The Inn of the Mountain Gods Casino and Resort hosts a $60K tournament May 21-22. Buy-in is $330 with 200 entries the target for making the prize pool. Players love the $120 buy-in One Twenty tournament every Friday with the free Losers Lounge on Saturday mornings.
BUFFALO THUNDER RESORT AND CASINO: Wednesdays in May bring live games of $20-$40 limit in the morning and $1-$2 PLO half-and-half in the afternoon. Thursday afternoons is $4-$8 Omaha. Friday afternoons feature $1-$2 PLO/8 and on Saturday afternoons it’s $3-$6 Omaha.
As for special tournaments this month, May 21 is the 107.5 Outlaw Country Bounty event with $107 bounties on Kidd Corona and likely five other players. The buy-in is $107. The Last Saturday of the Month deepstack is May 28 for $150 and the Memorial Day event (May 30) is $30 with unlimited $20 rebuys the first hour and $25 add-on.
Evening tournaments include Sunday ($30, unlimited $20 rebuys first hour and one $25 add-on), Monday ($30, one rebuy), Tuesday ($40, one re-buy), Wednesday ($50, one re-buy), Thursday Omaha/8 ($30, unlimited $20 rebuys first hour and $25 add-on), as well as Friday and Saturday ($75).
And, finally, Don Legacy won the $10K guarantee on March 12. Congratulations, Don.
SANDIA CASINO RESORT: This month, players enjoy three times points on all poker play Sunday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to noon, as well as $25,500 (in increments of $100 and one for $50) Spring Fever Hot Seat Drawings every two hours. The $5K Players Freeroll is June 22 and the top 80 players will earn their entry based upon live play this month.
May tournaments include Sunday at noon ($50) and at night ($45), Monday evening for ($55), Tuesday and Thursday evening bounty tourneys ($75, $25 bounties), Wacky Wednesdays Ladies Night on May 4 ($55), Stud Wednesday on May 11 ($55) and River Down Wednesday on May 18 ($55).
The May 25 freeroll has $5K guaranteed (for top 80 players, invite only, based upon live play from April), and the Mothers Day main event is a hold’em, spa, and golf tournament on May 7. For $125, every player who enters with their player card will receive a coupon for $25 off at the Green Reed Spa or at Sandia Resort & Casino golf course.
NORTHERN EDGE CASINO: Tuesday nights feature a $35 event while Fridays are shootouts for $25. Aces Cracked in live action on Wednesday evenings wins $50 and same color aces net $100.
KICKAPOO LUCKY EAGLE CASINO HOTEL: The Texas property has Sunday Showdown tournaments for $120 and a $10 add-on. Also, Super Tuesdays are $35 evening events with an hour of rebuys and Thursday events are $50. Players can relax while playing poker on Fridays and Saturdays with soothing massages.
TALKING STICK RESORT: The 12th annual Arizona State Poker Championship will be Aug. 12-16 at Talking Stick Resort. Players can enter starting June 1 at the cashier or through the box office at 480-850-7734. This is a $1,100 event with three Day 1s (Aug. 12-14) at 9 a.m. The maximum number of entries for each day is 470, plus 130 alternates. Each player will start with 16K chips and have the option for 10K more for $30 at the table. Super satellites will be July 3, 10, 17, 24, and Aug. 7, 10 and 11 at 11:15 a.m, as well as Aug. 8 and 9 at 7:15 p.m. Single- and double-entry shootouts begin June 1.
The 11th annual Arizona State Ladies Poker Championship will be Sept. 17-18. Registration begins Aug. 1. The $300 buy-in will get you 12K chips with an option of 5K more for $20.
HARRAH’S AK-CHIN: There still is plenty of time to win your way into this summer’s WSOP as satellites run through May 29. On Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m., there are $80 buy-ins with 10K chips. The winner receives $200 and a seat to any $1K WSOP event or you can just take the $1K. Sundays at 5:30 p.m. are $120 buy-ins with 10K chips. The winner receives $250 and a $1,500 seat (same as the $1K deal). These satellites must have a minimum of 20 players and will have a max of 70 players. On May 21 at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., there will be a $10K WSOP main-event seat qualifier, with the finale at 7:30 p.m. This event has a $350 buy-in (15K chips). The winner receives $250 and a $10K seat into the WSOP main event in July.
GILA RIVER WILD HORSE PASS RESORT: If you are one of the 120 players with the most hours played over the past two weeks, you can play in the freeroll. Upcoming $5K freerolls will be May 7, 21 and June 4. Also, the RBI Riches promotion splashed four tables with $50 for every run scored in selected MLB games.
BLACK HAWK: Ameristar Black Hawk’s quad deuces bad-beat jackpot was at $250K at press time. Also, enjoy two other promotions: the continuing reduced room rates with four hours of poker play and the free buffet with 2.5 hours play, beginning May 2. These meals may be earned Monday-Thursday from 6 a.m.-11:59 p.m. and used on those days (plus Friday lunch) with a five-day expiration. … At Golden Gates, the $50-per-hour high hand promotion continues 24-7. … The Isle’s bad-beat jackpot that was at $286K.
