Arizona, the place to get away for poker

June 01, 2017, Chris Cronin, Robert Kelly, Donovan Livingston, Dick Stein  

Talking Stick Resort recently concluded its Getaway Classic Weekend, which ran April 21-23. The first event had 263 players with a prize pool of $44,710.

Kerri Salamanca took top honors for $5,165. The rest of the final-table finishers were Jacob Rubin, Joann Miner, Gregory Orlick, Jason Sater and Michael Berman, each taking home $4,882, followed by John Regan ($1,923), Terry Stadler ($1,610), Patricia Lirot ($1,230) and Lawrence Field ($849).

Saturday’s event increased to 317 players and built a pool of $84,005. Jason Lane and Joel Lirot chopped for $12,500 each. Richard Saine and Albert Thiulot each took home $6K while Robert DeFabrizio, Ronnie Andrews, Vladimir Fomine and Brenda Dewitt each pocketed $5,578. Ronald Warnicke won $5,200 and Kerry Kuehn earned $1,596 to round out the final table.

The final event had 217 players with $21,700 paid out in bounties. The top-eight finishers were Steve Nichols, Michael Castas, Laurence Fulop, Raghavendra Dronavalli, Robert Niess, Patrick Bezenek, Eric Prentis and Anthony Williams, each cashing for $3,573. Muhidin Music ($1,092) and David Shostack ($895) rounded out the top 10.
Players who entered all three events were given two comp nights in Talking Stick Resort’s hotel.

April 29 was the Last Saturday of the Month tourney and it resulted in a five-way chop for $3,500 each going to Miles Bassik, Keith Bayern, Erik Gault, Keith Paulson and Nicholas Race. The remaining cashiers were Robert Aspaas, Robert Thurhorst, Federico DeMain, Raymond Fillipone, Hugh McNamara, Mark Babekov, James Bushmire, Manuel Cervantes, Andy Lau, Joe Rivera and Rocco Pace, each taking home $2,393.

Please check with the poker room for special upcoming weekend events, along with the daily tournament schedule in the Arena Poker Room.

HARRAH’S AK-CHIN: The NBA Championship Series promotion means when the home team reaches 25 points there will be a $25 splash pot, 50 points means a $50 splash, etc.

If the home team wins, another $100 will be splashed and if the visiting team wins, a $200 splash will be added to every live table.

For the The Stanley Cup series, $50 will be splashed to every live table for every score by either team.

Kansas

HOLLYWOOD CASINO KANSAS SPEEDWAY: Through June 30, a Paid to Play promotion runs. Players can win $1K by logging hours on bad-beat eligible hold’em tables. Play 200 hours to win $250, 250 hours win $500, 300 hours for $1K. Players can earn double credit when playing 2-10 a.m. All payouts will be made July 8.

The $25K freeroll promotion runs through June 30 as well. The top 18 spots are paid with first place worth $7K.
KANSAS STAR CASINO: A high-hand promotion, with a full house qualifier, runs through June. Every Tuesday and Thursday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., $100 will be awarded hourly. Qualification for the quarterly $10K freeroll runs through June 30. The freeroll is July 8.

New Mexico

INN OF THE MOUNTAIN GODS: Big-money tournaments run every quarter and some of the best live action hold’em in the New Mexico is at the Inn of the Mountain Gods. June 25 is the $230 Test Your Might event at 11 a.m. See the ad on this page for more details, including a $99 room rate. Also, each Friday is the $120 tourney at 6 p.m., and every Sunday at 2 p.m. is a $75 event. You can earn bonus chips by playing live before each event. See website for details.

SANDIA CASINO RESORT: There are regular weekly tournaments, including a $50 event on Sundays at noon and $45 at 5 p.m. Monday brings the Sprint Tournament for $50. At 7 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, you can play a bounty tournament for a $75. New is the $60 Wacky Wednesdays series, where each week’s tournament could feature any number of games, including stud, pineapple, HORSE or Omaha/8. Check the website for a complete schedule.

On June 24 at noon, get in on the special MMA bounty tournament where you can win one of nine $200 bounties. The buy-in is $200 and registration begins June 19 at 8 a.m.

ISLETA CASINO RESORT: Mondays you can play crazy pineapple for $15, at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Each Wednesday brings Omaha/8 at 7 p.m. for $25. And Thursdays has beginners NLHE, again only $15 at 7 p.m. Each Friday and Saturday you can play in added-money tournaments for $100 at 7 p.m.

BUFFALO THUNDER RESORT: The $150 Last Saturday of the Month tournament starts at 1 p.m. The 6:30 tournament later that evening is a great consolation if you missed out earlier, and because of the large numbers there are plenty of cash games in hold’em and Omaha.

ROUTE 66 CASINO: Play in three tournaments every day. Most are NLHE, but there’s a pineapple tournament Wednesdays, plus many include bounties. The Player of the Year promotion allows you to earn money for finishing in the top five.

Oklahoma/Missouri

HARRAH’S NORTH KANSAS CITY: Thanh Bui eliminated every player at the final table, including runner-up Michael Lech with a full-house-over-straight cooler, to win the Spring Brawl main event and $52,302. Other event winners were Brian Mattheissen and Andre Allen. The last of the World Series qualifiers Will beJune 3 and 17. Each will start at 10 a.m. and cost $320.

CHOCTAW CASINO DURANT: The $1,100 Poker Night In America main event in April had a $1M guarantee and saw Michael Phizinsky overcome 997 entries to collect the title and $185K.

