Harrah’s N.C. hosts WSOPC from April 12-24

March 31, 2017, Christopher Cosenza, Dave Lemmon, Todd Lamansky, Jennifer Gay, Sara Malowitz  

At Harrah’s Cherokee in North Carolina, the World Series of Poker Circuit runs April 12-24 and has $2M-plus in guarantees. The schedule is highlighted by the $1,675 main event, which sports a $1M guarantee and has two starting days (April 21-22, both at 11 a.m.).

The circuit kicks off with a massive $500K guarantee for $365. It has five starting flights across three days, starting on April 12, and it is a re-entry four-day event.

There is only one non-NLHE event: the $365 pot-limit Omaha re-entry tourney on April 17 at 4 p.m. It has a $50K guarantee and runs two days. Two senior events are on the schedule, the first has a $100K guarantee for $250 on April 15 at 9 a.m. and the second is April 23 at 9 a.m. with a $50K guarantee for $250. The senior tournaments are non-ring events, as is the women’s event on April 23 (2 p.m., $135). The women’s tourney is the only event without a prize-pool guarantee.

Most of the 15 ring events cost $365, though there is a $1,125 single-entry tourney (Event 8) on April 20 at 11 a.m. that has a $100K guarantee.

For midweek hotel room rates as affordable as $99, mention code WSOP17 when calling 844-777-7711 to book. There could be as many as 130 tournament tables with the possibility of 55 for cash games. There also will be two WSOP Global Casino Championship seats up for grabs. For more info, go to wsop.com.

North Florida

Orange City Racing & Card Club’s state-of-the-art poker room opened March 1 in North Florida with its 33 tables as more than 350 people were on hand for the festivities, including Orange City Mayor Gary Blair and Fred Guzman, the club’s GM.

“We wanted to build a place we could all be proud of, a place the community could be proud of, and I truly believe that we have done just that,” Guzman said.

Delaware North, a global hospitality provider, owns this property and its sister location, the Daytona Beach Racing & Card Club. The complex has racing simulcasting and is home to Jake’s 29° Sports Bar & Grill, a full-service restaurant and bar.
The poker room will be open 10 a.m. to 4 a.m. Monday-Thursday and 10 a.m. Friday through the weekend to 4 a.m. Monday and will spread the same games as DBRCC.

DAYTONA BEACH RACING & CARD CLUB: Don’t forget the state’s most popular charity tournament series, the Howard Frank Memorial Deep Stack Charity Classic, will be May 21. World Poker Tour legend Mike Sexton and ESPN poker’s Norman Chad will be on hand.

The event sold out every year since 2010, and here’s why: The first royal flush earns a $15K prize package, but the first diamond royal made on the flop wins a $100K package, including a 2017 Corvette.

First place in the $275 main event earns you $11K, including a $5K seat at the Venetian’s Deep Stack Extravaganza III in Las Vegas.

EBRO GREYHOUND PARK: The Emerald Coast Spring Classic will be April 21-30, highlighted by the $280 main event, which has three starting flights (April 28, 6:30 p.m., April 29 noon and 6:45). Day 2 will be April 30 at noon. Blinds will be 30 minutes and players can re-entry through six levels.

Other highlights from the schedule include the $110 opener, which is April 21 at 6:30 and has a $10K guarantee, Event 3 (April 23, 2 p.m.), a $330 deepstack with a $10K guarantee and Event 6 (April 26, 6:30), a $110 Omaha/8 event with a $3K guarantee. For more information, visit goebro.com or call 850-535-4048.

BESTBET ORANGE PARK: Ray Witt of Jacksonville was declared the champion of the $30K deepstack event in February after chopping with James Williams of Lake Butler and Shawn Forster of Jacksonville for nearly $8,800 each. The $200 event drew 349 entries for a $55,840 prize pool.

