Tuesday, April 26, 2016

May Ante Up Column--Summer Tournnament Preview

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 soon.

I mentioned in the post last month that writing this column was more difficult and time consuming than usual, and I promised to tell you why when I posted it.

As you can see, most of the column is a preview of some of the big Summer Series taking place concurrently with the WSOP.  So I had to review all the schedules, and then use my best judgment about what to talk about from each of them.  It was a challenge.  I wanted to make sure that my own prejudices didn't take over and diminish the value to the reader.  So I tried my best to be the average reader and point out what was unique about each series.

For example, there are a lot of non-hold-em events referenced.  As you know, I have little interest in these but I think it is what makes the summer events noteworthy to a large degree, that's why I mentioned them so prominently.

Of course, there was so much material for a single column, I could have easily gotten an entire column for each series, so keeping the column normal length was another challenge for me.

It would have been even more challenging if all the rooms had come through with their schedules by my deadline.  So I guess I'm lucky that I will be able to discuss the schedules of Aria, Wynn and Bellagio in my next column, which is due any day now.  

Let me know what you think.

It’s that time of year again when Las Vegas rooms announce plans for big summer events that run concurrently with the World Series of Poker. Let’s take a look at the ones that have been released:
VENETIAN: In addition to Deep Stack Extravaganza III, which runs May 26-July 24, there will be a DSE III Warm-up series to get the season off to an early start, May 16-26.
Two $250 buy-in, three-starting-day tournaments bookend the series on May 16-19 and May 23-26. They each feature $100K guarantees while the total prize pool guarantee for this early series is more than $420K.
The big summer series is highlighted by a five-day, $3,500 buy-in that starts June 20 and has a $3M guarantee. Another big event is the $1,100 Mid-States Poker Tour with a $2M guarantee.It has three starting days beginning June 6.
On July 17, the first of three starting flights for the $5K event begins with a $2M guarantee.
Omaha players will be interested in the $1,100 PLO/8 event, which has two starting flights beginning June 27 at 5 p.m. with a $150K guarantee. A $1,100 PLO-PLO/8-Big O tournament with a $100K guarantee runs July 1-2. A $600 Big O tourney runs July 5-6 and has a $50K guarantee.A $400 PLO bounty tournament is July 10 with $100 bounties and a $30K guarantee.
There are bounty tournaments galore, ranging from $200 ($25 bounties) to $1,600 ($500 bounties). The $600 seniors event starts June 14 and has two starting flights with a $250K guarantee.The $400 one-day ladies event runs July 7 with a $30K guarantee.
More than $15M in prize money is guaranteed for the entire series.
Meanwhile, the main event at Deep Stack Extravaganza II ended with a six-way chop in March. The $600 event had more than 500 players and a prize pool of $300K.Ryan Swanberg took home $45K and the trophy for first place, while Ben Palmer settled for $44K. The other four players in the deal went home with between $20K and $26K.
PLANET HOLLYWOOD: The summer series is called Goliath and features more than $8M in guarantees.It runs May 26-July 10.
The series starts out with a Quantum tournament on May 26.The format, popularized at the Bicycle Casino in Southern California, allows players to buy in to the tournament at various amounts offering varying starting stacks as the tournament progresses.
The first two Day 1 flights cost $130 and players start with 10K chips.The second two Day 1 flights cost $240 for 12K chips and the final two Day 1 flights are $350 for 15K chips. Players also have the option of buying in directly to Day 2 for $1K and start with 100K chips.
Players can enter multiple flights and take the biggest stack to Day 2.
If they qualify more than once, they will receive a $2K bonus for cashing twice. The guaranteed prize pool is $150K.Another Quantum tournament begins June 16 with buy-ins of $240, $350, $450, and $1,800.That one has a $300K guarantee.
There are numerous other multiday events, including a $600 buy-in, $1M guarantee, six-starting flight event beginning June 4 that plays to Day 3 on June 7. The Ultimate Goliath Stack tournament starts players with 30K chips for $600 with four starting flights beginning June 21 and has a $700K guarantee.Goliath’s main event offers a $2M guarantee.It has six starting flights beginning July 7 with a $1,650 buy-in.
Various versions of Omaha, including Big O, appear throughout the schedule, as well as HORSE and a Dealer’s Choice event June 9.The LIPS National Championship, a $250 event, runs July 9-10. The Deaf Poker Tour is part of the series, with multiple events starting July 6 and the $250 main event running July 9.
GOLDEN NUGGET: The Grand Poker Series runs May 31- July 3. The $1,675 Poker Night in America event has three starting flights starting June 3. The final table will be live-streamed on Twitch and later broadcast on CBS Sports.Several high-stakes cash games will be recorded for PNIA.
The $570 main event has three starting flights beginning June 29 and has a $500K guarantee.
Players looking for a smaller buy-ins with a big potential payday should check out the $150, six-starting-flight (three a day) tournament June 10.It has a $100K guarantee.A $10K buy-in, seniors super high roller event will be June 26.
Most days have three tournaments starting at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.The 1 p.m. is usually a $150 tournament with a $20K guarantee.Omaha, PLO and Big O events run throughout the GPS series, which has more than $1M in guarantees.
BINION’S: The 10th annual Binion’s Poker Classic will run June 3-July 5. Fans of disciplines other than hold’em will find many great options in this series.
Most of these events have $240 buy-ins and include stud (June 6), PLO (June 7), HORSE (June 8), Omaha/8 (June 9), deuce-to-seven triple draw (June 10), razz (June 10), PLO/8 (June 13), Omaha 8-stud/8 (June 14), triple stud (June 15), PLO/NLHE mix (June 16), badugi (June 16) and stud/8 (June 21).
Championship events for HORSE and PLO run June 20 and June 23, respectively, with $360 buy-ins and $25K guarantees for each.
NLHE events run most days at noon with $180 buy-ins and $10K guarantees.There are three $565 WSOP qualifiers, with one seat to the WSOP main event guaranteed for each event.
The Classic’s championship event has two starting flights, beginning June 26, and has a $565 buy-in and a $50K guarantee.
WYNN: Ludovic Geilich won the $1,600 championship of the Wynn Classic in March.He outlasted nearly 500 players to take home $150K. Edward O’Connell earned $106K for finishing second and James Petzing took third for $75K. The total prize pool was $726K.
BALLY’S: The first WSOPC at Bally’s saw Jason Wheeler win the $1,675 main event.He took home $323K and a WSOPC ring.Second place went to Lisa Hamilton for $200K and Jamie Rosen took third ($147K) as more than 1,200 entrants competed for $1.8M-plus.


  1. Nice column Rob. Always well done.

    1. Thanks very much, Dale. I really appreciate it.

  2. Rob, have you ever told the story on how you became a writer for poker magazines?

    1. No, Xdex I haven't. But there's no real story there. When I was hired by PokerAtlas the guy I replaced was also doing the Vegas column for Ante Up, and also resigned from doing that. So they offered me the job. They really had no idea what a brilliant (or modest) writer they were getting.

    2. Oh OK. For some reason, I was hoping there was an interesting story behind it all. Hey, my goal is to one day have my blog reach the top 100 like you, TBC, TPM, Mojo, and PPP.

    3. Thanks for the, um, subtle reminder that I need to check out your blog!

    4. Haha, don't expect too much...I'm new at this and it takes 5 posts for me to equal one of yours!

    5. Well, not everyone has may way with words. Practice, my friend, practice.