Hinkle wins WSOPC main at Choctaw in Oklahoma

February 24, 2017, Robert Kelly, Dick Stein, Donovan Livingston, Chris Cronin  

The World Series of Poker Circuit at Choctaw Casino in Durant, Okla., wrapped up in January with Grant Hinkle of Overland Park, Kan., overcoming a field of 1,400-plus entries to win the main event for $325,427 and his first WSOPC ring to go with his WSOP bracelet.

“It feels awesome,” Hinkle said. “It’s a great event. I’ve been staring at the banners of past winners. And I have a friend up there who was looking down on the table. It was really exciting and a lot of fun.”

Hinkle was followed by John Patterson in second ($232,886) and Shino Fujiwara in third ($170,650).

Charles Adkins of Amarillo, Texas, collected $237K in the $365 buy-in $1M guarantee, besting a massive field of 5,280 entries. Other ring winners were Wesley Cooper, Andrew Telfer, Christopher Staats, Enrique Melguizo, Peter Lawson, Robert Miller, Lynn Samples, Scott Andrews and Mykel Comroe. Nathanael Kogel won two rings, both $365 NLHE events.

HARD ROCK CASINO: The WSOPC runs March 16-27. Kicking things off will be a monster stack followed by a re-entry event. Most events in the series will have $365 buy-ins. Ring events with buy-ins other than that are the two $250 senior events, $135 ladies, $580 NLHE, $2K high roller and the $1,675 main event. Notable non-NLHE events are Omaha/8, a freezeout, six-max and pot-limit Omaha.

CHEROKEE CASINO WEST SILOAM SPRINGS: The second annual $150 Winter Deepstack Series, consisting of three flights, saw Ricky Gebhart of Siloam Springs, Ark., overcome a field of nearly 200 entries to win $4,597. March 31-April 2 is the Spring Deepstack, which has a $20K guarantee.

KANSAS STAR CASINO: Since the room’s bad-beat jackpot hit in early February for $190K-plus, it’s now reset at $85K-plus. The room’s next quarterly tournament of champions $10K guarantee freeroll will be April 8 for the January-March qualifiers. The tournament schedule has events on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.

WINSTAR WORLD CASINO: The daily schedule offers mid-week tourneys for $65 and $120-$230 on weekends. Common action includes $1-$2, $1-$3 and $10-$20 NLHE, $4-$8 limit, $1-$2 PLO-PLO/8, and $2-$5 PLO. An Aces Cracked promotion runs Tuesdays and Thursdays 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and 8-midnight.

HOLLYWOOD CASINO KANSAS SPEEDWAY: The room’s monthly $15K guarantee freeroll continues for players who qualify through a tournament leaderboard or 50 hours of live play. The room also offers hourly high hands and a bad-beat promotion. Games featured throughout the week include $5-$5 PLO, $3-$6 and $20-$40 limit, $4-$8 Omaha 8, $25-$50 limit mixed and $2-$5 NLHE.

RIVER SPIRIT CASINO: The room’s bad-beat jackpot climbed to $122K-plus at press time. A couple of games are featured during the week. Thursday is $1-$3 NLHE while $10-$20 Big O with full kill is featured on Thursdays and Sundays. The daily tournament schedule offers $25-$75 buy-ins, including a 50+ seniors tournament on Wednesdays.

RIVERWIND CASINO: A sister casino to WinStar World, this 17-table room is open 9 a.m.-3:30 a.m. Sunday-Thursday and 9 a.m.-4:30 a.m. Friday and Saturday. Tournaments run Wednesday-Sunday with $30-$100 buy-ins. There are splash pots, hot-seat drawings and other promotions for specific games and/or days of the week.

GRAND CASINO: The Grand Championship tournament runs in two limited-seating flights on March 3-4. Sporting a $650 buy-in, players will get another half-stack of chips for $20 more. Blind levels are 45 minutes and players can re-enter during the first three levels. Single-table satellites run through March 4. The tournament offers a $100K guarantee. March 18 is the $3K freeroll for players who played 100-plus hours in January and February.

