The World Series of Poker is king during the summer in Las Vegas but it is not the only game in town. Knowing the sea of humanity that will be in Vegas to play poker during the summer, multiple casinos smartly hold concurrent events to draw in players that bust out early or those wanting a warm-up for their bracelet attempt.
The best part about these events is that they are offered at a deep discount over those at the Rio. So if you’re going to Las Vegas this summer, consider these 5 alternatives to the World Series of Poker.
Binions Poker Classic
One of two summer series running in Downtown Las Vegas, the Binions Poker Classic has run annually since 2006 and offers excellent bankroll building events ranging in buy-ins from $180 to $565.
Organizers have often tried to reflect the schedule of the World Series of Poker and offer these events as warm-up for the bracelet events running at the Rio. There are plenty of events for NL and non-Hold’em lovers alike and you’ll be surprised at how tough some of the fields are in some of these events.
Venetian DeepStack Extravaganza
The Venetian DeepStack Extravaganza is perhaps the most popular series outside of the World Series of Poker during the Vegas summer. Last year’s series offered 90 events with buy-in from $200 to $5,000 for the Main Event. The Mid-States Poker Tour ran a $2 million guaranteed event during the series, eventually won by Tom Bolvin.
This event is predominately NL Hold’em events with a few Omaha and a random H.O.R.S.E. tournament sprinkled in. NL lovers swear by the event and some consider this series better than the WSOP.
Grand Poker Series
Another popular low roller tournament series in Downtown Vegas is the Grand Poker Series at the Golden Nugget. The event features two to three tournaments daily with most buy-ins at $150 or $250. The Championship events are $570.
Like the Binions Poker Classic, this series features a solid spread of both Hold’em and mixed games. The non-Hold’em events tend to draw out many of the mixed game specialists and old school pros, so you may well find yourself playing with a WSOP bracelet winner or Poker Hall of Famer.
Wynn Summer Classic
The Wynn Summer Classic is the perfect event for NL Hold’em lovers that want to play solid daily guarantees. Last year, each NL event featured at least a $50,000 guarantee. Buy-in for events average between $400 and $600. The Championship event is a healthy $1,600. Last year’s winner, Joe Cappello, won $270k.
With the exception of a single PLO event, this series is entirely NL Hold’em. The fields are solid with a mix of recreational players and lower tier pro players. For those that don’t want to grind out the $200 and under fields but don’t want to shell out $1k or more per event at the Rio, this is a great alternative.
Goliath Phamous Poker Series
On paper, the Goliath PHamous Poker Series at Planet Hollywood would seem to be another low roller tournament series, but it is so much more. Last year’s series featured 115 different events ranging in buy-ins from $150 all the way to $1,650 for the Main Event.
Many of the events featured a guarantee and two events had seven-figure guarantees. The Goliath Million has a $1 million guarantee and was won by the legendary JJ Liu. The Main Event had a $2 million guarantee and Jan Schwippert won the title for $300k.
While most events are NL Hold’em, there are a few other variants spread out including Big O, PLO, Triple Draw and mixed events. In addition, the Deaf Poker Tour and LIPS National Championship were held during this series.
One added bonus for this event is that it runs during the entirety of the WSOP, all the way until the middle of the Main Event. So no matter when you’re in Vegas for the WSOP, you can try out one of these events at your leisure.