2018 WSOP Preview: The WSOP Isn’t the Only Game in Town This Summer

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There's more to the summer tournament scene than just the WSOP. (123RF Stock Photo)

The World Series of Poker draws the primary attention for the duration of the Las Vegas summer. Tournament series across the strip grow each year and present legitimate competition to the offerings inside the Rio. Whether it’s a single-day tournament, multi-million dollar guarantee, or three-figure buy-in mixed game events, there’s plenty of poker to be played without ever collecting a WSOP receipt.

Venetian DeepStack Championship Series Goes All-in

The second-biggest series of the summer grows to gargantuan size this summer. The Venetian is throwing down $31 million in guarantees across 150 events between May 14 and July 29. Gone are the days of cramming into The Venetian poker room. The new era of the 103-table Sands Expo Convention Center arrives.

Play starts on May 26 in an arena that rivals the size of the Amazon Room in the Rio.

The Venetian and the Mid-States Poker Tour partner this summer for five events that include live streamed final tables. All five events carry a minimum $1 million guarantee and range in buy-in from $600 up to $5,000.

Leading off the powerful lineup is the $1,100 $3.5 million event with the first of four Day 1s on Sunday, June 3. The $2.5 million guaranteed tournament of the same buy-in size last summer brought in 3,273 runners and promises to put 4,000 within striking distance next month.

Other MSPT events on the schedule are the $600 $1 million guaranteed, $1,600 $3 million guaranteed, $3,500 $3.5 million guaranteed, and $5,000 $1 million guaranteed.

A total of 16 events carry the big blind ante with single-day events and the two $5ks included.

The series wraps with two $1,100 $1 million guaranteed tournaments that start after the WSOP Main Event gets going.

Wynn stays Winning

The most aesthetically pleasing playing area in Las Vegas puts $7 million up for grabs in the Wynn Summer Classic from June 1-July 16. All events aside from three at the Wynn are single-day events and every single No Limit Hold’em tournament offers the big blind ante format.

Price points at the Wynn are $400, $550, and $1,100 with the guarantees for the respective buy-in levels are $50,000, $100,000, and $200,000.

The rake is lower at the Wynn and the guarantees for multi-day events are sky-high.

Last summer’s $1,100 $1 million guaranteed brought in a field of 2,320. The Wynn placed two of those events on the calendar for 2018. The $1,100s own three starting flights each and start on June 14 and June 26.

The Wynn Summer Classic Championship is a $1,600 $1.5 million guaranteed giant that should draw huge with a WSOP Main Event post-lim date of July 9. A $1 million guarantee for the 2017 Wynn title put a prize pool of close to $3 million up for grabs.

ARIA offers low buy-in No Limit and Mixed Games

The ARIA Poker Classic has a little bit of everything for both professionals and recs looking to get some value for one day of poker between May 26 and July 8. The majority of events on the ARIA schedule price out between $240 and $500.

No Limit Hold’em is the main game but mixed game players can find a tournament or two of their liking during the summer.

$470 non-Hold’em events include Eight-Game Mix, Omaha Hi-Lo, 2-7 Single Draw, and H.O.R.S.E.

The “main event” of the ARIA Poker Classic is the $500 $1 million guaranteed WPT500. Nine starting flights are available with the first falling on June 25. Jon Borenstein won 2017’s WPT 500 by defeating 3,542 entrants to take home the $230,000 first-place prize.

Odds and ends

Other properties who carry summer series include Planet Hollywood, Golden Nugget, and Binions. All have No Limit and Mixed Games available for low buy-ins with compatible structures for single-day and multi-day events.