Pennsylvania allowed its casinos to begin offering table games and live poker in 2010. Since that time, the live poker scene in the state has grown by leaps and bounds.
Ten of the 12 PA casinos now offer poker. Monthly revenues from more than 220 tables across the state average more than $4 million a month. There’s cash game action running 24 hours a day, daily tournaments, and seasonal tournament series that rival some of the biggest in the nation.
In fact, the top poker rooms in the state have grown into some of the best on the East Coast. Here’s a look at the top five live PA poker rooms and what makes them the best of the best in the Keystone State:
1. Parx Casino
The 80-table poker room at Parx Casino is the largest and top-grossing poker room in the state by a country mile. Even in down months for the industry, Parx regularly reports seven-figure revenues.
It’s not very often that all 80 tables see action, but with weekly tournaments, and high- and low-limit cash games, Parx is a busy poker room.
There are a full-service menu and bar and free WiFi access. In addition to the weekly tournaments, Parx runs its own Big Stax major tournament series with buy-ins ranging from $300 to $1,500, large starting stacks (as the name would imply) and unlimited re-entries. The series runs five times annually in February, May, August, October and December.
The Parx Poker Room also has a bad beat progressive jackpot in raked Texas Hold ’em games.
Sitting just 15 minutes outside of Philadelphia, Parx is at the center of the PA live poker universe. However, the Parx Poker Room will move to a new location inside the main building as part of the casino’s upcoming expansion.
The new room, boasting 48 tables of poker action, will have high-end finishes, 22 high-definition TVs, and will offer an exclusive three-table VIP, high-limit poker enclave.
2. Sands Casino
Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem has a 30-table poker room that is probably the next best thing to Parx. The room runs a five-day-a-week tournament schedule and a variety of cash games at different stakes.
Regular promotions include a bad beat jackpot and payouts for high hands.
The room features 12 plasma televisions, adjustable chairs, complimentary beverage service, tableside dining and a massage service. It is also right next door to Sands’ food court.
3. SugarHouse Casino
The Poker Night in America Poker Room at SugarHouse Casino lays claim to the title of Philadelphia’s first poker room.
The room itself holds 28 tables. It runs tournaments six days a week and twice on Saturdays and Sundays. This is in addition to a considerable slate of cash games.
There are 24/7 food options; in-seat, text-to-order food service and complimentary alcoholic beverages. Promotions include an instant high-hand progressive jackpot.
The poker room’s affiliation with the Poker Night in America TV show sees it host televised events at the venue as well.
4. Rivers Casino Pittsburgh
When it comes to poker in Pittsburgh, The Rivers Casino Poker Room at Rivers Casino is the place to be.
The nearly 8,500-square-foot room has 30 tables.
In addition to cash games, the tournament schedule regularly includes two or three events per day. There is a dedicated 24-hour food service. Promotions include a bad beat jackpot that regularly reaches into the mid-six-figures.
This room is also affiliated with the Poker Night in America TV show, which hosts regular tournaments and other televised events at the venue, including the Pittsburgh Poker Open.
5. Harrah’s Philadelphia
There are six other poker rooms across the state, but The Poker Room at Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino makes the top five for a variety of reasons.
Size is certainly one of them, as the room features 28 tables that are open 24 hours per day, seven days per week with cash games and tournament action.
Branding is another. Harrah’s Philadelphia is the only WSOP-branded poker room in Pennsylvania. That means when the World Series of Poker circuit comes to Pennsylvania, it goes to Harrah’s Philadelphia.
The room also runs its Tournament of Champions series in June. Regular promotions including high hands and satellite tournaments offering WSOP Main Event seats.