LAPC Underway at Commerce Casino

2017-lapc 

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.

 

Jerry Stensrud: Making Commerce Casino Great

jerry-stensrud

Jerry Stensrud

If anyone deserves to be in the Poker Industry Hall of Fame, it’s Jerry Stensrud. During his 25-year tenure at Commerce Casino, Stensrud helped develop Commerce Casino into the largest poker room in the world, a distinction it still holds today.

This is Jerry’s story in his own words.

“I started playing poker at the tender age of 8. When my grandfather would clear the table at family functions, that meant the poker game was on. Once I got a taste for the game I was hooked.

I played in family games until I joined the Coast Guard. My introduction into poker games in the service was a disaster. It kept me broke and on base for quite a while.

I finally asked guy who consistently won what was wrong with my game, and he said without hesitation, “You play bad.” I talked him into being my tutor for a percentage if I won. I finally had beer money!

After the Coast Guard, I moved to Southern California and discovered the city of Gardena. They had six legal poker rooms holding 36 tables each. The only legal games at the time were draw poker low ball and 5-card draw high.

To Catch a Thief

poker-cheat

It was deal yourself, which meant every kind of poker cheat was spread out in these rooms and many times management went along with it. Most players were just lovers of the game–amateurs mixed in with some tough pros.

The pros hated the cheats but never had the power to stop all of it. When I became swing shift manager at the El Dorado Club in the 80s, I never had so much fun in my life playing cat and mouse with the cheats.

One story stands out from around the time we had started to bring in dealers. I had come on shift and surveyed the room as I did every shift. I noticed an unfamiliar face in a 15/30 lowball game.

This player kept his head down trying not to make eye contact. I go to the office and sit on the guy. He’s got the shuffle, the grip, stacking as he brings in discards, but he never moves.

I sit on him for two hours, and he’s an angel. Finally, it dawns on me that he knows I’m in the office, so I leave, order some lunch and eat at an empty table in plain sight.

While I am doing this, the cameras are rolling on him. I leave the food on the table and sneak in the office from another door, rewind the tape and look at his work.

Oh, my God, I don’t have the typical card cheat; I have the Michael Jordan of cheating! It was beautiful to watch and nobody had a clue. He was working alone dealing bottoms and holding out at the same time.

This was like winning an Oscar! So now I go get him. I walk in front of the table, make eye contact, take my right hand and brush my left arm. The thief will acknowledge this and get up from table without problem almost 100% of the time. A guard and I escort him into the office where we get his I.D. and mug shot.

He wants to tell me his problems. He started cheating at cards at the age of 12 in the Bronx and has been doing it his whole life. He has a Cadillac in the parking lot he’s making payments on, two kids in college, a mortgage and a wife who spends big.

He says he is 54 and too old to go legit. This guy had tears in his eyes. I spotted him years later in Laughlin, Nevada working the blackjack pit for the house. I always wondered if he went straight.

Largest Card Room in the World

Commerce Casino

I went back to playing. When the Bicycle Club opened, it had dealers at every table. The known cheats were told they could not play; it was paradise. I was living the good life when I got a call from the Commerce Casino. My name had come up to manage the poker section.

After much arm twisting, I took the job. Little did I know what I was getting into.

The owners came from other businesses and had hired a bunch of the old Gardena crooks to run the place They were pals with the cheats. The owners were honest but just didn’t know who they had hired, so I became the new sheriff in town come to clean up Dodge.

Commerce became the largest poker room in the world, and I doubt that anyone will ever be bigger. I put 25 years at Commerce and have so many people to thank that I could fill pages. I retired four years ago, but I’m still playing.”

Jerry has done as much for poker as anyone in the industry. It’s been an honor to know him.

Robert Turner is a legendary poker player and casino/billiard marketing expert. Robert is most well-known for creating the game of Omaha poker and introducing it to Nevada in 1982 and to California in 1986. He created Legends of Poker for the Bicycle Casino in 1995. He also helped create Live at the Bike, the first live gaming site broadcast on the Internet in 2002.

He has spent over 30 years in casino marketing and player development. He has served as an executive host at the Bicycle Casino and MGM.  He is currently working as a casino consultant.

Robert can be reached at robertturnerpoker@gmail.com for consulting, marketing and coaching. Find Robert on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/thechipburner and on Twitter @thechipburner. Subscribe to Robert’s blog “Beyond the Numbers” at www.robertturnerpoker.wordpress.com to receive notifications of new posts by email.

A Passion for Poker: Meet Hollywood Park Casino’s Ginger Lee by Patricia Chavira

imagejpeg_0_1477845702309

As I have written about before, women are underrepresented both at the poker tables and on the casino floor, so when I meet a woman who has both played poker and worked in a casino, I know I am talking to a very rare person indeed, and that special woman is Ginger Lee.

