Vee Quiva hosts AUPT March 22 in Arizona


Ante Up Magazine Southwest Poker

Gila River’s Vee Quiva Hotel & Casino hosts its $50K guarantee Ante Up Spring Poker Classic March 22-24. Along with a beautiful trophy and a pile of cash, the winner will be on the cover of Ante Up.

The entry fee is $300, but there will be $50 single-table satellites running at Vee Quiva and Wild Horse Pass right up until the event. On March 10 and March 17 at 5:30 p.m., VQ will host $50 multitable satellites to give you a shot at the top prize.

Late registration and re-entry are available for those satellites and the main event. Said poker room manager Zach Lansing: “This tournament comes at a perfect time for our out-of-town guests. March offers amazing weather, spring-training baseball and some of the best golf courses in the country.”

WILD HORSE PASS HOTEL & CASINO: The Super Bonus High Hand promotion runs March 3. The top five high hands every half-hour receive $100. The Super Bonus Splash Pots will be March 24 (11 a.m.-10 p.m., pots splashed every 30 minutes) and players receive a T-shirt when they buy in for $100. The same promo returns March 31.

TALKING STICK RESORT: At the Arena Poker Room, Jason Moungey won the Big Stack Tournament on Jan. 1 for $10,500. Sahib Purewal finished second ($7,814) and the remaining top six each pocketed $4,750.

Staycation Weekend had three tourneys in mid-January. The Friday $200 champion was Nancy Patterson, scoring herself $4K as the remaining top 20 each took home $2,210. The Saturday $300 event ended in a chop with Danny Lindstrom, Chris Nolte, Robert Andler, Glenn VandeSype, Troy Sprungl, Christian Covaciu, Gene Day, Ahmad Sahak and Patrick Colceri each taking home $7,417.

The finale on Sunday saw another chop. Luis Contreras, Mark Babekov, Rajesh Goyal, Jorge Pedraza Tellez, Kevin Kent, Paul Edmundson, Ian Clark and Curt Walter each grabbed $4,074.

The month wrapped up with a bounty tournament Jan. 20. David Junemann outdueled Karl Lawrence at the end for the title and $4,840. Lawrence earned $4,233.

On March 24, TSR will add a whopping $10K to its $200 tournament at 11:15 a.m. The April 20-22 Getaway Classic Weekend will begin registration March 23 as $20K will be added to the prize pool to celebrate the property’s 20th anniversary. Players that enter all three days will be eligible for a free two-night stay April 20-21. 

BUCKY’S CASINO: The poker room is being remodeled this month, just in time for next month’s annual Northern Arizona Hold’em Championship. Qualifying rounds will be on Sundays in April with the final being April 29. Call the poker room for more details.

HARRAH’S AK-CHIN RESORT: Promotions are plentiful with $50 Aces Cracked, $25 Splash Pots every half-hour open to close, $100 royals, $50 6-4 Cracked in Omaha, $100 Steel Wheel in Omaha, $250 Morning and Late Night Quad Floppers, Suns NBA Splash Pots, March Craziness Bracket Busters and other NCAA basketball Splash Pots.
WSOP qualifying tournaments are back and a full slate of other tourneys run throughout the week.


The WSOPC wrapped up its second stop of the season at Choctaw Casino in Durant, Okla., on Jan. 15. Jason Strasser collected $332,539 by overcoming a field of 1,249 entries to win the $1,675 main event and earn his second ring.

Several winners added to their ring totals: Robert Hankins won his ninth ring in taking down Event 7 ($580 NLHE); Jeffrey Trudeau won his fourth ring by taking down Event 5 ($365 NLHE); Maxwell Young and Michael Sanders earned their third rings as Young won Event 8 ($365 six-max) and Sanders won Event 9 ($1,125 NLHE), and Wayne Lovell won his second ring in Event 12 ($365 NLHE). Other winners were Adam Mirliss, Lou Garza, Katherine Bowen, Cody Pettit, Joshua Clanton, Jianmin Xu, Sochetra Chansan and Jason Haggard.

Daniel Jones of Kingwood, Texas, had a terrific series, cashing six times and making two final tables and bubbling another. The next series at Choctaw runs April 5-23.

