One of the venerable state championships in the poker world announced on Tuesday a change to the start date of their tournament and the addition of new tournaments on the schedule.
The California State Poker Championships, battled out on the tables of the Commerce Casino in Los Angeles, has moved its starting date from September to May this year. This isn’t the first change in the tournament schedule; when it was first contested in 2003, the tournament was played in June. It was moved to September in 2005 to avoid conflicts with the ever-expanding schedule of the World Series of Poker.
Although the September start date was convenient for players, many were burned out after the nearly two months of poker warfare at the WSOP. With the move to May this year, the California State Poker Championships should provide players with an opportunity to fine tune their games before the WSOP starts full bore in June, according to Commerce Casino Spokesman John Griffo. “We opted to make changes to the Cal State Poker Championship to provide players a way to focus their skills leading into the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas”, he said. “By adding additional games and increasing the stakes, we hope to create an opportunity for players to hone their skills or fatten their bankroll before facing the masses at the WSOP.”
With this in mind, the schedule at the Commerce Casino for the California State Poker Championships will challenge all comers with a variety of games. The 2009 Cal State Poker Championship will run from April 30th to May 22nd at the Commerce Casino with 24 events available for players, up from the eighteen that were on the schedule in 2008. New this year on the tournament schedule is a $545 double elimination Heads Up tournament scheduled for May 18th with a $50,000 guaranteed prize pool, two H.O.R.S.E events with $545 and $1,065 buy-ins, and a $200 multiple rebuy event with a $200,000 guaranteed prize pool.
Such disciplines as Limit Hold’em, Six Handed No Limit Hold’em, Omaha 8 or Better, Seven Card Stud 8 or Better and Seven Card Stud tournaments are all represented on the tournament schedule. Some tournaments with have guaranteed prize pools between $50,000 and $200,000 and the opening event on the schedule, a $300 buy in No Limit Hold’em tournament, will offer a $400,000 guarantee for its participants.
Each winner of a tournament on the schedule will also score a seat into the Championship Event, a $5000 buy in tournament. The raise in the buy in, which was $1500 in 2008, reflects the prestige that the California State Poker Championship has earned over the years. The tournament schedule will be governed by Commerce Casino Tournament Director Matt Savage, who is fresh off of directing one of the best L.A. Poker Classic events in its history. “I’m excited to be back at Commerce Casino to provide players with great tournament structures and different games”, Savage said. “After the LAPC’s huge success, we look to make the Cal State Championship even bigger and better this year.”
The California State Poker Championships, which has crowned such poker notables as professional Tony Ma, California poker veteran Lance Allred and actor Ben Affleck as its champion, should draw sizeable crowds with its date change as players prepare for this year’s WSOP. For a full look at the schedule and further information on the tournament, visit the web site of the Commerce Casino.

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