Ante Up World Championship

ANTE UP WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP

July 20-August 6, 2017
Thunder Valley Casino Resort
Lincoln, California

About the Property

Thunder Valley Casino Resort, owned by the United Auburn Indian Community, is a AAA Four-Diamond resort just north of Sacramento, California's capital city. The resort features a 300-room luxury hotel, full casino, spa, pool, bar and entertainment area, golf course and nine restaurants, including High Steaks Steakhouse.

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Accommodations

  • Deluxe rooms measure 535 square feet with lavishly oversized marble bathrooms with European spa showers, separate soaking tub, makeup mirror, hair dryer, plush terrycloth robes, pillowtop mattress, 320-thread count linens, T1 wireless Internet, safe, iron/ironing board, coffee maker, refrigerator, large writing desk, three telephones, Sony stereo alarm clock with MP3 connection and 40-inch LCD flat-screen TV. One- and two-bedroom suites also available.
    Use code 17719ANTEP for discounted room rates

Amenities

  • Casino: Slots, table games, bingo and a 24-table poker room (33 tables during tournament events). Gambling age is 21.
  • Golf: Whitney Oaks Golf Club is an 18-hole course 15 minutes from Thunder Valley
  • Dining: Feast Buffet, Thunder Cafe, Red Lantern (Asian), High Steaks Steakhouse and a food court
  • Other: Spa, pool, health club and entertainment venue on site.

Airport
Sacramento International Airport (SMF) is 36 miles from Thunder Valley. Also consider airports in nearby Reno, San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose.

Resort Overview

By Scott Long
I’ll never forget my first meeting with Ben Erwin.

I was on one of my many sales trips, and Erwin politely agreed to meet me for lunch at Thunder Valley Casino Resort, where he was director of poker operations, as I zig-zagged across Northern California.

Ben was was clear on the phone that he didn't have a budget for Ante Up, but something clicked over chicken pasta and Arnold Palmers and, not too much later, Thunder Valley was hosting the inaugural Ante Up Poker Tour event.

"It all started in 2012. We had really good success on our own as we starting building a name for ourselves in the region," Erwin said. "And then we partnered with Ante Up for the first Ante Up NorCal Classic and we got a great response. That was our first $1K event and it was just an amazing turnout. That really opened the door to a lot of things."

A lot of things indeed. Heartland Poker Tour stops. A World Poker Tour stop. An expanded poker room. And, of course, more Ante Up Poker Tour events.

"People are getting on planes now and flying to Sacramento to play poker," Erwin said.

I’m one of them. I’ve had great success playing at Thunder Valley, and I attribute it to the AAA Four-Diamond experience players enjoy when staying at Thunder Valley.

I start my day in the spa, where I enjoy an eucalyptus steam and computer-controlled rainforest shower, followed by hot tea and healthy snacks in the meditation lounge - all included in my room rate. It gets me relaxed and focused for the day’s tournaments.

After I cash, I never have to leave the resort to get a great meal with 14 bars and restaurants on property. If I’m in a hurry, a food court with several options is a quick walk from the poker room, as is a lavish buffet. If I’m not, you’ll find me at Red Lantern, deciding between pages and pages of delicious Asian dishes on the menu. And if I want to treat myself, I’m going to enjoy a tender steak and a Northern California red wine at High Steaks. (An added bonus for Main Event players is the ability to use their food comp not only for the buffet but also for a limited menu at High Steaks, designed to get them in and out during the dinner break.)

Then it’s on to the cash games. The resort offers four levels of no-limit - $1-$2 and $2-$5 daily and $5-$5 and $5-$10 on weekends. A $3-$6 limit game is always going, and $4-$8 limit and $4-$8 Omaha/8 break out on weekends, and pot-limit Omaha fires up during most major events. All feature terrific promotions. A full casino awaits for players who want to try their luck in other ways.

Late in the night, I grab a cold beer and enjoy live entertainment at one of the many bars, before retiring to my 535-square-foot suite, complete with an oversized bathroom, 320-thread-count linens, fast Internet and everything I need to wake up refreshed and ready for another day of exciting poker.

After, of course, a return visit to the eucalyptus steam room.

Event Overview

The Ante Up World Championship has grown into a signature event over the past several years and one thing continues to help the event stand out: Thunder Valley Casino Resort’s commitment to making this a series accessible to all players.

“The series is designed to offer an event for every player,” Thunder Valley director of poker operations Ben Erwin said of the series that runs July 20-Aug. 6 at the resort near Sacramento, Calif. “Our multiday events are no different. The experience of making it to the end of a Day 1 and bagging your chips, then returning to play for big money is exciting. The range of buy-ins from $160 to $1,650 and guarantees from $100,000 to $500,000 allow everyone to have that experience.”

