The 10th Anniversary Series at Turlock Poker Room and Casino was a huge success, drawing more than 780 entries for the 10 events, including 126 for the $1,100 Main Event won by Mai Xiong of Merced for a $37,800 payday.
The top performer across the entire 10-day series, Todd Machado of Atwater, took down the Series Championship title. Machado had four final tables during the 10 events, including a victory in the All-In-Or-Fold Event #2 and a runner-up finish in Event #6, a $125 bounty tournament.
Machado, an organic walnut farmer whose orchard is not far from the poker room, managed to juggle all his work tasks right in the middle of harvest season, and also make time to run deep in most every event he entered. This included tournaments we was not all too familiar with, such as Mexican Poker and Omaha Hi-Low.
His efforts paid off with the Series Championship title and prizes that included a trophy, TPR jacket, a banner with his picture on it to be hung from the poker room’s rafters, and a free entry into every Turlock Poker Room and Casino tournament for a full year (valued at more than $14,000).
The highlight event of the 10th Anniversary Series, the $1,100 Main Event, drew 64 entries on Day 1A and an additional 62 on Day
1B, with many players in the field earning their entry through $125 satellites that ran once a week beginning in June.
One of those satellite winners was Xiong, who entered Friday, Oct. 10 in Day 1A, slowly working her way through the field, bagging 108,800 chips—more than five times her initial starting stack of 20,000—by the end of the night. She came back for Sunday’s Day 2 eighth out of the 26 players who advanced to the championship day. By the time the final table began, Xiong had worked her stack to 375,500. In fact, she was responsible for getting players to the final table.
“I always come to a tournament with the idea of winning it,” Xiong said after coming back from collecting her winnings. “Once I won the hand with A-J against K-J (knocking out a player in 11th place when both had trip Jacks) I thought I had a good chance to win it all.”
She went on to eliminate the first player from the final table and keep building chip towers until she had the chip lead six-handed, and never relinquished it.
She knocked off Sean Drake in third place, starting heads-up play against fellow Merced resident Drew Caseri with nearly a four-to-one chip lead. The two played for fewer than 30 hands before Xiong knocked out Caseri for the title.
Other winners during the 10th Anniversary Series that paid out a total of $190,726 in prize money included Juan Carlos Espinoza (Event #1, $250 Mexican Poker Championships); Chris Hinchcliffe (Event #4, $125 Bounty); 2008 Series Champion Tracey Myers (Event #5, $75 Bounty); Adolfo Casillas (Event #6, $125 Bounty); and Richi Patterson, Jr. (Event #7, $110 Omaha 8). Each event in the series featured live updates provided by the team from HoldemRadio.com, including a live radio broadcast of the Main Event final table.
Turlock Poker Room and Casino’s next major series is in May 2015 when WPT DeepStacks returns, featuring a $1,100 Main Event. This is part of a three-year agreement for Turlock Poker Room and Casino to be a stop on the yearly WPT Deepstacks tour.