Poker Classic hits Turlock

Turlock Poker Room hosted the team of DeepStacks poker pros for the third year running as the DeepStacks Poker Tour made its official stop in Turlock May 17 to 19 for the Central California Poker Classic.

Among the team of DeepStacks pros in attendance were Turlock Poker Room’s Official Poker Ambassador, Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi, Tristan Wade, Jason Lee and Darrel Dier. ESPN commentator, Lon McEachern, who visited Turlock for the 2012 DeepStacks event, was also in attendance.

With a $500 buy-in, the event drew a field of 90 players all taking a shot at the $41,000 prize pool, a seat into DeepStacks World Championship tournament and complimentary entry to any tournament hosted by Turlock Poker Room between June 1, 2013 and May 31, 2014.

Mizrachi was knocked out early on Day 1A, but he tried again two more times and still didn’t make it to Sunday’s final. After his final elimination he said, “Well, the people are always great at Turlock and, I don’t know, it’s just a wonderful time. But, the only difference this time, I bought in three times and no success. My twin brother’s still in there and hopefully … he’s really short but you never know, he can play without chips. Me, on the other hand, I need a lot of chips for my style of play. But everything was great. I was very happy to be here—foods great, people are great, and there’s great poker action. So, I’d recommend everybody to come out to Turlock.”

Lee, who took third in this event last year, once again made it to the final day, along with DeepStacks CEO Chris Torina who entered at the last minute and made it to the final table as the chip leader. In what was truly a stacked final table, Torina was joined by local Roger Baily (a WSOP bracelet runner-up), and Jeff Houston (eight WSOP cashes, one at the Main Event). Rounding out the final table were Brent Bixby, Jaime Esquivel, Shayne Heine, Steven Geralis, Chris Gonzales, Miguel Lopez, and Cheri Svenson.

Bixby ($1,125) was the first eliminated, followed by Svenson ($1,500), Geralis ($1,875), and Lopez ($2,250).

Over two hours elapsed before Baily knocked out both Heine ($2,625) and Houston ($3,375), making him the new chip leader. Then Esquivel eliminated Gonzales ($3,750) to get them down to three-handed play.

After several hours playing three handed, Baily ($4,500) was eliminated by Esquivel who began heads up play with a three-to-one advantage over Torina. The lead swung back and forth a couple of times though, before Esquivel eliminated Torina ($6,000) to claim first prize—$10,500, trophy, a year’s worth of TPR tournament entries, and a seat plus travel expenses for the $2,500 buy-in Deep­Stacks World Championship tournament in Connecticut which has a $500,000 guaranteed prize pool.

Esquivel, a Turlock resident and regular player at TPR, said this was the first big tournament he’s ever played in. After his victory he said, “I feel great. I feel, oh my gosh, excited. It’s my first time with this and I’m very excited.”

About going heads-up against Torina he added, “It was pretty … that was pretty good. He’s a professional and I don’t want to get nervous in front of him. I want to be like him. You know, I don’t want to be afraid or something. I want to play and that’s it. Came to gamble.”