Ante Up World Championship

ANTE UP WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP

July 31-August 11, 2014
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.

Contact

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.
    *Special discounted room rates of $99 Sunday-Thursday and $179.99 Friday-Saturday, plus fees, are available for players using code: 140731ANTE.

Amenities

  • Casino: Slots, table games and 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, including the Ante Up World Championship July 31-Aug. 11.

"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.

I’ll see you all at Thunder Valley July 31-Aug. 11. You won’t be disappointed.

Event Overview

By Scott Long
When Ante Up decided to move its Ante Up World Championship from the Dominican Republic to the United States, Ben Erwin knew he wanted it at Thunder Valley Casino Resort.

"When I look at Ante Up, this is the brand that we’re behind," said Erwin, director of poker operations at Thunder Valley, just north of Sacramento, Calif. "This is the brand that has supported us and we wanted to be the property that hosts that championship."

And over the past several months, Erwin stayed up late many nights designing and tinkering with the schedule, structures and details - fully committed to making the event worthy of the name "World Championship."

"What’s great about working at Thunder Valley is (the business side of poker) isn’t the No. 1 priority," Erwin said. "I have the ability to offer events that encompass the game itself. So we always ask, 'what’s the best thing for the game?' "

The "best thing," Erwin decided, was a 12-day, 14-event series with a variety of games and hold’em variations, all culminating with $1,650 buy-in Main Event with a $250,000 guaranteed prize pool, specifically designed at attract notice from pros and amateurs alike. Matt Savage, one of the most recognizable names in poker tournament directing, will be on hand to oversee the Main Event.

Players will start with 30,000 units and 40-minute levels, expanding to 60 minutes in Level 9. They’ll be only one starting flight with each player allowed just one re-entry, keeping the entire field together throughout the tournament eschewing the new norm of multiple Day Ones and re-entries that give players with larger bankrolls an advantage. Players also will have the option to abandon their chip stack the end of Level 9 and re-enter.

"One thing that is important to me is that this event have a championship feel," Erwin said. "I thought it was important to design the event where every hand counts. We're going to take bankroll out of the equation, and let people's play be what they remember from the event. You're never really forced to play a hand. You can let the event come to you."

The champion wins his or her photo on the cover of the September issue of Ante Up Magazine and a personalized champion’s jacket, in addition to what should be a nice payday. And, weather-permitting, the final six players - and friends, family and fans watching via live-stream at home - will get the full resort experience, as Erwin plans to host a shortened final table on Thunder Valley’s luxurious pool deck.

"We want this to be a great poker event, but also a great place to visit," Erwin said.

The Ante Up World Championship series officially starts July 31, with a $126 buy-in kickoff event that will be heavily marketing through Facebook and Twitter, and 13 other events. Hold’em variations include deepstack, bounty, escalator, survivor, six-handed and ante-only events, while players looking for something different will see HORSE, Limit Omaha/8 and, for the first time at Thunder Valley, an Open Face Chinese Poker event. The Western Senior Poker Tour also will host a seniors event during the series.

Also, nearly three dozen multi-table satellites at several price points are planned starting July 26, as well as daily single-table satellites, giving players at all bankroll levels a chance to play for the title.

"The poker enthusiast is really going to like this schedule, and it’s just going to be a great couple of weeks of poker in Northern California," Erwin said.

Schedule

Subject to change

  • July 31, 5 p.m.: Event #1 - $125 No-Limit Hold'em Facebook/Twitter Series Kickoff ($20,000 guaranteed)
  • Aug. 1, 11 a.m.: Event #2 Day 1A - $425 Ante Up World Deepstack No-Limit Hold'em Championship ($150,000 guaranteed)
  • Aug. 1, 4 p.m.: Event #2 Day 1B - $425 Ante Up World Deepstack No-Limit Hold'em Championship ($150,000 guaranteed)
  • Aug. 2, 11 a.m.: Event #2 Day 1C - $425 Ante Up World Deepstack No-Limit Hold'em Championship ($150,000 guaranteed)
  • Aug. 3, Noon: Event #2 Day 2 - $425 Ante Up World Deepstack No-Limit Hold'em Championship ($150,000 guaranteed, live-streamed)
  • Aug. 3, 7 p.m.: Event #3 - $150 No-Limit Hold'em Knockout with $50 bounties ($10,000 guaranteed)
  • Aug. 4, 11 a.m.: Event #4 - $180 No-Limit Hold'em Escalator ($10,000 guaranteed)
  • Aug. 4, 5 p.m.: Event #5 - $225 No-Limit Hold'em Survivor ($20,000 guaranteed)
  • Aug. 5, 11 a.m.: Event #6 - $180 Ante Up World HORSE Championship
  • Aug. 5, 5 p.m.: Event #7 - $235 No-Limit Hold'em ($25,000 guaranteed)
  • Aug. 6, 11 a.m.: Event #8 - $180 Ante Up World Limit Omaha 8 Championship ($10,000 guaranteed)
  • Aug. 6, 5 p.m.: Event #9 - $300 Ante Up World No-Limit Hold'em Black Chip Bounty Championship with $100 bounties ($40,000 guaranteed)
  • Aug. 7, 11 a.m.: Event #10 - $150 No-Limit Hold'em Ante Only
  • Aug. 7, 5 p.m.: Event #11 - $235 Ante Up World Six-Handed No-Limit Hold'em Championship ($15,000 guaranteed)
  • Aug. 8, 1 p.m.: Event #12 - $360 Ante Up World Open Face Chinese Poker Championship
  • Aug. 9, 11 a.m.: Event #13 Day 1 - $1,650 Ante Up World Championship No-Limit Hold'em Main Event ($250,000 guaranteed; winner appears on September issue of Ante Up Magazine)
  • Aug. 10, Noon: Event #13 Day 2 - $1,650 Ante Up World Championship No-Limit Hold'em Main Event ($250,000 guaranteed; winner appears on September issue of Ante Up Magazine)
  • Aug. 10, 2 p.m.: $250 Western Senior Poker Tour No-Limit Hold'em seniors
  • Aug. 10, 7 p.m.: Event #14 - $150 No-Limit Hold'em Knockout Bounty with $50 bounties ($10,000 guaranteed)
  • Aug. 11, 6 p.m.: Event #13 Final Table - $1,650 Ante Up World Championship No-Limit Hold'em Main Event ($250,000 guaranteed; winner appears on September issue of Ante Up Magazine, live-streamed)

