Turlock’s very own card room & casino became the center of the poker world this weekend. And a Turlock resident became the big-time winner, besting scores of poker pros.
Turlock Poker Room played host to the Central California Poker Classic, one stop on the nine-leg DeepStacks Poker Tour. But upsetting the myriad big-name tour pros was Jaime Esquivel, a Turlock resident and Turlock Poker Room regular.
“I feel great,” Esquivel said immediately after winning. “I feel, oh my God, I feel excited. This is my first time in anything like this.”
The tournament was the first major event Esquivel ever entered – and the largest buy-in for a Turlock Poker Room tournament, ever. Esquivel didn't expect to win, he said, but just tried to remain calm and professional throughout the two-day tournament.
The DeepStacks Poker Tour travels the globe, attracting some of the biggest names in poker while offering lucrative payouts. Stops in Barcelona, Spain and Panama City, Panama are interspersed with tournaments at famous American casinos like the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Conn., and the Turlock Poker Room.
The Tour has visited the Turlock Poker Room for the past three years. The small-town charm and big city amenities have quickly made the Turlock Poker Room one of DeepStacks CEO and President Chris Torina's favorite stops.
“The staff is one of the best we deal with during the year and the room is awesome,” Torina said. “Their attention to details and professionalism is quite remarkable. They work hard and put out a great product to their local customers. In my opinion, I think Turlock is the best poker room in Central California, hands down.”
In Turlock, 90 players squared off in the two-day, $500 buy-in tournament. Locals went up against professionals like Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi – Official Poker Ambassador of Turlock Poker Room – as well as Tristan Wade, Jason Lee and Darrel Dier, and even ESPN commentator Lon McEachern.
Esquivel shocked the pros to win the tournament – and $10,500 from a $41,000 prize pool, along with complimentary entry to all TPR tourneys. Esquivel also earned a spot in the televised DeepStacks Poker Tour Mohegan Sun World Championship, which has a guaranteed $500,000 payout.
To get the win, Esquivel knocked out second-place finisher Torina, who decided to play in his own tournament at the last minute. The final hands ran until after 2 a.m. Monday morning, with hours of tough three-handed and heads-up play.
“Coming in second place is a great accomplishment considering how tough the field was and (the) number of poker pros to get through to get to the final table,” Torina said. “I feel like I played really well and made some really good decisions. It's always nice to do well but it was extra special to do it in Turlock in front of people that really love and support the DeepStacks Poker Tour.”
DeepStacks streamed the entire tournament live its website, using the tour's DeepStacks360 technology. The Turlock Poker Room saw a 1,000 percent increase in traffic to their website during the event, with visitors from France, Italy, Russia, Thailand, Estonia, Norway, and Germany.
Read more about the DeepStacks Poker Tour stop at Turlock Poker Room at www.TurlockPoker.com.