Friday, August 6, 2010

First Poker Tournament in PA Well Received

Pennsylvania's first legal poker tournament took place today at the Meadows Casino and Racetrack in Washington PA. I arrived at 9:30, just to avoid any potential rush of tournament players and was relieved to see that there were just a few signups.

Tension was a little thick as the poker room management(Peter Lau and Donna Lapia, readied the tables along with help from the well-expereinced poker dealers on staff. In addition, several 'suits' were hanging around (puportedly PGCB and Upper level Meadows management) ready to oversee what would historically be the first legal poker tournament in Pennsylvania.

I registered and took a late breakfast and coffee break in anticipation of playing in this tourney. When I returned to the Poker room at 10:28 am I was surprised to see 5 tables filling up for the tournament. What a great turnout! Especially since the tournament was not announced or advertised.

After a brief settling, the tourney got underway.

The Basics:

The buy-in is $40 with a $5 dealer add on bonus, initial chips: $4,000, add-on $1,000.
The structure was player friendly considering the amount of chips as the blind levels were 18 minutes long with starting blinds at $50 and $100.

The tables were hand dealt (the final table used the shufflemaster), however the hands per hour were above average.

42 players registered to the tourney with a payout scale going to the top 5:

1st $567.00
2nd $315.00
3rd $189.00
4th $113.00
5th $ 76.00

The Play

Most of the play at my table was soft with just a little aggression in the early blinds, I ended the first break (at level 5) with a little more than 10K in chips and the field had narrowed to 34.

Although I had played hundreds of low stakes tourneys at Wheeling Island the last few years, this first PA Poker tourney lacked the uber-aggression and complacency commonly seen at the latter. The dealers and staff were very attentive to the level-ups. Although there was problems with the tournament clock in the beginning, (frozen at one point), it was quickly reset, while play continued without missing a beat.

Dealer pushes were done quickly and extra effort was made to ensure the tournament moved along. Going into level 7 (600 and 1200, 200 ante), we were down to 18 players, I sat close to the average with 12K in chips. The final table convened during the 9th Level (1000 and 2000, 300 ante) with 10 players remaining.

The Final table was moved to a poker table with an automatic shuffler and play resumed quickly as seats were assigned. During the break the 100 chips were raced off, and play continued. We had made a deal for the bubble boy, which encouraged two shortstacks to move in and shortly thereafter we were down to the final 5.

With 3 minutes remaining in Level 10 (1500 and 3000, 500 ante), the bubble broke and 5 players remained to capture the title of the winner of the first poker tournament in PA. I lasted until 4th place (Level 11) moving all in on the button with 33 against the BB who showed A6os, flopping a 6 to end my run to be the first winner. Shortly thereafter player 3 went down and heads up play commenced at level 12 (3,000 and 6,000, ante 1000).

Lasting less than 10 minutes, the two players got it all in when the button limped and the BB shoved all in, getting a quick call from his opponent. The tabled hands were (Button) AA, (BB) 4 6os. The flop came down 3 4 4, enough of a sweat for the AA as a turn came down blank and the river Ace giving the champion aces full.

The tourney ended around 2:45pm, with congratulatory handshakes for both players as Peter Lau escorted the entrants to the cage.

Personally, this is one of the better tourneys I have played in recent years as the relaxing and serene atmosphere along with the cordial nature of the poker room and players made it an enjoyable experience overall.

Now that we have that first cash out of the way, let's get onto the big tourneys!
Starting next week, the Meadows will announce their full schedule and it will be posted on the Pennsylavania Poker Players blog at

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Meadows Poker Tournaments First In Pa Poker Rooms

An unofficial announcement was made today that the Meadows Poker Room in Washington PA will begin poker tournaments on Friday August 6th, 2010 at 10:30am. The first legal poker tournament in Pennsylvania is a $40 buy in no limit Texas Holdem tourney with a 4000 starting chip stack.

The official announcement will come from the Meadows Poker Room management (Peter Lau, Donna Lapia and Jamison McCombs) by early Friday Morning. The Poker dealers, players and staff have all anxiously awaited the announcement over the last few weeks since the opening of the southwestern PA Poker Room.

This is a great opportunity for all the area's poker tournament players to come out and hone their skills in one of the best poker rooms in the region. I personally am excited to see the poker tournament opportunity come to this area, and will post to this blog the turnout, payouts and winners in the tournaments for this weekend.

ADVISORY: come early! the tournaments start at 10:30am Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and it is possible the tournaments will get capped if too many show up.

For more info, go to the Official Pennsylvania Poker Players Blog

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Harrahs Sells Rio All Suite Casino and Hotel Leaves Future of WSOP Unanswered

Rumors circulating over the last few weeks that Harrahs Entertainment is selling the Rio All Suite Hotel and Casino finally emerged as the truth yesterday when it was 'unofficially' announced that an 'as of yet unnamed' conglomerate has purchased the property.

This leaves a void as to where the November Nine will play the Final Table of the 2010 WSOP main event and further, where future World Series of Poker events will be held. Needless to say the expansive space of the amazon room, as well as the plentiful space and parking available for the thousands upon thousands of visitors each year during the WSOP series and main event could well be in jeopardy.

However, given the fact that the last several years has seen an explosive growth of participants in the WSOP series events (from 5,000 to over 7,000), it is likely the decision to sell was based on factors already considered by the Harrahs Management. Such as a new, larger home to the WSOP.

I am sure, the answers have adequately been addressed by Harrah's as to where the new WSOP events will be held as well as the logistics of accommodating the massive crowds. Speculation and rumors circulating tend to believe that Harrah's will utilize one or more of its other 7 properties on the Las Vegas strip for the new home of the WSOP.

I personally would like to see the events held closer to the Strip as when I played the WSOP, the daily commute from Harrahs to the Rio was just a bit brutal (both in terms of time and money).

As with most of the Harrahs brands, the WSOP is sure to have the media's attention when it finally decides to reveal to the public their intention on where they will hold the 2011 WSOP.