Duncan classic raises $10,400 at Casino Del Sol

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The third annual Duncan Celebrity Poker Classic brought another strong turnout to the Casino del Sol Resort in Tucson, Ariz., with 126 players participating in the $200 no-limit hold’em tournament on Jan. 11.

The field featured roughly two dozen celebrities, including baseball Hall of Famers Rollie Fingers and Ferguson Jenkins, ’90s pop singerCe Ce Peniston and various former Tucson-area star athletes, all of whom were fighting it out with poker-room regulars for a piece of the $15,120 prize pool.

The tournament served as a fundraiser for the Tucson Youth Baseball Association, a charitable organization founded by major-league outfielder and former University of Arizona star Shelley Duncan. With $50 of each buy-in going to the charity, as well as all $20 add-ons purchased during the tourney, the event raised $10,400 to help run youth baseball clinics in the area.

One of those clinics was held before the tournament, with more than 400 children ages 7-14 getting coaching and instruction from numerous pro ballplayers.

The tourney’s final table featured two celebrities, with former Arizona Cardinals running back Damien Anderson taking fourth place for $1,512 and former St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Chris Duncan — the younger brother of Shelley Duncan — earning $1,058 for sixth place.

“I thought this would be great fun,” Chris Duncan said. “I didn’t think I’d last this long. I hadn’t played so long I had forgot the rules.”

It marked the second straight year a Duncan brother cashed in the event, as Shelley was part of a 14-way chop of $1K each in 2013.

Anderson also was part of that chop, giving him back-to-back cashes in the tourney.

Fingers just missed out on cashing, busting as the bubble boy in 11th place. He was knocked out of the tournament in the first 20 minutes, but with another celebrity unable to make the event he was allowed to re-enter.

In the end, a trio of local regulars chopped as Henri Bisson, Stan Rawls and George Wolfe each won $3,024.

The classic has been a big hit for Casino del Sol because the regulars enjoy getting a chance to rub elbows and splash pots with famous people, poker director Rick Chaurette said.

“We’ve really liked having this here,” he said. “I’m sure we’ll do it again.”

CHRISTMAS JACKPOT: Six Phoenix-area players hit the Super 77 Jackpot at Wild Horse Pass Hotel and Casino for $118K on Christmas. It marked the second-largest jackpot that Gila River Casinos in 2013. The Super 77 Jackpot is a linked promotion between Wild Horse Pass and its sister casino, Vee Quiva.

— Brian Pedersen is Ante Up’s Southern Arizona Ambassador. Email him at anteupsouthernaz@gmail.com.