I'm not sure why the desert seems to attract poker players, but let's face it, Las Vegas is a desert, and poker is big time in the heat of the summer. And, that's not just because the WSOP runs during the first two months when school's out and vacations are in style. There's hardly a poker room in town that doesn't have some type of tournament going on, from the Bellagio's daily Texas Hold'em tournaments that run $120 to $540 to enter, to Binion's downtown with daily $60 tournaments in their quaint 10-table room.
If you missed the WSOP or are still looking for the big hit, you might consider the Arizona State Poker Championship starting this weekend in Scottsdale, Arizona. Sure, you'll still be in the desert, but staying at the Talking Stick Resort is hardly roughing it.
The property has a full casino (well, for Arizona standards - no live craps or roulette), restaurants, a 500-room hotel, and 54 tables of great poker action. The championship tournament itself is a deep-stack tournament with 45-minute rounds that requires three day-ones, due to the crowd. You can enter for $1070 and play your first day on Saturday August 10 at 9:00 am, or Sunday/Monday. If you have deep pockets and get knocked out the first day, you can start over again on Sunday or Monday.
There must be something about the 110 degree heat that drives people inside to gamble, because this event draws about 1000 players every year, and first place pays $200,000. That's some serious cheese! Side games run from $4/$8 limit to $10-$500, yeah, that's a spread game. Good Luck!