Arizona State Poker Championship is Aug. 14-18

June 20, 2015, Chris Cronin, Robert Kelly, Mary Bradley, Dick Stein  

Talking Stick Resort’s Arena Poker Room hosts $130 one-winner shootouts and $240 two-winner shootouts for seats into the Arizona State Championship whenever 10 players sign up.The room also will hold six super satellites: July 5, 12, 19, 26 and Aug. 9 and 13. These $140 satellites award one seat for every 10 entries.All satellites begin at 11:15 a.m.

The 11th annual Arizona State Championship will have three Day 1s (Aug. 14, 15 and 16).The start time will be 9 a.m. with unlimited entries and re-entries until 11:15 a.m.The semifinals start at 9 a.m. on Aug. 17 and the finals will be at 10 a.m. on Aug. 18.The prize pool will be $1.1M based on 1,100 entries.

Last year, there were 1,460 entrants with first place paying $257,690. Warm-up tournaments will Aug. 10 ($130), Aug. 11 ($235) and Aug. 12 ($340), all starting at 11:15. Players can preregister and pay by credit card by calling the box office. Special room rates are available with code 9128.

BUCKY’S: The seventh annual Northern Arizona Texas Hold’em Championships take place every Sunday in August. The first four Sundays will be $125 qualifiers with the final on Aug. 30. The top 10 players from every Sunday qualifier will reach the final. Players start with 10K chips and 30-minute levels as first place pays $10K.

CASINO DEL SOL RESORT: You may remember from a recent issue Ante Up reporting on an innovative new side bet game called Hot Spot Poker. Director of poker Rick Chaurette gave us an update.

“The participation is better than I anticipated and we are hopeful the trend will continue to attract players who are looking for a little more action out of their poker game,” he said. “The first couple of days we paid out three four-of-a-kind winners with $5 wagered ($500 each). It certainly creates a buzz in the room when one of those hits. A short time later, a player hit a royal flush and didn’t have a wager in the circle. He heard it for a while from the other players.

“I have been fielding calls from Arizona poker rooms, as well as rooms from other states, asking about the Hot Poker Spot. I spoke to Clay Dubois of GPI who approached me with the game and introduced me to the originator of the game, Shaun Yaple. Clay said they have had similar interest from around the country.”

Oklahoma

CHOCTAW CASINO RESORT: Choctaw Casino Resort in Durant will host the World Poker Tour’s first appearance in Oklahoma.

Running July 16-Aug. 4, the stop’s main event begins July 31 with two Day 1. It boasts a $2 million guarantee with a buy-in of $3,700.

Hotel rates start at $99. For reservations, call 888-652-4628 and mention code WPT14. Preliminary events include a $500 HORSE championship and a $1K pot-limit Omaha championship.

Most of the other events on the schedule come with $100-$300 buy-ins. Two or three tournaments a day will run as part of the schedule so be sure to check start times. See the ad on Page 23 of our July issue for more details.

DOWNSTREAM CASINO: The Four States Poker Championships is July 8-12.

Also, if you’re reading this in June, there are starter-game promotions on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The first nine players get an extra $20. Also, June 27 will be a $5K giveaway.

Colorado

GOLDEN GATES: The popular Colorado Poker Championship at Golden Gates in Black Hawk, Colo., was immensely successful, ending May 18 as Kane Lai of Highland Ranch, Colo., took down the main event for $51K. Second place went to Rosie Paules of Torrington, Wy., for $35K. … The Lady Luck Casino poker room is the first room on your left as you enter the city via Highway 119 from Denver/Golden. Here you can play cash games $2-$5, $2-$10 and $2-$100 spread limit Texas Hold’em. Tournaments are available on the weekends, including Fridays. Stop in and try the new twist: Joker Poker.

CRIPPLE CREEK: Midnight Rosehas phased out the Monte Carlo board. The good news is the high-hand promotion is back. Four Flush twice-daily qualification periods get pools as much as $700. Call the poker room for applicable days and details. … The Wildwood poker room’s Friday freeroll is getting 25-30 players while the weekend deepstacks are garnering 40-80. Manager Andy Ormsby is eager to hear any feedback or suggestions.

— Follow Colorado Ambassador Dick Stein on Twitter @dickStein52.

New Mexico

SANDIA RESORT AND CASINO: The poker room hosts a $300 deepstack at noon on July 19. The event caps at 150 players with alternates and re-entries.

ROUTE 66 CASINO HOTEL: New daily promotions include hot-seat drawings, Faces Cracked Pay Double (or even triple on the current Aces Cracked promotion), as well as promotions specific to certain days of the week. Call (505) 352-7920.

SANTA ANA STAR CASINO: While Ante Up announced in its last issue that the poker room closed, there is poker still being played in the main pit. It’s just one table, but it’s a busy table with $2-$6 spread limit going on round the clock, hourly splashes and “over” buttons for players who stick around for late night no-limit play. Table games supervisor Casey Landis said this unique setup creates a friendlier, more laid-back environment, especially for new players intimidated by secluded poker rooms. Many new players are being introduced to hold’em daily. On Sundays, it’s Omaha/8 with $50 splashes hourly. Landis said there are plans for multitable tournaments in the future.

INN OF THE MOUNTAIN GODS RESORT AND CASINO: A poker squares cash giveaway is the new promotion and it’s played something like football squares, only better. Four hours of live play will fill each square and three random drawings each Thursday earn lucky players $1K or double that amount the next week if no winner is produced. The squares are reset every Thursday through Sept. 24 and players must be present to win. So, be there or be, you know, square.

BUFFALO THUNDER RESORT AND CASINO: There’s a $10K guarantee deepstack July 18 with $225 buy-in. Advanced paid registration is limited to 60 paid entrants and they are eligible for special room rates. Alternates and late entries will be allowed at management’s discretion.

Meet Yashua “Michelle” Chin

The first half of 2015 has been terrific for Michelle Chin of Wichita, Kan. She began the year by winning the World Series of Poker Circuit’s ladies event at Choctaw Casino in Oklahoma, then made poker history in April by becoming the first woman to win a WSOPC main event, capturing the title at Horseshoe Casino in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

When did you learn how significant your win in Iowa was? I didn’t know until the floor told me after I won. It wasn’t until the next day that it really hit that I had made history. It was amazing, especially since the ratio of women to men in the event was really low, like 45:1.

The drink you held in your winner’s picture, what was it? Champagne.

How long have you been playing poker and what got you started? I’ve been playing four to five years but never really took it seriously until just recently, after I closed my restaurant. I have a great coach, Maxx Coleman. I don’t know if I want to play for a living, but I do play seriously.

Did overcoming a field of 306 women in Choctaw help you at Council Bluffs? It helped in terms of experience and confidence standpoints because I am primarily a cash-game player.

— Robert Kelly