BESTBET JACKSONVILLE: The bad-beat jackpot was at $260K at press time. Also, the WPT DeepStacks series was wrapping up at press time, so be sure to check out our next issue for a recap.

See the ad in our April issue for the next series that runs April 27-May 8 with $350K in guarantees.

PENSACOLA GREYHOUND PARK: The $5K guarantee Calvin Washington charity tourney is April 15 at 1 p.m. for $140, with $20 from each buy-in going top Par Four Charities. Players begin with 10K chips and levels will be 20 minutes. For more, call (850) 456-9800. If you like more conventional events, the $50K guarantee with a $270 buy-in will be April 26 (Day 1A, 1 p.m.), April 27 (Day 1B, 1 p.m.), April 28 (Day 1C, 1 p.m.) and April 29 (Day 1D, 1 p.m.). Day 2 is April 30 at 1 p.m. There will be daily $60 satellites for this event until April 28.

CREEK GRETNA ENTERTAINMENT: See the ad on Page 45 of our April issue for info on the April 22 $10K guarantee and other events.

South Florida
The Palm Beach Kennel Club hosted the World Series of Poker Circuit in February, continuing its association with the WSOP for a seventh consecutive year. The main event drew 524 entries as IT management consultant Raminder Singh of nearby Delray Beach collected his first gold ring and nearly $169K first prize and an entry into the Global Casino Championship on Aug. 8-10 in Cherokee, N.C.

There were plenty of highlights during the “12 rings in 12 days” event, including a victory in the final event of the series by Maurice Hawkins, the ninth ring of his career. Hawkins had a phenomenal 2016, winning three WSPOC main-event titles, including back-to-back tourneys in April at Council Bluffs and Cherokee, which earned him honors for Breakout Performance of the Year at the American Poker Awards in Beverly Hills on Feb. 24.

Carlos Loving, a former dealer from the Tampa Bay area, continued his hot run by capturing the Casino Championship title after making three final tables, going heads-up for the ring in two events over the span of eight hours.

He finished second to Martin Ryan in the $580 Turbo ($15,338), and after immediately jumping into Event 5, picked up another $15K by winning that tournament. Earlier in the series, Loving notched a 22nd-place finish in the $365 Event 2 and hung on in Event 12 for a sixth-place finish to hold off Max Young for the Casino title.

ISLE CASINO: Uri Kadosh of Davie went on a roll after an early evening break to build his miniscule stack of around 200K to more than 5M in less than an hour, then hung on to win the main event of the Battles at the Beach in Pompano Beach.

The tournament ended with a three-way deal between Kadosh, Joey Couden and Darryll Fish. Couden received $120K, while Kadosh collected $120,035 and the trophy for his slightly larger stack. Fish, who took home the top prize a week earlier at the Big Stack event at Parx Casino in Bensalem, Pa., got $98K for his finish at the Isle.

The Pompano Beach facility has altered its strategy for tournaments over the past few years, with the $1,500 buy-in equal to last year, but much less than tourneys played earlier this decade. The focus has been shifted to offer an alternative to the Hard Rock, which Fish, who represents SHR, feels is a wise business decision.

“By dropping some of their buy-ins, they’ve found a niche where they can appeal to a different crowd, while still having a big enough main event to attract the higher-stakes players,” he said. “I feel it has been a good decision for their business and I like where they are headed.”

HARD ROCK HOLLYWOOD: The World Poker Tour Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown got under way March 31 and will hold its televised final table April 5. The first week of April will feature the $10K SHR Finale (April 2-6) and a $25K High Roller on April 4-5.

BITTERSWEET BURNS: Hard Rock tournament director Tony Burns received an APA nomination for Industry Person of the Year, and while he didn’t win, he did capture a trophy on the felt upon his return to South Florida. The 34-year-old poker veteran took over the TD role in Hollywood in August 2015 after working at the Isle for eight years as a dealer and evening TD.

