Irvine Man Wins $500k Guaranteed at Cal State Championship

Paul Liu.

Paul Liu took down the $500,000 Guaranteed series opener at the Commerce Casino's Cal State Poker Championship this week.

The innovative $220 No-Limit Hold'em event, which allowed players to buy-back in to all four starting day's even after they busted out, was the biggest guarantee ever for a low-stakes poker tournament.

With 3,220 entrants helping create a $611,800 prize pool, Liu, from nearby Irvine, California, managed to walk away with $125k in first-place cash.

A regular at Commerce, Liu also won a NLHE event at the 2007 Cal State Championships for $131,024. He now has 100 cashes on his poker resume, including several others from Commerce events.

"Paul Liu has clearly demonstrated his 'home court advantage' at Commerce Casino," said Tournament Director Matt Savage.

"He has established himself as a premier player in our events and earned his Golden Bear trophy fighting through a very tough field this past week.

TV host/actress Ricki Lake made it the final 72 players, but ended her run in 50th place.

In other events, Aidin Taali won the $220 Limit Hold'em for $16k, Mickey Mouse" Mills won the $335 No-Limit Hold'em for $16,635 and Shirley Rosario took down the $335 H.O.R.S.E. for $9,385.

The annual California State Poker Championship continues through May 23 with more than $1,000,000 in guaranteed prize money.

Buy-ins range from $120 to $1,575 plus the $3,085 Cal State Championship Main Event.

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