East Coast Championships return May 18 to New York

April 30, 2018, Michael Young, Dave Lukow  

The East Coast Poker Championships runs May 18-20 at Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, N.Y. There will be three events in the series, but the $300 opening event has a $50K guarantee and lasts three days.

Other events include a $75 pot-limit Omaha tourney, also May 18 but only one day, and a $225 deepstack turbo bounty on May 20. See the ad in our latest issue for more information.

In other tournament news, Joshua Jones defeated Darrin Bracken to win Event 1 ($250 NLHE) of March Mania, earning $13K. Bracken got $12,700 for second and Jason Pensinger was third ($9,058). There were 498 entries, which took the prize pool to $104,580. 

RIVERS CASINO & RESORT SCHENECTADY: The third $100K guarantee Capital Region Classic runs May 23-27 as registration opens May 9.

“There’s nothing like the feeling of a big poker tournament where the stakes are high and adrenaline runs higher,” poker room manager David Grubb said. “We pride ourselves on making these tournaments accessible to players of all skill levels with a format that is player-friendly, fun and affordable. It’s the perfect chance for professional and recreational players to gain experience and possibly walk away with big earnings.”

Since 2017, the Capital Region Classic has averaged 914 entries with a prize pool of $227,110.

Day 1 players get 25K chips for $260, but on May 27, Day 2 buy-in players will get 100K chips for $1,100.

For more details and to make reservations at the Landing Hotel, visitriverscasinoandresort.com .

Mid-Atlantic

HORSESHOE BALTIMORE: The World Series of Poker Circuit runs until May 7, including the $1,675 main event with a $500K guarantee. In addition to the ring events, there are other tournaments and satellites.

DOVER DOWNS HOTEL & CASINO: Memorial Day weekend (May 25-28) features $70K guarantees, including one for $35K. The tournament schedule is May 25, 11:15 a.m. ($5K guarantee, $65 buy-in, 20-minute blinds); May 26, 11:15 a.m. ($35K guarantee, $250 buy-in, 30-minute blinds); May 27, 11:15 a.m. ($20K guarantee, $200 buy-in, 25-minute blinds), and May 28, 11:15 a.m. ($10K guarantee, $100 buy-in, 20-minute blinds).

Atlantic City-Philadelphia

The World Series of Poker Circuit at Harrah’s Atlantic City wrapped March 19 with its $1,675 main event, capping a series of 12 ring events over 12 days. The main event drew 306 entrants across two days, generating a $459K prize pool as Soheb Porbandarwala was crowned champion. The 27-year-old from Connecticut captured his second circuit ring along with $107,862.

This series also marked the first time WSOP.com awarded a ring in New Jersey. The event had 181 entries for a $59,368 prize pool and Paul Scaturro won the online title for $16,623.

Porbandarwala played in the online event while playing in the main, which resulted in an odd occurrence. During Level 23, with the last 10 players at the main’s final table, Porbandarwala fumbled his words and inadvertently knocked out Joe Siracusa in 10th place.

“I meant to say fold and I said all-in,” Porbandarwala said. “I did go all-in online. I was going all-in there and I just subconsciously said all-in. I meant to declare fold because I didn’t have my hands on my cards.”

The strange elimination boosted Porbandarwala into the lead with only nine players left. “After that, I thought ‘I better win this.’ How do you not win after that?”

Well, he did, but not before going through a tough heads-up match against Peter Vitantonio. Porbandarwala began with the lead but Vitantonio played well enough to gain the lead before finally succumbing for a $66K payday. 

SANDS BETHLEHEM: The casino’s new poker room opened with 26 tables, tons of 55-inch TVs, adjustable chairs and USB ports for each seat. The room also has a new poker director in Joe DeFranza, who said he welcomes players of all levels to the room, which is open 24-7 with cash games, tournaments, high-hand prizes and a bad-beat jackpot.

PENN NATIONAL: In January, the casino giant shocked the industry by bidding a whopping $50.1M to acquire Pennsylvania’s first Category 4 casino license. The company, based in Wyomissing, operates Hollywood Casino in Grantville and chose to build its new facility in a relatively obscure location in York County, about 30 miles southeast of Harrisburg. Penn National also plans to build a mini casino in or around West Cocalico Township in Lancaster County, about 45 miles east of Harrisburg on I-76.

PA. ONLINE: On April 2, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board began accepting license applications for interactive gaming and April 16 was the first day the state’s 12 land-based casinos could apply for iGaming certificates. In June, software providers can apply for licenses, so online poker in Pennsylvania is getting close.

Connecticut
FOXWOODS RESORT CASINO: Omar Saeed outlasted nearly 220 players to win the $2,500 Foxwoods Poker Classic Main Event for $119,270 in Mashantucket. 

Curt Kohlberg, who was second, received $75,341, while Brian Altman (third) collected $48,591 from the $490,820 prize pool. They were followed by Todd Rebello ($39,265), Chris Tryba ($29,450) and David Paredes ($23,559). 

John Caputo won the FPC’s $600 opening event for $61,219, followed by Joseph Chividian ($54,012) and Artim Zhuta ($52,404) as the event drew a remarkable 1,212 participants for a huge $623K prize pool. 
Caputo wasn’t done there, finishing third in Event 12, a $1,200 NLHE tournament that Jeffrey Higgins won for $39,104, beating Aleksey Filatov ($25,533). Caputo earned $17,071 from the $142,989 prize pool, beating most of the 138 runners. 

The series closed with Event 23, a $300 big stack, as Brian Landesman finished first for $9,310, besting 225-plus entrants. The prize pool of $57,249 more than doubled the $25K guarantee. 

MOHEGAN SUN: The $230 Spring Fling, which sports a $50K guarantee, runs May 20-23. 


Meet Kevin Grabel

A highly competitive player on the East Coast, Kevin Grabel is a respected notable tournament player in the region.

What’s it like to play poker through your eyes? Poker is always evolving and the game itself is basically trying to make sense of ever-changing variables. For me, I have worked very hard to be continually attentive in every spot and be creative in how to best proceed in a given hand.

Sounds rigorous, yet you’re constantly winning trophies. What keeps you going? Poker can be a true roller coaster of a career. I’d like to express my appreciation and gratitude to all of my family and friends who’ve been there for me. A special thank you to Bernie, Selma, Howard, Rita, Shawn and Kim Grabel for their unwavering support and always believing in me. — Jo Kim