Inaugural tournament already breaking records |

Inaugural tournament already breaking records

Jeremy Evans

Not only has the first tournament at Lake Tahoe’s World Series of Poker Circuit Event made someone $31,000 richer, it also vaulted the area into the poker record books.

A record 542 players signed up for Wednesday’s $200 buy-in, No-Limit Hold’em tournament at Harveys Resort and Casino. It was the largest turnout for a single-day tournament in Northern Nevada history.

“It has been great,” said Vince Contaxis, Harveys’ Poker Room Manager. “This has far exceeded any of our expectations.”

First-place payout for the tournament is $31,563, with final table action scheduled for today at 4 p.m. On Tuesday, more than 200 people played two rounds of Super Satellites. These are low buy-in games that eventually lead to its winners earning their way into the $10,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em main event, scheduled for May 8-11.

Seven players were awarded seats into that event based on Tuesday’s action. The 228 entrants into the Super Satellites also set a WSOP Circuit Event record.

Three other venues have already hosted circuit events: Atlantic City, San Diego and Las Vegas. There is one more circuit event held in New Orleans from May 18-28 before the WSOP Tournament of Champions begins on June 2 in Las Vegas.

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While the tournament is breaking area records, the live poker room inside Harveys is also bustling. Seventeen tables, ranging from low-limit games to no-limit games, were spread across the room Wednesday afternoon. At that time of day, there usually would be seven games going.

“Frankly, it doesn’t surprise me at all,” said Nolan Dalla, WSOP Media Relations Director and avid poker player. “There are a lot of dedicated poker players in this area. It’s been long overdue for Lake Tahoe to get an event like this.”

The Lake Tahoe WSOP Circuit Event is the largest poker tournament to be held at South Shore. From 1982 through the late 80s, the Super Bowl of Poker was held at Caesars Tahoe. At the time, it was the second largest poker tournament in the world.

“In terms of volume and number of people playing, these circuit events are bigger than the WSOP Tournament of Champions was even five years ago,” Dalla said. “Poker has just exploded with all the television coverage.

“For the next two weeks, Lake Tahoe is going to be at the center of the poker universe. Anybody who’s anybody in the poker world will be in Lake Tahoe. Doyle Brunson, Chris Ferguson, all the big names will be here.”

Final game coverage of the main event will be televised on ESPN.

Today’s Schedule

10 a.m.: Registration for $500 buy-in, Limit Hold’em tournament

Noon: Start of $500 buy-in, Limit Hold’em tournament

4 p.m.: Final Table for $200 buy-in, No-Limit Hold’em tournament

Note: Spectator seating is available.