Atlantic City has long been one of the nation’s hotbeds for poker. Rounders filmed a few scenes at the Trump Taj Mahal, the United States Poker Championship is televised there, the now-demolished Sands held a tournament with a million-dollar payday attended by poker’s biggest names, and the Borgata hosts one of the World Poker Tour’s most popular stops. But for all that AC had to offer there was one thing it was missing: razz.
For as long as poker has been legal in Atlantic City razz never has been on the list of approved variations by the New Jersey Casino Control Commission. It took a while, but the NJCCC has granted the Borgata permission to test razz. At the moment only two tables are eligible to spread razz as per the NJCCC testing guidelines, but the game has quickly gained interest. It comes as no surprise as Atlantic City has long been known as a popular spot for seven-card stud games.
For added player enjoyment, instead of just playing razz they have been spreading H.O.R.S.E. upon request and have plans of including a H.O.R.S.E event in the upcoming Borgata Poker Open this September.
While razz may not be a commercially viable poker variant (there was just one razz event at the World Series this year), it is high on the list of many longtime players and stud enthusiasts. The popularity of mixed games as a whole is growing, however, which makes this decision one that had to be made, and hopefully one that holds up.
The response from the players has been positive, followed by comments on how dumbfounded they are that with all that Atlantic City poker history and its love affair with stud that razz’s inclusion has taken so long.
With so much stud being played at the Taj Mahal, razz is expected to be added to the list once testing is over and the NJCCC approves the game full time.
• On a separate note, thanks to everyone who came out for the Ante Up meetup in June at Harrah’s. It’s always great to be able to interact with the fans and readers on a personal level.
PHILADELPHIA: Parx Casino is getting ready to hold its first big series this month, hosting the Parx Open Poker Classic. The series is boasting a $500K-combined guarantee across 15 events, including a $2K main event with a $250K-guarantee prize pool.
DeepStacks University will be on hand to hold “The Philadelphia Power Poker Course” on Aug. 18. Mike “The Mouth” Matusow, Michael “Grinder” Mizrachi, Robert Mizrachi, Tristan “cre8tive” Wade and Jennifer “Jennicide” Leigh will be instructing. It will be the first taste of poker celebrity at Parx Casino since the game’s recent influx. Attendance is sure to be high.
Speaking of poker celebrity in the Philadelphia area, Harrah’s Chester is hosting the Philly Poker Championships until Aug. 7 and the Prince of Poker, Scotty Nguyen, will be on hand for the $555 main event Aug. 6. There will be $225,000 guaranteed over nine events with the main guaranteeing a $100K prize pool. A $500 bounty is on the head of the 1998 WSOP champ.
With the WSOP all but wrapped up, save for the November Nine, the combination of the Philly Poker Championships, Parx Open Poker Classic and the WPT Borgata Poker Open in September, the Atlantic City/Philadelphia area has positioned itself nicely as a great place to start your post-WSOP tour.
— Cris Belkewitch the Ante Up A.C-Philly Ambassador. A member of Team Bustout, his insight can be found at thepokerjourney.net.
Interested in New Jersey-Pennsylvania tournaments and promotions? Turn to our Where to Play pages in the back of the magazine.