"River Rock Casino Resort — home of the BC Poker Championships."
The Richmond, BC casino is still touting this claim on the poker room page on their website, but it is no longer the case. There will be no BCPC at River Rock this year.
The BCPC is the most popular annual poker series in the Vancouver area and has historically offered some of the biggest prize pools in Western Canada. It is supported by the large pool of local regular recreational players and talented pros, of which there are many in Vancouver, as well as career players from across the country and beyond. Their claim to poker relevance is that Daniel Negreanu won the BCPC Main Event in 2008.
Vancouver has actually been without the BCPC for a couple of years now, as the introduction of the World Series of Poker Circuit at River Rock bumped BCPC off the schedule. After running the WSOP Circuit for their Fall event the last two years, it was recently announced that WSOP Circuit will not be back to the Vancouver area this season, or to Canada at all, for that matter.
With the loss of WSOP Circuit, players were excited to see BCPC back as the big event to support, so it came as a bit of a surprise when rumours started circulating that there would be no BCPC either.
We spoke with Rochie Soriano, Poker Room Manager at River Rock. "We just don't have the room. We're losing space and getting smaller. With only a 10-table poker room now, it's pretty hard to run something like BCPC."
It's true that River Rock has reduced their poker offering to their customers, opting for more profitable games in their place. The general consensus among Vancouver players has been that River Rock's poker room is not what it was, and many prefer to play at one of the many other options available in the area.
As for the chance of any kind of poker tournament series at River Rock in the foreseeable future? "Everyone knows — we're not trying to hide the fact — that cash games bring in more revenue," said Soriano.
Fortunately, this does not necessarily mean that there will be no BCPC at all this year. River Rock is owned by Great Canadian Gaming Corporation (GCGC), who also own the newly-renovated Hard Rock Casino Vancouver in nearby Coquitlam (previously called Boulevard Casino), as well as Fraser Downs Racetrack and Casino a little further down the road in Surrey. Either of these GCGC sister properties would be able to pick up the BCPC name and format to run at their venue, and there is hope that it may still happen this year.
"We built this series and the structure and we're proud of it," Soriano said. "We're sad to lose it at River Rock, but we really hope it can carry on at Hard Rock or Fraser Downs."
We will keep you informed as we learn more about the future of BCPC.
* Photo courtesy of River Rock Casino Resort.