By Raymond T. Akers
Taking a chance by hosting a multiple Day 1 tournament with a big $30,000 guarantee, Stars Casino in Tracy was pleased with the turnout and the players were very pleased with the tournament.
The $260 buy-in event had four Day 1s which attracted a total of 137 entries, making the prize pool $30,825. Fifteen percent of the players from each starting day made it to Day 2 and they were all in the money with payouts starting at $462.
A deal was made for the big money at the top, with four players, Paul Overen, Mark Lohnert, Richard Elson, and Brandon Harper, chopping in the end for $4,075 each.
When they were done, Harper said, “For a small poker room like this it was a very good tournament, a great structure, and this guy (poker director Mike Sweeney) did a great job.”
Local player (and NorCal tournament grinder) Cheryl Svenson came in ninth place and said, “It was awesome. I hope they have more because a local place like this … this is what we need. We need more poker like this here. I love it.”
Sweeney added, “I’ve been playing cards for over 15 years. It’s something I’m passionate about. I love to play tournaments. I go to Vegas, L.A., Bay Area, Sacramento, and here in the Central Valley. But I’ve always worked in smaller cardrooms and always thought it was possible for the little guy to find our piece of the market with a well-structured tournament and good payouts, all of which I think will please customers to the utmost possibility. I just hope we can grow—bigger guarantees, more tables, more flights, and more happy players.”
It looks like they’re getting their wish, as Stars has already announced the Stellar $40K which will feature eight starting flights beginning Nov. 21 and culminate with Day 2 on Dec. 11. Once again the buy-in will be $260, with 20,000 chips and 30-minute levels.