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[08 Aug 2020 04-11pm ET] Tea Party: 21st Annual Boston Tea Party

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Cheers to 21 Years!


On Saturday, August 8, our controllers will bring you seven uninterrupted hours of ATC coverage across the entirety of the Boston ARTCC. That includes Boston (KBOS), Bradley (KBDL), Providence (KPVD), Manchester (KMHT), and The Cape. Staffing will be available from 4-11pm ET.


You don't need to make any bookings or do anything special to participate: just connect to the network and fly! We strongly recommend pilots avoid the delays at KBOS and help balance the traffic by flying to the regional airports with local ATC coverage. Plus, if you're flying in Tea Party Poker, a landing at KBDL or KACK will double your chances to win.


If you choose to participate in Tea Party Poker, you can request virtual poker cards for each landing. Pilots holding the best poker hands at the end of the event will have the opportunity to win great prizes from our sponsors. Read below for more information about the event and Tea Party Poker.

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What is Tea Party Poker?


Tea Party Poker is a fun game that gives pilots a chance to win some some terrific prizes from our event sponsors! While there is absolutely no requirement to participate in Poker, it's become an annual tradition that many of the pilots take part in.


If you choose to participate in Tea Party Poker:

  • Each time you land at a Class B, C, or D airport inside ZBW, send BOS_PK_CTR a private message and you'll get a reply with one virtual 1 poker card (if the airport you land at is staffed, you'll get 2 poker cards).
  • You have to fly to airports that are at least 50nm apart (straight-line distance).
  • Once you obtain 5 cards, you can keep flying, discarding and picking up new cards to help better your hand.
  • The pilot with the best hand at the end of the event wins, and has their pick of available prizes.

The full set of rules is listed below.


Tea Party Sponsors




We're excited to work with a number of great developers from the community to offer prizes to participants of Tea Party Poker. The first-place participant will have the choice of available prizes while each subsequent winner will be able to choose from remaining items.




Tea Party prizes include:

  1. FlightBeam: $30 Gift Card
  2. Honeycomb: Yoke and Throttle (ships in September)
  3. Just Flight: Product of User's Choice
  4. LatinVFR: Product of User's Choice
  5. Orbx: Product of User's Choice
  6. TFDi Design: Boeing 717, PACX, 12-month smartCARS Premium subscription
  7. Thrustmaster: Officer Pack Airbus Edition (A320 Throttle + Stick)

The prizes will be available to Tea Party Poker pilots and the air traffic controllers who participate in the event. We are grateful to the sponsors above who have donated these prizes to the community! 




All pilots who choose to participate in this competition are agreeing to abide by the rules below. The competition rules may be modified for clarity or other reasons without prior notification to participants. Please refer to this page for any updates. These rules are current as of August 11, 2020. The Events Coordinator shall have final say in all questions or disputes regarding this competition, and will be responsible for determining the winners.


Rule changes for the 2020 event:

  • Pilots will receive two virtual poker cards if their landing is at an airport other than KBOS that is staffed by a Tower controller (or just one card if it's KBOS or staffed "top-down" by an overlying Approach or Center controller).
  • To be eligible, flights must be at least 50nm in length. (Last year, there was a "no intra-TRACON flight" rule that we thought could be simplified with this change.)
  • Winning pilots must respond to their notification/prize selection email within 48 hours, or forfeit their priority for prize selection.
  • Minor formatting changes to improve readability.

The full rules governing the contest are:

  1. Event Duration: The poker game starts at 4:00pm ET on Saturday, August 8 and ends at 11:00pm ET (2000z to 0300z).
  2. How To Play: A pilot is eligible to draw virtual poker cards by completing any Eligible Flight during the event. At the conclusion of a flight, a pilot may contact the designated event official (BOS_PK_CTR) via private message (PM) to obtain the poker card(s). The event official will respond via private message advising the pilot of the cards they have received.
    1. When contacting BOS_PK_CTR to obtain a card, your PM should include:
      1. Flight origin and destination.
      2. VATSIM CID and email address (first message only).
    2. Pilots will receive:
      1. First drawing: two poker cards.
      2. Subsequent drawings:
        1. Two poker cards, if the landing is at an airport other than KBOS that is staffed by a Tower controller.
        2. One poker card, if the landing is at an airport staffed "top down" by an Approach or Center controller only, or if the landing is at KBOS.
  3. Notification of Winners, Prize Priority: By entering the contest and providing your email address to BOS_PK_CTR, you consent to Boston Virtual ARTCC emailing you should you be a winner. (If you are not a winner, we won't contact you, nor will we retain your contact information beyond the conclusion of the event.) Winners will be notified at the email address provided within 14 days of the end of the competition and will be able to choose from the list of prizes available in order of their poker hand. Winners must respond to their prize notification email within 48 hours to confirm their priority and select a prize. Winners who do not respond within 48 hours will lose their priority to select a prize, but may still be eligible for any remaining prizes at the time they reply to the email.
  4. How To Win: The pilots with the strongest poker hands at the conclusion of the event will be the winners. The number of possible winners will be equal to the number of pilot prizes available. Pilots must hold a full hand (5 cards) in order to win; therefore, pilots must complete, at a minimum, 4 eligible flights to qualify. Winning pilots will be allowed to select from a variety of prizes in order based on the strength of their respective poker hands:

