California State Poker Championship is underway

May 10, 2016 3:00 AM


The California State Poker Championship is currently running at Commerce Casino in Los Angeles. The California State Poker Championship is currently running at Commerce Casino in Los Angeles. The series began with a $175 buy-in No Limit Hold’em Double Stack tournament featuring a $50,000 guarantee.

Tournament Director Matt Savage always runs events featuring a mix of games that appeal both to the professional and recreational player.

Savage says, “The Commerce California State Poker Championship is an annual series with 20 events and guarantees in excess of $1,000,000 with great structures you’ve come to expect at the Commerce.”

He continues, “The Cal State series is a great way for you not only to build your summer bankroll but to play many of the games you don’t see in other venues.”

The California Championship is also a great lead up to the World Series of Poker. It’s always interesting to follow the winners and see how they do at the WSOP at the Rio in Las Vegas this summer.

One such player to look out for is Paul Vinci, a familiar face on the Los Angeles poker scene. He recently won Event 8: $350 Pot Limit Omaha 8 or Better. In 2014 he was fifth in the same event.

Vinci is off to a great start in 2016. Back in January, he cashed in back-to-back tournaments at the prestigious Los Angeles Poker Classic (LAPC) at Commerce Casino. On Jan. 20, he placed seventh in the $350 Stud 8 or Better, then came in 12th in the $350 Omaha 8 or Better/Stud 8 or Better.

Vinci’s biggest score to date came in Event 19: $1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha at the 2005 WSOP where his second place result was good for $70,680. Barry Greenstein won his second gold bracelet in that event.

Born and raised in L.A., Vinci started dealer school across the street from the Bicycle Club in 1993. He burst on the poker scene in 1995 with his first cash in the LAPC IV when he placed sixth in a $330 Lowball tournament.

That year he continued to cash in tournaments in a variety of poker variants from Seven-Card Stud to Omaha Hi/Lo leaving dealing behind forever. The fact that he is still winning and cashing in tournaments 20 years later is a testament to his skill. He is definitely one to watch.

Patricia Chavira is a freelance writer and social media consultant specializing in gaming. She has played poker professionally for over 10 years. Email: