Pay to play? Las Vegas picks up its poker game



Some Las Vegas poker rooms will pay you to play in their room. It’s a variation of the freeroll, but instead of rewarding players who have played a minimum number of hours with a free guaranteed prize pool tournament, the poker room just gives away money based on hours played. No doubt players prefer this, because if they play the requisite number of hours, they’re sure to get paid, rather than having to do well in the subsequent tournament. And since the players usually have to qualify for the freeroll by playing cash games, they may not feel as comfortable having to play a tournament.

It’s cost-effective for a poker room, too. It saves money by not having to staff a tournament from which it gets no extra money. So, why not just give the money back without having the freeroll?
Treasure Island has the “Get Paid to Play Poker” promo. Hours accumulate weekly as 10 hours of live play earns $50. Additional increments of 10 hours in the same week earn a bigger payback, up to $599 for 60 hours. TI regularly spreads $1-$3 no-limit hold’em and $2-$6 spread-limit hold’em.
Downtown, Binion’s has the “Cash Back Bonanza.” Hours accumulate monthly with the first tier at $50 for 25 hours. Players who put in 100 hours in a month will earn $750. Binion’s offers $1-$2 NLHE, $2-4 limit and $3-6 limit.

TEXAS STATION: The North Las Vegas casino has been spreading a new Omaha-high game on Sundays nights. It’s a spread-limit game ($2-$6). Plus, it has “over” buttons, meaning anyone who takes a button agrees to switch any hand to no-limit if everyone left in a pot also has an over button. Recently, all the players with over buttons split off and formed a no-limit game while the original table remained $2-$6.

GREEN VALLEY RANCH: On the south side of town, Omaha also is being spread regularly. The $3-$6 game usually has one or two tables going most days. The $2,500 Omaha freeroll, with only 10 hours per month needed to qualify, is one reason. Another is the new progressive high hands for the game. A straight flush is needed to win, with royals paying at least $250.

LVH: The new poker room is starting a $5-$10 stud game, scheduled to spread Fridays at noon, with the hope that a second day could be added in the future. The room is offering cheap poker-room rates for players who play six hours a day. The weekday rate is $39; on weekends it’s $49. There are some blackout dates, so interested parties should call for availability.

MANDALAY BAY: The 10-table room is one of the longest established in town. It recently had a total remodel, with new tables, new chairs and new carpeting. The electronic tracking system, Bravo, is in the process of being installed, which will make tracking the $1-per-hour comps much easier. The room generally spreads $1-$2 NLHE and $3-$6 limit and offers high-hand bonuses. Mandalay Bay has a full schedule of moderately priced tournaments.

MGM: The popular room on the south side of the Strip recently started taking a $1-per-hand promotional drop. The original promo was a $500 high hand of the day, but that promo will soon be replaced. And now that football season has started, the room will have drawings during the Sunday night and Monday night games every time a team scores. Payouts will vary between $100 and $500.

PALMS: The off-strip room recently changed its main NLHE game from $1-$3 to $1-2, with a minimum buy-in of $50 ($300 maximum). The six-table room has a $3K weekly freeroll for 15 hours of live play.

CHANGES: Ron Carson has been named the poker-room manager at the Monte Carlo. He replaces Susan Sandberg, who moved to the Mirage. Carson has worked in the room since 1998.

CAESARS PALACE: The seventh annual Caesars Classic runs Oct. 18-Nov. 4. The series features more than $500K in guarantees. The $1,080 two-day championship event starts Nov. 3 and features a $175K guarantee.

VENETIAN: Deep Stack Extravaganza IV will be Oct. 31-Nov. 27. Four of the multiple-day NLHE events will have guarantees, including the $2,500 main event, which starts Nov. 23 with a $500K guarantee.

STRATOSPHERE: The Heartland Poker Tour comes to the Stratosphere on Nov. 7. The $1,650 main event begins Nov. 15 and finishes with the televised final table Nov. 18.

BELLAGIO: The WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic is set for Nov. 29-Dec. 11.

CLOSURE: One of the longest established poker rooms in town, Circus Circus, has closed. The room opened in 1974 and suffered greatly as properties all around it closed or lost popularity. The property is popular for families with children, but it could no longer sustain a poker room.

— Email Rob Solomon at Follow him on Twitter @Robvegaspoker and read his blog at

Ante Up Magazine

Ante Up Magazine