  5. Eligible Flights: An Eligible Flight is any flight that terminates in a full-stop landing at a towered airport (controlled by Tower, Approach, or Center) within Boston ARTCC (ZBW) during the scheduled event times and complies with the restrictions below. Flights that originate outside ZBW airspace, and flights that originate before the start of the event, may be considered eligible provided they comply with the restrictions below. If a pilot is not certain whether or not a flight will be eligible, they should contact the designated event official (BOS_PK_CTR) via private message prior to departure.
    1. The flight must be between airports that are at least 50nm apart (by straight-line distance). 
    2. The destination must be a towered airport (surrounded by Class B, C, or D airspace).
    3. The pilot must remain connected to the VATSIM network for the duration of the flight.
    4. VFR pilots must file a Flight Plan prior to departure that includes, at a minimum, their aircraft type, origin, and destination.
    5. The event ends promptly at 11:00pm ET (0300z) and any flights that conclude after this time will not receive a card.
  6. Discarding: Pilots who hold a full hand (5 cards) may try to better their hands throughout the stated event times by discarding an undesired card and then flying another flight. Pilots wishing to do this should advise the designated event official (BOS_PK_CTR) of the card they would like to discard before departing on an additional flight.
  7. Designated Event Official (BOS_PK_CTR): Issuing and tracking of pilot cards will be conducted by a designated event official. Cards that each pilot has in their "possession" will remain unknown to all other pilots until the event is complete. A pilot may verify their card holdings with the designated event official via private message. All replies to card verification requests will be returned via private message.
  8. Number of Decks: The competition will use a minimum of one deck of cards (52 cards) to start with, and the cards will be issued at random. Once this deck has been exhausted, a new deck will be added. Cards that are discarded will be placed back into the pool of available cards.
  9. Duplicate Cards: It is possible that a pilot may mistakenly receive a duplicate card during the event. If this happens, it is the pilot's responsibility to notify the designated event official (BOS_PK_CTR) as soon as possible. Hands containing duplicate cards are considered "illegal" poker hands and will not be eligible to win.
  10. Tracking of Poker Hands: Poker hands will be tied to a pilot's VATSIM CID, not their name or callsign.
  11. Exchanging of Cards: Trading, exchanging or transferring of cards between or among pilots will not be allowed at any time during the event.
  12. Withdrawal: A pilot wishing to withdraw from the game must notify the designated event official (BOS_PK_CTR) by private message, or if unavailable, one of the BVA controllers staffing a position. The pilot's cards will be returned to the deck(s) and made available to other competitors to collect. Once a pilot has withdrawn, they may not attempt to re-enter the competition.
  13. Shared Cockpit Flights: Cards are issued to flights, not pilots. Participants who choose to fly together in the same aircraft (i.e., shared cockpit flying) will be considered as a single flight and receive one set of cards. For the purposes of the competition, the name and CID of the pilot who messaged BOS_PK_CTR will be considered the pilot who is participating in the competition.
  14. Disqualification: Pilots who are disqualified will not be allowed to re-enter the competition. The Events Coordinator will have the final say in any disputes regarding pilot disqualification. A pilot may be disqualified from the competition for:
    1. Failure to comply with VATSIM COC.
    2. Refusal to comply with ATC instructions.
    3. Attempting to cheat or circumvent the competition rules.
    4. Providing false/misleading information to the event official.



In no way should this competition be seen as a promotion or simulation of gambling. There is no purchase necessary to play or win. Gambling is not endorsed by Boston Virtual ARTCC or any of its affiliates, including VATUSA, VATSIM, and the event sponsors.



Evan Reiter

Community Director
Administration Team

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I've begun reaching out to Tea Party winners. I'm notifying each winner in order: once the first-place winner replies to my email and claims their prize, I'll reach out to the second-place participant. Once everyone has been notified and claimed their prizes, I'll update this thread.



Evan Reiter

Community Director
Administration Team

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Thought I'd share this piece of positive feedback from one of the pilots (and Tea Party Poker prize winners): 


On one of my Boston Tea Party flights from SYR to BDL, I got a fuel imbalance warning in the cockpit (TBM900).  I looked outside and saw fuel streaming from the right wing.  I contacted ATC and asked for a emergency return to SYR which they promptly provided.  On the ground in SYR, I discovered the fuel cap was not on.  I refueled, tightened the cap and departed again for BDL with no further problems.  I did not know the TBM900 model had that feature, for a moment I thought I was on a real flight with a real emergency!


Again, thanks for organizing the event. I really enjoyed [it], all the controllers were very professional and I look forward to future events.




Evan Reiter

Community Director
Administration Team

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The winners of Tea Party Poker 2020 are:

  1. Honeycomb Yoke & Throttle: Timothy L. (Full House)
  2. TFDi Design 717 & PACX: Cameron P.
  3. Thrustmaster A320 Officers Pack: Kevin M.
  4. Orbx Product: Jeffory B. (Flush)
  5. Just Flight Product: Matthew G. (Flush)
  6. LatinVFR Scenery: Nicolas L. (Straight)
  7.  FlightBeam Gift Card: Philip M. (Straight)
  8. 12-month smartCARS Subscription from TFDi Design: Kyle Webber (Two Pair)
  9. 12-month smartCARS Subscription from TFDi Design: Seth Katz (Two Pair)

I've been in touch with each of the winners via email. Timothy also reached out to let me know he's already received his Honeycomb yoke and is really happy with it, which is always nice to hear.


I wanted to express my thanks to the many pilots who participated in poker this year! We saw a tremendous increase in the number of people flying to our satellite airports, which is what Tea Party Poker is all about. For context, last year (2019) we had 28 participants who collectively drew 192 cards. This year, we had 59 participants draw 449 cards. I know there were some delays at the beginning of the event for obtaining poker cards and we've worked on several ways to improve that next year. 



Evan Reiter

Community Director
Administration Team

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