Ante Up World Championship

ANTE UP WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP

July 7-29, 2018
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 408-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.
    Use code 1807ANTEUP for discounted room rates

Amenities

  • Casino: Slots, table games, bingo and a 27-table poker room (50 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, seasonal 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 continues to grow every year, but this is the year it has grown the most - covering four weekends - as Thunder Valley Casino Resort’s new, expansive poker room gives the series plenty of room to spread its wings.

“This will the fifth year of the Ante Up Worlds at Thunder Valley, and we have seen the series grow and become more popular every year,” said Ben Erwin, director of poker operations for the resort in Lincoln, Calif., near Sacramento. “Adding another week just made sense with the new poker room, and moving the Championship to the last weekend in July will make it the biggest guaranteed tournament in the country on these dates.”

The series runs July 7-29 and features 20 events, 36 satellites and $1 million in guaranteed prize money, its most aggressive schedule yet, and will put two winners on the cover of Ante Up Magazine, as for the first time the series will include the Ante Up NorCal Classic as a stand-alone event.

“The Ante Up NorCal Classic was our first tour event in 2012 and it’s the one that really caught the attention of players in the region,” Erwin said. “This year, it will be in July and be the first big-blind ante event on the Ante Up Poker Tour. Having the back-to-back covers for champions just shows how big this series has become.”

The winner of the $100,000 guaranteed Ante Up NorCal Classic, a two-day $565 event, will appear on the cover of Ante Up’s August edition, while the winner of the $500,000 guaranteed Ante Up World Championship $1,650 Main Event will appear on the cover of Ante Up’s September issue. The NorCal winner also gets a seat in the World Championship Main Event.

While those two events might get the most attention, plenty of other big-money, multi-day events are on the schedule that are sure to generate excitement.

“The 2018 schedule is like no other,” Erwin said. “There are 20 events over 23 days including the very popular $460 Monolith with a $250,000 guarantee, and huge weekday events like the $160 Catapult and $260 ACTION8 that boast $100,000 guarantees.

“A couple others to mention include the $400 Head to Head Championship on July 26. It’s our only heads-up event of the year,” Erwin added. “A new addition to the schedule is the Dueling 1Twenty5s, a weekday event that offers a $50,000 guarantee for just $125.”

The expanded schedule was made possible after the April official grand opening of Thunder Valley’s luxurious new poker room that now boasts up to 50 tables during tournament series, and moving the series up to begin and end in July for the first time was made possible by the excitement players have for the World Series of Poker.

“The new venue received phenomenal reviews from players who visited during WPT Rolling Thunder in March and WPTDeepStacks in April,” Erwin said. “We’re seeing that the WSOP-televised coverage gets players excited to get out and play. The room was full last year as we all watched the Main Event and players in the region converged on Thunder Valley to play the Ante Up events and watch the coverage.”

An aggressive satellite schedule will give players chances to qualify for a number of events on the schedule for as little as $60, and a staggering 100 players are guaranteed to get their seats in the Main Event through satellites. One unique offering on the schedule features $330 single-table satellites to qualify players to the WPTDeepStacks Championship.

“We hosted the WPTDeepStacks Championship last year, and our players really enjoyed the event,” Erwin adds. “This year, it’s back in Calgary, Canada, at Grey Eagle Resort & Casino and we are looking forward to giving players the opportunity to make the trip. WPT Executive Tour Director Matt Savage will be on hand for the event. It’s great to have Matt back after the huge success of WPT Rolling Thunder in March and the record-breaking WPTDeepStacks event in April. He has been instrumental in our success over the years. It’s always a pleasure to have him visit.”

The World Championship has always provided additional value to players, and this year Erwin has added more. Players will receive hoodies custom-made for the event by 3Bet, and the world champion will receive a custom trophy. The Player of the Year series returns, giving the player who accumulates the most points in preliminary events not only a $1,650 World Championship Main Event seat, but also a $1,100 seat in the Main Event of the Ante Up Poker Tour at Atlantis Casino Resort Spa in August.

“Then we have the Championship reception in High Steaks Steakhouse,” Erwin said. “It’s always a lot of fun and great to have that evening for everyone to get together on the eve of the Championship.”

