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Commerce Casino Readies For Massive 25th Anniversary L.A. Poker Classic Series

Commerce Adding $60,000 In Prizes For Unique Player Of The Series Competition

by Card Player News Team |  Published: Jan 31, 2018


The L.A. Poker Classic is routinely the one of the largest and most anticipated series on the tournament calendar, but the 2018 edition promises to be bigger and better than ever as the Commerce Casino celebrates the 25th anniversary of the competition.

Already the longest running tournament series in Los Angeles, this year’s LAPC already has players eagerly anticipating the robust and diverse schedule, the revamped ballroom, new chairs and food menu, and the added prize money put up by the Commerce in an exclusive Player of the Series competition.

“Commerce has really made a commitment to making this the best LAPC we’ve ever had,” said WPT Executive Tour Director Matt Savage. “From rebuilding the entire tournament area, getting new equipment and chairs, to the huge risks we’re getting to take with these million dollar guarantees. I can’t wait to hear about how players feel about the new atmosphere.”

The massive, yet balanced 64-event schedule includes something for everyone, with 32 no-limit hold’em tournaments and 32 mixed-game tournaments. No two events are the same, with variations on not only buy-in, but structure and format as well.

The action kicks off Jan. 9 with the opening event, a $350 buy-in no-limit hold’em tournament that boasts a whopping $1 million guarantee. Players will begin the tournament with 25,000 in chips and will have eight different starting flights to choose from.

The event is a big gamble for Commerce, which is not offering any day 2 direct buy-ins. The risky play means that the event host will need more than 400 entries per flight to avoid a huge overlay! To help ensure that the tournament even exceeds the lofty guarantee, Commerce will be offering rake-free 25-seat guaranteed satellites into the first event.

“The opening event is not only meant as a giant celebration of our 25th anniversary, but also a huge thank you to our players,” said Commerce Tournament Coordinator Justin Hammer. “The rake free satellites and almost impossible guarantee are our way of giving every level of player a fair and inexpensive chance at a six-figure payday. This is a one of a kind tournament that players would regret missing.”

Of course, the LAPC is much more than just one event. In fact, players will see games offered such as Omaha eight-or-better, stud, stud eight-or-better, pot-limit Omaha, H.O.R.S.E., triple draw, big O, 2-7 single draw, and even dealer’s choice. On the hold’em side, there’s double stacks, turbos, heads-up, six-max, escalator, and bounties to contend with.

Players of all bankrolls can participate, with mega satellites starting at just $50 and events beginning at $175. Commerce will also host their largest-ever Facebook exclusive tournament, with added prizes and a $50,000 guarantee for just a $120 buy-in. For those with a little more gamble, there’s a $5,250 no-limit hold’em event, three $2,140 events of dealer’s choice, pot-limit Omaha and no-limit hold’em, and even a $25,000 high roller event scheduled for Monday, Feb. 26.

Both Savage and Hammer are on a mission to inject some life back into tournament poker, and that’s apparent in a schedule that includes plenty of unique events that you can’t find at other venues. For example, this year’s LAPC will host events such as all-in-or-fold, two events with an action clock, an event that has a hard stop time of 12 hours, and the second running of The Social Experiment, a popular tournament that doesn’t allow players to use any electronic devices or wear headphones, hoodies, and sunglasses.

“My mantra of late has been to Make Poker Fun Again,” said Savage. “We want to create an environment that’s inviting to all levels of players, and sometimes that just means doing something different. All-in-or-fold is my wife Maryann’s favorite tournament because she feels like it takes the pressure off. The Social Experiment was a huge success because players were forced to be more interactive with each other. There will always be plenty of serious, competitive poker to be played. Having these quirky and fun events is just part of what makes the LAPC unique and exciting, and gives players a chance to wind down and relax.”

This fun-seeking attitude is also reflected in the ongoing cash games, which will also be a part of the anniversary celebration with Rollback The Rates, a set of games running Jan. 8 – March 1 that will feature the games, and perhaps most importantly, the rake of the 90s. Games spread will include hold’em, stud, draw, and lowball.

The highlight of the series, however, is the $10,000 buy-in WPT main event. The L.A. Poker Classic main event is one of the most legendary tournaments on the World Poker Tour, producing winners such as Antonio Esfandiari, Chris Moorman, Michael Mizrachi, Anthony Zinno, Gus Hansen, Alan Goehring, Dietrich Fast, and Phil Ivey. In 2017, Daniel Strelitz topped a field of 521 players to win the $1,001,110 first-place prize. Once again, Commerce is guaranteeing at least $1 million for the 2018 winner.

“The WPT main event is my favorite tournament of the year,” admitted Hammer. “It is poker in its purest form. A true freezeout with an amazing mix of big-name poker pros, celebrities, L.A. business people, and players that were just fortunate enough to win their way in. This year, in addition to the 100 or so that will qualify through satellites; Commerce is awarding 30 seats through live cash game promotions. That means that at any given table, there can be a player who won a $150 mega, or even a $2-$4 limit regular that was in the right place at the right time. I’m looking forward to watching a diverse group of players battle to win this prestigious event.”

Commerce will be running numerous satellites into the main event. Check out the side bar to see the schedule. For a full look at the LAPC series, visit

To sweeten the pot, Commerce has also earmarked an added $60,000 in prizes for the Player of the Series (POTS) competition. That money won’t just go to one red-hot player, however, because this unique POTS will cover four different areas of poker expertise. There’s $10,000 reserved for the overall no-limit hold’em POTS, $10,000 reserved for the mixed games POTS, and even $10,000 for the mega satellite POTS. The overall POTS will take home $20,000!

Cash game players can also get in on the action, with 30 $10,000 seats up for grabs. Commerce will hold a weekly drawing to award five seats. Players just need to make a full house or better to earn an entry into the drawing. Additionally, anyone who wins one of the 64 qualifying events on the LAPC schedule will automatically be entered into a random draw for a $10,000 main event seat into the 2019 WPT LAPC main event.

For more information about the upcoming 25th anniversary L.A. Poker Classic, and to book a hotel room, visit For the poker rate, email ♠

The History of the WPT L.A. Poker Classic Main Event

Year Entrants Prize Pool Winner First-Place
2003 136 $1,360,000 Gus Hansen $532,490
2004 382 $3,781,500 Antonio Esfandiari $1,399,135
2005 538 $5,166,414 Michael Mizrachi $1,859,909
2006 692 $6,643,200 Alan Goehring $2,391,550
2007 791 $7,593,600 Eric Hershler $2,429,970
2008 665 $6,288,000 Phil Ivey $1,596,100
2009 696 $6,681,600 Cornel Cimpan $1,686,760
2010 745 $7,152,000 Andras Koroknai $1,788,001
2011 681 $6,537,600 Gregory Brooks $1,654,120
2012 549 $5,270,400 Sean Jazayeri $1,370,240
2013 517 $4,963,200 Paul Klann $1,004,090
2014 534 $5,126,400 Chris Moorman $1,015,460
2015 538 $5,164,800 Anthony Zinno $1,015,860
2016 515 $4,944,000 Dietrich Fast $1,000,800
2017 521 $5,001,600 Daniel Strelitz $1,001,110