Poker variance and pure luck determines that any random player can enter a poker tournament and win it all. One tournament or one win doesn’t determine a player’s true skill set. In poker, true skill is measured over the long term, over the course of thousands upon thousands of hands. By this same measuring stick, the toughest weekly venues are the ones that are the hardest to win consistently, over the long term. It doesn’t matter that you win once, or even twice, at a particular venue.
Our assessment of venue strength is directly related to how tough it is to win the venue’s tournament consistently over the long term. The “softest” venue tournaments usually have a few regular winners that interchange from week to week. With tough venue tournaments, the actual winner’s list over time becomes more of a crap shoot, if only because of the mixed skill sets and various poker landmines that players have to routinely navigate through.
Below is our list of the Top 5 Toughest weekly venues in Tucson.
5: Native Grill & Wings on Cortaro on Wednesdays @7pm.
There was a time, not so long ago, when the Wednesday nights at Native on Cortaro was the bully of poker tournaments. They offered tough competition, wild poker variance, and a really good challenge. Many players were intimidated by the aura of the game well before the game started. This venue made our last Top 5 with flying colors.
But now, the Wednesday games at Native Grill & Wings on Cortaro suffers from the George Foreman syndrome–the scary boxing bully got beat up by Ali. When the upstart Throwbacks Sports Bar & Grill players challenged the legends of Native Grill & Wings on Cortaro to a poker duel on March 15th, 2015, many spectators thought it would end in a poker slaughter. The invincible aura of Native’s poker players was openly challenged, with a For Bragging Rights poker trophy on the line. What followed was a legendary poker tournament that will forever go down in the history books. The young Throwbacks upstarts, mimicking Ali, took down the terrifying Native poker monster in a final table KO. And much like Foreman did in 1974, Native players walked away from the defeat unwilling to even remotely consider a rematch. The poker landscape was forever changed that day.
The Wednesday tournaments at Native Grill & Wings on Cortaro are still amazingly tough games to play at and win consistently, but a lot of the intimidation factor that made the game even tougher to beat was stripped away by the public loss to Throwbacks players in March.
Expect excellent service, a wonderful staff, and poker players who love the game and understand how to have fun. It’s a smoothly run tournament that has a very consistent structure. This tournament has a core group of skilled poker players who make each night an exciting and challenging event. It’s not a soft game at all, and that’s why it has made our Top 5 List two times in a row.
One of the most consistent players at this venue has been Paul.
4: Delectables on Fourth on Thursdays @7pm
Delectables has its own unique crowd of poker players, and they don’t make it easy to win on any Thursday night. There’s a nice mixture of experienced and inexperienced players, which means a solid poker player will have to switch gears often when playing at the table. ABC poker simply will not work at Delectables on Fourth.
The eclectic nature of the venue adds a certain class to the game of poker that isn’t found at other sports bar tournaments. Gourmet food. Excellent service. And the legendary Fourth Avenue crowd. It’s vacation poker almost, and this is what makes the game tough to beat consistently. Players get so easily caught up in the ambiance of the interesting people passing by that they forget to focus on the game of poker. You’ll discover naturally tight players loosening up their games to the point of leaking, and loose players tightening up to the point of becoming nits. The food, the wine, the service–everything works in conjunction to create a classy atmosphere that almost places poker to the sidelines. It’s much easier to fold pocket sevens to a 3-bet preflop when it gives you a chance to take another bite out of the gourmet pizza that’s sometimes served at Delectables just for our poker players.
What makes this game tougher than most other venues is the fact that the players there are absolutely fearless. There’s no way to bully out players at Delectables preflop. For all the poker experts who wobble into this tournament thinking they can jump straight into fifth gear, usually find themselves busted out on the rail with a speeding ticket. This tournament forces players to step outside their comfort zone, and for those who can’t, they lose–often. This is one of the few weekly tournaments where it’s hard to beat consistently. The only thing players can do consistently here is complain about bad beats, because it will happen, and often. Just because you have pocket queens pre-flop doesn’t guarantee you a win. Players at Delectables understand this fact, and their fearlessness is the reason why most experienced players can’t beat the game.
Expect great food, amazing service, and a flawless atmosphere each Thursday Night. This is the one venue where women often outnumber the men at the final table.
One of the most successful players at this venue so far has been Bill Ross and Gary.
3: Native Grill & Wings on Speedway on Wednesdays @7pm
Throughout history, every sport has been pushed to another level by cocky upstarts who challenge the status quo. It’s usually the younger generation who dare to do things different, who see change as an invitation to greatness instead of an obstacle. The players at Native Grill & Wings on Speedway have embraced this line of thinking to the fullest. As a result, it has quickly made this game one of the toughest games in town to beat on a regular basis.
It’s hard to beat this game because it’s too random. Each week the player profile and game style changes. One week it’s a tight, conservative game, while the next week it’s a loose, aggressive one. This makes it very difficult for most players to adjust, leaving them stranded on the sidelines, watching instead of playing. It’s the random nature of this weekly game that edges out Native on Cortaro and Delectables for 3rd place. A flaw in most players’ game is the unrealistic expectation of poker being played a certain way, all the time. They have an idea of the way hands should or shouldn’t be played, then they unwittingly lose all their chips when other players don’t play the way they thought they should have. And this is what makes the tournament at Native on Speedway tougher than the venues above. It’s random. It’s unpredictable. If you only have one way of playing poker, you will lose. Players have to be able to switch gears and adjust in this game.
