Bucky’s hosts Northern Arizona Poker Championship in April

March 31, 2017, Chris Cronin, Donovan Livingston, Dick Stein, Robert Kelly  

Bucky’s Casino in Prescott is bringing back its Northern Arizona Hold’em Championship. You must qualify by playing in one of the preliminary rounds that are scheduled for April 2, 9, 16 and 23 at 2 p.m. The finals will be April 30 at 2 p.m. Buy-in for this event is $125 and $5K has been added to bring the prize pool to $25K with a $10K first-place prize (based on 200 entrants). Be sure to play in one of the early qualifiers so you don’t get shut out. See the ad on Page 19 in our April issue for more info.

TALKING STICK RESORT: The sixth annual Winter Poker Classic ran Feb. 11-13 and featured a $400, three-day event. There were 365 players, which pushed the prize pool to $124K. Various chop deals were made at the final table and the payouts were as follows: Scott Drill ($17K), Adam Leyba ($17K), Alexis Flores ($14,345), Nathan York ($12,500), Ezequiel Rodrigo ($12,500), Troy Sprungl ($5,957), Jerry Hauser ($5,088), Brad Henry ($3,847), Claire Thomas ($2,978) and Tom Schneider ($2,110).

Talking Stick’s Arena Poker Room has a full schedule of tournaments throughout the week and large-scale events on Saturdays and some Sundays. Check talkingstickresort.com for all of the upcoming promotions and tourneys.

HON-DAH RESORT CASINO: The poker room opens at 4 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 10 a.m. Tuesday and Thursday and 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Promotions include $50 Aces Cracked daily from 2-midnight, $100 high hands three times per day on Friday and Saturday, and Low Roller Tuesdays, where live games are just $2-$4 limit. See the ad on Page 20 in our April issue for more.

The tournament schedule runs Tuesday-Sunday with a wide variety of games and some of the friendliest dealers in the state. Check out the action hidden away in the beautiful White Mountains.

Colorado

CRIPPLE CREEK: After a successful ice festival, which brought several new faces to the green felt, business at the Midnight Rose is holding better than usual because of favorable weather. About half of the Colorado Springs home-game players can be spotted playing in the 40K stack Meganormous Tournament (4 p.m. start) on Fridays. The third Colorado State Poker Championship runs April 16-30 and will feature the popular $100-plus price points and a variety of events, such as ante-only, seniors, ladies, Omaha and crazy pineapple. Players will see the introduction of a Win the Button format, which was made popular by an online site. There are five 20-percent qualifiers leading up to the $500 main (April 29) and a $5K freeroll for most points/hours (April 30). Call the poker room for details.

BLACK HAWK: The recently finished Heartland Poker Tour at Golden Gates saw the Kick Start $300 event draw 871 runners. The final four, who chopped, were Vincent Moscati ($27,350), Cannon Conolty ($27,277), Colin York ($24,970) and Rory Lucero ($20,449). Amanda Ormsby, a Black Hawk resident, had her best tournament finish, placing second in Event 6 for $3,970. Nicholas Bennett was first ($6,640). Lance “Cord” Garcia of Houston took down the main event for $248,732, followed by Daniel O’Brien of Las Vegas ($153,982). Andrew Dean of Massachusetts was third ($100,881), followed by Saad Vasquez of Castle Rock ($69,760) and Zohair Karim of Orlando ($50,903). … At the Ameristar, the primary bad beat (quads) reached $175K at press time. Once that bad beat is awarded, it will be retired and the poker room will have $200 hourly high hands 24-7.

Oklahoma

The Poker Night in America Tour returns April 6-24 to the Choctaw Casino Resort in Durant, Okla., as 61 events are scheduled, many sporting $100-$240 buy-ins. Major events include $565 PLO/8, PLO/Congress, Congress, PLO, NLHE and Monster Stack. On April 21, there’s a $1M guarantee for the $1,100 buy-in main event.

WINSTAR WORLD CASINO: February’s Presidents Day Series had five events. Stephan Williams of Ft. Worth, Texas, earned $49,467 by beating 565 entries to win the $600 main event. Other winners were Marcus Cates, Zelong Dong and Robert Miller.

RIVER SPIRIT CASINO: The bad-beat jackpot hit in February for $129K. While $1-$2 NLHE is commonly found here, other games are featured during the week: $1-$2 PLO is Monday evenings and $1-$3 NLHE runs Thursday evenings. Eight-handed $10$-20 Big O with a kill is featured Thursdays at
5 p.m. and Saturdays at 1.

