Seminole Immokalee to host $200K guarantee March 8-10

February 21, 2016, Andrew Malowitz, Dave Lemmon, Jennifer Gay, Christopher Cosenza, Charles Allison, Danny Wade  

After the huge success of the WPT DeepStack Series a few months ago, won by Tampa local pro Fil Khavin, the Seminole Casino in Immokalee brings a $1,650 main event with a $200K guarantee running March 8-13. The opening event is a $350 event with a $50K guarantee March 8-10.

The main starts March 11 with two Day 1s and Day 2 on March 13. There will be $200 satellites March 10-11 with a special $200 turbo satellite at 9 a.m. on Day 1B, which starts at noon. All satellites have four seats guaranteed.

PPC: The Spring Stakes runs Feb. 27-March 6, kicking off Feb. 27 at TGT Poker in Tampa with a $35 satellite to the $130 buy-in on Feb. 28. On March 2, the four-event series moves to Tampa Bay Downs with a double green-chip bounty with a $5K guarantee at 1 p.m. and a high roller PLO $500 buy-in. March 3 at 1 p.m. is a seniors event and a satellite to the main at 7 p.m. The four-flight $400 main event with a $50K guarantee begins March 4 and concludes March 6 at noon.

DERBY LANE: David Lawrence won $4,400 and the Micro Series main event. The end of February brought the return of the $150 buy-in, $50K guarantee Accumulator where players can bag two bags and get paid their $150 buy-in. Results will be in the next issue. See the ad in the March issue for the March series.

HARD ROCK TAMPA: The $250 New Year’s deepstack title went to Anthony Dianaty, good for $14K as 325 players entered the $250 event to generate a $68K prize pool. The MLK champ was Daniel Lobato, who earned $18,109 from a $70K prize pool. The $250 buy-in attracted 337 players.

South Florida

INTERNATIONAL SUCCESS: One of the luxuries for traveling poker pros is the opportunity to visit exciting and exotic lands around the globe to compete on the felt. If they can play well and earn lots of cash on what amounts to a playcation, well, it doesn’t get much better than that. Such was the case in January for two South Florida residents, Darryl Fish and Chance Kornuth, who each won a major tournament at the Aussie Millions in Melbourne.

Kornuth, who moved to Florida a little more than two years ago from Las Vegas, captured the $25K Challenge in Australia just a week and a half after reaching the final table of a high roller at the PCA in the Bahamas. In December, Kornuth said he eagerly anticipated the two trips: “I’ve never been to the Aussie Millions. My wife and I are both going and we are so excited to check it out. It has always been on my bucket list and to be able to do it for work just shows how lucky we are.”

Speaking of a family vacation paying for itself, Kornuth left nothing to chance, collecting more than $790K Australian, on top of $192K payday at Atlantis. He bested an extremely tough international final table, which included Igor Kurganov, Jason Les, Steve O’Dwyer and Dominik Nitsche.

For Fish, who lived in the Ft. Lauderdale area for many years before moving to Vegas and then relocating to Hollywood, Fla., a few months ago, the payday was much smaller but no less significant. His victory in the Aussie Tournament of Champions ($1,100 buy-in) was his first big win since grabbing the 2015 World Series of Poker Circuit Main Event at Palm Beach Kennel Club. He followed with close calls at the WSOP national championship in July (third place) and a runner-up finish at the Montreal WPT in November.

“I’m definitely feeling more confident about my poker because I’ve had a great year in tournaments,” Fish said just before the New Year. “I’ve concentrated on focusing on things that keep me more on an even keel and that translates well to the poker table.”

With this visit to Melbourne being his first as well, the trip signaled a new plan of tournament choices for him.

“I’m going to start incorporating trips where I can have fun away from the poker itself instead of just going for the grind. I want to enjoy myself more and if you balance yourself out more, your results are going to be better than if you just play non-stop. My goal is actually to play less poker, so I can play better poker.”

CASINO AT DANIA BEACH: The poker room opened Jan. 15 in the former location of the second-floor exhibition hall, adjacent to a gorgeous sports lounge. The soft opening took place a couple of days after jai-alai action returned to the court and 850 slot machines began rolling on the floor below. The room features 15 poker tables and six special tables featuring games such as Ultimate Texas Hold’em, all set up in a roomy fashion. Several early promotions include a Dawn Patrol high-hand giveaway of $250 every hour from 9 a.m. to noon daily, $200 every 30 minutes from noon to midnight and a one-time $500 high hand from midnight to close.

