Kuether wins Arizona State Poker Championship, $246K

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The ninth annual Arizona State Poker Championship at Talking Stick Resort’s Arena Poker Room was the biggest yet, as Wisconsin pro Joe Kuether captured the title and $246K.

Plenty of other big names made the trip to the Scottsdale casino, including “Miami” John Cernuto (34th, $3,572), David Plastik (58th, $3,312), Dan Heimiller (80th, $3,053), Jake Balsiger (91st, $2,598) and Billy Kopp (128th, $1,949). There were 1,299 players in the $1K event.

“The tournament was by far the best we’ve had,” said Ron Parish, a lead supervisor who, with Molly Brentlinger, was put in charge of the event after popular poker-room manager Kent Odekirk retired a few months ago. “It was the most we had turn out in the history of the event and a lot of big-time players were here, including Phil Hellmuth. It was fabulous all around and we’ve heard that it was the smoothest it was ever run.”

Kuether, a World Series of Poker Circuit champ, defeated Kelly Minkin, who was runner-up ($151K). She was followed by Daniel Hirleman ($116,910), Justin Riches ($88,982), Zach Kottler ($77,940), Jason Bidwell ($64,950), Ed Clark ($51,960), Nidel Salem ($38,970), Dave Kaminsky ($25,980) and Matt Kursar ($19,485).

In other Talking Stick news, the Arena offers $80 NLHE tournaments Monday-Friday at 11:15 a.m this month.

On Oct. 5, the $330 Big Stack event runs at 11:15 a.m. and features 10K chips with 3K more for a $15 add-on.

Oct. 12 is the $225 Super Bounty Big Stack tournament (11:15 a.m., 8,500 chips, 2,500 more for $10) and Oct. 19 is a Super Bounty, Super Big Stack, Super Turbo ($225, 11:15 a.m., 10K chips, 2,500 more for $10).

And don’t forget the $150 End of the Month event (Oct. 26, 11:15 a.m., 3,500 chips, 2,500 more for $10, plus a $5 keno ticket equals 1K chips).

For more daily tournament info, be sure to see our Where to Play pages in the back of the magazine and see the ad in our October 2013 issue.

ROUTE 66: Manager Mark Serna said the New Mexico poker room will continue its big monthly tournament this month, with $2K added to the prize pool. Player are offered three ways to enter: free, after 35 hours of cash play; half price ($150) buy-in for 20-34 hours of play; and $300 (full price). Also, Route 66 has started a tournament bad-beat jackpot, but more details are expected later.

WILD HORSE PASS-VEE QUIVA: For the East-West Championship ($120) at both properties (which ran Sept. 28), the final table will be at Vee Quiva on Oct. 5 at 7 p.m.

For promotions, half-price food (on the poker menu) will be available for all seated players, and there will be Football Super Splashes ($100 splashed pots) for NFL and NCAA football games on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays.

SANDIA RESORT & CASINO: The Albuquerque poker room features a bounty series on Thursday nights throughout October, and there are hints of upcoming big changes to the bad-beat jackpot collection and distribution, so stay tuned.

INN OF THE MOUNTAIN GODS: Manager Anthony Sago announced the poker room is taking a break from tournaments and will have just live games this month.

HARRAH’S AK-CHIN: The poker room has featured tournaments this month, and here are but a few: Tuesdays are $15 Omaha/8 with two rebuys and three add-ons at 7:30 p.m.; Thursdays are $10 NLHE, three rebuys, three add-ons at 7:30 p.m. and Fridays are $40 NLHE at 7:30 p.m.

As far as promotions, for each morning’s startup, the first six players to play two hours will receive $20.

Faces Cracked pays $40 for kings, $30 for queens and $20 for jacks (noon-4 and 8-midnight, Monday-Wednesday and Friday). For more info, check our Where to Play pages or call the poker room.

TWIN ARROWS RESORT AND CASINO: Just 20 miles east of Flagstaff, Ariz., we’re expecting great things from this gorgeous new cardroom, partly because of the plush new tables and surprising amenities, but mostly because of the super helpful management and eager staff. This promises to be a super destination for Southwest players.

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