HARD ROCK CASINO: The WSOPC returns March 16-26. Poker room manager Byron Long said last year’s first appearance at Hard Rock drew more entries than all but three other circuit stops. A large turnout is anticipated. The three-flight $1,675 main event, featuring a $1M guarantee, should be a big draw. During the series, a shuttle will run to nearby hotels as the Hard Rock’s hotel sells out quickly. Three new hotel properties are being built in the immediate area.

DOWNSTREAM CASINO: When you visit the room, say hello to new poker room manager Joshua Paschke. The RunGood Poker Series returns April 10-15. If you’re going, book early, as every RunGood Poker Series stop has sold out the resort.

KANSAS STAR CASINO: Players who qualify into the quarterly tournament of champions $10K freeroll can expect it to run April 14. The top 40 tournament players qualify. The room’s bad-beat jackpot (quads) was $146K-plus at press time.

AMERISTAR CASINO: Tuesday mornings feature $4-$8 HO. This game complements the $3-$6 limit and $4-$8 half-kill/$5-$10 kill Omaha/8 games featured throughout the week. In other news, players can surrender their stack and rebuy in all tournaments except bounties, which typically run on Wednesdays and Sundays.

CHEROKEE CASINO WEST SILOAM SPRINGS: This eight-table room’s annual Ozark Poker Championships was still running at press time so results will be in a future issue.

BOOT HILL CASINO: Tucked into the table-games section, the four tables open for play 6 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 4 p.m. Friday-Sunday. This room is known for playing deep with its uncapped low-stakes NLHE and PLO games.

HOLLYWOOD CASINO KANSAS SPEEDWAY: Qualification into the next $35K guarantee quarterly freeroll is running. The freeroll, featuring a $10K first-place prize, is April 14. Players qualify through 150 hours of cash-game play or being in the top 25 of the tournament leaderboard. All qualifiers must have played a minimum of 15 hours of live play on bad-beat jackpot eligible tables. Several games are featured throughout the week, including $5-$5 PLO, $2-$5 NLH, $4-$8 half-kill Omaha/8, $20-$40 limit, $25-$50 and $50-$100 mixed.

HARRAH’S NORTH KANSAS CITY: This 13-table, enclosed room hosts on a $300 qualifier into the $10K WSOP main event at 10 a.m. March 24. Players can register a week in advance with their Total Rewards card. You still can qualify into the $10K quarterly freeroll in April. The bad-beat jackpot was $131K-plus at press time. A royal-flush promotion continues to run, paying $1,500-$2,200, depending upon the suit. Players in daily tourneys receive 1K chips more if buying in at least an hour ahead. Looking ahead, the RunGood Poker Series returns May 1-5.

WINSTAR WORLD CASINO: The Presidents Day River Poker Series still was running at press time. Look for results in a future issue.

RIVERWIND CASINO: The 17-table room opens daily at 9 a.m. Promotions are $50 high hands on Mondays, $2-$5 splash Tuesdays, $50 hot seat on Wednesdays and $2-$5 hot seat on Thursdays. Typical tournaments include $40 rebuys Wednesday-Sunday. A $115 deepstack runs Sundays and recent special tournaments were $100 bounty re-entry and $330 re-entry.

RIVER SPIRIT CASINO: The monthly $4K freeroll is hosted for the top 40 players in tournament points. January qualifiers can expect to play in March. A $20K monthly freeroll will run March 10 for the top 40 players with the most hours played. Tournaments run each day and occasionally twice per day. Buy-ins range from $25 for a seniors tournament to $75 for bounty events.


BLACK HAWK: A recent series at Golden Gates Casino drew a field of 456 runners, creating a total prize pool of $237,120.

Vincent Moscati, a New York native, took the $54,540 first-place prize. The Heartland Poker Tour ran Feb. 7-19 and results will be reported in a future issue. Upcoming is the Mid-States Poker Tour (April 5-15), with a $1,100 main event and many qualifiers available.

 • At Ameristar, the descending bad-beat jackpot (quad eights) was $324K at press time. After this bad-beat jackpot hits, expect to see high-hand bonuses and mini-bad-beat jackpots worth $25K.  

