Harrah’s SoCal giving away Ante Up Poker Cruise packages

August 31, 2015, Kittie Aleman, Garrett Roth, Rob Solomon, Jay Zeman, Ross Nicholas  

Harrah’s Southern California again will be awarding Ante Up Poker Cruise packages to players in September.
Players can earn drawing tickets starting Sept. 1 in all cash games at the Valley Center, Calif., casino. In addition to cash prizes in the monthly drawing on Sept. 26, two players will win an Ante Up Poker Cruise package for two for the Jan. 24 sailing out of Los Angeles. Harrah’s Southern California previously awarded three Ante Up cruise packages.

Ante Up Poker Cruises transforms the conference centers aboard regularly scheduled NCL and Royal Caribbean sailings into a professionally staffed and equipped poker room, complete with cash games, tournaments, free poker classes and an open-bar cocktail party.

In other Harrah’s SoCal news, the poker room hosts a World Series of Poker Tahoe Ticket tournament Sept. 18-20. This will be a two-flight event (Flight A is on the 18th, Flight B the 19th). Both flights start at 8 p.m. The top 10 percent from each day will move on to the final day at 2 p.m.

The $150 buy-in gets you 8K chips and a $40 optional add-on gets you 4K more. The rounds for Flight A and B will be 25 minutes and the final day will be 30 minutes.

The winner will receive cash and an entry into the $1,675 WSOPC main event at Harvey’s Lake Tahoe on Nov. 6, plus a three-night stay and $200 food credit.

All players receive an entry into a drawing for a seat into the same event. The drawing will be Sept. 20 at 4 p.m. and you must be present to win. See the poker room for details.

BIKE: The WPT Legends of Poker at the Bicycle Casino near Los Angeles kicked off with a $200K guarantee July 28 that drew 1,363 players and generated a $342K prize pool. Raul Bravo won the event for $38,935. The series still was running at press time, but here are some of the highlights thus far.

Jason Paquin had captured two titles (Events 7 and 13) for combined winnings of $17,347. Event 4 had a $30K guarantee and was a bounty tournament that went to David Snobl, who earned $4,892 for first, plus $800 in bounties.

Binh Ly won Event 8, a $50K guarantee HORSE tournament, good for $13K. For more results visit thebike.com.

CHARITY: The ninth annual Love Across the Ocean celebrity tournament, hosted by Leyna Nguyen, will be Oct. 3 at the Commerce Casino. Nguyen is a news anchor with KCAL/KCBS in Los Angeles. Buy-in is $150 if you preregister online, $200 at the door. The tournament starts at 1:30 p.m., but there will be a red-carpet arrival, registration and buffet at noon.
The charity builds schools in Vietnam, provides humanitarian relief and helps refugees who resettle in Southern California. For more information, check loveacrosstheocean.org.

Northern California

BAY 101: The Bay 101 in San Jose hosts its annual Bay 101 Open from Sept. 8-15. This seven-event series has a variety of options that make it a popular series in the Bay Area. The series includes $350 events on Sept. 8, 10 and 14. There will be an Omaha/8 event for the same buy-in Sept. 9. The $560 shootout is Sept. 11 and the $450 partners tournament is Sept. 15. The largest event of the series will be the $1,100 main event Sept. 12.

THUNDER VALLEY CASINO RESORT: The Heartland Poker Tour returns to the Lincoln property and includes 10 events Sept. 15-29. The series kicks off with a $200K guarantee, which has drawn a large turnout year after year. There also will be HORSE, Omaha/8 and a variety of NLHE tournaments. The $1,650 main event begins Sept. 25, ending Sept. 29 with a nationally televised final table.

STONES GAMBLING HALL: The Fall Classic runs Sept. 26-Oct. 5 and includes five events at the Citrus Heights poker room. The buy-ins range from $180-$350 and second-chance satellites run after many of the events. The $65 satellites will offer entry into the $550 main event, which begins Oct. 2 at 10 a.m. The main event will carry a $150K guarantee.

