Thunder Valley Poker Room announces first major tournament festival in more than a year

Geoff Fisk
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Posted on July 2, 2021 5:58 pm EDT

Ante Up World Championship set for Aug. 13-29 at one of California’s poker epicenters

Thunder Valley Casino Resort operates with a well-earned reputation as one of the most important poker hubs on the U.S. west coast. The Thunder Valley Poker Room sees just about every major tour come through the Sacramento-area venue, including regular stops from the World Poker Tour and WSOP Circuit.

The Ante Up Poker Tour has traditionally chosen Thunder Valley as the venue for its biggest annual event. From 2014 through 2019, the AUPT World Championship emanated from Thunder Valley every year.

COVID-19 circumstances broke that streak in 2020, with the Ante Up Poker Tour and many other poker circuits forced to go on hiatus. A new streak begins for the AUPT World Championship next month, however.

The 2021 Ante Up Poker Tour World Championship commences Aug. 13-29 at Thunder Valley Poker Room. The festival marks the return of the AUPT, as well as the resumption of major live tournament series at Thunder Valley.

The last big series at Thunder Valley happened in March 2020, as the WPT stopped by the Lincoln, CA poker room. Major tournaments are back at the northern California venue, and the AUPT World Championship is likely to draw massive attendance.

Let’s take a look at some of the highlights from the 17-day schedule from the AUPT World Championship:

2021 Ante Up Poker Tour World Championship notable events

DatesEventGuarantee
Aug. 14-15$1,000 Ante Up NorCal Classic$100,000
Aug. 18-22$460 Monolith$250,000
Aug. 23-25$275 Action 8$100,000
Aug. 27-29$1,650 AUPT World Championship$500,000

The $1,650 buy-in Ante Up World Championship guarantees $500,000. The tournament features a pair of Day 1 flights (Aug. 27-28), with surviving players from those phases returning as a combined field on Sunday, Aug. 29, and playing down to a champion.

The last time the AUPT World Championship ran at Thunder Valley, the $500,000 guarantee was far surpassed. The July 2019 tournament saw 469 entries, raising the final prize pool to $685,678.

Tournament champion Josh Prager came away with a $116,434 first-place prize, per the terms of a heads-up deal with runner-up Linwood “Wood” Bailey ($114,424).

The all-time high for the AUPT World Championship came in 2018, which saw the prize pool end up $739,772. The excitement for the return of major tournament poker to Thunder Valley could push the AUPT World Championship prize pool to unprecedented heights.

Can the 2021 AUPT World Poker Championship hit a $1 million prize pool? The tournament would need to draw 684 entries to hit seven-figure territory.

Day 1A of the $1,650 AUPT World Championship begins at 10 am on Friday, Aug. 27, and Day 1B starts at 10 am on Saturday, Aug. 28. Both flights allow one re-entry.

Looking to brush up on your poker knowledge? Check out the Poker.org hand rankings chart.

Featured image source: Flickr/World Poker Tour