WinStar World Casino in Thackerville, Okla., concluded its annual $3 million guarantee River Poker Series on Sept. 5, as Bronson Tucker of Round Rock, Texas, captured the title and the $640,400 first-place prize. Renowned professional players Greg Raymer and Maria Ho hosted the $2,100 main event, which drew 1,355 players for $2.71 million prize pool.
Tucker is no stranger to tournaments. “This is my biggest cash,” he told Ho in a post-tournament interview. “I got lucky in an online tournament that allowed me to play in live games like the Scotty Nguyen tournaments.”
Tucker’s day job kept him playing recreationally, but he managed to pull out small tournament cashes, including a $500 win in the Winter Bayou Poker Challenge in New Orleans. From an online win to WinStar main event champion, Tucker found himself clutching his “trophy bracelet” and more money than he was sure what to do with. When Ho asked about his plans for his winnings he shrugged his shoulders and shook his head in awe.
“I have two daughters,” he said. “This will allow me to do a lot for them.”
Noah Nodine of Norman, Okla., finished fifth, adding $108,400 to his total career of more than $200,000. Other players such as Dwyte Pilgrim (16th) and David Baker (17th) also cashed in the main event. Ho placed 112th (Turn to Page 70 for our interview with her).
WinStar poker room manager Jay Wiles attributes the success of the series to the players and hard-working staff.
“We are continually improving. This year we allowed re-entries into the main event and that drew tremendous player support. We don’t see any reason not to continue providing that option.”
There was more than hot tournament action at WinStar. Cash games were busting at the seams in the full 46-table room where games from $1-$2 no-limit hold’em and $4-$8 limit to $10-$20 pot-limit Omaha were spread. By Labor Day evening there were still 18 tables running.
• Another upcoming event on the Oklahoma tournament map, Downstream Casino is heading into an action-packed month with its HPT series Oct. 13-24. The main event guarantees $100,000 for first place and a Brad Garrett charity comedy show will take place during the series with all money going to the Joplin Relief Fund, but nothing has been confirmed.
For as little as $45 players can satellite into the $1,100 main event and work their way to the televised final table. Other satellite buy-ins range from $80-$350, including tournament entry fees.
Downstream Casino poker room manager Elliott Schecter contends that October is a great time for poker players to come out and play.
“Our cash games are very exciting during the HPT series. We attract players from all over the four-state area and HPT is our solution to provide players a cost-effective way to score a big tournament win.”
Players can register online by visiting downstreamcasino.com. Downstream Casino is four miles west of Joplin, Mo., so mark the dates in your planner and we will see you at the final table.
—Crystalynn Harris is the Ante Up Ambassador for the Oklahoma-Kansas area. You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
River Poker Series
$2,100 Main Event • Entrants: 1,355
1. Bronson Tucker, $640,400
2. Ricky Barker, $342,300
3. Doug Ashmore, $182,290
4. Daniel Hornbaker, $135,500
5. Noah Nodine, $108,400
6. Jesse Rockowitz, $94,850
7. Ryan Snickles, $81,300
8. Bobby Suer, $67,750
9. Joon Cho, $60,975
10. Justin Cereste, $54,200
11. Michael Sanders, $43,360
12. James Anderson, $41,327
13. Benjamin Mintz, $35,230
14. Mike Schneider, $35,230
15. Ken Blanton, $27,100
16. Dwyte Pilgrim, $27,100
17. David Baker, $21,680
18. Shane Sigsbee, $21,680
19. Matthew Bray, $17,615
20. Gregg Merkow, $17,615