Live hosts WPT DeepStacks in Maryland

February 27, 2018, Michael Young, Jo Kim, Dave Lukow  

Live Hotel and Casino will host a World Poker Tour DeepStacks series March 16-26. There will be 19 trophy events with a variety of games and $500K-plus in guarantees.

The first event is a multiflight, $150K guarantee with a $360 buy-in March 16. The $1,500 main event, which has a $300K guarantee, begins March 23 at 12:15 p.m.

There are many satellites leading up to event. See the ad in our current issue for the schedule and more details.

MGM NATIONAL HARBOR: The property has an ongoing partnership with the Sports Junkies radio show. On-air personality Cakes is the show’s poker ambassador and will be hosting a bounty tournament the first Wednesday of every month. There’s a $300 bounty on Cakes.

DOVER DOWNS HOTEL & CASINO: Three hold’em tournaments, including one with a $50K guarantee, run March 23-25.

Here’s the schedule: March 23, 11:15 a.m.: $20K guarantee, $225 buy-in, 25-minute blinds; March 24, 11:15 a.m., $50K guarantee, $335 buy-in, 30-minute blinds; March 25, 11:15 a.m., $10K guarantee, $115 buy-in, 25-minute blinds.

In other news, the poker room’s $25K event on Jan. 27 smashed its guarantee as more than 220 players entered the tournament to drive the prize pool past $37K. In the end, the final six players did an ICM chop to end the event.

Connecticut-New York

FOXWOODS RESORT CASINO: Brad Noonan topped 252 players to win the $400 MLK Holiday Special, earning $20,257 at in Mashantucket, Conn.  

Christopher Radcliffe was second ($12,502), followed by John Caputo ($8,137), Emmanuel Okrah ($6,441) and David Anderson ($5,001). The prize pool was $84,757. 

The series opened with a $300 event that Bronx resident Nick Curanovic won for $7,500, beating 170 entrants whop were competing for the $42,078 prize pool. Stephen Dimartino and Thomas Dragone each got $4,959. 

The series also included a $250 event as Lisa Kouletsis outlasted Jason Bairos to take first place and $9,128. Bairos pocketed $5,873. With 177 entries, the prize pool was $36,147. 

In other tourney news, Christopher Smith won the $400 New Year’s Special for $14K. David Beland (second) and Jason Burd (third) each received $11,238. The tournament had 266 runners for an $89,133 prize pool. Fourth-place finisher Paul Garcia added $11,237 to his bankroll. Robert Garrett (fifth) earned $4,814.

Daniel Barry won the opening event of the series, a $300 competition, for $12,601, beating nearly 210 players. 

TURNING STONE RESORT CASINO: The March Mania Hold’em Series runs March 3-11 with a $50K guarantee for its $250 main event, which has four opening flights March 9-10. There are a series of $65 satellites. Go to turningstone.com for the full schedule.

DEL LAGO RESORT & CASINO: The bad-beat jackpot was $272K at press time. 

Atlantic City-Philadelphia

The Big Stax series, which had been postponed because Parx Casino in Bensalem, Pa., moved the poker room into the main building of the casino, has returned and runs until
March 21. 

“With the move and the necessity to continue to run … we were obviously delayed as our team had a lot of work to do in that room,” director of poker Bill Entenman said. Big Stax has four trophy events lined up with buy-ins at $340, $550, $1,600 and $2,500. The schedule, location information and more details are posted at parxbigstax.blog.

SANDS: Joe DeFranza is the new poker room manager, replacing longtime manager David Urie, who left to run the poker room at the new Resorts World Catskills in Monticello, N.Y.

BORGATA: The Winter Open began the year with the $3,500 World Poker Tour Championship headlining its lineup.

The 23 trophy events kicked off with the $2M guarantee as 4,515 entrants fought for the $2.43M prize pool of Event 1. 

James Roberts, a local recreational player, took home the biggest paycheck of his short career at $378,391. Roberts, who had $2,440 as his biggest cash before the event, battled through an impressive final day to claim his first tournament trophy.

Eric Afriat, a veteran pro from Canada, took home the biggest win of the series, capturing the main event and $651,928. It took four-plus hours of heads-up play to eliminate Justin Zaki, who earned $434,614 for second. The prize pool exceeded its $3M guarantee with a total of $3.967M. The win brought Afriat’s earnings to $2.5M-plus and got him a $15K entry into the WPT Tournament of Champions in May.

HARRAH’S PHILADELPHIA: The Diamond Delight ran Jan. 11-21 and featured a $130 buy-in with 19 Day 1 flights. Nearly 1,600 entrants attended in hopes of winning a piece of the $100K guarantee and separate packages of a 2018 World Series of Poker Main Event seat, WSOP Millionaire Maker $1,500 entry and $1K, and a one-year Diamond status for first, second and third place, respectively. Nick Condo defeated Yingxin Chen for the WSOP main-event seat after Elsha Greenwood busted out third.

SUGARHOUSE: The $100K SugarRush Challenge ran Jan. 10-14 as 563 players gathered for Day 1’s $250 buy-in and 25K chips. Another 14 entrants opted to buy in on Day 2 for $1,100 and 100K chips. The tournament surpassed its guarantee by $29K. 

Vladimir Grechnikov, Michael Kemeter, Tyreem Williams, Robin Sidote and Luigi D’Santoro chopped five-ways by ICM. It was a friendly final table of locals who frequently participate in the event. 

“SugarHouse staff is always pleasant and knowledgeable and they run a good structured tournament,” Sidote said. “I will definitely be back for the next one.” 

D’Santoro took first for $16,424, followed by Grechnikov and Sidote for $16,153 and $15,008, respectively.  

Meet Tony Mangnall

Tony Mangnall is has been a producer with Poker Night in America since it started in 2012 and he said, “It’s been a pretty exciting ride ever since.” 

What’s your schedule like? We have a crew of 10 full-time employees that do both production on the road and post-production when back home. We also hire two or three extra people for road production and on a big event like Seminole Hard Rock’s Big 4, we can get up to 15-16. We all spend a lot of time together on the road and at home, so you can imagine the friendships that form in the process.

We’ve got some downtime now after a very intense travel schedule toward the end of last year that had us filming and streaming poker in L.A., Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Albany, Miami, Oklahoma and the Dominican Republic.

What’s it like to be a witness to the poker world as a non-player? I could write a book from all of the stories I’ve racked up. There are definitely a lot of moments we wish we could capture on camera that we miss. 

However, the more tragic part of it is that there are so many moments we’ve captured on camera that we will never get to air for one reason or another, or we’ll air it and it will have to get pulled down. 

There have been nights of madcap hilarity at the table, but due to some stringent gaming regulators, we’re barred from showing it. 

During our travels we’ve met hundreds of pro poker players, and as you know they come in all shapes, sizes, and dispositions. … My main impression of poker players at this level overall is that they are generally very nice and possess above-average intelligence. — Jo Kim