BY RUSS SCOTT
RELEASE: JAN. 24, 2012
$10,000 World Series Seat up for Grabs at Quad-Cities Poker Fundraiser
The biggest Quad-Cities poker event since casino boats with card rooms floated into town 20 years ago is just a few days away.
Unofficially, the Texas hold ‘em fundraising tournament on Feb. 4 at the Jumers Casino Event Center in Rock Island, Ill., will:
* Attract the largest local tournament field ever — 400 players — if it maxes out the tables for two qualifying sessions.
* Award the largest Quad-Cities top prize in memory — a $10,000 seat at the 2012 World Series of Poker main event in Las Vegas this summer.
Best of all, when the long day ends, event organizers at the Arc of the Quad Cities Area will have raised five-figure money for multiple support services that daily help about 325 local citizens facing intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Arc Executive Director Kyle Rick said a November date initially chosen was “too quick of a turnaround,” but she noted the postponement provided valuable extra planning time.
Beyond renting the casino Event Center and securing the services of charitable games consultant John Guth of Rockford, Ill., local organizers fashioned an array of sponsorship levels for businesses and individuals, arranged for a 7 p.m. on-site “Sponsors’ Gala” featuring Texas-style barbecue hors d’oeuvres and established an enticing set of top prizes.
“I think the tournament is a great idea, and I hope it’s a great success,” said Rick. She said there “are so many people out there who enjoy this game. Poker players have generous hearts, and I’m hoping they will see this as a win-win situation — a terrific tournament to play and a wonderful chance to help the community.”
The tourney should grab players’ attention.
First, there are the prizes: a $10,000 WSOP seat for the champion plus a $1,000 travel voucher from Always Travel, a $2,500 bag of gold from Necker’s Jewelers for the runner-up and a $1,500 Las Vegas getaway from Always Travel for third place.
Then there’s the tourney set-up. In a Quad-Cities rarity, players will advance to the 9 p.m. championship round through qualifying sessions at noon and 5 p.m. Each session of 200 competitors will play down to 10, thus sending 20 players into the finale to battle for prizes.
Buy-in for either qualifying session is $60, and players get 2,500 chips to start, said Maureen Dickinson, Arc director of development and communications.
“We will offer an incentive to double your starting chips for $10 at the beginning of the two tournament sessions,” she said.
Also available during the first hour of play is a $30 rebuy for 5,000 chips, meaning a starting stack could be 10,000 chips. Blinds increase every 20 minutes.
Seating is limited to 200 players per session. To reserve a seat and avoid being shut out, players can register online at www.arcqca.org or call (309) 786-6474. Walk-in registration begins at 11 a.m. that day at the Event Center.
Unlike many local charity events, this tourney will be played on actual poker tables instead of dinner tables, and trained volunteer dealers will handle the cards instead of players taking turns dealing.
“We are excited to have this tournament again back in the Quad-Cities,” said Guth, executive director of Ken-Rock Community Center in Rockford. He said people should remember even though there are “big prizes for top finishers, at the end of the day it’s ultimately still a fundraiser.”
Cash games and sit-and-go events (one-table mini-tournaments) also will be available on site, Guth said.
So what’s the best strategy for winning the WSOP seat?
The key strategic factor is that chip stacks and blind levels will carry over from the qualifying sessions to the championship round.
So, unless you’ve built up a monster stack and can coast through your qualifier, you’ll want to keep looking for spots to accumulate chips near the end of the qualifying session so you won’t be short-stacked if you make the finals.
The downside: If you get too frisky or a bit unlucky trying to build your stack, you could bust out just shy of the finale and have no chance at all.
That’s a dramatic format that should yield a fitting finish for a worthy cause.
E-mail your poker questions and comments to email@example.com for use in future columns. To find out more about Russ Scott and read previous LuckyDog Poker columns, visit creators.com or luckydogpoker.com.
COPYRIGHT 2012 RUSS SCOTT
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