Expect really good food, great service, and fun and exciting game. You won’t be disappointed.
The most successful players at this venue so far has been David Peabody and Nicole.
2: Throwbacks Sports Bar & Grill on Tuesdays @7pm
The reining champs. The trophy winners. The young upstarts who called out the poker legends at Native on Cortaro and won. Nothing can be taken away from their victory, nor their accomplishments. This is unquestionably one of the toughest weekly venues to beat consistently. Players from all experience levels have tried to crack the Throwbacks’ DaVinci code, but most have failed, miserably. You’ll hear all types of excuses as to why players can play 10 games at Throwbacks, and still win none of them. What these excuse-makers never admit is this: all those excuses are exactly what makes this particular tournament so tough to beat consistently. The Tuesday night tournaments at Throwbacks are poker landmines, literally. Each hand is a potential explosion. If a poker player hasn’t mastered position and pot control, he or she will be on the rail before the first break. It’s utterly chaos preflop and postflop.
Throwbacks Sports Bar & Grill is the tournament where you either learn patience or defeat. Rarely is there an in-between. The players at this venue have proven that they can battle it out with some of the best poker players in Tucson and come out victorious. This has given them a certain bravado that they now toss into their playing styles each week. They know that they can bluff out superior hands on the turn, and they do so with glee. They sit on the edge of their seats sometimes, just waiting for players from another venue to dare to challenge them, but no one wants a war with poker’s version of Platoon. Their giant trophy sits on the bar in Throwbacks, collecting dust, because no other venue in Tucson wants a repeat of the Ali/Foreman demolition. Instead, potential opponents whisper softly on the sidelines about how they “could” beat or “would” beat Team Throwbacks in a poker match. The players from Throwbacks Sports Bar & Grill are itching for chance to repeat their past success; they are young guns with a giant poker chip on their shoulders. But so far, no one wants to dust that chip off.
This game is not only hard to beat consistently, it’s hard to beat period. One frustrated player announced one week, “I’d have a better chance playing lotto.” He was meaning it as an insult, because of a nasty bad beat he’d taken, but little did he know that he was almost right. He could play at Throwbacks a hundred times, yet with his particular skill set, he’d be lucky to win twice. It’s not the hands you play at Throwbacks, it’s how you play them, and when. Players who refuse to establish pot control and utilize position effectively at Throwbacks will actually be better off playing the lottery. On any hand, two minutes into a tournament, a re-raise at Throwbacks could easily be 30x the big blind preflop. The so-called experienced players who get sucked into this madness with relatively weak hands like KQ or AQ or AJ against 4 or 5 players almost always find themselves whining on the sidelines, without chips. Throwbacks is a different type tournament, the O.K Coral of poker, and the players who hop into the middle of the shootout can’t complain about getting shot by 6-7 off suit.
Only snipers survive at Throwbacks; poker players who are patient enough to sit back and seek out situations to pick off pots and players. They don’t foolishly defy pot odds by engaging in all-in coin tosses preflop on a dry pot with weak hands. Instead, they wait for situation where they are WAY more than a 3 to 1 favorite to win the pot. But these type players are rare in social games, so Throwbacks still thrives as the second toughest weekly venue in Tucson to beat consistently.
One of the most successful player so far at Throwbacks poker tournaments has been Thomas Halifax and Andrew Parsons.
1: Schrier’s Sports Grill on Sundays @4pm
This is, without question, the toughest weekly venue in Tucson. This game is so tough, no one has ever won it two weeks in a row. Players can’t even conceive of a scenario where someone wins three weeks in a row.
There’s not much else that can be said about this tournament, as it’s stands as the most elite game in Tucson. Players generally come to Schrier’s to eat their delicious $5.00 burgers and the awesome spring rolls, because they know from the get-go that winning the tournament is an insurmountable feat. There have been players who have confidently climbed the ladder to success, players like Jeff Matthews and George Lozano, but even with their superb poker skills, they can only win sporadically at Schrier’s Sports Grill. It’s the game of all weekly game, and it now wears the aura of invincibility that Native on Cortaro once wore.
One of the things that makes this game so tough is the fact that many of the players from the private game at Elbow Room play at Schrier’s now. It’s a game where the best of the best in Tucson come to test their skills against one another. No one player is consistently better than any other, so the ability to dominate the game vanishes the moment the tournament starts.
We are so confident that Schrier’s Sports Grill is the toughest weekly venue in Tucson to beat consistently that TucsonPokerNews.com is offering a $50.00 Cash Reward to any player who can win 3 consecutive weeks there. We are willing to back up our claim with cold hard cash. The game at Schrier’s is virtually unbeatable on a consistent basis over the long term. Don’t believe us? Well, take our challenge and win our $50.00 reward.
No one is consistently successful at Scrier’s Sports Grill.