San Diego Casino Hosts Poker Series With $277K Main Event Prizepool

Written By Hill Kerby on March 1, 2023
RunGood Poker Series Jamul boasts $277K Main Event prize pool

The RunGood Poker Series wrapped up its semi-annual stop at Jamul Casino in San Diego County over the weekend.

Over the course of just six days, the RGPS Checkpoint festival hosted 10 events, concluding with a $600 Main Event. The series’ staple event created a prize pool of $277,160.

RunGood events are known for providing a different experience from other tours and events in the US. They feature smaller average buy-ins than most circuits and often have a lighter, more friendly, family-oriented atmosphere, with events such as “Guest Bounty” and “Flip and Go” tournaments.

As a result, tour ambassadors and other loyal players follow RunGood throughout the country, participating in the festivities and competing for the RGPS rings awarded to each event’s winner. This past week, RunGood ambassador Lexy Gavin-Mather claimed one of the rings, while Rafi Azam took down the Main Event for a career-best earning of $52,280.

Azam improves on last year’s result at Main Event

All poker must be played in person at casinos or card rooms across the state. Efforts to legalize California online poker have failed in the past. There’s no question it would be popular in the Golden State. And with the largest population in the country, online field sizes would be among the biggest as well.

Last weekend, Azam’s victory almost never happened. According to event updates, Azam took a five-month break from the game.

He took third place in this event one year ago during the “Contenders” series, and his friend (and fifth-place finisher) Afzal Atta convinced him to enter. He made Day 2 with a below-average stack, less than 20 big blinds to start the day. But he won a massive pot against RGPS Tulsa ring-winner Joey Gargiulo early and never looked back.

By the three-table redraw, Azam became the chip leader. He regained the top spot in the counts with 16 left and remained there until he was the last one standing, defeating other local notables such as Russell Davies and Mark Feinberg.

RGPS Jamul Final Table Results

1Rafi AzamEscondido, CA$52,280
2Victor KulishSan Diego$37,140
3Mark FeinbergSan Diego$24,015
4Dan DuongSan Diego$16,915
5Afzal AttaSan Marcos, CA$13,000
6Yary HingSan Diego$10,700
7William B AllredSan Diego$8,920
8Russell DaviesSan Diego$7,120
9Anastasia KnappSan Diego$5,340

Gavin-Mather among other ring winners

Seven preliminary events led up to last weekend’s Main Event, including a $150 Seniors event, a $200 Guest Bounty and a $300 Pot-Limit Omaha event.

The largest prelim event was Event No. 3: $250 Deepstack, which drew 244 entries to create a prize pool of nearly $50,000. Gavin-Mather took down the event, earning $8,618 and her second-career RGPS ring

On her road to victory, Mather outlasted 2019 WSOP Main Event fourth-place finisher Garry Gates (ninth place) and denied Miguel Bautista his second ring of the series. Bautista won the $200 Guest Bounty event two days earlier.

Full Series Results

Event #1: $150 SeniorsJoel Pellosa$4,173
Event #2: $200 Guest BountyMiguel Bautista$8,000
Event #3: $250 DeepstackLexy Gavin-Mather$8,618
Event #4: $200 Single DayShun Wakita$5,326
Event #5: $300 Pot-Limit OmahaScott Aulds$4,180
Event #6: $200 Two Green Chip CountyAlberto Garay$3,544
Event #7: $165 Flip and GoMichael Souza$3,690
Event #8: $600 Main EventRafi Azam$52,280
Event #9: $150 Black Chip Bounty(Not Yet Published)(Not Yet Published)
Event #10: $200 Closer(Not Yet Published)(Not Yet Published)

RGPS heads up north now

The RunGood Poker Series is a multi-time Global Poker Awards Best-Mid-Major Circuit/Tour winner and a nominee for the award once more at the upcoming ceremony. This year is its busiest schedule, with two series concurrently running.

The RGPS Checkpoint Graton Casino and Horseshoe Tunica events began on Feb. 28

Graton Casino, located an hour north of San Francisco, ran its first-ever tournament series last September. Of course, that series had the RGPS name on it and was such a success that it returns for a nine-day series that will run through March 8.

The full RGPS Graton schedule can be found on the RunGood website. 

RunGood will return to California from July 13-31 for the season finale at Thunder Valley Casino near Sacramento. The series will feature numerous events worth checking out, including

  • $250K Guaranteed Monolith (opening weekend)
  • $500K Guaranteed Hendon Mob Mid-Major Championship
  • $1 Million Guaranteed RunGood Checkpoint Main Event
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Hill Kerby

Hill Kerby is a proponent of safe, legal betting, and is grateful to be able to contribute to growing the industry. He has a background in poker, sports, and psychology, all of which he incorporates into his writing.

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