Friday, August 3, 2018

Vegas Poker Scene -- August 2018

Below is my August column for Ante Up.  It's pretty cool because I got to mention fellow blogger Memphis MOJO (aka Dave Smith) because he scored in the seniors event at Orleans.  Be sure to check it out.
I also mentioned famed Hollywood actor and poker player James Woods. 
And finally, be sure to check out the profile I did on vlogger Brad Owen at the bottom of the column.
The link for the column on Ante Up is here.  Remember, I only write the Vegas portion.  Magazine should be in your local poker rooms by now.
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The Senior Extravaganza, a new event, runs Aug. 20-26 at the Venetian Las Vegas. Each day features an 11 a.m. event for seniors, starting with a $200 superstack event with a $10K guarantee. Next up is a $250 event with two starting flights and a $30K guarantee. A $400 Monster Stack with a $60K guarantee has two starting flights beginning Aug. 24.
During this series, the room will run two events daily that are open to players of all ages. These tournaments are one-day affairs, with $150-$300 buy-ins and guarantees between $4,500 and $20K.
The Ante Up Poker Tour returns to Vegas as part of Venetian’s DeepStack Extravaganza III, which runs Sept. 3-23. The first of its three starting flights runs Sept, 13. The event is a $600 tournament with a $200K guarantee. Players start with 20K chips and play 40-minute levels.
Other events in the series include a $1,100 MSPT tournament starting Sept. 7 with a $250K guarantee. There are also two of the popular $340 doublestack events, each with two starting flights and $100K guarantees. All told, more than $1.2M in prize money is guaranteed.
ARIA: The WPT 500 completed July 3 as the winner was Greece’s Kyriakos Papadopoulos, earning $208K. Bobby Poe from Southern California took home $140K as runner-up and Hoan Nguyen of Texas scored $103K for third. The $570 tournament had nearly 3K entries and a $1.5M prize pool. There were nine starting flights, including three turbo flights.
BINIONS: The $1K championship event completed June 14 and had 241 entrants. Sean Small of Georgia and Aleksandras Rusinovas of Lithuania agreed to a deal when heads-up, with each player getting $44,850. Small got a few dollars more and the title. Erkut Yilmaz of Pennsylvania earned $23K for third. The prize pool was $219K.
Jeffrey Higgins of Massachusetts won the $1K PLO championship June 23, claiming $23K. Japan’s Masato Okude took second for $22K and Matt Mueller of Illinois placed third for $10K. The event had 104 entries and a $94K prize pool.
Actor James Woods won the HORSE championship June 30 ($14,570) as Mihails Morozovs of Latvia was second ($13,890) and Las Vegans Ron Ware and Daniel DiPasquale each took home $12,500 for third and fourth, respectively.
GOLDEN NUGGET: Guilherme Ksyvickisbordao of Brazil won the championship event July 1, earning $132K. North Carolina’s Juan Garivaldi finished second for $82K and California’s Daniel Placencia was third for $61K. The $570 event had nearly 1,600 entrants, creating a prize pool of $788K.
GREEN VALLEY RANCH: Poker Room in Henderson has updated its tournament schedule. The new 10:15 a.m. rebuy tournament Monday-Friday has a $75 buy-in. Players start with 7K chips and play 20-minute levels. Through the first six levels, players can rebuy 7K chips for $50 any time they are at or less than 7K chips. There’s a $2K guarantee.
On Saturdays at 10:15 a.m., it’s a $50 tournament with a $1K guarantee, 5K chips and 20-minute levels. Players can enter and re-enter for the three levels.
Friday evenings at 6:45, a $100 Survivor tournament runs. The starting stack is 10K and blinds are 30 minutes. Players may take $100 rebuys for 10K chips for the first four levels any time they are at 10K or less. The tournament plays down to 10 percent of the starting field, when each remaining player gets about
10 percent of the prize pool.
Sundays at 1, the room offers a $125 tourney called the Sizzler. The starting stack is 10K and the levels are 30 minutes. There’s a $20 add-on for 2K chips, half of which goes to the staff and half goes to the prize pool. The guarantee is $5K and there’s re-entry for the first four levels.
Monday and Wednesday evenings at 6:45, it’s a $75 bounty event. Players start with 6K and play 20-minute levels. Through the first five levels, $50 rebuys are available for 5K chips whenever a player has 6K or less. The bounty is $25 and the guarantee is $2,500.
PLANET HOLLYWOOD: The $2,200 main event of the Goliath Series ended June 30. Krasimir Yankov of Bulgaria took the $272K first-place prize. Raul Manzanares of Spain received $266K for second and Daniel Wilson of Ireland scored $250K for third. There were 924 entrants and a prize pool of $2M.
ORLEANS: The Seniors Poker Tour Championship saw the final three players made a deal as Peter Splettstober of Germany took home the biggest prize ($16,500). Florida’s Dave Smith claimed $14K for second and Paul Niemala of Las Vegas received $11K for third.
The $400 event attracted almost 300 players and the prize pool was $104K.
The final five women in the LIPS National Championship, a $250 event, agreed to a chop. They were Sandra Kasinowitz of Texas, Candyce Samples of Texas, Maria Hagood of Hawaii, Elizabeth Oueliette of California and Eleanor Wheeler of the UK and they each took home $10,500. There were 500 entries and a prize pool of $100K.

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Meet Brad Owen:
A pro and vlogger, Brad Owen moved to Vegas twice, first from Northern California and then from Los Angeles.
How did you get started in poker and vlogging? I started playing poker with my older brother and his friends when I was around 14. We’d mainly play tournaments for $1-$5 at our house. I really enjoyed it because for the first time I felt like my brother and I were competing against each other on an equal playing field.
I got started vlogging after seeing the first few episodes that Andrew Neeme put out. I thought it was so cool to see someone honestly depict what it’s like to play low-to-mid-stakes poker for a living.
I felt I had a unique perspective and I wanted my friends and family, who didn’t understand what I was doing for a living, to see what my life is actually like as a professional poker player. I didn’t anticipate that many people would watch it.
What is your greatest highlight in poker? There have been a lot of highlights in the past year. Phil Hellmuth and Doug Polk appeared in different episodes of the vlog. It was a blast hanging out with them. What I’m most proud of is developing different communities within poker.
My brother and I launched a website called It’s a forum site with 1,000-plus members in which people talk about hand histories or anything else poker related. It’s been great to see people share insight, connect with others, and improve together.
What are your poker goals? I don’t have many poker-related goals other than to last as long as I can. I’ve realized that I’m either not very good at or don’t enjoy other (non-poker) activities that make money. I love playing poker and hope to be involved in it at some level for the rest of my life. 


  1. I'm always amazed at the number of summer poker series that Las Vegas now supports.

    1. More and more each year....This year was a quite a jump in sheer number of series events. I think they may have overdone it this year. Just too damn many.