MGM National Harbor best poker tournaments

Best Poker Tournaments in the Mid-Atlantic

When you think of the Mid-Atlantic region, you may not necessarily think of poker. However, we have discovered that the Mid-Atlantic is actually one of the best regions of the country to live if you love poker. There are a surprisingly large number of places to play poker in this area, packed into a relatively small footprint. Even better, poker continues to expand in the Mid-Atlantic, and there are poker tournaments galore. We will help you find the cheapest Mid-Atlantic tournaments, those with the best structure, and those with the largest fields. Welcome to our guide to the Best Poker Tournaments in the Mid-Atlantic Region

We have discussed elsewhere how to identify the best poker tournaments for you. If you are just interested in finding any poker tournament on the East Coast, you may find our Poker Tournament Mid-Atlantic page helpful. Also, if you are interested in learning about the norms for weekly poker tournaments across the US, you can see our write-up here. But if you are looking for our thoughts on the best poker tournaments in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware, West Virginia, North Carolina, and New Jersey, read on.

Here we are discussing regular daily or weekly poker tournaments in the Mid-Atlantic. Many poker rooms in the region (such as the MGM National Harbor) offer special tournaments throughout the year. But each room also has smaller tournaments that will run throughout the year as well. Tournament schedules are constantly changing and shifting as rooms come up with new ideas. So as always, check Poker Atlas, or even better, the casino’s website, and buyer beware.

Cheapest Mid-Atlantic Poker Tournaments

Sometimes you have a low budget and you’re just looking for an affordable tournament. Perhaps you don’t have a lot of money to play poker. Despite being a relatively expensive area for tournaments, the Mid-Atlantic still has options. On Wednesday mornings, the Rivers Casino Philadelphia offers the cheapest weekly tournament in the area. At a mere $55 buy-in, you will get 15,000 chips and 15-minute blinds. The only hitches are that you have to be 50+ years old, and be able to tolerate a steep rake (31%). But wait! If you bust out, there is a rematch tournament with the same structure (and no requirement to be 50) in the afternoon. We have visited the Rivers in Philadelphia, and found it to be a pleasant room with great staff. Definitely worth a visit.

If you are new to the game, The Rivers Casino Philadelphia also offers a “Beginners Tournament” for a mere $70 on Saturday mornings. You will again receive 15,000 chips for 15-minute blinds. At a relatively rapid 23 S-Points, this is going to be another fast tournament. On the plus side, the tournament garners 75 players on the average week, so prize pools will build and as a “beginner” tournament, much of the competition may be weak.

There are several tournaments in the Mid-Atlantic that offer an $80 buy-in. Harrah’s Cherokee in North Carolina features two, Tuesday and Wednesday nights. And Live! Casino Pittsburgh offers two as well. However, Wednesday evening at Live! is the only one of the four that gets more than 30 players on average. This tournament somehow gets a whopping 64 players. Truly amazing for a 7-table room. (To be fair, many of these are likely re-entries). The Wednesday night game offers 15,000 tournament chips and 15-minute blind levels. The rake is a perfectly reasonable 21%, although the tournament features a relatively fast 19 S-Points.

Rivers Casino Philadelphia Exterior

Mid-Atlantic Poker Tournaments with the Biggest Fields

If you are looking for big rather than cheap, you will find your best poker tournaments at Maryland Live! Maryland Live! runs a $130 tournament on Wednesday evenings that gets an average of 110 players. Unlike the cheap tournaments listed above, Maryland Live! offers 30,000 starting chips, 15-minute blinds, and a healthy 31 S-Points. If you’re willing to lay out a little more cash at Maryland Live, they also offer a Quadstacks bounty tournament on Tuesdays at 7:15 pm. For $200, this one offers 40,000 chips and a guarantee of a $10,000 prize pool. The tournament averages 94 players, so that guarantee will most certainly be broken.

Up the road in New Jersey, the Borgata is always a good bet for a healthy tournament field. They offer a $150 tournament on Monday mornings that draws an average of 96 players. With a 20,000 starting stack, 20-minute blinds, and a structure that calculates out to 30 S-Points, this is an excellent tournament to add to your schedule. At only a 19% rake, you will even see a decent amount of that buy-in remaining in the prize pool.

Maryland Live! poker tournaments

Back in Philadelphia, Live! Casino Philadelphia and Rivers Philadelphia both offer tournaments garnering 82 to 85 players weekly. Both will run you $130 and both have decent structures and reasonable rakes. It comes down to whether you would prefer to play Thursday evening (Live!) or Saturday afternoon (Rivers). Or maybe you’re in town for some poker and would like to go ahead and play both! We tend to favor the Rivers for the atmosphere and staff, but Live! Philadelphia is a decent room too.



Mid-Atlantic Poker Tournaments with the Best Structures

If you have the time and the money and are just looking for the best value for your buy-in, you will probably focus on tournament structure. A good structure (which translates into high S-Points) means a nice long tournament with lots of play deep into the game.

Hands down, MGM National Harbor offers the tournament with the best structure in the Mid-Atlantic. At 73 S-Points, this Sunday afternoon tournament features a structure as good as any you will find in Las Vegas. The $500 buy-in is not cheap, but combined with a fabulous 15% rake and an average of 99 players, the tournament offers the possibility of enormous prize pools. The 35,000 chip starting stack, 30-minute levels, and slow structure mean that if luck (and skill) is on your side, you can expect to play all day and into the night.

Back at Maryland Live! (one of our all-time favorite poker rooms) you will find a Friday afternoon tournament for $220 with a field averaging 40 players and 59 S-Points. This is another excellent choice for a tournament with a healthy prize pool that can be expected to run all day. This one starts with 35,000 chips and 20-minute blinds.

And finally, MGM National Harbor sports a $200 Wednesday evening tournament that features 50 S-Points. This tournament offers a whopping 50,000 chips and 20-minute blinds. The rake is a reasonable 19% and the average player pool is over 50 entrants.

MGM National Harbor

Best Poker Tournaments in the Mid-Atlantic Overall

Any of the above tournaments are great choices to meet your various poker goals. However, we believe that the Sunday $500 tournament at MGM National Harbor brings together a structure, field size, and prize pool equal to any in Las Vegas. And if you happen to bust out early, visiting National Harbor is a lovely way to spend an afternoon.

If a $500 buy-in is too rich for your blood, Maryland Live!’s Wednesday evening tournament might be just what you are looking for. With a reasonable buy-in and a large prize pool (due to the large number of entrants), this tournament offers a decent return on your money. The mid-range structure will make for a shorter tournament, but the wonderful staff at Maryland Live! will make sure you enjoy every moment of your time there.

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