Things are heating up in the Arizona poker scene

May 25, 2015, Chris Cronin, Mary Bradley, Dick Stein, Robert Kelly  

Temperature isn’t the only thing heating up in Arizona. Here’s a look at some of the hot promotions and tournaments in the Grand Canyon State.

FORT MCDOWELL: The poker room continues to offer at least two tourneys per day along with its bad-beat jackpot. Aces Cracked earns $100-$400 based on the number of live hours played and wheel spins for cash are available for all qualifying high hands. When a player gets a high hand, all live games are splashed for the same amount the player wins on the wheel spin.

BLUE WATER RESORT: The bad-beat jackpot was more than $40K at press time.

BUCKY’S CASINO: You can find a full slate of tournaments, around-the-clock high hands, special Sunday tournaments, a bad-beat jackpot, straight-flush and royal-flush bonuses at this poker room, but what is most exciting is we are less than two months from the Northern Arizona Texas Hold’em Championship at this beautiful property.

TWIN ARROWS CASINO RESORT: Live games are splashed with cash early afternoons and evenings every day. Also, look for tournaments, Aces and Faces Cracked and royal flush payouts.

CLIFF CASTLE CASINO: The poker room still hosts a daily $30 shootout at 10 a.m. along with evening tournaments on Wednesday ($60), Thursday ($20 shootout), Friday ($25 shootout with $100 added per table) and Saturday at noon ($50 shootout). Wednesdays from 8 p.m.-midnight equal splash pots for $100 per hour.

HON-DAH RESORT: A variety of tournaments run each week, including a speed shootout, double stack, bounty, rebuy and crazy pineapple. The room also offers Aces Cracked, high hands and splash pots.

DESERT DIAMOND CASINO: Players collected tickets throughout May for a shot at cash nearly every day in June. And don’t forget to check out the full tournament schedule in our Where to Play section.

CASINO DEL SOL: Players receive $1 in comps for each hour of live play. NBA sports pools, leagues, tournaments and guest-appreciation freerolls always draw a nice crowd to the poker room.

TALKING STICK RESORT: Players can find nearly any game and limit they desire in the Arena Poker Room. Along with daily promos, plenty of tournaments and sports pool giveaways, the largest event of the year takes place in this exciting environment. The 11th annual Arizona State Poker Championship will be Aug. 14-18, with satellites running until the main event.

Colorado

BLACK HAWK: The Lodge Casino’s hourly high-hand promotion was so successful it sparked competitive action. Golden Gates and Ameristar now offer high hands. Also, the popular Colorado Poker Championship at Golden Gates was in full swing at press time so results will be recapped in the next issue.

CRIPPLE CREEK: The Midnight Rose wrapped up the well-attended Colorado State Poker Championship. Colorado Springs resident Doug Tomerlin won the main event and trophy, having a substantial lead in a four-way chop at the finish. Ante Up’s Dick Stein was the tournament points leader wire-to-wire. … The Wildwood poker room is home to off-track betting. Several promotions are planned combining poker, horses and dogs. Also new are the complimentary endless chili and soup pots.

Oklahoma

HARD ROCK: The RunGoodGear.com series at Hard Rock Casino in Tulsa ran April 22-26 as Aaron Clark took down the $675 main event by besting Clyde Lorance to capture the silver medallion and $45,338. Hard Rock added $10K to the prize pool, making it $224,170. The prize pool smashed the $100K guarantee. Other medallion winners were RunGoodGear.com pro Huy Nguyen (survivor); Brett Wells (warmup); Matt Newcombe (pot-limit Omaha); Joe Sadoris (bounty) and Mike Reick (turbo).

CHEROKEE CASINO WEST SILOAM SPRINGS: The Seniors Poker Tour was April 6-12 as Kathy Trabert captured two tournaments. She collected $1,575 for winning the opening green-chip bounty tournament and then captured the main event for $4,250. Other winners included Dale Tabor, Jan Fisher, Donna Stewart, Jimmy Herring, Virginia Brent, Della Jones and Shirley Long.

CHOCTAW CASINO: Chan Pelton of College Station, Texas, won the main event of the CPPT stop April 2-12. He pocketed $130,445. The World Poker Tour will make its first appearance in Oklahoma with a July 31-Aug. 4 run. The $3,700 main event boasts a $2M guarantee and will have two Day 1s.

DOWNSTREAM CASINO: The poker room will be hosting the Four States Poker Championships July 8-12. For June they are offering starter game promotions on Sun. Mon. Wed. and Fri. The first 9 players get an extra $20. Also, the 2nd and 4th Saturdays of the June will be $5,000 giveaway promotions.

