It's been a moderately successful summer for Tucson-area poker players at this year's World Series of Poker. Through Friday a total of 17 rounders with ties to Southern Arizona had cashed a collective 21 times in the series' first 60 events, taking home a little more than $96,000 in prize money.
But 2013 could go from good to great for the local scene depending on whether anyone from around here can make a deep run in the big one.
The $10,000 buy-in WSOP Main Event kicks off today at the Rio in Las Vegas, a tournament that over the course of three opening-day flights is sure to draw at least 6,000 entrants that will end up fighting for a first prize of more than $7 million. Exact numbers won't be known until Monday evening, but all signs point to close to 7,000 participants this year.
Tucsonans have had some brushes with greatness in the Main Event over the years, most notably when "Tucson" Don Holt finished second in the 1991 tourney. More recently, Deb Blair finished 176th out of 6,358 players in 2007 (earning the distinction as Last Woman Standing) and in 2010 Garrett Adelstein was among the chip leaders with about 300 players left but ultimately finished 222nd out of 7,319.
Check back with The Range to see how Tucson players fare through this tournament, which will run through July 16 when it gets down to the final table of nine. Those 'November Nine' will then return several months later to play down to a winner in a made-for-TV (read: ESPN) finish.