As always, Thunder Valley Casino Resort continues to be an exciting - and relaxing - host location for the Ante Up World Championship. The AAA Four Diamond luxury resort that features a Las Vegas-style casino, more than 400 oversized and well-appointed guest rooms, a spa with complimentary steam room and sauna access for hotel guests, outdoor pool, 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, as well as plenty of cash-game action in the poker room.

Schedule

Subject to change

  • Saturday, July 7, 11 a.m. - EVENT #1: $160 No-Limit Hold’em @TVPokerRoom Kickoff ($20,000 guaranteed)
  • Saturday, July 7, 6 p.m. - EVENT #2: $125 No-Limit Hold’em Fast Cash Bankroll Builder (Top 10% of field gets $1,000)
  • Sunday, July 8, 11 a.m. - EVENT #3: $160 No-Limit Hold’em Changeup (6-handed shootout at 24 players, heads-up bracket at four players $10,000 guaranteed)
  • Sunday, July 8, 6 p.m. - EVENT #4: $160 No-Limit Hold’em Winner Takes All ($100 bounties)
  • Monday, July 9, 11 a.m. - EVENT #5: $125 No-Limit Hold’em Escalator
  • Monday, July 9, 6 p.m. - EVENT #6: $160 No-Limit Hold’em Ante Up NorCal Classic preview ($10,000 guaranteed)
  • Tuesday, July 10, 6 p.m. - EVENT #7 DAY 1A: $160 No-Limit Hold’em 100K Catapult ($100,000 guaranteed)
  • Wednesday, July 11, 11 a.m. - EVENT #7 DAY 1B: $160 No-Limit Hold’em 100K Catapult ($100,000 guaranteed)
  • Wednesday, July 11, 6 p.m. - EVENT #7 DAY 1C: $160 No-Limit Hold’em 100K Catapult ($100,000 guaranteed)
  • Thursday, July 12, 11 a.m. - EVENT #7 DAY 1D: $160 No-Limit Hold’em 100K Catapult ($100,000 guaranteed)
  • Thursday, July 12, 6 p.m. - EVENT #7 DAY 1E: $160 No-Limit Hold’em 100K Catapult ($100,000 guaranteed)
  • Friday, July 13, 6 p.m. - EVENT #7 DAY 2: $160 No-Limit Hold’em 100K Catapult ($100,000 guaranteed)
  • Saturday, July 14, 11 a.m. - EVENT #8 DAY 1A: $565 No-Limit Hold’em Ante Up NorCal Classic (winner appears on August cover of Ante Up Magazine and gets a seat in the World Championship Main Event, $100,000 guaranteed)
  • Saturday, July 14, 6 p.m. - EVENT #8 DAY 1B: $565 No-Limit Hold’em Ante Up NorCal Classic (winner appears on August cover of Ante Up Magazine and gets a seat in the World Championship Main Event, $100,000 guaranteed)
  • Sunday, July 15, 11 a.m. - EVENT #9: $160 No-Limit Hold’em Ante Up Senior Championship
  • Sunday, July 15, noon - EVENT #8 DAY 2: $565 No-Limit Hold’em Ante Up NorCal Classic (winner appears on August cover of Ante Up Magazine and gets a seat in the World Championship Main Event, $100,000 guaranteed)
