Friday, November 4, 2016

Vegas Poker Scene--November Ante Up Column

RECOVERY UPDATE: Before getting to the column, here's the latest.  After watching the ridiculously dramatic and exciting Game 7 of the World Series Wednesday, I was driven home yesterday (Thursday).  The trip and getting things set up at my house took a lot out of me.  I've been mostly resting since arriving home, haven't done any writing.  Hopefully I'll be up to it tomorrow.  Sleep does come easier in my own bed. My place does have a flight of stairs and although I have no problem walking up or down them, it is fairly exhausting for me.  I'm hoping after a few days of the old routine, I'll start making more progress.

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 soon if not already.


VENETIAN: Alex Rocha won the $3,500 main event at the DeepStack 3.5 at the Venetian in Las Vegas on Sept. 13 when the last four players made a deal.
Rocha took home $174K. Matt Salsberg ($145K), Eric Baldwin ($141K) and Ryan Tosoc ($125K) were part of the deal.There were 249 players for a $1M prize pool.The Venetian added a $203K overlay to the prize pool to meet the guarantee.
BELLAGIO: The Strip property hosts its WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic on Nov. 25-Dec. 10. The $10,400 main event plays out over six days beginning Dec. 5. The series features two $25K high rollers on Dec. 8-9, plus a $50K super high roller on Dec. 10.
The cheapest buy-in tournament is $550 on Nov. 27.There’s a $1,090 seniors event Nov. 28 and a $1,600 seniors event Nov. 30. There are two PLO events: $1,090 Dec. 1 and $5,200 the next day.
PLANET HOLLYWOOD: The World Series of Poker Circuit Main Event in September went to Sean Yu for $170K.Second place went to Eli Elezra for $150K with Daniel Needleman coming in third ($77K). The $1,675 event had 520 players for a $792K prize pool.
The series also ran a $5,300 high roller that attracted 26 entrants for a $130K prize pool. Eric Sagstrom took home $65K for finishing first, Joe Kuether was runner-up ($39K) and Jay Nair was third ($26K).
CAESARS PALACE: Mixed games have become popular at the center-Strip room.A $6-$12 or a $8-$16 game can be found four or five nights a week. The minimum buy-in is $100 with no max. Nearly 25 variants are in the rotation, including Omaha, Omaha/8, double-board Omaha, badacey, baducey, razz, stud, stud/8, badugi, Big O, pineapple, razzdugi, drawmaha, triple-draw high, and deuce-to-seven.
GOLDEN NUGGET: The downtown room just added a bad-beat jackpot. It’s progressive, starting at $10K.The losing hand must be at least quads, getting 40 percent as 30 percent goes to the winning hand and 30 percent is split among the other players at the table. There are also progressive high-hand bonuses for quads, straight flushes and royals, with double payouts between 2 a.m. and 2 p.m.
The no-limit cash games are full of action, as there are no caps on buy-ins.Multiple $1-$2 games are always going ($100 min) and a $2-$5 game with a $200 min runs often.Several $2-$4 limit games are available, too.Players get $2 an hour in comps.
The tournament schedule recently changed. At 11 a.m. and 7 p.m., a $65 event offers a 10K stack and 20-minute levels. At 3 and 7 p.m., it’s $50 for 5K and 20-minute levels.Sundays at 11 a.m. is a $125 tournament with a $5K guarantee and a 15K stack. The first eight levels are 20 minutes and go to 30 minutes thereafter.
RIO: The main cash game at the off-Strip room is $2-$3 NLHE. The minimum buy-in is $200 and the max is $1K.This game offers $2 an hour in comps and double-tier credits on the player Total Rewards card. A $1-$2 game with a $100-$300 min-max runs less often. Players in that game get $1 an hour in comps and single-tier credits.
The room offers high-hand bonuses for straight flushes ($100) and royals ($500), and a weekly freeroll.
Tournaments go daily at 10 a.m., 1 p.m., 4 p.m. and 9 p.m.They are all $50 buy-ins, with a 10K stack and 20-minute levels and they all have a $500 guarantees.
EXCALIBUR: The main cash games here are $1-$2 NLHE and $2-$6 spread-limit. The former has a $60-$300 min-max.The spread-limit game has a $30 minimum. Players earn $2 per hour in comps.
The room is noted for the big prize wheel that players spin whenever their aces get cracked or they hit a high hand.The prizes are $20-$100. In addition to the wheel spin, players get $25 for aces losing between 10-3 p.m. Monday through Friday.The Deuces Never Loses promo awards players $222 for quad deuces. Royals get $555. The Flush Fever promo runs Tuesday-Thursday. Players getting flushes in all four suits during a 24-hour period win $300.
The football promo features cash drawings forSundaymorning and Monday night games. A random seat is drawn after each score to award player $50 for a field goal, $100 for a TD and $200 for safety. There’s a raffle for Monday night games as players earn tickets for live play beginning four hours before game. Two tickets worth $50 each are drawn at halftime and a ticket is drawn at9 p.m.for $50 and at 10 p.m. worth $100.
Four tournaments run daily. The 9 a.m. is $40 while the tournaments at 1 p.m., 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. are $45. They all have 5K stacks and 15-minute levels.
MONTE CARLO: During Sunday morning, Sunday night, Monday night and Thursday night football games, the room has a high-hand-of-the-quarter promotion. The first quarter pays $25, the second quarter is $50, the third quarter gets $75 and the fourth wins $100.
STRATOSPHERE: The football promo is highest hand of the quarter ($50) for morning, afternoon and evening games Sunday as well as Monday and Thursday evening games.


