Winter Poker Classic chops in Arizona

March 26, 2015, Chris Cronin, Dick Stein, Robert Kelly, Mary Bradley  

The Arena Poker Room at Talking Stick Resort recently concluded its fourth annual Winter Poker Classic as 411 players paid the $400 buy-in to generate a prize pool of $139,740. A deal was made between the final six players in which Quezon Raguindin, Joshua King, Steven Nichols and William Little each pocketed $15,646 and Greg Milliron was crowned champion with a payout of $20K.

The Getaway Classic Tournament runs April 17-19. Enter all three days of the series for a chance to take home part of a shared prize pool worth $123K and receive a free two-night stay for the weekend. Here’s the schedule and all three are NLHE and at 11:15 a.m.: April 17, $230; April 18, $335; April 19, $335. Prize pools are estimated based on 200 entries for each event.

BLUEWATER RESORT: A couple of affordable tournaments are worth a mention here. The Tuesday event is $35 at 7 p.m. and features one $20 rebuy and early bird chips. The Thursday event is at 7 p.m. but costs $40 with one $20 rebuy and early bird chips available. There’s also bounty and high-hand consideration.

As for promotions, Wednesday high hands at 8 p.m. pay $50 for straight flushes and quads. On Friday, all full houses receive $15. Daily Aces Cracked equals $40 while royals pay $200 and double points.

BUCKY’S CASINO: The poker room hosts 10 tournaments a week, including a special one on Sundays, and you can earn extra chips by playing in cash games. High Hands are paid around the clock, straight flushes and royals earn bonuses and there’s a bad-beat jackpot.

CASINO DEL SOL RESORT: The poker room hosts three poker leagues and each sports a prize-pool guarantee. Be sure to check the website for details. … The pro and college basketball game sports promotion pays $100-$300 for having the correct score combinations on your promotional tickets. … Sundays at 11 a.m. is a $1,500 guarantee for $45; Thursdays at 7 p.m. feature a $5K guarantee deepstack for $100 and Saturdays at 9 a.m. is the $15 Omaha/8 event, which has $200 added and $5 rebuts.

DESERT DIAMOND: Until April 29, you can enter the Sundown Showdown on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 7 p.m. The tournaments cost $35 and have $500. Also, until April 30, the Poker Cup of Coffee runs Mondays and Thursdays at 9:30 a.m. for $35 with $500 added.

FORT MCDOWELL CASINO: There are 15 weekly tournaments here with at least two daily. You can earn $400 for Aces Cracked in cash games.

WILD HORSE PASS: Stevie Oliva dealt to Jody Thyfault (aces full of jacks) and Jack Seballos (straight flush) a bad beat worth $94K. Thyfault earned $47,154 and Seballos pocketed $23,579. The rest of the table each received $3,368.

VEE QUIVA: Beginning April 1 at midnight, $100 progressive drawings will happen every even hour around the clock. Earn entries by making a full house or better in live hold’em games or quads in Omaha.

HARRAH’S AK-CHIN: Some new tournaments have been added to the regular weekly schedule: Monday at 7:30 p.m. is a WSOP sit-n-go ($50, 5K chips); Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. is a satellite to a WSOP $1,500 event ($110, 10K chips) and Sunday at 5:30 p.m. is a satellite to a WSOP $1K event ($75, 10K chips).

TWIN ARROWS: Promotions are plentiful this month, including an incredible amount of splashed pots Monday-Sunday, Aces Cracked (three per day win $50), Faces Cracked (one kings, one queens and one jacks each day Sunday-Wednesday).

Oklahoma

The RunGoodGear.com tournament series returns to Hard Rock Casino on April 22-26. At press time, however, the event schedule hadn’t been released, but the results of its annual Oklahoma State Championship of Poker were.
The opening $150K Kickoff Classic saw Zachary Kaufman overcome a field of 108 to take it down, collecting the $21,000 top prize from the $250 event.

The main event drew 217 players to create a prize pool of $128K-plus. Bragging rights and $36,888 went to James Kingcade of Alva, Okla. Other winners included William Fisher, Daxton Alexander, Dan Overholt, Alan Hardcastle, Joe Briscoe and Daniel Hughes.

CHEROKEE CASINO WEST SILOAM SPRINGS: The 10th annual Ozark Poker Championships ran March 6-13 but hadn’t completed by press time. A roundup of tournament winners will appear in the next issue.

CHOCTAW CASINO: The poker room will host a series April 2-12. The 30-table room offers a substantial number of promotions, including bad-beat and mini-bad-beat jackpots, high hands, early bird free $20 in chips with $80 buy-in and a free buffet.

DOWNSTREAM CASINO: The poker room continues to feature the best rake in the region at $3 plus $1 jackpot drop. The room also offers $100 hot-seat drawings on Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays.

GRAND CASINO: Daily tournaments include regular and super-stack no-limit hold’em and pot-limit Omaha events with $30-$115 buy-ins. Double points, Aces Cracked and other promotions are offered on different days of the week. Look for results in a future issue from the Grand Poker Championship, which ran March 6-8.

