It's a good week to be a professional poker player with connections to Tucson.
Two of the region's most successful players, both of whom have moved on to greener (get it?) pastures, are making headlines for their feats in parts abroad.
Late Sunday night saw the biggest online poker tournament of the weekend go to Sean Getzwiller, who topped a field of more than 7,700 people in Poker Stars' Sunday Million event. The victory earned Getzwiller, who spends part of the year outside of the country (thus being able to play online poker under the moniker "wormnorton"), earned $232,000 for his troubles.
The haul actually isn't even close to the biggest win for Getzwiller, 36, who in 2011 bested a field of nearly 4,200 players to win a $1,000 buy-in World Series of Poker event for $611,000.
While Getzwiller is taking it down at the tables, another player with local ties is trying to win big in a completely different arena: the reality television world.
Garrett Adelstein, a Mountain View High School graduate who splits his time between Scottsdale and Los Angeles cash games, is one of 18 contestants on the 28th (!!!) edition of Survivor. Set in Cagayan, Phillipines, the 27-year-old will attempt to overcome a field that includes lots of muscly and buxom competitors — as well as former NBA player Cliff Robinson — for whatever prize the show gives out. I don't know, if it's not King of the Nerds it's not something I pay attention to.
Adelstein hasn't made any big splashes in the poker world, but he's had some close calls. The most notable was in 2010 when he was among the chip leaders late in the WSOP Main Event, only to see him overplay some hands and finish 222nd to win about $48,000.
Maker House and Generation Cool are teaming up to bring an exciting Arcade Showdown from 5 p.m. to midnight on Thursday, Feb. 27, at the Maker House mansion, 283 N. Stone Ave. 20 contestants will battle it out on 10 separate gaming cabinets. The winner will take home an arcade machine, and runner-ups will get gift certificates and schwag. This event feels like the the sequel to a campy post-'80s indie film starring Fred Savage.
Maker House will teach you how to be the poor man's Neo and show you how to hack your Wii console at 5 p.m. There will also be a Gamer Swap Meet:
Swap video games, card games, board games, miniatures, comic books, or anything else game related! Swappers can get a 6×6 foot table space for $5, table not included. Space is limited and is first come, first served.
Click here to sign up for vendor space.
Do you want to lose weight and win $10,000?
Genghis Grill, home of the build your own stir fry, is issuing a nationwide challenge called Healthy Kwest. The chain restaurant's appointed judges will pick 110 finalist by noon on Monday, Jan. 27, and one of those lucky applicants could be in Tucson. The finalist have to eat one free daily meal from Genghis Grill for 60 days ($599 retail value) and will get a free gym membership during the challenge. The progress will be documented and promoted on various GG social media outlets. The grand prize winner will win $10,000 on (approximately) April 16th. There are cash prizes for the second and third place winners.
There are qualifications and an extensive survey you must fill out, but the potential benefits outweigh the vigorous screening process. The criteria to win, aside from losing weight, will rely on application completion (50%) and social media presence (50%).
Do you have four quarters and know how to operate a joystick?
There will be a Ms. PAC-MAN tournament from 7 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 4 at Generation Cool, 404 N. Fourth Ave. The Facebook event page says the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners will be rewarded with gift cards and prizes. It's free to enter, so bring your coin purse.
The Arizona Lottery announced yesterday that the state's tax on those with largely hopeless dreams of instant wealth hit record numbers for the fiscal year of 2013, continuing a run of six consecutive years of new highs. $692.9 million in tickets were sold in whatever made up version of 2013 the Lottery uses, which based on 2012 Arizona population numbers would mean that $140.55 in tickets were sold per adult in our state*, although since my wife an I bought a total of $6 in tickets last year, someone (likely standing in a line at the customer service desk at a Safeway right now) is clearly making up the $275 the Gibsons aren't buying.
According to the Lottery's press release, the two largest jackpots in Powerball history contributed to this astounding numbers, plus they added some contests.
For what it's worth, while the Lottery didn't mention the total in prizes given out to winners, $176.5 million went back to the state in funding and $47.1 million in commissions were paid to retailers. So, thanks for playing, lottery aficionados?
* This is at least a little off, since the numbers I'm using were for the number of Arizonans 18 and over and you need to be 21 to buy a lottery ticket. Either way, people buy a lot of tickets.
As much as the National Football League and the NCAA would like you to believe otherwise, there's no denying the unofficial — some would say unavoidable — link between college and professional football and the concept of wagering on said sports.
Go to any sports book in Las Vegas, and football is far and wide the most active sport in terms of bets placed. And though sports betting isn't "legal" anywhere else in the U.S., ambitious bettors who shall not be named specifically know there are plenty of offshore-based online sites that will gladly take your bets.
Such betting exists for any and all sports, but football is by far the king.
