Arizona State Championship is Aug. 11-15

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

The much-anticipated 13th annual Arizona State Championship runs Aug. 11-15 at Talking Stick Resort’s Arena Poker Room. There will be three Day 1s (Aug. 11-13) at 9 a.m., with Day 2 Aug. 14 and the final table Aug. 15. Players can enter $140 super satellites Aug. 6, 9 and 10 at 11:15 a.m. and evening satellites at 7:15 on Aug. 7-8.

TSR also hosts its first Seniors Poker Open on Sept. 16-18. There will be two starting days and then Day 2 on Sept. 18.

You must be 50 or older by Sept. 16 to enter. This $500 event starts players with 12K chips. A $20 add-on bonus gets players 5K more.

Super satellites are Aug. 20 and Sept. 3 at 11:15 a.m. for $130. One entry will be given away for every five players. Also, $65 single-table shootouts run whenever 10 players enter.

There were quite a few recent tournament results, too. The $345 Big Stack on June 3 drew 170 players for a $50,150 prize pool.

Edward Kamins, Larry Yin, Justin Leonard and Jobie Gross chopped for $4,500 each. Robert DeFabrizio, Jason Fisher, Timothy Callahan, Murphy Russo, Eric Thielen, Tom Hanna, Terence Sheridan, Kevin Robins, Michael Castas, Gordon Woodruff, Jarret McMillan, Ronald Warnicke and Edward Coyne each pocketed $2,317.

The June 24 Last Saturday of the Month title went to Michael Parker, who received $7,500 for his stellar play.
Johnathan Renstrom, Vankata Tayi and Nathan Pfluger got $4,900 each while Mikal Smith, Marilyn Cristiano, Justin Brooks, Daryl Lark, Bob Queen and Kenneth Perkins each got $2,327.

HON-DAH CASINO RESORT: Gail Parent won the coveted Tournament of Champions. Also, Julie McLeod and Dwight Garrels won satellites to earn seats into the state championship. Winners of the Summer Tag Team event were John DeLong and Olga Danelowitz.

GILA RIVER VEE QUIVA AND WILD HORSE PASS: The sister casinos have several weekly tournaments and promotions.

With Aces Cracked, high hands, baseball splash pots and bad-beat jackpots, there’s always a lot of money up for grabs. Players receive 50 percent off the menu while playing and receive $1 an hour in comps.

The Super Bonus High Hand promotion at Wild Horse will be Aug. 5 and Aug. 20. There’s also a $70 bounty tournament every Friday at noon.

Texas

KICKAPOO LUCKY EAGLE CASINO HOTEL: The poker room has a few tournaments. The Sunday Showdown starts at 1 p.m. (registrations begins at 10 a.m.) and costs $130 with an optional $10 add-on.

There’s also a Super Tuesday rebuy event that starts at 7 p.m. (registration is at 5 p.m.) You can rebuy into this $35 event for the first hour. And don’t forget the $50 Thursday event that starts at 7 p.m. (registration begins at 5).

Oklahoma

The WinStar World Casino’s River Series runs in Thackerville, Okla., Aug. 30-Sept. 11 and registration for all events begins Aug. 1. As a result of this always successful series, the daily tournaments will be suspended Aug. 21-Sept. 15.

There will be eight events in this series, including a $400 event that sports a $300K guarantee and begins on Sept. 7. There will be three starting flights Sept. 7-9 with the final day being Sept. 10. Play begins at noon in the WinStar World Casino & Resort Global Event Center.

The crown jewel of this series will be the $2,500 main event, which has a $2M guarantee and three opening round days (Sept. 1-3). Day 2 is Sept. 4 and the final table is Sept. 5.

Other events include the $500 pot-limit Omaha event on Sept. 5 and the $500 six-max on Sept. 6.

CHEROKEE CASINO WEST SILOAM SPRINGS: The Blast to the Past series usually runs in late August but a schedule hasn’t been released yet. Call the poker room for details.

CHOCTAW CASINO DURANT: The 38-event World Poker Tour’s Festival of Poker series concludes Aug. 8. The $3,700 televised main event begins Aug. 4. Call 888-652-4628 and use code WPT17 to get $99 room rates.
The series began July 20. Some promotions include an Omaha bad beat, mini-bad-beat jackpots, early-bird special where the first 30 players who buy in for $80 minimum Monday through Friday 6-9 a.m. receive $20 in chips and Aces Cracked, among others.

