Davis wins big at bestbet Orange Park in Jacksonville

August 31, 2015, Charles Allison, Andrew Malowitz, Dave Lemmon, Danny Wade, Jennifer Gay, Todd Lamansky  

William Davis of Jacksonville the monthly $30K guarantee in July for $4K after a nine-way chop at bestbet Orange Park. Davis is a longtime regular at bestbet, playing tournaments for more than five years at all of bestbet’s properties and many rooms across Florida. He credits the weekly $150 deepstacks at bestbet as a primer for long tournaments. Other notables included in the chop were Michael Frierson, Eli Gomex and Wayne Fralix.

Orange Park is working hard to introduce new players to the game by offering monthly Poker 101 classes. The course runs five hours and costs $10 in advance, $20 at the door. All money, however, will be up for grabs in a tournament for these players.

DAYTONA BEACH KENNEL CLUB: Satellites for the Oct. 1-12 Heartland Poker Tour are under way at just $70 for the $1,650 main event. Or, if you’re feeling lucky, you can try to win a qualifying seat via a high hand promotion on select days throughout the month. The HPT will have five events, including the televised main, as well as $200 and $375 satellites in the week leading up to the main.

OTHER GAMES: The poker-based table-games craze is gaining momentum as it sweeps across the state. Bestbet Jacksonville will begin offering Three Card Poker and Two Card Poker this month while Ebro and DBKC offer Three Card Poker.

Central Florida

TAMPA BAY DOWNS: In July, the Silks Poker Room hosted its third PPC event, and Allen Wiseman, who took fourth in the May series, chopped the $50K guarantee main event with Mike Beattie. Other notables who made the final table were Anthony Vitale, who had won the PPC seniors event the series prior, and Steve Trizis, local proprietor of the Country Skillet who has final-tabled several local events, including PPCs and the Hard Rock’s Little Slick.

The Silks hosts the PPC again Sept. 19-27, including the $370 main event with a $50K guarantee.

NAPLES-FT. MYERS GREYHOUND: The $260 PPC main event, which had a $30K guarantee at the end of July, attracted 385 players, nearly tripling the guarantee with an almost $85K prize pool. Locals dominated the final table. James Shucart defeated David Kidd heads-up to win the title. Danny Lobato, who has played in the Ocala PPC, took third, while Chris Conyers was fourth. All four will see each other in Aruba in October for the PPC Worlds.

SEMINOLE IMMOKALEE: The poker room will host WPT DeepStacks on Sept. 11-20 with its $1,100 main event that has a $100K guarantee and special guest hosts Scotty Nguyen and Linda Johnson. The 10-event series is sure to attract players from all over as it’s the first time WPT DeepStacks has visited the west coast of Florida.

South Florida

PBKC: For the second straight season, the Palm Beach Kennel Club will host two World Series of Poker Circuit stops, with a “12 rings in 12 days” schedule in September to go along with its mega event scheduled for Feb. 4-15.

“Last year, we opened the circuit season in South Florida with an early August event, but this year we’re happier with the way it fits into the poker schedule from Sept. 17-28,” PBKC director of poker Noah Carbone said. While PBKC was the first facility to offer a $1 million guarantee for a non-main event, Carbone said that scenario just doesn’t make sense in today’s competitive market. So PBKC will go with a $365 Monster Stack to open the series, giving players 20K chips.

“I just think it’s damaging to the poker scene for properties to put up bigger and bigger guarantees on top of their competitors immediately after one plan is announced,” Carbone said. “But it’s something we have to deal with.”

Besides the prestigious $1,675 main event with two opening sessions at noon on Sept. 25-26, the series will feature seniors and ladies events, two PLO tourneys, a HORSE event and plenty of mega satellites and second-chance events.

Meanwhile, the track continues to grow a monstrous bad-beat jackpot (more than $250K at press time) and it now features a few Three Card Poker tables.

MAGIC CITY CASINO: This property also has Three Card Poker, but has something new, too: Two Card Poker. Ileana Zamora, long-time poker room manager, said the two-card game has caught on quickly and developed a consistent niche audience that provides excitement to an already busy poker room.

“It has really brought a new energy to the room and gives players a nice alternative to the regular cash games, especially when it’s busy and they have to wait for a spot,” she said.

According to Florida parimutuel rules, the game is banked by a “designated player” and the rules are simple: Players put up an ante ($5 min-$500 max) for each hand and can accompany that with a bonus bet, which is where the big money can be made. As in Three Card Poker, you play against the dealer and you both receive four cards, using two to make the best possible hand. Pairs are best, followed by two-card straight flushes, flushes and high-card hands. Call the property for all of the rules and details.

