Rellie Sigua wins 2011 NorCal POY contest

By Arnold Warner

Sometimes nice guys actually do finish first. Rellie Sigua of San Bruno was recently named The Card­room’s 2011 NorCal Poker Tournament Player of the Year. Described by Lucky Chances tournament director Robert Bloom as “genuinely a nice guy,” Sigua claimed the title and trophy with a strong finish to the year.

After holding a solid second place for most of the year, and briefly taking the lead in June, Sigua reclaimed the top spot in October and never let go. He finished the contest with 7,302 points, about 20 percent more than second place, San Francisco’s Lawrence Chow (6,191).

Third place went to Moe Saquing of Daly City (5,613) and taking fourth place was 2010 champion Mark Lamb of Livermore with 5,556 points. Claiming fifth place was San Francisco’s Dun “Mike” Nguyen with 4,730 points followed in sixth by 2009 champion Gerry Davidow of Fresno with 4,262. Next came Jimmy Zeledon, San Jose (4,260); Darrell Ticehurst, Hillsborough (4,239); Tony Nguyen, San Francisco (4,057); and Dan Webster, San Francisco (3,673).

Sigua was born in the Philippines and moved to San Francisco when he was six years old. His future may have been ordained before he got here though, as he says, “At the age of four or five years old I remember being a gambler already, playing coins in the Philippines with my cousins and friends, and that just led me to doing this now. And this is what I love doing most. This is my passion.” He also remembers tagging along with his mother to Mahjong parlors not long after they came to America.

At 16 he got his first job at a car wash and followed that up with a stint selling cars then was a doorman at a San Francisco hotel. When he lost the hotel job seven years ago he decided to take up poker full time—a game he had only been playing for a few months. Prior to that he had mostly played, and lost money, at Pai Gow Tiles. He thought he would take up poker to see what all the excitement was about and started playing $3/6 Hold’em.

With little experience and only a few tournaments under his belt he had chosen to try to make poker his profession, a bold move to say the least. “At first it was tough, because I had not that much funds and no one really trusted my game yet, until I built their trust after a year or two. Then I started getting backed for the little games and some tournaments,” he said. “Now I’m backing myself,” he added proudly.

While primarily a tournament player these days, he says he will sometimes play the smaller no-limit games to help supplement his tournament buy-ins. “I try not to play the bigger games because I know they have an edge on me. I’m a tournament player, not a cash player. I know where my weaknesses are. If I’m going to gamble, I might as well gamble on the other side [Pai Gow].”

When asked for his initial reaction when he was told he was the 2011 POY Sigua said, “I felt really, really humbled. At the same time very happy because I’ve been trying to get it for the past two years. [He came in second in 2010.] I’ve been working hard at it and finally I got it. I’m happy and thrilled about getting the trophy to add to my mom’s collection. I am humbled and so happy and hopefully this will bring more chances and exposure as far as my talent, and hopefully I can play in more big tournaments.”

Sigua’s mother (who has also become a poker player) has kept her eye on his Player of the Year effort, and apparently she isn’t the only one. “She’s been following my points all year and so has my dad back in the Philippines. My dad’s proud of me too. Every relative that I have here now that used to look at me bad, they all wish me good luck every time I play a big tournament now, so I’ve got all their support. That’s my number one thing.”

Lucky Chances Casino is proud of their player too. Tournament director Bloom also said, “I think it’s great for Rellie. I know he’s dedicated a lot of time and energy to improving his game over the years since I’ve been here. I think it’s a wonderful accomplishment. for him as a player to be recognized as the Northern California Player of the Year. He put a lot of effort into it and it paid off.”

Bloom closed by saying, “We’re very proud that he’s one of our regular players and I think he’ll be a great ambassador for the casino and for The Cardroom.”

2012 contest began Jan. 1

The 2012 NorCal Player of the Year contest official began on Jan 1. and will run through the end of November as it did in 2011. There are no rules changes this year as we think we have it pretty well dialed in.

