The Inn of the Mountain Gods Casino and Resort’s popular Texas Ho Ho Hold’Em tournament is Dec. 18. It’s a $230 one-day event and players are encouraged to call 575-464-7777 for more info. Poker squares and weekly tournaments are on Fridays and most Sundays, as well as daily cash games in this beautiful resort.
BUFFALO THUNDER RESORT AND CASINO: On Dec. 17, it’s the 107.5 Outlaw Country Bounty tournament with bounties on Big Bad Jack and possibly five other players (($107 buy-in and $107 bounties). The $150 Last Saturday of the Month deepstack is Dec. 31.
ROUTE 66 CASINO HOTEL: Three tournaments are featured almost daily. Wednesdays bring a pineapple tourney and Mondays have live $1-$3 NLHE and $2-$6 NLHE. The regular 7 p.m. Monday tournament is on hiatus.
SANDIA RESORT AND CASINO: Santa’s $235 deepstack is Dec. 17 at noon. An optional $10 add-on gets you 2,500 more chips and the casino will add $900 to the prize pool. Registration begins Dec. 12.
TALKING STICK RESORT: The Fall Classic ran Oct. 14-16 and the weekend included three events. The $200 event saw 223 players compete for a prize pool of $37,910. The top 20 players cashed with the final eight each taking home $3,836. Those eight players were: Eli Clark, Elizabeth Chu, Mark Babekov, Marcus Shoub, Robert Runke, Ryan Johnson, James Ellwood and Terry Cusick. Maurice Sova ($1,156) and Ronnie Hendricks ($948) rounded out the final table.
The $300 tourney had a prize pool of $67,840 with 256 entrants. While 31 participants cashed, another chop determined the top several spots. Taking home $8K each were Monhammad Akhtar, William King, Mark Babekov and Gerald Teague. The rest of the final table were James Propes ($6K), Eric Garcia ($5K), Jeffrey Buyse ($4,495), Justin Riches ($2,442), Joshua Cobin ($1,866) and Sarah Minsterman ($1,289).
The weekend wrapped with a $300 bounty event ($100 bounties) as 192 players generated a purse of $50K-plus. The final table was Matthew Hernandez ($5,150), Douglas May ($5,100), Moussa Haddad ($3,907), Oscar Villalobos ($2,500), Salam Sarah ($2,500), Matthew Albee ($2,500), Mark DeFusco ($2,500), Yang Shenyan ($1,188), Sean Farida ($966) and Jarret McMillan ($792).
The Fall Point Challenge tournament is Dec. 4 at 11:15 a.m.It has two divisions: day tournament players and nights-weekend players.Players received one point for every final-table appearance. All players that received at least two points qualify to play Dec. 4.The fee to play is $50 and the prize pool is $40K, paying 40 spots. Also, the top 15 players in each division will share another $40K paid out before the tournament.The next point challenge runs until March 25.
Dec. 17 is the 14th annual Toy Drive tournament at 11:15 a.m. Players need to bring one unwrapped toy worth at least $10 and pay $35 for 3K chips.There will be a $12,500 guarantee. Last year, 593 players participated.
HON-DAH RESORT CASINO: The Big Game Hunt promotion runs until Dec. 21. Try to become the Master Hunter by filling the most Big Game Poker Cards during the promotion.
HARRAH’S AK-CHIN CASINO RESORT: Two toy drive tourneys are this month, so call the poker room for dates.
WILD HORSE PASS: Football splash pots run through Jan. 1. During select televised game, tables will be drawn for a splash pot any time there is a score.The splash pot amount will be determined according to the type of score:$50 for field goal, $100 for touchdown, $200 for safety. The more tables that are open, the more tables will be splashed. Also, daily high hands pay $100 hourly from 3-10 a.m.
The WPT DeepStacks series wrapped up its first visit to Downstream Casino on Nov. 7. Reginald Roberts beat 165 players in Quapaw, Okla., for $50,765 and a $3K championship package. The final table of the $1,100 main event lasted a little longer than two hours. Daniel Lowery took the lead into heads-up play against Roberts. But on the first hand after the break, Lowery got it all-in preflop with A-K. Roberts, who had Lowery covered, called with pocket nines and the board brought no help for Lowery.
AMERISTAR KANSAS CITY: Play four hours each day at this 13-table room and receive a $15 food comp. Also earn $1 an hour in comps for each hour of live play.
HARD ROCK CASINO: New to this 14-table room is a $160 buy-in $10K guarantee on the first Sunday of each month.
HARRAH’S NORTH KANSAS CITY: This renovated 13-table room has found its bad-beat jackpot climb over $115K at press time. The weekly tournament schedule has $50-$75 buy-ins with a $120 Super Stack tournament on Saturdays.
CHOCTAW CASINO: Poker Night in America ran its series here Oct. 20-Nov. 7. Johanssy Joseph won the $1,080 main event that had a $1M guarantee. He earned $210,737 by edging Adrian Buckley for the title as 1,224 players entered the tournament for a $1.1M prize pool.