  • Sunday, July 15, 2 p.m. - EVENT #10: $345 No-Limit Hold’em Six-Handed ($20,000 guaranteed)
  • Monday, July 16, 11 a.m. - EVENT #11 DAY 1A: $125 No-Limit Hold’em Dueling 1Twenty 5s ($50,000 guaranteed)
  • Monday, July 16, 3 p.m. - EVENT #11 DAY 1B: $125 No-Limit Hold’em Dueling 1Twenty 5s ($50,000 guaranteed)
  • Monday, July 16, 6 p.m. - EVENT #11 DAY 1C: $125 No-Limit Hold’em Dueling 1Twenty 5s ($50,000 guaranteed)
  • Tuesday, July 17, 11 a.m. - EVENT #11 DAY 1D: $125 No-Limit Hold’em Dueling 1Twenty 5s ($50,000 guaranteed)
  • Tuesday, July 17, 7 p.m. - EVENT #11 DAY 2: $125 No-Limit Hold’em Dueling 1Twenty 5s ($50,000 guaranteed)
  • Wednesday, July 18, 11 a.m. - EVENT #12: $160 No-Limit Hold’em (Redraw to six-handed at 36 players, $10,000 guaranteed)
  • Wednesday, July 18, 5 p.m. - EVENT #13: $160 Limit Omaha/8 ($10,000 guaranteed)
  • Thursday, July 19, 4 p.m. - EVENT #14 Day 1A: $460 No-Limit Hold’em Monolith ($250,000 guaranteed)
  • Friday, July 20, 11 a.m. - EVENT #14 Day 1B: $460 No-Limit Hold’em Monolith ($250,000 guaranteed)
  • Friday, July 20, 4 p.m. - EVENT #14 Day 1C: $460 No-Limit Hold’em Monolith ($250,000 guaranteed)
  • Saturday, July 21, 11 a.m. - EVENT #14 Day 1D: $460 No-Limit Hold’em Monolith ($250,000 guaranteed)
  • Sunday, July 22, 11 a.m. - EVENT #14 Day 2: $460 No-Limit Hold’em Monolith ($250,000 guaranteed)
  • Sunday, July 22, 7 p.m. - EVENT #15: $160 No-Limit Hold’em Knockout ($50 bounties)
  • Monday, July 23, 11 a.m. - EVENT #16: $160 Pot-Limit Omaha/8 (two free rebuys)
  • Monday, July 23, 5 p.m. - EVENT #17 Day 1A: $260 No-Limit Hold’em Action 8 ($100,000 guaranteed)
  • Tuesday, July 24, 11 a.m. - EVENT #17 Day 1B: $260 No-Limit Hold’em Action 8 ($100,000 guaranteed)
  • Tuesday, July 24, 5 p.m. - EVENT #17 Day 1C: $260 No-Limit Hold’em Action 8 ($100,000 guaranteed)
  • Wednesday, July 25, 5 p.m. - EVENT #17 Day 2: $260 No-Limit Hold’em Action 8 ($100,000 guaranteed)
  • Thursday, July 26, 11 a.m. - EVENT #18: $400 No-Limit Hold’em Ante Up Head to Head Championship
  • Friday, July 27, 11 a.m. - MAIN EVENT Day 1A: $1,650 No-Limit Hold’em (winner appears on September cover of Ante Up Magazine, $500,000 guaranteed)
  • Saturday, July 28, 11 a.m. - MAIN EVENT Day 1B: $1,650 No-Limit Hold’em (winner appears on September cover of Ante Up Magazine, $500,000 guaranteed)
  • Sunday, July 29, noon - MAIN EVENT Day 2: $1,650 No-Limit Hold’em (winner appears on September cover of Ante Up Magazine, $500,000 guaranteed)
  • Sunday, July 29, 2 p.m. - EVENT #20: $1,100 No-Limit Hold’em ($500 bounties)

