[toc]SugarHouse Casino has officially kicked off the Philadelphia Poker Classic (PPC), a $370,000 guaranteed tournament extravaganza featuring a $200,000 Main Event and the return of the popular Poker Night in America television series.
The series marks one of the casino’s strongest attempts to draw poker fans to its PNiA branded poker room, which celebrated its ribbon cutting ceremony just 11 months ago.
Running dates are March 1 – 20. Full schedule here.
Big on flights, low on buy-ins
The two biggest PPC events offer players the attractive combination of a low price point and a high guarantee. This is accomplished via multiple starting flights and by allowing players the option to buy their way to Day 2 for an increased price point.
The baseline buy-in for Event #1 – SugarRush Challenge 100k Guarantee (March 1 – 5) is just $250. Players can play in one or more of eight starting flights, or ante up $1,150 for four times the starting stack and a guaranteed Day 2 seat. Re-entries are available up until the start of Day 2.
The PPC Main Event (March 12 – 19) is structured much the same way, except instead of eight starting flights, there are seven. And the price point is $500 for Day 1 entries, and $2,100 for those who wish to skip the “preliminary” round.
The Main Event guarantees $200,000, which is on par with some of the smaller Big Stax events at nearby Parx Casino – the presumption being that SugarHouse wishes to one day compete with the current king of live Philadelphia-area poker.
In addition, SugarHouse will host the following tournament events:
- March 11: $400 buy-in, PLO Black Chip Bounty 10k Guarantee
- March 12: $230 buy-in, Super Mega Deep Stack Turbo
- March 13: $265 buy-in, Seniors Event $5k Guarantee
- March 17: $125 buy-in, Poker Night in America Presents: Ladies Event
- March 20: $230 buy-in, $5k Guarantee Black Chip Bounty
Sprinkled throughout will be low buy-in daily events and $125 satellites into the Main Event.
Poker Night in America returns
St. Patrick’s Day will hail the return of Poker Night in America. Kicking off the filming will be a two day Celebrity Cash Game featuring prominent poker icons Phil Hellmuth, Shaun Deeb, poker pro turned YouTube star Doug Polk, and Olivier Busquet.
Rush Street Gaming and PNiA advisor Matt Glantz will also be making an appearance, as will Cate Hall and Mike Dentale.
The $5,000 minimum buy-in game will be open to spectators, with the only requirement being that they are of legal gambling age (21).
March 19 will see two old pals, Hall and Dentale, duke it out in a best of three “Grudge Match.” This may very well be the first time that a player challenged another to play “heads up for rolls” and it actually happened.
The duo began their feud on social media platform Twitter during the WPT Five Diamond Classic in December. Suffice it to say, the heated exchange quickly escalated into Hall challenging the trash-talking Dentale to a match.
The time for talk is nearly over, as each player is readying to ante up $15,000 per round, at stakes of $25/$50.
Finally, on March 20 PNiA will host Locals Live, which will grant local and regional players the opportunity to gain television exposure.
The blinds will be set on at $2/$5, which is an accessible stake for low-to-mid level grinders. This price point was likely chosen by design.
SugarHouse also operates an online casino in New Jersey, but no online poker site. The online operation isn’t integrated into this event. The casino is expected to launch an online casino in Pennsylvania should legislation allow it.
The combination of low buy-in tournaments, big poker names, and one highly publicized grudge match should go a long way toward attracting recreational players to the PPC.
There are a few aspects not to like, namely the over-reliance on reentries and the high tournament entry fees. But all told, this feels like it’s going to be one of those events that’s ultimately good for the game of poker.