SOURCE: Commerce Casino

Commerce Casino

June 30, 2011 09:48 ET

Aaron Motoyama Wins $146,870 at Commerce Casino's Million Dollar Tournament

It's the Biggest Winning Hand of His Career

COMMERCE, CA--(Marketwire - Jun 30, 2011) - Aaron Motoyama couldn't pass up a guaranteed win so it was easy for the 35-year-old poker professional from Alhambra to say yes to the biggest winning hand of his career.

Motoyama walked away from last week's Million Dollar Tournament at Commerce Casino with a cool $146,870 when the participants of the Final Table agreed to a 9-way deal. Motoyama was the chip leader with $2.3 million of the total $11.2 in play, or about one-sixth of all the chips, and won the biggest share.

For the $335 buy-in, those reaching the Final Table made what in some cases was a life-changing investment when they took the deal and eliminated the risk factor.

"It made a lot of sense, especially 9-handed," Motoyama said. "I just decided it was a good deal."

Nghia Tran of Riverside won the second biggest share of the purse with $106,255, followed by Mike Dollins of Long Beach ($85,825), Laura Cantero of Madrid, Spain ($84,660) and Johnny Ngo of Orange County ($70,105).

Motoyama is a daily player at Commerce Casino who plays regularly in cash games. He committed to play on the final day of the Million Dollar Tournament and it proved to be a decision that helped him snap out of his personal slump.

Motoyama, a tournament veteran, said the key to his victory was to stay patient.

"I picked my spots when I needed to," he said. "I chipped up, then started playing with my stack. It was easy for me to navigate through when I had chips."

Motoyama went from sitting on the money bubble, with three or four big blinds, to ending his first day with $355,000.

"I didn't have any big hands, won a lot of hands with no showdown," Motoyama said. "I really cannot remember any showdown hands. Basically I just kept picking up blinds and antes, started playing big stack poker and picked up a lot of chips that way.

"I ran really well, won all my races. I never got it in bad, always a race situation."

One of the few pivotal hands occurred when Motoyama had pocket 4s. He had a "relatively hard call" for about 35 percent of his stack and called against an A-7. The pocket 4s held up.

"That was a pretty crucial pot for me," he said. "I knocked out about five, six players within a 2- or 3-orbit span. I was getting it in good. There was no big hand where I needed a huge double-up. I just needed to maintain my stack."

About Commerce Casino
Commerce Casino, the largest poker casino in the world, has more than 200 tables featuring about every form of poker: Texas Hold 'em, 7-Card Stud, Omaha, Pot Limit, Mexican Poker, Pineapple, Draw, Low-Ball and many others. Also offered are Baccarat -- with the most tables in California -- EZ Baccarat, Pan and California games. Commerce Casino's University of Poker offers the perfect setting to learn the game from Roger Rodd, Hollywood's "Instructor to the Stars" and it's free with a registration for an official Commerce Casino CCUP Players Card. Commerce Casino is also recognized for its innovative "Bring Your Home Game to Commerce" program enabling poker fans to invite friends/family for a casual home game, bachelor party or birthday celebration with a professional dealer in a casino setting. Horseracing fans can also find the Commerce Casino Racebook a great setting for off track betting. Commerce Casino is located at 6131 East Telegraph Rd., Commerce, CA 90040, just off the Santa Ana (5) Freeway at the Washington Blvd. exit. For more information, go to or call 323.721.2100

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  • Contact:
    John Griffo
    Commerce Casino