Las Vegas Poker Tournaments — Greatest City to Play Live Poker

Dennis  «Dennis_Stets» 
21 Jun 2024
Poker News
21 Jun 2024

Las Vegas is a gambling capital that is constantly changing. From year to year, new buildings are built here to attract as many people to the city as possible, and at the same time — cash flow. For this purpose many fresh casinos are opened. Wynn, Bellagio, Venetian, and many more. In this material you’ll find a detailed story about Las Vegas poker tournaments, in which casinos and rooms they are held, what kind of competitors usually oppose and so on.

About tournament life in LA

In Vegas, you can find a live poker tournament series going on almost constantly. The WSOP Circuit, some series at the Bellagio or the Venetian or Caesars Palace. All series are usually two or three weeks long, and consist of $300-$500 tournaments every day, $1,000 or $2,000 buy-in on weekends, and with one Highroller or Main Event at the final stage for pricing $3,000 or $5,000.

The Main Event, of course, can be easily skipped, but to play the rest of the tournament series you better come with a bankroll of 30K-50K. Compositions of tournaments are usually very weak, but quite specific. It's not easy to adjust to this style after online active play, but it's possible.

Usually tournaments start between 12:00 and 14:00 AM, which may not seem very convenient. But it’s always better to check the list of future Las Vegas poker tournament schedule at the organization's website.

Multi-table poker tournaments in Las Vegas

This is a real deal for MTT fans in Las Vegas. A wide range of poker tournaments vegas with structures to suit all tastes, from turbo to slow. Buy-ins start from $70. Lots of tournaments for $300-$500 + there is a good selection at $1,000-$1,500 price tag. But if you're a high roller and want more, there may be more expensive options on the schedule almost every day. It depends on the chosen casino, list of which we’ll provide at the end of today's topic.

The weakest line-ups are in tournaments with buy-ins below $1,000, which are held in the casinos of the large hotels. You're likely to be the only person who has ever read a poker forum and get easy money. Unless, of course, an experienced poker pro sits in the same tournament you play. 

Tune in to fight with all kinds of fish: holidaymakers, businessmans, tourists, and even grandmas. There will also be some completely random people who sat down to play just for fun or because of a sudden impulse. Such a category of players will be quickly cooled down to this activity and decided to put all-in every hand. It's hard to estimate your ROI in such tournaments, but I feel it will be more profitable than a $1/$3 cash game.

More interesting and profitable games are met in tournaments with buy-ins between $1,500-$2,500. There you will already meet a lot of professionals, including those from the USA, Europe, Russia and other countries. High places are fought for, although the large number of amateurs make it to the ITM.

Also note that the same regular tournaments are noticeably stronger on weekdays than on weekends.

The cheapest daily tournaments in Las Vegas are held at Rio casino — with $150-250 buy-ins. 

If it's summer outside, it will be the perfect time for the Las Vegas tourist scene. We’re talking about the World Series of Poker. The regular tournaments start at noon and the cheap ones start two hours later. They usually have a deep structure, lots of entrants and pretty decent guarantees.

Satellites with a buy-in of $500 can also be held at Las Vegas in the evenings. The target tournament is usually the Main Event, but sometimes other expensive World Series tournaments. Despite the accelerated format, it's quite a worthwhile investment of time and money to invest. These sorts of poker events provide an unforgettable experience — you’ll never regret a single second that you’ve visited them.

As a pleasant bonus, in most casinos, for participating in the tournament you get a kind of rakeback — It’s a meal voucher that can be used to pay the bill at a restaurant. The amount is often up to $10.

Specifics of poker players in Las Vegas

By nature, Americans are very principled. For them justice is more important than any money. If you catch some neat player in a finely pressed suit or an entertaining programmer, who makes an impression of an exemplary guy, just show him one bluff — even $1 may be enough. After such a move the player will open anything you want. 

Especially it works well on all sorts of grandfathers-pensioners and mothers-heroines (as you will be in the casino immediately understand what we’re talking about).