AMERISTAR KANSAS CITY: Several games are featured during the week, including $3-$6 limit, $5-$5 PLO, $5-$10 Omaha/8 and $4-$8 HO. The first five players each day who get their aces cracked win $100. The progressive bad-beat structure offered by the room is unique and the jackpot was at $193K-plus at press time. Call the poker room for details.

HARRAH’S NORTH KANSAS CITY: A quarterly freeroll for the Jan. 7-March 3 period is set for March 4 and offers a $10K guarantee. Daily games offered include $1-$2 and $2-$5 NLHE, $4-$8 limit with a half-kill, $1-$2 PLO and $4-$8 or $10-$20 mixed games. The weekly tournament schedule sports $30-$80 buy-ins. A $250 bounty event runs the last Saturday of each month. An early bird promo offers an extra 1K chips if you register for a tournament more than an hour before it starts. The bad-beat jackpot was $139K-plus at press time.

Arizona

Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale, Ariz., recently concluded its Staycation weekend series with three tournaments modeled after its monthly Saturday events. Here are the results:

JAN. 13: Kylan Tangermann ($3,800), James Ellwood ($3,087), Thomas Schooley ($2,847), Nancy Patterson ($2,847), Dennis Soukup ($2,847), Frank Stenz ($2,847), Terrice  Jackson ($2,847), Alan Coppola ($2,847), Peter Sullivan ($2,847), Thomas McCormick ($2,847), Terry Cusick ($2,847), Mark Williams ($2,247) and Terry Stadler ($2,247).

JAN. 14: John Kilbourn, Robert Taylor, Jesse Espich, Manish Patel, Ben Lange, Edward Clark, Jayachandra Gangaiah, Joseph Hirdt, Joel Lirot, Robert Ogerman, Alecia Vargas, Jason Fisher, Phillip Marcus, and Victor Peppe chopped for $5,211 each.

JAN. 15: James Buckner ($5,260), Jarret McMillan ($4,552), Angela Conwell ($4,552), Thomas Ruwald ($4,552), James Norman ($4,552), Ryan Johnson ($4K), Jeremy Brown ($1,700), Jeffery Wilson ($1,417), James Grant ($1,152) and Scott Burnham ($925).

Mad Money Monday has moved to Wacky Wild Wednesday:$250 to the high hand every 15 minutes from noon-midnight on March 8 and March 22.

HON-DAH CASINO RESORT: The newest Tournament of Champions winner is Dan Bollinger.

GILA RIVER VEE QUIVA: Monday Madness is a new event every Monday at 7 p.m. The top 20 cash-game players from Tuesday-Sunday with a minimum of 20 hours will receive a free entry.

There will be $200 added per table and you can buy-in directly for $40.

The starting stack is 2K with an optional $10 staff fee for 5K more chips. There’s a $20 optional add-on at the break for 5K more chips. Re-entry is available for the first three rounds.

The room also will be splashing selected NBA games$50 per quarter for all live tables. Same-colored Aces Cracked gets you $100 and the table receives a $50 splash. Quads or better board wins prizes from $50 to $3K.

HARRAH’S AK-CHIN RESORT: NCAA March Craziness runs March 1 through the end of the NCAA tournament with its Tournament Bracket Buster. Participants earn hours March 1-13 by playing in live games. The player with the most hours is assigned the No. 1 seed in the East bracket and the rotation continues until the top 16 players are placed with the Sweet 16 teams.

At the Round of 16, eight winners will receive $50 and at the Round of eight’s winners will receive $75. At the Final Four, two winners will receive $100 and the overall winner gets $150. There will be Tournament Championship Splash Pots, too. Selected televised NCAA games will have splash pots at every live game.

If the higher-seeded team wins, another $50 splash pot will be added. If the lower-seeded team wins, a $100 splash pot will be added to the next eligible hand on all live games.

New Mexico

BUFFALO THUNDER RESORT: The last Saturday of the Month tournament starts at 1 p.m. and costs $150. The 6:30 p.m. tournament that follows 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: You have your pick of three tournaments every day. Most times are for NLHE, but there is a pineapple tournament on 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 poker room’s website or see the Where to Play section in this magazine.

