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.