WSOPC returns to N.C. Aug. 2-14

July 31, 2017, Christopher Cosenza, Crash Martin, Sara Malowitz, Dave Lemmon, Ron Hope, Jennifer Gay  

The World Series of Poker Circuit returns Aug. 2-14 to Harrah’s Cherokee in North Carolina on Aug. 2-14 with the $1,675 main event, which has a $1M guarantee, beginning Aug. 11 with the first of two starting flights.

The other highlight of this series is the Global Casino Championship, which has $1M added to the prize pool and has a $10K buy-in, unless you won your seat during the season. It’s a three-day event beginning Aug. 8.

Every event in this WSOPC stop has a prize-pool guarantee, including $500K for the $365 opening event. For more on this series, go to wsop.com.

Louisiana

COUSHATTA CASINO AND RESORT: Richard Artificaritch won the $550 Summer Classic Main Event in a seven-way chop for $9,567. James Euebanks, Stephan Fletcher, Shaun Calvit, Capt. Ron Hope, Derek Normand and James Weatheby pocketed $9,565 each. Michael Dunn was eighth ($3,547), followed by James Martinez ($2,660) and Renee Skinner ($2,217).

Larry Reynard won the Summer Classic opener for $3K and the other nine players at the final table chopped for $2,460 each.

Promotions this month include Sets Cracked for $100 Sunday-Friday (10 a.m.-1 p.m.), mini-bad-beat jackpot ($2K, aces full of kings) and Aces Cracked for $100 every Wednesday. High hands are paid $100 every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday (1-10 p.m.).

GOLDEN NUGGET LAKE CHARLES: The room will host a $100K freeroll Sept. 10. The top 60 hourly players in a NLHE jackpot-eligible game from now until Aug. 31 qualify. Players may earn more tournament chips based on their rankings. The top 10 players receive 2,500 more chips, players 11-20 get 1,500 more and 21-30 get 1K more. Official rules are posted in the poker room.

Other promotions include a bad-beat jackpot that surpassed $162K at press time, straight flushes pay $100 and royals earn $200. Ask about the Aces Full Frenzy that pays $100 to the first person to hit aces full.

BOOMTOWN CASINO NEW ORLEANS: The bad-beat jackpot approached $150K at press time. The room also features a new bounty tournament; rules are posted in the poker room.

HARRAH’S CASINO NEW ORLEANS: The bad-beat jackpot was around $180K at press time and the mini-bad beat is 10 percent of the main jackpot. Aces Cracked run Monday-Wednesday-Thursday and pays $200. Flush flopped will run noon-6 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday when the dealer flops a flush the next pot will be splashed $200. High hand with rollover will run 6-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday and $6,400 will be at stake during this promotion. An overnight high hand with roll overs will run from midnight-noon on Sunday-Thursday with limit players playing for $125 and NLHE players playing for $125 bonus when aces full of 10s get beat.

L’AUBERGE CASINO RESORT LAKE CHARLES: The bad-beat jackpot (quad fives) was at $160K at press time. Straight flushes pay $100 and royals are $200.

HORSESHOE BOSSIER CITY: The bad-beat jackpot was $200K at press time. The mini-bad beat (aces full of 10s) pays $5K. Ask about Aces Cracked, which pays $200, and $200 splash pots.

Mississippi

Just as the summer wraps up in the desert, all the exciting autumn events are falling into place in the Magnolia State. Starting in Tunica, Horseshoe hosts a Run Good series Aug. 15-20.

The series kicks off with a $135 RG Pro bounty tournament at 7 p.m. Knock out a RG Pro and receive one of 10 prizes ranging from $1K to RunGood gear and apparel.

Aug. 16 features two $20K guarantees (noon, 7 p.m.), followed by a $10K guarantee Aug. 17. Plenty of mega-satellites are lined up to give you a chance to win your way into the $560 main event with a $100K guarantee. The main will have three starting flights (Aug. 18, 7 p.m. and Aug. 19 at noon and 7 p.m.) and will restart Aug. 20 at noon.

