Posts Tagged ‘The River poker tournament’

Maria Ho Signs with WinStar

by , May 19, 2011 | 12:18 pm

Continuing the trend of poker players signing with brick-and-mortar (and in the case of WinStar tent) casinos … Maria Ho joins Greg Raymer as a celebrity endorser of WinStar Casino in Far Far North Dallas, Oklahoma. Just in time, btw, to begin pimpin their upcoming big River Tourney. Apparently the satellites are about ready to open … and this year they are guaranteeing a $3 million prize pool.

This tournament has grown and grown into one of the biggest of the year in the country … and not that it would be all Ho and Fossilman’s doing … but I have a feeling this year people outside of Texas and Oklahoma will start to take note.

Here’s a little behind-the-scenes vid of Maria’s commercial shoot with the Chickasaw … who by the way, just officially bought Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, presumably changing the dynamic of Texas gambling legislation, but that’s a story for another time … right now it’s all about the value of Asian poker hotties playing the role of high-stakes cash game player. That and/or being a WSOP main event champion still seem to play well in the poker endorsement world.

Brash Online Pro Headed to the Slammer

by , Feb 20, 2011 | 6:04 am

carter gill online poker pro jail oklahoma mugshotCarter Gill, 24, a top-ranked online poker pro, may be offline for a while, as he says he’ll be reluctantly turning himself in to authorities in Jefferson County, Oklahoma, to begin serving a 14-day jail sentence. The charges stem NOT from his arrest in September for public drunkenness at WinStar Casino, where he had to leave his chipstack behind in The River main event after being hauled away in a police cruiser (but still took 90th place in absentia, winning $4,540). Instead, he’s answering to the courts for various other unrelated crimes, including a DUI.

Gill is known for his unashamed belligerence, politically incorrect rants, and a “FUCKITALL” attitude. I totally dig this guy, partly because he’s virtually a male copy of myself (so I “get him”) and partly because I respect his game. But a recent Facebook status update shed some new light on his true vagina character: “I really don’t want to go to jail… 14 days is going to be brutal,” he whimpered.

Shortly after publishing that comment, Gill’s ballsack threatened to tear itself off and run away in shame. I was really disappointed to see the him panicking over two short weeks behind bars. Let’s put this in perspective…getting fisted by Edward Scissorhands is brutal.  A coathanger abortion is brutal. Two weeks in a hillbilly jailhouse isn’t so much brutal as it is inconvenient

Keep your chin up, Carter; I’m sure the two weeks behind bars will come and go as fast as your bankroll does.

Just How Big Was WinStar’s Big One?

Mr. Sou takes down The River; what that could mean remains to be seen

by , Sep 7, 2010 | 5:03 pm

Greg Raymer busted from the main event of The River @ Winstar yesterday in 11th place. Little clue what Fossilman’s payout was, nor even where I shoulda been looking. Limited media info was one of many justifiable gripes people had for a tournament of this size … others included player lockouts, bad blind structures, and you should see the vitriol attached to Facebook comments about Toby Keith’s steakhouse at Winstar!

I’ll hold some of that for another post, lest we sully the winner’s accomplishment with analysis of the obstacles certain Indian casinos face in 2010 moving forward. But be sure, as evident in the fifth running of this tournament at WinStar, the paradigms have shifted … particularly for what constitutes a major minor-league event capable of profiting from a national player base.

The River’s $2.5 million guaranteed main event, with three Day 1s, drew 1,440 players … a much better result for Winstar than last year when they had to cover a $580k overlay on $3 million guaranteed. It coulda been even bigger had the casino not put itself in a position of pissing off players who trekked out to the Oklahoma hinterlands only to be turned away … but regardless, with a $2,100 buy-in and several months of satellites, first prize came to a relatively whopping $647,690.

To put that in perspective, that’s better than 10th-place money in the WSOP main event. So would it be a stretch to contend winning The River is just a notch below making the November Nine?


(Outside) the Tournament Circuit – August 30th

by , Aug 30, 2010 | 8:55 am

After a quiet period in the poker community, the tournament circuit has come back to life with a variety of tournaments spanning the world. Some highlights:

WPT Legends of Poker

Andrew Frankenberger defeated Kyle Wilson to take down the title at the Bike in LA, collecting $750,000 for the win. Notables who finished in the money: Former WPT Player of the Year Jonathan Little (12th), Allen Kessler (20th), Erica Schoenberg (30th), Joe Sebok (32nd), November Niner Soi Nguyen (34th) and Joe Hachem (43rd). Click here for results.

WPT London Poker Classic

Monday is day 1a of the first WPT event in the UK, with the £5,000 + £300 buy-in London Poker Classic at the Palm Beach Casino. Jack McLelland from the Bellagio is helping run the tournament, with registration remaining open until 1:30pm on Wednesday. Live updates available over at PartyPoker’s blog here.

