Birthdays are always a time of celebration, but, the more years we celebrate, the more we notice – we’re getting old. Of course, it’s better than the alternative. Senior poker player Dale Hinson says, “Never complain about growing older. It’s a privilege denied to many.” However, getting to and joining that elite 50+ club is becoming more and more of a special time for poker players, thanks to the brand new Senior Poker Tour. From the first time I played the Senior Event at the WSOP, it became my favorite. The best part is not having to play with hoddie wearing smart mouths hiding behind sunglasses, three-betting on a pre-flop bluff, and no “pants-on-the-ground” young bucks. Seniors are more respectful of their peers, more friendly, more polite, and more fun. This is not a statement I make lightly or after one experience in a Seniors Tournament. This is what I notice in every single seniors event I have ever played. It is a joy to play poker players from the old school. My passion has been rejuvenated and I don’t have to wait for that one special WSOP tournament that comes around only once a year! “This is thanks to poker entrepreneur Lupe Soto, her partner Hal Coblentz, and his lovely wife and professional photographer, Joy. Now I can look forward to many Senior Poker Tournaments, all over the country, all through the year!
Lupe explains her desire to develop the first ever Senior Poker Tour. “With the popularity of the WSOP Seniors event and its increasing numbers year after year, I polled players and the reason they made that one event a ‘must do’ at the WSOP was that they enjoyed playing poker with their peers.” She continued, “Anything new, when first rolled off the assemble line, there is always concern, ‘will it work? will it be well received, will it be successful?’”
After the inaugural Senior Poker Tour, which took place in Tunica, Mississippi, in Jan. of 2014, any worries, concerns, or fears of the unknown were put to bed and replaced with joy, and elation with the fantastic success of the first Senior Poker Tour series.
The entire idea of the Senior Poker Tour is brilliant as was the choice of the first host casino, the Horseshoe in Tunica, Mississippi. Their poker room was very recently renovated, remodeled, and expanded. Not only was the facility terrific, but the entire poker staff was awesome. What a fine team Card Room Manager Lisa Crompton has put together. They were all friendly, fun, and good at their jobs. They were all shinning examples of how a good poker staff does not have to be robotic.
The new poker room is very state of the art, including automatic shufflers and plugs at every seat for your electronics. There also is a full service bar in the poker room, tableside food service, at-table massages, 16 large screen TVs, and free Wi-Fi. A first ever for me was the self-service Starbucks coffee station! There are 25 poker tables and for the SPT they had to bring in three more tables, but they did not crowd the room, the extras were put up right outside the poker room at the rail.
I had the pleasure of meeting the Horseshoe GM Donald Londo. After complimenting him on the fantastic new poker room, he told me that he had given Lisa (Poker Room Manager), a “GO” to do it right. A multitude of Card Room Managers would give their right arm for such a cooperative GM. It was apparent he was pleased with Lisa’s interpretation of “doing it right” and I know he was pleased with the results of the inaugural Senior Poker Tour.
How it works: (Keep in mind; this schedule was Tunica. Future events may be longer or shorter, customized to the individual property.) The Horseshoe offered Seniors a 16 event series over 5 days. Tournaments included a lot of mixed games in addition to no-limit. Choose your game, choose your time of day and jump right in. Mega and one-table satellites were held beginning two days prior to the start of the tournament. The one-table satellites went round the clock throughout the entire tournament. Buy-ins for the tournaments ranged from $175 to $550, the main event which was a 3-day event with the final table being live streamed on SeniorPokerTour.com. All seniors’ events have a point system, which will result in an annual Best All Round Player award.
The SPT has a team of pro players: Team SPT consist of: Poker Professionals Tom McEvoy, Linda Johnson, Jan Fisher, Dennis Phillips, Mark Kroon and Marsha Waggoner. All with impressive poker achievements. Oh, and did I mention, ME too!
This is an open invitation: If you are a casino executive or if you know a casino executive, anywhere in the country, who would like to host a Senior Poker Tour; contact Lupe Soto or Hal Morales at www.SeniorPokerTour.com. I guarantee any casino interested, their guests will be well behaved and keep in mind, the seniors have money to spend throughout the casino!