A Guide to Poker Tournaments in Las Vegas

Reports & Blogs by BentonBlakeman Posted

A Guide to Poker Tournaments in Las Vegas
Every year thousands upon thousands of poker players make a pilgrimage to Las Vegas to take a stab at poker fame and glory. Las Vegas, the historical mecca of poker and home to the famed World Series of Poker, is a poker player’s dream that is nestled in the middle of the Nevada desert. Every day there are countless tournaments that are spread throughout the city. So many in fact, that I felt like a walkthrough of all the types of tourneys available was necessary. There are so many different tournaments in town that vary in game type, buy in, and structure. Where to begin?

Daily Tournaments
Throughout town many of the smaller card rooms run daily tourneys in order to attract people to their room. These tourneys are used as a springboard to get people in the room and feed the cash games. The tourneys themselves are normally run several times a day and have smaller buy-ins ranging from $40 to $100. These events are fast paced with a quick blind structure and not a lot of play. That's perfectly fine if you're looking to sit down with some buddies for an event that will only last 3 or 4 hours at most. These events are great for a tourist who doesn't want to commit a full day or more to playing poker. They are also great practice for the serious player who is looking to improve their push or fold strategy in preparation for bigger tournaments. Finding these tournaments is simple, click here and select which room you'd like to play at. For example, if I am staying at the Monte Carlo Poker Room Page and want to see what tourneys will be running, I'd simply head over to the Monte Carlo Poker Room Page and check out the daily tourney schedule on the right hand side of the webpage. The downfall to these smaller buy-in tourneys is that sometimes not enough players sign up and management will cancel the tournament.

Some of the bigger card rooms in town also offer daily tourneys at a little higher price point. These events can range from $125 to $500. Like the events at the smaller rooms, they are also only one-day tournaments. The difference is that they have longer blind levels and a slower blind increase structure so they may last 6-12 hours depending on how many players sign up. They also tend to take a little less rake than the smaller buy in events. These events cater to both the tourists who has an entire day to block off to play in a tournament, as well as the serious and professional players in town who use these events to supplement their income. The prize pools can grow quite big in these events and often times the winner will walk away with several thousand dollars added to their bankroll! Just like the smaller events, you can find each rooms daily tourney schedule on PokerAtlas. For example, if you head to the Venetian Poker Room Page you'll see the daily schedule for the Venetian. Unlike the smaller rooms, these bigger rooms almost always get enough players and rarely cancel an event.

Another kind of tournament that you may see around town are freerolls. A freeroll tourney is one which has no buy in but is restricted to only players who qualify for the tournament. Many rooms run promotions like "If you play 10 hours in a week you qualify for our $1000 freeroll." Something like this is very easy to qualify for even if you're just in town visiting for a few days. To find out about freerolls you can look on our forum as well as asking the floor-person at whichever room you choose to play in about them. Also, while in Nevada you can play legal online poker. Head on over to our Nevada Online Poker Room Page and sign up for an account at WSOP.com where there are several freerolls for the players every day!

Summer Series
With the basic types of tourneys covered, next comes the important part-Summer! Las Vegas is without a doubt the tournament capital of the poker world during the summer months. Not only do you have the coveted WSOP to choose from, but many other rooms like the Venetian, Aria, Golden Nugget, Binions, Wynn, Bellagio, Orleans, and Planet Hollywood also run summer tournament series. Lets take a look at some of them. Click here for a full list of upcoming tournament series and special events, you cna filter the results by state.

The series that will be held at the Orleans, Aria, and Planet Hollywood are perfect for recreational players. They have good structures but aren't too lengthy where it will take up an entire trip to Vegas just to play until the end. They boast buy-ins in $100 to $500 range for the most part and are very player friendly. Most events are no limit holdem and should generate a decent number of players.

The poker series that run at Binions and the Golden Nugget are quite unique. They very much mimic the schedule of the WSOP but have much smaller buy ins, often 1/10th of the actual WSOP buy in. There are mixed games like Big O (Pot Limit 5 card Omaha 8 or better) and HORSE to satisfy all play types. This is a great place to cut your teeth on tournaments that you don't see everyday in Vegas. The structures are decent and the starting chips are plentiful so be ready to put in a solid session should you decide to play here.