He’s obviously too busy to play much poker, but took down Event 9 at the Isle’s Battles at the Beach. Burns collected $2,178 and the trophy by winning the $75 event, his first career title.

Central Florida

SEMINOLE IMMOKALEE: Josh Gibson captured the WPT DeepStacks Main Event on Feb. 26 for $50K and a $5,250 seat into the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open championship. The property has hosted some unique events in the past and has growing tournament series that have been won by some of the best West Florida players. The WPTDS went to Filipp Khavin in 2015 and Nathan Papp in 2016, while the Seminole Immokalee Challenge went to Herbert Woodbery in 2016.

Khavin finished 15th in this event ($3,000), while one-time WSOP ladies champion Marsha Wolak was 13th ($3,500). Tampa philanthropist Anthony March, who just made a deep run at the Aussie Millions and donated much of his winnings to charity, made the final table and cashed for $8K.

Gibson squared off with Papp for the title in a heads-up match that lasted 45 minutes. With Papp down about 5-to-1 in chips, he took a deal that scored him $42K for second. The two have played many times, but more so in cash games. The next major series here will be in September.

DERBY LANE: With Friday night tournaments occasionally playing out until 6 a.m., the St. Petersburg poker room decided to offer a $230 freezeout with a $10K guarantee. A freezeout means there will be no re-entries and no rebuys; you are one and done.

New promotions include progressive high hands at specific times weekly (Monday 7-10 p.m., Thursday 3-6 p.m. and Friday-Saturday 2-5 p.m.) every 45 minutes.

The $1-$1 NLHE and $2 limit games can win $500 ($25 to players at the table, the rest to the winner), $1-$3 NLHE games can win $1K ($50 to players at the table, the rest to the winner) and $2-$5 can win $2K ($100 to players at the table, the rest to the winner). This promo is subject to change so call ahead.

HARD ROCK TAMPA: Where Derby has answered the Friday night tournament scene, Hard Rock has been dominating the Saturday tournament scene. The Triple 30s (30K units, 30-minute blinds, $30K guarantee for $250) has been getting around 300 players since the event debuted in January.

This tournament has been so immensely popular, that registration begins in the middle of the week. First place has paid $15K-plus, a great weekly addition to the Tampa Bay area.

OCALA GAINESVILLE POKER: Pat Garrity, who once ran this poker room back when it was Ocala Poker and Jai-Alai, has returned as manager.

Mississippi
HORSESHOE TUNICA: The poker room hosts a $50K guarantee April 7. This $150 three-day event features unlimited re-entry during the first seven levels on Friday and Saturday. On Sunday, those remaining in the tournament play down to a winner.

These tournaments always draw a crowd and the prize pool usually exceeds what’s promised. Nowhere else in the state can you find this sort of prize pool for such a small buy-in. Horseshoe always has a few rooms set aside to accommodate out-of-town guests at a discounted poker rate. Call (662) 357-6600 for more information.

PEARL RIVER RESORT: In the middle of the state, the Choctaw property is hosting a $25K guarantee April 13-16 for $225. See the ad on Page 25 for details. And don’t forget the Ante Up Poker Tour runs through April 2.

Its cash promotions are becoming quite popular, too. On Sundays the room gives away $1K-plus to cash-game players. Entries in the drawing are earned every hour, starting Monday, in any jackpot-eligible cash game.

On Sunday, the staff draws names to award $300 at 9 a.m. and 6 p.m., $100 drawings are at noon, 1, 2 and 4. The middle of the week is about more than earning drawing entries, though.

With various fun promotions that include high-hand giveaways, hot seat and splash the pot opportunities, there is always an opportunity to grab some free money. Visit pearlriverresort.com for more information.

