Chumash Casino gets new poker room in California

September 29, 2016, Kittie Aleman, Rob Solomon, Jay Zeman, Garrett Roth  

Chumash Casino Resort poker room manager Sean Smith has a lot of goals and expectations for the new poker room. But there’s one thing he underestimated, the beautifully designed room’s ability to draw in new players.

“We had guests coming in, seeing the room and wanting to learn how to play poker,” Smith said. “Pretty soon, we had a couple of games going and everyone was enjoying the new room.”

The 12-table room is on the main floor of the casino and is a stark contrast to its former incarnations. In past years, it was a dim room on the third floor.

Now, with its rotunda entryway, new furnishings, walls covered with flatscreen TVs, new well-lit tables and near the food court, the poker room is showcased and presented in a way that reflects the passion and respect for poker that’s shared by those who play and work in the space.

“This is a room that poker players are going to appreciate on a number of levels, from the aesthetics to the service and down to the USB ports at each seat that allow players to charge their devices,” Smith said. “Our goal is to be the best place to play poker between Bay 101 (San Jose) and Commerce (L.A.). And I think we can achieve that goal.”

BIKE: Pat Lyons of Northern California won the World Poker Tour’s Legends of Poker $4K Main Event at the Bicycle Hotel & Casino, defeating a field of 687 entries to win his first WPT title and the first-place prize of $615,346. The self-proclaimed “world famous” Lyons has $1,169,279 in career earnings.

Lyons defeated Benjamin Zamani heads-up for the title. This was Zamani’s second WPT final table of the season; he took second place at the WPT Choctaw main event in August.

Lyons came into the final table second in chips with six players remaining, but by the time it got to heads-up with Zamani, he held 14.6M of the roughly 20.6M chips in play. They played only 18 hands as Zamani finished second place to take home $341,412 for his latest deep run on the tour.

Big Poker October runs until Oct. 20 with nine events ranging in buy-ins from $180 to the $4K main. Qualifying for the SoCal Championships (socalpokerchampionships.com) will be part of the schedule, too. For more, go to thebike.com.

PALA CASINO: Seymour Ogeare of Moreno Valley won $3,129 and the championship of the Labor Day Quantum Reload tournament after a seven-way chop on Sept. 4.

Ogeare held the most chips when he and six other finalists agreed to chop. There were 121 players who vied for the $22,680 prize pool and 13 cashed in the four-day event that started play on Sept 1. Ogeare was followed by Rodney Clarida of Temecula ($2,674), Ranjit Randhawa of San Diego ($2,424), Joseph Broyles of L.A. ($2,076), Brian Nguyen of San Marcus ($2,008), Jay Dagnenica of Murrieta ($1,812) and Daniel Redmond of San Diego ($1,701).

HUSTLER CASINO: The Liz Flynt Fall Classic runs Oct. 21-Nov. 3. Part of the schedule includes qualifying for the SoCal Championships (socalpokerchampionships.com), too. The Liz Flint main event begins Oct. 30 with a $200K guarantee for its $240 buy-in. More details can be found at hustlercasino.com.

Las Vegas

The football season has arrived and that means great promos in the Las Vegas poker rooms. Let’s take a look at what’s available:

RED ROCK: Drawings take place every time a team scores.The winner gets $100 for a touchdown and $50 for field goal. Also, four random tables will be $25 splash pots for the TD and two tables will get a $25 splash pot for the FG.The high hand during each half of the game wins a football jersey. This promo is offered for the Sunday morning and evening games, as well as the Monday and Thursday night games.

There is also a promo for the college games on Saturday at noon and at 5 p.m. All tables receive two pots splashed with a drawing ticket for a touchdown, one pot splashed with a drawing ticket for a field goal and three pots splashed with a drawing ticket for a safety.After the game, one $500 winner and five $100 winners are drawn.

ORLEANS:  The Random Cash with a Splash promo runs during the Sunday morning game, as well as the Sunday, Monday and Thursday night games. A random player is selected for a cash prize after each score and that player’s table is awarded a $50 splash pot. The selected player wins $50 for field goal or a two-point conversion, $150 for a touchdown and $250 for a safety or a touchdown scored by the defense or special teams. Note: The cash prize is halved for the $2-$4 limit game. Additionally, for the Monday and Thursday night games, a random table will be selected for $25 splash pots every 15 minutes for two hours before and two hours after the game.