EPT Villamoura

Day 2 of the European Poker Tour stop in Portugal starting with 384 players, creating a prize pool of €1,862,400, with the winner collecting €467,835. Currently, less than 130 players remain, with the current chip leader is Grzegorz Cichocki of Poland with 312,000 in chips. Other notables still in the field: 2008 EPT Grand Final winner Pieter de Korver, Brandon Cantu, Liv Boeree, Sorel Mizzi, Lex Veldhuis, David Williams among many others. Follow the live updates and pictures of players enjoying the sun (as photography is banned inside the casino) at

WSOP Circuit – Council Bluffs

The first $1,500 Main Event of the WSOP Circuit started on Sunday with a field of 251 entries, creating a prize pool of $361,440, with the winner cashing in for $88,555 and entry into the $1,000,000 National Championship in May. Day 2 resumes today with 75 players playing down to the final table. Another way to earn a seat is to be the “Casino Champion” at each tour stop, to the player who earns the most points in the 10 WSOP-C ring events. To view the “unofficial” leaderboard after 8 events, check it out here. WSOP Circuit legend Dwyte Pilgrim won one of the many non-ring events that support the WSOP-C for a mid-four figure sum. For results so far check out the WSOP site and PokerPages for the non-ring results.

The River @ Winstar Casino

As noted in an earlier post, the Winstar Casino in Thackerville, OK is in the midst of their River $3,000,000 Guaranteed tournament series. What passes as results for Winstar is to show the points earned for those that make the final table, without stating how much each player received.

Gulf Coast Poker Championship – Beau Rivage

Another major series that got underway over the weekend is the Gulf Coast Poker Championship at Beau Rivage in Biloxi, Mississippi. Their main event takes place Sept. 4th with a $5,000 NL Holdem Main Event. Their schedule can be found on the website here.

Commerce Holdem Series

Matt Savage returns Sept. 1st to the Commerce Casino in Los Angeles for the Commerce Holdem Series, featuring several guaranteed prize pools events as well as the $1,100 Ironman tournament. More details available here.

Partouche Poker Tour – Cannes

One major tournament that starts later in the week when the French Partouche Group of casinos have their Main Event in Cannes Sept. 2nd. The 8,500 Euro buy-in event has a 3,000,000 Euro guaranteed prize pool with 1,000,000 Euros guaranteed for first. Like the WSOP Main Event, their final table will be delayed, taking place in late October and aired live across Europe on the EuroSport network. I believe there’s also live streaming available (in French) during the tournament. Further details available on the PPT site.

North Texas Championship Series Underway in Oklahoma!

Guarantees, NLH/PLO, politics and fusterclucks @ “The River”

by , Aug 25, 2010 | 7:19 pm

One of the biggest non-major tournament series of the year is underway in Thackerville, Oklahoma, promising $3 million in guarantees. “The River” — hosted by Greg Raymer and the historically storied WinStar tribe — is 9 events spread across two weeks, Aug 23-Sep 6. They’ve got some sort of overall points leader prize for a Porsche Cayenne overlay, too, worth $70k.

2009 twitpic: @EweE420 (now @EricMizrachi)

Today’s event, Event #3, happens to be $440 NLH/PLO with $40k Guaranteed. Wonder if they’re aware that Lev Serzhenko was recently crowned the World Champion of $230 NLH/PLO with a Single $200 Rebuy.

Since the main here will be more or less the regional championship in my old stomping grounds — in fact, thinking we might-should call it the North-North Texas Championship in future posts — I find myself wanting to follow these events uniquely as a fan. I’ve got tons of friends playing and would expect to see plenty of past opponents from the Dallas underground, presumably some Batfaces, lots of ole Lodge amateurs, and, I hope, a few Team Pokerati players. Also curious to see what type of pros show up.

But semi-live coverage of the River is hard to come by. Lots of future thoughts on why that is … but in the meantime, here’s where I’ll be checking for River buzz, for starters …

2+2 Tournament Circuit thread

And because Pokerati can’t be there this year (but kinda-sorta would like to be) here are some possible news stories I see shaking out, or at least stuff worth looking into for anyone who might wanna ask some questions or snap pics with their iPhone and send an email or an @reply on Twitter:


Go Texas Poker! (In Oklahoma, of Course)

by , Aug 31, 2009 | 2:01 am

photo: @cgowen

Considering that Texas poker players helped build the third-largest friggin’ casino in the world (literally under a tent in Thackerville, OK) we can take some pleasure in knowing a bunch of Texans kicked butt in The River tourney this weekend and will be sending back home some riches made in El Norte.