SANDIA CASINO RESORT: There are weekly tournaments, including two on Sunday ($50, noon; $45, 5 p.m.) At 7 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, you can play a bounty tournament for $75.

SANTA ANA CASINO: Every day 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.

INN OF THE MOUNTAIN GODS: Big-money tournaments are every quarter. Experience some of the best live-action hold’em in the state. Also, each Friday is the $120 event at 6 p.m., and every Sunday at 2 is a $75 tourney.

Colorado

Yes, the Colorado State Poker Championship is alive and well at Midnight Rose in Cripple Creek with the first event Easter Sunday (April 16).

The series will run through the rest of April. The affordable buy-ins ($100-plus) and significant starting stacks make this a must-play series for any serious player. The main event is $500 but there are four$100 qualifiers to get you there more economically.

Last year, many players from Golden Gates won events. This year, poker room manager Jeff Peck thinks the kudos will be more home grown, but is thinking of making a travel ingtrophy. Submit your ideas to jpeck@triplecrowncasinos.com for a gag trophy, similar to the ones from college-football rivalries. If yours is selected, he will have a pair of Down Under Buffet comps for you.

The Four Flush promotion is back on selected days and winter hours for the room have been announced. For more info, call 719-286-6060.

BLACK HAWK: Ameristar poker room manager Andy Ormsby is excited about his promotions. “High hands award $200 every hour. We’re switching out the traditional primary bad beat to the Descending Progressive Bad Beat, which runs 24-7, starts at aces full of kings for one week and then descends one hand rank every day. It’s seeded at $25K and now grows twice as fast.” The high hands and frequently hit bad beats will make for a great atmosphere.

At Golden Gates, tournaments continue to be the focus, but live play is brisk and accompanied by $500 high hands on Saturdays and $600 on Sundays. Look for Heartland Poker Tour results in our next issue.

NOTE: If you feel there are players or staff from the Black Hawk or Cripple Creek area that should be featured in our magazine, be sure to contact anteupdick@gmail.com.

Texas

In Houston, the Giving Back Fund held its eighth annual Super Bowl charity event, Big Game Big Give,hosted by Academy Award-nominee Josh Brolinand emceed by David Schwimmer.

For the first time, the evening included a star studded after party with a performance by Commonand a celebrity poker tournament, presented byBBO Poker Tables, hosted by OlympianMichael Phelps, World Series of Poker champion
Jamie Gold and emceed by Rob Riggle.

The night’s tournament winners earned items such as six months of private coaching from Gold and a seat at the WSOP main event. “Big Game Big Give is our only fundraising event of the year,” Giving Back Fund CEO Marc Pollick said. “With the money raised last night, we will be able to make in impact in the lives of so many people.”

Meet Johnny Duong

When it comes to poker in New Mexico, there are only a handful of people with the passion and knowledge to help grow the game. One of those people is Johnny Duong, the newest addition to the poker room at Isleta Casino.

How long have you been in the industry? I’ve been in the casino poker and table games industry for over 13 years.
When did you move to Isleta? I originally started at Isleta in 2003 and worked there for more than 10 years before I left. I came back to Isleta in March 2015.

What kind of things are you doing to make Isleta stand out? We recently reworked our blind structures and starting stacks to offer a better tournament experiences. We try to have lower tournament buy-in fees to encourage new players to try out poker. At the same time, we recognize there’s a core group of serious poker players that enjoy a bigger game and tougher competition. So, we try to brand our Friday night tournaments as the best poker destination for seasoned players. We also feel that it’s important to brainstorm with our dealers on what kind of daily promotions we can offer to help increase cash-game interest and player loyalty. The dealers’ input is invaluable to us because they’re the frontline face of the casino and would be much more intimate with our players.

What are some of your hobbies? I enjoy playing and commissioning fantasy football leagues. I usually play up to
10 leagues. During football season, I’m always busy. It’s like having a second job, but I enjoy it. During the offseason, I do a lot more computer online gaming with friends. I’m a geek for Cosplay and collecting Star Wars stuff such as custom-built lightsabers and coffee mugs. Because of my work schedule, I don’t go out much so I end up doing a lot of reading. Subjects that interest me are culture, economics, politics and sports. — Donovan Livingston