CRIPPLE CREEK: The poker community lost a treasured member in February. Adam Wemmer was first a dealer and later a floor supervisor. A memorial open house was held April 3 … At theMidnight RosePoker Room, the third weekend of each month featuresthe high-hand promotion that is active that Friday, Saturday and Sunday from noon to 2 a.m. The varying hourly payoffs for having the high hand are identified on a posted chart and range from $100 early to $1K late night. … The Wildwood Casino Poker Room has a new 6 p.m. $50 tournament on Thursdays and there’s an hourly $50 high hand on Wednesdays and Thursdays from noon to 8 p.m.
HARD ROCK CASINO: The RunGoodGear.com Series is May 3-7 at the Hard Rock Casino in Tulsa. The four events on the schedule are no-limit hold’em.
It kicks off with the $135 RunGood Pro Bounty tournament and is followed by a two-flight, two-day $180, $25K guarantee deepstack event.
The $100K guarantee main event is next. It’s a $675 buy-in, three-flight, multiday event. There are $160 satellites, too.
The final event is a $125 buy-in, $10K guarantee. Call (918) 384-6648 and use promo code RUNGOOD52016 for $89 rooms.
The casino recently wrapped up a Winter Weekend Special that featured a $275 buy-in. Daniel “Donk” Hughes of Tulsa overcame 351 entries to collect $17K-plus.
The annual Oklahoma State Poker Championships also recently concluded as Tulsa pro Brian Campanello was crowned champion of the main event after chopping the final prize money.
He, Gabriel Attoun of Joplin, Mo., and Tory Olson of Cambridge, Minn., each collected $26,760. Other event winners included Tana Karn, John Reynolds, Daniel Lowery and Nick Koliastasis.
DOWNSTREAM CASINO: The Four States Poker Championships returns May 10-15. The five-event series begins with a $200 buy-in, $15K guarantee deepstack.
The second day brings $200 buy-in six-max pot-limit Omaha and $175 buy-in, $7,500 guarantee NLHE events.
The third day offers a $125 buy-in, $5K guarantee limit hold’em/NLHE event. The final event is a two-flight, three-day, $340 buy-in, $30K guarantee.
The top point-earner for the series will win a WSOP Colossus package valued at $2,650. Call (888) 396-7876 and use code 4SDSPT for hotel discounts up to 25 percent for a three-night stay.
CHEROKEE CASINO WEST SILOAM SPRINGS: May 13-22 is the Cherokee Classic, which will feature $70K in guarantees. While not available at press time, players should contact the poker room at (918) 422-6393 to ask about discounted hotel rates.
INDIGO SKY CASINO: Closed Mondays, this room continues to offer weekly tournaments, including the Sunday $35 Crazy Pineapple.
Others include bounty, seniors and standard NLHE. Max buy-in is $65 for the Saturday bounty.
WINSTAR WORLD CASINO: Daily tournaments at this 46-table room sport buy-ins of $65-$230. Cash games typically include limit, NLHE, PLO and PLO-PLO/8 mix.
HOLLYWOOD CASINO KANSAS SPEEDWAY: The Hollywood Poker Open freeroll runs May 13-14 as110 qualifying players will compete for tournament packages to the Hollywood Poker Open Championship Event at the M Resort in Las Vegas this June.
Meet Kirsten “Kiki” Griffis
According to Larry Mundy, manager of Buffalo Thunder’s poker room, Kiki Griffis is one of the room’s most valuable assets. But her first job as a dealer was at Arizona’s Ft. McDowell, where she said she “couldn’t even spell poker.”
After a girlfriend’s two-hour lesson, she passed an audition and immediately started dealing tournaments. Her girlfriend said, “No matter what, just make it look real, like you know what you’re doing.”
Griffis grew up playing kitchen-table poker, where her family knew all the cringe-worthy games with lots of wild cards and funny names.
But she first played hold’em about the time she started dealing, when she entered a $5 women’s tournament at Gila River.
She was a bad player, she said, but she won. The most money she ever won was in a $6-$12 stud game with full kill that capped to the river every hand, taking home $300 with aces full of kings. But as a mom of three, she seldom has time to play these days.
Originally from Chicago, she moved from Arizona to Dallas, where she helped open two Oklahoma casinos, WinStar and Choctaw, remaining at Choctaw for seven years as supervisor and dealer, which she prefers. She loves New Mexico and lives in Pojoaque.
Griffis’ job allows her to support her family while giving her time to spend with them and to cook hot meals (her passion) every day.
She said Buffalo Thunder is the best place she’s worked because management, co-workers and players are the most laid back, friendly and generous group she has known in the 15 years she has been in poker rooms.
“Where else could I work where the customers would pay me to insult them?” she said with a laugh. — Mary Bradley