WinStar reportedly threw in a $580,000 overlay to make their $3 million guarantee. Not sure about the buy-in details — I think they upped it to $2k? — nor overall results. The best “coverage” has come via 2+2 here, mixed in with some Facebook, Twitter, and direct txt msg buzz. (Thanks KevMath and Harris, as always, for the info!)

1,210 players overall.

The winner: Bobby Hempkins, aka “Shooter” in the Dallas poker boom days. (And now your source for residential real estate in the North Texas area.) $710k win. Nice!

5th place finisher Brian @ZBTHorton provided regular updates from the final table, such as:

8 left, these people suck (4pm)

Apparently tax issues may or may not have complicated chop discussions — though sounds to me that the Chickasaw nation is under similar corporate-legal restrictions as the WSOP.

7th place reportedly went to a guy named Lance. Paid $95k. Sounds like a nice prize distribution (at the final table, at least). Not too flat, not too steep.

Blind structure was supposedly relatively fast, however.

Pros who made the trek for this event included: Clonie Gowen, TJ Cloutier, Michael Mizrachi, Eric Mizrachi, Kido Pham, Terrence Chan, Michael Binger, Men the Master, Allen Kessler, and Dmitri Nobles. The real @EskimoClark was also supposedly milling around.

RE: Money Day at the River

by , Aug 23, 2008 | 3:42 pm

Two others who made it through include SodaSara and Josh Evans. Don’t know what their starting chip counts are or if they are still alive. But happy to see both of them at least cashed in El Norte, the land of poker opportunity (for Texas players).

UPDATE: SodaSara finished 10th place … $60k or 2 percent (depending on which column(s) of the promised prize distributions WinStar stays true to).

Sara (right) is pretty bummed right now about just missing the final table. But soon she’ll realize she just booked her biggest poker score to date — finishing in the top 1 percent of a tough field — and presumably be feeling much better.

Money Day at the River: (Partial) Starting Line-up

by , | 3:32 pm

Today’s the final day of the $3 million River tourney in the Winstar Territories. The $2,000+100 NLH event started six days ago with what would grow to more than 1,400 entries. A few less than 150 made it into the money and play today for the big money. Here are about 90 of the starters, and their starting chip counts:

(Thanks, Alicia, for sending this along!)


Winstar: Thursday, Last Day 1

by , Aug 21, 2008 | 8:24 am

According to Craig’s list, the Winstar Thrusday chips are a hot property, as people are asking $3,000-$5,000 for the sold-out $2,100 seats. I’m curious as to how many of those folks are having any luck. Comments? Anybody? Personally, I’m not seeing any deals working and am thinking that there will be a lot of late comers who couldn’t flip their chip.

Thursday is starting up the TV crew is running about. I’ve requested Survivor updates for Wednesday and should have those later today. I would already have posted them, but the person with the goods told me that he didn’t want to walk over to the poker room and get it. He’s a nice enough guy, but when, oh when will Winstar figure out that there’s live “Beyond The Tent”. (Is that domain available?)

Updates to come.

Keep the Oklahoma Updates Coming, Please!

by , Aug 20, 2008 | 8:50 am

karridy 1500 - action 

Karridy knows how to represent.

Despite negative reports about a too-fast blind structure and terrible dealers — from players who may or may not have been juiced with some residual Day 1-bustout tilt and therefore focusing on isolated incidents inherent to putting on any event that’s bigger than any other you’ve put on before — I couldn’t stand it … I just had to get in on the action. Sounds like too much fun going on at The River, and who better to buy a small piece of than Karridy? I like his chances. After all the last tourney he played with notably bad blind structures and dealers — he won!

He also apparently got the last spot available for Thursday, and if I learned anything from running Lodge tourneys, it’s that late-late entrants seem to have a disproportionately high percentage of Top 3 finishes. Seriously. Not sure why that is, but it’s true. I’ve seen it. You know, math …

So Who’s Advanced so far at The River?

by , Aug 19, 2008 | 7:37 am

Anyone got any updates from WinStar? So far 60 people have moved on … presumably 60. Yesterday’s field didn’t sell out — like 265ish runners or thereabouts. Not sure if they stuck with 10 percent of the field moving on (26 or 27 players) or went with the full 30 to keep Friday’s Saturday’s action at a nice, round 150 players fighting for the final table.

Surely some names we know and care about have advanced, right, along with some others that we don’t yet know we care about? I’ve reached out to my hookups at WinStar, but let’s just say they’re no Nolan Dalla … so info is hard to come by.

RE: The River Gets Underway (2)

Do WinStar Dealers Really Suck?

by , Aug 18, 2008 | 9:20 am

One of the guys playing The River today yesterday is/was ItsOverJonny — not sure how he’s doing or how anyone’s doing … don’t think they have phones yet in Oklahoma … but regardless, if you’re not reading IOJ, well I’m not gonna say you should be, because, hey, we’re all busy people. But think Gary Carson, only more bitter and jaded. Good stuff, as you could imagine.