Meet Mark Selby

Mark Selby has been working in poker since 2009 and has been the manager of the Stratosphere poker room since March 2015.
How’d you get into poker? Sunday night card games were a regular occurrence in our house, a mix of friends and family across many generations. Around 2003 when online poker started to bloom, I felt I had a heads-up on the competition after my years of home games. There began my love affair with poker and taking poker seriously. When I moved to the United States from London, there really was no other career I considered.
Why play at the Stratosphere? The Strat is a small, fun room. Recreational players feel at home in the friendly and unintimidating environment. We regularly refresh our promotional offerings so there always seems to be something new and exciting happening.
What do you do when you’re not working? There was a time when if I wasn’t on one side of the table I was on the other. My son was born in 2011 and since then I have been fortunate to be able to spend a lot of time with him. The Strat afforded me a great opportunity to work a swing-shift schedule so I get to spend all day with him.


  1. Rob, been working through your years of entries and really enjoy your writing style. Question for you, my wife and I are coming to Vegas this Sunday for 5 days. Her first trip, I have probably 20+.. Re Excalibur dailies, do you know how many runners they typically get? I want to find a cost effective "fun" tournament that my wife can play to try it out. Jeff..

    1. Those cheap, under $60 tourneys aren't very good value, but they could be a fun way to spend a couple of hours, depends on your tastes.

      I doubt most of them get more than two tables going, some of them maybe only one, and I'll bet some of them don't run (not enough players).

      To get good value (cost effective) you're gonna have to find a tournament that's nearer $75 or even over $100. Of course, those will take longer to play if you run well. But for your wife, try a cheaper one just to see how she likes it. Then she can see if she wants to try something that costs more (in both time and money).

      Good luck and have fun. And thanks for the kind words, Jeff.

    2. Thanks Rob, well aware of the value (or lack thereof) of these low cost tournies. Much prefer Aria's daily myself but my wife would likely be totally intimidated there. On guys trips in the past I have played many of the "real" tournaments, Aria, Venetian, etc but this time I will spend most of my time with her.. Likely will play some cash at the south end of the strip however. Really looking forward to it as it has been 3 years since my last visit. Hopefully your recovery is going well and you get back at it asap.

  2. Hi Rob:
    Glad to see your are feeling better. Keep doing the rehab and get on the road to recovery. I was hoping our paths would cross early December (1-4) but I assume you will not be in Vegas again in 2016. Really enjoy your blog. Thanks for writing.
    On another note is PPP okay, no updates in over a month?

    Take care recover well

    1. Thanks, LG.

      Well, I am still holding out hope that I can make it back to Vegas for Xmas & New Year's but it's probably less than 50/50. Still got time tho to see where I am as it gets closer.

      As for PPP, he's fine. If you were on Twitter you'd see his nonsense all the time. Guess he just has nothing to blog about. I will pass on your concern to him! Maybe we can get him off his lazy ass and write something. After all, if I can write while recovering from a triple bypass, what the hell could his excuse me.