For even more added value, every preliminary event prize pool will include a $1,500 cruise for two to the May 2018 RG Championship Poker Cruise. The main event will award 10 $1,500 cruise packages. There are awesome room rates for this event, but expect them to fill up quickly. Call the poker room at 662-357-5608 to book.

BEAU RIVAGE: In Biloxi, the official dates of the Gulf Coast Poker Championship have been announced. Make your reservations for Sept. 7-18 and enjoy poker along with a little end-of-summer getaway on the beach. Poker room manager Henry Garrison announced he has increased the guarantee for the $345 opening weekend event, called the Monster, to $250K. Be sure to register early.

On Sept. 14, there’s a deepstack $50K guarantee for $345. Mid-week events historically have a smaller turnout so you don’t want to miss the possibility for an overlay here.

The main event, scheduled for Sept. 17, features a $1,340 buy-in and two starting flights. Championship events at the GCPC always exceed expectations and lure players from all over. For more information, visit beaurivage.com.

PEARL RIVER RESORT: The Choctaw property hosts the Ante Up Poker Tour’s Pearl River Open from Oct. 26 until Nov. 5, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start qualifying now.

This month, super satellites to the $340 opening event run Aug. 17 (6 p.m.), Aug. 20 (noon) and Aug. 31 (6 p.m.) for $50. There is an optional $20 add-on for more chips and the events guarantee five seats.

If you’re interested in the $800 AUPT main event, $75 mega satellites this month on Aug. 24 (6 p.m.) and Aug. 27 (noon) guarantee two seats each.

AMERISTAR VICKSBURG: The Heartland Poker Tour, returning here for the sixth time, runs until Aug. 7. The $1,100 main event has a $100K guarantee and begins Aug. 4. Call 855-888-7281 and use code HPTAVB for $79 rooms.

South Florida

When Ben Zamani of Boca Raton earned his second career bracelet in the World Series of Poker’s fourth event, it looked like it might be another great year for South Florida players in Las Vegas.
However, while many of the area’s stars such as Matt Waxman, Rob Mizrachi, Jason Mercier, Maurice Hawkins, Sam Soverel and Mukul Pahuja each made a final-table appearance, it wasn’t until the second half of the series that a South Floridian would grace the bracelet stage again.

Louie Calvo of Sunny Isles Beach, a regular at the Magic City Poker Room in Miami, grabbed his first bracelet in Event 49 (six-max pot-limit Omaha) to earn $362K. The next afternoon, Chris Bolek of Boca Raton took down the $1,500 bounty event for $266K. Bolek, a regular at the Isle Poker Room in Pompano Beach, made a huge comeback after nearly being eliminated several times and was the short stack with 10 players left. When the final five needed to return for a fourth day to complete the large event (1,927 entries), Bolek was a distant fourth in chips.

“I came in pretty short to the final table and I just wanted to give myself a shot to win,” said Bolek, who won the Isle Classic in 2013 and the Rock ‘n’ Roll Open at Hard Rock Hollywood in December 2014. “People say how good it is to visualize things so I spent some time trying to do that to get into the right mind-set and it just kind of all came together, perfectly.”

KINGS COURT KEY: The six-table poker room opened June 19 in a temporary facility next to the property’s new jai-alai fronton in the southern part of Dade County, a quarter-mile east of U.S. 1 in Florida City.

Aaron Roiter, a former tournament director at Hialeah Park, runs the room. Early promotions included hourly high hands from noon until midnight each day, while a full bar serves drinks and food. Hours are from noon to 2 a.m. Sunday-Thursdays, with two more hours of play on Friday and Saturday until
4 a.m. Call 786-787-2575 for more information.

SEMINOLE PROPERTIES: The Seminole Tribe will be busy over the next two months with several big tournaments in August and September. First is the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open in Hollywood, highlighted by the $5,250 championship with a $3M guarantee. That premier event will join three other huge tournaments to once again comprise the Big 4, with all four final tables played simultaneously on Aug. 15 and live-streamed online at SHRPO.com. The TV production will be filmed for a later showing on Poker Night in America’s Season 6 via the CBS Sports Network.