This year, the series boasts three multiday events, not counting the main event, allowing players of all bankrolls a chance to bag-and-tag like big-time pros, while at the same time making the events attractive to more seasoned players by ensuring large fields and big guarantees. And furthering the goal of accessibility, as well as bucking nationwide trends, the series features more than 20 satellites.

“Over the last couple of years, we have been pushing up the number of guaranteed seats in the satellites and seeing a tremendous response,” Erwin said. “The popularity of the event is the most important factor in deciding how big the satellite seat guarantee can be. The $500,000 Ante Up World Championship has developed into an event that players want to be part of and that allows us to offer some of the biggest satellite guarantees.”

And it’s always the main event, which this year runs Aug. 4-6, that is the big draw. The format has been tinkered with each year to provide a true, championship experience at a $1,650 price point, and Erwin likes how it looks for 2017.

“The combination of the $500,000 guarantee, two flights and finishing on Sunday last year received nothing put positive feedback," Erwin said. "This year, the championship will play exactly the same."

Mixed games and variations to standard Hold’em tournaments have always had a place at Thunder Valley and in the Ante Up World Championship, and this year Omaha, HORSE and PLO are on the schedule. The popular Head-to-Head Championship returns, as well, and new will be the $160 Change Up, which starts as a full-table tournament, turns into a six-handed shootout when 24 players are left and finishes with a four-player heads-up bracket.

“For us, it's what makes this a championship series,” Erwin said. “The mix of games is a draw and appreciated by those who attend. The $400 Head-to-Head Championship is definitely the most talked about and a great fit the day before the main event. The newest event we have is the Change Up. As it says on the structure, ‘It’s a whole new ballgame!’ "

Erwin and his staff also have helped grow the series with extra touches that players appreciate, whether it’s breakfast served before the Head-to-Head Championship, a championship reception with food and wine for Ante Up Poker Tour winners from around the country to the Player of the Series race, which debuted last year.

“Once again, the Player of the Series will receive a complimentary $1,650 main-event entry,” Erwin said. “Last year, it created quite a buzz with about 10 players in contention going into the final points event. The Head-to-Head Championship offered a race that came down to the wire between Matt Boddorf and the eventual series points champ, Dalton Still.”

Thunder Valley Casino Resort continues to be an unparallelled host for the Ante Up World Championship, with its proximity to San Francisco Bay Area players as well as those from Reno, and AAA Four Diamond luxury throughout the resort that makes it an attractive event to traveling players. Thunder Valley features a Las Vegas-style casino, 300 oversized and well-appointed guest rooms, a spa with complimentary steam room and sauna access for hotel guests, and a wide variety of restaurants, bars and entertainment venues, including the signature High Steaks Steakhouse, to keep players entertained when away from the poker table.

“It's truly been an amazing journey with Ante Up as our partner from the beginning in 2012,” Erwin said. “Ante Up has always been a staple on our tour schedule and now we are on the eve of hosting their championship for the fourth consecutive year. It's great to look back and see what we have done, but really looking forward to what is to come.”

