Paulson knocks ’em out at Arizona State Poker Championship



Stephen “Packy” Paulson captured the seventh annual Arizona State Poker Championship at Talking Stick Resort at Casino Arizona on Aug. 16, collecting a whopping $202,703 for first place.

“We are continually amazed by the growth of this championship,” Talking Stick director of poker Kent Odekirk said. “This year was our seventh year and it has been the biggest one yet. We had more than 1,000 players and were able to surpass the $1 million mark. With this kind of success, we only see it getting bigger and bigger.”

The event generated a prize pool of $1,053,000.

Winning is nothing new to Paulson, who lives in Apache Junction, Ariz. He’s a former pro fighter (1972-90) with four Arizona Golden Gloves Championships under his belt. He also spent 27 years working for Salt River Project, one of Arizona’s largest utility companies. He said he plays poker once or twice a week exclusively at Talking Stick and believes poker is 80 percent skill and 20 percent luck.

— Joe LeGer is Ante Up’s Arizona Ambassador. Email him at

Arizona State Championship

Aug. 16
1. Packy Paulson, $202,703
2. Jason Cronan, $136,890
3. Hesam Alasha, $105,300
4. Eric Gault, $83,187
5. Janet Nguyen, $63,180
6. Adel Papa, $50,018
7. Loc Truong, $39,488
8. Matt Kirby, $31,590
9. Jake Merrill, $24,219
10. Todd Lundwall, $18,428

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