Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Vegas Poker Scene -- January 2017 Ante Up Column

Well, I'm back home after a good trip to Vegas (after a six-month hiatus).  I've got many stories to tell, hopefully I can do them justice.  Just for my New Year's Eve session alone, I recorded nearly two hours of voice notes, so when I get around to that, it should be a heckuva post (or two, or three or...)  But it will take some time to get to all that, especially since I've got an Ante Up column due on Friday.  Have I started it yet?  Or course not.

Speaking of Ante Up columns, here's my newest one.  This was my return to column-writing after missing the previous month's column due to my surgery.  It was written just a short-time after I started working again.  You can find the entire west coast report for Ante Up here and you should be able to find the hard copy in your local poker room soon if it's not there already.

Be sure to read the profile of my pal Michelle Grimwood, known on Twitter as @9ontheturn, following my Vegas report. 


The MGM Grand poker room continues to come up with popular and creative promotions.The latest one is called Progressive Picture Pyramid.
Every week, starting Wednesdays at 1 p.m., players who make a full house of jacks, queens or kings full (with a pocket pair) will win progressively more money as the pyramid fills.
The first nine made during the period are worth $100, the next eight are worth $200, etc.
The last one made, to complete the pyramid, is worth $1K. Once a particular full house is made (e.g, kings full of deuces), it’s no longer eligible for the promotion for the rest of the period.
If the pyramid doesn’t fill up in the week, the value of the unfilled spaces is increased by the amount of the original prize level.So, if the final full house doesn’t hit for two weeks, during the third week it will be worth $3K.
Another promo is the Progressive Power Hour. High hands of quads of better are worth a progressive jackpot if they’re made during a specific hour, which varies for each high hand. Thus, four aces or a royal flush must be made between 1-2 p.m. or 1-2 a.m.
Four sevens or a seven-high straight flush must be made between 7-8 p.m. or 7-8 a.m.Each hour starts at $200 and increases $50 per day until hit.
There’s also an early morning high hand of the hour running Monday-Friday from 5-10 a.m.The minimum hand is a full house and it pays $100.If no hand qualifies in a particular hour, the $100 carries over to the next hour.
The main cash game is $1-$2 no-limit hold’em and there are always multiple games running. The minimum buy-in is $100 with a $300 maximum.There’s also a $2-$5 game with a $200-$500 min-max.
All MGM tournaments have guarantees. There are two $70 tournaments daily (11 a.m. and 7 p.m.). Players get 15K chips and levels start at 15 minutes and increase to 20 at Level 10.The morning tournament has a $2K guarantee and it’s $1K in the evening.
Turbo tournaments for $50 run daily at 2 p.m. and Sunday-Thursday at 10 p.m. The levels are 10 minutes and the starting stack is 10K. The guarantee is $500.
VENETIAN: The main event at Deep Stack IV in late November came down to two Las Vegans: Justin Young and Ryan Welch.Young claimed the trophy and a prize of $121K as Welch went home with $103K. Nearly 440 players bought in to the $1,600 event, creating a prize pool of $633K, easily surpassing the $400K guarantee.
There’s plenty of great tournament action ahead at the Venetian.The New Year’s Extravaganza runs through Jan. 8.A $250 SuperStack with four starting flights starts Jan. 4 and has a $150K guarantee.
The January Weekend Extravaganza runs Jan. 18-22 and offers $118K in guarantees.The highlight is a $150 SuperStack beginning with its first of four starting flights on Jan. 18. The prize pool is guaranteed at $60K.
Deep Stack Extravaganza I runs Jan. 30-Feb. 27 and has more than $2.5M in guarantees. It includes the Mid-States Poker Tour’s $1,100 event that has two starting flights Feb. 2 and offers a $300K guarantee.
A new offering is an $800, eight-max with a $250K guarantee.The first of its three starting days is Feb. 9. The series offers several Omaha events, all with $400 buy-ins. The first is a PLO bounty on Feb. 9, followed by Omaha/8 on Feb. 13 and PLO-PLO/8 on Feb. 25.All Omaha tournaments have $15K guarantees.
A $400 seniors event runs Feb. 11-12 with a $30K guarantee.
The $1,600 main event starts the first of its three starting flights Feb. 20 and has a $750K guarantee.
On the cash side, the Venetian is taking a $1 promo drop and offering a bad-beat jackpot, which starts at $50K and increases daily.The minimum qualifying losing hand started at quad 10s and decreases every two weeks.
Through the end of January, the room has a high-hand promotion that runs Monday-Thursday (10 a.m.-8 p.m.) The highest hand every 15 minutes gets $150.
HARRAH’S: The mid-Strip room is giving away seats to the next WSOP Colossus, a $565 value.Each week, the top-nine players with the most hours between 6 a.m. and noon will compete in a single-table tournament, with the first- and second-place finishers getting a Colossus entry.Winners can opt for $500 instead.
The room offers two freerolls a week, with only five hours in half a week needed to qualify, but players can double their starting stack (from 2K to 4K) by playing two more hours during the qualifying period. The top-10 finishers in each freeroll get $200.
High-hand bonuses are offered for cash games and tournaments.It’s $50 for quads, $100 for straight flushes and $300 for royals. The main cash game is $1-$2 NLHE ($100-$300 min-max).There’s also a $2-$3 game ($200-$500).
All tournaments have guarantee and run at 9 a.m., noon, 3 p.m., 7 p.m. and 10 p.m., It’s a $65 buy-in for 5K chips and 20-minute levels. There’s an optional $5 add-on for 2,500 chips. The guarantee is $500.
On Friday and Saturday nights, the regular 7 p.m. is replaced by a $25 bounty tournament.The buy-in is $100, the starting stack is 10K, the levels are 20 minutes and the guarantee is $1K.

Meet Michelle Grimwood

A registered nurse by trade, Michelle Grimwood has been playing poker semi-professionally for eight years.
How did you get started in poker? I started with play money on PokerStarswhenI was in nursing school. There’s not alot to do up in Maine.
When did you move to Vegas and from where? I moved here five years ago. I am from the East-South, but travel nursing around the country I ended up staying inSan Antonio for a couple of years. After my first unplanned trip to Vegas, playing my first live cash games (my first session here I ended up playing 32 hours); I was in love.
What is your greatest highlight in poker? Playing online at WSOP, three tournaments a day and four on Sunday, I was around an 80 percentcash rate. That was an exciting and unbelievable number.
What are your poker goals? To be the first woman to win the (WSOP) main event. While my original reasons for that may have been a bit more selfish, now I’d like to use that platform and exposure to raise awareness for two incurable diseases that are very close to me so that more awareness and money can be raised to help find a cure.


  1. Good luck with the recovery from surgery (just out of surgery myself).

    Surprising fact that there never has been a woman on the final table!

    keep up the good work!

    1. Thanks, Richard. Hope you are doing well, too.

      I think it's mostly just a numbers thing with the many more male players. It will happen eventually. And would be good for the game.

  2. Michelle is one of my besties so when she does win the main event one day and it's not if, but when, I'm going to be one of the ones that can say I had her back when she was just one of us lol.