HARD ROCK TULSA: The bad-beat jackpot was more than $110K at press time.

Featured games are $6-$12 Omaha/8 with a kill, 5 p.m. Mondays; $1-$3 NLHE with a $5 rock ($200-$500 min-max), 6 p.m. Tuesdays; $5-$5 PLO, 4 p.m. Wednesdays; $10-$20 Big O, 5 p.m. Wednesdays; $10-$20 O/8 with a kill, 5 p.m. Fridays; $20-$40 O/8 with half-kill, 5 p.m. first Friday of the month; and $2-$5 NLHE, Friday and Saturday. The monthly $10K is Aug. 6. It has a $160 buy-in with a $20 optional add-on. It’s commonly held the first Sunday of the month.

RIVERWIND CASINO: The 17-table room’s promotions include $50 high hands, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Mondays; $2-$5 splash, 1-5 p.m. Tuesdays; $50 hot seat, 1-5 p.m. Wednesdays and $2-$5 hot seat, 1-5 p.m.

RIVER SPIRIT CASINO: The poker room has a player-loyalty program, splash pots, overnight high hands, and a freeroll. Daily tournaments cost $50-$75 and include seniors, bounty, and superstack.

CHEROKEE CASINO ROLAND: The poker room closed July 29.

Missouri/Kansas

DOWNSTREAM CASINO: WPT DeepStacks returns Sept. 15-25. It features primarily NLHE with a pot-limit Omaha as well as satellites into the $1,100 main event, which has a $200K guarantee. Rooms can be booked at a 40 percent discount. Call 918-919-6000 and use code WPTDS17. In response to player requests, some changes have been made to cash games. The $1-$2 NLHE games will have a $50-$200 min-max buy-in. Button or under-the-gun $5 straddles will be allowed. The $1-$3 game will have a $100-$300 min-max with a 75 percent of the big stack rule. The button or under-the-gun straddle is $6.

AMERISTAR CASINO KANSAS CITY: The Heartland Poker Tour returns Oct. 5-16, though the schedule wasn’t available at press time. Call 816-414-7000 with code HPTAKC to get $90 room rates Sunday-Thursday and $159 Friday and Saturday. Featured games here are $4-$8 HO, 10 a.m. Thursdays; $3-$6, 8 a.m. daily; $5-$10 O/8 with a kill, 6 p.m. Fridays; and $4-$8 O/8 with a half kill, 6 p.m. Saturdays.

HOLLYWOOD CASINO KANSAS SPEEDWAY: The $35K quarterly freeroll qualification continues through Sept. 30. The event guarantees $10K for first place. Players qualify through tournaments or through hours of cash play.

The bad-beat jackpot has some changes as $1-$3 and $2-$5 NLHE and all limit games from $3-$6 to $20-$40 are eligible. Also, short-handed reduced-rake games are eligible.

Featured games are $2-$2 PLO, 6 p.m. Tuesdays; $5-$5 PLO, around 5 p.m. four nights per week; $20-$40 limit, noon Fridays; $25-$50 limit mixed, 1 p.m. Tuesdays; $50-$100 mixed, 2 p.m. Thursdays; $3-$6 limit, 8 a.m. Wednesdays and 2 p.m. Sundays; $2-$5 NLHE, 11 a.m. Wednesdays; and $4-$8 Omaha/8, 10 a.m. Tuesdays and Fridays.

HARRAH’S NORTH KANSAS CITY: The top 25 cash players and top 25 tournament players will compete monthly in a $10K freeroll. Expect it to be the second Sunday of each month. Call the poker room for details.

Colorado

This always is a great time for out-of-town players to vacation in the Centennial State, so why not have a refresher on the places where you can play poker?

BLACK HAWK: This town is 50 miles west of Denver. The Ameristar has 22 tables and is open 24-7.Poker room manager David Clark describes business as brisk and credits in part the Decreasing Bad Beat Jackpot and the around-the-clock high hand.

Golden Gates,where the Heartland Poker Tour was visiting at press time, features 23 tables and also is open 24-7. TheHPT is the jewel of Colorado with prize pools often exceeding $1M. ManagerNathan “Cage” Yanchunis credits tournaments and theHPT, Mid-States Poker Tour, Colorado Poker Championship, along with weekend high hands for the room’s success.