OAKS CARD CLUB: In Emeryville, the poker room has a great tournament schedule that attracts a lot of attention. The tournaments run Monday ($175, 6:15 p.m.), Wednesday ($185, 6:15 p.m.), Saturday ($135-$340, 11 a.m.) and Sunday ($235, 1 p.m.). Players earn tournament points during weekend events toward the Player of the Year freeroll with $25K guaranteed.

JACKSON RANCHERIA CASINO RESORT: The Jackson poker room will host a $5K guarantee Sept. 13. This $220 event begins at 1 p.m. Club members who have 30 hours of live play during the month will only have to pay $20 for their buy-in and players can earn bonus chips for hours played at the casino.

101 CASINO: The second annual Jordan PLO Invitational is on Sept. 12 at 1 p.m. The $550 event has a free buffet lunch at 12:30 and players begin with 15K chips. Call the room for details.

Pacific Northwest

LITTLE CREEK CASINO RESORT: The South Sound Fall Championship runs Sept. 7-13 with seven NLHE tournaments, including a Tuesday seniors event and a Sunday women’s event. Buy-ins range from $50 for the opening super satellite to $340 for the Saturday main event. There will be a combined $7K added to the prize pools. Little Creek is a five-table room routinely offering $4-$8 limit and $3-$500 spread-limit. It’s 77 miles southwest of Seattle. During its twice-per-year tournament series, the property adds 12 or more tables in a conference room across from the poker room.

MUCKLESHOOT CASINO: The $55K-added Summer Classic runs Sept. 16-21 with five tournaments (one shootout) with buy-ins from $200-$750.

Muckleshoot, in Auburn, Wash., and is the largest poker room in the region with 32 tables, routinely spreading $4-$8 limit and Omaha/8. The NLHE games have $3-$5 blinds (subject to the state-mandated $500 limit per bet, of course) and occasionally the room gets a $15-$30 Omaha/8 slugfest.

Las Vegas

RED ROCK CASINO: It’s a bit of a drive from the Las Vegas Strip, but one locals casino well worth the visit is the Red Rock in Summerlin. A good variety of cash games always run in the 20-table room, starting with $1-$2 no-limit ($100-$300 buy-in). During busier times, $2-$5 is spread ($300-$1K). Limit players can choose between $2-$4 and $4-8 with a half-kill. The minimum buy-ins are $20 and $40, respectively. Omaha players can find PLO and limit Omaha/8 with similar stakes.
Afternoon tournaments run daily at noon. Tuesdays host a $60 Omaha/8 event with an 8K starting stack, 20-minute levels and a $1K guarantee. The Sunday tournament is $125 with a $2,500 guarantee. The starting stack is 10K and the levels are 30 minutes. As for the rest of the week, look for $60 tournaments with $1K guarantees. Players start with 6K chips and levels are 20 minutes.

Evening tournaments start at 6:30 and are all NLHE. Mondays and Thursdays feature the $100 buy-in bounty tournament. Players start with 10K. The bounty is $25 and the guarantee is $3,500. Tuesdays and Wednesdays offer $60 buy-ins, $15 bounties and 6K stacks. The guarantee is $1K. The Sunday evening tournament is $60, 7K starting stack, $1,500 guarantee.

All Red Rock tournaments offer a $10 staff bonus for an additional 2K chips. There also are high-hand bonuses for all tournaments, quads or better. Players can win vouchers for future tournaments in addition to cash.

Red Rock has a large offering of promos. As part of the Stations chain, it participates in the Stations-wide bad-beat jackpot and progressive royal flush promotion. In addition, the room offers “quad floppers” Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Players get $500 for flopping quads. Graveyard players who book eight hours between 1 a.m. and 9 a.m. qualify for cash drawings every Saturday. Names are selected every 10 minutes and $500 is awarded hourly. There’s a $10K monthly Omaha freeroll for 20 hours to qualify. Call the poker room for details.