GREEN VALLEY: Players earn football squares for getting aces full or better during the week. The squares are for the Sunday afternoon and evening games, as well as the Monday and Thursday night games.The winning square for each quarter is worth $50 and if unclaimed the prize rolls over to that quarter for the next available game.Jerseys are given away at the Sunday night and Monday night games.

FLAMINGO: On Sundays, from 10 a.m to 8:30 p.m., the three highest hands every 90 minutes will win cash prizes of $150, $100 and $50, respectively.

SUNCOAST: Ace-high flush or better earns football squares worth $50 for each quarter during the Sunday, Monday and Thursday night games as well as the morning and afternoon games on Sunday. Unclaimed prizes roll over to the same game, same quarter the next week.

MGM: For the Sunday, Monday and Thursday night games, players receive a Poker Parlay card starting two hours before kickoff.Players get a stamp for making specific hands. If they complete a card with all five hands (two-pair, three-of-a-kind, straight, flush, full house) before the game is over, they get $500. If they complete the card before midnight, they win $100.

MIRAGE: Highest hand of each quarter wins a cash prize: $50 for the first two quarters and halftime, $100 for the third quarter and $150 for fourth quarter.Three Sunday games (morning, afternoon and evening) as well as Monday and Thursday night games feature this promo. Those winners also receive a football square for the next Monday night game and the winning final score square for that game gets $500, plus a square for the season-ending game on Feb. 5.

TREASURE ISLAND: Drawings are at the end of quarters for up to $100 for Thursday night, Sunday afternoon and evening games.

SANTE FE STATION: One player will be selected for a cash prize during selected football games.For Thursday night, Sunday morning and Sunday evening games, the selected player gets $100 for a touchdown and $25 for a field goal. For the Monday night game, the selected player gets $150 for a touchdown and $50 for a field goal.

MANDALAY BAY: The room’s Rolling High Hands of the Shift promo runs three times every day and will coincide with football games Sunday mornings and evenings, as well as Monday and Thursday nights.The highest hands of a three-hour period each shift wins a cash prize starting at $100; $100 is added every hour the prize is unclaimed.Minimum hand is jacks full. The promo runs 6-9 p.m. seven days a week, 1-4 a.m., 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and 2-5 a.m., 10-1 a.m. Friday through Sunday.

LUXOR: Sunday and Thursday night games, players will get drawing tickets at the start of each quarter.Players will get tickets for each hour played before the game, from 1-5 p.m.A winning ticket will be drawn for each field goal ($50), touchdown ($100) and safety $200).

Monday nights has a $65 tournament and players get an extra 500 chips to the 10K starting stack for every winner they pick in the Sunday football games from the previous day.

SOUTH POINT: There’s still time to qualify for the $160K holiday freeroll in December.Players need 100 hours of live play by Nov. 30 to be eligible. The top 30 finishers in the tournament get at least $1K and the first-place finisher gets $35K. It’s $15K for second and $10K for third.Everyone who plays gets a minimum of $100.

VENETIAN: DeepStack Extravaganza runs Oct. 24-Nov.24. The main event has three starting flights beginning Nov. 16.It has a $1,600 buy-in and offers a $400K guarantee.A $1,100 bounty tournament with a $175K guarantee starts Nov. 4.There are two $250 three-starting flight tournaments with $150K guarantees.They start Oct. 24 and Nov. 7.A $600 bounty event with a $150K guarantee starts the first of its two starting flights Nov. 11. The total prize pool guarantees for the event exceed $2M.

The Venetian is hosting a special poker weekend Oct. 6-9, highlighted by a $250 event with a $80K guarantee that has three starting flights starting Oct. 9.

— Check out Rob Solomon’s blog at robvegaspoker.blogspot.com.

Reno

HARVEYS LAKE TAHOE: The World Series of Poker Circuit returns Oct. 27-Nov. 7. The $1,675 main event runs four days and begins with Day 1A on Nov. 4 at 11 a.m. Day 1B is Nov. 5 at 11 a.m. For more info, go to wsop.com.

PEPPERMILL RESORT CASINO: Heartland Poker Tour runs until Oct. 10. The $1,100 main event begins Oct. 7 at noon with Day 1A. Day 1B is Oct. 8 at noon and Day 2 will be Oct. 9. There will be 19 events in this series, including a host of satellites. For more info, go to hptpoker.com.

