Poker tournaments heat up in New Mexico

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New Mexicans love their poker tournaments. After three days of exciting play, the Inn of the Mountain Gods’ second annual Poker Championship went to seasoned Texas player Joe Davis, who took home $30K, a $5K bracelet and a souvenir jacket. The next 17 players earned between $15K and $900, all from a $550 buy-in on Sept. 30. There were 165 entries, and the last day held “the best live action I’ve ever seen in that poker room. It lasted 10 straight hours. It was great,” said player Chad Fredrickson on Twitter.

SANTA ANA STAR: The last episode of Santa Ana Star Poker Room Sky’s the Limit Tournament was running when this issue went to press, but it’s bound to be a huge success. The tourney before, on Aug. 5, featured 73 players, and the prize pool was $23,892. First place paid more than $7K, but the last five players chopped, each netting $3,531 (not bad for the $330 buy-in). More than 100 players were expected for the final session on Oct. 7. Friday night and daily tournaments are ongoing at Santa Ana Star.

BUFFALO THUNDER: Note to Santa Fe-area players: Buffalo Thunder Casino opened its eight-table poker room, and you can find it just a short walk next door from the new Thunder Book Racing Room. Larry Mundy, who used to run the poker room at Harrington Raceway in Delaware, has taken the reins here. Look for big things coming out of this room in the not-too-distant future.

Arizona

The Arena Poker Room at Talking Stick Resort has quite a few tournament options this month, including the 10th annual Turkey Tournament for charity on Nov. 17 (10 a.m., $50). Also, a $20K guarantee event is Nov. 24 (11:15 a.m., $150) and a super bounty tournament is Nov. 10 (11:15 a.m., $225).

MANAGER SWAP: Husband and wife team Mark and Deborah Perry have changed jobs in the Gila River Casinos family. Mark used to run the Vee Quiva poker room and Deb ran the Wild Horse Pass room. But recently they swapped positions.

This is no surprise as the sister properties work together regularly, including the new Super 77 linked progressive jackpot, which starts at $25K and increases daily (at press time it was $55K). Quad sevens beaten in hold’em at either poker room wins you the jackpot. Also, if you play at Vee Quiva, ask about the Let’s Talk Turkey promotion this month.

 — Mary Bradley is Ante Up’s Southwest Ambassador. Email her at anteupmary@gmail.com.