Thursday, June 25, 2015

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 by now.

MIRAGE: Just in time for the WSOP, the Mirage opened its newly remodeled poker room in late May. The room had been closed since January but is now a beautiful 12-table facility in the same area as the old room, near the sportsbook.
Though the main game spread is $1-$2 no-limit hold’em ($100-$300 buy-in), the room also spreads a popular $3-$6 limit game with a $30 minimum buy-in. Promotions include high-hand bonuses of up to $500 for royals, Aces Cracked and a bad-beat jackpot. Players earn $2 an hour in comps, there’s free wi-fi and you can charge your mobile devices at the tables.
The Mirage has two daily tournaments (11 a.m. and 7 p.m.). The morning tournament offers an 8K starting stack and 20-minute blinds, except on Saturdays when the popular “Stack” tournament is held. This one features 25K starting stack for $120 and 25-minute levels. Friday evening is the $100 bounty tournament with a 15K stack and 20-minute levels. The rest of the week the tournament is the same $65 tournament held in the morning.
SUNCOAST: The locals room in Summerlin just started running a $100 stud/8 tournament on the last Tuesday of each month at 6 p.m. The starting stack is 7K and a $10 dealer bonus gets you 3K more chips. The levels are 30 minutes. The first one drew 40-plus players.
Suncoast features daily $45 tournaments at 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. On the first Friday of every month, there is a $100 deepstack at 6 p.m. with a 10K stack and an optional $20 add-on for another 5K chips. This tournament has 30-minute levels and the winner gets a watch valued at $180.
On Wednesdays, the Suncoast spreads a $4-$8 dealer’s choice game for a $40 minimum buy-in. There are 17 games to choose from, including 2-7 triple-draw, badugi, badeucey, razz, pineapple and Omaha/8.
Suncoast still hosts the long-running “Hoggy” $2-$8 stud/8 game Mondays and Fridays at 11 a.m. The qualifying low hand is eight or better and a pair of jacks or better is the minimum high hand.
PLAZA: The downtown room with five electronic tables has named Gary Vickery as its manager. Vickery comes from Philadelphia, where he ran a poker league. He moved to Vegas last August to work in table games at the new SLS casino (formerly the Sahara) but is happy to get back into poker.
The Plaza specializes in affordable buy-in tournaments, as cheap as $5 at 10:30 a.m., 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. The 2 p.m. and
9 p.m. tournaments are $12, except for the Thursday night $35 deepstack. Mondays at 10 p.m. is a $12 stud tournament and Tuesdays at 10 p.m. is a $12 PLO event. These tournaments are great for beginners, but many experienced players who play these and have a blast with them, not having to worry about losing much. All of these tournaments have guarantees.
POST WSOP: With the WSOP closing shop for another year, players will miss the big buy-in tournaments that were all over town. As things return to normal, assuming anything in Vegas can be described that way, players still have a multitude of great options, though the buy-ins and the prize pools will be a lot smaller.
The Aria’s $125 tournament is one of the most popular dailies in town. It runs twice a day, at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m., and costs $125 for 10K chips and 30-minute levels. Players who bust out early are allowed one re-entry.
The Venetian also has two tournaments a day at noon and 7 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays at noon it’s a $150 event that starts with a 12K stack and 30-minute levels. Re-entry is unlimited. The Friday and Sunday tournaments are $200 bounty events. Same levels and starting stack and the bounty is $50.
Saturday is a $100 bounty tournament with a $300 buy-in and the same details otherwise.
The evening tournaments are $125 on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays and $200 on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. The Friday tournament is a rebuy event, players are allowed a $200 rebuy for 12K more chips and that can be taken for the first two hours any time the stack is at 6K or worse. All of the rebuy goes into the prize pool with no rake and all of the tournaments have guarantees between $5K and $20K.
The Wynn offers a popular $140 tournament Mondays through Thursdays with a 10K stack and 30-minute levels. On Fridays and Sundays, there’s a $10K guarantee and it’s $200 with a $100 add-on for an extra 5K chips. Saturday offers a $25K guarantee with 40-minute levels and unlimited $200 rebuys through the first two hours. The starting stack and the rebuy chips are 10K.
The Orleans features two tournaments a day at noon and 7 p.m., but the can’t-miss event for tournament lovers is the Friday-night event. The $125 buy-in has a 12.5K starting stack and 30-minute levels. This is the most popular regular tournament in town and regularly attracts 225-plus entrants. Though re-entry is allowed for the first 90 minutes, there are usually so many alternates that those wishing to re-enter are frequently shut out. With a prize pool that exceeds $22K regularly, a winner is seldom declared before the wee hours of Saturday morning.
And don’t forget the Binion’s Saturday deepstack with its $10K guarantee. The $140 buy-in brings a 20K starting stack with 30-minute levels. It starts at 2 p.m. and the last few entrants are usually battling it out past midnight.
No bracelets on the line, but as you can see, there’s always great tournament action in Vegas.

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