Anthony Cicali is a freelance writer from Riverside, New Jersey. He’s also a Twitch casino streamer and a professional East Coast poker player. You can follow his gambling adventures on Twitter @Eatahoagie.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PlayPennsylvania.
On Monday morning, I got to visit Live! Casino Philadelphia for the start of their daily poker tournaments. Even though the casino opened the poker room in February, it was only cash games up until now.
I jumped in the action for the first tournament and was overall pleased by the smoothness with which the daily tournament ran. A lot of players were happy to be back in a live tournament. For some players it had been a long time since their last tournament.
“This is my first tournament since pre-COVID,” says Jack Thomas, a poker player from Deptford, New Jersey. “I used to travel to Delaware Park and play three tournaments a week, but now I am only 15 minutes from Live!”
I walked in and quickly realized that tournament registration is at the front desk in the poker room and not at the cashier. Players received a nice new beach towel for registering.
The tournament kicked off right at 11:15 a.m. as advertised and ran as if they have been running events for years. The players were excited to be back on the felt.
One player who wished to remain anonymous said:
“I am just happy to not be wearing a mask and out playing poker in a tournament again.”
Live! Casino Philadelphia poker tournaments start
Currently, Live! Casino Philadelphia has more poker tournaments scheduled than any other casino in Pennsylvania. Poker tournaments at Live! Casino Philadelphia are scheduled to run daily in the mornings, with additional evening tournaments Sunday through Wednesday.
Many poker players expressed frustration that poker tournaments have not come back yet to other casinos in the area.
“I really enjoyed the Parx tournaments,” says Richard Waldman, a poker player from Riverside, New Jersey. “But until they come back, I am going to check out the tourneys at Live.”
I spoke to the floor manager and they advised me that as of last night, all the structures for each daily event are now posted on their website. Copies of the structure sheets are also laminated at the front desk.
The field closed registration after level 6, and they got 92 runners today. The prize pool was way over $5,000 in total.
Solid staff and stacks make tournaments worth the visit
Some other positives that were encountered today were:
- Players receive 50 cent p/h comps for playing tournaments.
- Tournaments are located near the bathrooms.
- All dailies have double starting stacks or greater.
- Staff was well-versed and capable of handling a daily tournament.
I heard only a few negatives when talking to players on my tables.
- At the moment, there is no set guarantees on any tournaments.
- A few players were complaining the 5,000 chip looked too similar to the 100 chip.
- Unfortunately, smoking is back in the casino (although not in the poker room).
Even though I didn’t cash and ended up eight players out of the money, I still thoroughly enjoyed playing at Live! for their first tournament offering. I look forward to going back for another one.
Lead photo by Anthony Cicali.