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The Annual Arizona State Poker Championship returns to Talking Stick for the ninth year. Top prize is more than $200,000. The five-day tournament is making its exciting return to the Scottsdale resort Aug. 9-13, and will again pit players of all skill levels for a share of the projected $1 million prize pool.

“Each year our number of entries, audience turnout and prize pool grow, because we strive to make the event a fun experience for both competitors and spectators,” said Kent Odekirk, the resort’s director of poker. “The atmosphere is great, supporters cheer on their favorite players, and while the stakes are high and everyone’s trying to win, they’re still looking to have a good time.”

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This year marks the fourth time in the No Limit Texas Hold ‘Em Championship’s nine-year history that the prize pool is expected to hit $1 million, which ensures the top 100 players walk away with no less than $2,250.

If the minimum 1,000 entries are met, first place winner will take home a grand total of $208,300, a championship bracelet and a trophy. Second and third place winners will take home $127,500 and $85,000 respectively, as well as trophies to commemorate their win.

Last year’s Championship welcomed a record-breaking 1,233 players. The large number of entries raised the prize pool well above the estimated $1 million to a total of $1,233,000, which, in turn, increased the first place winnings to a total of $233,696.

To enter, players can pay a $1,000 buy-in with an additional $80 entry fee. The buy-in provides each player with $15,000 worth of chips. An optional $30 Staff Appreciation contribution will give players an extra $10,000 in chips. Players also can “win a seat” by participating in daily satellite tournaments.

Over the course the championship, a designated number of participants will play on days one, two and three. Players eliminated on the first day will be allowed to re-enter on day two or three for the full buy-in amount of $1,080.

Players eliminated on the second day will be allowed to re-enter on day three with a $1,080 buy-in. Those days of play will determine the semi-finalists, who will move on to compete on day four until 10 players remain. Day five, Aug. 13, marks the final table where the remaining 10 will play until a 2013 champion is crowned.

For more information on the Arizona State Poker Championship and other tournaments, visit the ARENA Poker Room, or call 480-850-7734.

Golden Nugget: The downtown Las Vegas resort will host Golden Saturday V on Aug. 10 in the Grand Ballroom beginning at noon. It offers a $25,000 guaranteed minimum prize pool.

Doors open at 10 a.m. with registration going on now in the poker room or you can wait until the day of the event. As an added bonus, all players at the final table will get a qualifying drawing ticket for the $300,000 Great American Cash and Car Giveaway, which grants a 1-in-2,000 chance at a brand new car.

For more information about buy-ins and registration for Golden Saturday V email [email protected] or call 702-386-8383.

Good luck, and may the “nuts” be with you.

H. Scot Krause is a gaming industry analyst, researcher and journalist. He is a former entertainment director and 18-year resident of Las Vegas. Questions or comments for Scot may be addressed to: [email protected].

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