Winners on Friday nights from 8-11 also get an iPad mini. The room also has a bad-beat jackpot, which needs a minimum of quad eights to qualify, and royal flushes pay $500. Tournaments are offered Sundays at 1 p.m. ($50 buy-in/$1K guarantee) and Wednesdays at 7 p.m. ($85 buy-in/$1,500 guarantee).

The poker room opens daily at 9 a.m. and closes on Sunday-Thursday at 3 a.m., Fridays and Saturdays at 4 a.m.

ISLE CASINO: While continuing to cater to smaller bankrolls along with big-name pros, the poker room kicked off its first big series with a $75 buy-in $50K guarantee on Feb. 29. The Battles at the Beach features a $570 event with six opening sessions March 3-5 and a $1,500 main event with three opening days March 17-19 and a $500K guarantee (See ad Page 31 of the March issue).

LUCKY HEARTS OPEN: Salomon Ponte of Toronto won $344K and the WPT DeepStacks main-event title at Seminole Hard Rock in Hollywood on Jan. 18. The $1,100 event, which had a $1M guarantee, had three starting flights and drew 1,684 entries for a $1.63M prize pool.

The series kicked off Jan. 7, with a $350 buy-in $500K guarantee with eight starting flights, generating a state-record 4,075 entries and $1.2M prize pool. Thai Ha won the event and $230K.

“We are thrilled with the success of this year’s event,” said Jason Newman, director of poker marketing for Seminole Gaming.

North Florida

BESTBET JACKSONVILLE: The $50K event in February tripled its guarantee, something that happens with regularity these days. A deeper structure helped attract 556 players for a $166K prize pool. Timothy Frosberg of Jacksonville claimed the title and $23K after a four-way chop that saw second-place finisher Peyton Minkley of Jacksonville win $21K. The other two players were Tyler Payne and Seung Lee, who each earned $19K.

The Mid-States Poker Tour runs until March 6. The $1,100 main event begins March 3 with the first of two starting days.
BESTBET ORANGE PARK: The OP Deepstacks event runs March 24-27, including five starting flights. The $200 buy-in promises to offer the most value in a monthly tournament at the facility. Players begin with 15K chips and 30-minute blinds, with Day 2 players returning to a lengthier 40-minute structure until the end of play.

High hands will be available for all satellites on a daily basis. The next big cash promotion will be March 19 and will feature $1K every hour as well as $200 tables shares.

DAYTONA BEACH KENNEL CLUB: The poker room hosts Sit-N-Go Sundays. Once the core of Florida’s tournament scene, the SNG has since waned. On Feb. 28, from at 3-8 p.m., DBKC will offer $100 SNGs. The Spring Series is March 15-20.
The $50K guarantee Great American Poker Tour was running at press time with poker pro Maria Ho having spent the first week giving Daytona locals personal seminars to help them with their game. Look for results in next month’s issue.

Mississippi

AMERISTAR VICKSBURG: The poker room in Mississippi will award Ante Up Poker Cruise packages in drawings this month.
Players can earn entries by making a flush or better. Drawings take place 2-10 p.m. every Wednesday through March 16, with $100 hourly winners and one player winning an Ante Up Poker Cruise package for the April 18 sailing out of Port Canaveral, Fla., in the 11 p.m. drawing each week.

Ante Up Poker Cruises transforms the conference centers on regularly scheduled 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.

BEAU RIVAGE: Former poker room manager Johnny Grooms will be the director of poker at the new MGM property National Harbor, just outside of Washington, D.C. Also, shift manager Michael Williams has left to become one of the poker operations directors for Aria in Las Vegas. With these changes, there is no spring tournament scheduled, which means the next big event here might be the Gulf Coast Poker Championship in the fall.

WSOPC: In Tunica, the World Series of Poker Circuit recently wrapped up as David Kruger took home the championship by beating 646 main-event entrants, earning $198,657.

The 54-year-old Slater, Mo., resident earned his first ring and a seat into the Circuit Championship. Other notable finishers included Russ Head of Lindale, Ga., in second ($122,918), Jessie Bryant (14th, $12,161), Sean Small (17th, $10,019) and Kyle Cartwright (35th, $4,012).

