Poker is excellent year-round in California. October is set to prove it.
The northern and southern parts of the state are both offering more than $1 million in guaranteed tournament prize pools in October. More than $3 million is guaranteed.
Northern California players have a trio of poker offerings, including festivals at Thunder Valley Casino, Bay 101 Casino and Graton Resort & Casino. Meanwhile, SoCal’s tournament scene will focus on the Bicycle Casino.
If you can’t make it to any of these events, check out what’s happening at local rooms across the state. California online poker remains illegal, but plenty of live games are just a short drive away.
California the place to be for poker in October
Some of California’s largest poker venues have major tournaments on the calendar in October.
WSOP Circuit at Thunder Valley
Thunder Valley is the top Northern California casino tournament venue, hosting tours like the WSOP Circuit, World Poker Tour and RunGood Poker Series throughout the year. Its October circuit stop began on Sept. 28 and runs through Monday, Oct. 9.
The schedule features 13 ring events, including the following highlights:
- $400 Monster Stack: Wednesday, Oct. 4
- $600 2-7 triple Draw: Oct. 4
- $600 Pot-Limit Omaha: Thursday, Oct. 5
- $1,700 Main Event (two starting flights): Oct. 6-9
- $1,125 NLH Last Call: Sunday, Oct. 8
Action stays in The Bay
San Jose’s Bay 101 follows the WSOP Circuit with a week-long, in-house series from Oct. 9-16. The series has six events, with buy-ins ranging from $400 to $2,000.
The $2,000 Main Event has two starting flights, Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 14-15. Everyone who advances returns on Monday to play down to a winner. A $300 Mega Satellite runs on the Oct. 13 at 9:15 p.m.
Other events include a $1,000 NLH on Tuesday, Oct. 10, and a $500 Limit Omaha Hi-Lo event on Wednesday, Oct. 11. The final three events are NLH freezeouts.
A RunGood Road Trip up the 101
Rohnert Park’s Graton Resort & Casino began running poker festivals last year, starting with the RunGood Poker Series. The event was a hit, and the venue expanded to host its first WSOP Circuit stop this past summer.
Now, it welcomes RGPS back on its “Road Trip” series from Oct. 19-29. RunGood events always bring a fun crowd, even for its preliminary events.
Here’s a look at some highlights from the schedule:
- $400 NLH Series Opener Mega Stack ($200K guaranteed), with five starting flights over the first three days: Oct. 19-22
- Various one-day $300 mixed-game events, 2 p.m.: Oct. 22-27
- $200 Ambassador Bounty, 6 p.m.: Tuesday, Oct. 24
- $250 Deepstack NLH, flights at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.: Oct. 25-26
- $800 Main Event ($500K guaranteed), with four starting flights, two per day over the first two days at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.: Oct. 27-29
The Bike’s Big Poker Oktober
The Bicycle Casino, one of the biggest of the California card rooms currently operating, runs massive festivals several times yearly, including Big Poker Oktober. This year’s edition features 27 events, from Oct. 10 through Nov. 4, with over $2.2 million in guaranteed prize pools.
Mini Mega Millions headlines the schedule, featuring a $1 million guarantee with 21 starting flights between Oct. 27 and Nov. 2. Buy-ins for these flights cost either $200 (10% advance) or $380 (20% advance), with a $1,400 Day 2 entry option on Nov. 3 and 4.
Other significant events include:
- $300K Guaranteed NLH ($300 or $560 buy-in; $2,100 buy-in on Day 2): Oct. 10-13
- $150K Guaranteed Deep Stack ($400 buy-in): Saturday, Oct. 14
- $150K Guaranteed Mystery Bounty ($300 or $560 buy-in): Oct. 17-20
- $150K Guaranteed Deep Stack ($400 buy-in): Saturday, Oct. 21
- $200K Guaranteed NLH ($1,100 buy-in; five starting flights): Oct. 23-28
September California tournament results
Commerce Casino’s annual Hold’em Series ran from Sept. 1-24, producing a handful of events with six-figure prize pools. Winners from those events were:
- Richard Hasnip won the $1,200 Main Event, topping 355 entries to earn $80,480.
- Joseph Gustilo was on top of a five-way deal in the opening 798-entry $250 event to earn $19,940.