Though Jonny did play in the big $2k event yesterday, he wasn’t exactly happy with the WinStar crew after playing in a $500 event — and he spells it out, plain as day, what beefs he has with their dealers. Though I suspect the WinStar may poo-poo his free-of-charge poker room consultation because who cares when you’re making so much damn money these days, I can attest that he definitely knows a thing or two about how good games are supposed to run, and just about any poker room management should wanna use his post as a litmus test for what their dealer crew should and shouldn’t do. Some highlights from his blog:

Jonny played in Winstar’s $500+50 today. 61 players. Same shitty Winstar structure. Dealers were fucking horrible, and between dealers fucking everything up, maddening noise from all directions, and idiot clowndick players, I was tilting beyond belief, even though I hadn’t hardly played a hand for a while at the time. Seriously – where do they get these retard dealers that they stick in the tournaments? It’s not like it’s a $60 nightly tournament – it was $550 – get some dealers that can run a table without making repeated stupid mistakes, and then giving me attitude when I correct them until they finally figured out that they had indeed made a mistake. Your job consists of the most basic of math, making a little change, and distribution of cards. How do you manage to fuck that up?


RE: The River Gets Underway

by , Aug 17, 2008 | 12:29 pm

Defending Champ: Sure, I may have gotten lucky on the river, but hey, I had the best hand going in!

So what do you do after beating TJ Cloutier to win $230k? That’s not exactly lottery money, after all — especially after taxes — but it was enough to (kinda) change the life of Vik Vijay, the Oklahoma poker dealer who won the 2007 Red River Roundup (now called, more elegantly Oklahoma-y, The River) and then delivered on his post-victory promise to quit his job and move to Las Vegas with highly energized bankroll in hand. Since then:

hey dan –
yeah, im headed down to winstar next week to defend – ive got the last starting day – thursday the 21st. hopefully it will go well. the last year has been interesting – i moved to vegas and have mostly been playing. i worked at the venetian this summer, dealing poker for their summer tournament set, but they didnt keep any of us on for anything regular. the poker has been going well, but i really got to lay off the blackjack. other than that, life is pretty good.

-vik vijay.

The River Gets Underway

by , | 11:27 am

wingirls2 I think cards are already in the air for the pseudo-shootout River Tournament at WinStar in Oklahoma. Alas, I am not there … am still in Vegas as the first of five groups of 300 players play down to 30.

Though this is not yet confirmed, we think with 1,500, a $2,000 buy-in, and a guaranteed $3 million prize pool that this might-well be the biggest non-WSOP event at $2,000 or more in the history of ever. At a minimum, it’s the biggest event of the year for Texas poker — and Oklahoma poker, too, of course. Was hoping I’d be able to make it back to glorious Thackerville to bring you some WSOP-style coverage of this biggity poker hoedown, but it just doesn’t seem likely.

Last year’s runner-up TJ Cloutier starts today. I’m sure lots of other players we know and love are also there — in fact, if anyone has any updates, be sure to let us know. (Send me an email if you want me Ed to set you up to CSR from the felt/rail.)

Also, last I heard, today is sold out, but 140 seats overall remain. I gotta imagine they’ll fill up if the WinStar is still running single-table satellites … and I know at least two Dallas poker rooms are running sats, so …

Oklahoma Is More than OK

Biggest Event of the Year in North-North Texas

by , Aug 12, 2008 | 8:40 am

Paul in Dallas sends along some info about the upcoming River Touranment in Winstar, Oklahoma. (OK, technically it’s Thackerville, but Winstar is what puts this border town on the map, so …)

As for the River tourney, I’ve been up several times during the months of “qualifying,” and it has been fairly impressive. More impressive is the price you can get for your seats, nearly full price. I won a single table satellite and was able to sell the chip on Craig’s List for $1900 (buyin is $2100). The rake they’ve been able to steal on many satellites has been most impressive- they have been running big tournaments each month ($400+40) for seats, which isn’t too obscene at 10%, but they have been been running $55 single table sat’s to those tournaments, 10 to a table, with winner taking a seat ($440 value) and the house keeping the other $110. And yet people keep playing them.

Not sure if you’ve been kept abreast of the Winstar goings-on, but they did start serving liquor during the summer, and it has changed weekend play considerably. Many tables running 24 hours from Thursday to Monday morning each week. Squishy soft.

Wow. Damn. I did not know. Go WinStar! Should be interesting to see how this $3 million tourney plays out. Would expect to see a virtual who’s who of Texas poker contending.

(Last year, you may recall, this event was called the Red River Roundup and had a guaranteed prize pool of $1 million, in which Vikram Vijay of Oklahoma defeated TJ Cloutier heads-up, making it seem a little bit like an old-fashioned version of the WSOP main event for both of them.)