Parx sits at TV poker tour table

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Poker star Mike Sexton (left) and Vince Van Patten will be at Parx Casino Wednesday to provide play-by-play of the first World Poker Tour event hosted by the Bensalem gaming hall. Photo:

Parx Casino’s poker operation takes a couple of steps up in class Friday with the kickoff of its first World Poker Tour event.

Hundreds of card sharps are at the Bensalem gaming hall to compete for a grand prize expected to be at least $250,000—not to mention the chance to display their skills for a nationwide TV audience, as the event’s final table will be part of the WPT’s upcoming broadcast season.

The game, of course, is no-limit Texas Hold’em. The contest has a cash buy-in of $3,500.

“It’s amazing for us. From a [poker] revenue perspective, we’ve been number one in the state since day one [Nov. 3, 2010]. One of our main goals in partnering with the WPT was to get some national recognition,” offered Ari Mizrachi, Parx’s senior director of table games and poker operations.

Mizrachi, who is not related to the four poker-playing Mizrachi brothers, but did grow up with them, is particularly proud of the rather unusual time-limit structure of the tournament whose final table is scheduled to commence 2 p.m. Wednesday.

“The rounds are 60 minutes the first day, then increase to 120 minutes,” he explained. “That’s more than most national events.”

According to Mizrachi, between 300 and 400 particpants are anticipated at the tourney which caps off the Parx Open Poker Classic. He said 300 players would guarantee a $1 million prize pool, with the winner getting a minimum $250,000.

When interviewed earlier this week, Mizrachi couldn’t confirm the attendance of any top pros save for Matt Glantz, who recently signed a deal to be Parx’s poker room “ambassador.” But he didn’t rule out the possibility of some big names coming to Bensalem. “There has been plenty of talk of players coming,” he said, “but we won’t know until Friday.” He added it’s common for many big-time players to decide to enter tournaments at the last minute.

However, Mizrachi did guarantee that WPT’s TV team, Vince Van Patten and poker superstar Mike Sexton, will be on hand for the final table, which is open to the public.

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Caesars sets new ‘bad beat’ mark

While we’re talkin’ poker, be advised the current “bad beat” jackpot shared by the four Atlantic City casinos owned by Casears Entertainment Inc. (Caesars, Harrah’s Resort, Bally’s and Showboat) was announced Thursday at $761,082—the highest in AyCee history.

A “bad beat” jackpot is hit when a player loses with a hand (minimum four 2s) that is assumed to be virtually unbeatable, mathematically speaking. The player with the losing hand receives 30 percent of the pot, with the winning hand worth a 20 percent cut. The remaining 50 percent is split evenly among all players at qualified tables in each of the four casinos at the time the winning hand is played.

The previous record was $627,115, which was won at Trump Taj Mahal in August, 2010.

Country tribute show at Golden Nugget

Through Aug. 23, the “Legends in Concert” revue at Bally’s won’t be the only mimic-fest in town. That’s because Golden Nugget Atlantic City is hosting “Country Superstars,” featuring singers impersonating the likes of Tim McGraw, Ronnie Dunn, Willie Nelson and Reba Mcentire (portrayed by “Best of Las Vegas” award-winner Corrie Sachs).

Show times are 8 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 9 p.m. Friday and 6 and 9 p.m. Saturday. Admission is $39.50 and $22.55. For tickets, call 866-746-5336, or go to