News on tournaments and other action in casino poker rooms
The Borgata Summer Poker Open got underway Wednesday and for the seventh straight year, the casino is offering up an East Coast answer to The World Series of Poker in Las Vegas.
While a lot of people think of the WSOP as only its multi-million dollar main event in July, it’s actually a mammoth 61-tournament event that sucks up the whole month of June and attracts the biggest name pros in poker.
And that includes many of the biggest names in East Coast poker as well.
That has always left the Borgata Summer Open in a unique position of offering up a large tournament event while the poker world’s eyes are on the WSOP, which began over the Memorial Day weekend.
“We started the Summer Open in 2006 to help introduce our new room, and from the beginning some people questioned it,” Borgata director of poker marketing Ray Stefanelli told the blog Phillygambles.com. “But we felt that we could offer a great alternative to our regional players ... There are some players who don’t want all the expense and hassle of traveling out West.”
True enough, but the 2012 WSOP is already off to a great start. Its second event, which really was its first large-scale event, drew more than 2,000 players for a $1,500 buy-in. And the WSOP even drew 967 players for a $1,500, Omaha hi-lo tournament, which appears to be a record for the specialty game.
But just looking at the WSOP schedule, you can see what has kept the Summer Open a solid performer through the years. In a word — affordability.
All but two of the WSOP events have buy-ins of more than $1,000, and most are much more. The WSOP is clearly the premier poker event of the year both in player quality and money and it’s not leaving a lot of room for casual players.
Meanwhile, the Summer Open began Wednesday with a $500 + $60, $100,000 guaranteed No Limit tournament, which is actually one of the higher buy-ins of the Open. Only two of the 21 main events at the Summer Open have buy-ins of $1,000 or more, including the $$2,500 + $200 Championship event which starts June 17.
With a full slate of secondary tournaments as well — 49 events in all through June 22 — the Summer Open has always been a place for amateurs to have an event all to themselves.
Well, pretty much. Some pros, obviously may skip Vegas or wait until later in the WSOP. But for the most part, a lot of the bigger players that are usually at Borgata events, such as Matt Glantz, Daniel Buzgon, Jamie Kerstetter, Amanda Musumec, are already in Vegas.
Phillygambles.com also did some math (which is always best for me to avoid) and figured out that the Borgata’s vigs — the tournament fee plus the amount deducted for staff tips from prize pools — are a better percentage deal than at the WSOP.
Though not as popular as other Borgata opens, the Summer Open has always been able to draw decent sized fields.
Last year’s opening event, for example, drew 829 players for a $350 buy-in.
So if you haven’t got the means to fly out to Nevada and meet the WSOP buy-ins, the Borgata offers up two and a half weeks of affordable tournaments with, dare we say it, softer fields than normal.
Some weekend highlights include a $600 + $60, two-day tournament this weekend (Sat. June 9 to June 10) and a $350 + $50 DeepStack Double Play that begins Sunday. Double Play tournaments have two opening days, Sunday and Monday. Anyone busting out on the first day can re-buy on Monday and start again.
In some other news, two Atlantic City bad-beat jackpots have started to climb to lofty heights.
The Tropicana, which still sets its minimum hand for jackpots at quad eights, has hit $427,000. The Trop usually sees a slow, but steady build of the jackpot. When you start getting past $400K, however, players notice and the lines begin to form.
Which is probably what’s going on in the four Caesars Entertainment rooms as well as the Caesars combined bad-beat jackpot has climbed to $447,000.