

The Bicycle Hotel & Casino in Bell Gardens, California, is currently hosting its annual fall tournament, the Big Poker Oktober in conjunction with the Card Player Poker Tour, which runs through October 14.

Beginning on Monday, October 5 and continuing through Thursday, October 8, a $200,000 guarantee No Limit Hold’em tournament will be held with two starting sessions each day at 12 p.m. and 5 p.m. The buy-in is $180 the first two days for 15,000 starting chips with 15% of the players qualifying for Day 2. On Wednesday and Thursday the buy-in is $235 for 20,000 chips with 20% of the field advancing to Day 2. There is a direct buy-in to Day 2 on Friday, October 9 for $1,100.

The $500,000 guarantee No Limit Hold’em Main Event has three flights beginning on Saturday, October 10 at 12 p.m. for $1,100. Players eliminated any day may re-enter the next day. Players can buy-in directly into Day 2 of the Main Event on Tuesday, October 13 for $4,300. The final table will be streamed at liveatthebike.com on Wednesday, October 14 at 2 p.m.

The Card Player Poker Tour moves to Hollywood Park Casino on Friday, October 16, for the National Championship of Poker, created by Gaming Today columnist Robert Turner in 1995. Turner says, “I am very happy that the new management at Hollywood Park Casino is continuing the tradition of the National Championship of Poker.”

Corey Silver, tournament director for Hollywood Park Casino says, “For the first time in two years, the National Championship of Poker will be back at Hollywood Park Casino. This prestigious event which started back in 1995 will feature 10 day of action-packed poker October 16-25 culminating with the $500 buy-in $150,000 Championship Event October 22-25. The Championship Event offers three starting days with the final day being played out on Sunday, October 25, for the world to watch via Card Player’s Live Stream Final Table.”

Preliminary events include single-day tournaments with guarantees ranging from $10,000 to $25,000 and offer different variations, such as No Limit Hold’em, Omaha Hi/Lo and Knockout Bounties. Winners in all preliminary event will earn entry into the $500 Championship Event. In addition, there will be last-chance Super Satellites Thursday, October 22 and Friday, October 23 at 7 p.m. for players to win their way into the Championship Event for as little as $60. Visit playhpc.com for more information.

 

Best Poker Tournaments in the West: Summer 2015 by Patricia Chavira

WPTDS Reno

As summer winds down, it’s a great time to play poker tournaments in California and Nevada. These events feature buy-ins that will appeal both to professional and recreational players. At the Bicycle Hotel & Casino in Bell Gardens, California, the World Poker Tour’s Legends of Poker Main Event will consist of three starting days beginning on Saturday, August 29 through Monday, August 31. The $3,700 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament final table with 6 players will be filmed on Friday, September 4 at 4 p.m. The winner will receive a seat into the WPT World Championship. Last year’s winner, Harry Arutyunyan, topped a field of 593 entrants and collected $576,369. Previous winners of this prestigious tournament include Mel Judah and Dan Harrington.

The Atlantis Casino Resort Spa in Reno, Nevada is currently hosting the WPT’s DeepStacks tour, which runs through Sunday, August 30. The 11th stop on the DeepStacks’ 16-stop schedule features both No-Limit Hold’em and Omaha events with buy-ins to suit every budget. On Wednesday, August 26 there are two No-Limit Hold’em tournaments—one is a two-day, $550 buy-in event with a $40,000 guarantee, the other is a $150 buy-in tournament with a $5,000 guarantee.

The three-day $1,100 No-Limit Hold’em Main Event begins on Friday, August 28 and runs through Sunday, August 30. The last event of the series is a $150 No-Limit Hold’em Turbo at 6 p.m. on Sunday. If you get knocked out, you can play in the Atlantis’ poker room which spreads a variety of poker games including $6/$12 Omaha and $1/$2 Mixed Pot Limit while earning $2/hour comps. Call the poker room at 775-954-4142 for more information.

If you like to plan ahead, the next California stop on the WPT DeepStacks tour will be held at the Ocean’s 11 Casino in Oceanside, California just north of San Diego and will run from October 17-26.

The Commerce Poker Series at Commerce Casino starts Wednesday, September 2 and runs through September 20. The Series kicks off with a $350 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament with $200,000 guaranteed. There will be four starting days held from Wednesday, September 2 to Saturday, September 5 with 2 flights on Friday and Saturday at 1p.m. and 5 p.m. The $1,650 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em Main Event will begin on Friday, September 18 with a $500,000 guarantee. For more details and structure sheets, visit commercecasino.com.