Ginger ended up in a card room like many women do—she tagged along with a friend. When she was a college student, she was asked if she would like to go to the Bike. She said yes thinking she was going to a bicycle shop.

Much to her surprise, she ended up at the Bicycle Club in Bell Gardens, California, one of the largest card rooms in the world. Little did she know that fateful decision would change her life.

When she was a waitress at a sushi bar, a customer who worked at Commerce Casino convinced her to apply for a job at the card room. In 1990, she learned to deal and passed her auditioned. She began working as a dealer but realized that to be a better dealer, she had to learn how to play poker, so she began playing after work.

Working With Poker Legends

linda-johnson

Linda Johnson, the First Lady of Poker

Ginger rose through the ranks being promoted to the tournament staff by her mentor Cheri Dokken, Commerce Casino’s tournament director for many years. She also had the privilege of working tournaments with legendary tournament directors Jack McClelland and Matt Savage.

Ginger began playing tournaments herself even meeting her future husband at the L.A. Poker Classic in 1992. She tells a funny story about registering another player for a tournament who never showed up. She didn’t want to be stuck for the buy-in, so she decided to play herself. It was her first No-Limit tournament. She ended up chopping it. Ginger is also a skilled 7-Card Stud player who has cashed in several stud tournaments.

In 2003, she dealt during the first season of the World Poker Tour to such poker luminaries as Phil Ivey and Gus Hansen. But the best part for her was working with her idol Linda Johnson, “The First Lady of Poker.”

After working at Commerce for 25 years, Ginger now works at Hollywood Park Casino as a shift manager with Director of Casino Operations Ramy Wahba. They worked together at Commerce for over 20 years.

Over her career, Ginger has learned that a casino’s success depends on customer service. As she says, “We are here because of the customer; we have to listen.”

With her passion for poker, you can be sure any casino that Ginger Lee works at is a place you want to play.

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 Future of Poker at the New Hollywood Park Casino by Robert Turner

Resized_20160803_180822

The new Hollywood Park Casino, located just minutes from downtown Los Angeles and Los Angeles International Airport in Inglewood, California, provides a unique gaming experience that embraces the future but also honors its historic past.

Close to Beverly Hills, the beach areas and West Los Angeles, Hollywood Park Casino has always had its fair share of celebrity poker players, but the new casino is a glamorous addition to the Los Angeles poker scene where everyone is treated like a VIP.

Los Angeles now has a Las-Vegas-style casino that is just the first phase of the multi-billion-dollar City of Champions Revitalization Project. The design looks to me like they took the best of the Wynn and Aria to create a gaming experience to rival any casino in the world.

You can bet on horse racing or wine and dine with your friends or significant other while overlooking the action on the swank casino gaming floor. The casino has two race books, one being a very upscale experience specially designed for serious bettors.

The Ram’s $1.8 Billion Home

 

rams-stadium

In 2019 the Los Angeles Rams will play in a new $1.86-billion stadium being constructed next door, making it the most expensive stadium in the world. The Super Bowl is scheduled to be played in this spectacular setting in 2022.

The development also includes a man-made five-acre lake called Lake Park which will be surrounded by high-end residential areas, hotels plus retail establishments that will keep the excitement going on well into the next decade.

All of this new development is adjacent to the newly-remodeled Forum, which already features world-class concerts and events nightly making the Hollywood Park area a must-see destination.

Can you imagine a weekend with three concert venues all attracting 100,000 concert goers between the Forum and the other planned concert facilities? This is a poker player’s dream come true.

Players follow the action and the money. In Southern California all roads lead to Hollywood Park Casino.

According to Forbes, the value of the Los Angeles Rams increased from $1.4 billion to $2.9 billion since their return to Los Angeles. The money will be flowing into this area in the near future.

The New Hollywood Park Casino Welcomes You

hollywood-park-entrance

This is the future of Hollywood Park Casino. Frankly, I don’t think 125 gaming tables featuring Blackjack, Poker and Baccarat can handle that much action. I could easily see this casino double in size in a few years.

That’s a nice problem to have.

I remember a very different poker scene in Los Angeles when I arrived over 30 years ago.

I first started my career in poker management in Gardena. I managed four of the six card rooms in the area. These rooms were nothing like the card rooms of today; these rooms were full of smoke and shady characters who would deal the cards themselves.

There were no professional dealers at this time, and some players could deal much better than others (if you know what I mean).

This little city on the westside of town became the poker capital of the world. This was before the Bicycle Club and Commerce Casino became the biggest card rooms in the world moving the poker universe east.

Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined that thirty years later I would see the westside become the place to play poker again.

Come see the future of poker at Hollywood Park Casino. You won’t want to play anywhere else.

