Sunday, May 3, 2015

Vegas Poker Scene (May 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 by now.

VENETIAN: The Deep Stack Extravaganza runs May 20-July 19 and offers $11 million in guarantees. Every event offers a guarantee. The $5K main event starts July 12, has three starting flights and a $2 million guarantee. Many of the noon events have multiple starting days and guarantees between $120K and $1.25M, with buy-ins between $400 and $1,600. The Mid-States Poker Tour has a $1,100 event June 1 with a $1M guarantee.
The series features many non-hold’em events, offering plenty of Omaha/8, PLO and PLO/8. There’s also a $600 Big O event on June 23 and an Omaha/8-stud/8 mix June 1. The evening events feature many bounty events and the guarantees are a minimum of $10K.
In other news at the Venetian, long-time poker director Kathy Raymond retired in February. Tommy LaRosa, the tournament director for several years, is running day-to-day operations.
PLANET HOLLYWOOD: “Goliath” is the name of its summer event. It runs May 31-July 15. The two-day, $1,150 main event starts June 28 and has a $1 million guarantee. The guaranteed prize pool is more than $4.5 million.
The series features quite a few events that mirror the WSOP. It opens with Colossus Jr., a $565 event with a $500K guarantee. There’s a “$100K maker” event June 7 that has a $565 buy-in and a $500K guarantee, with a guarantee of $100K to the winner. Also, a $565 Monster Stack (20K chips) runs June 14-15 and has a $500K guarantee.
There’s plenty of variety in this series, with three $250 Dealers Choice tournaments, all offering $5K guarantees. The dates of these tournaments are June 2, 9 and 24. Two triple-stud events (also $250 with $5K guarantees) run June 4 and 11. There are a number of PLO and PLO/8 events as well.
The LIPS National Championship runs June 27-28, with a $250 buy-in. The seniors event runs June 20-22, featuring a $250K guarantee and a $565 buy-in.
WYNN: Maxim Sorokin ($101,619) defeated Kevin Calenzo ($82,024) for the Spring Classic Main Event title on March 18. The event had a $481,120 prize pool and 248 entrants.
The Wynn Summer Classic runs June 4-July 11. All events are NLHE and have guarantees. The $1,600 main event has two starting flights beginning July 3 and offers a $300K guarantee.
In other news, Ryan Beauregard is the new director of poker, returning from his Wynn Macau position to run the room.
BELLAGIO: Bellagio Cup XI runs July 9-15. The five-day main event starts July 10 and has a $10,400 buy-in. The event also features a three-day, $2,140 Seniors Summer Championship beginning July 13. Satellites run starting on July 9, priced at $1,900 or $240.
SOUTH POINT: The popular locals casino on the south end of Vegas is definitely worth a tourist’s time to check out. The room has 22 tables that are spaced out for comfort. The main game is $1-$2 NLHE with a $100-$300 buy-in. Equally popular is the $2-$4 limit game with a $20 minimum buy-in. The limit game has a half-kill. The room also has been known to spread $4-$8 limit and a $2-$5 game ($200-$1K).
The promotions include progressive high-hand payouts. Periodically, South Point offers one of the biggest single-room freerolls in town. The most recent one required 100 hours of play in a three-month period, and the room gave away $145K.
South Point has three daily tournaments: At 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., it’s a $60 buy-in. The same tournament runs most evenings at 7, except on Wednesdays and Sundays. On those two nights, the tournament starts at 6 and is a $100 deepstack. It has 7,500 chips, but a $10 dealer add-on brings it to 10K.
FLAMINGO: This 11-table room in the middle of the Vegas Strip is sometimes overlooked, but it’s one of the busiest rooms for its size in town. Across the street from Caesars Palace and next to Harrah’s, this room is pretty much the last place in the tourist corridor to play $2-$4 limit hold’em. The minimum buy-in is $20 and there are always a couple of games being spread, sometimes as many as five. When the Mirage temporarily closed, the Flamingo started offering a $3-$6 limit game ($30 min) as well. Of course, it spreads a $1-$2 game, too. The buy-in is $100-$300 with multiple tables running.
The promotions include a bad-beat jackpot, which was just hit for $38K as Ante Up went to press. Aces full of kings lost to quad kings, resetting the jackpot to $20K and the qualifying losing hand to quad sixes. The rank of the qualifying hand drops each Tuesday.
The room also offers a weekly $5K freeroll for 10 hours of live play, as well as a monthly $10K freeroll for 60 hours. There are high-hand bonuses for quads and better. Flamingo runs a $50 tournament five times a day: 10 a.m., 1, 6, 9 and midnight.
GOLDEN NUGGET: Don’t forget the Ante Up Poker Tour is partnering with the Nugget Las Vegas for its Grand Poker Series, which runs May 27-July 3.
There will be 11 events with $100K guarantees and, of course, the main event, a $560 buy-in that boasts a $500K guarantee. That champion will be featured on the August cover of Ante Up and earns entry into the Ante Up World Championship Main Event and a personalized AUPT champion’s jacket.
Of the 56 events on the schedule, 16 are in disciplines other than hold’em, including two HORSE events (one is no-limit) and an eight-game mix. Buy-ins range from $150 to $560 and most days feature two events, one at 11 a.m. and the other at 1 p.m., with an occasional
5 p.m. start.
STATIONS FREEROLL: There’s still time to qualify for $325K Poker Plus freeroll. A total of 75 combined hours of play in any Stations poker room qualifies. The rooms are Red Rock, Green Valley Ranch, Boulder Station, Santa Fe Station and Palace Station. The first prize is $40K. Players can get more starting chips for more hours of play and everyone who qualifies gets a minimum of $90.


  1. Good information, thank you.

    I am surprised, however, that you didn't report on Binions. In the past, they've had worthwhile tournaments.

    1. Heh heh. This was tweeted to me from Jess K on twitter as well.

      I would have loved to have written about the Binion's series. It's my job, and as everyone knows, I love Binion's.

      But the schedule for it wasn't released until April 11. My deadline for the May issue was April 3. So....

      Rest assured, there will be plenty of coverage of the Binion's Classic in my next column, which I sent in this past Friday. Also, plenty of mention of the Aria Classic, the schedule for which was released even later.

  2. I sent this to the guy I'm coming out there with in June. He replied, "So much poker, so little time."

    1. Yes...and most of the tournaments have guarantees. The question is, too many tournaments for the players, or not enough players for all the tournaments?

      Just gotta play poker 24/7!