Talking Stick drawing large poker crowds in Arizona

April 30, 2018, Chris Cronin, Donovan Livingston, Janet Kenning, Robert Kelly  

Lots of chops happened recently in tourneys at Talking Stick Resort’s Arena Poker Room.

The $345 Big Stack, which had 214 entrants March 3, saw Ada Lang, Jarret McMillan, Ian Clark and Brian Applebaum pocket $8,780 each, while Jeffrey Puskar, Ronald Warnicke and Robert DeFabrizio earned $4,539 each for fifth-eighth. 

The March 10 bounty tournament had Dylan Hortin, Arkadiusk Bartoszek and Michael Khoshaba each receive $3,494 in a deal. 

The March 17 $500 event drew as 162 players as Elijah Ruffin, Perle O’Daniel and Steven Nichols each won $12,112 after a three-way chop. The other top finishers included Michael Kelleher ($5,336) and Lawrence Field ($4,234). 

March’s $160 End of the Month tournament had 495 contestants and Jerry Stecher took down the title for $6K.
Upcoming events at TSR include a Jack and Jill tourney on May 6 at 11:15 a.m., a $500 event with a $15K guarantee on May 19 at 11:15 a.m., and a $110 ladies-only event May 20. 

The property resumes its regular weekend tournament schedule in June and July starts satellites for the Arizona State Championship that will run Aug. 10-14. 

GILA RIVER WILD HORSE PASS: The SBSP is May 26-27. If you buy in for $100 or more on May 26, you’ll receive a T-shirt. Wear that shirt on May 27 and you will receive $50 in promotional chips that may be played on any table game. There also will be 10 $50 splash pots every half-hour 1-10 p.m.

GILA RIVER VEE QUIVA: Coming off of a successful Ante Up Poker Tour Spring Classic, the property is planning its next huge event for the fall. Stay tuned.

HON-DAH CASINO RESORT: The poker room’s newest Tournament of Champions winner is Jock Phillips. Also, see the ad on Page 31 of our current issue for details on this month’s of Awesome Blossom Toss. Players earn tickets for the drawings with qualifying hands.

This property has a plenty of tournaments, including a Monday 6 p.m. doublestack, Tuesday 6 p.m. speed shootout, Wednesday 6 p.m. NLHE, Thursday 6 p.m. Omaha/8, Friday 6 p.m . bounty, Saturday 4 p.m. NLHE and Sunday 4 p.m. crazy pineapple.

HARRAH’S AK-CHIN: A $350 World Series of Poker Main Event satellite has two opening sessions May 19 at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. with the finale at 7:30. This event has 15K stacks and 50 participants minimum are needed to hold this tournament. However, if there are 100 or more entrants two $10K seats will be awarded.

Colorado

GOLDEN GATES BLACK HAWK: The Colorado Poker Championship returns May 3-23, striving for a $500K prize pool. As far as promotions, poker room manager Mason Yanchumis offers super high hands for live play. Try your luck at daily tournaments offered at 10 a.m., noon and 7. 

AMERISTAR BLACK HAWK: The primary bad beat (quad deuces) was nearly $645K at press time. Poker room manager David Clark will soon be offering mini bad beats and high hands. Get a special rate at the hotel for four hours of play in one day. 

MIDNIGHT ROSE CRIPPLE CREEK: This property has some of the area’s best weekend deepstack tournaments. Also, play four hours of live action and earn a free room Monday-Thursday.

New Mexico

The Test Your Might Poker Tournament is June 17 at the Inn of the Mountain Gods, but early registration begins May 26. See the ad on this page for more information.

Also, every Friday is a $120 event at 6 p.m., and every Sunday at 2 you can play for $75. Earn bonus chips when playing before each tournament.

SANDIA CASINO RESORT: May 19 at noon is a $170 event with $1,700 in added prize money. This will sell out fast, so get your seat early. They regular weekly tournaments include Sunday’s $50 event at noon and a $45 buy-in at 5. Don’t forget Monday’s Sprint Tournament for $50 and the $60 Wacky Wednesdays series, where each week’s tournament features a rotating schedule of games such as stud, Big O/8, ladies night, pineapple, HORSE or Omaha/8.
 
ISLETA CASINO RESORT: Every Sunday pays $25 hourly to the player who wins the most hands in that hour. 

The poker room also added $25 tournaments on Friday and Saturday at 2 p.m. Two rebuys are allowed and the house adds $100. A new Sunday 2 p.m. tourney costs $30 and the house adds $100. The weekly schedule remains the same: Mondays feature crazy pineapple for $15 at 2 and 7 p.m. Wednesday means Omaha/8 at 7 p.m. for $25. Each Friday and Saturday you can play in added-money tournaments for $100 at 7 p.m., but on Saturdays you can win a free seat into the upcoming Summer Classic. Call for details.

BUFFALO THUNDER RESORT: Tourneys during the week are 6:30 p.m. and cost $30-$75. Sundays (5 p.m.) and Thursdays offer unlimited rebuys for the first hour. Note on Thursdays: The game is Omaha/8. 

Also, don’t forget the $150 Last Saturday of the Month tournament at 1 p.m. and the 6:30 event later that evening. If you play cash games before a tournament, you can earn 1K bonus tournament chips.