Schedule

  • Thursday, July 20, 5 p.m. - EVENT #1 DAY 1A: $160 No-Limit Hold’em Catapult ($100,000 guaranteed)
  • Friday, July 21, 11 a.m. - EVENT #1 DAY 1B: $160 No-Limit Hold’em Catapult ($100,000 guaranteed)
  • Friday, July 21, 5 p.m. - EVENT #1 DAY 1C: $160 No-Limit Hold’em Catapult ($100,000 guaranteed)
  • Saturday, July 22, 9 a.m. - EVENT #1 DAY 1D: $160 No-Limit Hold’em Catapult ($100,000 guaranteed)
  • Saturday, July 22, 5 p.m. - EVENT #1 DAY 1E: $160 No-Limit Hold’em Catapult ($100,000 guaranteed)
  • Sunday, July 23, 1 p.m. - EVENT #1 DAY 2: $160 No-Limit Hold’em Catapult ($100,000 guaranteed)
  • Sunday, July 23, 7 p.m. - EVENT #2: $160 No-Limit Hold’em Knockout ($50 bounties)
  • Monday, July 24, 11 a.m. - EVENT #3: $125 No-Limit Hold’em no antes ($7,500 guaranteed)
  • Monday, July 24, 5 p.m. - EVENT #4: $125 No-Limit Hold’em ($10,000 guaranteed)
  • Tuesday, July 25, 11 a.m. - EVENT #5: $140 No-Limit Hold’em Bankroll Builder (12% of field gets $1,000)
  • Tuesday, July 25, 5 p.m. - EVENT #6: $160 No-Limit Hold’em Change Up ($10,000 guaranteed, six-handed at 24 players remaining and final four players heads-up)
  • Wednesday, July 26, 11 a.m. - EVENT #7: $160 No-Limit Hold’em Escalator ($7,500 guaranteed)
  • Wednesday, July 26, 5 p.m. - EVENT #8: $160 Omaha/8 ($10,000 guaranteed)
  • Thursday, July 27, 5 p.m. - EVENT #9 DAY 1A: $455 No-Limit Hold’em Monolith ($250,000 guaranteed)
  • Friday, July 28, 11 a.m. - EVENT #9 DAY 1B: $455 No-Limit Hold’em Monolith ($250,000 guaranteed)
  • Friday, July 28, 5 p.m. - EVENT #9 DAY 1C: $455 No-Limit Hold’em Monolith ($250,000 guaranteed)
  • Saturday, July 29, 11 a.m. - EVENT #9 DAY 1D: $455 No-Limit Hold’em Monolith ($250,000 guaranteed)
  • Sunday, July 30, 11 a.m. - EVENT #9 DAY 2: $455 No-Limit Hold’em Monolith ($250,000 guaranteed)
  • Sunday, July 30, 7 p.m. - EVENT #10: $160 No-Limit Hold’em Knockout ($50 bounties)
  • Monday, July 31, 11 a.m. - EVENT #11: $160 HORSE ($5,000 guaranteed)
  • Monday, July 31, 5 p.m. - EVENT #12 DAY 1A: $260 No-Limit Hold’em Action 8 ($100,000 guaranteed)
  • Tuesday, Aug.1, 11 a.m. - EVENT #12 DAY 1B: $260 No-Limit Hold’em Action 8 ($100,000 guaranteed)
  • Tuesday, Aug.1, 5 p.m. - EVENT #12 DAY 1C: $260 No-Limit Hold’em Action 8 ($100,000 guaranteed)
  • Wednesday, Aug. 2, 11 a.m. - EVENT #13: $160 Pot-Limit Omaha/8 (two free buys included)
  • Wednesday, Aug. 2, 5 p.m. - EVENT #12 DAY 2: $260 No-Limit Hold’em Action 8 ($100,000 guaranteed)
  • Thursday, Aug. 3, 11 a.m. - EVENT #14: $400 Head to Head Championship
  • Friday, Aug. 4, 11 a.m. - MAIN EVENT DAY 1A: $1,650 No-Limit Hold’em ($500,000 guaranteed)
  • Saturday, Aug. 5, 11 a.m. - MAIN EVENT DAY 1B: $1,650 No-Limit Hold’em ($500,000 guaranteed)
  • Sunday, Aug. 6, 11 a.m. - EVENT #16: $160 No-Limit Hold’em ($10,000 guaranteed)
  • Sunday, Aug. 6, noon - MAIN EVENT DAY 2: $1,650 No-Limit Hold’em ($500,000 guaranteed)
  • Sunday, Aug. 6, 2 p.m. - EVENT #17: $125 No-Limit Hold’em Seniors Championship
  • Sunday, Aug. 6, 7 p.m. - EVENT #18: $160 No-Limit Hold’em Knockout ($50 bounties)

Structures

Click here for structures.

Satellites

  • Sunday, July 23, 11 a.m. - $60 (1 in 10 win Event #9 seat, three seats guaranteed)
  • Sunday, July 23, 2 p.m. - $110 (1 in 5 win Event #9 seat, five seats guaranteed)
  • Monday, July 24, 8 p.m. - $110 (1 in 5 win Event #9 seat, five seats guaranteed)
  • Tuesday, July 25, 8 p.m. - $110 (1 in 5 win Event #9 seat, five seats guaranteed)
  • Wednesday, July 26, 8 p.m. - $110 (1 in 5 win Event #9 seat, five seats guaranteed)
  • Thursday, July 27, 11 a.m. - $60 (1 in 10 win Event #9 seat, three seats guaranteed)
  • Thursday, July 27, 2 p.m. - $110 (1 in 5 win Event #9 seat, five seats guaranteed)
  • Thursday, July 27, 8 p.m. - $110 (1 in 5 win Event #9 seat, five seats guaranteed)
  • Sunday, July 30, 11 a.m. - $85 (1 in 5 win $365 Main Event satellite seat, 10 seats guaranteed)
  • Sunday, July 30, 2 p.m. - $365 (1 in 5 win Main Event seat, five seats guaranteed)
  • Monday, July 31, 2 p.m. - $65 (1 in 5 win Event #12 seat)
  • Monday, July 31, 8 p.m. - $65 (1 in 5 win Event #12 seat)
  • Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2 p.m. - $65 (1 in 5 win Event #12 seat)
  • Tuesday, Aug. 1, 8 p.m. - $115 (1 in 4 win Event #14 seat, four seats guaranteed)
  • Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2 p.m. - $85 (1 in 5 win $365 Main Event satellite seat, five seats guaranteed)
  • Wednesday, Aug. 2, 6 p.m. - $365 (1 in 5 win Main Event seat, five seats guaranteed)
  • Thursday, Aug. 3, 11 a.m. - $190 (1 in 10 win Main Event seat)
  • Thursday, Aug. 3, 2 p.m. - $85 (1 in 5 win $365 Main Event satellite seat, five seats guaranteed)
  • Thursday, Aug. 3, 6 p.m. - $365 (1 in 5 win Main Event seat, 10 seats guaranteed)
  • Friday, Aug. 4, 11 a.m. - $190 (1 in 10 win Main Event seat)
  • Friday, Aug. 4, 2 p.m. - $85 (1 in 5 win $365 Main Event satellite seat, five seats guaranteed)
  • Friday, Aug. 4, 6 p.m. - $365 turbo (1 in 5 win Main Event seat, 20 seats guaranteed)
  • Saturday, Aug. 5, 10 a.m. - $365 turbo (1 in 5 win Main Event seat, four seats guaranteed)

