This August marks the 10th anniversary of the Arizona State Poker Championship and to celebrate Talking Stick Resort will hold a milestone event in its ARENA Poker Room. The Championship, held over five days beginning August15, has become a signature event, not only for the card room, but also for the entire resort.
Originally launching the summer of 2004 at Casino Arizona 101 & Indian Bend, the No Limit Hold’em tournament, as it was called started with less than 500 participants and a prize pool of $200,000. Only three years later, the event’s jackpot grew to $750,000 and 700 entries.
“The growth of the Arizona State Poker Championship has been meteoric,” said Ramon Martinez, director of public relations for Talking Stick Resort. “What started as a somewhat small event for our local pokers players has turned into a nationally recognized tournament attracting players from across the country.”
In 2010, the Championship experienced its first monumental shift with the opening of Talking Stick Resort following the closing of the tents of Casino Arizona 101 & Indian Bend. With the new resort came the ARENA Poker Room, which became the largest poker room in Arizona. Also with the new resort came one of the biggest jackpots in the casino’s history.
“It was during our sixth tournament, and the kick-off of the event at Talking Stick Resort, that we took our prize pool to a new level, offering players their share of $1 million,” said Martinez. “The increased jackpot enhanced our visibility and brought us to the attention of many professional players.”
Since then, the Arizona State Poker Championship has kept the prize pool at the $1 million level and beyond. In addition to the varied prize pool amounts, the winners and overall participants of the tournament have been equally varied. They have included a four-time Arizona Golden Glove champion, Arizona State University college student and professional players.
In recent years, professional poker players haven’t just played in the tournament they also have been enlisted as hosts. In 2012, professional poker player, actress and TV personality, Tiffany Michelle, served as emcee of the final table. Last year, 13-time World Series of Poker champion, Phil Hellmuth, acted as host and will resume the role again this year.
“Enlisting well-known professional poker players as hosts of our tournament really adds a level of excitement to an already well received event,” said Tom Young, director of poker for Talking Stick Resort. “Their analysis and commentary also keep it interesting for those watching on the sidelines.”
Hellmuth isn’t the only colorful element occurring at the year’s 10th anniversary tournament. Talking Stick Resort also enlisted a new designer to create the winner’s bracelet. Renowned Scottsdale jeweler, Scott Gauthier of Jewelry by Gauthier has designed a custom bracelet for this year’s winner.
Gauthier created two bracelets for the event, one for a male winner and one for a female winner. The female bracelet features more than a half-carat of rubies and a half-carat of black diamonds. It is also accented with white diamonds. Similarly, the male bracelet is handmade with 14-carat white gold with more than two and a half carats of rubies and of black diamonds. It also features a one-of-a-kind 2014 closure.
The bracelet will be a nice bonus for the winner of the 2014 championship who in addition to a trophy will also take home more than $211,000 of the $1.1 million prize pool. The second and third place winners will earn trophies as well as $143,000 and $110,000 respectively. Moreover, the top 110 placed players will also earn a payday.
The Arizona State Poker Championship will kick off Friday, Aug. 15 at 9 a.m. and run through the final table on Tuesday, Aug. 19. The first three days are qualifying tournaments with the semifinal tables on Monday. Aug. 18. The final 10 players will then compete in the finals.
The buy in cost for the tournament is $1,000 with a $100 service fee, which includes 16,000 chips. Players also have an option to purchase an additional 10,000 chips for $30. Those who are eliminated during Friday, Saturday and Sunday play can also reenter the tournament for an additional $1,100.
Now, let’s say you would like to play in this prestigious event, but don’t have the $1,100 to enter – Well, good news! You can WIN A SEAT into the Arizona State Poker Championship by participating in Single Table Shoot-outs any time there are ten players that sign up! Here how it works; sign up at the poker board anytime 24/7 right up until 6am on Sunday August 17th.
You have 2 options;
Single Table Shoot-Out (1 winner) $110 buy-in + $15 s/c – Total $125
Double Entry Shoot-Out (2 winners per table) $220 buy-in + $15 s/c – Total $235
Players must be 21 years of age to participate in the Arizona State Poker Championship. Prize pool amounts are based on 1,100 entries.
Arizona State Poker Championship Schedule
- Friday, Aug. 15, 9 a.m. to approximately 9 p.m. (Qualifying Play)
- Saturday, Aug. 16, 9 a.m. to approximately 9 p.m. (Qualifying Play)
- Sunday, Aug. 17, 9 a.m. to approximately 9 p.m. (Qualifying Play)
- Monday, Aug. 18 9 a.m. (Semi-Finals)
- Tuesday, Aug. 19, 10 a.m. (Finals, 10 Players)
For players that want to hone their skills before the championship, Talking Stick Resort is hosting 2014 State Championship Warm Up Tournaments. The warm up games will take place at 11:45 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 11, Tuesday, Aug. 12 and Wednesday, Aug. 13. The buy-in costs for each day are as follows:
- Monday, Aug. 11 – $100 due at signup with a $20 service fee
- Tuesday, Aug. 12 – $200 due at signup with a $25 service fee
- Wednesday, Aug. 13 – $300 due at sign up with a $30 service fee
As part of the warm up buy-in, participants will get 7,500 in tournament chips and have the option to purchase an additional 2,500 chips for $10. For more information on the Arizona State Poker Championship and the 2014 State Championship Warm Up Tournaments, visit www.talkingstickresort.com or call the ARENA Card Room at (480) 850-8693.