ROUTE 66 CASINO: Play in three tourneys every day. Most are NLHE, but there’s a pineapple event Wednesdays, plus many tournaments include bounties. 

The Player of the Year promotion continues into its second quarter. Earn points based on your tournament performance and win a share of $5K in cash and prizes, plus qualify for a year-end freeroll.

Kansas-Oklahoma

KANSAS STAR CASINO: Qualify for the quarterly $10K freeroll through June 30 as 40 players are eligible to play by the accumulation of tournament points. Also, the room’s progressive bad-beat jackpot (quads) was $171-plus at press time.

HARD ROCK CASINO: Johnathan Poche won the $1,675 main event of the World Series of Poker Circuit, which ran March 15-26 and paid him $216,307 after beating 720 players. This was his second ring.

Another big winner was Yordanos “Yoyo” Mebrahtu. She came out on top of nearly 1,460 entries to win Event 2, a $365 NLHE tournament, for $75,454. 

Other winners were Charles Pettit (seniors); Nick Koliastasis (Event 3); Josef Tittjung (Event 4); Askia Ingram (Event 5); Shawn Sparks (Event 6); John Richards (Event 7, pot-limit Omaha); Kevin Eyster (Event 8); Marsha Adams (ladies); Rodney Spriggs (Event 10); Tommy Duncan (seniors); Shane Ogburn, (Event 11); and Blair Hinkle (Event 12).

DOWNSTREAM CASINO: The RunGood Poker Series returned April 10-15, so look for results in a future issue.
HARRAH’S NORTH KANSAS CITY: The RPS runs May 1-6. The series opens with its traditional bounty event. The second tournament is a two-day, two-flight, $20K guarantee $180 deepstack. The $100K guarantee, $560 main event will have three flights, one each May 3, 4 and 5. The final day is May 6. Two $135 satellites with seat guarantees run May 4 (turbo) and 5.

AMERISTAR CASINO: The $15K player-appreciation freeroll is July 7 for the April 1-June 30 qualifying period. The top 60 players and 20 day-of-event, wildcard entries will compete. See the room for qualifying procedures. 

CHEROKEE CASINO WEST SILOAM SPRINGS: This eight-table room has its Paid to Play promo through May 31. Clock two hours of play Sunday-Thursday, 8-noon and players received a $25 chip. 

Monday nights will offer a $40 seniors event and Saturday nights cost $70. Still running are daily quads-or-better tournaments, with amounts beginning at $486 in progressive prize money and Friday night mystery bounty. 

Call the poker room for details on the Cherokee Poker Classic, which traditionally runs in May.

WINSTAR WORLD CASINO: On Memorial Day, May 25, the poker room will be randomly drawing a table every 30 minutes for a $500 splash pot 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. The Memorial Day River Series runs May 22-28, opening with a $230 survivor with 30-minute levels. Other events include a $340 monster stack, $230 and $340 turbo bounty and the two-day $600 main event with 40-minute levels. Remember, the poker room has been moved to the New York Gaming Plaza.

RIVERWIND CASINO: Promotions are $50 high hands on Mondays, $2-$5 splash-pot Tuesdays, $50 hot seats on Wednesdays, and $2-$5 hot seats on Thursdays. Typical tournaments include $40 rebuys and a$115 deepstack on Sundays. Tournaments are capped at the first 90 players.

RIVER SPIRIT CASINO: A $20K monthly freeroll will run May 12 for the top 40 players with the most hours played. The room’s tournament schedule includes a daily morning $50 and weekly events include bounty, seniors, superstack, and traditional events. Max buy-in for any event is $75.

COMANCHE NATION: The four-table enclosed room, which opened in February, runs a tournament bad-beat promotion.

INDIGO SKY CASINO: This eight-table room recently updated its business hours. It’s open Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 4-2 a.m., Wednesday 10 a.m.-2 a.m., Saturday noon-4 a.m. and Sunday noon-2 a.m. It remains closed Mondays. The room continues to offer a diverse schedule throughout the week. This is the best place to get a regular crazy pineapple tournament and a freezeout. Max buy-ins are $50. Thursday’s $50 tournaments have a $500 first-place payout with a 10-entry minimum. Check the room’s calendar to catch short-term promotions.

Meet Mark Taylor

Mark “Taylor Made” Taylor has been dealing in Cripple Creek at the Midnight Rose since it opened 25-plus years ago. His accomplishment was recently recognized with a trophy and $750 gift certificate. He also plays porker as a serious hobby.

“Sometimes accomplished goals are not about winning or losing,” he said. “It’s about overcoming your personal demons that prevent you from playing your best game.”

He overcame his demons with back-to-back pot-limit Omaha cashes at the World Series of Poker.

“Back in the day, when the Midnight Rose had an employee tournament to send people to the WSOP employee event, I was fortunate to have my way paid four times with a best finish of 13th.”

His favorite hand is any that drags the pot. His games of choice have changed from hold’em to Omaha, basic mixed games and some stud. Family is important to Taylor, who spends time with his wife, Talea, four sons, one daughter and 10 grandchildren. Besides poker, his hobbies include bicycling and his pug, Mika. — Dick Stein