While Whitefish tends to be a busy place in the winter, spurred by action at Big Mountain, and during the summer when tourists flock to Glacier National Park, the “shoulder” seasons of fall and spring tend to be slow for local businesses.
Brian Averill, owner of The Lodge at Whitefish Lake, hopes to inject at least one of those shoulder seasons with a little more action. Starting next spring, Averill will host the Super System Poker Camp, where attendees will be immersed in four days of poker tutorials given by professional poker players. In addition to the instruction, participants play one another in daily poker tournaments. Four winners of the tournaments then have a chance to play the pros on the event’s last day. The camp is priced at $4,000 per person.
So far established professional poker player Doyle “Texas Dolly” Brunson has signed on as an instructor. Brunson, who lives in the Flathead Valley, has won 10 World Series of Poker bracelets and is the author of Super System: A Course in Power Poker, a popular guide now in its third edition. (It was originally titled How I Made Over $1,000,000 Playing Poker.)
“This could be a big benefit to the community,” says Averill, who hopes to add five additional pros for the camp. “We need more off-season events.”
Sheila Bowen, director of the Whitefish Chamber of Commerce, agrees, saying, “There is no doubt it would benefit businesses in Whitefish.”
Originally, Averill had hoped to begin the camp this spring, but got delayed by the City of Whitefish. According to Whitefish City Planner Bob Horne, gambling in the city is limited to a few small districts, of which The Lodge is not a part, but could be allowed in other areas under a “special events” permit. Horne’s staff is still determining how to limit the permit—“We want to put some sideboards on this thing,” he says—but doesn’t foresee any problem for the inaugural Super System Poker Camp.