SCARLET PEARL CASINO: In Biloxi, there’s no better time to visit as the weather is perfect for the beach and the Big Slick Poker Room is gearing up for a $30K Poker Open this May 11-14. Every Friday and Saturday through May 6, you can try to win a seat in a satellite for $45. These satellites, which begin at 6 p.m., will award one seat into the $30K guarantee for every $255 generated into the prize pool. For extra value, an extra seat will be added by the poker room. The Scarlet Pearl also runs a variety of cash promotions and keeps a regular tournament schedule at scarletpearlcasino.com.

Missouri

AMERISTAR ST. CHARLES: The latest installment of the Heartland Poker Tour runs through April 10. The series kicks off March 29 with a $350 tournament that has three starting flights and a $100K guarantee, culminating with a live stream of the $1,650 main-event final table on twitch.tv/HPTpoker. Flight A of the main starts at 2 p.m. on April 7. Flights B and C are April 8 at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Players can win their way into the main event for as little as $75 via single-table satellites and daily qualifiers.

Limit poker is alive and kicking at Ameristar, where a biweekly $20-$40 game has grown in popularity and necessitated the need for a second table. The game happens every Wednesday and Friday at 10 a.m. with the second table opening around noon. Players can call in at 8 a.m. to get on the list.

HOLLYWOOD CASINO: Every player who qualifies for the Tournament of Champions, which is the first Sunday of every month, will receive two $10 match-play coupons for table games. All tournaments at Hollywood award one seat to the TOC for every 20 entries.

LUMIERE PLACE: Do you want to win a new Harley-Davidson? Players automatically collect entries for every hour of live-action played, provided they have been swiped into the Bravo system. The drawing will be May 26.

Louisiana

BOOMTOWN NEW ORLEANS: Seth Foster of DeBerry, Texas, captured the $1,100 Heartland Poker Tour Main Event, beating 274 players for the $59,891 payout. Allen “Chainsaw” Kessler of Las Vegas was runner-up ($38,279), followed by Ed Sebesta of Richmond, Texas ($25,649), Jon Hart of Jackson, Miss. ($18,098) and Phil Treaudo of New Orleans ($13,541).

Chris Minton of Alvin, Texas, and Andrew Moon of Vidalia, La., chopped the opening event, the $350 Monster Stack, for $22K each. It drew 409 entries and had a $100K guarantee.

COUSHATTA CASINO RESORT: The Tournament Players of the Quarter promotion awards points to the top six players in each tournament.

The top 10 earners for the quarter will be paid from the monies collected ($3 from each tourney entry). First place gets 27 percent of the pool, followed by second getting 18 percent, etc. The second quarter runs April 1-June 30. For more info, go to coushattacasinoresort.com.

HORSESHOE BOSSIER CITY: Saturdays at 11 a.m. is a $10K guarantee. On the same day, there is a $100 Aces Cracked promotion for limit hold’em from 8 a.m.-noon. Call the poker room for details.

Meet Mike Beattie

A local CPA who works for a Fortune 200 company in Tampa, Fla., Mike Beattie is a regular on the Tampa Bay tournament scene. He became interested in Texas Hold’em in 2003 when a friend showed him an article about a CPA winning the World Series of Poker.He didn’t know how to play hold’em, but he thought. “Hey, I’m a CPA and certainly could win this main-event thing, too, right?”

He always has fun at the table and has a positive personality. His greatest accomplishment in poker came in the 2014 WSOP Monster Stack, reaching Day 4 and finishing 25th out of 7,807 for $50,202. He played grueling 14- and 12-hour sessions on Days 1-2, respectively. On Days 3-4, he played with big-name pros, guys with millions in earnings.After his dream run ended on Day 4, he took out several friends to celebrate and realized it was the first time he had been outside in four days.

Beattie recommends anyone interested in improving should study hard, using the multitude of available resources and he believes you’re doing your game a disservice if you don’t. He reads multiple monthly poker magazines and watches as many webinars as he can. He’s read almost every poker book but loves the classics such as Doyle Brunson’s Super System and Gus Hanson’s Every Hand Revealed. Beattie is a fine inspiration to amateurs.
– Sara Malowitz