The Miami casino has an exclusive on the game in Dade County and with a 20 percent rake it’s been a consistent revenue producer for the cardroom. The casino is located a couple of minutes from Miami International Airport and can be reached at (305) 649-3000.

Mississippi

BEAU RIVAGE: Don’t forget the Gulf Coast Poker Championship runs Sept. 18-28 and sports $500K in guarantees. Room rates are $69 weekday and $109 weekends. Call 888-567-6667 for reservations. The $1,600 main event begins Sept. 25 at noon with Day 1A. Day 1B will be Sept. 26 at noon and Day 2 will be Sept. 27 at 2 p.m. The final table reconvenes Sept. 28 at 2 p.m. Be sure to check beaupoker.com for the schedule of events and structures.

HORSESHOE TUNICA: The $400K Round Up spans five weekends in October and November.

“Our Round Up is being done completely in house, and we are adding 13 tables around the poker room for a total of
37 tables to accommodate the events,” dual-rate supervisor Jake Bush said. The series features four $100K guarantees (Oct. 1-4, Oct. 15-18, Oct. 29-Nov. 1 and Nov. 12-15), each with a $240 buy-in. Ten percent of each prize pool will be held for the championship, which will be Nov. 22. Call for details.

Missouri

LUMIERE PLACE: The property hosts a daily $100 tournament at 3 with 10K stacks. All players registered by 1:30 receive an extra 2K chips, but you must request your bonus chips, so be sure to ask for them. Lumiere also has updated its player-incentive programs, offering Ultimate Aces seven days a week. Lose with pocket aces between 8 a.m. and noon and win $100 ($200 if they’re both red). The high-hand promotion picks up where Ultimate Aces leaves off, running from noon to midnight seven days a week, awarding $200 every three hours (noon-3, 3-6, 6-9, 9-midnight), for $800 per day. Aces full of deuces is the minimum qualifier.

North Carolina

HARRAH’S CHEROKEE: Loni Harwood recently became the fifth winner of the WSOP national championship, besting a stacked field of 122 to earn her second bracelet and $341,599.

Harwood earned her first bracelet two years ago, part of a record-breaking summer for her. She cashed six times, made three final tables and won one bracelet. She earned $874,698 during the 2013 series. Harwood’s heads-up opponent was Alex Masek, who entered the final table last out of seven players. He had only 100K chips and the big blind was 10,000 to start the day. Masek, one of the most decorated players in WSOPC history with a record eight rings, wrestled the lead from Harwood at one point before succumbing.

Louisiana

WSOP: When we last left off, so many players from the Bayou State had tremendous success through the first 28 events of the WSOP. Here is a recap of the final 40 events for players from Cajun Country.

Event 40 ($1K seniors) saw Mandeville’s Linda Keenan finish 85th out of 4,193 players for $4,603. Randy Gordon from Metairie cashed 88th in the Event 42 ($1,500 NLHE) for $4,392.Also from Metairie, Robert Beck was 52nd in a field of 1,533 runners ($4,497) in the $1K Super Seniors. Robert Toye of Baton Rouge had five cashes (Event 5, $5,615; Event 26, $3,048; Event 46, $6,442; Event 49, $8,813, and Event 66, $24,329). WPT champ and Lafayette resident Kevin Eyster earned $8,518 for 62nd in Event 47 ($2,500 NLHE) while Kenny Milam of La Place had Louisiana’s best main-event finish (218th, $40,433).

COUSHATTA CASINO: July 14-18 was the latest installment of the resort’s Quarterly Classic Series.Mohamed Kasswran of Texas won the $1,100 main event for $26,414 as the final table played out, something that didn’t happen in the other events. The next series will be Sept. 9-13.See the ad below or go to coushattacasinoresort.com for more information.

Meet Danny Lobato

Danny Lobato is the president of the Bay Area Poker Club and been given the nickname “Mayor of the Silks.” He recently agreed to chat about his poker endeavors, including his work with charities.

What is your biggest poker moment? In 2011, I won a $1,500 (World Series of Poker) seat and played Event 48. I made it all the way to 14th for just over $29K. This was my first time out for the series and it was the blast. I was asked what would you do if a pro raised you or went after you? Well, a few times it happened, a few times with pro Matt Stout and each time I picked him off. He was not a fan of me.

What got you involved with the charities at the Silks? I have always been known here at the Silks and I’ve gotten to know the players and managers. A few friends of mine asked me to help run a charity tournament since they always do golf and wanted to do something more. So last year we started (one). In February, we did a charity tournament for Second Base Breast Cancer and I’m so happy and proud to bring these events to the players and help such great causes. — Andrew Malowitz