Texas

KICKAPOO LUCKY EAGLE CASINO: The poker room is still running $120 tournaments on Sundays, limited to 50 players. The Super Tuesday rebuy tournament continues to be a favorite, limited to 70 players, with a $25 buy-in and unlimited $10 rebuys in the first three rounds. On Thursdays (starting June 11) will be $50 tournaments limited to 50 players.

June 27 is a noon $575 deepstack limited to 60 players. This same tournament on March 28 was a huge success. In-person preregistration for this tournament starts June 1.

Cash play continues to thrive and Omaha players especially should take note of the Saturday $5-$10 NLHE/$5-$10 PLO/8 game. An occasional $10-$20 ($1K min to $2,500 or 75 percent of the big stack) get running.

New Mexico

BUFFALO THUNDER: Players might want to mark their cash-game calendars for June at Buffalo Thunder Resort and Casino with Wednesday morning $20-$40 limit hold’em, Thursday afternoon $4-$8 Omaha, Friday afternoon $1-$2 pot-limit Omaha and Saturday afternoon $3-$6 Omaha.

Father’s Day (June 21) will be rebuy tournament with a $30 buy-in and unlimited $20 rebuys for the first hour with one $25 add-on at the end of the first hour. Also, on Sunday and Monday evenings, players compete in $25 tournaments with unlimited rebuys for the first hour and $50 added per table. Tuesday evenings are set with a $40 buy-in (one rebuy) and evenings are hopping on Fridays and Saturdays with $75 events with no rebuts.

Be sure to catch bounty tournaments June 3 and 17, with a $100 buy-in and $10 bounties. There’s a $100 Omaha/8 tournament June 14 (one re-entry allowed) with $100 added to each table. The $150 Last Saturday of the Month deepstack is June 27 and a radio station bounty event is June 27 (call for details).

The first seven players seated by 10 a.m. daily receive $25 in chips on a $50 buy-in and for the Thursday and Sunday Omaha games, the first seven players seated by 3 p.m. receive $20 in chips on a $100 buy-in.

INN OF THE MOUNTAIN GODS RESORT AND CASINO: Here are the results from the April Road to the Main Event tournament: Robert Mays and Maher Al-Tahan chopped for $12K each. They were followed by Russell Luther, $5K; Marucio Solano, $3,600; Bianca Clark, $2,600; Lawrence Ayoub, $2,100; Russell Fisk, $1,700; Jerry Hoover, $1,500; Mark Innis, $1,300 and Melvin Roberts, $1,100.

SANTA ANA STAR CASINO: The poker room in Bernalillo, near Albuquerque, closed.

Kansas

HOLLYWOOD CASINO: The $235 Last Sunday of the Month tournament got off to a good start in April, attracting 60 players for a $12,500 prize pool. First place paid $4,680. Players start with 20K chips, blinds begin at 25-50 and rounds are 30 minutes. Look for this to continue.

CHIN WINS: Wichita’s Michelle Chin made history in April by becoming the first woman to capture a World Series of Poker Circuit Main Event. She earned the title and more than $88K at the Horseshoe Casino in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

Chin made a splash on the tournament circuit this year by scoring her first cash with a victory in the WSOPC ladies event at Choctaw Casino in Oklahoma.

Chin said she mostly plays cash games and only decided to play the WSOPC main event to try something new.

She came into the final table as the commanding chipleader and consistently applied pressure to opponents.

She retained her lead as the final four players returned for Day 3 and eliminated each of her three remaining competitors in 45 minutes. Read Midwest news for more on this event and Chin’s performance.

Meet David “ODB” Baker

David Baker is a long-time pro. He and his wife of two years, Nicole, and their two daughters live in Southern Arizona, though he travels extensively for poker. He has $3-million-plus in tournament earnings, 41 World Series of Poker cashes, 11 WSOP final tables and one bracelet (2012).

What are your plans and goals for this year’s World Series? I plan on playing 25-30 events that will cost me about $100K, not including the $50K Players Championship, which I am likely to play. I have set goals for myself of three final tables, cashing for at least $500K and, of course, winning bracelet No 2.

Do you prefer cash games or tournaments more? I’m primarily a cash-game player, but when the WSOP rolls around I’m only a tournament player. I really enjoy both the cash and tourney grind, but after I’ve done one for a few months I’m usually ready for the other.

Where are some of your favorite places to play? Other than the WSOP, my favorite tournaments are in places where they love poker. Cities like Black Hawk, Colo., both WinStar and Choctaw in Oklahoma and Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh are at the top of my list. I still love the game and I enjoy playing with locals who play for the love of the game.
— Chris Cronin