The 8th Annual Arizona State Poker Championship made its thrilling return to Talking Stick Resort this past weekend. Play in the tournament began on Aug. 10 and continued through Aug. 15.

Compared to last year’s 1,053 entries, days one, two and three saw a record-breaking 1,233 entrants fill the ARENA Poker Room in hopes of winning a share of the $1,233,000 prize pool.

Two-hundred and fourteen players reached Monday’s semifinals and fought hard to sit among the top 10, who went on to compete at the final table on day five.

The final day of the championship was hosted by poker professional, actress and TV personality, Tiffany Michelle, and after what felt like a quick, but intense six-hour game, 29-year-old Casa Grande resident, Eltorna “BG” Gant II, was crowned the 2012 Arizona State Poker Champion.

“I knew I was going to do it,” said Gant, a first-time entrant of the competition. “I never stopped believing in myself that I would win, I just thought it would take longer.”

Though his winnings were initially projected at $208,300, the large number of entries increased Gant’s total prize to $233,696.
He also received a championship bracelet and first-place trophy.

The following are the top 10 players in the Arizona State Poker Championship:

1. Eltorna “BG” Gant II- Casa Grande, Ariz. – $233,696
2. Matt Elsby- Chandler, Ariz.- $147,960
3. Adam “Whitey” White- Washington, DC – $97,407
4. Salvatore Musto III- Tempe, Ariz.- $72,747
5. Nathan Pfunger- Tempe, Ariz.- $59,184
6. William Yantis- Tucson, Ariz.– $46,854
7. Richard Saine- Phoenix, Ariz.- $34,524
8. Adam Singer – Paradise Valley, Ariz.- $28,359
9. Mohammad “Mo” Arani- Plano, TX – $20,961
10. Dylan Hortin- Anthem, Ariz.-$14,796

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