Where to Play Poker: June 2012

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Here is our monthly look at featured tournaments around the country, brought to you by TourneyTracks.com.

Let the wild rumpus begin! It’s early summer, and that means the Las Vegas tournament season is kicking into high gear. And no, we can’t just call it the World Series of Poker anymore. While the WSOP is the crown jewel of the summer, there are so many other series happening that it has become a citywide event, with tournaments running all over town. Before we get too far into this summer in Las Vegas, let’s look at the few brave poker rooms that have chosen to have local events.

California
The San Francisco Bay area is one of the few parts of the country where residents won’t need to go to Vegas to play tournaments in June. Lucky Chances in San Francisco will host the Battle of the Bay series June 3-10. With soft fields and low house fees, this could be a profitable series, though the 9:30 a.m. start times may put off a few late sleepers.

As the Battle of the Bay ends, the Bay 101 Summer Madness series begins (June 12-16). The Bay 101 is a great place to play poker, a beautiful room, and the action is always good, so this series should be excellent. Most events are $345, with a $550 final event, and blind structures look promising.

Florida
The Stax Poker Lounge at the Coconut Creek Seminole Casino is hosting the Stax Summer Slam (May 30-June 10). Most of the events have large guarantees, and this is a World Poker Tour Regional event so we expect large fields.

The WPT returns to the Tampa Bay area with another regional stop (June 1-11) at Hard Rock Tampa. See Page 22 for a preview.

Connecticut
The Mohegan Sun hosts its Spring Showdown series May 30-June 3. Each day features a higher buy-in event at 11 a.m., the smaller event at 6 p.m., and step qualifiers to the $1,100 main event at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. The structures look good, and most events have guarantees, so we expect many of the East Coast players who aren’t in Nevada to turn out for this one.

Las Vegas
This should be the biggest month in the history of tournament poker. With the usual huge fields at the WSOP, and big series in at least four other places, Vegas will be buzzing. And every room in town has its regular daily events as well. Some days there will be 50 poker tournaments in Vegas, even without counting the hundreds of single-table tournaments running daily at the Rio.

The WSOP will have bracelet events starting at noon and 5 p.m. most days, as well as deepstack tournaments at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. that often draw massive fields. The WSOP starts May 27 and runs through the middle of July for those players lucky enough to have a deep run in the main event. While this is a long series, it isn’t the longest series of the summer.

That title belongs to the Venetian Deep Stack Extravaganza (May 24-July 15) with at least three tournaments every day.

For smaller buy-in events on the Strip, the Caesars Mega Stacks will feature five tournaments per day throughout the series. Most smaller buy-in events will happen on Fremont Street, with the Golden Nugget hosting its popular Grand series and Binion’s running the Binion’s Poker Classic.

After the well-run Wynn Classic series in the spring, the Wynn has brought the Classic series back for an encore this summer with mid-range events every day on top of its daily tournament schedule.

Most events extend well into July so we’ll be back next month with a nice schedule of Vegas events and the upcoming schedules for many popular series around the country.