History

July 21-August 7, 2016, Thunder Valley Casino Resort, Lincoln, California

    Event #1 - Champion: Dalton Still
    Event #2 - Champion: David Forsberg
    Event #3 - Champion: Christina Ouyang-Hang
    Event #4 - Champion: Kyle Welter
    Event #5 - Champion: Kevin O'Donnell
    Event #6 - Champion: James Hammer
    Event #7 - Champion: Walter Stewart
    Event #8 - Champion: Danny Smith
    Event #9 - Champion: Joe Christman
    Event #10 - Champion: John Bufka
    Event #11 - Champion: John Goyette
    Event #12 - Champion: Bill Watchman
    Event #13 - Champion: Vic Campana
    Event #14 - Champion: Matt Boddorf
    Event #15 - Champion: Eric Werner
    Main Event - Champion: Declined to be identified
    Event #17 - Champion: Roy Mode
    Event #18 - Champion: Ravinder Sharma
    Event #19 - Champion: Azaan Nagra
    Event #20 - Champion: Marty Gorenc

July 27-August 10, 2015, Thunder Valley Casino Resort, Lincoln, California

  • Event #1 - Champion: Robert Ibarra
  • Event #2 - Champion: Luke Williams
  • Event #3 - Champion: Michael McMurry
  • Event #5 - Champion: Jake Morgan
  • Event #6 - Champion: Darrel Dier
  • Event #7 - Champion: Lacy Smith
  • Event #8 - Champion: Gabriel Calderon
  • Event #9 - Champion: Roger Bailey
  • Event #10 - Champion: Jake Lin
  • Event #11 - Champion: Tammy Robinson
  • Event #12 - Champion: Mike Postle
  • Event #13 - Champion: Nhat Tran
  • Event #14 - Champion: Joel Huppe
  • Event #15 - Champion: Chet Perrigo
  • Event #16 - Champion: Sean Drake
  • Event #17 - Champion: Andrew Sylvester
  • Event #18 -(Main Event) Champion: Cy Williams
  • Event #19 - Champion: Michael McGonigle
  • Event #20 - Champion: Steve Marion

July 31-August 10, 2014, Thunder Valley Casino Resort, Lincoln, California

  • Event #1 - Champion: Andy Pham
  • Event #2 - Champion: Sean Drake
  • Event #3 - Champion: Derek Raymond
  • Event #4 - Champion: Steve Parino
  • Event #5 - Champion: Survivor event - 15-way chop
  • Event #6 - Champion: Franklin Curren
  • Event #7 - Champion: Doyle Johnson
  • Event #8 - Champion: Thomas Samuel
  • Event #9 - Champion: Andrew Berlfein
  • Event #10 - Champion: Daniel Klein
  • Event #11 - Champion: Shawn Roberts
  • Event #12 - Champion: Andrew Barber
  • Event #13 (Main Event) - Champion: Justo Avalos
  • Event #14 - Champion: Zarifa Stephen

July 28-August 3, 2013, Hard Rock Punta Cana, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

  • Event #1 - Champion: Jerry Cantrell
  • Event #2 - Champion: Timothy Trahan
  • Event #3 - Champion: Mark Stephen Edwards
  • Event #4 - Champion: "Tampa Bay" Ray Del Cueto
  • Event #5 - Champion: Isaac Giiona
  • Event #6 - Champions: "Tampa Bay" Ray Del Cueto, Jason Jiminez, Francis Cruz
  • Event #7 - Champion: Jim D'Orso
  • Event #8 (Main Event) - Champion: Don Bates
  • Event #9 - Event cancelled
  • Event #10 - Champion: Dylan Shelley
  • Event #11 - Champion: Luis Matias
  • Event #12 - Champion: Markus Wolter
  • Event #13 - Champion: Markus Wolter
  • Event #14 - Champion: Mark Stephen Edwards
  • Event #15 - Champion: Michael Matrone