Calderon wins Arizona State Poker Championship


Ante Up Magazine Southwest Poker

Albert Calderon is the Arizona State champion, capturing the 15th annual ASPC main-event crown at Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale on Aug. 13.

The tournament, which set a record for runners at 1,800, lasted five days at the Arena Poker Room. 

“Out of all the games and tournaments we host, the Arizona State Poker Championship is easily the most exciting,” director of poker Tom Young said. “The tournament was special this year, not only did it break records, but we had more regulars make it to the final table than ever before. It was so fun for our staff to be able to root for some players they interact with every day.”

The 32-year-old Calderon won $237K, a trophy and a watch. He was followed by Huy “Turtle” Nguyen ($183,420); Randy Tucker ($133,200); Brett McCallum ($97,380); Jeffery Nicholes ($69,480); Michael Hubbs ($57,420); Franco Bownacci ($43,740); Eli Loewenthal ($32,940); Brandon Conrad ($23,400), and Michael Weber ($18,900).

In other tourney news, Arthur Thompson beat 484 players to win the $160 End of the Month tournament for $6K.

FT. MCDOWELL: Will Plitz and Wes Ingram are recent winners of the weekly deepstack, which also earned them freeroll seats. The poker room runs quarterly freeroll as any tournament winner gets an entry into this event. 

WILD HORSE PASS: The Ante Up Poker Tour’s Winter Classic runs Nov. 11-16, highlighted by the $100K main event, which costs $400 and starts players with 20K chips. Satellites are available.

VEE QUIVA: Results of the $205K Summer Super Stack Series will be in a future issue.

HON-DAH: Debora Huff won the latest Tournament of Champions, and in the annual men-only tournament, Anthony McCormack was crowned king.


KOJACK’S POKER CLUB: The Midland poker room hosts the Permian Basin series Oct. 12-27. The main event carries a $100K guarantee. Johnnie Vibes will be there for a meet-up game Oct. 24. This series has a variety of tournaments, including heads-up, tag team, PLO, Big O and seniors. Check with the room for more details.

TEXAS CARD HOUSE HOUSTON: Andrew Neeme and Brad Owen will be here Oct. 2-3 for a $5-$5 meet-up game and tournament. Check with the club for more details.

MINT POKER CLUB: This Houston location hosts the Texas State Poker Championship on Nov 14. This five-tourney event ends Nov. 24 and includes a women’s event, seniors, PLO and a high roller in addition to the main event. There will be single-table satellites starting Nov. 1.

CHARITY EVENT: There will be a $110 NLHE tourney Nov. 16 at 6 p.m. in Rockwell near Dallas. Hall of Famer T.J. Cloutier will be on hand as the event will help benefit a young girl who has bone and blood cancer and Veterans Memorial Park. For more info, call 903-522-8840. 


The World Series of Poker Circuit returns Oct. 28-Nov. 11 to Choctaw Resort Casino in Durant, Okla. The $1,700 main event will have a whopping $1M guarantee and two starting flights (Nov. 8-9). 

The series opens with a non-ring six-max senior event for $250 and then the ring events get under way with a $400 Monster Stack that has a $200K guarantee and two starting flights (Oct. 29-30).

Other events include a $600 PLO ring event Nov. 1 and a $400 eight-max Nov. 5. For more information, go to

GRAND CASINO AND RESORT: In late August, poker pro Blair Hinkle won the $575 RunGood Poker Series Main Event in Shawnee, Okla. It was his second RGPS title, good for $35,985, beating 314 runners. His other RGPS victory came in May at the Hard Rock Tulsa.

Hinkle beat Jon Bennett, who had to settle for $22,786 as runner-up. All three of the Hinkle brothers (Mason and Grant) entered the event and made it to Day 2, with Mason and Blair making the final table. Behind Bennett was Ken dal Dexter ($15,259), Stan Curry ($10,642), Mike Latham ($7,982) and Mason Hinkle ($6,260). 

DOWNSTREAM CASINO: The RunGood Poker Series hits the Joplin, Mo., property Oct. 22-27. The $575 main event sports a $100K guarantee and runs Oct. 25-27 with $145 SNG satellites. Other events include a $20K guarantee deepstack with two flights Oct. 23 and the popular $135 pro bounty event that opens the series Oct. 22. 

