Akbari wins East Cast Poker Championship in New York

July 28, 2016, Dave Lukow, Jo Kim, Michael Young  

Ghulam Akbari beat nearly 300 entrants to win $26,860 and the East Coast Poker Championships at Turning Stone Resort & Casino.

Jason Nablo earned $22,981 for second while Adam Foster pocketed $21K for third.
A resident of Schenectady, N.Y., Akbari has 14 cashes, 10 coming at Turning Stone, and $82,684 in career winnings.
Nablo, playing out of Niagara Falls, has made more than $249K on the live circuit. He has 82 cashes, including seven in 2016.

Foster, from Waterloo, N.Y., cashed for the 35th time. He has $418K in earnings, including his top performance of winning the 2013 Empire State Poker Championship at Turning Stone, where he collected $154,458 for winning the main event.
David Somers finished fourth in this year’s main for $10,356, the richest cash of his career to increase his lifetime take to $39K. Hayden Glassman was fifth ($7,748). From Rochester, Glassman has earned more than $210K and followed this showing with a 10th in Event 2 of the World Series of Poker.

John Kermes edged Tyler Gardner to win the opening event of the ECPC, earning $17,745. Gardner won $17,744. Joe Sicko of Waterford, N.Y., was third in the $250 tourney, good for $8,925. Each of his four cashes have come at Turning Stone.

Event 2, a $330 bounty tourney, drew 69 entries. Mary Maltbie, who captured the top spot, and Carl Peter Hallstroem took away $3,695 apiece. Scott Gumienny, the third-place finisher, and Dmitri Amirov both banked $1,725. The payday was the biggest yet for Maltbie, who registered her ninth cash, while Gumienny, out of Rhinebeck, N.Y., also has nine cashes, including four in 2016.

Turning Stone’s Empire State Hold’em Championship runs Aug. 8-21. Call the poker room for details.

Atlantic City/Philadelphia

SUGARHOUSE CASINO: The Philadelphia property kicked off its second Sugar Rush $100K guarantee with 424 entrants, despite the World Series of Poker going full swing in Las Vegas.

“It speaks to the size of the poker community in this area.The response of our players to our $100K events has been tremendous,” director of poker Raye Ramsey said.“We’re happy that our players like our tournament structures, our cash promotions and unique amenities we offer.We are always looking to improve the players’ experience and listen to our players’ suggestions for the future.”

The newly revised event gave players the option to enter Day 2’s first level for $1,100 with a 100K starting stack, as opposed to $250 with 30K chips for Day 1 entrants.There were 24 entrants who opted for the $1,100 buy-in, making it 92 players starting Day 2 with the average chip count at about 120K.

Among the crowd was Chris Larrea, Philadelphia’s notable tournament player who chopped the previous $100K heads-up for $19K against Brian Hastings’ $28K and championship title.

“I feel the $100K I chopped was tougher with more experienced players than the most recent one, which was scheduled during the WSOP,” Larrea said. “The final table was very challenging with two of the best players in the world, Matt Glantz and Brian Hastings.”

The prize pool reached $106K as 53 players made it in the money, starting at a $468 payout.The final seven players agreed on a partial ICM chop after Joseph Gola, who was one of the chipleaders for most of Day 2, busted in eighth place for $2,830.The top two, Frank Molinari and Gerald Johnson, took home $12K, while the other five players claimed $8,346 each.

PARX: Big Stax returns Aug. 1-22 for the 17th time.The three main events will be for the buy-ins of $330, $550 and $1,600.The schedule can be found at parxcasino.com/bigstax. Stay tuned to future issues of Ante Up as a couple of big events were still running at press time, the Big Stax 200 and the Borgata Poker Open.

Connecticut
Foxwoods in Eastern Connecticut again hosts the World Series of Poker Circuit Aug. 18-29 with $1.3M guaranteed. There will be two $500K guarantees, the $580 Event 2 (Aug. 18-22) and the $1,675 main event (Aug. 26-27). The multiday main event sports 20K chips and 40-minute blinds to start (hour-long blinds kick in later). Six other events on the schedule have $50K guarantees. See the ad on the facing page for the full schedule and more details.

Mid-Atlantic

DOVER DOWNS HOTEL & CASINO: The poker room is awarding three Ante Up Poker Cruise packages in a $45 tournament on Aug. 21 at 2 p.m. Players will start with 7,500 units and levels will be 15 minutes. The final three players will each get an Ante Up Poker Cruise package for two for the Nov. 14 sailing aboard Royal Caribbean’s Brilliance of the Seas, which leaves from Tampa, Fla., and makes two port stops: Cozumel, Mexico, and George Town, Grand Cayman. Speaking of winning an Ante Up Poker Cruise, John Attiliis of Maryland won one of these packages in the July 10 freeroll. Also, pictured in our issue is Dave Strittmatter, Matthew Beatty, Michael Bauman, Brian Howard and Scott Cieri, who won Set Sail series packages.

In other tourney news, starting Aug. 8 at 7:15 p.m., there’s a $20 satellite for the Getaway $15K guarantee that weekend. One in 10 wins a seat. The series runs Aug. 12-14, including the $15K guarantee on Aug. 13 at 11:15 a.m. for $125.

After the Getaway, Dover Downs hosts the seven-event Delaware Poker Championship on Aug. 31-Sept. 5. The $115 kickoff event on Aug. 31 will have a $5K guarantee and starts at 11:15 a.m. Sept. 1 is the $5K guarantee PLO championship.

The $100K main event, which costs $560, has two starting days: Sept. 2-3 at 10:30 a.m. Day 2 will be Sept. 3. There will be satellites throughout August. The $225 bounty championship is Sept. 2 at 7:15 p.m. and has $100 bounties and a $10K guarantee. The deepstack is Sept. 4 with 25K chips and a $5K guarantee. The $5K finale is Sept. 5 at 11:15 a.m. See the ad in our August issue for more details.

MARYLAND LIVE: The Capitol Poker Classic runs Aug. 21-28. See the ad on Page 35 of our August issue.

HORSESHOE BALTIMORE: The poker room revised its tournament schedule. Sunday-Thursday is two events with guarantees between $2,500-$8K. Friday has an $8K guarantee, double-green chip bounty tournament. Saturday is the $15K guarantee.

HARRINGTON RACEWAY: New events have been added on Wednesdays, including a $3-$6 Omaha-O/8 game and $50 hot seats every hour from noon-7 p.m.

Meet Joe Palma

You frequently make final table appearances in the Philadelphia region, currently holding the most final tables at Parx. What would you say are some factors that play into your results? The structures are fantastic. You have plenty of time to navigate your way through the field. Plus, being close to home helps, you get to sleep in your own bed, go home for dinner, grab a coffee.

You usually stay close to home for most of the summer, but what about the World Series? I always go to Vegas for (about) 10 days during the series. … The main event, for thefirst time, had 50K chips, which is very enticing.

Would you consider yourself a cash and tournament player? Where is your favorite venue? I consider myself both.I prefer to play tournaments, but I know the importance of grinding cash. Parx is my favorite venue; it has a great staff, tournaments and environment to play in. — Jo Kim