Northern California

The Heartland Poker Tour returns to Thunder Valley Casino and Resort in Lincoln, Calif., on Oct. 13-25 and will feature 10 events. The series kicks off with a $250K guarantee for $425 and will last four days. On Oct. 16, there will be a $155 bounty event with a $10K guarantee. There will be two events Oct. 17 ($155 Escalator and $235 pot-limit Omaha). Oct. 18-19 will host two events on each day, too, with a $155 Omaha/8 and $235 NLHE on Oct. 18 and a $235 HORSE and $340 six-max on Oct. 19. The main event will be a $2,500 buy-in with a $500K guarantee starting Oct. 21 and will last five days. The final event will be a $550 event with a $25K guarantee. Also, see Page 20 for a preview to the Ante Up Poker Tour’s NorCal Classic in November.

LYONS, VAYO RUNNING HOT: Pat Lyons of Redwood City won two majors within two weeks of each other. He grabbed the Arizona State Poker Championship for $241K (see the Southwest report on Page 10 for in this) and he then won the WPT Legends of Poker at the Bike (read the Southern California report for more on this). Another NorCal resident won a major tournament in September as 2016 World Series of Poker November Niner Gordon Vayo of San Francisco shipped the $2,500 River Poker Series.

GRATON RESORT & CASINO: The Rohnert Park property hosts a monthly $340 event on the third Saturday of the month (Oct. 15) at noon. This tournament starts with a 10K starting stack with an optional add-on and re-entries through the third level. Blinds are 30 minutes and Graton also runs satellites for the event on Saturday mornings at 10.

Pacific Northwest

The High Mountain Poker Palace in Eugene, Ore., hosts its quarterly $245 tournament Oct. 15. High Mountain is one of Oregon’s membership rooms ($5 for a one-week pass, $15 for one month, $40 for six months, $60 for a year and $80 for a year for a couple) with nine tables featuring $1-$2 no-limit hold’em and $1-$2 pot-limit Omaha.There is no rake in the cash games and dealers are tipped volunteers rather than paid employees.

NORTHERN QUEST: The property in Airway Heights, Wash., will offer its annual two-day $1,100 buy-in OcktoberQuest tournament Oct. 15-16. Northern Quest is a tribal casino with a nine-table poker room. It’s the largest room in the Eastern part of the state (near Spokane) and tied for ninth-largest in the Pacific Northwest region, spreading $3-$6 limit and $1-$3 NLHE.

CLEARWATER CASINO: The Suquamish, Wash., property is a tribal casino with a nine-table poker room 18 miles northwest of Seattle catering mostly to locals. Monthly tournaments include the $100 Clearwater International with a $3K guarantee, the Clearwater888 with its $88 buy-in and a house-added $888 as long as there are four or more tables, and the $175 Bounty Bonanza with $50 bounties. The standard cash game is $2-$10 spread-limit, but it also hosts $4-$8 and $10-$20 Omaha/8 and $5-$10 HORSE on specific evenings.

Meet Corey Silver

For nearly four years, Corey Silver has been tournament director at Hollywood Park Casino in Los Angeles.
He’s no stranger to casinos. As a child, he visited his grandparents in Las Vegas and they would go to Circus Circus or Excalibur to eat or play the games. Later, they would play penny poker and blackjack at the kitchen table.

“Those are some wonderful memories,” said Silver, who is known as HPC_TD on Instagram. “The poker boom of 2003 helped retrigger my passion for the game.”

He began his gaming career as a poker dealer/floor at Garden City Casino in San Jose. Because of his experience as a player and his passion for tournament poker, he was offered the TD position. Not long after that, he was offered the opportunity to be TD at Hollywood Park and it was a natural move since he was born and raised in the L.A. area.

“Being a tournament director is my biggest achievement in poker,” he said. “There’s nothing better than being able to do a job I love and be around like-minded people that share the same passion as I do. Hollywood Park Casino feels like a family.”

He’s really looking forward to moving into a new state-of-the-art facility this year and continuing to provide the best experience possible for his players.

“I love being able to take my experiences as a player and use that to ensure my tournaments are as enjoyable as possible. Every day is a new day and you never know what to expect.” — Kittie Aleman