By Cris Belkewitch
The dark days of winter are behind us and that usually means good things for the boardwalk empire that is Atlantic City. With a World Series of Poker Circuit stop landing at Caesars last month and the Borgata Spring Open April 13-29 (the main event is April 24-27), New Jersey is the place to be this spring to get you ready for the 2011 World Series of Poker.
Popular tournament series always garner a lot of attention for the host casinos and the players come out in droves, but outside those series of events play never stops. Up and down the boardwalk and out in the marina the poker action has been picking up. New games and limits have been popping up and bigger and better promotions have been coming down the pipeline.
Harrah’s has taken a step in the right direction by adding a little variety to its list of games with the addition of a $7.50-$15 pink chip Omaha-8/stud-8 mix. People still talk about the pink-chip games held at the Tropicana years ago and Harrah’s is hoping its rendition is talked about in the same regard. The game has been going nicely and a lot of the regulars have been enjoying giving something other than no-limit hold’em a chance. For you comp buffs out there the game offers $2 per hour in comps and 60 tier credits per hour.
Speaking of comps and promotions, the Showboat is going to be offering a lot more to its players. When it comes to its list of promotions it’s more quantity than quality, but it’s a start. Any player who hits a royal flush receives a comped room, Sunday-Thursday, and $20 added to their comps.
Anyone who plays five or more hours on Monday or Tuesday will receive a free buffet valid for that day and the next (the staff is working on having Wednesday and Thursday added). The best promotion is related to daily tournaments. Each daily winner will be entered into a freeroll the next month with the prize pool equaling $1 for every tournament entry that month (expected to be between $3,000 and $5,000). The winner of the freeroll will be Showboat’s Tournament Player of the Month.
The poker scene in Pennsylvania is still a little wet behind the ears, but it definitely is coming along. And some of the problems haven’t all been the poker rooms’ fault. Things such as ordinances that prohibit them from serving alcohol or waiting on the gaming commission to approve tournament play or the distribution of new chip denominations are growing pains that new ventures have no choice but to wait patiently. But in the best interest of their customers they have been doing as much as they can.
Players at the Parx Casino requested a mid-limit stud game be added to the mix and the staff was quick to take them up on it. Within a day or two a $15-$30 stud game was added, and a $3 time charge was taken in lieu of rake. The decision was met with gleeful approval from the regulars. With a $30-$60 hold’em game running as well, this addition is a nice push in the right direction for higher limit poker in Pennsylvania.
As mentioned the Borgata spring series is this month, plus Harrah’s Chester released its WSOPC schedule. The series, which runs April 27-May 10, will feature 10 ring events, culminating with the $1,600 buy-in main event. The schedule is much more eclectic than the one found at Caesars with rings to be awarded in numerous no-limit hold’em events, a re-entry event, Omaha/8, H.O.S.E., and what is hoped to be a juicy NLHE six-max event.
There is a lot on the menu in the coming weeks to pad the bankrolls of all the East Coasters, just in time for the 2011 World Series of Poker.
— Cris Belkewitch is a professional poker player and writer from New Jersey. A member of Team Bustout, his insight can be found at thepokerjourney.net.