Ante Up World Championship

ANTE UP WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP

July 21-August 7, 2016
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: 150727ANTE.

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

By Scott Long

Bigger. Bigger. BIGGER.

In every way, the 2016 Ante Up World Championship at Thunder Valley Casino Resort will be bigger than ever before. Longer, more events, more flights, more satellites and, most of all, more guaranteed money. More than $1 million to be exact.

“The 2016 Ante Up World Championship is a culmination of what has been tested and tried since we jumped into this arena in 2012,” said Ben Erwin, director of poker for Thunder Valley in Lincoln, Calif., just north of Sacramento. “Over the years, working hand in hand with the players, we have offered a wide range of games, buy-ins, and guarantees. This experience has yielded some amazing events. This process brings us to the 2016 Ante Up World Championship. It’s time to push Northern California poker to take the next step and offer a schedule that is unlike any ever seen in this region.”

The 20-event schedule spans three weekends from July 21 through Aug. 7, with the highlight being the $1,650 buy-in Main Event, which sports its biggest guarantee ever - $500,000. The event has expanded to two starting flights. The champion gets not only what stands to be a significant amount of cash, but also his or her photo on the cover of Ante Up Magazine and a personalized World Champion jacket.

“Although the single-flight Main Event was one of the deepest $1,650 around, the single flight limited players’ availability to participate,” Erwin said. “The two-flight Main Event Aug. 5-7 will open the event up to a larger audience and provides increased value with the half-million-dollar guarantee for the traveling player.”

World Poker Tour Executive Tour Director Matt Savage will oversee the Main Event.

“Matt has been instrumental in our growth and continuous improvement as a WPT partner,” Erwin said. “His participation in the event is sincerely appreciated.”

Three other multi-flight events will be featured, including the $100,000 guaranteed $155 Catapult that will kick off the series with five flights, the $250,000 guaranteed four-flight $425 Monolith on the second weekend and the $100,000 guaranteed three-flight Action 8, where 8 percent of each flight advances to Day 2.

“The Catapult is the smallest buy-in for a $100,000 guaranteed tournament in our region and will draw well over 1,000 players yet again to kick off the series,” Erwin said. “The Monolith name is new, but the event is not. This has become one of our signature events. The tournament averages over 800 entries and produces a prize pool that is often well over $300,000. The Action 8 is a new event and offers a unique structure. The event will be played eight-handed, with a 20,000 starting stack and antes begin in Level 1.”

Two six-handed hold’em events and three bounty events are on the schedule, as are some other hold’em variations, including a $155 Escalator (levels get longer), a $140 Bankroll Builder (12 percent of field each gets $1,000), a $125 seniors event and the $400 Heads Up Championship, which features a breakfast buffet and bracket draw party.

Non-hold’em events include a $155 Limit Omaha/8, a $155 HORSE, a $155 pot-limit Omaha/8 with two free buys and the $235 DEEG Poker OFC Pineapple event.

Players looking to get into a variety of events as inexpensively as possible will appreciate the expansive satellite schedule for Events #9, 12, 15 and the Main Event, most with a combination of multi-table and single-table options. Buy-ins range from $50 to $365, and many have guaranteed seats.

Also new this year is a Player of the Series race, which will be separate from the points all cashers earn toward the Ante Up Poker Tour Player of the Year race. The points structure has a multiplier effect that will benefit players who cash in multiple events, which should encourage more entries across the board.

“The series points will count for all 15 preliminary events and the winner will be awarded a $1,650 World Championship entry,” Erwin said. “The final prelim is the Heads Up Championship on Aug. 4 and we increased the points for that event by 25 percent. That increase should keep the series title in reach for good number of the participants and add to the excitement of a heads-up event. We’re looking forward to watching the competition unfold for this title.”

