Fort’s poker freeroll ends in chop


Ante Up Magazine Southwest Poker

The Ft. McDowell poker room in Arizona held its quarterly freeroll with a prize pool of $31K-plus for the final table as 120 players qualified for the event, making for a tough field. After two flights and a grueling final table, Carlin Skousen and Mark Whitworth chopped for $5K each. Allen Lunsford finished third ($3,800) and Scott Carter was fourth ($3,245).

The next freeroll will be Dec. 21. Players can qualify by playing 25 hours in a week in live games or by winning any of the daily tournaments. Freeroll seats will be awarded to the top two finishers in a tournament if there are more than 70 players in the field.

WILD HORSE PASS: Look for the Aces and Faces football edition promo, two hours before the second Sunday game. Lose with A-A, K-K, Q-Q or J-J and win $50. The pairs are available to crack every half-hour. Wild Horse offers short deck, drawmaha and triple draw cash games.

HARRAH’S AK-CHIN: The $250 Arizona Heads-Up Championship will be Dec. 28-29 at noon. Qualifying SNGs will be available, at least five players are needed to begin a qualifier.

TALKING STICK RESORT: The $345 Big Stack had 190 players vying for the $56,050 prize pool. The long format made for a lot of play as Terence Sheridan won the title and $12,687.

The Senior Open had a big turnout with 484 entries, making a massive $208,120 prize pool. After surviving the big field, the final eight players agreed to a chop for $16,055 each. Play continued until Gary Deardorff was rewarded the championship.

VEE QUIVA: The Summer Series $100K main event went to Jason Mendoza, taking home the big trophy after beating nearly 330 players.

The series began with Johnny Boruch taking down the $20K kickoff. Jason Mangold won the $5K pot-limit drawmaha event and then captured the $20K buildup event. Robert Walp notched the $5K buildup and Vincent Barone crushed the $10K buildup. 

Lezlie Greenberg beat a strong field for the $5K women’s championship. Other winners included Jeffrey Dumas ($10K black-chip bounty); Stephanie Baker and Andrew Conway (team); Frank Duque ($5K HORSE); Jeff DeWitt (Omaha/8), and Johnathan Hudley ($5K triple draw).

New Mexico

BUFFALO THUNDER RESORT: The 98.5 bounty event is Nov. 23 at
7 p.m. for $98 (7,500 chips) with $98 bounties on Chaz Malibu and maybe five other players.

The $10K guarantee deepstack is Nov. 9 at 1 for $225 (15K chips) and event is limited to 60 entrants.

The $150 Last Saturday of the Month deepstack is Nov. 30 at 1 (15K chips, 20-minute levels).

The room also offers daily tournaments and players can earn 1K bonus chips by playing live before the tournament.

ISLETA CASINO: The Albuquerque room hosts its $1K tournament Nov. 30 at 5 p.m. 

The $100 event gets you 15K chips and 20-minute levels, plus the room is adding $1K to the prize pool. Players can earn a seat by winning a $50 satellite Nov. 2, 9, 16 or 23 at 7 p.m. The poker room has daily tournaments ($10-$50) that start at 2 or 7 p.m. Also, there are football promotions on Sunday and Monday nights.

SANDIA CASINO: Dylan Rael walked away with the trophy and close to $30K after capturing the $600 Four Corners Championship, New Mexico’s largest tournament. It had 262 entrants.

The poker room’s daily tournaments start at 7 p.m. and cost $35-$100. Check our Where to Play section for details. 

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


There were 463 players from six clubs who vied in the Social Card Clubs of Texas Poker Championship fall event as
54 players reached Day 2 for $2K each. The final six chopped for $90K-plus and then played it out for the $6K bracelet as Justin Randall from SA Card House took it home.

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. Single-table satellites start Nov. 1.

CHARITY EVENT: Poker Hall of Famer T.J. Cloutier headlines a $110 charity hold’em event Nov. 16 at 6 p.m. The event benefits Landrie Lay and Hawkins Veterans Memorial Park. The tournament will be at 1831 South State Highway 205 in Rockwall, Texas. For more information, call 903-522-8840. 


