“I think we delivered on what we intended to do: Provide a player-friendly tournament that had great bang for the buck.” - Rob Ketchum, poker room manager, Cordova Restaurant Casino
Rancho Cordova, CA (PRWEB) February 18, 2014
It never hurts to win a poker tournament when you have a baby on the way.
Chris Agustin of Sacramento expects to celebrate his son’s birth in just a few weeks, but for now, he and his girlfriend are celebrating his victory in the first Ante Up Poker Tour event of 2014, the Cordova Casino Ante Up Championship at Cordova Restaurant Casino in Rancho Cordova, Calif.
After a grueling Day 2 that lasted nearly 11 hours, and didn’t really ease up even after a five-way chop deal was reached, Agustin topped John Eaton heads-up for the title when his A-6 held against Q-3. Agustin earned $3,209 in the chop, plus a $1,650 seat in the Ante Up World Championship Main Event on Aug. 9 at Thunder Valley Casino Resort and a personalized AUPT champion’s jacket. Eaton, a Cordova Casino dealer, earned $3,033 in the chop. Marcus Lee, who technically finished fourth, earned the most money, $5,524, by virtue of being chipleader when the chip-count deal was reached in the middle of Level 17. The final five played out the rest of the tournament for the world championship entry and the title.
“The blinds were killing us,” Agustin said of the motivation to reach a deal. “I didn’t start playing aggressively until the chop, and then I started playing a lot more aggressively when there were three of us. Pretty much, the pace went from lax to aggressive.”
Agustin, in his first time playing at Cordova Casino, was in the top five as play entered Day 2, which he said was markedly more competitive than Day 1.
“The guys at the final table were strong,” he said. “They proved to be worthy of the final table. It was a different caliber than Day 1.”
Agustin, an investment-fund manager, recently got back into playing poker more seriously after leaving his 13-hours-a-day corporate world job and moving to Sacramento from Orange County, Calif.
“Before when I used to play, there weren’t many tournaments,” said Agustin, a regular at Thunder Valley Casino Resort where he plans to play in the World Poker Tour Rolling Thunder event in March. “Now, there is a wide variety of buy-ins conveniently located close to where we live. I pretty much play every day.”
The Cordova Casino Ante Up Championship was by far the most unique stop in Ante Up Poker Tour history: a single, $220 buy-in tournament to reintroduce the cardroom to the Northern California poker community by landing the champion on the cover of Ante Up. Cordova Restaurant Casino sold out both of the event’s starting flights, and was able to accommodate nearly two dozen alternates to create a 136-player field and a $26,800 prize pool.
“I think we delivered on what we intended to do: Provide a player-friendly tournament that had great bang for the buck,” said Rob Ketchum, poker room manager, who is looking to re-establish the stylish cardroom as a place where players will find great action instead of unsustainable promotions. “Players appreciated the price. I think it was a good field for our property to see where we can go from here. We definitely had some good feedback.”
To stoke the action in its cash games, Cordova allows players in all games to buy in for up to the biggest stack at the table, and allows straddles for up to 10 times the big blind. Current promotions include a bonus $20 when buying in for $40 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily and when buying in for $80 between 4-7 p.m. daily.
Cordova general manager Peter Nairn and casino manager Jerad Horstman created a comfortable environment for players, providing a breakfast buffet for Flight 1 players, a dinner buffet for Flight 2 players and a sandwich buffet for players returning on Day 2.
Before and after the event, players enjoyed a varied food menu and a deep craft beer selection in the Lodge restaurant, as well as a variety of California card games in addition to no-limit hold’em in the poker room. The casino is in an upscale office park setting, with several hotels within easy walking distance.
Cordova Restaurant Casino has begun discussions on its next big tournament. In the meantime, its sister property, the 101 Casino in Petaluma, Calif., just north of San Francisco, will host an AUPT championship event April 7-13.
Running Aces Card Club near Minneapolis, Minn., will host the next Ante Up Poker Tour event March 4-17 with 35 events, including satellites. The Spring Poker Classic will culminate with a three-day, $1,100 buy-in main event that will send its champion to the Ante Up World Championship in August.
To host of sponsor and Ante Up Poker Tour event, contact Scott Long at (727) 331-4335 or scott(at)anteupmagazine(dot)com.
Cordova Casino Ante Up Championship results
$220 buy-in, 136 entries
1. Chris Agustin, $3,209*
2. John Eaton, $3,033
3. John Duckworth, $4,964
4. Marcus Lee, $5,524
5. Jeffry William Townshend, $4,707
6. Connie Xabandith, $1,608
7. Mike Postle, $1,340
8. Rob Geach, $804
9. Kenny Tran, $536
10. Adam Housh, $536
11. Tom Kilcollins, $268
12. Carla Edwards, $268
*Plus $1,650 seat in the Ante Up World Championship Main Event on Aug. 9.
Top five agreed to chip-count chop before continuing play.