Cartwright is having an incredible 2016. The local player (Tunica by way of Memphis) captured his sixth ring at the Tunica stop (Monster Stack event) beating Josh Palmer in heads-up play. Cartwright officially crossed the $1 million mark in WSOP earnings and stands at $1,008,422.

Missouri

AMERISTAR ST. CHARLES: The poker room is spreading $5-$10 Omaha/8 on Fridays at noon and Saturdays at 9 a.m. This game has a full kill, which means more monster pots. And speaking of monster pots, if it’s action you’re after, be sure to stop by on March 5 at 2 p.m. when Ameristar will spread $10-$20 no-limit hold’em.

HOLLYWOOD ST. LOUIS: The World Series of Poker Circuit will not be making a stop in St. Louis this winter, which should bolster attendance for the Hollywood Poker Open regional event. The HPO was sandwiched between the WSOPC and Heartland Poker Tour in 2014, and took place immediately after both tours in 2015 (when other players had a month to go broke). This year, the HPO regional gets to kick off the action March 10-20, with the winners of Events 4, 19, and 23 (the main event) receiving added seats to the HPO Season 4 Championship at the M Resort in Las Vegas on June 23-27.

North Carolina

HARRAH’S CHEROKEE: The World Series of Poker Circuit returns April 14-25. See the ad on Page 7 of the March issue and be sure to read our next issue for a preview to this series.

Louisiana

COUSHATTA CASINO: The Winter Blowout on Jan. 29-31 in Kinder saw a local player take home the main-event title.

“For the first time, the Blowout was held over two starting flights instead of the normal one-day format,” tournament director Danny Wade said. “The players really loved the new format, increased starting chips and longer levels, in addition to the player-friendly structure.”

There were 236 players who ponied up $550 by the end of registration on Day 2A to create a $114,460 prize pool. Simone Beard of Lafayette, La., won the title and $22,887, leading the 25 cashers. Other notable Louisiana and Texas residents to make the money were Charles Clubb (third, $12,591), Ricky Romero (fifth, $8,012), Huey Hulin (sixth, $6,868) and Ronnie Hope (ninth, $3,434).

Outside the final-table finishers included Jimmy Patton (11th, $2,289), Corey Theriot (14th, $1,717), Wilson Vidrine (15th, $1,717) and Greg Rabalais (18th, $1,374). The next installment of the Blowout series will be in April.

But before the next Blowout is the Coushatta Spring Classic Series (March 16-20). The series will include a seniors event (50 years or older), a mega-satellite, a $500 event and the $1K main event with the improved player-friendly structure. Buy-ins range from $300-$1K and seating will be limited to 150 players plus alternates until the first break. Registration is open for all events and players are encouraged to buy seats as soon as they can because fields have been known to sell out. Information is available online or by calling (337) 738-7336.

ISLE LAKE CHARLES: The poker room has expanded from eight to 13 tables and has moved to the opposite side of its former location in the Grand Palais Casino. It opens at 10:30 a.m.

Meet Marvin “Flying Duckman” Karlins

Marvin Karlins is a successful poker player and author who also is a professor of business management.

What skills you learned in the academic world have you used in poker? There are many “slackers” in the world: These are the people who can be beaten at the tables.Also, dealing with academic types has taught me that people are not always what they appear to be.Watching how they act is the best measure of gauging their true motives and intentions.

What got you interested in collaborating and helping to write on the subject of poker? Actually, the topic of gaming has been a long-term interest of mine.I was an editor and columnist for the now-defunct Gambling Times for 10 years, wrote the first book on the psychological aspect of gambling in Vegas (Psyching out Vegas), collaborated with Lyle Berman on his autobiography and teamed with Joe Navarro to do the first scientifically based book on tells, Read ’em and Reap. My interest in poker continues and I’m currently writing two books on the subject.

You recently made the final table of the WPT at bestbet Jacksonville. What was the experience like? A 36-hour orgasm. If someone had given me 500-to-1 odds that such an event would occur, I would not have accepted the bet.

What is your advice to the newer generation of players? Come to understand and appreciate this observation: That’s poker! And, one other thing, love it or leave it.There are easier ways to make a living than at a poker table. — Andrew Malowitz