By Raymond T. Akers
The 15 Year Anniversary Championship Series at Turlock Poker Room & Casino June 6 to 16 spread a total of nine different tournaments. While the $550 Main Event was the headliner, the big bonus went to the series champion.
They had a hotly contested Day 2 in the Main Event, and when they got down to the final table Jose Esparza had a big chip lead with 1,790,000. He was followed by Nate Bolinger who had 1,196,000. Defending the short stack and hoping to move up the ladder was Juan Ramirez with 113,000.
With five players remaining, Esparza had more than half the chips in play, and when heads-up began with Bolinger his lead was 10-to-1. Ninety minutes later though, Bolinger had dominated the match up and the stacks were virtually even.
They then agreed to chop the remaining prize money evenly. When the chips were counted to determine the “official” winner and assignment of series points, Esparza had a 15,000-chip edge (half a small blind) and was named the Main Event champion.
Esparza received $22,721 and the trophy, while Bolinger settled for $22,720. Third place and $12,053 went to Justin Moore (who would have been Series Champion with a Main Event victory). He was followed by Doug Cox ($8,920), Jeffrey Roy ($6,696), John Yu ($5,357), Juan Ramirez ($4,449), Srinivasa Godavarthy ($3,564), and Peunh Farias ($2,667).
David Covarrubias was named the Series Champion with 250 points. Second was Federico Ayala (239) with Moore in third (216).
Covarrubias won Event #8, Mexican Poker No Limit; took second in Event #2, No Limit Hold’em Big Blind Ante; and third in Event #1, No Limit Hold’em Bounty. He also narrowly missed cashing in the Main Event.
As Series Champion, Covarrubias received a trophy, backpack, a photo shoot to create a banner that will hang in the casino, and one complimentary entry into every Turlock Poker Room tournament from July 1 to Nov. 30.
Winners of the first eight events were:
Event #1, No Limit Hold’em Bounty, Jonathan Pablo, $794
Event #2, No Limit Hold’em Big Blind Ante, Ray Blair, $1,841
Event #3, No Limit Hold’em Six Handed, Vincent Chung, $3,000
Event #4, No Limit Hold’em Bounty, Justin Moore, $2,843
Event #5, No Limit Hold’em All In or Fold Bounty, Federico Ayala, $619
Event #6, No Limit Hold’em 50/50 Bounty, Jeff Brock, $939
Event #7, Limit Omaha Hi/Lo Split, Nabil Esho, $1,111
Event #8, Mexican Poker No Limit, David Covarrubias, $1,912