COMANCHE PROPERTIES: The Red River Casino in Devol, Okla., and the Nation Casino in Lawton, Okla., have their poker operations supervised by table-games manager Stephen Leaf. The three 10-handed tables at Red River and the four nine-handed tables at Nation, aren’t in enclosed areas and both properties have similar tournament schedules.

Nation typically offers $1-$2 NLHE and $1-$3 and $2-$5 runs occasionally. On Thursdays and Saturdays, $2-$5 pot-limit Omaha runs. A splash-pot promotion runs 1-5 p.m. daily. To attract new players, a $10-$50 buy-in $1-$1 NLHE game with 10 percent rake to $3 is offered. A bad-beat promotion will soon be offered. The main bad-beat jackpot will be for hold’em with a secondary bad beat for Omaha games. Red River typically offers $1-$2 NLHE and the occasional $1-$3. The splash-pots promotion runs 1-5 p.m. Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays. The $1-$1 introductory game also is offered.

DOWNSTREAM CASINO: The room’s regular tournament schedule runs Wednesdays and Fridays through Sundays. Several are added-money tournaments, including seniors, knockout and crazy pineapple.

Other tournaments are a freezeout and a $3K guarantee deepstack. One cash game note: Every Tuesday is a$5-$10 game with a $500-$2K buy-in (75 percent of the largest stack thereafter) runs.

HARD ROCK CASINO: The Route 66 Poker Open is June 21-25. It opens with a $166, $10K guarantee with 30-minute levels. Another runs June 22. Satellites to the $366, $66K guarantee, three-flight main event will run. The series concludes with a $300 Bonnie and Clyde event.

INDIGO SKY CASINO: Tournaments with $20-$80 buy-ins are regularly offered, including seniors, crazy pineapple, deuces wild, Omaha and progressive mystery bounty. Cash games regularly offered include limit, NLHE and PLO.

CHEROKEE CASINO WEST SILOAM SPRINGS: The Cherokee Poker Classic ran May 12-21. Results were unavailable at press time and will be shared in the next issue. This eight-table room offers a regular tournament schedule that includes daily rebuy events as well as $50 Wednesday nights and $60 mystery bounty tournaments on Fridays and Saturdays.

WINSTAR WORLD CASINO: This 46-table room has the most diverse cash-game levels in the region. It routinely offers $1-$2, $1-$3, $2-$5 and $5-$10 as well as $4-$8 limit and PLO and PLO/8 up to $5-$10. An Aces Cracked promotion runs Tuesdays and Thursdays 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. midnight.

Colorado

CRIPPLE CREEK: Jonathan Fraley, Mike Gross, Paul Holder, Ryan Clothier, Scott Steward, Tim Domboski and Rick Kliner chopped the Colorado State Poker Championship Main Event at Midnight Rose for $4,768 each. Scott Steward also netted $1,040 in the Ante Only event. The seniors event chopped three ways as John Bielaski, Mike Childers and Mike Gross pocketed $1,444 each. Anne Kerns won the ladies event for $500. The Meganormous went to Bielaski for $1,708 and the Omaha/8 title when to Jr. Gatlin for $1,600. Randy Payne won the crazy pineapple event for $1,435 and Carlos Tucker of Ghetto Poker fame grabbed the Win the Button title for $1,480.

BLACK HAWK: The Reserve poker room spreads $2-$5 limit, features a Monte Carlo jackpot board and has a Hand of the Day promotion. ... Golden Gates’ Colorado Poker Championships were running at press time. High hands are limited to $100 during CPC but return to $500 on Fridays and $600 on Saturdays during specific hours after the CPC. There’s no bad-beat jackpot here, but a popular twist has been added, Bad Beat Insurance: If your quads lose you get $2K and the winner gets $1K. ... The Ameristar’s primary bad-beat jackpot finally hit at $275K. This initiated the much-awaited $200 hourly high hands and the descending bad beat. Both promotions run 24/7. The DBB is reset to $25K every time it’s hit and starts at aces full of kings.

Meet Michael “Big Mike” Jenkins

Michael Jenkins is a poker dealer at the Golden Gates Casino and Poker Parlor and has been since August 2010. He once owned a pizza place called Big Mike’s Pies & Grinders. He grew up north of Chicago as the youngest of three sons and played baseball, soccer and basketball through high school.

He move to Colorado Springs and graduated high school at Pine Creek in 2001.He went to Colorado Christian University and there learned how to play and deal poker from friends.

He gradated in 2008 with a degree in theatre but started working in Black Hawk in 2009 after playing tournaments at the Gilpin Casino for several years. After the Gilpin closed, he switched to the Lodge, working there for about five months as a prop/house player and eventually as a dealer.

His biggest accomplishment? Hitting a bad-beat jackpot at the Gilpin in 2005. He still plays in small house tournaments and cash games around Black Hawk, mostly sticking to hold’em, but he’s dabbled in pineapple and Omaha. He went to the World Series of Poker twice, playing in satellites and the employee tournament, where there were 898 players and 90 got paid.

“I finished 94th; it was heartbreaking.”

His favorite hand is Aces: “Sounds too easy, but I just feel like the most powerful person when I get wired aces in my hand.” Big Mike is single living in Lakewood, Colo.,and he enjoys getting out for movies, dinner at friends’ houses and playing as much beach volleyball as possible. — Dick Stein