Schedule

Subject to change

  • Thursday, July 21, 4 p.m. - EVENT #1 DAY 1A: $155 No-Limit Hold'em Catapult ($100,000 guaranteed)
  • Friday, July 22, 11 a.m. - EVENT #1 DAY 1B: $155 No-Limit Hold'em Catapult ($100,000 guaranteed)
  • Friday, July 22, 4 p.m. - EVENT #1 DAY 1C: $155 No-Limit Hold'em Catapult ($100,000 guaranteed)
  • Saturday, July 23, 11 a.m. - EVENT #1 DAY 1D: $155 No-Limit Hold'em Catapult ($100,000 guaranteed)
  • Saturday, July 23, 4 p.m. - EVENT #1 DAY 1E: $155 No-Limit Hold'em Catapult ($100,000 guaranteed)
  • Sunday, July 24, 11 a.m. - EVENT #1 DAY 2: $155 No-Limit Hold'em Catapult ($100,000 guaranteed)
  • Sunday, July 24, 7 p.m. - EVENT #2: $150 No-Limit Hold'em Knockout ($50 bounties, $10,000 guaranteed)
  • Monday, July 25, 11 a.m. - EVENT #3: $125 No-Limit Hold'em no antes ($10,000 guaranteed)
  • Monday, July 25, 5 p.m. - EVENT #4: $125 No-Limit Hold'em ($10,000 guaranteed)
  • Tuesday, July 26, 11 a.m. - EVENT #5: $155 No-Limit Hold'em Escalator ($10,000 guaranteed)
  • Tuesday, July 26, 5 p.m. - EVENT #6: $155 No-Limit Hold'em Six-Handed ($10,000 guaranteed)
  • Wednesday, July 27, 11 a.m. - EVENT #7: $140 No-Limit Hold'em Bankroll Builder (12% of field receives $1,000)
  • Wednesday, July 27, 5 p.m. - EVENT #8: $155 Limit Omaha/8 ($10,000 guaranteed)
  • Thursday, July 28, 4 p.m. - EVENT #9 DAY 1A: $425 No-Limit Hold'em Monolith ($250,000 guaranteed)
  • Friday, July 29, 11 a.m. - EVENT #9 DAY 1B: $425 No-Limit Hold'em Monolith ($250,000 guaranteed)
  • Friday, July 29, 4 p.m. - EVENT #9 DAY 1C: $425 No-Limit Hold'em Monolith ($250,000 guaranteed)
  • Saturday, July 30, 11 a.m. - EVENT #9 DAY 1D: $425 No-Limit Hold'em Monolith ($250,000 guaranteed)
  • Sunday, July 31, 11 a.m. - EVENT #9 DAY 2: $425 No-Limit Hold'em Monolith ($250,000 guaranteed)
  • Sunday, July 31, 7 p.m. - EVENT #10: $150 No-Limit Hold'em Knockout ($50 bounties, $10,000 guaranteed)
  • Monday, Aug. 1, 11 a.m. - EVENT #11: $155 HORSE ($5,000 guaranteed)
  • Monday, Aug. 1, 5 p.m. - EVENT #12 DAY 1A: $250 No-Limit Hold'em Action 8 (8-handed, 8% advance, antes in Level 1, $100,000 guaranteed)
  • Tuesday, Aug. 2, 11 a.m. - EVENT #12 DAY 1B: $250 No-Limit Hold'em Action 8 (8-handed, 8% advance, antes in Level 1, $100,000 guaranteed)
  • Tuesday, Aug. 2, 5 p.m. - EVENT #12 DAY 1C: $250 No-Limit Hold'em Action 8 (8-handed, 8% advance, antes in Level 1, $100,000 guaranteed)
  • Wednesday, Aug. 3, 11 a.m. - EVENT #13: $155 Pot-Limit Omaha/8 (two free buys)
  • Wednesday, Aug. 3, 5 p.m. - EVENT #12 DAY 2: $250 No-Limit Hold'em Action 8 (8-handed, 8% advance, antes in Level 1, $100,000 guaranteed)
  • Wednesday, Aug. 3, 5 p.m. - EVENT #14: $340 No-Limit Hold'em Six-Handed ($20,000 guaranteed)
  • Thursday, Aug. 4, noon - EVENT #15: $400 No-Limit Hold'em Heads-Up Championship (breakfast buffet/bracket draw at 11 a.m.)
  • Friday, Aug. 5, 11 a.m. - MAIN EVENT DAY 1A: $1,650 No-Limit Hold'em ($500,000 guaranteed)
  • Saturday, Aug. 6, 11 a.m. - MAIN EVENT DAY 1B: $1,650 No-Limit Hold'em ($500,000 guaranteed)
  • Sunday, Aug. 7, noon - MAIN EVENT DAY 2: $1,650 No-Limit Hold'em ($500,000 guaranteed)
  • Sunday, Aug. 7, 11 a.m. - EVENT #17: $155 No-Limit Hold'em ($10,000 guaranteed)
  • Sunday, Aug. 7, 1 p.m. - EVENT #18: $125 No-Limit Hold'em Seniors
  • Sunday, Aug. 7, 3 p.m. - EVENT #19: $235 DEEG Poker OFC Pineapple
  • Sunday, Aug. 7, 7 p.m. - EVENT #20: $100 No-Limit Hold'em Knockout ($25 bounties)

Structures

Click here for structures.

