By Arnold Warner
The 19th Annual Battle of the Bay at Lucky Chances Casino in Colma ran from April 23 to May 1. The five events making up the series broke several Lucky Chances records for entries and prize pools, with the Main Event leading the way.
Day 1A was held April 29 for the $1,080 buy-in event that featured a first place guarantee of $100,000. With 225 entries Lucky Chances set a Main Event Day 1A record and played down to 29 remaining.
Day 1B on April 30 had 304 entries (a Day 1B record), making for a total of 529. This created records for total entries and prize pool—$529,000. They played until 39 were left. Of the 68 players returning for Day 2, 54 would make the money. First place was scheduled to receive $137,530.
After a long and arduous final table at which the chip lead changed hands several times, two players were left with nearly equal chip stacks and agreed to a chop. Preston Lee from Millbrae claimed $115,290, the trophy and title, while Redwood City’s Greg “Spartacus” Pincombe received second place and $103,170.
Lee started the final table as one of the short stacks but waited patiently for his opportunity to double up, and he did. He continued that approach even after gaining a more playable chip stack, eventually taking down the big pots. “I just kind of won all my flips, and things worked out. This was my biggest [tournament] win,” Lee said after his victory.
Pincombe likewise bided his time well and took advantage of his best chances when they came up. He’s been there before though, having won this event about nine years ago and being part of a chop at the Gold Rush series at Lucky Chances last November. “I’ve been playing here for about 10 years, and these tournaments are probably the best bang for the buck, because they give you 100 grand guarantee for first, which you never see, and they always exceed it,” Pincombe said. “The structure is really good. We started with 25,000 chips and it’s just a really, really well-run tournament.”
Evan Sandberg came in third ($52,370) but had both the best and worst runs at the final table. Starting with a medium stack, it wasn’t long before he was eliminating players and gaining a massive chip lead which he held all the way up to three remaining.
Some tough coolers while playing short handed brought his tournament to a halt though, notably holding A-Q against A-K and then A-J against A-K. Despite it all, he took it pretty well. “It was a really good experience. Overall it went really well,” he said. “When we got down to three handed I had over half the chips in play. So that was pretty disappointing to finish third, but at the end of the day it’s a good result. It’s a really good environment here—really well run.”
Ayman Qutami ($35,700). Irakli Tabidze ($25,390), and Jeff Spruitenburg ($20,360) claimed the next three places.
Event 1 was a $600 buy-in with a first place guarantee of $40,000. With 351 entries (another record), the prize pool was $193,050. After a long day and two eliminations at the final table the remaining eight agreed on a chop. First place went to chip leader Jairo Aguirre of San Jose who received $22,615.
Event 2 was a $350 buy-in with a first place guarantee of $20,000. There were 238 players, creating a prize pool of $76,160. This time there was a four-way chop, with Hohshen “Moe” Aliakbar of Hercules taking first place and $20,225.
Event 3 had the same buy-in and guarantee as Event 2, but this time 271 players made for a prize pool of $86,720. A seven-way chop gave Stuart Tuvey of San Jose first place and $15,275.
The final event before the Main Event was a $200 buy-in turbo tournament with a $10,000 guarantee for first place. A five-way chop brought a first place tie to Daly City’s Rellie Sigua and Newark’s Denzel Suntay who each received $8,000.