Ante Up World Championship
ANTE UP WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
July 27-August 10, 2015
Thunder Valley Casino Resort
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.
- Address: 1200 Athens Avenue, Lincoln, CA 95648 (map)
- Phone: (877) 468-8777
- Website: www.thundervalleyresort.com
- Twitter: @thunder_valley
- Facebook: facebook.com/thundervalley
- Poker director: Ben Erwin (@BenErwinPoker)
- 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: 150727ANTE.
- 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.
Sacramento International Airport (SMF) is 36 miles from Thunder Valley. Also consider airports in nearby Reno, San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose.
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 27-Aug. 10. You won’t be disappointed.
By Scott Long
True to its motto of “Up The Ante,” Thunder Valley Casino Resort has made the 2015 Ante Up World Championship this August even bigger and better than last year’s wildly successful series, including hosting the Main Event final table on the outside patio of the resort’s renowned steakhouse, High Steaks.
The series at the resort just north of Sacramento, Calif., will run July 27-Aug. 10 and feature 20 events capped by a $1,650 Main Event with a $250,000 prize pool guarantee. In addition to more events on the schedule this year, the variety of events has increased as well, and pricing has been adjusted to make the series even more accommodating to players of all bankroll levels.
“This is the most diverse series we offer and I hope that the pricing allows for more players to participate,” said Ben Erwin, director of poker operations at Thunder Valley. “I am offering a couple events at the $100 price point and made some adjustments to some of the specialty events in hopes of getting players to try events out of their comfort zone.”
New this year is the $365 Ante Up World Heads-Up Championship on Aug. 6, with the final four returning on Aug. 7. A bracket draw featuring a breakfast buffet will be at 11 a.m. onAug. 6. Other more unusual events on the schedule include a $140 Bankroll Builder event, where the top 12 percent of the field each wins $1,000; a $100 ante-only event with no blinds; a $180 no-limit hold’em escalator event and a $235 pot-limit Omaha event.
Popular events returning from last year include a four-flight multi-day deep stack event with a $200,000 guarantee and a live-streamed final table; a $180 limit Omaha/8 event; a $150 HORSE event; a $265 open-face Chinese pineapple event; the $250 Western Senior Poker Tour event and several knockout events, with bounties ranging from $25 to $100.
The schedule rounds out with several no-limit hold’em events, including a six-max event, and many feature guarantees. All told, the series touts $575,000 in guaranteed prize money. Several multi-table and single-table satellites, starting as low as $55, will run throughout the series, giving players an opportunity to advance to three different events, including the Main Event.
But the highlight remains the $1,650 Main Event, with its unique single-flight format with just one re-entry per player permitted.
“This is the only series main event that has this format,” Erwin said. “Last year, I wanted to offer something that would create an event where every hand of play counted and every player felt that they had an equal opportunity to win regardless of bankroll. We definitely accomplished both of these goals based on the feedback we received, and it truly felt and played like a championship event.”
The three-day Main Event Aug. 8-10 will end with a live-streamed final table from the patio of the resort’s renowned steakhouse, High Steaks. The winner will appear on the cover of the September issue of Ante Up Magazine and get a personalized World Champion jacket, in addition to what is sure to be a hefty payday.
“Having the final table at the pool was a wonderful venue last year,” Erwin said. “But the High Steaks’ patio provides a phenomenal new setting for the live-streamed final table. The back of the venue, with its landscaping, architecture and furniture, will allow for the table - and the players - to be the centerpiece, while still allowing great vantage points for friends and family to cheer on the players.”
ll of it plays out at the luxurious AAA Four Diamond resort, which features oversized guest rooms, a spa, several restaurants and a full casino, with a championship golf course nearby. Discount room rates of $99 Sunday-Thursday and $179.99 Friday-Saturday are available for players who use code 150727ANTE when making reservations.
“We look forward to seeing players from around the country once again for the Ante Up World Championship Series and we are delighted to partner with Ante Up to offer one of the deepest $1,650 events in the country,” Erwin said. “Ante Up has been with us since the beginning and we are exciting to be the host property for the championship this year and the years to come.”