One thing we will be stressting is for our participating casinos to send in their tournament reports on a regular basis, preferably daily or weekly. We have to avoid last-minute inundations of points that, from a players’ perspective, seem to have come out of the blue.

Player of the Year contestants should note that as our sponsors change, so does the list of casinos participating. Make sure to check our website (www.norcalcard and familiarize yourself with our list of active casinos. Other than reading this article that’s the quickest way to find out who’s on board. In the meantime, if your favorite cardroom is not on the list, be sure to inform your friendly neighborhood poker manager or tournament director that you wish they were! (Any casino advertising in The Cardroom is eligible to join in the fun.)

Kicking off 2012 our actively participating POY casinos are: Bay 101 Casino, San Jose; Lucky Chances Casino, Colma; Lucky Derby Casino, Citrus Heights; Livermore Casino, Livermore; and Napa Valley Casino, American Canyon. Also, if you check The Cardroom’s Tournament Schedule you’ll see that active POY casinos are now listed in red.

Here are the final standings for 2011. Congratulations to everyone and keep those tournament results coming in!

Name City Points TGP

Sigua, R San Bruno 7,301.57 35

Chow, L San Francisco 6,191.10 34

Saquing, M Daly City 5,613.18 27

Lamb, M Livermore 5,556.37 47

Nguyen, D San Francisco 4,729.78 29

Davidow, G Fresno 4,262.18 43

Zeledon, J San Jose 4,260.19 20

Ticehurst, D Hillsborough 4,238.95 16

Nguyen, T San Francisco 4,056.75 23

Webster, D San Francisco 3,672.65 22

Kratsas, A San Francisco 3,661.83 20

Malabanan, I S. San Francisco 3,315.19 18

Pincombe, G Redwood City 3,286.79 13

Giva, A Daly City 3,115.67 19

Gawad, H El Granada 3,081.75 20

Lyons, P Hillsborough 2,975.38 17

Serrano, V San Bruno 2,939.14 19

Tang, R San Francisco 2,624.78 14

Estrada, P Santa Rosa 2,587.43 23

Tieu, H San Francisco 2,561.11 14

Cruz, E Daly City 2,270.42 17

Devenezia, J San Francisco 2,265.80 10

Velazco, C Pacifica 2,153.18 13

Tang, X Foster City 1,986.39 8

Spruitenburg, T Pacifica 1,959.54 12

Svenson, C Castro Valley 1,941.44 17

Saakov, L San Francisco 1,654.20 9

James, L San Rafael 1,589.57 17

Dingley, T Sacramento 1,555.28 16

Spruitenburg, J Burlingame 1,498.61 11

Barnes, G Orangevale 1,444.60 17

Michaelis, S Pleasanton 1,408.49 13

May, M Davis 1,386.88 8

Wearing, M San Francisco 1,383.92 9

Hicks, J Citrus Heights 1,336.88 12

Gregory, P Oakland 1,327.47 7

Lamb, E Discovery Bay 1,325.04 11

Aquino, J Pacifica 1,262.24 8

Nabong, R Daly City 1,254.60 6

Ali, M Albany 1,237.40 7

Sim, A Dublin 1,220.75 10

Townsend, S Dublin 1,153.20 11

Angel, K Gold River 1,117.04 11

Ginochio, J Concord 1,058.82 9

Perez, A San Francisco 1,041.85 7

Dailey, B Cotati 1,024.91 11

Weathington, R Castro Valley 1,004.80 9

Forster, D Alameda 994.35 3

DelVecchio, D Sunnyvale 981.57 7

Ciaglo, D Granite Bay 953.30 10

