Talking Stick tournament sets toy-drive record

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On Dec. 21, Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale held its 11th annual Toy Drive Tournament, and a record turnout ensured hundreds of local youngsters enjoyed a fun holiday. The buy-in for this charity event was a donated toy along with a $25 service fee. Though the field was to be capped at 400 entrants, Talking Stick’s dedicated staff allowed 90 alternates to play, too. In the end, Andrew Abela, Christopher Cotty, Mary Jordan Warwick and Jack Wagner earned $1,353 each in a four-way chop of the $12,500 guarantee.

The Arena Poker Room at Talking Stick has made a major change to its daily tournament format for 2014. The Monday and Thursday tournaments switched from the traditional knockout structure to a new “Rebuy to Survive” format.

These new no-limit hold’em tournaments will feature a $50 rebuy for a stack of 2,500, and players can add 2,500 with a $10 staff-appreciation toke.

During the first three levels, players can rebuy for $40, and when the field is reduced to the last 10 percent the tournament ends.

The prize pool is then distributed equally regardless of chip count. The “Rebuy to Survive” structure will be applied only to the Monday and Thursday daily tournaments.

Here’s a look at other tournaments and promotions around the region:

BUCKY’S CASINO: The Prescott poker room is holding an Open Face Chinese tournament at noon on Feb. 9. Also, bounty events will highlight the next two Sundays (Feb. 16 and 23), as the $80 buy-in event returns at noon.

CLIFF CASTLE CASINO: In Camp Verde, the poker room offers daily $30 shootouts Monday through Friday at 10 a.m., as well as a $95 tournament every Saturday at noon. It’s best to arrive early, however, as Cliff Castle caps this event at 27 players and limits entry to cash-game players.

FT. MCDOWELL CASINO: In North Phoenix, FMC runs daily tournaments Sunday through Friday at noon and 7 p.m. Ranging from $5 rebuy tournaments to a $70 event (15K chips) every Monday and Friday, the Fort holds tournaments fit for all bankrolls.

HON-DAH RESORT & CASINO: The cardroom in Pinetop runs a wide range of 6 p.m. events on its weekly tournament schedule, including a $45 bounty on Mondays and a $40 no-limit Omaha/8 tournament on Thursdays.

MAZATZAL HOTEL & CASINO: In Payson, make it Ladies Night on the first Thursday of each month, running a $25 ladies-only tournament at 6 p.m. On Sundays and Wednesdays at 6, Mazatzal holds its $50 event.

— Jonathan Zaun is Ante Up’s North Arizona Ambassador. Email him at anteupjonathanz@gmail.com.