Onward Local Tournament Grinder

A week of daily events across Las Vegas

by , Jan 26, 2012 | 5:05 pm

Nearly every casino with a poker room offers a daily tournament. The buy-ins range from $45 to more than $500, depending on the day of the week.

I want to explore the level of competition, how much play I can get for my money and whether the payouts are worth the grind.

I’m going to play at least a week of dailies around Las Vegas. Mostly, I plan to play on the Strip. But I also want to hit at least one event downtown and check out the action at an off-strip casino or two. I’ll avoid the WSOP-circuit events in town and Venetian’s Deepstack Extravaganza Series, as to stay out of the path of sharks.

If I happen to get knocked out early, I’ll do some follow-up reporting on the pay structure.

My first event started at 7 p.m. Wednesday, a $125 buy-in at Aria. The blinds opened at 25/50, with 30 minute levels.

Folks in town told me it’s one of the better events for the money.

10,000 Starting chips in the daily tournament at Aria

Wednesday’s tourney found 80 entrants, with the top 9 making money. First place paid $2,677 after play wrapped up around 3 a.m. Mine ended about an hour in, after 7-4 crippled my A-K.

Twenty minutes before cards hit the air, I received my entry card: Table 5, Seat 9.

Doyle Brunson and Eli Elezra were playing 400-800 mix one table over, and my seat directly faced them. Could I focus on cards with The Godfather sitting inches away?

I set my Vitamin Water squeezed on the felt in front of my seat.

“Excuse me, sir. Are you here for the tournament?” a floorman asked.

Yeah.

“We’ve moved your table. It’s all the way on the other side of the room.”

OK. Nice view of the coffee bar, and a rainbow tower of green, black, blue and yellow chips that added up to 10,000.

Even this close to the rail at Aria, I won’t smell the cigarette smoke outside the room.
I figured I was at a great starting table after three players had open-limped the button, and one woman paying more attention to the noise in her headphones than the cards on the table let her stack bleed quickly by chasing gutshots.

I would get nowhere near the top, however, as I ran into a kid with what’s known as fancy play syndrome.

He began the near-knockout hand with the 10,000 starting stack. I had a few more.

The dance started with his casual 2.5x raise from the hijack seat. I tried to wrest control with a three-bet on the button, holding AcKh. His four-bet earned another raise from me. He thought momentarily and shoved. I called instantly.

He turned over 7c4c, and the flop looked good: AhAd5s.

He said, “nice hand.”

No, not yet.

Turn 2.

Dealer: “He still has outs.”

No. No.

River: 3.

No. No. No.

I was eliminated a few hands later when the same villain beat my 77 with AQ. With luck like that, I opted not to rebuy.

Tonight, I’m going to hop in the 7 pm, $45 tourney at Stratosphere, which some players are calling the new Sahara, because of the small buy-in. With a little luck, I’ll get past the second level.

Check my twitter feed @randompoker for updates from the felt.


  • http://pokerati.com Dan Michalski

    So dude, do “weeklies” count in this run, too? I hear much about the Orleans Friday night tourney … not sure if they run it every day and Friday just happens to be big, or if it is indeed once a week and thus something to think about later. 

  • http://pokerati.com Dan Michalski

    So dude, do “weeklies” count in this run, too? I hear much about the Orleans Friday night tourney … not sure if they run it every day and Friday just happens to be big, or if it is indeed once a week and thus something to think about later. 

  • http://twitter.com/randompoker Dave Ferrara

    I’ve also heard that the Orleans Friday $125 is big and good. I think I’ll give it a shot tomorrow. They have smaller dailies, at $75 a pop, so I would say that fits this tour. 

  • http://twitter.com/randompoker Dave Ferrara

    I’ve also heard that the Orleans Friday $125 is big and good. I think I’ll give it a shot tomorrow. They have smaller dailies, at $75 a pop, so I would say that fits this tour. 

  • Thedanimal

    “The dance started with his casual 2.5x raise from the hijack seat. I tried to wrest control with a three-bet on the button, holding AcKh. His four-bet earned another raise from me.”

    I totally would have played it the same way. 

  • Tde1209

    I hate to keep asking this but how do I get better booze at the video poker table at the Beau in Biloxi. Well whiskey tastes like shit.

  • Wisdom

    Bigger tips or tiiiits

  • http://twitter.com/randompoker Dave Ferrara

    This. AINEC.

  • http://pokerati.com Dan Michalski

    Ainec … All I ever knew … All in new … All I needed … Oysh, a few comments in Dave and you already have me feeling old!

  • http://twitter.com/randompoker Dave Ferrara

    And it’s not even close. 

  • David

    That Tournament at the Sahara was always a great tournament… $45 buy in with $20 add on… and if you were knocked out you got on the list to get back in the first hour… which sorta controlled some “donk” play as you might not get back in the game…  there were always at least a 100 players… sometimes a 150… for that evening game… loved it when I was in town…. is the Strat game the same set up?