- Michael Danley won the 619-entry $400 NLH Bounty event for $37,000.
- Arsen Hakobyan was victorious in the $400 Mystery Bounty event, earning $33,010 for his performance. The tournament’s 537 entries created a $182,580 prize pool.
- Sunny Chen topped the 828-entry $250 event on the final weekend to earn $29,230.
Other major events throughout California produced the following winners:
- David Cabrera was the official Bicycle Casino Mega Millions XXV winner from 5,822 entries, chopping with Lucian Silveira for $304,447 apiece.
- Fan You took down the opening $400 WSOP Circuit event at Thunder Valley, besting a field of 1,559 to win $76,100.
- Justin Lynch came out on top of the 404-entry $1,100 Mid-States Poker Tour US Poker Championship at Sycuan Casino, earning $61,624. He chopped three ways with WSOP bracelet winner Young Eum ($61,000) and WPT Champion Matt Salsberg ($55,000).
- Ediberto Pilotin won the MSPT US Poker Championship opening $360 Mystery Bounty event, topping a field of 493 entries to earn $16,557.
- Kevin Meyers took first place in the Ocean’s Eleven $500 Labor Day event from 218 entries. Five players walked away with five-figure scores.
California daily poker tournaments in October
There are more than 30 poker rooms that run daily tournaments at Southern California casinos, Northern California casinos and card rooms throughout the state. These tournaments often cater to local clientele and finish in a few hours, distinguishing them from larger events like those mentioned above.
We’ve separated the offerings into four regions so that you can see what’s available in your area. Always call ahead to confirm the status of a tournament, as rooms may cancel events ahead of time.
Agua Caliente Casino (Rancho Mirage)
- $100 NLH: Mondays through Fridays, 10 a.m.
- $120 NLH (in addition to the 10 a.m. event): Tuesdays and Thursdays, 6:30 p.m.
- $150 NLH: Saturdays and Sundays, 10 a.m.
Bicycle Casino (Bell Gardens)
Daily tournaments are currently suspended.
- $125 NLH: Mondays through Thursdays, 4 p.m.
- $175 NLH: Fridays, 4 p.m.
- $250 NLH: Saturdays and Sundays, 1 p.m.
The Gardens Casino (Hawaiian Gardens)
- $100 NLH: Sundays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, 11 a.m.
- $250 NLH: Fridays and Saturdays, 11 a.m.
Sit-n-Go tournaments also run Wednesdays through Sundays at 3 p.m., 4:30 p.m., 6:30 p.m. and on-demand between 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Hollywood Park Casino (Inglewood)
- $100 NLH: Mondays and Tuesdays, 10 a.m.
- $250 NLH: Mondays and Tuesdays, 6 p.m.
- $125 Limit Hold ’em: Wednesdays, 11 a.m.
- $200 NLH: Wednesdays, 6 p.m.
- $200 NLH: Thursdays, 6 p.m.
- $200 NLH: Fridays, 10 a.m.
- $100 NLH: Saturdays, 10 a.m.
Hustler Casino (Gardena)
Daily tournaments are currently suspended.
Jamul Casino (Jamul)
- $60 NLH: Mondays through Fridays, 10 a.m.
- $60 NLH ($40 on Thursdays; $125 on Fridays): Mondays through Fridays, 6 p.m.
- $40 NLH: Saturdays, 10 a.m.
- $100 NLH: Saturdays, 4 p.m.
- $80 NLH: Sundays, 10 a.m.
- $125 NLH: Sundays, 6 p.m.
Lucky Lady Casino (Gardena)
- $80 NLH plus $50 add-on: Mondays through Fridays, 12:30 p.m.; 7 p.m. buy-in varies from $130 to $200
- $150 NLH: Saturdays, 3 p.m.
- $150 NLH: Sundays, 1 p.m.
Ocean’s Eleven Casino (Oceanside)
- $95 NLH: Mondays through Fridays, 10 a.m.
- $95 NLH: Mondays through Thursdays, 7 p.m.
- $290 NLH (Bounty tournament on Sunday): Saturdays and Sundays, 10 a.m.
Sycuan Casino (El Cajon)
- $65 NLH: Tuesdays, 6 p.m.
- $100 NLH: Wednesdays, 6 p.m.
