Choctaw Casino concluded its second World Series of Poker Circuit event Jan. 23 and 978 players turned out for the main event to create a prize pool worth $1.4 million. Abraham Araya of Carrollton, Texas, won the $270,380 first-place prize along with a WSOPC ring and an automatic bid into the national championship. Araya is known in the area for his win at Choctaw’s T.J. Cloutier Poker Challenge in October 2011 where he scored $83,659 in his main-event win bringing his total poker earnings to more than $350K.
Many pros, including Layne Flack, Chad Brown, Dennis Philips, Ylon Schwartz, Gavin Smith, Todd Brunson, Tom McEvoy, Men Nguyen, Scotty Nguyen and Cloutier were present and attendance increased 21 percent over last year’s main-event field.
Ken Lambert, Choctaw’s director of poker, said players loved seeing all the pros and that more pros turned out for this event than ever before at Choctaw.
Tables in the cash room were full like the tournament area and incredible action was found at every level. A $5-$10 game of congress captivated players with its five-card variation of Omaha and the cash and chips were heavy. I didn’t play in that game but did watch some action from my $1-$2 no-limit table where Schwartz was killing time waiting for a bigger game.
Daily promotions, tournaments and other information can be found at choctawcasinoresort.com.
KANSAS: Pending state approval, Kansas Star Casino will open a five-table poker room featuring hold’em as Ante Up goes to press.
“Based on overwhelming interest in poker, we looked at our current floor plan and found a way to give our customers what they want,” director of casino operations Mike Dickson said. “Originally, we planned to open our poker room in about a year, when the next phase of our development is complete. There’s a sense of urgency to give customers what they want and, of course, we are happy to do it.”
The casino is just off I-35, a short drive from Wichita, the birthplace of bar poker nearly a decade ago. Poker is alive and booming in the Prairie State and poker table additions to the newest and closet casino around is likely to draw a crowd.
The poker room will be complete with a bad-beat jackpot plus promotions, tournaments and events. It will be a non-smoking room with restrooms, main bar, self-service soda machine and food offerings from the Arena Grill just a short distance away to accommodate players.
Kansas Star Casino is a state-owned, full-service casino that opened in Mulvane on Dec. 26. The next phase of development will open in January 2013 with additional gaming, new poker room, a hotel and more dining options. The final phase includes an equestrian center with conditioned stalls perfect for competitive events, shows and concerts. Visit kansasstarcasino.com for more information.
— Crystalynn Harris is the Ante Up Ambassador for the Oklahoma-Kansas area. You can email her at email@example.com.
WSOP Circuit, Choctaw Casino, Durant, Okla., Jan. 12-23
Event 1 • $345 NLHE
Entries: 1,219 • Pool: $353,379
Winner: Justin Gardenhire, $$62,709
Event 2 • $345 NLHE
Entries: 944 • Pool: $273,354
Winner: Reggi Trotter, $51,928
Event 3 • $555 NLHE
Entries: 330 • Pool: $158,700
Winner: Raja Kattamuri, $37,293
Event 4 • $345 NLHE
Entries: 515 • Pool: $148,515
Winner: Jason Simon, $31,934
Event 5 • $345 NLHE
Entries: 419 • Pool: $121,929
Winner: Dung Tran, $26,530
Event 6 • $345 6-Max
Entries: 372 • Pool: $106,902
Winner: Harold Lockwood, $23,526
Event 7 • $345 NLHE
Entries: 455 • Pool: $132,405
Winner: Chan Pelton, $28,175
Event 8 • $555 Heads-up
Entries: 173 • Pool: $83,905
Winner: Raja Kattamuri, $23,475
Event 9 $345 PLO
Entries: 332 • Pool: $96,612
Winner: Chris Smith, $22,222
Event 10 • $345 NLHE
Entries: 407 • Pool: $118,728
Winner: Huy Nguyen, $26,121
$1,600 Main Event
Entries: 978 • Pool: $1,422,990
Winner: Abraham Araya, $270,380
Event 12 • $345 NLHE
Entries: 316 • Pool: $91,956
Winner: Jason Pearce, $21,609