Other notable results include Chad Smith of Plano, Texas, overcoming a field of 1,751 to capture the $125K guarantee, collecting $32,248 from the $125 event.
CHEROKEE CASINO WEST SILOAM SPRINGS: The Fall Deepstack series concluded Oct. 23. Kyle McConnell of Rogers, Ark., beat nearly 225 players to win $5,245 from the $30K guarantee event. Through Dec. 26, the room is offering football splash pots during primetime NFL games on Sunday, Monday and Thursday. Field goals will be $50, touchdowns $100 and safeties $150. Also, $500 will be added to first place for the Wednesday 7 p.m. weekly re-entry tournament.
KANSAS STAR CASINO: December is the last month for players to get into the top 40 in points to qualify for the quarterly tournament, a Jan. 17 $10K free roll.
INDIGO SKY CASINO: Continuing to offer perhaps the most diversified weekly schedule of tournaments, December’s schedule includes crazy pineapple, Omaha, seniors, deuces wild, mystery bounty and traditional NLHE events with $25-$50 buy-ins. A New Year’s Eve Spectacular will offer $4K in high hands 5 p.m.-midnight.
GRAND CASINO: The room offers a variety of tournaments ranging from $30-$115. Promotions include Monday $50 hot seats every hour, Aces Cracked of varying amounts four days a week and Wednesday and Sunday $50 high hands.
HOLLYWOOD CASINO KANSAS SPEEDWAY: At this 13-table room, players each month can qualify for a $15K freeroll with 50 hours of live play on eligible tables or be in the top 10 of the tournament leaderboard. Check the casino’s website for more.
At Ameristar Casino in Black Hawk, Colo., Andy Ormsby was promoted to poker room manager when Matt Lindberg moved to a casino operations manager position.
Ormsby is up to his old modus operandi as there are some great promotions coming, but to implement them the primary bad beat needs to hit first. To that end,the qualifier to the jackpot, which was $300K-plus at press time, will decrease every day until it hits. Once it hits the new promotions will include $500 high hands every hour.
Also, the progressive bad beatstarts at aces full of kings for $25K and the qualifier drops daily while the amount goes increases daily. By the time it gets to kings full it will be for around $100K. This jackpot is only offered Monday at 8 p.m. through Friday at 5 p.m.
The Buffet with Play for 50 tier points (2.5 hours of poker play) gets you a free buffetMonday-Thursdayand that promo is going through Dec. 29.
GOLDEN GATES: High hands award a minimum $50 every hour, but at noon-10 p.m. that kicks up to $100. On Saturdays, only $600 is won between noon and 10 p.m.Also, there’s the Bad Beat Insurance for Quads promotion.The loser gets $2K and the winner gets $1K.
RESERVE CASINO HOTEL: There’s has a Monte Carlo board and a Saturday drawing for $100 per hour from noon to 9 p.m. There are daily high hands and $2-per-hour comps can be converted to $1 cash with a minimum of two hours played.
ISLE OF CAPRI: The popular decreasing qualifier bad beat starts at aces full of 10s for 10 percent of $178K. Simultaneously, 50 percent is possible for quad deuces losing and 75 percent for quad eights. A Monte Carlo board is coming soon similar to one at their sister casino’s Lady Luck poker room.
CRIPPLE CREEK: At the Midnight Rose, the Beat the Boss tournament series was a huge success featuring 21 events and a freeroll where casino bosses played with bounties on their heads. The popular Ante Only and Crazy Pineapple were mixed in with many deepstack events. Robert Evans bested 27 players in the main event for $5K-plus. Tim Domboski took down the freeroll, which seated top series points players and leading live-hour patrons. A new promotion, Aces and Faces Cracked, awards the same amount as the pot to the losing hand. Qualifications step down from A-A to J-J on each occurrence.
SOUTHWEST COLORADO: If you get to the Durango/Cortez area, head a little further south to visit the Sky Ute Casino. Besides its Monday, Thursday, Saturday tournaments, the room offers splash pots at noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Mondays and Thursdays. Omaha is spread on Thursdays.
KICKAPOO LUCKY EAGLE CASINO: The bad-beat jackpot is aces full of kings. The poker room awards $100 hourly high hands and 7 p.m. tournaments run on Tuesdays ($35 with first-hour rebuys) and Thursdays ($50).
Meet Arlene Natan
Arlene Natan has been with Hon-Dah Resort Casino since 1993 and has worn many hats.
“I originally wanted to deal because the money was good,” she said, “but I have made many friends that are very dear to me. Also, (poker manager) Teri Kleifgen is awesome and the entire atmosphere is very laid back.”
When Natan isn’t dealing, she spends most of her time raising her 14-year-old son and grandchildren.
So what makes Hon-Dah’s poker room unique? “We are all about making our guests feel welcome. It’s really an environment where we try to make you feel like family. We even have pot-luck dinners and tournament buffets.”
She said being a good dealer takes many skills: “Obviously, customer service is at the top of the list, but you have to be good at multitasking, keep the pace of the game moving and know how to deal with each person.”
If you’re in Arizona and want a terrific poker experience, visit her in the White Mountains at Hon-Dah. — Chris Cronin