Kluchman tops Foxwoods field in Connecticut

June 21, 2015, Dave Lukow, Jo Kim, Michael Young  

David Kluchman outlasted Michael Thibeau to win the World Series of Poker Circuit Main Event at Foxwoods Resort and Casino in Mashantucket, Conn. From Lexington, Mass., Kluchman earned $124,370 and a seat at the WSOPC national championship. The cash was the 20th of his career.

Kluchman topped a field of 376 entries to claim his first WSOPC ring, but his rise through the ranks was nearly halted a few levels into the first starting flight.

“I didn’t mind spending two bullets,” Kluchman said after his victory. “Things went badly in the first one, and I flamed out pretty early, but I jumped back into Day 1A in the third or fourth level.”
Thibeau collected $76,883 for finishing second.

Yasin Ahmady was third, which paid $56,531, while Spencer Champlin grabbed fourth, banking $41,777. Champlin, of Scarborough, Maine, entered the final day second in chips, trailing only Kluchman. It was his third cash of 2015.

New York’s Greg Himmelbrand was fifth, taking away $31,431. He now has 30 career cashes and more than $940K in winnings.

Overall, 376 players entered the main event, pushing the prize pool to $565,315.

Ryan Eriquezzo won Event 1, earning $22,684 for the Danbury, Conn., resident. Steven Weeks, also from Connecticut, was second in the $365 tourney, good for $14,025. It was the first of two cashes for Weeks, finishing 22nd in Event 11. Massachusetts resident Christopher Milano was third ($10,183). Like Weeks, he cashed twice.

One other highlight of note was Valentin Vornicu, who bested 153 players to win Event 8, a $580 tournament that paid him $20,973. Vornicu of San Diego has 27 WSOPC cashes. Brooklyn’s Patrick Chan was second ($12,964) for his eighth WSOPC cash. Maine’s Solang Ung was third ($9,329).

Maryland

The Maryland State Lottery Commission has added two new and rarely played poker games. Five-card Omaha, sometimes called Big O, and badugi. While no casinos have added these games yet, all are considering them.

“I only expect to offer Big O at this time,” Maryland Live director of poker Mike Smith said.

In other Maryland Live news, the poker room has $25K drawings every Sunday. Simply be playing in one of the cash games when the drawing takes place to be eligible. The promotions continue with $500 high hands every 20 minutes Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday 10 a.m.-2 p.m. and 6 p.m.-2 a.m., and Thursday and Friday at 1-5 p.m.

HORSESHOE BALTIMORE: For the players coming back to the region from the World Series, the poker room is offering a $100K guarantee July 24. This is only a $350 buy-in for a 30K starting stack.
For those who might be concerned about visiting Horseshoe Baltimore because of the recent civil unrest, the facility is miles from where any incidents took place. The casino has a private, secured, parking structure, well away from foot traffic.

Said poker room manager Anthony Chester: “While none of the unrest in the city occurred anywhere near the casino, we, like many Baltimore attractions, have nevertheless seen a drop in visitation since the events of last month. As conditions in the city continue to improve, we anticipate business will as well.”

Delaware

DOVER DOWNS: The Crown Royal Poker Room on July 24-26 hosts a series of big guarantees: July 24, $15K guarantee, $165 buy-in; July 25, $30K guarantee, $250 buy-in and July 26, $5K guarantee, $50 buy-in. On July 22, there will be a $30 satellite for the $30K event as one in 10 wins a seat. And don’t forget the $1K guarantee with a $35 buy-in on Saturdays and Sundays at 11:15 a.m.

Dover Downs continues to add innovative promotions, too. Pot-limit Omaha tournaments are Thursdays at 7:15 p.m. with no antes, 30-minute blinds and a $35 buy-in. The Biggest Loser promotion awards $300 on Wednesdays with the best losing hand (9 p.m. to midnight). Odd Quads means you win $300 with quads of odd-numbered cards (Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays, 7 p.m.- midnight). Deuces Full wins the rolling jackpot with a winning hand of deuces full of sevens daily (9 a.m. to noon).

HARRINGTON RACEWAY: The poker room added an innovative tournament to Thursday nights, a $75 mixed bounty with $10 bounties with the games being limit hold’em and Omaha/8. A $50 bounty gets put on the head of the defending champ.

Atlantic City/Philadelphia

PARX: The 11th Big Stax series returned in May as 1,565 players played the Big Stax 300. Moe Farah, who had final-tabled three of his past five tournaments, finished fourth for $20,963. Farah would win the Borgata $100K weeks later.

“It feels good to finally close one and put away a win,” he said. “It’s great to have momentum going into the WSOP.”

Brian Taylor took home the BS300 trophy and $72,341 as Jeff Wicker and Kenneth Williams chopped the remainder for $54,500, each.

With 742 entrants for Big Stax 500, there were many notable pros scattered throughout the field, including Amanda Musumeci, Will Failla, Alex Queen, Vinny Pahuja and Mike Wang, who recently won the WSOP $5K NLHE bracelet. The last three standing, however, were Mike D’Amico, Thai Ha and Matt Glantz, each taking home $32K, $58K and $69K, respectively.

“It’s a win-win situation for me,” Ha said. “I get the bankroll to go to Vegas and Matt has a trophy for Parx.”

Parx ambassador Glantz, who has nearly $6M in tournament winnings, was ecstatic to finally take home a Big Stax trophy.

“To win this event we created from scratch a few years ago, is something I will always remember as one of my favorite moments in poker.”

The Big Stax series wrapped up with the $1,500 event, as Joe “Worm” Palma and Ryan Pochedly battled for 5.5 hours for the trophy. Starting heads-up with a two-to-one lead in chips, Pochedly finally took first place ($101,105).

One woman stood out among the few throughout the series: Renata Colache was the only player to cash in all three major events. With a little more than $50K in tournament winnings, Colache is looking forward to building her poker resume in the upcoming events. Big Stax returns with a $200 event July 6-11.

BORGATA: The Borgata Summer Open is July 14-31, featuring a $500K guarantee main event for $2,500.

Meet David Stritlmatter

A regular tournament player at the Crown Royal Poker Room at Dover Downs Hotel and Casino, David Stritlmatter is a 51-year-old resident of Chestertown, Md. He’s been playing for about seven years, starting in charity tournaments.

What brings you back to Dover Downs? I’ll play at Delaware Park sometimes, but I like playing at Dover. I really like the events and structure of the tournaments that Dover Downs offers. The staff is always friendly and go out of their way to make the environment pleasant.

How has your game evolved over time and how do you hope to improve your game? I have learned a lot of skills along the way and have increased my skills. I hope to continue to evolve my game and learn new skills as time goes on.

What is the biggest tournament you have won? I chopped a recent $33K event at Dover Downs. — Michael Young