HARD ROCK CASINO: RunGoodGear.com’s Spring Brawl wrapped up in February. Kristin Deardorff, an electrical engineer from California, captured the main event, $34,039 and a championship belt. Other winners were Eric Bunch in the $135 bounty, Chan Pelton in the deepstack, Pete Petree in PLO, Janie Wentworth-Rui in the shootout. The World Series of Poker Circuit results will be reported in the next issue.

CHEROKEE CASINO WEST SILOAM SPRINGS: The 12th annual Ozark Poker Championships in February saw Matthew Ellis of Bentonville, Ark., capture the $50K main event for $12K. Other winners were Ricky Cogden and James Lee. The $20K guarantee Spring Deepstack runs in early April so call for details.

Kansas

KANSAS STAR CASINO: The January-through-March qualifiers for the quarterly $10K freeroll will play April 8. Qualifying for the next quarter begins April 1.

That quarter’s freeroll is scheduled for July 8. Continuing through April is a splash-pot promotion. Every 15 minutes from 6-10 p.m., $100 will be splashed on a selected table.

This eight-table room commonly spreads $1-$3 no-limit hold’em and $1-$2 pot-limit Omaha.

HOLLYWOOD CASINO KANSAS SPEEDWAY: The room continues to offer a monthly $15K freeroll for players who qualify through a tournament leaderboard or 50 hours of live play.

The freeroll is the second Saturday after the qualifying month, so the next one is April 8. The top 10 places are paid with first place earning $5K.

Western Missouri

HARRAH’S NORTH KANSAS CITY: RunGoodGear.com’s Spring Brawl runs April 25-30, though the event schedule wasn’t available at press time. An early bird promotion continues, offering an extra 1K chips if you register for a tournament more than an hour before it starts, excluding the last Saturday of the month’s megastack.

AMERISTAR KANSAS CITY: This 13-table room has a $100 high-hand promotion that began March 10. Two sessions will be offered daily, 2-6 p.m. and 8-midnight. The minimum qualifier is aces full of deuces. The Busted Bullets promotion continues with the first five players each day who get aces beaten win $100. Players continue to earn $1 per hour in comps and a $15 food voucher with four hours of live play.

New Mexico

ROUTE 66 CASINO: You can play in three tournaments every day of the week. Most events are NLHE, but there’s a pineapple tournament each Wednesday, plus many tournaments include bounties. Join the Player of the Year promotion to earn big bucks for finishing in the top five for the year. For a complete listing, visit the website or see our Where to Play section in this magazine.

SANTA ANA CASINO: Every day starting at noon, you can find a solid $2-$6 limit game in the table-games area. Limit hold’em may be a lost art these days, but there’s still plenty of money to win if you can make the adjustments.

SANDIA CASINO RESORT: There are regular weekly tournaments with Sunday hosting a $50 event at noon and a $45 buy-in 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 $75. New are the $60 Wacky Wednesdays series, where each week’s tournament features stud, Big O/8, ladies night, pineapple, HORSE, Omaha/8 and more. Check the website for a complete schedule.

INN OF THE MOUNTAIN GODS: The Road to the Main Event $60K tournament continues April 22-23 for $330. It pays $10K for first, $6K for second and $4,500 for third. Call 575-464-7799 for details or see the ad on Page 18 in our April issue.

Each Friday is a $120 event at 6 p.m., and every Sunday at 2 p.m. you can play a $75 tournament. Earn bonus chips when playing live action before each tournament. See the website for details.

BUFFALO THUNDER RESORT: The Last Saturday of the Month tournament starts at 1 p.m. and costs $150. The 6:30 p.m. 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. Stay tuned for more fun promotions this summer.

Meet Mike Maruna

An engineer working with radar systems by day and a poker player at night, Mike Maruna seems to have been on a good run forever. On the same final table, he had a royal flush and 20 minutes later turned a straight flush.

He started playing hold’em in 2007 at a home game in the United Kingdom. He added Omaha, PLO and PLO/8 as time progressed.He played the 2013 International Stadiums Poker Tour at Wembley Stadium in London and finished 30th out of 761. He garnered the RAF Lakenheath base championship in 2014 and also cashed twice in the Goliath UK.

Though from the Colorado Springs area, Maruna often is seen in Black Hawk, where he once took eighth in a Mid-States Poker Tour’s main event. A few months later when MSPT returned to Black Hawk, he won the Kick Start for about $50K.

His favorite hand is 7-7 because he has flopped quads with it four times. Like just about every player, his main goal is to win the World Series main event.

He has three boys, including 19-year-old twins. His hobbies are poker and snowboarding. He recently accepted a job transfer, which is pending, to move to Thailand, so look for him on the international circuit. — Dick Stein