INDIGO SKY CASINO: Regularly closed on Mondays, the room’s tournament schedule includes Mature Only and mystery bounty events as well as PLO and something the room is known for, its Sunday Crazy Pineapple tournaments.
Poker room manager David Howard sends out a useful newsletter to keep players up on events. Contact him at Davidh@indigoskycasino.com to sign up. And look for Heartland Poker Tour results in our May issue.

Kansas

BOOT HILL CASINO: The bad-beat jackpot was closing in on $250K (quads beaten qualifier) at press time. Also, Todd Glantz joined the staff as table games manager. He previously worked at Grand Casino.

KANSAS STAR CASINO: Tournaments are Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays with $45-$80 buy-ins. The bad-beat jackpot (quads) was nearing $105K at press time while the secondary jackpot was near $50K.

HOLLYWOOD CASINO AT KANSAS SPEEDWAY: Players still can qualify for two May freerolls through April 20. The top four from each freeroll will win $2,500 entries to the Hollywood Poker Open at the Las Vegas M Resort and Casino in June plus $1,500. Call the poker room for details.

Colorado

GOLDEN GATES: Jose Montes, a pro from Bronx, N.Y., bested 760 players in the Heartland Poker Tour’s main event at Golden Gates Casino to pocket $240,523. This was the eighth consecutive million-dollar-plus prize pool for HPT in Black Hawk. Runner-up Joe Serock from Albuquerque, N.M., netted $148,895 while James Bryan of Colorado Springs parlayed a $380 qualifier into $97,548.

Alex Yen of Indianapolis was the chipleader as the final day started, but finished fourth ($67,456).

AMERISTAR BLACK HAWK: The popular live-action cardroom has seen its $2-$5 NLHE game grow in popularity and the $30-$60 game boasts nonstop action and gigantic pots.

MIDNIGHT ROSE: The Cripple Creek poker room is resuming the annual Colorado State Poker Championship with a series of tournaments lasting two weeks starting April 12. Almost all buy-ins are $110 and this includes 20 percent qualifiers to the $500 main event. There series includes seniors, ladies, Omaha, crazy pineapple and tag team events, plus daily deepstacks.

WILDWOOD: The new $80 deepstack tournament at 4 p.m. on Saturday afternoons is experiencing steady growth in attendance. Many of the troops from Ft. Carson are turning out for the $1K guarantee event.

New Mexico

SANDIA RESORT AND CASINO: The Deepstack Series begins at noon on April 26, with a $165 buy-in and $1K added. Congratulations to William Davis, who captured the Presidents Day deepstack event for $7,165. The $200 event drew 152 entries and paid 18 places. Elevata Jimerson was second ($4,246) and Jacob Brenden was third ($2,919) as the top three finishers were all from Albuquerque.

BUFFALO THUNDER: Cash games for this month feature $20-$40 every Wednesday morning, $4-$8 Omaha every Thursday,

$1-$2 PLO/8 on Fridays and $3-$6 Omaha every Saturday. But on April 6, the poker room presents a special Easter tournament with a $30 buy-in and unlimited $20 rebuys for the first hour (one $25 add-on).

Bounty tournaments are April 1 and 15 ($100, $10 bounties). An $100 Omaha/8 tournament is April 12, with $100 added per table. The $150 Last Saturday of the Month deepstack is April 25, and don’t forget you can earn 1K bonus chips for two hours’ live play before the tournaments.

INN OF THE MOUNTAIN GODS: The popular Road to the Main Event is April 18 and 19, but signups before April 3 earn special room rates, free play and buffet tickets. February’s Road to the Main Event was especially successful, with 174 players, 18 places paid and $52,200 in prizes. Top February winners were Martin Perez taking first for $16K, Ignacio Lugo (second, $8K) and Aldo Longoria (third, $5,500).

SANTA ANA STAR CASINO: The poker room invites all players to join in the $330 Easter bounty tournament on April 4. There’s an early signup bonus before April 3.

Meet Raena “RJ” Janes

Raena “RJ” Janes is a Tucson-born-and-raised single mother of 12-year-old twins. She manages seven K-8 charter schools in Arizona and has advanced her game from $3-$6 limit at Desert Diamond Casino to playing the biggest mixed games in the state.

What’s the Tucson poker scene like? I enjoy the people that play at both casinos in Tucson, but these days I travel to play in bigger games and I try to play bigger tournaments every quarter. I feel like my tournament play has gotten stronger by learning to play mixed games.

What advice can you lend to other aspiring poker players? I think poker players should always be learning and developing their game. I love learning new games and watching how people play their hands.

What’s it like being a woman in a male-dominated sport? (It’s) a huge advantage at the poker table. I get called down to the river about 80 percent of the time. Bluffing is something I rarely do because there’s no money in it for me. Men either love to overplay their hands with me or underplay them. I just have to figure out which players have those tendencies. The hardest player to play against is one who actually views me as a competitor. — Chris Cronin