The Commerce Casino is considered by many to the premier poker destination in Los Angeles. It has regularly hosted the highest stakes in the region and is the annual home for the L.A. Poker Classic.
If you’re a player on the poker circuit, playing at the Commerce is a must when in the L.A. area. As such, it’s of little surprise that many of their top live tournament earners are among the biggest names in the game.
Eric Hershler’s first live tournament score was bigger than he could have ever imagined. He navigated his way through a stacked field of 791 players to win the 2007 WPT L.A. Poker Classic Main Event for $2.42 million.
Hershler was the decided underdog at a final table that included JC Tran, David Bach, Chau Giang and Paul Wasicka. The unknown amateur at the time was playing in his first live tournament and most expected him to fold under the pressure.
Hershler surprised everyone and ultimately beat Tran heads-up for the title. That would not be his only deep run in the event. Hershler finished 26th in the same event in 2008 and 29th in 2014.
So far, Hershler has won $2.54 million in events at the Commerce, making up the majority of his $3.09 million in live career earnings.
Alan Goehring became a household name in 2003 after winning the WPT Championship.
However, his largest career score came at the 2006 L.A. Poker Classic when he bested a field of 692 players to earn the $2.39 million top prize.
Goehring’s second WPT title victory would be the last notable score on his poker resume. Following that victory, he has only had a handful of live scores and has only cashed twice in live tournaments since 2012.
Goehring is presently second on the Commerce All-Time Money list with $2.5 million.
JC Tran has several notable finishes at the Commerce, including L.A. Poker Classic final tables. He made the final table in both 2005 and 2006, finishing 2nd and 5th respectively. Tran just missed the final in 2004, finishing 7th. His runner-up finish to Eric Hershler earned him $1.17 million.
In 2015, Tran finished runner-up in the $50k Turbo High Roller at the LAPC, earning him another $373k. Overall, Tran has earned $2.14 million at Commerce.
Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi burst onto the poker scene in 2005 after making back-to-back WPT final tables. After finishing 5th at the Jack Binion World Poker Open in Tunica, MS, he made the final of the L.A. Poker Classic.
Mizrachi defeated Haralabos Voulgaris heads-up for the $1.85 million top prize and the legend of “The Grinder” was born.
Mizrachi was well known at the Commerce prior to his WPT victory. In 2004, he ran well during the California State Poker Championship, cashing four times and making two final tables.
So far, the Grinder has earned $2.07 million in events at Commerce.
Andras Koroknai is mainly known for two big runs in poker, with one being his march to the 2010 LAPC Main Event crown. He survived a field of 745 players to win the event and $1.78 million.
Andras Koroknai wins the WPT @LAPokerClassic on 1st hand of heads-up play, Qh8h > Qc4h. http://twitpic.com/16ou1b— WPT Live Updates (@WPTlive) March 5, 2010
Koroknai’s LAPC title run is his only cash of note at the Commerce and he presently has $1.79 million in live earnings.
In 2012, Koroknai would make the run of his poker lifetime and earned a spot on the November Nine. He eventually finished 6th in the event, earning $1.64 million. Greg Merson went on to win the 2012 WSOP Main Event.
Phil Ivey and Antonio Esfandiari Headline the Best of the Rest
Checking out the rest of the top 10, you’ll notice a couple of all-time greats in poker. Antonio Esfandiari won the 2004 L.A. Poker Classic and takes the 10 spot. Phil Ivey finally won his first WPT title at the LAPC in 2008 after multiple final table appearances.
- #6 – Cornel Andrew Cimpan – $1.729,290
- #7 – Phil Ivey – $1,722,106
- #8 – Gregory Brooks – $1,654,120
- #9 – Vivek Rajkumar – $1,493,925
- #10 – Antonio Esfandiari – $1,430,021
Note: All statistics courtesy of hendonmob.com.