Subject to change
- July 27, 5 p.m.: Event #1 - $100 No-Limit Hold'em Facebook/Twitter Series Kickoff ($10,000 guaranteed)
- July 28, 11 a.m.: Event #2 - $100 No-Limit Hold'em Knockout with $25 bounties
- July 28, 5 p.m.: Event #3 - $180 No-Limit Hold'em ($20,000 guaranteed)
- July 29, 11 a.m.: Event #4 - $140 No-Limit Hold'em Bankroll Builder (12% of field gets $1,000)
- July 29, 5 p.m.: Event #5 - $180 Limit Omaha/8
- July 30, 4 p.m.: Event #6 Day 1A - $425 No-Limit Hold'em Deep Stack ($200,000 guaranteed)
- July 31, 11 a.m.: Event #6 Day 1B - $425 No-Limit Hold'em Deep Stack ($200,000 guaranteed)
- July 31, 4 p.m.: Event #6 Day 1C - $425 No-Limit Hold'em Deep Stack ($200,000 guaranteed)
- Aug. 1, 11 a.m.: Event #6 Day 1D - $425 No-Limit Hold'em Deep Stack ($200,000 guaranteed)
- Aug. 2, 11 a.m.: Event #6 Day 2 - $425 No-Limit Hold'em Deep Stack ($200,000 guaranteed and live-streamed final table)
- Aug. 2, 7 p.m.: Event #7 - $150 No-Limit Hold'em Knockout with $50 bounties
- Aug. 3, 11 a.m.: Event #8 - $100 No-Limit Hold'em Ante Only
- Aug. 3, 5 p.m.: Event #9 - $180 No-Limit Hold'em Six-Handed ($10,000 guaranteed)
- Aug. 4, 11 a.m.: Event #10 - $180 No-Limit Hold'em Escalator ($10,000 guaranteed)
- Aug. 4, 5 p.m.: Event #11 - $300 No-Limit Hold'em Black Chip Bounty with $100 bounties ($30,000 guaranteed)
- Aug. 5, 11 a.m.: Event #12 - $150 HORSE
- Aug. 5, 5 p.m.: Event #13 - No-Limit Hold'em ($25,000 guaranteed)
- Aug. 6, noon: Event #14 Day 1 - $365 Ante Up World Heads-Up Championship (Bracket draw/breakfast buffet at 11 a.m.)
- Aug. 6, 5 p.m.: Event #15 - $235 Pot-Limit Omaha
- Aug. 7, 11 a.m.: Event #16 - $300 No-Limit Hold'em Black Chip Bounty with $100 bounties ($30,000 guaranteed)
- Aug. 7, noon: Event #14 Day 2 - $365 Ante Up World Heads-Up Championship Final Four
- Aug. 7, 7 p.m.: Event #17 - $265 Open-Face Chinese Pineapple
- Aug. 8, 11 a.m.: Main Event Day 1 - $1,650 Ante Up World Championship ($250,000 guaranteed, winner appears on September cover of Ante Up Magazine)
- Aug. 9, noon: Main Event Day 2 - $1,650 Ante Up World Championship ($250,000 guaranteed, winner appears on September cover of Ante Up Magazine)
- Aug. 9, 2 p.m.: Event #19 - $250 Western Senior Poker Tour No-Limit Hold'em
- Aug. 9, 7 p.m.: Event #20 - $100 No-Limit Hold'em Knockout with $25 bounties
- Aug. 10, 6:30 p.m.: Main Event Day 3 - $1,650 Ante Up World Championship Final Table ($250,000 guaranteed, winner appears on September cover of Ante Up Magazine, live-streamed)
Click here for a PDF of the structures for all events
Subject to change
- July 27-Aug. 1, all day: $100 (two players win Event #6 entry)
- Aug. 2-8, all day: $185 (one player wins Main Event entry)
- Aug. 2-8, all day: $360 (two players win Main Event entry)
- Aug. 5, all day until 3:30 p.m.: $75 (two players win Event #9 entry)
- July 27, 11 a.m.: $55 (1 in 10 wins Event #6 entry)
- July 27, 8 p.m.: $100 (1 in 5 wins Event #6 entry)
- July 29, 8 p.m.: $100 (1 in 5 wins Event #6 entry)
- July 30, 11 a.m.: $55 (1 in 10 wins Event #6 entry)
- July 30, 1 p.m.: $100 (1 in 5 wins Event #6 entry)
- July 30, 8 p.m.: $100 (1 in 5 wins Event #6 entry)
- July 31, 1 p.m.: $100 (1 in 5 wins Event #6 entry)
- July 31, 8 p.m.: $100 (1 in 5 wins Event #6 entry)
- Aug. 2, 11 a.m.: $85 (1 in 10 wins $360 qualifier entry)
- Aug. 3, 1 p.m.: $85 (1 in 10 wins $360 qualifier entry)
- Aug. 3, 8 p.m.: $185 (1 in 10 wins Main Event entry)
- Aug. 4, 1 p.m.: $85 (1 in 10 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 10 wins $360 qualifier entry)
- Aug. 6, 1 p.m.: $125 (1 in 10 wins Event #16 entry)
- Aug. 7, 5 p.m.: $185 (1 in 10 wins Main Event entry)
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