Now that the 2014 WSOP is in the books, many of the East Coast’s poker faithful have found their way home. Some return with stories of bad beats and missed opportunities, while others are still drunk with the glory of making a WSOP final table. But regardless of how they fared out in Vegas, one thing is for certain: they’re ready to kick off the 2014-15 poker year in grand fashion.
And what better way to satiate the appetite of pros and enthused amateurs alike then through the launch of a local MTT series that carries a big tournament feel without charging a big tournament price.
This year, the northeast’s most attractive mid-summer tournament series isn’t happening at the Borgata or Foxwoods, but at a booming poker room sequestered in the Philadelphia suburbs.
I give you Parx Casino’s Big Stax VII.
What is Big Stax?
As the name implies, Big Stax is a quarterly series of deep stack tournaments. Since its inception in early-2013, its managed to attract many of the area’s most dedicated grinders, with opening events typically drawing somewhere in the area of 1,300 to 1,800 entries.
Each Big Stax series features three main events and a swatch of attractive side events. Main events entry buy-ins run the gamut from $330 to $1,600, but those on a strict budget will have plenty of opportunities to satellite their way in. Unique to Big Stax is the ability to satellite into two tournaments at once.
Main stage tournaments are held over a period of three days, with multiple Day 1’s and unlimited entries permitted until the beginning of Day 2. Although be warned, buying it at the start of Day 2 will hardly leave you with a “Big Stax.”
This summer’s iteration takes place from July 31 – August 18.
Why Big Stax?
The advantages of playing in Parx’s Big Stax series are nearly innumerable, especially for those tired of signing up for other low buy-in deep stack tournaments, only to find themselves shooting it in three hours later.
To list a few:
- Depending on the tournament, players will start off with somewhere between 300 and 500 big blinds.
- Levels are 45 minutes long on Day 1, graduate to 60 minutes during the middle levels, and extend all the way to 90 minutes on the tournament’s final day. In other words, there’s plenty of room for play.
- Because the main events are reentry tournaments, prize pools tend to balloon, creating max value for skilled players.
- Big Stax tournament allow these same versed players to hone their post-flop skills, without forcing them to fork over thousands of dollars.
- Parx is notorious for getting off juicy cash games during Big Stax series, with stakes ranging from $1/$2 all the way up to $200/$400.
Compare Big Stax tournaments to $1k buy-in WSOP MTTs, which only start players off with a paltry 3,000 chips, and the enormous value to be had playing tournaments at Parx becomes apparent.
The future of online poker and Parx
Based on the popularity of its live tournament series and plans to launch a play-money online casino by year’s end, Parx Casino appears well positioned to be at the forefront of Pennsylvania’s prospective iPoker market.
As we’ve seen in New Jersey, landing a well-recognized gaming partner can be the difference between gaining a majority share of the market or scrambling to pick up the crumbs.
With WSOP.com likely aligning with Harrah’s Philadelphia (Harrah’s boasts a WSOP-branded poker room), and Sands Bethlehem opting out of the industry altogether (courtesy of Sheldon Adelson), it’s likely that Parx Casino will ultimately partner with one of two iGaming brands: PartyPoker or PokerStars – one, the biggest name in online poker pre-UIGEA and current market share leader in New Jersey, the other by far the most well-respected and popular brand in online poker today.
Should Parx partner up with either one of these iGaming powerhouses, the cross-promotional opportunities would be endless.
Parx has been a stop on the WPT before, but should they team up with Party, you can be certain that the WPT would be making an annual stop in Eastern Pennsylvania.
And imagine the types of tournaments PokerStars could host in Parx’s 80+ table poker room. Better yet, through an online gaming partnership with either company, players will likely be able to satellite into Big Stax tournaments for a mere fraction of the tournament buy-in.
Now if only Pennsylvania’s lawmakers would get their act together and pass an iGaming bill into law. Maybe in 2015.