Football drives Arizona poker promotions



Arizona is super rich in tournaments, live games . . . and compassion.

Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino Resort (near Phoenix) is pigskin heaven for pro football enthusiasts on Sundays and Monday nights throughout the season. Consider splashed pots of $25 for every field goal, $50 for touchdowns and $100 for each safety. This room also rewards a quads-or-better weekday progressive high hand, starting at $50 with $50 added each hour until hit. Ak-Chin has random hot-seat drawings on Saturdays and just finished a Season of Giving $1K guarantee tournament with $10 buy-ins or a new unwrapped toy, three $10 rebuys and two $10 add-ons. All toys and buy-ins went to the Sheriff’s Department Toy Drive. Day manager Steve Murphy said planned January promotions at Ak-Chin will be impressive, so be sure to call the poker room for details.

At Casino Del Sol in Tucson, the football promotion that started in September continues through Feb. 3. Players win $250 per quarter and final score, $50 for reverse scores, game total scores and reverse total scores, and up to $300 extra, based on live play three hours before kickoff. The Shelley Duncan Celebrity Poker Classic is planned for Jan. 12, with a $12K guaranteed prize pool based on 100 players. The event will be limited to 150 players.

Phoenix-area sister casinos and cardrooms Vee Quiva Casino and Wild Horse Pass Hotel and Casino, offer even bigger payouts with a linked progressive jackpot that starts at $25K and increases daily. Win their linked Super 77 bad-beat jackpot and it’s going to be super.

Economic challenges are even more visible during the holiday season, but Desert Diamond Casinos, well-known charitable supporters in Southern Arizona with three Arizona casinos in the Tucson area, worked hard to make the holidays brighter for their community. Just one of many ways they accomplished this was through a Toys for Tots tournament. These efforts enabled the local police department to deliver thousands of toys to the Tohono O’odham Nation, to children who otherwise would receive no gifts. We congratulate these casinos for setting the bar high in giving back to their community.

New Mexico

Every day at 11 a.m., the Santa Ana Star poker room in Bernalillo hosts a $30 NLHE tournament, and Albuquerque-area players are positively giddy about it. With 15-minute levels, stacks start at 3K, the dealer add-on is 1K, and there’s one optional $20 add-on for 5K. Most exciting are the payoffs. Supervisor Michael Gerard said they once had a field of just 19 players, but first place netted $468.

Understandably, the tournaments are growing quickly in popularity. Gerard also hinted about more opportunities after the poker room gets moved to a new location early this month. I tried treats and bribery, but his lips were sealed to the rest of this well-kept secret. The good news is we won’t have long to wait.

• NFL fans who frequent the Inn of the Mountain Gods poker room in southern New Mexico eagerly anticipate the $230 Pass, Punt and Kick Tournament on Jan. 20. It will be limited to 110 players as 11 places pay and first place will be $7,250.

— Mary Bradley is Ante Up’s Southwest Ambassador. Email her at

Ante Up Magazine

Ante Up Magazine