Structures

Click here for structures.

Satellites

  • Monday, July 9, 2 p.m. - $100 (1 in 7 win $565 satellite entry - three entries guaranteed)
  • Tuesday, July 10, 11 a.m. - $100 (1 in 7 win $565 satellite entry - three entries guaranteed)
  • Wednesday, July 11, 2 p.m. - $100 (1 in 7 win $565 satellite entry - three entries guaranteed)
  • Thursday, July 12, 2 p.m. - $100 (1 in 7 win $565 satellite entry - three entries guaranteed)
  • Thursday, July 12, 8 p.m. - $100 (1 in 7 win $565 satellite entry - 10 entries guaranteed)
  • Friday, July 13, 11 a.m. - $100 (1 in 7 win $565 satellite entry - 10 entries guaranteed)
  • Friday, July 13, 7 p.m. - $100 (1 in 7 win $565 satellite entry - 20 entries guaranteed)
  • Saturday, July 14, 9 a.m. - $100 turbo (1 in 7 win $565 satellite entry - five entries guaranteed)
  • Saturday, July 14, 2 p.m. - $100 turbo (1 in 7 win $565 satellite entry - five entries guaranteed)
  • Sunday, July 15, 11 a.m. - $60 (1 in 7 win Event #10 seat - five seats guaranteed)
  • Tuesday, July 17, 2 p.m. - $60 (1 in 10 win Event #14 seat - three seats guaranteed)
  • Wednesday, July 18, 2 p.m. - $110 turbo (1 in 5 win Event #14 seat - five seats guaranteed)
  • Wednesday, July 18, 8 p.m. - $110 (1 in 5 win Event #14 seat - five seats guaranteed)
  • Thursday, July 19, 11 a.m. - $60 (1 in 10 win Event #14 seat - three seats guaranteed)
  • Thursday, July 19, 2 p.m. - $110 turbo (1 in 5 win Event #14 seat - five seats guaranteed)
  • Thursday, July 19, 8 p.m. - $110 (1 in 5 win Event #14 seat - five seats guaranteed)
  • Friday, July 20, 11 a.m. - $60 (1 in 10 win Event #14 seat - three seats guaranteed)
  • Friday, July 20, 2 p.m. - $110 (1 in 5 win Event #14 seat - 10 seats guaranteed)
  • Saturday, July 21, 9 a.m. - $110 (1 in 5 win Event #14 seat - five seats guaranteed)
  • Sunday, July 22, 11 a.m. - $85 (1 in 5 win $365 satellite entry - 10 entries guaranteed)
  • Sunday, July 22, 2 p.m. - $365 (1 in 5 win Main Event seat - 15 seats guaranteed)
  • Monday, July 23, 2 p.m. - $65 (1 in 5 win Event #17 seat)
  • Monday, July 23, 8 p.m. - $65 (1 in 5 win Event #17 seat)
  • Tuesday, July 24, 9 a.m. - $65 (1 in 5 win Event #17 seat)
  • Tuesday, July 24, 2 p.m. - $65 (1 in 5 win Event #17 seat)
  • Wednesday, July 25, 11 a.m. - $85 (1 in 5 win $365 satellite entry - five entries guaranteed)
  • Wednesday, July 25, 2 p.m. - $115 (1 in 4 win Event #18 seat - two seats guaranteed)
  • Wednesday, July 25, 6 p.m. - $365 (1 in 5 win Main Event seat - 10 seats guaranteed)
  • Thursday, July 26, 4 p.m. - $330 (WPT DeepStacks single-table, winner gets a $3,000 championship package)
  • Thursday, July 26, 6 p.m. - $365 (1 in 5 win Main Event seat - 20 seats guaranteed)
  • Friday, July 27, 9 a.m. - $365 turbo (1 in 5 win Main Event seat - five seats guaranteed)
  • Friday, July 27, 2 p.m. - $85 (1 in 5 win $365 satellite entry - 10 entries guaranteed)
  • Friday, July 27, 6 p.m. - $365 (1 in 5 win Main Event seat - 40 seats guaranteed)
  • Saturday, July 28, 9 a.m. - $365 turbo (1 in 5 win Main Event seat - 10 seats guaranteed)
  • Saturday, July 28, 7 p.m. - $250 (1 in 5 win Event #20 seat - five seats guaranteed)
  • Sunday, July 29, 11 a.m. - $130 turbo (1 in 10 win Event #20 seat - three seats guaranteed)

History

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

    Event #1 - Champion: Christopher Stevens
    Event #2 - Champion: Carrie Diggs
    Event #3 - Champion: Brian Waller
    Event #4 - Champion: Jason Stewart
    Event #5 - Champion: Survivor event (13 winners)
    Event #6 - Champion: Mike McGough
    Event #7 - Champion: James Reyes
    Event #8 - Champion: Brandon Waddell
    Event #9 - Champion: Patrick Ng
    Event #10 - Champion: James Minghihi
    Event #11 - Champion: Michael Postle
    Event #12 - Champion: Saad Aljoher
    Event #13 - Champion: Mason Rosenberg
    Event #14 - Champion: Ray Villaman
    Main Event Champion: Jonathan George
    Event #16 - Champion: Patrick Lyons
    Event #17 - Champion: Priscilla Brotherton
    Event #18 - Champion: Steven Tada

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