The Lucky Ladyhas five tables and play starts at 9:30 a.m.Supervisor Tommy Lam said the Decreasing Qualifier Bad Beat promotion and smaller stakes niche poker are what bring business into the room.

The Isle is the sister property to Lady Luck and offers nine tables 24-7. Poker room manager Dan Borash feels the Modified Monte Carlo Board and the unique “stair step” bad-beat awards are the signature promotions in his room.

CRIPPLE CREEK: This town is 50 miles west of Colorado Springs. The Midnight Rose has eight tables and is the only game in town. It’s 24 hours on weekends and a 10 a.m. start time Monday-Thursday.
Poker room managerJeff Peck, affectionately called the godfather of poker promotions, always has several in play but the most popular now is his meganormous deepstack tournament.

New Mexico

Sandia Casino Resort in Albuquerque poker room has the most action, the biggest games and the most jackpot payouts in the state.Sundays have $50 tourneys at noon and a $45 event at5.On Mondays,there’s a $50 sprint tournament and at7 p.m.every Tuesday and Thursday you can play in a $75 bounty event.

If you’re looking for something a bit more fun, there’s the $60 Wacky Wednesdays series, where each week’s tournament features games such as stud, Big O/8, Ladies Night, pineapple, HORSE and Omaha/8. Check the casino’s website or our Where to Play for more info.Just north of Albuquerque and less than an hour from Santa Fe, Sandia is in the perfect location.

BUFFALO THUNDER RESORT: The poker room has teamed with a few local radio stations for some exciting tournaments with celebrity bounties. Past events like these cost around $100 and took place the third week of the month, so call for the poker room for more details. There’s also the $150 Last Saturday of the Month event, which starts at1 p.m.And if you find yourself sitting on the rail early, you can join the consolation tournament that starts at 6:30 p.m.

ROUTE 66 CASINO: Most tournaments here are NLHE, but you can find occasional pineapple tournaments on Wednesdays. You can join thePlayer of the Year promotion and earn big bucks for finishing in the top five for the year. Check the website or our Where to Play section.

INN OF THE MOUNTAIN GODS: The Test Your Might $20K tournament hadn’t completed at press time, so look for results in a future issue. In the meantime, experience some of the best live hold’em in the state. Each Friday is a $120 event at6 p.m. and every Sunday at 2 p.m.is a $75 event. Earn bonus chips when playing in cash games before each tourney.

SANTA ANA CASINO: Every day at noon,a solid $2-$6 limit game spreads in the table-games area. There are some big things in the works here so stay tuned. This used to be the premier poker destination, so it would be great to see an expansion of poker offerings.

ISLETA CASINO RESORT: This is the state’s only poker room open 24 hours. There’s a wide range of tournaments to fit every budget and every skill level. Mondays feature crazy pineapple for $15 at2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Wednesday is Omaha/8 at7 p.m.for $25. New is the Beginners NLHE on Thursdays, again $15 at
7 p.m. Friday and Saturday offer money-added tournaments for $100 at7 p.m.
Download the event calendar at the Isleta website.

Meet Nathan Gamble

Texas resident Nathan Gamble, who won Event 46 at the WSOP this summer ($1,500 pot-limit Omaha/8) started playing poker at a young age.

“I started playing when I was 13,” he said, “so poker has always been a big part of me. I think it’s just about maintaining a balanced life. I got engaged recently … and it’s just having the ability to realize that poker isn’t everything. It’s the people around you. It’s about everywhere you end up in life that you are able to make a difference at. So, hopefully I can make a difference after this.”

The 27-year-old is an Army vet, serving 2013-16, and he said he has some pretty nice plans for his bracelet, giving it to his father to thank him for all of his support over the years.

“My dad put together tournaments, home games, and has always supported me in this,” Gamble said. “And honestly, he doesn’t have a chance of getting one. So, this one goes to him. It means the world to me.”

He said his success last year made winning this event that much easier.

“Last year, I had the main-event cash and made it to Day 5, where they put me on the secondary feature table,” he said. “That got my nerves. I had Greg Raymer on my left and a couple other guys. So, just having that exposure and having that time in a game that I’m extremely comfortable with helped a lot.”

Gamble earned $223K from his bracelet win.

— Compiled from news reports