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[05 Aug 2023 12pm-07pm ET] Tea Party: 24th Annual Boston Tea Party

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We are loading up for our 24th year of celebrating all that is the Boston Virtual ARTCC community, and you are invited to join us! On Saturday, August 5th, our controllers will bring you 7 UNINTERRUPTED HOURS of ATC across the entirety of the Boston ARTCC - Live from Helix eSports Patriot Place in Foxborough, MA. That includes staffing at Boston (KBOS), Bradley (KBDL), Providence (KPVD), Manchester (KMHT), The Cape, and more! Staffing will be available from 12-7pm ET. The event will end promptly at 7pm ET.

We are also continuing the tradition of hosting our annual Pilot Poker event. Pilots will fly into staffed towered airports and earn poker cards for each full stop landing. At the end of the event, pilots who have completed a full poker hand worth of flights (5 cards) will have the opportunity to win great prizes from our sponsors. Official Tea Party Poker 2023 rules will be posted below, so stay tuned!

We strongly recommend pilots avoid the delays at KBOS and help balance the traffic by flying to the regional airports with local ATC coverage.

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It is Summer in New England, and you know what that means….BVA Tea Party Poker is BACK! We invite all pilots to participate and have the chance to win great prizes from FlyTampa, Navigraph, Fenix Simulations, Verticalsim, Flightbeam Studios, iniBuilds, AeroDesigns, and more!


Are you new to Boston Virtual ARTCC or VATSIM? Find out more about getting started with online ATC.  


What is Tea Party Poker?

Tea Party Poker is a fun game that gives pilots another reason to participate in the event, see more of our airspace, and the chance to win some terrific prizes! While there is absolutely no requirement to participate in Poker, it's become an annual tradition that many 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 by a Tower controller, you'll get 2 poker cards).
  • You must 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. Over 20 winners will be selected!!! 

The full set of rules is listed below.


Great Prizes Available!




We're excited to work with several 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 the remaining items. 



Tea Party prizes include:


1.     FlyTampa: FlyTampa-Boston for MSFS

2.     Navigraph: Unlimited one-year subscription

3.     LatinVFR: Hartford- Bradley Int'l KBDL (MSFS or P3D)

4.     Verticalsim: KSYR – Syracuse Hancock International MSFS

5.     Flightbeam Studios: $25 Gift Card

6.     iniBuilds: New York JFK for MSFS, Oklahoma City OKC for MSFS, Detroit DTW for MSFS, Buffalo Niagara BUF MSFS

7.     AeroDesigns: KPWM - Portland Intl. Jetport MSFS

8.     FlightFX: SF50 Vision Jet G2, Marwan Gharib’s HJet, Chicago Executive Airport, DuPage Airport

9.     Fenix Simulations A320 for MSFS

10.  FlightFactor: Product of choice

11.  Thrustmaster: TCA Yoke Pack Boeing Edition


The prizes will be available to pilot winners of Tea Party Poker and the air traffic controllers that participate in the event. Please join us in thanking the sponsors who have donated these amazing prizes to the community to help make the event a memorable experience! 




All pilots who choose to participate in this competition agree 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 July 8, 2023. The Events Coordinator shall have final say on all questions or disputes regarding this competition, and will be responsible for determining the winners.


The full rules governing the contest are:


1. Event Duration: The poker game starts at 12:00pm ET on Saturday, August 5 and ends promptly at 7:00pm ET (1600z to 2300z).


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.


> When contacting BOS_PK_CTR to obtain a card, your PM must include:

  • Flight origin and destination.
  • Email Address (first message only).

> Pilots will receive:

  • First drawing: two poker cards.
  • Subsequent drawings:

                    - Two poker cards, if the landing is at an airport other than KBOS that is staffed by a Tower controller.

                    - One poker card, if the landing is at a towered airport staffed "top down" by an Approach or Center controller only, or if the landing is at KBOS.

> Pilots may contact BOS_PK_CTR to obtain a card after landing at the intended destination and once at a safe/appropriate location. Once the 'card request' message has been sent, pilots do not need to wait for a reply or card assignment; the next flight may begin immediately.


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) to win; therefore, pilots must complete, at a minimum, 3 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 outlined. 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 a flight will be eligible, they should contact the designated event official (BOS_PK_CTR) via private message prior to departure.

  • The flight must be between airports that are at least 50nm apart (by straight-line distance). 
  • The destination must be a towered airport (surrounded by Class B, C, or D airspace).
  • The pilot must remain connected to the VATSIM network for the duration of the flight.
  • VFR pilots must file a Flight Plan prior to departure that includes, at a minimum, their aircraft type, origin, and destination.
  • The event ends promptly at 7:00pm ET (2300z) 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 time by completing additional flights. Pilots wishing to do this should advise the designated event official (BOS_PK_CTR) of the card(s) they would like to discard at any point before receiving new cards. At no point shall a pilot hold more than 5 cards in their hand.


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 and receive a new card. 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 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:


  • Failure to comply with VATSIM COC.
  • Refusal to comply with ATC instructions.
  • Attempting to cheat or circumvent the competition rules.
  • 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.


Thanks to our Sponsors!

Please join us in thanking Thurstmaster, FlyTampa, Navigraph, Fenix Simulations, Latin VFR, Verticalsim, FlightFX, Flightbeam Studios, iniBuilds, and AeroDesigns for donating the prizes that make events like this so memorable. We are very grateful for the amazing support and generosity these leading flight simulation developers have offered.



Cameron Peterson

Events Coordinator
Administration Team

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With 5 cards in hand, and getting 2 more cards, are we required to discard down to 3 cards, then get 2 new ones, or can we discard 1 card, receive 1 card, discard 1 card, receive 1 card?

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On 8/2/2023 at 2:41 PM, Francesco Drake said:

With 5 cards in hand, and getting 2 more cards, are we required to discard down to 3 cards, then get 2 new ones, or can we discard 1 card, receive 1 card, discard 1 card, receive 1 card?


@Francesco Drake you would have to discard two cards before receiving the next new cards. 



Cameron Peterson

Events Coordinator
Administration Team

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I would like to thank the entire BVARTCC Team for a most enjoyable, super-well attended event yesterday! It was great having so many options for "qualifying" flights! The professionalism of the BVARTCC Controllers is always greatly appreciated. Thanks for a fun Saturday!!

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