AC-Philadelphia poker competition remains strong

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With the World Series of Poker well into its schedule, the Rio is undeniably the most popular and busiest poker venue this time of year. Still, Atlantic City and Philadelphia is keeping the local competition interesting for the players left behind.

Parx held its second Big Stax Poker Series, which featured three main events, three trophies and a $2M total prize pool. Each of the trophy events had multiple Day 1s for the buy-in of $300, $500 and $1,500, scheduled in that order. The $1,500 main event drew 320 entrants in the running for the $500K guaranteed prize pool.

On Day 3, the last three standing were two local pros, Mike Dentale and Jonas Wexler, and Danny Warchol from Ohio. Dentale had the most active chip stack as he continuously doubled up at the final table from 1.7 million to 4.5 million. After six hours, Warchol finished third to leave the East Coast players heads-up for the championship.

“Even though some of my opponents were running extremely well, I wasn’t worried because of the great structure,” Dentale said. With the chip count at 8.1 million for Wexler and 7.9 million for Dentale (only a difference of one big blind) they each took home bragging rights and a $100K payout.

As the Big Stax II tournaments wrapped up May, the Borgata hosted its Summer Open only a few days into June. The series began with a field of 1,383 players entering for the $300K-guarantee opening event. The schedule included multiple double-play tournaments and seven guarantee events, including four $100Ks.

With the WSOP main event approaching, perhaps Atlantic City’s most exciting tournament was Borgata’s Event 11. One in 28 players received $10,500 cash for the WSOP main as well as a $3,500 entry into the $3M guarantee Borgata Open WPT Championship in September.

In Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board passed SugarHouse Casino’s revision of 2009’s approved expansion plan by a unanimous vote. The $155M project will utilize the five connecting acres the casino owners purchased to develop a 90,000-square-foot gaming floor and public space. The revised plan estimates the project should be completed in 24 months.

The expansion project outlined new gaming additions to the casino, including the first casino poker room in the city of Philadelphia. SugarHouse is on the waterfront midway between Harrah’s Philadelphia (in Chester) and Parx in Bensalem. With the tax revenue nearing $300M, SugarHouse Casino’s outlook seems promising as its expansion will establish more resources in the area with 450 new jobs and, of course, a Philadelphia poker room.

— Email AC/Philadelphia Ambassador Jo Kim at anteupjokim@gmail.com.