Structures

Please visit this link for structures for all events.

Satellites

Subject to change
Single tables

  • July 26-31 & Aug. 3-8, all day: $185 (one player wins Main Event entry)
  • July 26-31 & Aug. 3-8, all day: $360 (two players win Main Event entry)
  • July 28-Aug. 1, all day: $100 (two players win Event #2 entry)
  • Aug. 2, until 9 a.m.: $100 (two players win Event #2 entry)
  • Aug. 6, until 3:30 p.m.: $75 (two players win Event #9 entry)
  • Aug. 9, until 9 a.m.: $185 (one player wins Main Event entry)
  • Aug. 9, until 9 a.m.: $360 (two players win Main Event entry)

Multitable

  • July 26, 8 p.m.: $185 (1 in 10 wins Main Event entry)
  • July 26, 10 p.m.: $85 (1 in 5 wins $360 qualifier entry)
  • July 27, 5 p.m.: $185 (1 in 10 wins Main Event entry)
  • July 27, 10 p.m.: $85 (1 in 5 wins $360 qualifier entry)
  • July 28, 5 p.m.: $55 (1 in 10 wins Event #2 entry)
  • July 28, 8 p.m.: $185 (1 in 10 wins Main Event entry)
  • July 28, 10 p.m.: $85 (1 in 5 wins $360 qualifier entry)
  • July 29, 5 p.m.: $100 (1 in 5 wins Event #2 entry)
  • July 29, 8 p.m.: $185 (1 in 10 wins Main Event entry)
  • July 29, 10 p.m.: $85 (1 in 5 wins $360 qualifier entry)
  • July 30, 5 p.m.: $55 (1 in 10 wins Event #2 entry)
  • July 30, 8 p.m.: $185 (1 in 10 wins Main Event entry)
  • July 30, 10 p.m.: $85 (1 in 5 wins $360 qualifier entry)
  • July 31, 1 p.m.: $100 (1 in 5 wins Event #2 entry)
  • July 31, 8 p.m.: $185 (1 in 10 wins Main Event entry)
  • July 31, 10 p.m.: $85 (1 in 5 wins $360 qualifier entry)
  • Aug. 1, 1 p.m.: $100 (1 in 5 wins Event #2 entry)
  • Aug. 1, 10 p.m.: $85 (1 in 5 wins $360 qualifier entry)
  • Aug. 2, 10 p.m.: $85 (1 in 5 wins $360 qualifier entry)
  • Aug. 3, 1 p.m.: $360 (1 in 5 wins Main Event entry)
  • Aug. 3, 10 p.m.: $85 (1 in 5 wins $360 qualifier entry)
  • Aug. 4, 1 p.m.: $85 (1 in 5 wins $360 qualifier entry)
  • Aug. 4, 8 p.m.: $185 (1 in 10 wins Main Event entry)
  • Aug. 5, 1 p.m.: $85 (1 in 5 wins $360 qualifier entry)
  • Aug. 5, 8 p.m.: $185 (1 in 10 wins Main Event entry)
  • Aug. 6, 1 p.m.: $85 (1 in 5 wins $360 qualifier entry)
  • Aug. 6, 8 p.m.: $360 (1 in 5 wins Main Event entry)
  • Aug. 7, 1 p.m.: $85 (1 in 5 wins $360 qualifier entry)
  • Aug. 7, 8 p.m.: $360 (1 in 5 wins Main Event entry)
  • Aug. 8, 11 a.m.: $185 (1 in 10 wins Main Event entry)
  • Aug. 8, 5 p.m.: $85 (1 in 5 wins $360 qualifier entry)
  • Aug. 8, 8 p.m.: $360 (1 in 5 wins Main Event entry)

History

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
  • 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