There is no official form of sports gambling in Arizona, but thanks to the promotions people at Tucson's local casinos, you've essentially got the next best thing: the prospect of free money that is loosely linked to college and pro football. And to spending time in the casinos.
Both Casino del Sol and Desert Diamond Casino have football-based promos that begin this week, and some of them even come with the "no purchase necessary" tag, if you can believe it.
At DDC, you've got two options: you can test your skill at picking the winners of NFL games, for the chance of winning free play in the slot machines; or you can just be a UA football ticket holder and rake in the free play for simply going to games.
DDC has enhanced its Cats Play, We Play promo this fall, putting a premium on the UA winning its games. Present a ticket stub from a Wildcats home game within three days of the contest and get at least $10 in slot play. If Arizona won the game, though, it's upped to $20.
(Writer's note: I might be swayed to sell my second ticket to each game for $9 or $17 in cash, depending on the outcome each week.)
The Pick The Pros campaign begins Friday, even though the first NFL game isn't until Sept. 4. Picks are made via kiosks inside the casino, and if you're among the top 20 in that week's rankings, you get $100 in slot play. Somehow correctly pick 197 of more (!) of the 239 games included in the contest and you'll get a $1 million prize that's paid in 20 annual installments.
Del Sol also has a picks contest, dubbed the Kickoff Pickoff, but unlike last year's similar promo this time around you're not limited to just one entry per NFL week. You can enter a seemingly infinite number of times, and make different picks, as you get one entry per day that you swipe your player's card at the casino kiosk. You can also get additional entries if you collect enough points on your card in a day.
Del Sol's weekly prizes are tiered, with $2,500 in free play given out each week and $1,000 of that going to the top picker. There's also $1,500 free play "quarterly" performance prizes, and the season's overall winner is guaranteed $5,000 in cash. If that winner gets 210 (!!) of the 239 games right, though, the prize jumps to a milly.
Del Sol also has brought back its uber-popular scratch-off game for NFL and college games that are broadcast in the poker room. If you're in a live game, you get a ticket, and if the last digit of each team's scores matches what's on your card you can win straight cash homey for each quarter.
Expect both casinos to bring forth similar promotions come college basketball season, too.
Just like there are many ways to skin a cat, there are also infinite approaches to playing slot machines.
For some, it's betting the most you possibly can each pull in hopes of hitting some big score. For others — like my mother, the minimum bet master — if you're frugal enough you can make $20 last all day, while at the same time gorging yourself on free soft drinks and maybe consuming an entire pack of smokes.
And for others, it's more a matter of making a wide berth around any and every machine that promises riches for as little as one penny (but wagered in 40- or 50-cent increments, mind you) because there's no way you can win on those things, right?
Whatever your approach is, throw it out the door if you happen to be at Casino del Sol between 12 and 5 p.m. Saturday. That's when you have a chance to qualify for the 2013 Game King Championship Video Poker Tournament.
Yes, a tournament on a slot machine.
Such tourneys are all the rage in Las Vegas, where an entry gives you a fixed amount of time and a pre-set number of credits to go apeshit and try to end up with a higher balance than anyone else. Payouts vary, depending on the tournament.
The Casino del Sol tourney has a $5,000 prize pool, which might not seem like much in the grand scheme of things. But remember, it won't cost you a thing to play.
To enter, anyone who has a Club Sol card (which can be gotten for free) can get a chance to play a session of video poker slots on the DoubleDown Casino, an online social gambling game that is accessible through Facebook and with whom Casino del Sol has had a working relationship for the past year or so. The top 90 or so scorers in Saturday's qualifying move on to the tournament finals on Sunday, where they'll join five people who won entry via the online game.
The online winners also got an all-expenses paid trip to Tucson for the tournament. I know, and we have to live here for free.
To help you get ready for the big tourney, check out this 10-minute (!) video chocked full of strategy and tips. And if that doesn't whet your whistle, there's like 2,000 more on YouTube.
A record 1,299 people entered (and in some cases, re-entered) the 9th annual Arizona State Poker Championship over the weekend at the Casino Arizona Talking Stick Resort near Scottsdale, with 172 of them surviving to today's play.
I don't know the names of every person who plays poker locally — some of you I just know as 'that guy I beat in a big pot' — but I recognized at least five people who made it to Monday's semifinals and a chance at the 130 spots splitting nearly $1.3 million in prize money.
Lee Gaines, Mark Ivan, Raena Janes, Tirza Sanders and Nadim Shabou were among those who restarted play at 9 a.m. today. At last check (around 2 p.m.) the field was down to 80 players, and play was expected to go until the field got as close to the final table of nine as possible.
Tuesday's final round will pay out the big bucks, with first place getting more than $246,000, not to mention a swanky trophy.
When I get updates on any locals I will pass them along.
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