Gatelis crowned Arizona ladies champ at Talking Stick

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In September, Talking Stick Resort hosted its ninth annual Arizona State Ladies Championship in the Arena Poker Room. Nearly 200 women entered the three-day $300 competition to vie for the title and a share of the $50,760 prize pool, but it was Kathi Gatelis of Scottsdale who won the hardware and $12,690.

“This year, 188 women entered the tournament, which proves poker is growing in popularity among both men and women,” director of poker Tom Young said. “Ladies of every skill level took part in the tournament at Talking Stick Resort and the level of talent this year far surpassed previous years. We’re proud to host a tournament of this caliber and happy to see women taking part in the gaming industry.”

“I play in this competition every year and came in seventh place in 2013,” said Gatelis, who won the championship with pocket queens. “But this morning, I woke up and said ‘I’m going to take it.’ I picked my spots correctly, analyzed where I was supposed to be and it paid off in the end.”

In addition to the generous payout, she also won a trophy and custom bracelet. Second place went to Judy Alto, who won a custom trophy and $9,137.

The event paid the top 20. Alto was followed by Judy Breedlove ($5,067), Robin Kaufman ($4,568), Barbara Olsen ($3,553), Stephanie Nolan ($3,046), Xia Kercheval ($2,538), Sandra Gibides ($2,030), Barbara Holloman ($1,523), Judy Hubbard ($1,015), Mary Ellen Burriss ($558), Carolyn Schooley ($558), Audrey Goldtooth ($558), Penny Koontz ($558), Robin Wittman ($558), Patricia Lirot ($558), Raena Janes ($558), Deepa Shah ($558), Yvonne Young ($558) and Patricia Huntley ($558).

HON-DAH: Don Tisdale won the Tournament of Champions at the Hon-Dah poker room. Also, congratulations go to the annual Big Bounty Bash winner Charlie Rowland, cashing for almost $1,500. Finally, great job to the property’s newest heads-up champion, Brian Carey, who also won the cash bonus by beating the boss (Teri Kleifgen).

CLIFF CASTLE: The poker room is starting a new high-hand promotion on Saturdays as $100 will be paid for the highest hand from the start of the first game (at about 9 a.m.) until noon. In addition, from 1-4 p.m., 4-7 and 7-10, the highest hand will receive $200 each. The room also has decreased its Saturday tournament buy-in slightly and increased the starting chips.

— Email Chris at cronin@anteupmagazine.com.