In Jersey, tournament variety is spice of poker life



By Cris Belkewitch

One of the great things the East Coast poker scene (Atlantic City area in particular) has to offer is variety. All along the boardwalk and marina you have any number of casinos to choose from to get your poker fix. If you happen to be on the other side of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge in the Philadelphia area your options still are plentiful. Variety creates competition and without competition the player is left to take what the casino gives them. Luckily, that’s not the case.

With so many poker rooms in Atlantic City you find a lot of bad-beat jackpot hunters filling the seats. It’s no secret as the jackpot increases, so does the attendance.

But there’s another facet of the action that draws the players: daily tournaments. Many poker players find value in these tournaments and play them day in and day out. For others it’s a way to play a good amount of poker for relatively low cost.

So of all the choices you have every day how do you decide which one on the schedule is right for you? Well that’s what we’re here for, so let’s break down some of the tournaments that highlight the schedule on any given day.

BORGATA’S $15K GUARANTEES: Every Wednesday the Borgata offers two $15K guaranteed no-limit hold’em tournaments, one in the morning at 11 and one later in the evening at 7. The Borgata offers $120 daily tournaments (except Fridays and Saturdays), but Wednesday is the only day that offers a guaranteed prize pool. With attendance routinely creating a prize pool bigger than the advertised guarantee these are hard tournaments to pass up for the price. It’s not every day you can find a $120 tournament that can net you $5,000 for first place. If grinding daily tournaments is your thing, Wednesdays at the Borgata are a must.

HARRAH’S FRIDAY/SATURDAY: For those who can only find the time to venture to Atlantic City on the weekends Harrah’s is the stop for you. Offering a $125 NLHE tournament on Friday and Saturday nights at 8:15, players start with 15K chips, offering more play than the usual daily starting stack of 10K.

With the casual/recreational player that often shows up on the weekend, these tournaments offer a ton of value to the serious player. And if the cards are not kind to you it’s just a short walk to The Pool, where you can party your sorrows away with some of the best nightlife Atlantic City has to offer.

SHOWBOAT/TROPICANA/BORGATA NIGHTLY: Every evening all across Atlantic City you can find tournaments kicking off at 7 or 7:15. If you prefer a smaller buy-in with a softer field your best bet is to find yourself at either end of the boardwalk. The Showboat offers a nightly $65 NLHE event at 7 (Sunday-Thursday) while the Tropicana offers a nightly $62 event at 7:15 (Sunday-Thursday). If you’re looking for a bigger prize pool the Borgata offers a $120 nightly at 7 (Monday-Friday).

The tournament scene in Atlantic City has plenty to offer every day for players of all levels. For those players who can’t get to A.C. from Philadelphia during the week, Harrah’s Chester offers a 6:30 tournament every night with buy-ins ranging from $60-$95 during the week and $195 on Fridays and Saturdays.

Daily tournaments such as these can be great bankroll builders, and for those just getting involved in poker it’s a great way to get your feet wet in the tournament arena for very low cost. Once newer players get comfortable in a smaller tournament setting such as these they can move up to the bigger events that come through Atlantic City, such as the World Series of Poker Circuit and the World Poker Tour.

For the most part they all offer a very nice risk vs. reward ratio and we all know how important that is. After all, a quality return on your investment is the name of the game, isn’t it?

— Cris Belkewitch is a professional poker player and writer from New Jersey. A member of Team Bustout, his insight can be found at

Ante Up Magazine

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