CHOCTAW CASINO DURANT: The WSOPC runs through Nov. 11, including 13 events and culminating in the $1,700 main event with a $1M guarantee.

AMERISTAR: Players earn $1 an hour comps with a $15 food voucher for four consecutive hours of play in the 13-table room. Promotions include a variety of mini-bad-beats, earning the loser a minimum of $250.

HOLLYWOOD KANSAS SPEEDWAY: High Hand Rollover runs daily in this 12-table room and there’s a $25-$50 mixed game on Tuesdays at 1.

CHEROKEE CASINO WEST SILOAM SPRINGS: This eight-table poker room is open 24 hours, hosts daily tournaments and has a quads-or-better progressive jackpot.

DOWNSTREAM CASINO: The 14-table room features limit and NLHE, stud, Omaha and mixed games. Enjoy weekly tournaments and sit-n-go events in this 24-hour room in Joplin, Mo. 

GRAND CASINO SHAWNEE: Tournaments run throughout the week. Check the website for upcoming events.

HARD ROCK TULSA: The new 14-table room has a $10K tournament on the first Sunday of every month for $160 at noon.

HARRAH’S NORTH KANSAS CITY: This 13-table enclosed room features NLHE, $2-$5 rock and $1-$2 PLO on select days. 

KANSAS STAR CASINO: The 10-table room has NLHE and Omaha games with a progressive bad-beat jackpot. There are new buy-ins and bigger prize pools to the tournament lineup so check our Where to Play pages for details.

RIVER SPIRIT: There are daily 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. tournaments with a seniors event on Wednesday at 5 p.m. The 12-table room offers a variety of cash games and several promotions, including high hands and freerolls. 

RIVERWIND: This enclosed 17-table room offers $50 high hands Mondays, $100 splash pots Tuesdays (1-5 p.m.) on $2-$5 games and $100 high hands on Wednesday and Thursday during select times. There are several weekly tournaments culminating with a last Saturday of the month $330 re-entry.

OBITUARY: Richard Couron died Aug. 17 while he and his wife, Susan, were on their way to play a mega-satellite for the River Series in Oklahoma. 

He was a poker aficionado enjoying tournaments and cash games. Though he was a fierce competitor, he never let his drive to win interfere with his gentle character. He always was gracious and was respected. He made several final tables in WPT and WSOPC events among others. 


GOLDEN GATES POKER ROOM: The Heartland Poker Tour ran Sept. 11- 23 in Black Hawk as Jay McVeigh won the title for $137,876. He began the final table as the short stack. The Denver Poker Open returns Nov. 13-24 with eight trophy events. 

AMERISTAR: The 22-table poker room in Black Hawk has bad-beat and mini-bad-beat jackpots. Also, if you compile four hours of live play in one day you’ll get a special rate in the hotel.

MIDNIGHT ROSE: Football promotions continue in Cripple Creek with high hands during the fourth quarter of select games.

Friday’s $125 Survivor pays the top 20 percent equal prize money. Saturday is Omaha/8 (30K chips, no re-entry) and Sunday’s tournament gives players 50K chips for $120 (late and re-entry allowed). Play four hours of live action Monday-Thursday and stay the night free.

Meet Garrett McKeown

Garrett McKeown of Chandler, Ariz., has been a poker dealer for 12 years, 11 at Ft. McDowell Casino. This past year, he  took his talents to Wild Horse Pass. He’s a favorite among the players, known for his fast dealing, witty humor and infectious laugh.

An Arizona native and avid sports fan, McKeown enjoys cheering on the Suns, Diamondbacks and Cardinals. 

McKeown learned poker from his father, who was a successful player for three decades. Poker runs in the family as his mother and brother have worked in casinos. He’d like to see more draw and stud-based games run, as it can revitalize a poker base that looks for alternatives to hold’em. 

His favorite poker memory was helping a blind man play a tournament. He’d peek at the cards, whisper the hand to the player, call out the board and help place the bets. Though the player didn’t win, he was appreciative McKeown could help make that experience possible. His advice to the poker community is, “If you blame other people when you lose, you’ll never get any better.” — Mike Ramsey

Chris Cosenza

Chris Cosenza