Robert Turner is most well-known for creating the game of Omaha poker and introducing it to Nevada in 1982 and to California in 1986. He created Legends of Poker for the Bicycle Casino in 1995. He also helped create Live at the Bike, the first live gaming site broadcast on the Internet in 2002.

He has spent over 30 years in casino marketing and player development. He has served as an executive host at the Bicycle Casino and MGM.  He is currently working as a casino consultant.

Robert can be reached at robertturnerpoker@gmail.com for consulting, marketing and coaching. Find Robert on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/thechipburner and on Twitter @thechipburner. Subscribe to Robert’s blog “Beyond the Numbers” at www.robertturnerpoker.wordpress.com to receive notifications of new posts by email.

The Future of Poker at the New Hollywood Park Casino

Resized_20160803_180822

The new Hollywood Park Casino, located just minutes from downtown Los Angeles and Los Angeles International Airport in Inglewood, California, provides a unique gaming experience that embraces the future but also honors its historic past.

Close to Beverly Hills, the beach areas and West Los Angeles, Hollywood Park Casino has always had its fair share of celebrity poker players, but the new casino is a glamorous addition to the Los Angeles poker scene where everyone is treated like a VIP.

Los Angeles now has a Las-Vegas-style casino that is just the first phase of the multi-billion-dollar City of Champions Revitalization Project. The design looks to me like they took the best of the Wynn and Aria to create a gaming experience to rival any casino in the world.

You can bet on horse racing or wine and dine with your friends or significant other while overlooking the action on the swank casino gaming floor. The casino has two race books, one being a very upscale experience specially designed for serious bettors.

The Ram’s $1 Billion Home

rams-stadium

The new Hollywood Park Casino, located just minutes from downtown Los Angeles and Los Angeles International Airport in Inglewood, California, provides a unique gaming experience that embraces the future but also honors its historic past.

Close to Beverly Hills, the beach areas and West Los Angeles, Hollywood Park Casino has always had its fair share of celebrity poker players, but the new casino is a glamorous addition to the Los Angeles poker scene where everyone is treated like a VIP.

Los Angeles now has a Las-Vegas-style casino that is just the first phase of the multi-billion-dollar City of Champions Revitalization Project. The design looks to me like they took the best of the Wynn and Aria to create a gaming experience to rival any casino in the world.

You can bet on horse racing or wine and dine with your friends or significant other while overlooking the action on the swank casino gaming floor. The casino has two race books, one being a very upscale experience specially designed for serious bettors.

In 2019 the Los Angeles Rams will play in a new $1.86-billion stadium being constructed next door, making it the most expensive stadium in the world. The Super Bowl is scheduled to be played in this spectacular setting in 2022.

The development also includes a man-made five-acre lake called Lake Park which will be surrounded by high-end residential areas, hotels plus retail establishments that will keep the excitement on going well into the next decade.

All of this new development is adjacent to the newly-remodeled Forum, which already features world-class concerts and events nightly making the Hollywood Park area a must-see destination.

Can you imagine a weekend with three concert venues all attracting 100,000 concert goers between the Forum and the other planned concert facilities? This is a poker player’s dream come true.

Players follow the action and the money. In Southern California all roads lead to Hollywood Park Casino.

According to Forbes, the value of the Los Angeles Rams increased from $1.4 billion to $2.9 billion since their return to Los Angeles. The money will be flowing into this area in the near future.

The New Hollywood Park Casino Welcomes You

hollywood-park-entrance

This is the future of Hollywood Park Casino. Frankly, I don’t think 125 gaming tables featuring Blackjack, Poker and Baccarat can handle that much action. I could easily see this casino double in size in a few years.

That’s a nice problem to have.

I remember a very different poker scene in Los Angeles when I arrived over 30 years ago.

I first started my career in poker management in Gardena. I managed four of the six card rooms in the area. These rooms were nothing like the card rooms of today; these rooms were full of smoke and shady characters who would deal the cards themselves.

There were no professional dealers at this time, and some players could deal much better than others (if you know what I mean).

This little city on the westside of town became the poker capital of the world. This was before the Bicycle Club and Commerce Casino became the biggest card rooms in the world moving the poker universe east.

Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined that thirty years later I would see the westside become the place to play poker again.

Come see the future of poker at Hollywood Park Casino. You won’t want to play anywhere else.

 

 

Robert Turner is a legendary poker player and casino/billiard marketing expert. Robert is most well-known for creating the game of Omaha poker and introducing it to Nevada in 1982 and to California in 1986. He created Legends of Poker for the Bicycle Casino in 1995. He also helped create Live at the Bike, the first live gaming site broadcast on the Internet in 2002.

He has spent over 30 years in casino marketing and player development. He has served as an executive host at the Bicycle Casino and MGM.  He is currently working as a casino consultant.

