Superstorm Sandy’s poker aftermath

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By Jo Kim

Superstorm Sandy brought the nation to a scare and Atlantic City was no exception. For the first time, all casinos in the Philadelphia and New Jersey shore region were closed for consecutive days. In Atlantic City, all of the nine boardwalk and the three marina casinos were shut down Oct. 28-Nov. 2. Though the hurricane brought a revenue plunge, the casinos withstood the storm in good condition.

For Harrah’s Philadelphia, the storm caused a major delay in the Philly Poker Open. The event took off before the storm hit, bringing a respectable 282 entrants for the first event. However, the weather forced multiple tournament cancellations and $125K guarantee three-day main event was updated to $75K with only 70 entrants. Of the 29 entrants in Day 1A and 41 in Day 1B, 29 returned to take down the event on Day 2. Wayne Lewis won more than $26K, claiming the championship with pocket 10s.

While Superstorm Sandy disturbed the Philly Poker Open, Harrah’s was able to hold the deaf poker tournaments hosted by Philadelphia Deaf Poker Open, or PDPO, as scheduled. Because of the cancellation of the National Deaf Poker Tour, another deaf poker tournament event in Atlantic City, players made the trip to Philly seeking to play in the three no-limit hold’em tournaments. The event was open to public patrons and returning Philly Poker Open players.

The storm may have caused a delay in the Philly Open, but Harrah’s remained busy soon after reopening.

“During the PDPO, there were as many as five tournaments going on in a single day,” said Rich Klatt, the poker director. Cash tables were especially packed with players chasing after the bad-beat jackpot nearing $360K.

The Parx poker room was quick in reopening days before any other casino. For the many locals without power for days, it was the perfect location to flock toward for warmth, electricity and comfort.

“Parx closed for the storm; when we opened we were pretty busy,” dealer Will Schmidt said. “There were a lot of Atlantic City regulars looking to play as well as Parx regulars who had lost power in their homes and were playing longer hours than usual.”