Tournament director Tony Burns said the SHRPO is the series’ crown jewel. “We’re excited to once again welcome the poker world to South Florida and are really looking forward to the return of the Big 4, along with the addition of a $50K buy-in, $1M guarantee Super High Roller and a $10K buy-in, $500K guarantee one-day event.”
Those new events will be played Aug. 8 and 15, respectively.

In addition, the Charity Series of Poker will join the Hard Rock to host the Jeff Conine Celebrity Poker Classic benefiting the Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital Foundation on Aug. 7.

The series, in its fifth year, kicks off Aug. 3 with a $570 tourney that boasts a $1M guarantee. For more info, including formats for the Big 4 events, go to SHRPO.com.

The facility also hosts the WSOP Circuit Sept. 21-Oct. 2.

Central Florida

Naples-Ft. Myers Greyhound Track and Poker Room, slightly off the beaten path of the Tamiami Trail, hosts a $30K guarantee main event as the culmination to its Summer Poker Series, which runs Aug. 7-13. The $260 event will have satellites for $30 at noon daily Aug. 7-10 with an extra one running Aug. 9 at 6 p.m. Other tournaments in the series include a $180 kickoff event with a $15K guarantee (Aug. 7, 6 p.m.), a $130 tourney (Aug. 8, 6 p.m.) and a $155 bounty event (Aug. 10, 6 p.m.).

The main event has a fine structure. With 30-minute blinds on Day 1 and 25K chips, the play of this tournament is deep. Blinds are 40 minutes on Day 2, so there should be some quality play in a race to the finish. Call the poker room at 239-992-2411 for more details or see the ad in our July issue.

TAMPA BAY DOWNS: The Silks Poker Room hosts its 10-event Summer Series with $100K-plus in guarantees Aug. 3-13. The $580 main event, which will have five starting flights Aug. 10-12, has a $60K guarantee and a $135 satellite on Aug. 10 at 1 p.m.

Other events include PLO (Aug. 4, $330, 6 p.m.), bounty (Aug. 5, $330, 6 p.m., bounties are $100), tag team (Aug. 6, $420 per team, 1 p.m.) and a $100 charity tourney and dinner for the Jesse Heikkila Foundation (Aug. 8, 6 p.m.). There’s also a seniors event (Aug. 9, $150, 1 p.m.) and a ladies event (Aug. 5, $150, 1 p.m.) among others. For more info, visit tampabaydowns.com/poker.

HARD ROCK TAMPA: WPT DeepStacks recently came to town and put up its third-largest main event in its brief history. Three of the series’ five events drew 500-plus entries and a “who’s who” of Central Florida players attended, especially the main event. Along with local favorites Steve Trizis, Mike “Gascard” Collins and Chrissy Holubeck, other entrants included last year’s winner, Anthony Astarita (22nd), Karl Manouchakian (ninth), Danny Lobato (eighth) and Amelio Amato (seventh).

Local pros such as R.J. Sullivan, Chris Hyden and the Hard Rock’s ambassador, Wally Maddah, joined the 700-plus entrants looking to win the top prize. And that brings us to champion Rex Clinkscales. The poker pro, who left the World Series in Las Vegas to come to Tampa, found his way to the title, the guitar trophy, $162,354 and a seat into the $5,250 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open Main Event in August. Also, Clinkscales is invited to the WPT DeepStacks Championship.

RACENER WINS: Tampa’s John Racener, the 2010 WSOP main-event runner-up, finally has his bracelet. In the $10K dealer’s choice event, he used his chip lead and hold’em to put the pressure on Chris Klodnicki and Viacheslav Zhukov to earn $273,962.

SEMINOLE IMMOKALEE: The WPT DeepStacks runs Sept. 1-10 with 28 events in nine days, featuring a $1,100 main event with a $200K guarantee.

