By Barbara Engler
On Aug. 18 the Lucky Derby Casino in Citrus Heights played host to their annual tournament featuring The Cardroom’s Player of the Year. Every player had a $10 bounty on their head, but taking down 2011 POY Rellie Sigua was worth $100.
The Derby had 69 entries for this event, creating a prize pool of $2,700 plus $790 in bounty money. In the end, a four-way deal was reached with Patrick Beckman of Folsom, Mike Bowman of Fair Oaks, and Jason Sewart of Roseville splitting $1,400 three ways, and Gary Ong of Sacramento taking home $510 as the chip leader.
Others placing in the money were (fifth to tenth place): Ben N., John H., Casey C., James B., Susan R., and Laura E.
Ong’s finish as the chip leader got a big boost from the hand that earned him the bounty on Sigua. Both had huge chip stacks and, depending on how you look at it, Sigua either made a bold move that resulted in an unlikely call, or Ong read the situation correctly and was willing to risk his chips to see it through.
About the hand, Sigua said, “I saw him limp in three pots before that with 10-8 suited spades and I put him on the same hand or maybe higher, but I doubted he could call my all-in because we had the biggest stacks. I was shoving in with Q-10 of diamonds thinking he was going to fold if he had A-K, A-Q there. The only way he could call me is with kings, queens, or aces. But I guessed wrong. He called with A-10 offsuit.”
An ace on the flop gave Ong an even bigger lead, with Sigua’s only real chance a gutshot straight draw which didn’t materialize. “I can’t play everyone the same. That’s what makes this game so beautiful. Everyone’s different. Everyone wakes up every morning in a different mood and he was in a happy mood like he was gonna win, so he called off and won.”
Ong, a regular player at the Lucky Derby who moved to California from New York last year, says he loves to play tournaments and will play in as many local events as possible. His take on the pivotal hand with Sigua: “I had been watching him for a while, ever since he got to the table, and I noticed he had pushed a few times in position and of course I realized what he had. So I was basing all my decisions on that. So what happened is, he was the small blind and I was under the gun so I limped with A-10. Everybody folds and it comes around to him and he’s in position, and he looks at me and he looks down and says, ‘I’m all-in,’ and I knew right away I was ahead. I had to be ahead, so I called. He had Q-10. I was happy to see that.”
After the tournament Sewart said, “I really enjoyed the event. Super deep stacks and it let skill really take the edge.”
Bowman added, “As far as the Lucky Derby goes, I tell everybody this is my favorite place to play. They have the friendliest and most professional staff of any cardroom or casino, I think, in the area, by far. The food is excellent. For my money, this is the only place to play.”
Sigua, who had never been to the Derby before, echoed that sentiment, saying, “This place is beautiful—beautiful people, beautiful everything. Everyone treated me like I was a regular. If I lived out here this would be my place to be playing. This would be my home base.”
The Lucky Derby was also pleased with the event which featured a school supply drive. “We would like to thank everyone for the school supply donations and a big thanks to The Cardroom newspaper for their generous donation of school supplies,” said Lucky Derby manager Kirk Schayltz. “All school supplies will be donated to the Citrus Heights School District. We were very pleased with the turnout. A special thanks to Rellie Sigua for attending the tournament and to The Cardroom for allowing the Lucky Derby Casino to host this event.”
Sigua to defend at Lucky Chances
Next up for the 2011 Player of the Year is a defense of his “home” base at Lucky Chances Casino in Colma. On Sunday, Oct. 28 at 9:30 a.m. they will be hosting a special tournament in honor of Sigua. Buy-in is $225 + $20 + $20 and will feature their usual $10,000 guarantee for first place, plus a $1,000 bounty on Sigua.
Sigua said he is looking forward to the event and the chance for all comers to take their best shot at him as he continues his quest to earn back-to-back POY honors. He currently has a sizable, but not insurmountable, lead in the 2012 contest and said, “I’m going to try to win this second one. This one I’m going to put a lot of effort into it because I want to be able to make a stand that I do play well and hopefully it brings me a better future as far as backers and sponsors. I have something to prove to myself.
Current POY standings
Here is the top of the leader board in the 2012 NorCal Poker Tournament Player of the Year race as of Aug. 26:
Name City Points TGP
Sigua, R San Bruno 6,380.07 29
Zeledon, J San Jose 4,525.34 19
Chow, L San Francisco 3,995.86 18
Martin, A Castro Valley 3,941.65 34
Rivas, E Hayward 3,852.68 33
Nguyen, D San Francisco 3,735.18 23
Lyons, P Hillsborough 3,604.88 16
Serrano, V San Bruno 3,540.98 21
Michaelis, S Pleasanton 3,357.37 15
Velazco, C Pacifica 3,357.08 19
Spruitenburg, J Burlingame 3,297.61 16
Gil, R San Jose 2,906.99 10
Quiambao, R S. San Francisco 2,698.56 12
Zapanta, O Hayward 2,612.16 22
Dalaig, H San Francisco 2,518.13 9
Atkins, W Concord 2,514.44 22
Wainscott, G Hayward 2,366.24 20
Webster, D San Francisco 2,356.66 13
Giva, A Daly City 2,326.17 12
Anderson, J Hayward 2,325.88 19
Guichardcarrion, D Alameda 2,167.80 20
Barnes, G Orangevale 2,100.54 22
DelVecchio, D Sunnyvale 2,095.75 15
Spruitenburg, T Pacifica 1,962.11 8
Raine, S Fremont 1,960.25 17
Forster, D Alameda 1,887.06 4
Gawad, H El Granada 1,850.99 11
Tobar, O San Francisco 1,791.71 12