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Poker News: February 26, 2007

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HEADLINE: Commerce Casino Attracts Largest World Poker Tour(TM) Field Ever in Continental U.S.: 791 Turn Out For L.A. Poker Classic Championship Event Creating $7.5+ Million Prize Pool

Casino Guaranteed $2 Million to Winner and $1 Million to Runner-Up in L.A. Poker Classic

The L.A. Poker Classic Championship (LAPC) event at Commerce Casino smashed records for largest field and largest prize money ever for a $10,000-buy-in World Poker Tour(R) (WPT) event and for a WPT event in the continental U.S. The 790 field of established pros and aspiring amateurs swelled the prize money to a whopping $7,593.600.

The winner will go home with $2,429,970 and a $25,000 seat in the WPT World Championship in April at Bellagio in Las Vegas. That is the largest first prize ever for a non-championship WPT event. The second place finisher will claim $1,177,010. Fifty four players will share in the prize pool.

Add the LAPC championship event's $7.5+ million total prize money to the $9,270,883 awarded in the previous 29 events staged during the month-long tournament, and Commerce will have awarded $16,864,483 to players from January 25-March 1.

The WPT's largest field ever was set only weeks before in the Bahamas with a field of 937, with a field fueled by online qualifiers, and the buy-in was only $8,000. The LA Poker Classic is the largest WPT field ever at a land- based casino and the largest for a $10,000-buy-in event. Commerce Casino is world's largest poker room.

"While many have claimed that poker's popularity has peaked, Commerce Casino's record WPT field at the LA Poker Classic, shows how wrong they are," said Casino Manager Tim Gustin. "We continue to grow and attract new players. In fact, we had record numbers for tournaments throughout the month, showing that the game is growing at all levels-from $300 buy-ins up to $10,000. We are thrilled that our winner will also be taking home a record first prize for a non-championship WPT event."

The L.A. Poker Classic Championship drew such poker luminaries as Daniel Negreanu, Kathy Liebert, Barry Greenstein, Todd Brunson, Ted Forrest, Gus Hansen, Erick Lindgren, Chip Reiss, Cyndy Violette, Antonio Esfandiari or Phil "The Unabomber" Laak, Ted Forrest, Chau Chiang, Jamie Gold, Joe Hachem, John Hennigan, Mike Matusow, John Juanda, Michael Mizrachi, John Gale, David Williams and such up-and-coming superstars like Gavin Smith, Vanessa Rousso, Patrik Antonius, Michael Gracz, David Benyamine, Kenna James, J.J. Liu, Isabelle Mercier, Nam Le, John Phan, Erica Schoenberg, Johan Storakers, Nick Schulman and Joe Sebok.

Last year's champion, Alan Goehring, went home with $2,391,550. In 2005, 24-year-old Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi claimed $1,859,909, and 2004's victor, another 24-year-old, Antonio Esfandiari, took home $1,399,135.

Spectators who would like to watch the LA Poker Classic Final Tables March 1 may come to Commerce to watch the action. It's first come, first serve in the viewing stands. The World Poker Tour reserves a limited number of seats for spectators during the filming of the shows. Fans should be at Commerce Casino by 3 p.m. in order to secure a seat.

The 2007 LA Poker Classic WPT final table will be televised on the Travel Channel June 27. The World Poker Tour airs every Wednesday night at 9 p.m. PT/ET.

Commerce Casino

Commerce Casino is the largest poker casino in the world. There are more than 200 poker tables featuring just about every form of poker: Texas Hold 'Em, 7-Card Stud, Omaha, Lowball, Pot Limit, Mexican Poker, Pineapple, Draw, Low-Ball and many others. Also offered are Pan and California games.

Commerce Casino is also recognized for its innovative "Bring Your Home Game to Commerce" program which enables poker fans to invite their friends and family for a casual home game, bachelor party or birthday celebration with a professional dealer in the casino setting.

Commerce Casino is located at 6131 East Telegraph Rd., Commerce, CA 90040, just off the Santa Ana (5) Freeway at the Washington Blvd. exit. The phone is (323) 721-2100. For more information, go to


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