Satellites

  • Sunday, July 24, 11 a.m. - $100 (1 in 5 earn entry into Event #9)
  • Monday, July 25, 8 p.m. - $100 (1 in 5 earn entry into Event #9)
  • Tuesday, July 26, 8 p.m. - $100 single-table satellites (two players earn entry into Event #9)
  • Wednesday, July 27, 8 p.m. - $100 (1 in 5 earn entry into Event #9)
  • Thursday, July 28, 11 a.m. - $55 (1 in 10 earn entry into Event #9)
  • Thursday, July 28, 1 p.m. - $100 (1 in 5 earn entry into Event #9)
  • Thursday, July 28, 8 p.m. - $100 (1 in 5 earn entry into Event #9)
  • Friday, July 29, 1 p.m. - $100 (1 in 5 earn entry into Event #9)
  • Friday, July 29, 8 p.m. - $100 (1 in 5 earn entry into Event #9)
  • Sunday, July 31, all day - $365 single-table satellites (two players earn Main Event entry)
  • Sunday, July 31, 11 a.m. - $85 step (1 in 5 earn entry into $365 Main Event satellite, 10 seats guaranteed)
  • Sunday, July 31, 1 p.m. - $365 (1 in 5 earn Main Event entry)
  • Monday, Aug. 1, all day - $365 single-table satellites (two players earn Main Event entry)
  • Monday, Aug. 1, 1 p.m. - $50 (1 in 6 earn entry in Event #12)
  • Monday, Aug. 1, 8 p.m. - $50 (1 in 6 earn entry in Event #12)
  • Tuesday, Aug. 2, all day - $365 single-table satellites (two players earn Main Event entry)
  • Tuesday, Aug. 2, 1 p.m. - $50 (1 in 6 earn entry in Event #12)
  • Tuesday, Aug. 2, 8 p.m. - $85 step (1 in 5 earn entry into $365 Main Event satellite, 10 seats guaranteed)
  • Wednesday, Aug. 3, all day - $365 single-table satellites (two players earn Main Event entry)
  • Wednesday, Aug. 3, 1 p.m. - $115 (1 in 4 earn entry in Event #15, four entries reserved)
  • Wednesday, Aug. 3, 8 p.m. - $85 step (1 in 5 earn entry into $365 Main Event satellite, 10 seats guaranteed)
  • Thursday, Aug. 4, all day - $365 single-table satellites (two players earn Main Event entry)
  • Thursday, Aug. 4, 11 a.m. - $85 step (1 in 5 earn entry into $365 Main Event satellite, 10 seats guaranteed)
  • Thursday, Aug. 4, 1 p.m. - $85 step (1 in 5 earn entry into $365 Main Event satellite, 10 seats guaranteed)
  • Thursday, Aug. 4, 5 p.m. - $365 (1 in 5 earn Main Event entry, 10 entries guaranteed)
  • Thursday, Aug. 4, 8 p.m. - $365 (1 in 5 earn Main Event entry, 10 entries guaranteed)
  • Friday, Aug. 5, all day - $365 single-table satellites (two players earn Main Event entry)
  • Friday, Aug. 5, 11 a.m. - $85 step (1 in 5 earn entry into $365 Main Event satellite, 10 seats guaranteed)
  • Friday, Aug. 5, 1 p.m. - $85 step (1 in 5 earn entry into $365 Main Event satellite, 10 seats guaranteed)
  • Friday, Aug. 5, 5 p.m. - $365 (1 in 5 earn Main Event entry, 20 entries guaranteed)
  • Friday, Aug. 5, 8 p.m. - $365 (1 in 5 earn Main Event entry, 10 entries guaranteed)
  • Saturday, Aug. 6, all day - $365 single-table satellites (two players earn Main Event entry)
  • Saturday, Aug. 6, 10 a.m. - $365 turbo (1 in 5 earn Main Event entry, 10 entries guaranteed)

History

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