With the 2019 WSOP nearly upon us, we thought it would be a good time to take a look at what is happening this year at the Rio Hotel & Casino and what events are not to be missed. Every year the WSOP seems to bring more and more poker players from around the world and because of this, some of the games get juicier and juicier. Every year it seems like more and more players come to town to not only play WSOP events, but to also fill up the poker rooms at some of the other casinos in town as well. Even though many players will come to play a specific Bracelet Event or even several, they will also end up playing all over town at rooms from the Venetian to the Bellagio to the Aria or the Wynn. This time of year there is a ton of poker going on at pretty much any denomination you can imagine.
Let’s start with the cash games. If you are going to the WSOP and not playing any cash games, you are missing out. Everybody thinks of the Main Event when it comes to the WSOP, and many players come to Vegas to jump into bracelet event after bracelet event. That’s fine, but there is a ton of money to be made at the cash tables. You can find a cash game going strong 24/7 no matter what dollar amount you are looking to spend. If you are $1/$2 player, you will still find tables that you can grind out a profit. If you choose to play the nosebleed blinds, then you can really clean up because for every pro playing at a table, there are a half dozen guys with more money than they’ve got brains. It’s a poorly kept secret among the local poker pros that the cash games that take place during the WSOP at the Rio has the most fish that you will find playing poker at any one time in Las Vegas.
The next aspect to the WSOP carnival that often gets over looked are the daily tournaments. These run at various starting times every single day. Entry fees vary, according to the time of day, but for the most part, a couple hundred dollars can get you into a pretty sweet 1-day event with some excellent prize pools. These tournaments can bring up to 1,000 entrants per tournament, which makes them a great value, so much so, that you will likely find some big name pros playing these daily tournaments from time to time. Greg Raymer in particular has been known to do very, very well in these games and he makes it a habit to play them frequently. Of course there are also single table satellite tournaments running all the time as well and this can be a great way to win your way into bracelet events without having to pay the entire entry fee. If you can afford to put in the time, you can clean up in the satellite tournaments along and if you are planning on spending several weeks plus in Las Vegas for the WSOP, you will want to play some daily events whenever you are not entered into something larger.
One of the biggest events that has garnered much anticipation is the WSOP Golden event, The Big 50. This is a No-Limit Hold’em event that has some massive potential for massive payouts. Starting on May 30th and featuring 4-starting flights, this $500 buy in is rake-free (for your first buy in at least) which will result in an enormous prize purse. Further, each player will receive 50,000 in starting chips and play 12, 50-minute levels the first day. This is obviously an event that will reward patient players and one that you can grind your way into the money in. A $5 million prize pool is being guaranteed, but I can see that being easily eclipsed over the course of 4-starting flights with players being able to buy in multiple times if they bust out early.
Other WSOP bracelet event highlights include the Millonaire Maker $1500 buy in event with 25,000 in starting chips on June 7th, and a Double Stack NLH $1,000 buy in with 40k in starting chips which begins on June 14th. I also like the Crazy Eights event, where a mere $888 gets you a 40k chip stack with 60 minute levels. There are many good values to be had at the WSOP and these are some of the best. Whenever you can get a large starting chip stack with longer levels, you can really play some poker because you are not being pushed by the blinds nearly as quickly as you would be in other tournaments. You can afford some runs of bad cards because the tournament structures make up for it.
Obviously no WSOP is complete without the Main Event, $10k buy in which will start its first flight this year on July 3rd. After 3 days of starting flights for the Main Event, the Little One for One Drop takes place for $1111 buy in. There are also a much larger number of good events taking place after the Main Event, whereas in the past, the Main pretty much concluded most of the action. It is also nice that the Main Event is no longer being delayed until November for the Final Table. This brings some continuity back to the event rather than the ridiculousness that was the November Nine.
Overall, a lot to do at the 2019 WSOP and many ways that a good poker player can make money at the tables. If you are planning on being in Vegas for some WSOP action there is no shortage of games at the Rio and certainly casinos such as the Wynn, The Venetian, and the Bellagio and Aria will also have some great games going and some full poker rooms while the WSOP is going on. It’s a great time for poker players, not matter what your choice of game happens to be.