Big poker scores at Big Stax in Pa.



Editor’s note: Ante Up refrained from publishing its April issue because of the COVID-19 pandemic. While most of the news in the issue would have been obsolete, we are publishing online what we deem still newsworthy. There’s no predicting the future so while we may be mentioning some upcoming events, there is a very good chance they will be canceled as well. So, be sure to double check with poker rooms before returning to them.

The Big Stax 300 looked like it was Dan Sweeney’s to win since the final levels of Day 2. On Day 3, Sweeney made victory a reality. He started the final day with the lead and stayed atop the leaderboard for most of the event en route to taking home the championship at Parx Casino in Bensalem, Pa. 

The final three players, Sweeney, Anthony Chin and Christopher Laieta, made a deal that ended with Sweeney being declared the winner, earning $95,744. Chin and Larieta each earned $65K. 

“I felt like I was going to win,” said Sweeney, who grew up in the area. “I felt like I was at the top of my game. I tried to not go too crazy, not to be too much of a chip bully when I had an advantage. I picked my spots correctly, I think. I made a few mistakes, but that’s OK.”

The heads-up match for the Big Stax 500, which had 1,496 entrants, began with Joel Deutsch facing a 52M-7M deficit against Kenny Huynh. It ended after a 19-hour day, with Deutsch coming out on top after a two-hour heads-up match for the ages.

Deutsch earned $126,995, the biggest score of his career.

Huynh pocketed $80,298 and Bosu Avunoori was third ($52,300).

“I had nothing to lose,” Deutsch said of the heads-up match. “I’m thinking one thing: I’ve got second place. I didn’t picture this.”

The Big Stax 1,100 championship drew 629 runners as 32-year-old Ray Ross Jr., a regular cash-game player at Parx, grabbed the title and $125,588.

For the Philly-based pro, it was the largest tournament score of his career. “It feels good to win,” he said.

The next Big Stax runs April 25-May 22 and WPT DeepStacks returns to live stream its $1,500 main event. The Big Stax 300 begins April 29, and has four flights. The Big Stax 500 begins May 7 with three flights. The WPTDS main kicks off May 15 with two flights. The Big Stax 2,500 begins May 17 with two flights.

As for promotions, ask about the $250K high hand giveaways, which will run until April 26.

BORGATA: The Borgata Winter Open’s $3,500 WPT championship established its final table of six after four days in Atlantic City but will conclude in Vegas at a later date. The event had 1,129 players and the winner will earn $674,840. Leading the final table is Canada’s Veerab Zakarian, followed by James Anderson.

The biggest story of the table has to be two-time WPT champion Brian Altman finding another WPT final table in back-to-back events, winning the WPT Lucky Hearts Poker Open earlier in the season. He has a commanding lead in the WPT Player of the Year race.


ENCORE BOSTON HARBOR: In February, a $1,100 two-day event with a $200K guarantee drew 413 entries to more than double the guarantee.

Brian Tougias came out on top, taking home the $94K prize. Scott Robbins and Robert Garrett rounded out the top three winning $58K and $40K, respectively.

MGM SPRINGFIELD: The 23-table poker room runs daily high hand, splash the pot and royal flush jackpots. Thursday at 6 p.m., the room features a popular $5-$10 NLHE game with a $500 minimum buy-in and no max.

Rhode Island

TWIN RIVER CASINO: Just outside of Providence, the state’s only live poker room has 23 tables, featuring $1-$2, $2-$5 and $5-$10 NLHE.


At Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, the $1,200 main event of the Winter Deep Freeze finished in February.

This stacked final table saw tournament pro Sam Taylor finishing third for $19K. The final two agreed on a chop with Paul Cucchiara taking second place and $35K. Winning $41K and the trophy was Leonard Sande. 

He has had plenty of results at Foxwoods over the years. He won the World Poker Finals for $67K in October and has continued his consistent play this year. This win brings his live earnings to $1.1M-plus.

MOHEGAN SUN: High-hand promotions are running seven days a week for cash games in Uncasville. Thursdays feature an action-packed $8-$16 HORSE game. A variety of tournaments run daily, highlighted by the $120 event at 6 p.m. with a $10K guarantee every Tuesday.

New York

RIVERS SCHENECTADY: This month, $100K will be given away in high hands and hot-seat giveaways. 

SENECA NIAGARA: Tournaments run seven days a week, highlighted by a $200 event on Saturdays at 11 a.m. (15K chips, 30-minute blinds).

For cash-game promos, flop a royal flush and get paid $1K. This promo will pay $500 if you hit it on the turn and $250 on the river. On Saturdays (1-11 p.m.), the high hand of the hour can win $1K.

TURNING STONE RESORT CASINO: The 32-table poker room features a wide selection of cash games and tournaments. Enjoy playing while watching one of the 12 big-screen HDTVs. The room has a bad-beat jackpot and many high-hand giveaways. Check with the floor staff for their generous poker room rates.


HOLLYWOOD CASINO BANGOR: The state’s lone poker room offers a progressive high hand and a royal-flush jackpot.

Chris Cosenza

Chris Cosenza