Thursday, June 23, 2016

Vegas Poker Scene - July Ante Up Column

Here's my newest column for Ante Up.  The link for it on the Ante Up website is here.   Remember, my contribution is embedded in the entire West Coast report.  So below is just my Vegas report.  The magazine should be in your local poker room now.

But wait!  Before we get to that, the new issue also features I profile I submitted of my pal Kristi Smith, better known to you as Alaskagal.  Let's get to that first, and then the column, ok?


Meet Kristi Smith

Kristi Smith has been in poker as a dealer, dual-rate and supervisor in Las Vegas since 2008.
How did you get into poker? I got into poker in 2005. I was living in Alaska and the winters are long and boring. My ex-husband came home from work and said we would be going to play a Texas Hold’em tournament at a co-worker’s house. We went and played and I ended up getting second and I loved the game. I immediately began playing the free poker offered around town as there are no casinos in Alaska. I learned to deal from a group that runs charity tournaments. I would deal those whenever they came up. In 2008, I moved to Las Vegas. I got my first poker-dealing job from Jake Revelle at Imperial Palace. I worked there for a couple of years then moved to Mirage in 2010. Now I’m a dual-rate. Most days I deal and some days I work as a floor supervisor.
Why play at Mirage? Mirage has well-rounded promotions and it rewards MLife members with $2 an hour in food comps. In addition to $1-$2 and $2-$5 NLHE, Mirage has the most consistent $3-$6 limit game on the strip. Mirage offers four tournaments daily and will create a personalized tournament for your group for special events, such as a bachelor or birthday party.
What do you do when you’re not dealing poker? I’m usually playing poker. I enjoy playing $1-$2 NLHE and daily tournaments. I also love to sing karaoke and simply enjoy all that Las Vegas has to offer.

 And now the regular column:  
The MGM Grand hosts the fifth annual Celebrity Poker Tournament with actor-comedian Brad Garrett.The tournament benefits the Maximum Hope Foundation, a non-profit that provides urgent financial assistance to families with a critically ill child.
The organization was founded nearly 16 years ago by Garrett and makes rent payments, covers utility bills, offers gift cards for groceries or gas or assists with other urgent financial needs for those families with a child battling a life-limiting illness.
This year, the tournament will be during the World Series of Poker, just a week or so before the main event, at noon on July 2. The buy-in is $250 with $200 add-ons.The grand prize is $10K, which is conveniently the price of a WSOP main-event seat.Brunch is being donated by Wolfgang Puck.
POST WSOP: One of the many appealing things about poker in Las Vegas is the tournament action is great all year around.Of course, nothing compares to WSOP-time with all the great series around town, but when all those series wrap up, there are still plenty of tournaments.
The biggest buy-in events are not available, but there are a plenty of low-to-moderately priced tournaments all over town.
• The Venetian has two tournaments daily, at noon and 7 p.m., offering guarantees. All regular tournaments have 30-minute levels. The biggest buy-in is the $300 Saturday afternoon bounty tournament that offers a $12K guarantee.Players start with 12K chips and players get a $100 bounty for each player knocked out.
Fridays and Sundays at noon the tournament is a $200 bounty tournament with $50 bounties and a $9K guarantee.Again, players start with a 12K stack.
The rest of the week, the noon tournament is $150, no bounties, same starting stack and the $9K guarantee.
Rebuy tournaments are Wednesday and Friday evenings.Wednesday, the buy-in is $125 for a 10K stack and players can take advantage of unlimited rebuys for the first four levels.The rebuys are $100 for another 10K stack and players can rebuy whenever their stack is at or below 10K.The Friday offering is $200 for a 12K stack.Here, it’s a single $200 rebuy for another 12K whenever the stack is at 12K or less through the first four levels.
Monday and Sunday evenings offer a $125 buy-in with a 10K starting stack and a $4,500 guarantee.The rest of the evenings feature bounty events.
Tuesday and Saturday have $50 bounties for the $200 buy-ins, 12K starting stack.Thursday night is $125, $25 bounties and a $7K guarantee.
• The Wynn, with its new 8,600-square-feet 28-table poker room that opened in late May, offers a $25K guarantee Saturdays at noon, the biggest guarantee for a regular tournament in town. The buy-in is $225 for 10K chips.There are unlimited $200 rebuys for 10K chips any time a player’s stack is at or below 5K through the first four levels. There’s also an optional 5K add-on for $100.The levels last 40 minutes.
Fridays and Sundays are $200 events with $10K guarantees, 30-minute levels and a 10K starting stack.The rest of the week the offering is a $140 buy-in, 10K chips and 30-minute levels.
On the first Wednesday of the month, the regular tournament is replaced by a $300 senior event that features a $12,500 guarantee.The starting stack is 12,500 and there’s an optional $100 add-on for 5K chips at the end of the registration period, the fourth level. The levels are 30 minutes.
Thursdays at 5 p.m. is a $120 PLO tournament.Players start with 10K chips and have unlimited $100 rebuys available through the first four levels for 10K chips. There’s also a $50 add-on for 5K chips.
• The Aria runs two popular tournaments a day.Weeknights at 7 and Sunday through Thursday at 1 p.m. the $125 tournaments offer 30-minute levels and a 10K stack.Fridays and Saturdays, the daytime tournament starts at 11 a.m. and is $240 for a 20K stack.It’s worth noting the $240 tournament has proved to be popular since being introduced at the beginning of the year. It’s possible the room will decide to offer it on additional days in the near future.
• The Orleans is just a couple of miles off the Strip and is popular with locals and tourists.It offers a nice variety of tournaments twice a day at noon and 7 p.m.
The centerpiece is the Friday night $125 tournament, still the most popular regular event in town.It routinely draws 200-plus players, who start with 12,500 chips and play 30-minute levels.
The Orleans is a great spot for those who like disciplines other than hold’em.A $100 HORSE tournament runs Saturday nights offering a 10K stack and 20-minute levels. Tuesday nights feature $100 PLO, also a 10K stack and 20-minute levels. Thursday nights, it’s $75 Omaha/8 with the same starting stack and level times.
The $75 Omaha/8 tournament also runs in the afternoon on Mondays and Saturdays. Wednesday afternoons is an O/8-stud/8 tournament for $75. On Monday evenings and Friday afternoons, a $100 Super Stack Turbo tournament starts players with a 20K stack and 15-minute levels.
The schedule is filled out with $100 and $75 NLHE tournaments.
• The downtown rooms offer low buy-in tournaments during the week, while taking turns offering bigger events on the weekend.Golden Nugget has a $125 tournament Sundays at 11 a.m. with a $5K guarantee.The levels are 20 minutes and players start with 15K chips.
Binion’s Saturday deepstack at 1 p.m. has a $10K guarantee and starts players with 20K chips. Levels are 30 minutes.
As you can see, there are always great mid-priced tournament options in Vegas.
SOUTH POINT: The poker room is hosting a $10K Player Appreciation tournament Aug. 2 at 6 p.m. The top 40 hour-earners from July 1-31 qualify. First place pays $4K, second pays $3K, third is $2K and fourth is $1K. Every qualifier gets $50. See the ad on Page 9 in our July issue for more details.
CLOSURE: The Eastside Cannery, a small locals casino, closed its four-table poker room in April.

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