GOLDEN NUGGET: The downtown room revised its daily schedule with four tournaments a day. At 11 a.m. and 7 p.m., $65 gets players a 10K stack. The tournaments at 3 and 10 p.m. are $45 and start with 5K chips. The popular Sunday morning $125 tournament replaces the $65 affair that day. It offers a $5K guarantee. All tournaments have 20-minute levels.

The main cash game is $1-$2 NLHE with a $100 minimum buy-in and no cap. The Nugget also is a popular choice for $2-$4 limit, which has a $20 minimum buy-in. High-hand bonuses are offered.

The room recently began offering $2/hour in comps, good at all the restaurants on the property. There’s free Wi-Fi, as well as USB ports at every table for charging electronic devices.

BALLY’S: The popular 14-table room in the center of the Strip just added a $6K weekly freeroll. Players need only play
12 hours of live poker in a week to qualify. The freeroll is Wednesdays at 6 p.m. The top 20 finishers get $300 each. Bally’s also has high-hand bonuses ($500 max).

Bally’s also added a fifth daily tournament. At 9 a.m., 3 p.m. and 5 p.m., it offers $55 tournaments with a 5K stack. Each of these tournaments has a $500 guarantee. The $75 tournaments at noon and 8 p.m. start with 8K chips and have a $1K guarantee. All tournaments have 20-minute levels.

MGM: The room will host the annual celebrity charity tournament Sept. 19 at noon. The tournament benefits the Maximum Hope Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides practical assistance to families caring for a child with a life-limiting illness. The tournament is hosted by comedian Brad Garrett, who is the foundation’s president and founder. Garrett has a comedy club at the MGM.

ALIANTE: The Aliante Casino, in the northern outskirts of the Vegas valley, is back in the poker business. The casino closed its poker room a few years ago when the resort separated from the Stations chain. Now it has reopened a three-table room using electronic tables. There will be one $30 daily tournament at 1 p.m. Players get 5K chips and 20-minute levels.

The cash games are 50 cents-$1 NLHE ($20 to $200 buy-in) and $2-$4 limit ($20 min). The room is prepared to spread Omaha and stud as demand warrants. There’s a $3 max rake on all cash games.

Reno

GRAND SIERRA: The Heartland Poker Tour returns Sept. 10-21 with a series of events, culminating in the $1,650 main event on Sept. 18. There will be $85, $125 and $375 satellites leading up to the main, plus a few other undercard events, including PLO, Omaha/8, bounty and deepstacks. Room rates ($59 Sun.-Thurs. and $99 Fri.-Sat.) are available. Call the poker room for the schedule or see the ad in our August issue.
ATLANTIS CASINO: The $200K guarantee main event for WPT DeepStacks was running at press time. Look for results soon.
PEPPERMILL CASINO: The room offers limit and no-limit games as well as money-added tournaments running daily.
ELDORADO CASINO: The $1-$5 stud game is running strong. The downtown poker room has a variety of games in limit and no-limit.

Meet Michael Kahn

Michael Kahn has been working as a prop player for Ocean’s 11 Casino since August 2014.

With no formal gaming background, he has been playing poker as long as he can remember. His dad used to host a regular home game when he was growing up and that’s where he learned to play.

He continued to play during high school, playing a few times a week after school with friends. Some days he would forget his textbook or homework assignment, but “I was never without a deck of cards in my backpack,” he said. “This carried over to college for me as during my first week there, I organized what became a daily poker game on my dorm floor. For my four years at college, poker was my main means of getting beer money.”

He enjoys tournaments but is primarily a cash player because those games have much less variance and require a much lower bankroll. He’d like to play the tournament circuit but that’s more of a long-term plan. He recently made the final table in his second World Series event. He took fifth in Event 1, the $565 Casino Employees event in 2015. There were 698 entries and he earned $16,622 for his first WSOP cash.

“It is a competitive battle of wits,” he said. “It’s strategic, mathematical and analytical. All things I love.”

He works to improve by reading books, utilizing online training sites and talking with poker-playing friends.

When Kahn isn’t playing poker he likes to hike, rollerblade and play racquetball. He also enjoys listening to music, watching sports, reading and playing backgammon. — Kittie Aleman