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Big Poker Weekend at The Meadows

When you combine a casino in southwestern Pennsylvania, the game of poker, and a holiday weekend, you get the Big Poker Weekend at the Meadows in Washington, Pa., February 18-21.

The four-day poker tournament promises something for everyone, according to Meadows poker manager Peter Lau.

“No matter what level of player you are, you can come here and have a good time,” Lau said. “We’re looking forward to the Big Poker Weekend.”

The tournament event is being presented by the Division of Poker Radio Show on ESPN in Cleveland, which interviews the top poker players n the country and gives advice to listeners. Founder Dan Harkenrider explained the collaboration between his show and the Meadows.

“The Meadows was looking for some excitement and a value-add for their players, and the Big Poker Weekend will be just that—and a lot of fun,” Harkenrider said. “ESPN is a brand that certainly brings credibility, the Meadows is a great property and close enough to drive to for most of our listeners, so it was a great fit for us.”

The weekend starts out with a bang when Poker Stars Pro Victor Ramdin appears on Friday, Feb. 18. He will host a free poker camp which includes three sessions throughout the day where he will give tips on playing tournament poker.

“Victor [Ramdin] is one of the best tourney players and most-feared poker players,” Harkenrider said. “He’s a veteran high stakes poker player and also a really good human being.”

Advanced registration at www.divisionofpoker.com or at the Meadows poker desk is required. However, participants do not have to register for one of the poker tournaments to attend one of the informational sessions.

The first poker camp informational session is from 10:00 am to 11:30 on Friday, where Ramdin will give tips on basic and advanced topics in poker. It will be followed by a 2,000 chip stack satellite tournament starting at noon with a $45 buy-in. The winner will advance to the main event on Saturday afternoon.

From 3:00 to 4:30, Ramdin will address playing in poker tournaments both live and on the internet. It will be followed by a 3,000 chip stack tournament for a $60 buy-in with the top two players advancing to the main event. 

Then at 6:00 pm., Ramdin will host a live question and answer session which will be broadcast live on the Division of Poker Radio Show and cover any topics concerning tournament poker.

“This should be a real fun session,” Harkenrider said. “We’ll cover everything from high stakes poker to fixing your game.”

The highlight of the day will be a live tournament at 8:00 p.m. with the opportunity to play against Victor Ramdin for a $150 buy-in. Playing poker against a professional that has won almost 3 million dollars in his decade-long poker career is a feat that may appear daunting to a novice but Harkenrider explains the appeal of playing against a poker pro.

“Poker is a weird game because players would love the opportunity to play against a pro even though he is heavily-favored to win,” Harkenrider said. “It’s the complete opposite of normal logic.”

He pointed out other examples of reverse-logic that takes place in poker tournaments.

“The strange thing about poker is that you’re not taking money from the house, you’re taking it from the other people at the table,” Harkenrider said. “And a lot of times, people at the table are your friends.”

Another tournament will be held at 12:30 a.m. on Friday night for the night-owls that want to continue playing. It will be the only late-night [post-midnight] event of the weekend and offer a 12,000 chip stack for a $50 buy-in.

“Poker is a great game. It takes five minutes to learn,” Harkenrider said. “Like [poker pro] Doyle Brunson puts it, ‘when the cards are in the air, anything can happen.’“   

The cards will continue to hit the air Saturday morning with a 10:30 start in a 5,500 chip stack play-in event for a $45 buy-in leading up to the main event which starts at 1:30.

The main event is a 20,000 chip stack event with a $330 buy-in.

Another tournament will begin at 9 p.m. with a $120 buy-in for a starting chip stack of 12,000 for people who got knocked out earlier and want to try to make up ground.

The Main Event will continue on Sunday at noon followed by another tournament which begins at 2 p.m. with a 15,000 chip stack for $150. For any players that want to make up any ground, a “Last Chance” tournament will be held on Monday at 2 p.m. with a 12,000 chip stack for a 120 buy-in.

“The lure of poker is that someone can experience it as a hobby and play at a high level,” Harkenrider said. “That makes poker very appealing for a lot of people, and we’ll see that appeal at the Big Poker Weekend at the Meadows in February.”

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