The Arizona State Poker Championship is held in August of each year at the Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale. Talking Stick is a new casino resort built in 2009 at the intersection of Highway 101 and Indian Bend Road adjacent to the Talking Stick Golf Course. Previously the facility had two large tents that housed the casino.
Poker has been big in Arizona for nearly 15 years and play increased even after full-scale Native American casinos were allowed table games like blackjack in 2003. Non-raked games of many types are currently allowed in Arizona although the legality of some types of games and tournaments are still in question. Tournaments at licensed casinos are allowed and the largest tournaments in the state are regularly held at Talking Stick Resort.Poker Room Amenities
The Talking Stick Resort's poker room features 54 tables, many of which are in use on any day of the week. On weekends the room is often filled to capacity. Although the room has high ceilings with large screen TV's, a new arena-style scoreboard with TV's and a sports ticker has recently been hung in the middle of the room. Sports betting is not allowed in Arizona.
Poker games regularly offered include Texas Hold'em and Omaha Eight starting at $4/$8 limit up to $75/$150. Popular spread-limit games are $5-$150 and $10-$500 with blinds of $1/$2 and $2/$5. Because Arizona gaming statutes allow only a $500 maximum bet, no-limit and pot-limit games are not allowed. Seven-card stud games are usually found with low limits.
The poker room also has its own kitchen with a nice selection of traditional meals from breakfast to dinner with excellence Asian dishes. A full bar is also offered.Accommodations
Talking Stick Resort has a 497-room hotel tower and special poker-room rates are available on a first-come basis for tournament players. Mention the Championship event at 480-850-7777 to hear the latest availability.Championship Event
The Championship Event started in 2005 and now attracts nearly 1000 players each year. Single-table qualifiers start June 1, prior to the tournament. The 2012 tournament starts on August 10 at 9:00 am and runs for five days. The entry fee is $1000 with a $70 service fee ($1070 total). Due to the large number of players involved, Day 1 for players run the first three days (separate flights). Players who are eliminated on the first day (Day 1a) or the second day (Day 1b) are allowed to re-enter on the following day or days.$30 Staff Appreciation for $10,000 Extra Chips
Although not billed as a deep-stack tournament, each player starts with $15,000 in tournament chips and a $30 staff appreciation cost gets an additional $10,000 in tournament chips. This total of $25,000 with blinds starting at just 25-50 gives players plenty of time to settle-in and play some quality hands. There are no add-ons.Blind Structure
This No-Limit Texas Hold'em tournament starts with no antes and 45 minute rounds. The second round is 50-100 and the third 75-150 with similar increases throughout. Antes start after the first break and increase on a regular, but staggered schedule: 25,25,50 (break), 50,100,100 etc. A 15-minute break is offered regularly every three rounds. Food can be eaten during play on small serving tables.
Semi-finals start on the forth day of the tournament at 9:00 am. Finals begin at 10 am on the fifth day of the tournament.Payoff Structure
First Place includes a trophy and a Championship bracelet. Second and third place finishers also receive a trophy. Prizes are awarded to 10 percent of the field. Based on 1000 entries, first place pays $208,300; second $127,500; third $85,000; forth $58,000; fifth $42,000; sixth $32,700; seventh $27,000; eighth $22,000; 9th $17,500; 10th $13,000. 11th-15th place also cash for over $10,000 with 21st-30th receiving over $5,500. Lesser amounts are paid for the remaining places.
Long time Poker Manager Kent Odekirk will preside over the events. Players can sign up in the poker room and additional information is available at 480-850-7734.