Face of poker evolving at Casino Regina
REGINA – More than 200 players took part in the 19th annual Stations Classic poker tournament, proof Texas Hold ‘Em is gaining popularity once again at Casino Regina.
“Poker kind of plateaud a bit through the years, after the boom, but now we’re starting to see an increase in the interest again,” said Mark Durnin, the casino’s poker operations manager.
However, the players are very different from the ones that sat in the same chairs just a few years ago.
“Social media, online poker, and having poker on TV have had a huge impact on the growth of the game,” Durnin said.
Those influences are changing the game’s demographic, attracting a younger audience. “New generations are starting to pick it up, now that they’re legal to come into casinos,” Durnin said. “They grew up playing online and watching it.”
Casinos are also seeing more women break into the male-dominated tables.
Regina poker player Kimberly McClymont said she thinks other players underestimate her because of her gender and youth.
“Sometimes they think you’re not going to bluff. There’s definitely some advantages,” she said. “Sometimes they think you always have the best hand when you’re betting.”
The Station Classic attracts players from across Canada and the United States, including Lethbridge resident Glen Adams. Adams has experienced a lot of success in this tournament in the past, winning in 2012.
“It’s kind of a dream. It’s not the World Series, but to me it was … I always say it’s a few good cards, a little bit of skill, and a whole lotta luck,” he said.
To improve his chances, Adams carefully observes his fellow players, even when he’s not playing.
“A lot of time, when I’m out of a tournament, I don’t leave, I stay and watch everybody else play, try to pick up information, like a sponge.”
This year’s winner will be determined early Sunday morning. The new champion will take home almost $60,000 and a championship ring, which Adams said means more than the cash.
“It makes me emotional to think about it. I wear it because I’m proud of it. I don’t try to show off anything. I feel if I won it, it might be a good thing to keep wearing it. Money comes and money goes, but they can never take that away from you.”