Event Description

Welcome to the 20th Annual Boston Tea Party LIVE! On Saturday, August 10, our controllers will come together in Nashua, NH to bring you seven hours of uninterrupted ATC coverage across the entire Boston ARTCC!  In addition to Boston (KBOS) we will have staffing at many of our regional airports such as Bradley (KBDL), Providence (KPVD), Syracuse (KSYR), Portland (KPWM), Albany (KALB), and Nantucket (KACK).

The fun will begin at 12:00 PM ET on August 10 and continue for 7 hours.  The event will end promptly at 7:00 PM ET (2300 Z) so please plan your flights accordingly! The facility where we will be controlling will not be available beyond this time.

During the event, pilots may also participate in a fun game called Tea Party Poker! Participating pilots can receive virtual cards after completing eligible flights and the best hands at the end of the event will win!  See below for more details.

Letter To Airmen

All pilots are strongly encouraged to read Boston Virtual ARTCC's Letter to Airmen prior to this event.

Download BVA's Letter to Airmen

Have additional questions or concerns? Contact Us!

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 from the companies below, while each subsequent winner will be able to choose from remaining items. 

Tea Party Poker

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!

After completing an eligible flight, participating pilots may send a PM to the dedicated event official (BOS_PK_CTR) via their pilot client. At the end of the event, the pilots with the best poker hands win! There are certain restrictions that apply to intra-TRACON flights, landing at untowered airfields, and VFR operations. The full set of rules is listed below; you must review them if participating in the competition.


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 June 15, 2019.  The Events Coordinator shall have final say in all questions or disputes regarding this competition, and will be responsible for determining the winners.

  1. Event Duration: The poker game starts at 12:00pm ET and ends at 7:00pm ET (1600z to 2300z) on Saturday, August 10, 2019. 
  2. How To Play: A pilot is eligible to draw "virtual" poker cards by completing any Eligible Flight (see below) during the times listed above. At the conclusion of a flight, a pilot may contact the designated event official (BOS_PK_CTR) via private message to obtain poker cards. Include your VATSIM CID, email address (on your first message only), and origin-destination in the PM. The event official will respond via private message advising the pilot of the cards they have received.  Pilots will receive two poker cards after their first drawing, and one card for each subsequent drawing. By entering into the contest and providing us with your email address, 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.)
  3. 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 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. The table at the bottom of this page references the hierarchy of poker hands.
  4. Eligible Flights: An Eligible Flight is any flight that terminates at a towered airport 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, he or she should contact the designated event official (BOS_PK_CTR) via private message prior to departure.  
    1. The flight may not originate and terminate within the same TRACON.  For example, a flight originating at Westover (KCEF) and terminating at Bradley (KBDL) would not count, as both airports are covered by Bradley Approach. This rule is relaxed during the final hour of the event (see 5 below).  Note: The 3 major sectors of the Boston Consolidated TRACON (A90) - MHT, BOS, and CAPE - shall be treated as separate TRACONs for the purposes of this competition.
    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 which states, at a minimum, their aircraft type, origin, and destination.
    5. The event ends promptly at 7:00 PM ET (2300 Z) and any flights that conclude after this time will NOT be eligible!
  5. Final Hour Exemption: During the final hour of the game, intra-TRACON flights (flights that depart and land at different airports with the same Approach service area) will be considered eligible.
  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 offical (BOS_PK_CTR) of the card they would like to discard BEFORE departing.
  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 his/her "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 his/her 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 he/she may not attempt to re-enter the competition.
  13. 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 officials
    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.


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. 

Poker Hand Hierarchy - Examples

Pilots should refer to the BVA Preferred Routes page to find preferred routes for their flights.  BVA will be enforcing preferred routes throughout the event due to the high traffic load. Filing other routes may result in delays while ATC issues route amendments.
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