WPT lands in L.A. for Poker Classic

December 18, 2007 3:40 AM
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The international poker spotlight will shine brightly on Los Angeles’ Commerce Casino throughout January, February and March as the casino hosts the annual L.A. Poker Classic.

Beginning January 24 and wrapping up March 3 with the World Poker Tour (WPT) Celebrity Invitational final table, the world’s largest poker room hosts non-stop poker action with 30 different tournaments — including two Super Satellite sessions.

The featured event starts February 23 with the $10,000 buy-in L.A. Poker Classic Championship, a WPT event filmed for broadcast around the globe.

The world’s top poker players fill Commerce Casino’s tables throughout the preliminary tournaments to grab a slice of the total prize pool expected to be nearly $17 million.

But the real goal is to claim a WPT title and the lion’s share of the $7 million prize pool anticipated for the L.A. Poker Classic main event.

To cap off the six-week event, Commerce Casino welcomes Hollywood’s poker-playing celebrities for the always glamorous and exciting WPT Celebrity Invitational — an event that brings together the stars of film, television and poker to share the green felt.

The 2007 LAPC events drew a total of 13,400 entrants. Here’s a look at the full slate of events for 2008:

Tournament Schedule

In its totality, the L.A. Poker Classic encompasses a series of 30 different events leading up to the $10,000 Championship. Players can either buy-in directly or win their way into individual events by entering satellite tournaments.

Scheduled are No Limit Hold’em, Limit Hold’em, 7-Card Stud, Omaha Hi/Low Split, 7-Card Stud Hi/Low, and Turbo No Limit Hold’em 6-Handed tournaments. A complete schedule can be viewed on the Commerce Casino website, CommerceCasino.com .

Again this year there will be points awarded to the top 16 finishers in 22 of the 30 games being played, with the top four finishers at each event receiving 50 points. At the conclusion of the LAPC, the top five point getters will split a $50,000 bonus.

For those people wishing to experience a fun and unique poker adventure, the No Limit Hold’em Tag Team event will take place again this year on Valentine’s Day, Feb.14. Bring a buddy, a girlfriend or boyfriend, husband or wife to team up and conquer all others. Teams of two trade off each time the blinds go up, and the winning team splits the prize money! Last year’s winning team captured a $25,610 first prize.

This year, the schedule again includes the renowned $1,065-buy-in No Limit Hold’em LAPC Ladies Event set for Feb. 2.

L.A. Poker Classic No Limit Hold’em Championship

Easily the most anticipated event of this tournament is the L.A. Poker Classic No Limit Hold’em Championship, one of the largest competitions on the WPT. At the LAPC’s main event, everyday players just might end up sitting across from poker luminaries such as Daniel Negreanu, Jennifer Harman, Barry Greenstein, Doyle Brunson, Ted Forrest, Phil Hellmuth, Gus Hansen, Erick Lindgren, Cyndy Violette, Phil "The Unabomber" Laak, Gavin Smith, Vanessa Rousso, Patrick Antonius, Kenna James and Joe Sebok.

Held Feb. 23-28, the $10,000 buy-in event is expected to draw more than 750 players, including a stellar line-up of the game’s icons and young stars, competing for millions of dollars of prize money.

Last year’s champion, Eric Hershler of Los Angeles, went home with $2,429,970 after just five days of work. In the previous year it was Alan Goehring who walked away with the win and $2,391,550. In 2005, Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi claimed $1,859,909 and his first WPT title, preceded in 2004 by Antonio Esfandiari who won $1,399,135.

The anticipated prize pool will be nearly $7 million. The winner also garners a $25,000 seat to the Season VI WPT World Championship held in April 2008 at Bellagio in Las Vegas.