“Sugar Bear” Barbieri is to put it mildly.

The Long Beach, CA resident has just wrapped up his third win of the 51-tournament series by capturing Commerce Casino’s famed Ironman event that goes non-stop with no breaks until the last man is standing.

“I could have gone another 10 hours with all the adrenalin rush of playing at the final table,” said Barbieri, 51.”My head-ups partner was fading fast, but I could have kept going.”

Barbieri claimed $59,030, to bring his 2010 LAPC winnings to $136,100. He previously won the $545 No Limit Hold’em with a guaranteed $200,000 prize pool ($54,700) and the $335 7 Card Stud Hi/Lo 8 or Better ($12,970). He warmed up by taking second in the $335 7 Card Stud ($8,500) on January 25, the fifth day of the six-week tournament.

And he may not be done yet, as the Ironman victory secured a $10,000 seat for him in the LAPC Championship No Limit Hold’em event, starting Friday, Feb. 26. That event will have an estimated $6 million prize pool and will pay at least 50 places deep.

Barbieri is no stranger to cashing at Commerce, having claimed more than $100,000 in two second-place finishes at the LAPC in 2006 and 2007.

“It is great to have one of our Commerce regulars take home a trio of our traditional Remington bucking bronco replica trophies,” said Matt Savage, LAPC Tournament Director, “Al clearly loves the game and he brings a lot of enthusiasm to the table.”

A professional poker player since 1998, Barbieri took a five-year hiatus from card playing to fulfill his lifelong dream of being a baseball player. In 2003, he had his moment in the sun with the Camden Riversharks across the river from his hometown of Philadelphia-in front of a full stadium, plus family and friends, before returning his full-time attention to poker.

Barbieri migrated west from the city of Brotherly Love in his mid-20s, and when he began frequenting Commerce Casino, he was taken under the wing of highly regarded pro John Bonetti. In their first year of mentorship, Bonetti was ranked third in the country by Card Player Magazine, and Barbieri was 18th. “I owe it all to John Bonetti,” said Barbieri.

Since coming back to the game after his baseball hiatus, Barbieri has had some nice paydays, including $110,000 in winnings from cashing in five World Series events this past year. His cumulative tournament winnings are nearing $900,000. With Commerce as his home casino, he plays many of the LAPC events, and although his first love in terms of poker games is 7 Card Stud, he’s proven himself a steady hand at No Limit Hold’em with these latest victories.

He’ll be in action again when the LA Poker Classic Championship begins Friday, Feb. 26 at noon. There is also a $25,000 High Roller tournament on Sunday, Feb. 28 at 4 p.m.

The 2010 L.A. Poker Classic continues through March 4, when it will wrap up 51 events, featuring an estimated $20 million total prize pool, with $3.3 million in guarantees — the largest amount ever put forth by Commerce Casino. Thanks to an extensive number of Satellite, Supersatellite and Megasatellite opportunities, many people will have a chance to play in major events by investing as little at $40. There are also still four events where winners will be awarded a seat to one of the two LAPC $10,000 events in addition to their winnings.


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