A separate topic is the Chinese people. Most of them don’t know about pot-odds and believe in pure luck. They are also very prone to all sorts of stupid bluffs when they are underdogs, and are terribly vindictive: if you win their pot, they will play against you with all the hands. Why? Just to teach you a lesson (no, they can’t).

In all cases of playing there, as in almost any offline game, your profit will come from the fact that opps will pay you much more often than you pay them. Bluffing there should only be done for image or in the favourable situations.

A very common theme: hit and run. Some guy comes in, sits down, puts a stack on the table, wins a $100 pot and runs away. Don't pay attention to such types of players and don't try to teach them how to live. Most importantly, don't let him ruin your nerves and continue doing your previous job.

All cash games are much worse if the casino has a series of tournaments. Especially a good one. For example, when we talk about WPT @ Bellagio, don't even think about playing cash there. And if there's WSOP, forget about cash games. It’s like surfing the web on your smartphone at home while there’s fireworks or a festival outside. Such events should not be missed!

When there is a big live series, some poker pros and amateurs come to it. They dilute the weak audience of tourists, and the games are not as exciting as when there are 6 people at the table who have never heard anything about any strategies and treat the process the same way as roulette.

There is a myth in the poker world that cash games are very cool during the WSOP and not at other times. This myth goes back to the good ole days when Doyle Brunson, Chip Reese, Stu Ungar and seven others like them played NL at one table. There were no other tables in the world — well, or there were 2 or 3.

Poker was not a popular game in those days. In the early 1970s, just seven poker players sat around and waited for someone to join them. And they get a seat every two months.

But during the WSOP everything changed — amateur poker players came and played cash with them. And so it came to us in all the books and stories from that time that cash was very cool during the WSOP. But until today, things have changed a lot.

Best poker clubs for playing Las Vegas poker tournaments

The first thing any poker player associates Las Vegas with is the world's biggest poker series and millions of dollars in prize money. But poker life in the city of sins does not stop for a minute — even in the low season. At the end of the article we will tell you about the best poker clubs in Las Vegas, where you can play a tournament or sit at the cash tables any day. So let’s find them out!

#1: Horseshoe

For a long time players knew the casino under the name Bally's, but in December 2022 the owners returned the historical name — Horseshoe. The first WSOP was held here in the seventies, and in the summer of 2022 the festival returned to its native walls.

There are 10 cash tables (8-max) at Horseshoe at any time. The most popular discipline is no-limit Texas Hold'em with blinds $1/$3. Limit Hold'em $3/$6 is a regular feature. On weekends and holidays you can find tables with Pot-Limit Omaha $1/$2 and $5/$5. The rake is 10% and the cap is $5.

Horseshoe hosts at least six No Limit Hold'em tournaments every day with a buy-in of $100 and a $1,000 guarantee. The structure is fast: levels of 20 minutes each and starting to stack 20,000 chips. Late registration is for the first six levels. There is also a regular NLHE tournament on Saturdays with deep stacks. Buy-in is $160 and the guarantee is $5,000. Tournaments at Horseshoe are played at 9-max tables.

On the 2+2 poker forum, players say that during the WSOP, the field at the cash tables tightens up and you have to wait several hours to be seated. Players on Reddit agreed that during the low season, the field at Horseshoe is soft at both cash tables and tournaments:

«Played a $1/$3 cash recently, at 8pm on a Saturday night I only waited a few minutes to be seated. People at my table were getting drunk and having fun».

#2: Bellagio

Bellagio is another popular destination for poker enthusiasts. The Bellagio Poker Club has 40 tables, making it one of the largest in Las Vegas. It is also home to the famous Bobby's Room (renamed the Legends Room), where high rollers rake in millions of dollars. The Bellagio is also home to the WPT series.

Regular poker tournaments are temporarily out, but plenty of cash games are available in 2024:

  • No-Limit Hold'em: $1/$3, $2/$5, $5/$10, $10/$20.
  • Limit Hold'em: $4/$8, $10/$20, $20/$20, $40/$80.
  • Pot-Limit Omaha: $1/$3, $2/$5, $10/$20.
  • Seven Card Stud: $20/$40, $40/$80.
  • Mixed Games: $4/$8, $30/$60, $40/$80.