North Florida

CREEK GRETNA ENTERTAINMENT: The poker room hosts the World Poker Tour League every Wednesday night and two Friday nights in August. The Wednesday buy-in is $30 and the Friday buy-in is $40. Each tournament begins at 7 p.m. Other tournaments in August include a $2K guarantee for $60 Aug. 5, a $120 bounty Aug. 11 and a $10K guarantee for $270 Aug. 19. Satellites are available for this event. Go to creekentertainment.com for details. At the end of the month, there’s a $5K guarantee for $120 at 7 p.m. Aug. 25.

PENSACOLA GREYHOUND TRACK AND POKER ROOM: There’s a $2.5K guarantee here every Wednesday in August at 7 p.m. Also available are $60 tournaments every Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m., a $20K guarantee for $180, featuring starting flights Aug. 24-26 at 1 p.m. Day 1 survivors resume play Aug. 27. Satellites for this event will be Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7 p.m. and Sundays at 1 p.m.And there’s $70 bounty event Aug. 19 at 1 p.m. For more information, go to pensacolagreyhoundtrack.com.

EBRO GREYHOUND PARK: This Panhandle poker room’s tournament schedule includes a $5K guarantee for $30 event every Thursday and a $220 deepstack at 2 p.m. Sundays. Aug. 11 is hosting a $7.5K guarantee for $110.
Cash games offer high-hand bonuses and pay$250 for royal flushes daily.

ORANGE CITY RACING AND CARD CLUB: Daily high hands continue this month, including $1K high hand Saturdays. Seeorangecitypoker.com for available times.

DAYTONA RACING AND CARD CLUB: There are a couple of notable events with guarantees this month. Aug. 6 is a $10K guarantee for $90 at 1:10 p.m. and Aug. 27 is a $20K guarantee for $220. Thursdays in August feature a popular bounty tournament featuring local radio personalities. See the poker room’s website for more details.

BEST BET JACKSONVILLE: The summer warm-up series runs Aug. 18-27. Event 1 is a $360 buy-in $100K guarantee with four starting flights Aug. 18-19 at noon and 6 p.m. The surviving players finish Aug. 20. The $570 main event has three starting days (Aug. 24-26 at noon) with the final day Aug. 27. The main event has a $150K guarantee. One of the featured events is $300 heads-up tournament limited to 64 players.
Satellites are available Aug. 12, 17, 23 and 25. Aug. 23 is a $550 mega-satellite into the WPT main event at BestBet Jacksonville in October.

High hands run all month, including satellite-seat giveaways starting Aug. 13.

BESTBET ORANGE PARK: There are $50 tournaments Sundays at noon and Tuesdays at 7 p.m. Aug. 19 features a $100 stud/8 tournament at noon.

Meet Ian Fuller

Tampa Bay-area rounder Ian Fuller has been playing poker since he was a 12-year-old in New York. Early on, friends would play draw and stud “for whatever coins we had. I continued playing these types of home games my whole life. It wasn’t until around 2005 that I started to take the game seriously and really began to play Texas Hold’em.”
He loved the strategy behind the game and how by never playing a hand the same way twice you could manipulate the players into giving you their chips. The sense of accomplishment fueled him to study the game more and get better.

He has several accomplishments of which he’s proud. He believes his greatest accomplishment was a heads-up chop in a World Series of Poker daily deepstack that had 2,149 players, the largest field in history. “Beating a field that large helped prove to myself that I have the skill and stamina to play that long and win.” He also is fond of his first-place finish in a triple-stud event at the 2012 Grand Series at the Golden Nugget. “I’ve always wanted to be good at all forms of poker.”

Fuller strives to maintain a healthy balance of poker and life. As for poker advice? “Study and practice. The only way to get better at anything is to work hard at it and dedicate yourself to doing so. Read books, read magazine articles on strategy and watch videos on YouTube. Talk to other players. Try to pick up something new from all of them. Then incorporate the new information into your game. Practice at a stakes that the money won’t hurt you, then when you’ve got it down, bring it to your regular game.” — Sara Malowitz