Central Coast and Central Valley
Aviator Casino (Delano)
- $30 NLH: Wednesdays, 6 p.m.
Garlic City Casino (Gilroy)
- $40 NLH: Wednesdays, 11 a.m.
- $160 NLH: Wednesdays, 7 p.m.
- $160 NLH: Third Sunday of the month, 11 a.m.
Golden West Casino (Bakersfield)
- $80 NLH: Wednesdays, 6:15 p.m.
- $90 NLH: Saturdays, 12:15 p.m.
Oceanview Casino (Santa Cruz)
- $130 NLH: Tuesdays, 5 p.m.
- $90 NLH: Saturdays, 3:30 p.m.
- $130 NLH: Sundays, 3:30 p.m.
Outlaws Card Parlour (Atascadero)
- $20 NLH: Wednesdays, 6 p.m.
- $75 NLH: First Saturday of the month, 5 p.m.
- $40 NLH: Sundays, 6 p.m.
Parkwest Casino Manteca (Manteca)
- $59 NLH: Mondays through Fridays, 9 a.m.
- $120 NLH: Saturdays and Sundays, 9 a.m.
Stars Casino (Tracy)
- $80 NLH: Tuesdays and Wednesdays, noon
Turlock Poker Room (Turlock)
- $45 NLH Bounty: Sundays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, 10 a.m.
- $35 NLH: Mondays, 10 a.m.
- $50 NLH: Mondays, 6 p.m.
- $35 NLH: Wednesdays, 10 a.m.
- $65 NLH: Wednesdays, 6 p.m.
- $35 NLH: Fridays, 10 a.m.
- $50 NLH: Saturdays, 10 a.m.
Wanaaha Casino (Bishop)
- $40 NLH: Saturdays, 6 p.m.
19th Hole Casino (Antioch)
- $60 NLH: Saturdays and Sundays, noon
Bay 101 Casino (San Jose)
- $200 NLH: Sundays through Thursdays, 9:15 a.m.
Graton Resort & Casino (Rohnert Park)
- $135 NLH: Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, 10 a.m.
- $165 NLH: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 6 p.m.
- $250 NLH: Sundays, 10 a.m.
Livermore Casino (Livermore)
- $240 NLH: Sundays, 10 a.m.
Lucky Chances (Colma)
- $180 NLH: Wednesdays, 9:30 a.m.
- $240 NLH: Thursdays, 9:30 a.m.
- $240 NLH: Fridays, 9:30 a.m.
- $300 NLH: Sundays, 9:30 a.m.
Pete’s 881 Club (San Rafael)
- $100 NLH: Mondays, 6 p.m.
- $220 NLH: Sundays, 4 p.m.
Bear River Casino (Loleta)
- $60 NLH: Sundays and Mondays, 6 p.m.
- $100 NLH Mystery Bounty: Wednesdays, 6 p.m.
- $100 NLH: Fridays and Saturdays, 6 p.m.
Blue Lake Casino (Blue Lake)
- $50 NLH: Thursdays through Saturdays, 6:30 p.m.
Capitol Casino (Sacramento)
- $35 NLH: Mondays through Fridays, 10 a.m.
- $100 NLH: Saturdays, 10 a.m.
- $60 NLH: Sundays, 10 a.m.
Casino 99 (Chico)
- $35 NLH: Mondays through Saturdays, 10 a.m.
Casino Club (Redding)
- $55 NLH: Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, 6 p.m.
- $80 NLH Bounty: Saturdays, 6 p.m.
Elk Valley Casino (Crescent City)
- $40 NLH: Tuesdays, 6 p.m.
- $45 Omaha Hi-Lo: Thursdays, 6 p.m.
- NLH Freeroll: Fridays, 6 p.m
- $120 NLH Progressive Bounty: Saturdays, 4 p.m.
Thunder Valley Casino (Lincoln)
- $75 NLH: Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, 9:30 a.m.
- $100 NLH Bounty: Thursdays, 9:30 a.m.
- $125 NLH: Fridays, 9:30 a.m.
- $240 NLH: Saturdays, 9:30 a.m.
- $150 NLH: Sundays, 5:30 p.m.
Towers Casino (Grass Valley)
- $50 NLH ($150 first Sunday of the month): Sundays, 3 p.m.