Saturday, October 22 , 2016, 5:22 am | Fair 53º

  • Follow Noozhawk on LinkedIn
  • Follow Noozhawk on Pinterest
  • Follow Noozhawk on YouTube
Posted on May 5, 2014 | 12:39 p.m.

Santa Maria Man Wins Chumash Casino’s Central Coast Poker Championship

Source: Mike Traphagen for the Chumash Casino Resort

Gary Casiday, a 54-year-old from Santa Maria who has spent the past two years battling a serious heart condition, outlasted 490 other competitors to claim first place and more than $15,000 in the 2014 Central Coast Poker Championship on Saturday at the Chumash Casino Resort.

Casiday, with a mobile defibrillator strapped to his chest and a walking cane by his side, persevered through more than 12 hours of No-Limit Texas Hold’em action and won a heads-up showdown with Lawrence Ramos, 61, of Bakersfield to win the tournament, which was an 18-or-older event.

“I’ve been playing poker for more than 20 years, and I’ve never won a tournament, until now,” Casiday said. “This feels so good, but I’m really tired and I need to get something to eat.”

The champion explained that the mobile defibrillator contains sensors that will alert medical staff at Cottage Hospital if a problem is detected with his heart.

“I’m surprised it didn’t go off when I won,” Casiday quipped. “When I got to the final table, I just kept moving all in whenever I had an ace, and it worked for me. It’s amazing. I finally did it.”

Once the tournament reached the final two competitors, Casiday and Ramos played just a few hands before their final clash. Ramos raised pre-flop, Casiday moved all in and Ramos called, showing a pair of 2s. Casiday was trailing with a suited ace-7 of diamonds, but the flop helped both players — another 2 gave Ramos a set while two more diamonds handed Casiday a flush draw. The turn card was a blank, but a Queen of diamonds on the river gave Casiday the ace-high flush and the tournament title.

“I’ve played in WSOP and WPT events, but my favorites are the Central Coast tournaments at the Chumash Casino Resort,” said Ramos, who claimed the $10,624 second-place prize. “It’s the way they handle everything — the way they professionally run it, the way they treat the players and the goodies they give you. It’s my favorite tournament.”

Joining Casiday and Ramos at the final table were — in the order of finish — Ronald Freeman of Ventura, Nicholas Ronyecz of Goleta, Lakhamsor Cavanh of Santa Maria, Johan Dewitt of Nipomo, Shari Schubot of Santa Barbara, George Cannon of Goleta, Fredo Perez of Oceano and James Schindel of Lompoc. Third through 10th place paid between $5,949 and $1,928.

In the field of 491 players, the top 70 won prize money, ranging from $825 for 11th place to $344 for 70th. Participants paid a $180 buy-in ($160 for early bird registration before April 19) to play in the one-day tournament, which boasted a guaranteed prize pool of $50,000. A $10,000 bonus was added to the prize pool and distributed evenly among the players who reached the final table.

The Central Coast Poker Championship is one of two large tournaments the Chumash Casino Resort hosts each year in its Samala Showroom. Each entrant starts with 10,000 chips, and, after a one-hour opening round, the blinds increase every 30 minutes.

Located on Highway 246 in Santa Ynez, the Chumash Casino Resort is owned and operated by the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians.  The casino’s gaming floor is open 24/7 and features 2,000 slot machines, dozens of table games, bingo, poker and daily cash and prize giveaways.

Mike Traphagen is a public relations specialist for the Chumash Casino Resort.

Reader Comments

Noozhawk's intent is not to limit the discussion of our stories but to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and must be free of profanity and abusive language and attacks.

By posting on Noozhawk, you:

» Agree to be respectful. Noozhawk encourages intelligent and impassioned discussion and debate, but now has a zero-tolerance policy for those who cannot express their opinions in a civil manner.

» Agree not to use Noozhawk’s forums for personal attacks. This includes any sort of personal attack — including, but not limited to, the people in our stories, the journalists who create these stories, fellow readers who comment on our stories, or anyone else in our community.

» Agree not to post on Noozhawk any comments that can be construed as libelous, defamatory, obscene, profane, vulgar, harmful, threatening, tortious, harassing, abusive, hateful, sexist, racially or ethnically objectionable, or that are invasive of another’s privacy.

» Agree not to post in a manner than emulates, purports or pretends to be someone else. Under no circumstances are readers posting to Noozhawk to knowingly use the name or identity of another person, whether that is another reader on this site, a public figure, celebrity, elected official or fictitious character. This also means readers will not knowingly give out any personal information of other members of these forums.

» Agree not to solicit others. You agree you will not use Noozhawk’s forums to solicit and/or advertise for personal blogs and websites, without Noozhawk’s express written approval.

Noozhawk’s management and editors, in our sole discretion, retain the right to remove individual posts or to revoke the access privileges of anyone who we believe has violated any of these terms or any other term of this agreement; however, we are under no obligation to do so.


Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >