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Rich Wilens ARIZONA POKER: a Mecca for the poker connoisseur
By Rich Wilens

Poker Players: Picture if you will a place where you can play affordable tournaments every day, high limit poker in class surroundings, low limit, 24 hour a day action and good food in smoking or non smoking atmospheres.

Picture nineteen casinos through out the state, some with resort hotels and championship golf, each with its own brand of gambling. Poker tournaments from Tucson to Prescott with Tournament heaven in the Phoenix area. Let’s not forget the forthcoming Arizona State Poker Championships.

Arizona has gone from being a backward state to become a world class city and a utopia for poker. We used to go to LA, Vegas, Tunica, Atlantic City, Foxwoods, Reno, San Francisco, etc, to get our major poker fix. Now, we have all the benefits of world class poker in our own back yard. We still go out of town for the major tournaments but our live action and tournament play is equal to anywhere in the world.

Here is a listing of the casinos in Arizona that offer poker:

Phoenix Area: Gila River Chandler, Harrah AK Chin in Maricopa, Vee Quiva in Phoenix, Casino Arizona in Scottsdale, and Fort McDowell in Fountain Hills.

Tucson offers three casinos; Casino of the Sun, Casino Del Sol and Desert Diamond. You can find tournaments everyday and specialty tournaments throughout the year.

Other casinos in Arizona: Buckys and Cliff Castle in the Prescott area, Apache Gold in San Carlos/Globe, Mazatzal in Payson, Hon-Dah in Pinetop, Paradise Casino in Yuma and Blue Water casino in Parker round out all the casinos that offer poker.

Most of these casinos spread low limit Hold Em 2-4, 3-6 4-8. You can find 6-12, 9-18, 10-20, 20-40 up to 150-300 at Casino Arizona on a regular basis. Although every casino will spread any limit if you ask. The same limits can be found for stud and Omaha as well.

Tournament Play: Monday through Friday at Gila River Casino are the $25 buy in tournaments at noon. Average turnout…8 tables. 1st place money is usually 1500. Tuesday and Wednesday night Limit and NO Limit $55 buy in produce 10 tables. With the added money 1st place each week is about $6000.

Fort McDowell tournaments are Friday Night Saturday Night and Sunday Afternoon. Harrah’s at AK Chin offers lower limit daily tournaments with such games as Crazy Pineapple, stud and Ladies only tournaments.

Men only tournaments happen at Gila River on Thursday.

For the past two years, the Arizona State poker Championships has been in the works. Look for this event to compete with all the major tournaments in the country. Thirteen events with a guarantee prize pool of $500.000.00 will draw players from throughout the world.

Food: Very important to poker players. At Casino Arizona, they have a button the dealer presses and your food waitperson appears at your table. At Casino AZ you can dine in seven different restaurants or at your seat. Fine dining at its best is Casino Arizona. Chinese food is a favorite at Fort McDowell and Gila River. Go down to Tucson and both Desert Diamond and Casino Del Sol will buy it for you.

Casinos with golf: Harrah’s AK-Chin, Gila River (coming), Apache Gold, Casino Arizona all have a golf course. Casinos with Resort Hotels: Harrah’s, Gila River, Hon-Dah, Blue Water, Cliff Castle, Buckys and Apache Gold have resort hotels.

Arizona used to be considered a backward state boasting mostly of cowboys and cactus. Arizona has grown up a lot. We have world class resort hotels and golf. We have some of the finest 5 star restaurants in the world.

Sports wise: The World Series champions Arizona Diamondbacks, Suns Basketball, Coyote Hockey, Cardinals football and the prestigious Phoenix Open for golf. We have added world class poker to our list of accomplishments.

You know we are always searching for Utopia. The search will always continue but you owe it to yourself to visit Arizona. You might never want to leave.

I write for a magazine called the Arizona Player. This is a free publication distributed throughout Arizona. Feel free to contact me at arizonapoker@aol.com. I will be more than happy to send you information about Arizona poker and a complimentary copy of the Arizona Player.

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