With Lambert, poker at Choctaw has bright future

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Choctaw Casino Resort in Durant, Okla., is holding its second World Series of Poker Circuit event Jan. 5-23. Last year’s turnout was strong and with the circuit back in town, many Oklahoma players will be migrating south for the winter.

Attendees can expect to see many states represented in this large circuit event. Last year saw 935 entrants in the opening event and 808 in the main event.

“Choctaw is one of the largest WSOPC events on the calendar,” poker room manager Ken Lambert said. “There is no reason to doubt this year will be even bigger and better.”

On the circuit schedule this year, players will see all of their favorites, including no-limit hold’em, Omaha/8 and H.O.R.S.E., with buy-ins as cheap as $70 for satellites. Seats into the main event are $1,600. Under tournament direction of Jimmy Sommerfeld, this circuit stop has been highly anticipated and regarded among Oklahomans and players nationwide, especially those from Texas.

“We expect to see an increase in play because we are so close to the DFW, Dallas area and poker is in their blood.”
Lambert’s plans for Choctaw poker heading into 2012 are strong and ambitious.

“We are not going to just stop after the WSOPC. Our goals are to increase daily business and tournament play,” he said. “We are going to be a major player throughout the year with new and exciting events and we are going to continue to grow our relationship with high-profile and celebrity players and we are going to create new celebrity players.”

Cash action is heating up on the 30 Choctaw tables and the room is seeing an influx in regulars, which gives players even more reason to make the January trip. Set aside the WSOPC, great promotions, reliable staff, a beautifully accommodating poker room complete with lounge, bar and restrooms, as well as tableside food service, why else do players want to play at Choctaw?

“Because you never have to leave the room,” Lambert said. “Except when you need to catch up on sleep and we have a fantastic hotel just feet away.”

Players will rest well in one of Choctaw’s 330 luxurious hotel rooms. Rated the only AAA Four Diamond hotel in the region, the rooms will provide clean comfort. I recommend you book your room quickly because this lavish hotel fills quickly.

Call 580-931-8340 or visit choctawcasinos.com.

• River Spirit Casino in Tulsa has a bad-beat jackpot that is drawing lots of regional players through the door and into the poker seats. At $210K in the second week in November, the jackpot has a qualifier of quads beat where each player must have a pocket pair and both cards must play to win.

Cash tables and tournament tables have been seeing a healthy increase in players anticipating the large payout. Forty percent of the jackpot is paid to the loser of the hand, 20 percent goes to the winner and the remaining 40 percent is a room share, which recently has changed from a table share.

River Spirit has 16 tables of all-night action with games such as $1-$2 NLHE, $2-$4 and $3-$6 limit, a Tuesday $2-$5 PLO and a $5-$10 NLHE every other week.

“Our room is growing every day with new players excited about the jackpot,” cardroom manager Justin Buckley said. Along with a multitude of promotions and a jackpot for tournament bad beats, it’s no wonder River Spirit has so much action. For more information, call (918) 995-8518 or visit riverspirittulsa.com.

— Crystalynn Harris is the Ante Up Ambassador for the Oklahoma-Kansas area. You can email her at crystalynn@anteupmagazine.com.

Jennings takes down HPT event at Downstream

Before Oct. 23-24, Scott Hastings of Columbia, Mo., was relatively new to live poker. With just two events (a win and a fourth) under his belt before the Heartland Poker Tour’s stop at Downstream Casino Resort, it had been several years since he had played a hand of poker.
His return to the felt was remarkable, to say the least, winning the Downstream event and $100,011.

Colorado champ Craig Casino moved into first place in the race for HPT Player of the Year with a 12th-place finish at Downstream.

Runner-up Jeffrey Foust of Lee’s Summit, Mo., has cashed in four of five HPT attempts, following the tour the past few months. The latest stop at Downstream was his biggest score, earning him $40,416.

Edward “Bud” Hosford of Burlington, Kan., turned a $115 satellite seat into a $24,322 payday and a third-place finish.

$1,100 Main Event
Entries: 296 • Prize Pool: $277,963
1. Scott Hastings, Columbia, MO, $100,011
2. Jeff Foust, Lee’s Summit, MO, $40,416
3. Edward Hosford, Burlington, KS, $24,322
4. Ethan Riddle, Dexter, MO, $18,068
5. Mark Eddleman, Fayetteville, AR, $15,288
6. Tony Lay, Oklahoma City, OK, $13,203