The tournament was a huge success, awarding over $1.5 million in prize money
Over 2,000 entrants converged on Talking Stick Resort Casino in Scottsdale over the last several days for one reason only. They were all hoping to get a share of the $1.58-million prize pool at the 17th Annual Arizona State Poker Championship.
The first five days of poker action were finally narrowed down to the last remaining players by Tuesday morning. Once the final table got underway, poker pro Tiffany Michelle said, “We’re really getting down to the nitty-gritty of it. First and second place are going to get over 200,000 dollars. Third place is going to get over a hundred.”
A host for the event and an accomplished player, Michelle says competition at the final table changes everything. “You got to start getting a little lucky and pick up hands. Some of the strategy goes out the window.
Defending Arizona State Poker champion Ryan Stiner had a large support group of family and friends on the rail as he faced Mark Graffius heads-up to determine the 2023 champion. Stiner’s sister-in-law, Calli Stiner, said, “We have his mom, his dad, his sister, and his brother. Brother-in-law, everybody.”
“I’ve always liked poker. It’s a strategy game. It’s a game where you’re testing wits against other people. I always liked that,” said Stiner. His simple poker strategy is to “Go all in or go in and win,” which worked well for him as he took down Graffius to win his second-straight Arizona State Poker Championship.
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