WINSTAR WORLD CASINO: In Thackerville, Okla., Eric Bunch came out on top of the Labor Day River Poker Series Main Event, which had a $1.5M guarantee. 

The tournament drew 1,242 players for a $1.76M prize pool, $260K of it going to Bunch. Spencer Champlin was second ($234K), followed by Eluterio Rodriguez ($119K), Jeremy Liu ($97K) and Viet Van Ho ($75K).

Here are the winners of the other events in this eight-tournament series: Jonathan Bloyen (Event 1, $500 NLHE, $55K); Jalal Shamroukh (Event 2, $200 bounty, $5,250); Kyle Monoco (Event 3, $500 PLO, $5,291); Kevin Rund (Event 4, $100 turbo, $1,498); Brian Lee (Event 5, $300 NLHE, $6,875); David Lewis (Event 6, $100 bounty, $1,057), and Chad Runeberg ($500 NLHE, $27,451). 

CHEROKEE CASINO WEST SILOAM SPRINGS: Tyler Dees of Siloam Springs, Ark., captured the Cherokee Poker Mania Main Event for $7,697. 

The $330 tourney, which had a $40K guarantee but surpassed it with a $53K prize pool, drew 191 players. David Ramsey of Colcord, Okla., was second ($5,926), followed by Tommy Smith of Rogers, Ark., ($5,329), Dennis Long of Ft. Smith, Ark., ($3,900) and Evan McClung of Eureka Springs, Ark., ($3,899).

The series had 29 events across 10 days and buy-ins were as affordable as $50.

RIVER SPIRIT CASINO: The Sooner State Senior Championship runs Oct. 3-6.


The Colorado Poker Championship in August at Golden Gates in Black Hawk, Colo., had a record-setting 330 entries for a $320K prize pool as Steve Wilkie and Nate Zoller chopped at the main event for $60,114 each. Matt Livingston won the high roller for $40,300.

AMERISTAR: Enjoy this spacious 22-table poker room in Black Hawk and if you play four hours of cash games in one day you’ll earn a special poker rate in the hotel.

MIDNIGHT ROSE: Football promos highlight the fall season at this Cripple Creek property. Deepstack tournaments include Saturday’s Fast & Furious freezeout for $65 (30K chips, no re-entry) and, on Sunday, players get 50K chips for $120 (late entry and re-entry). Play four hours of live action Monday-Thursday and stay the night free.

New Mexico

BUFFALO THUNDER RESORT: The room offers daily tournaments and players can earn 1K in bonus chips by playing live before the tournament. See our Where to Play section for the schedule.

ISLETA CASINO: The poker room has daily tournaments ($10-$50), starting at 2 or 7 p.m.

SANDIA CASINO: All tourneys here start at 7 p.m. The first Saturday of each month is Ladies Night ($60, 6K chips). See our Where to Play section for more information.

ROUTE 66 CASINO: Daily $28 tournaments with a $5 add-on run at noon, 3 and 7. The events on Monday, Wednesday and Friday pay bounties. There’s a tournament bad-beat jackpot for all events.

Don’t forget about the Player of the Year promo and Aces Cracked, which pays $50 for same-color pocket aces losing and $25 for mixed aces.

Meet Ruth Hall

Ruth “Ruthless” Hall is from Texas and she’s a big advocate for female poker players. She sits on the Women’s Poker Association board and has has an impressive poker resumé, recently becoming the only woman to win the Ladies International Poker Series National Championship twice (2010 and 2019). Her career earnings are $220K-plus.  

How long have you been playing poker and how did you get started? I grew up playing card games with extended family and started playing poker when I was 9 on camping trips. My husband showed me NLHE in 2003, during the (Chris) Moneymaker boom.

How do you get women involved in playing poker and feeling comfortable enough to play live? WPA facilitates this as a sponsor of ladies events. Once they learn TDA rules and play in a good structure with antes, it prepares them for larger tournaments. Joining poker leagues turns into traveling. Eventually becoming a grinder who is not afraid of playing with men. I’m a perfect example: I started playing LIPS events and now I travel to play in various events. 

Do you find playing against men is different than against women? Extremely different. Men do not want to lose to women so they will bluff at them more often. Women tend to be calling stations and chase too much. I tend to utilize the math of the game to include situational and strategic game theory. — Sharon Fekete

Chris Cosenza

Chris Cosenza