Among the reasons I enjoy traveling to Las Vegas during the height of the summer major tournament series season is the opportunity to play more tournaments in games other than no-limit Texas Hold’em.
This is not to say that regional tournament series stops do not offer tournaments in other games. Whether it is the bonus non-hold’em events offered at Downstream Casino (OK), the lineup of events at the World Series of Poker Circuit Tour stop at Choctaw (OK) and Horseshoe (IA) casinos, or those included in the Oklahoma State Poker Championships non-hold’em tournaments can be found in the Wichita region. Las Vegas offers the opportunity to compete in other games more frequently, at a variety of venues, and in a short span of time.
During my last 10-night trip over Memorial Day weekend I competed in H.O.R.S.E, Omaha High-Low Split Eight-or-Better, and Pot Limit Omaha High-Low Split Eight-or-Better tournaments as well as a variety of cash games. The events were part of major tournament series and on the regular tournament schedule of a couple casinos. Buy-ins ran from $35 to $225. Buy-ins for events that I wanted to compete in, but did not, extended from $330 to $1,500. A combination of a lack of early success on my trip and a smallish bankroll prevented me from competing in the larger events.
A reason I enjoy the annual Binion’s Poker Classic and the Orleans Open poker series are the variety of events and the level of buy-ins. I am usually able to take a crack at up to four tournaments depending on how the series schedules match up with my travel and overall playing itinerary. I was able to take shots not only at a couple but also found some other choices of interest. I played the May 24th H.O.R.S.E. event of the Orleans Open and just could not replicate my near cash from last year, mostly running card dead for the entire few hours that I lasted. I also played the May 31st Omaha High-Low Split Eight-or-Better Binion’s Poker Classic event. The latter I lasted several hours, going out around 40th of 100 runners. Success in split pot games depends in substantial part upon the ability to scoop pots, winning the high and the low. Despite a strong read on the players at my tables throughout and decent decision making based upon those reads I just could not scoop enough pots to build momentum. I played well, but that’s poker.
Regular tournament events I took a seat in were the Sunday evening, May 26th, $100 H.O.R.S.E at the Orleans and the Monday evening, May 27th, $40+$5 Pot-Limit Omaha High-Low Split Eight-or-Better tournament at Red Rock Casino. The Orleans schedules the game twice per week as well as Omaha High-Low Split Eight-or-Better. MGM Grand’s poker room also offers H.O.R.S.E. every Tuesday evening, hosted by noted poker professional Karina Jett, as part of their event schedule. While on my radar I did not make room for the latter Omaha and H.O.R.S.E. events in my itinerary.
A great single source of information I rely upon to find tournaments is Allvegaspoker.com. On the site’s Las Vegas Poker Tournaments page searchers can look for games by type, poker room, buy-in, and day. The site’s forums, trip reports, and room reviews can supply other intangible information as well. Looking for the intangibles is how I discovered opportunities to brush up on my Seven Card Stud play without committing a great deal of money and was a cause of my not playing some of the other non-hold’em events. H.O.R.S.E. is a great game but the opportunity to play the stud-game components live is uncommon and worth taking advantage of if for no other reason than to hone and edge. A great percentage of lower-limit H.O.R.S.E. players are not very good at the stud games relative to the flop games included.
I discovered that the El Cortez, on Fremont Street, and the off-strip Sam’s Town poker rooms spread low-limit Seven Card Stud and took the time to check them out. El Cortez only has three tables in the corner of the casino floor but one of the regular games is $30 minimum buy-in $1-5 stud with a quarter ante. Sam’s Town has a more defined poker room, although not completely enclosed, and also offers $20 minimum buy-in $1-5 stud with a quarter ante. The latter actually uses a bonafide stud poker table to spread it. Combined I was able to put in 10-12 hours of time. Seat time is something there just is not a substitute for so investing in it partially precluded me from playing the other tournaments I was interested in. Did I mention I my lack of early success in my trip?
I look forward to future return trips to Las Vegas as well as taking advantage of non-Texas Hold’em games and tournaments in the Wichita region. For those of you interested in finding non-Texas Hold’em games and tournaments when visiting Las Vegas I hope I have provided the service of introducing you to what can be found and to a great poker site for finding games.