After just one day of play, the Arizona State Poker Championship was declared over because of a massive flooding due to a storm.
The Arizona State Poker Championship was suddenly cancelled when a strong monsoon storm caused the main and back-up generators to break down early Saturday morning (August 11) at around 2am.
Talking Stick Resort, the host of the tournament, remained closed that Saturday.
A casino guest named Mike Pamula said, "I sat there in terror hoping to not get robbed or the place, to not be held up or something. People were moving around frantically."
Pamula said he was in the casino that time and felt terrified as he realized the employees did not know how to handle the situation because they kept saying they have never experienced this kind of predicament.
A representative of the casino resort said, "All guests were immediately evacuated and we initiated our temporary closure protocols. Reservations have been halted and all property events have been canceled until further notice. We apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate your patience as we work to resume at Talking Stick Resort to the level of excellence that our guests have come to expect."
The 2018 Arizona State Poker Championship was scheduled on August 10 to 14, with 3 starting flights and then 2 days of play to determine a champion. Things went well on Day 1a, with 553 entries and 90 advancing, and the prize pool reached to $553,000.
Bad news for the players, because it means that the tournament ended without a top winner.
There were many disappointed poker players who had no choice but to just leave the premises. For those who managed to bag big stacks, they will no longer be able to have the opportunity to play for a prize pool that was most likely going to surpass $1.5 million. As for the other players who had to travel to the area for the tournament, they lost precious money especially if they spent also for airfare and hotel accommodations.
Players who made it past Day 1a shall be awarded payouts from the entire $553,000, based on ICM (independent chip model). Both players who paid for the buy-in and also the satellite winners who reserved seats for Day 1b and Day 1c will receive refunds at the sister property Casino Arizona, situated 10 minutes south of Talking Stick on Highway 101. They just need to show their valid ID and ticket.
As for the players who will get a piece of the $553,000 pie, they have it even worse as they have to wait a little longer because their exact payouts will be determined at a later date. Players can check for updates on the matter via Twitter: https://twitter.com/AZStateChamp.
The $1,100 buy-in Arizona State Poker Championship is a tournament that has been getting quite popular in the past years since it comes right after the WSOP tournament series and many players attend the event in the Western U.S.
Introduced in 2005, the event has doubled in size within the past decade. Now, it has an estimated prize pool of $1.5 million after player entries reached 1,510 and 1,691 in 2016 and 2017. Players who have won big in this event throughout the years include Kelly Minkin, Dylan Hortin, Jeff Fielder, Jake Balsiger, Matt Affleck, and past champions Joe Kuether and Pat Lyons.