Golden Gates Casino - Black Hawk, CO Recap

Buddies Go Heads Up in the Rockies

Black Hawk, CO –Not playing nice in the sandbox Sunday night, John Sacha and Jeff Wright went heads up with sharp tongues, big bets, and thick aggression at Golden Gates Casino and Poker Parlour in Black Hawk, Colorado.  Audience members watching the latest taping of The Heartland Poker Tour were surprised to learn that the two men are actually more friends than foe, playing together in home games frequently.
“We have some poker being played tonight!”  HPT Commentator Fred Bevill announced with his eyes glued to the table.  The fireworks brought the spectators to their feet for much of the face-off that wrapped just after midnight.

Sacha, a Denver surgeon, typically plays aggressive and it pays off.  The father of two has an impressive resume of poker accomplishments, including a World Poker Tour Main Event final table and a couple of cashes at the World Series of Poker.  New to The Heartland Poker Tour, Sacha picked up a cool $174,375 when Wright shoved all in pre-flop with king-seven.  Sacha snap called with jack-queen, pairing jacks for the win.

Wright, also from Denver, is no stranger to The Heartland Poker Tour.  Still chasing the elusive first-place win, he cashed twice before in four other attempts.  Earning $87,188 in second place, Wright proved himself a fighter, hand after hand, against his familiar rival.    

Calculating statistics in his career as an actuary, Wright says being a “numbers guy” helps him at the poker table.  With pocket tens, he hit a set on the turn to knock out another math junkie holding a pair of sevens.  Fire Chief

Dan Durkee of Golden, Colorado, says he has always been “crazy good at math”, earning the nickname “Rainman” at the fire hall.  His new favorite number is 52,313, the amount paid out for third place.     

In a thrilling and tense day of play, the field of 389 was reduced to six Coloradans who moved to the televised set
to film two episodes of the nationally-syndicated show.   

“I’m not surprised the final six are all Colorado residents,” said Golden Gates Vice President and General Manager Jef Bauer, “In our third year of this great partnership with Heartland, we have built a phenomenal loyal following and our room has gone from a brand new room to the busiest in Colorado.” 

Local card sharks are swimming in their home state like never before.  On July first, betting limits increased in Colorado and the business day extended to 24 hours.  After prepping for months, casinos in the scenic Rocky Mountain gaming community are now enjoying a dramatic spike in business this summer.     

Celebrating a busier-than-ever poker room, Golden Gates pledged a $1,000 donation to HPT’s charity partner, Disabled American Veterans.  To their loyal patrons, the kind gesture came as no surprise.  Much of the Golden Gates staff and dealers stayed into the night Sunday to cheer on their favorite players. 

Sixth-place finisher Richard Ferguson from Castle Rock visits Golden Gates at least once a week.  As the short stack most of the day Sunday, Ferguson caught a couple of breaks doubling up each time.  Going all in with ace-nine, he walked away with $29,063 when the turn produced a king for Sacha’s king-six.

Jim Coca of Fort Collins quickly followed, winning $34,875 in fifth place.  Holding ace-queen, his push all-in looked promising when he paired his queen, but didn’t stand up against a flush on the river.

A flush on the river also ended a long day of play for bar owner Jimmy Frisk.  With a straight on the river for himself, he finished in fourth earning $40,688.  Patrons of Long Shots Bar & Grill are sure to hear about his quest for an HPT championship, which may not be such a long shot when the tour returns to Golden Gates this fall.


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