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Spearfish Man Wins South Dakota State Poker Championship

A Spearfish man won the South Dakota State Poker Championship in Deadwood and got $30,000 richer. Cal Dardis was one of 104 players who participated in the Texas Hold ’em tournament over the weekend at the Silverado-Franklin Hotel & Gaming Complex. He held the winning hand on Sunday night.

Winning $21,000, Tony Hanig of Winner finished second. In third came Tyler Peterson of Everett, Wash. He won $12, 800. 93 players left the tournament empty-handed, while the top 11 finishers walked away with some cash.

To play in one of three flights, or groups, Friday and Saturday, the poker players had to pay $1,100. The top 20 people in each flight moved on to the final round Sunday. A poker tournament can be an extensive and exhausting affair, hours piling on hours of meticulous play. Dardis’ pile grew ever larger, even though players slowly lost their chips.

Distinctive attire was donned by different players. Some pulled hoods low down over their faces, while others wore sunglasses while playing. Dardis plugged headphones into his ears and brought a winning resume to the tournament.

He won $3329 in June 2009 and took seventh place in the Mega Stack Series in Las Vegas. Earlier that year, he won $2720 and took 14th in the Heartland Poker Tour in Deadwood. Since then, he has competed in at least a couple of other Las Vegas tournaments. 134 players were brought in from different states in the 2011 tournament. South Dakota had 86 players.

Tom Rensch, Silverado-Franklin general manager was hoping for 300 participants in this tournament. This would have made a $300,000 pot and a $100,000 first-place prize. However, only a third of that was managed. Mother’s Day fell on the final day of the tournament and this could be the reason for the low turnout said Poker room manager Jesse Karn. He added that the tournament still helped liven up casino, drawing more gamblers than a usual weekend in May, even with turnout lower than last year.

In 2011, Bill Swan of Miles City, Mont. Won the title and took home $40, 000. Richard Morgan of Deadwood finished in second place. He won $27,000.