Disclosure: Some of the links on this page are affiliate links. However, we would never recommend a product or service that we don’t use and love ourselves. We promise! For more information, see our Disclosure page.
Paul and I are heading to Las Vegas this week for the 2018 World Series of Poker (WSOP). No, we are not laying down $10,000 and playing in the Main Event. While that is a bucket list item for us, we imagine fulfilling that dream many years down the road. No, we are lucky enough to be heading to Vegas in our role as ambassadors for Advanced Poker Training, the poker training site for which we also blog. APT is holding a WSOP Meet N Greet and they asked us to help represent the site. We did not have to think very hard before saying “hell, yeah!”.
We have been to Vegas a couple of times before and loved it. However, we’ve never been during the World Series of Poker. In planning this trip, we discovered that while the WSOP is in town most casinos suspend their daily tournaments. On our previous trips, The Venetian and the Aria have been our go-to rooms of choice. Both hold regular small stack (less than $200 buy-in) tournaments that we really enjoy. As we planned our current trip, we discovered that both are hosting tournament series this month alongside the WSOP. As we mentioned in our last post, we are currently facing the first college tuition bill for Paul’s older daughter. $1,500 (or even $500) buy-ins are off the table for this trip.
Low Stakes Tournament Options During the WSOP
There are plenty of options to play well-structured low stakes tournaments during the WSOP. For the purposes of this article, we define low stakes as anything at or below $200. If you are looking for such a game, here are your top five options:
WSOP Daily Deepstacks
Want to experience the Rio during the WSOP, but don’t have $1,500+ buy-ins handy? The Daily Deepstacks may be for you. The WSOP holds four Deepstack tournaments each day with buy-ins ranging from $150 (our sweet spot!) up to $365. The four tournaments vary in structure and format. You’ll want to check the schedule to decide which is right for you. The Deepstacks allow you to take in all of the World Series madness without parting with too much cash. And who knows, you may find Phil Hellmuth killing time in the seat next to you!
Goliath Phamous Poker Series
Planet Hollywood hosts the Goliath Phamous Poker Series in June. This series has a wide range of tournaments with varying buy-ins. However, like the WSOP, it has a couple of daily events. We would advise avoiding the Daily $80 tournament at all costs. With a whopping 28% rake, 12,000 chips and only 20 minute blinds, this one is bingo poker at it’s finest. For only $50 more you can play the nightly Doublestack Turbo. While labelled “Turbo”, this tournament has the same 20 minute blinds, but starts with a healthy 20,000 chips. It also features bounties. So even if you don’t finish money, you can earn some of your buy-in back.
Orleans Summer Poker Series
The Orleans hosts a summer tournament series as well. The Orleans boasts that its poker room was voted Best in Vegas by the readers of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. While we have previously visited, we’ll definitely be playing there this week. The Orleans summer series has a couple of excellent low buy-in tournaments. There is a $150 bounty tournament offering 15,000 chips and 30 minute blinds including bounties. There is also a $130 tournament with a similar structure (but no bounties) and a $20,000 guarantee. Both look quite appealing. I think we may be heading over to the bounty tournament while in Vegas.5 Ways to Enjoy the WSOP Without Spending $10,000Click To Tweet
Binion’s Dog Days of Summer Poker Series
Binion’s is where it all started. The WSOP was first played at Binion’s Horseshoe Casino in Downtown Las Vegas in 1970. That year, Jack Binion invited seven elite players in the US to determine who was the best. The winner was actually decided by a vote of the players in the game. Binion’s was the WSOP host for the next 34 years, right up to 2004. While the casino is showing its age, it still houses pictures of inductees into the Poker Hall of Fame. It’s worth a visit based on its poker history alone. Like the series mentioned above, Binion’s features a number of low buy-in events with decent structures. Also, Downtown Las Vegas has to be experienced at least once in a lifetime. Far from the shiny new casinos of the Strip, Downtown carries an air of old Las Vegas.
WSOP Single Table Satellites
Itching to play the $1,000 Ladies event or $1,500 Razz tournament but the buy-in is too steep? Single table satellites, a Sit-n-Go series that runs throughout the WSOP, are an option. Buy-ins start at $125, and winners are rewarded in lammers. Lammers can be exchanged for tournament buy-ins for any WSOP event. They also can be sold for a slight discount if you decide not to play the larger event. Starting stacks are short and blinds increase rapidly in satellites, so play is pretty wild. These events are not for the nit or the faint of heart. Satellites run continuously through the day. Just go to the Rio STS cage, buy in, and as soon as a table fills, your event will begin. If you want to enter a bracelet event on the cheap, the satellites are definitely an option.
There are certainly many ways to enjoy Vegas during the WSOP. If you’re looking to play poker at a reasonable cost, you will find these five options a good bet.
Following the WSOP From Afar
If you can’t make it to Vegas this summer, but want to check out the WSOP action, you can watch much of it on PokerGO. PokerGO offers an extensive live streaming menu of WSOP final tables, from $25k PLO to the $50 Poker Players Championship. They will be broadcasting daily action from the Main Event and the, million dollar buy-in, Big One for One Drop. PokerGO also has some great original shows. You can read reviews of a number of them over at CardPlayer Lifestyle. Use our link to sign up, and you can get $10 off a year’s subscription to PokerGO.
Like this post? Want to learn more about our plans for our poker pilgrimage? Head on over to the sidebar and subscribe. We’ll let you know whenever a new Poker Pilgrims blog post goes live!