Bellagio's summer series is a little different this year and it's quite obvious who they are aiming for- the HIGH ROLLERS! There are six events slated for this year and all boast a $10,200 buy in! Expect the fields to be small but packed with the best of the best and some very rich businessmen. There should be a fair amount of play in these events with long levels and lots of chips.

Two very popular summer poker series are held each year at the Venetian and the Wynn. The Venetians Deep Stack Extravaganza will run tourneys ranging from $300 to $5000 with many $1100 events scattered throughout. This seems like the go to place for WSOP patrons who aren't competing in that day’s events at the WSOP. The fields are extremely large for the smaller buy-ins and often award first place prizes of $50,000+. The tournaments are several days long so make sure to clear your slate for that final table run! The Wynn will play host to many $300 and $600 events during the summer and culminate with a $1600 multi starting day main event. These events will also have a lot of play and may take multiple days. The player pools at both the Venetian and Wynn will have their fare share of tough players, but there will definitely be a lot of recreational players making these events a toss up for anyone to win.

World Series of Poker
Lastly, the grand master of them all, the World Series of Poker. The WSOP will play host to over 60 tournaments this summer ranging in buy-ins from $1000 to $1 million. There are truly tournaments for everyone there. Each day there will be two tournaments starting with several other events playing day two and day threes. Each event is multiple days and requires a large time commitment. The structures are slow with one hour levels but players only receive three times the buy in in chips, so many of the fields will be decimated by dinner breaks. The $1000 and $1500 normally draw huge crowds and often pay half a million dollars or more for first place. There are many different types of events for all players including no limit holdem, pot limit games, limit games, and mixed games. It's truly the largest congregation of poker players in the world and is a must see for all poker enthusiasts. Along with the scheduled events, the WSOP also runs mega satellites to their $10,000 buy in events. These mega satellites run nightly and the entry fees start at $500. Single table satellites also abound and are as cheap as $125 to join in. They also run daily deep stack tourneys. These events range from $125 to $350 and typically draw huge fields of recreational players looking to get in on the action that is the WSOP. And don't forget about the action at WSOP.com. WSOP.com will also run satellites daily on their website to allow players the opportunity to win their way in to most WSOP events for very cheap! Sign up for WSOP.com now if you are interested in playing online.

With all this knowledge about tourneys that the great city of Las Vegas offers, I'm sure you'll be able to find the perfect match to make your poker pilgrimage a memorable one. And with just a little luck and some great play, we hope to see you in the winner’s circle soon!

Benton Blakeman is a Resident Poker Pro of PokerAtlas


  1. Love this. Thanks Benton!

  2. @Chizzle I'm glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for reading.

  3. @BentonBlakeman. An excellent menu for the recreational enthusiast to peruse. There is something there for every fish or shark to enjoy. See you at the tables. Thank you.

  4. @markturner I would thoroughly recommend the Aria "Daily $125" tournaments to anyone visiting Vegas. Decent starting stack,good blind structure,combined with players,whose ability crosses a wide spectrum,make these tournaments a worthwhile investment for the recreational players and semi pros alike. For those wishing to test slightly deeper waters,the Venetian deepstack games are ideal. A solid game conducted in a professional atmosphere,permits the visitor to sample life as a pro at an affordable price. Raise light and fold tight. Good luck at the tables

  5. WSOP.com can not be overlooked when it comes to trying to satty your way in to a World Series event. SO glad you guys made sure to mention it here. Even if you are only going to be in vegas a shirt while during the WSOP I suggest that you register through the link here on pokeratlas and try to play your way into a World Series Event. Remember Chris Moneymaker won his way into the Main Even with a $40 satellite and he won 2.5 million. This year the winner made 4 times that and it is possible to qualify for as little as a A DOLLAR!

  6. Hi, anyone have any experience of the daily tourneys at Caesars? I am staying there in a few weeks and planned to play but hear the semi-pros target them. I don't mind a bit of competition but don't want to be out of my depth.

  7. @Balsa_boy I dont think Caesars will be too tough. I would also recommend MGM Grand. Aria and Venetian (and plenty of others) have good tournaments, but I think Caesars and MGM probably have a higher percentage of tourists than the others.

  8. @Balsa_boy - I thought the play in those CP tourneys was not very strong.

  9. @GameChanger I don't believe that a regular recreational player has much to fear in the above mentioned tournaments. Never sit down at the table with an inferiority complex. Fold tight,and raise light. See you in the Aria.

  10. Thanks for your comments guys, I'll let you know how I get on.