Rake is 10% with a $5 cap. The game is available round the clock.

Tournament series are held in a huge room, from which you can go out to the balcony and enjoy a beautiful view of the Strip and the famous Bellagio singing fountains. For that alone, it's worth playing a couple of tournaments here.

#3: Аria

The youngest of the Vegas poker clubs, which has been advertised by Phil Helmut, Ben Lamb, Antonio Esfandiari and many other poker stars. Like the establishments described above, it is located in the center of the gaming industry — on the famous Las Vegas Strip. 

The Ivey Room, named in honor of poker star Phil Ivey, regularly draws hundreds of thousands and millions of dollars celebrities. The Aria Casino is home to the PokerGO Studio and hosts high roller poker tournaments in Vegas such as the Poker Masters, Super High Roller Bowl and more.

There are 24 tables available at Aria Poker Club with an excellent selection of disciplines and limits:

  • No Limit Hold'em: $1/$3, $2/$5, $5/10, $10/$20.
  • Limit Hold'em: $2/$4, $4/$8, $10/$20, $20/$40, $40/$80.
  • Omaha Hi-Lo: $4/$8, $9/$18, $20/$40.
  • Pot-Limit Omaha: $1/$2, $2/$5, $10/$20.
  • Seven Card Stud: $6/$12, $15/$30, $20/$40, $30/$60.
  • Mixed Games: $4/$8, $10/$20, $15/$30, $20/$40, $40/$80.

At low limits the game is available round the clock. The rake is 10% and the cap is $5. There is also a daily $160 buy-in tournament with a $4,000 guarantee. On Fridays and Saturdays, entry is $240 and the guaranteed prize pool goes up to $5,000. Levels are 20 minutes each.

#4: Venetian

It’s actually two poker clubs located in different but merged hotels — Venetian and Palazzo. It takes about 10-12 minutes to get from one gaming room to the other through the corridors of the hotels. Venetian and Palazzo chips are freely accepted both there and there.

This is one of the best tournament and cash game venues in Vegas. After the renovation, the main poker room has become a work of art - you get the impression that you are playing in a real palace. The tables in the hall are not just many — here we are talking about an obscene amount.

For example, Venetian Poker Club is the largest in Las Vegas and has 59 tables. It has repeatedly won the title of best place to play poker in popular guides to Las Vegas. The Venetian hosts the annual DeepStack Championship live festival. The 2024 series features 70+ tournaments with a total guarantee of $14,000,000.

At 11am almost every day, the casino provides a cheap tournaments on some sort of low limit game.

The most popular games at the cash tables are no-limit Texas Hold'em and pot-limit Omaha. NLHE is played in limits of $1/$3, $2/$4, $3/$5, $5/$10, PLO — $1/$2, $2/$5. There are also regular Las Vegas tournaments with buy-ins ranging from $200 to $400. 

Venetian collects the standard rake for large Las Vegas casinos — 10% with a cap of $5.

#5: Caesars Palace

This is the largest casino in the Caesars chain. The poker club has 16 tables + 2 tables for expensive high roller games. The club is open 24 hours a day. 

The casino is located minutes away from the rest of the establishments on our list on Las Vegas Boulevard.

Caesars Palace hosts four poker tournaments daily: two $100 buy-in $1,000 guaranteed and two $150 buy-in $2,000 guaranteed. The starting stack in all events is 15,000 and blinds increase every 20 minutes.

Cash players can find table at any time at the 9-max No Limit Hold'em tables with blinds of $1/$2. At peak times there are $2/$5 tables. The casino is ready to provide any game if there are enough willing players. The rake is 10% with a cap of $4.

#6: Wynn

One of the most attractive clubs, which is located at the best hotel in Vegas. It looks small from the outside, but in fact it is quite spacious — 12 tables. There are a lot of rich people here, for whom it is not a problem to lose a few thousand while their girlfriends go to expensive boutiques. 

For the tournament regular, Wynn offers its own series with satellites for $540 to the Main Event with a $5,000 guarantee.

So now you see the scope of Las Vegas tournaments. It’s definitely worth visiting this city!

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