[toc]It seemed like a ballsy decision for Rivers Casino in Schenectady, NY to eschew a major tournament series and host its own Capital Poker Classic poker tournament. Then the casino set a lofty goal by offering a $100,000 guarantee.
It is Rivers Casino laughing now though. The recent poker tournament nearly tripled its guarantee, with over 1,000 players taking part in the tournament.
Capital Poker Classic generates $272,000
Just a few months after opening, with minimal lead-up time, the upstate New York casino put together a multi-day tournament with a $260 buy-in. The tournament featured re-entry, but it also had a second point to join the field.
Players could buy in on Day 2 for $1,100, skipping the three starting flights altogether. The idea was to appeal to small stakes players and regional pros looking to gamble in an event with a big prize pool.
It worked. All told, there were 1,095 entries, generating a $272,655 prize pool. The top 137 players earned a payday. The man who walked away the winner, Rob Saladin, pocketed over $46,000 for his efforts.
Saladin is a resident of Montogomery, NY near Poughkeepsie. Even though Saladin is a New Yorker, every single other poker tournament cash came in Atlantic City.
Rivers Schenectady striving to be a poker destination
Saladin is exactly the kind of player Rivers hopes to continue attracting with events like the Capital Poker Classic. For years, New York has not been much of a poker destination, save for Turning Stone Casino.
“We had a fantastic turnout for the Capital Region Classic, and we heard a lot of positive feedback from players who have been looking for big poker tournaments in this area for years,” said Rivers Casino & Resort General Manager Mary Cheeks. “We’re eager to keep delivering for those players, and look forward to announcing our next big event.”
Cheeks and the rest of the Rivers staff see an opportunity to brand themselves as a poker-minded casino, much like the casino’s sister property, Rivers Pittsburgh.
For this event, the property even had some big-name poker pros on hand to play and promote the casino. Matt Glantz, who works with Rivers’s parent company Rush Street, was on hand, as was local NY online poker pros Shaun Deeb and Mike Dentale.
During the event, the trio of players promoted the casino on social media, and lavished praise on the place.
— Matt Glantz (@MattGlantz) May 25, 2017
— Mike Dentale???????? (@Mikunbelievable) May 27, 2017
Certainly, the guarantee does more to drive locals than big names does. However, the presence of pros and the use of live updates helps spread the word about Rivers Schenectady events in the incredibly competitive Northeast poker market.
If this is the kind of tournament the property can put together in a couple of months, imagine its potential as an annual event.
Photo by Rivers Schenectady