Santos, D San Jose 946.85 4

Sanchez, I Reedley 925.67 3

Tobar, O San Francisco 893.85 6

Serrato, R Danville 878.96 8

Yamamoto, R Fresno 850.16 8

Tighe, G Santa Cruz 829.04 5

Nguyen, T San Jose 781.84 4

Antonyan, A North Highlands 763.33 8

Cendejas, J San Francisco 761.43 5

Alexandridis, J Corte Madera 749.88 2

Kelly, S San Francisco 724.71 5

Zhang, D Fremont 689.96 4

Gomez, E Livermore 680.28 4

Wardlaw, C Citrus Heights 668.16 6

Smith, D Fair Oaks 656.40 7

Batara, W Daly City 593.02 2

Guzman, M Antioch 571.95 5

Chew, N Milpitas 548.92 2

Hunkin, T San Francisco 541.25 4

Plenys, R Sanger 531.13 5

Baza, L Sunnyvale 487.20 2

De Los Reyes, A Daly City 468.65 4

Taylor, Z Lincoln 461.88 4

Mai, T San Leandro 458.27 3

Essalat, C San Francisco 458.08 3

Smith, K Livermore 418.20 4

Crick, S Santa Rosa 418.00 4

Wallace, A San Francisco 405.92 3

Winford, A Fresno 399.71 4

Reeves, J Livermore 374.40 3

Guan, J San Francisco 354.52 1

Robertson, A Livermore 336.00 3

Mantua, N Bodega Bay 328.00 2

Stagner, R San Francisco 327.31 2

McCord, J Gold River 324.48 3

Trujillo, S S. San Francisco 303.67 2

House, R North Highlands 300.10 3

Canoun, C San Francisco 292.87 1

Check, H San Francisco 291.38 2

Lopez, A Citrus Heights 288.80 3

En, Y Stockton 253.00 2

Amado, E Sacramento 252.00 3

Giannone, J Citrus Heights 251.04 3

Quiambao, R S. San Francisco 250.00 1

Duong, T Sacramento 249.60 2

Guzman, J Burlingame 225.60 2

May, G Novato 225.06 3

Terry, J Citrus Heights 223.50 3

Florio, B San Jose 222.25 2

Ragasa, D Brentwood 219.42 1

Lickey, N Fair Oaks 211.02 2

Barber, B Citrus Heights 210.00 2

Ngaorassavong, S Fresno 210.00 2

Cassidy, B Folsom 205.20 2

Pope, D San Francisco 199.66 1

Contreras, M Santa Rosa 196.02 2

Harrison, C 195.24 1

Fuller, II, M Hilmer 193.43 2

Jerry, G Livermore 189.60 2

Ackley, T Loomis 187.95 2

Nevius, S Pacifica 187.50 1

Alvarez, R Santa Rosa 184.17 2

Nelson, N Citrus Heights 180.00 2

Pineda, J Daly City 175.50 1

Kolla, Z Pleasanton 174.24 2

Campbell, E Auburn 169.80 2

Morrow, A Cotati 164.70 2

Nguyen, C San Jose 157.50 1

Dalaig, H San Francisco 157.50 1

Moskowitz, M San Rafael 151.20 1

Green, M Roseville 144.00 1

Pearcey, J Folsom 140.40 1

Joves, A S. San Francisco 130.50 1

Andrew, H Walnut Creek 123.31 1

Mullick, J Citrus Heights 121.21 1

Maniz, J Oakley 120.00 1

Radzik, B Fair Oaks 120.00 1

Velloo, P Petaluma 118.80 1

Noy, N Orinda 117.60 1

McDougall, D Citrus Heights 113.40 1

McGlynn, S Sacramento 112.32 1

Griffiths, J Pacifica 108.80 1

Francis, J Rancho Cordova 108.00 1

Soares, R Hanford 103.95 1

DiSalvo, D Lincoln 102.96 1

Ugaitafa, O San Francisco 101.25 1

Caspillo, D Tracy 96.72 1

Jolley, P Burlingame 96.00 1

Camper, L Manteca 92.40 1

Michaels, M Escalon 92.40 1

Zika, M Livermore 89.28 1

McGuin, B Duncans Mills 87.75 1

Concepcion, C San Jose 83.30 1

Edwards, D North Highlands 81.84 1

Andaya, M Roseville 80.00 1

Ching, G Fair Oaks 80.00 1

Eichmann, E Fair Oaks 73.50 1