More than Just No-Limit Hold’em for Tourists

by , Apr 23, 2012 | 5:30 am

Matt Savage returns home to Las Vegas tomorrow to take the TD helm for the MGM Grand Challenge Series, which began on Friday anr runs through May 6.

At first glance, this series resembles most “tourist stakes” festivals in Las Vegas — two-and-a-half weeks of two tourneys a day, with buy-ins ranging from $150 to $550 and a $1,600 main event (starting May 1). But a closer look at the schedule reveals that 9 of the 30 events are something other than no-limit Texas hold’em. There are five Omaha events, two HORSE events, a stud event and a hi-lo variant of Chinese Poker. Even the WSOP doesn’t have that.

Matt Savage opted not to include any limit hold’em or pot-limit Words with Friends in the current MGM series line-up, but did include just about everything else.

And six of the hold’em events veer from standard full-ring multi-table freezeout structure — to include turbos, a double-stack event, bounties, an “all-in or fold” tournament (where those are your only two choices on every hand), and a mix-max, where the number of players at each table progressively shrinks (from 10 to 8 to 6 to 4…).

Savage says he  expects a healthy turnout of pros for the Chinese Poker ½ High, ½ 2-7 event.

The idea for this series, he said, was “to provide a variety of games that other series’ in Vegas don’t generally have. No-limit hold’em, while it’s popular, isn’t the only game.”

The Grand Challenge series is taking place in a temporary location on the casino floor,  next to the old lion habitat, while construction on the adjacent bar is underway.

For the first event, a $230 NLHE tournament with 3 day ones, there were more than 300 entrants. The top three finishers chopped for a $10k, $9k, and $9k payout.

Dan played the $150 Pot Limit Omaha with $100 rebuys last night. The Sunday evening event drew 37 players and saw 98 rebuys, for a first prize around $5k. Dan got knocked out just short of the money, with 32 players remaining. I wonder how many hands he played before realizing the odds can actually change when you don’t run it twice.

I’m personally interested in Wednesday’s 6-max NL Hold’em event — something I’ve played before online but never live. We’ll see if my online experience short-handed combined with my looser live cash-game style gives me the edge I anticipate. And if I make the money there, I may just take a shot at the all-in or fold event on Friday. Ever since I heard about it, I’ve been hashing out strategy with friends.

Sounds like it could be really fun or really quick.

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