Robert can be reached at robertturnerpoker@gmail.com for consulting, marketing and coaching. Find Robert on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/thechipburner and on Twitter @thechipburner. Subscribe to Robert’s blog “Beyond the Numbers” at www.robertturnerpoker.wordpress.com to receive notifications of new posts by email.

SoCal Poker Championships Starts Today by Patricia Chavira

2016_scpc_banner

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

big-poker-oktober

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.

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.

Friday Poker Tournaments in Los Angeles

Tournaments

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

 

2015 Year in Review: Trends and Forecasts in Gaming

The-Bicycle-Hotel--Casino

As I reflect back on this year and look forward to the next, I see great things for the gaming industry. This year saw a trend in poker that will change the way tournaments are run; tournament directors are moving away from multiple rebuys and re-entry events. For example, the Bicycle Hotel & Casino held a tournament with a $100,000 guarantee for a $150 buy-in last Friday, Dec. 4, that drew over 1,000 players and packed the casino. I introduced the re-buy concept years ago at the Normandie Casino and regret it to this day. In the old days, I was dealing with a limited amount of players in a small casino and had to get the numbers up. The concept served its purpose years ago, but it is not necessary today because the fields are so much bigger.

Another trend is the smaller buy-in tournament with a large guarantee, such as the so-called Colossus event held for the first time at the World Series of Poker (WSOP) this year. This tournament drew a record 22,374 players. Events like this are a great introduction for new tournament players. Though there was some controversy over first-place paying only $638,880 for the biggest live tournament in history, I am sure this year first place will be a million dollars if the WSOP holds this event again.

Speaking of the WSOP, Joe McKeehen, 24, this year’s winner of the WSOP Main Event, really put on a dominating performance. McKeehen had a great game plan, and it worked to perfection. Joe’s performance reminded me of Jerry Wang and his perfect play and decision making in the 2007 WSOP Main Event.

The Bicycle Casino in Los Angeles opened a great hotel addition to their casino that rivals any property in Las Vegas and sets the stage for Los Angeles becoming the poker capital of the world. Several new casinos will open in 2016. The Garden in Hawaiian Gardens, California, will open its brand-new casino in late December or early January. According to David Moskowitz, CEO of the Gardens Casino, it will feature the largest event center for tournaments in Los Angeles. The new Hollywood Park casino is slated to open in September 2016 with an entertainment complex that will be a showplace for both poker and football. The NFL plans to build a new stadium at Hollywood Park that will host future Super Bowls. It’s a very exciting time for gaming in Los Angeles.

In 2015 we saw daily fantasy sports (DFS) explode on the gaming scene and will meet court challenges moving forward. DFS is gambling. It’s time to make sports betting legal like they have done in Europe and regulate and tax it. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver admitted it’s time to legalize it. Speaking of the NBA, fans are seeing a great show in MVP Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors, who are currently undefeated and are on track for a record-breaking season. Curry is currently the best basketball player on the planet and is changing the game. He may be the best ever in NBA history if he can stay healthy.

The new millennials are the future of gaming and are changing the way casinos market themselves. The millennials grew up with social media and playing video games. Traditional gambling does not appeal to them as much as it did to their parents. They are used to a more fast-paced, finger-tipped technology, and e-sports fits them perfectly. The e-sports industry is moving at warp speed and could provide players for Las Vegas for the next twenty years.

It’s time for casinos to rethink their marketing budgets and allocate more dollars to e-sports and poker. My hope for the upcoming year is that Las Vegas takes another look at how valuable poker players are to their property and use poker as a marketing tool. It’s time they look beyond the numbers and not worry so much about the bottom line.

In closing, as someone who has been in gaming for almost fifty years, I have seen a lot of exciting things this year. Watching American Pharoah win the Triple Crown was the best adrenaline rush I have had in years. I am also fortunate to watch the game of Omaha continue to grow in popularity. I will continue to promote it as I have for 45 years.

2016 will be an exciting year with casinos being planned across America. The future of gaming has never looked brighter. I’m proud and fortunate to still be a part of it. I wish everyone a happy and prosperous New Year.

Robert Turner is a legendary poker player and casino/billiard marketing expert. Robert is most well-known for creating the game of Omaha poker and introducing it to Nevada in 1982 and to California in 1986. He created Legends of Poker for the Bicycle Casino in 1995. He also helped create Live at the Bike, the first live gaming site broadcast on the Internet in 2002.

He has spent over 30 years in casino marketing and player development. He has served as an executive host at the Bicycle Casino and MGM. He is currently working as a casino consultant.

Robert can be reached at robertturnerpoker@gmail.com for consulting, marketing and coaching. Find Robert on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/thechipburner and on Twitter @thechipburner. Subscribe to Robert’s blog “Beyond the Numbers” to receive notifications of new posts by email.

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.