• The Isle of Capri offers a future free hotel room for six hours of live play (not active on day of live action play). There’s a descending bad-beat jackpot, quads pay $200, straight flushes earn $500 and royals pay $2K. Call for details.

CRIPPLE CREEK: If you love playing deepstacks, head to the Midnight Rose. The FlopZilla gives you 40K chips for $120 on Fridays at 4 p.m. Enter the Fast & Furious Freezeout on Saturdays for $65 and get 30K chips, and play the Meganormous on Sunday, where a 50K starting stack is yours for $120. Play four hours of live action and earn a free room Monday-Thursday.

New Mexico

The old adage rings true at the Inn of the Mountain Gods in Mescalero, N.M.: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

On top of some of the biggest cash games in the state, you can still find a great schedule of tournaments each week. Big-money tournaments run every quarter. Friday is the $120 event at 6 p.m. and every Sunday at 2 p.m. you can play for $75. Earn bonus chips when playing live poker before each tournament.

But the Road to the Main Event $30K tourney continues to be the signature event. The $330 tournament is March 24-25 this month and will be April 28-29 and May 19-20, too.

ROUTE 66 CASINO: You can play three tournaments every day. Most times are for NLHE, but there’s a pineapple tournament on Wednesdays, plus many tournaments include bounties. The Player of the Year promotion means you win points all year based on your tournament performance. The room gives away $5K-plus to the top qualifiers and hosts a tournament for the top 50 players where you can win your share of $4K-plus. Winners for the 2017 contest will be published in a future issue.

BUFFALO THUNDER RESORT: New weekly tourneys start at 6:30 p.m. Buy-ins are $30-$75. Sundays and Thursdays offer unlimited rebuys for the first hour. Note on Thursdays: The tournament is Omaha/8. The $150 Last Saturday of the Month tournament starts at 1 p.m. The 6:30 p.m. tournament later that evening is a great consolation if you missed out earlier.

ISLETA CASINO RESORT: The Spring Poker Classic qualifiers are running, so there’s time to get in to this amazing tournament. Players can qualify every Saturday through March 25. Then the final flights will be April 6-7, and the final game on April 8.

During the week on Mondays and Wednesdays, the Spin and Win promotion allows you to win $100.

Isleta’s weekly schedule remains the same: Mondays are crazy pineapple for $15 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.; Wednesdays bring Omaha/8 at 7 p.m. for $25. Each Friday and Saturday, you can play in added-money tournaments for $100 at 7 p.m. each day. New to the game? Isleta has you covered with beginners tournaments every Thursday for $15 with an optional $5 add-on. 

SANDIA CASINO RESORT:  Sunday is $50 event at noon and a $45 tourney at 5 p.m. There are tournaments every day, including Wacky Wednesdays, where a different discipline is featured each week for $60. Current promotions include Tuesday and Thursday hot-seat drawings, late night hot-seat drawings and pay-to-play specials. Check with the poker room for more details. S

Meet Byron Long

Poker room manager Byron Long began his gaming career at Quapaw Casino in 2005 and has worked at Tulsa’s Hard Rock Casino since 2012. He became senior poker manager in August 2015 after a management split between poker and table games.

Married with two children, Long finds little time to play, but when he does, he typically plays low-stakes no-limit hold’em, usually tournaments. He also enjoys pot-limit Omaha. He considers himself a recreational player and feels having that customer perspective helps with providing a good experience for customers.

A lover of golf and sports in general, Long will put his sports trivia knowledge up against anybody. He also has taken on coaching his daughter’s soccer team.

He has been heavily involved with casino efforts to increase Hard Rock poker visibility nationally and maintain support of local players. Little things, such as snacks being readily available in the room, are greatly appreciated.

Partnerships to grow visibility include with the hometown RunGood Poker Series and, most recently, with Bill Bruce and Poker Tournament Consultants to host a World Series of Poker Circuit stop.

It’s important for him to connect with poker players, especially digitally, to build awareness and the strategies have proved quite successful as many highly regarded players consider Hard Rock Casino as their favorite place to play. — Robert Kelly

Ante Up Magazine

Ante Up Magazine