Run It Up Reno Keeps, Pardon The Pun, Running It Up

Posted By Jessica Welman on November 17, 2017

[toc]The Run It Up Reno tournament series once again lived up to its name. The fall installment from Team PokerStars Pro Jason Somerville once again grew in attendance over the previous series.

This is the fifth installment of the now-biannual series at Peppermill Reno Casino. Attendance for the Main Event of the series has grown all five times.

Latest Main Event features record field, repeat champ

This series’ Main Event featured a familiar face in the winner circle. Loren Klein won his second Run It Up Main Event, following up his victory in the fall 2016 series.

The first time around, Klein bested a field of 256 players to win over $33,000. In his downtime between Run It Up events, Kein won a World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet in a $1,500 pot-limit Omaha bracelet for $231,000.

Even with a big chunk of change from that win, Klein returned to Reno to play this fall. This time around, he defeated a record field of 424 players in the $600 buy-in event. The payday amounted to $46,300.

Several events at Run It Up grow series-over-series, but the Main Event is probably the best indicator of the growing popularity of the event:

  • 2015 October – 318 entries
  • 2016 May – 391 entries
  • 2016 October – 256 entries
  • 2017 April – 384 entries
  • 2017 October – 424 entries

Last month’s series featured 16 events and $375,000 in guarantees. Really though, the series featured more prize money than that. Most tournaments bested the guarantee easily.

The highest buy-in of the series, the $1,000 Thursday Thrilla actually doubled its $50,000 guarantee. The 110-entry field resulted in a $110,000 prize pool, divided evenly between payouts and a $500 bounty on every head.

Somerville’s fan-based approach key to Run It Up success

Those unfamiliar with Run It Up might wonder what it is about a low buy-in tournament series that keeps people coming back to a northern Nevada casino.

Most of it is Somerville’s personal approach. The poker player regularly streams on Twitch, which allows him to constantly interact with his fan base. They develop running gags and inside jokes, which then come into play when Run It Up runs live events.

For example, there is Turkey Burger night, which is an ode to the notoriously picky Somerville’s favorite meal. In fact, there are several events throughout the week that focus on non-poker interests like UFC and the reality show Survivor.

Past Survivor competitors like Tyson Apostol and “Boston” Rob Mariano come to play in the tournaments. They also group watch the show together, with the contestants answering questions and giving a behind-the-scenes take on the latest season.

This time around, former Survivor contestant Rob Cesterino attended, taping one of his popular podcasts at the event. There were also poker celebrities in the mix, including:

  • Samantha Abernathy
  • Jeff Gross
  • Dan O’Brien
  • Jesse Sylvia

Somerville was happy with how the event turned out. Given how much effort he puts into crafting each series, it is no surprise it continues to grow. He spoke to PlayNevada about his most recent success.

“This October’s Run It Up Reno was my favorite series yet. I think we offer a very fan-friendly schedule, and I’m proud of the fun, welcoming atmosphere that we’ve built. This was our fifth official Run It Up Reno, and it was amazing to see such a big turnout and positive fan response. Almost every tournament broke its prize pool record. I can’t wait for the next one!”

Photo courtesy of Run It Up / Antonio Abrego

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Jessica Welman

Jessica Welman is a longtime member of the poker media. She has worked as a tournament reporter for the World Poker Tour, co-hosted a podcast for Poker Road, and served as the managing editor for WSOP.com. A graduate of the University of Southern California and Indiana University, Welman is not only a writer but also a producer. She has been involved for livestreams for the WSOP and WPT and worked as a consultant on many other poker productions. She can be found on Twitter @jesswelman.

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