Lucky Chances’ Battle of the Bay breaks records

By Barbara Engler

The 21st annual Battle of the Bay tournament series, held at Lucky Chances Casino from April 26 to May 6, broke casino records in the two biggest events. The four tournaments (all no-limit Hold’em) had first-place guarantees ranging from $10,000 to $50,000.

The Main Event featured a buy-in of $1,080 and a $50,000 first place guarantee. There were 648 total entries and a prize pool of $648,000. After three Day 1s May 3 to 5 the remaining players returned on May 6 to finish things up.

With first place scheduled to receive $120,620, no one was too surprised when the final five contestants arrived at a deal paying fifth place Srinivasa Godavarthy $48,290, fourth place Matthew Betti $56,350, third place Rellie Sigua $59,350, and second place Imad Allahham $66,110. Alex Epstein of Oakland was crowned the champion, receiving the lion’s share of the prize pool at $99,220.

A month later, Epstein followed up with a WSOP bracelet win in Event #8, $10,000 Short Deck No-Limit Hold’em (see top right).

Event #1 totaled 638 entries of $600 and a prize pool of $350,900. Three Day 1s April 26 to 28 led to Day 2 on April 29. The big payoffs produced plenty of action, but when the players got down to the final table of nine, a chop payed Zhi Jiang $11,750 (9th), Mohsn Said $15,040 (8th), Jeff Spruitenburg $15,240 (7th), Michael Lancaster $15,540 (6th), Christopher Errand $21,480 (5th), Chen Wang $31,180 (4th), Toko Luu $33,370 (3rd), and Dennis Worku $33,810 (2nd). First place and $40,810 went to Pleasant Hill’s Ferenc Szuchopa.

Events #2 and #3 were single-day turbo tournaments with shorter rounds and chip stacks. Event #2’s buy-in was $200 and came with a $10,000 first place guarantee. Event #3 was $350, and the guarantee was $20,000.

Event #2 had 222 entries and a $39,960 prize pool. The six-way chop was Amanda Graef $3,870, Naeem Patel $4,200, Eric Lee $4,300, Robert Lapp $5,150, Robert Sparks $5,400, and Vince Yu $8,740.

Event #3 had 232 entries and a $74,240 prize pool. The chop went eight ways this time: Tsztak Ho $5,730, Jon Folan $6,440, Stan Lau $6,900, Michael Lancaster $7,500, Yury Klimenkov $7,500, Gregory Chew $8,450, Eric Braun $8,750, and Joseph Lam $10,000.