Downtown’s Golden Nugget was the first Vegas poker room to announce its schedule for its summer series. The Grand Poker Series (June 4-July 3) offers plenty of choices in addition to the usual no-limit hold’em games. There are many pot-limit Omaha, PLO/8, Big O, stud, HORSE and mixed-game tourneys. Most of the events have buy-ins of $125 or $230, making them accessible to all players. There are three one-day $1,040 NLHE tournaments, followed by the two-day, $1,100 main event starting July 2. Room rates starting at $47 per night are available for those playing in the series.
Also at Golden Nugget, the next “Golden Saturday” tournament is April 19 at noon. In the past, these occasional $125 tournaments had a $25K guaranteed prize pool. However, for this next one, John Colville, Golden Nugget’s VP of special events, poker and keno, announced the guarantee would be $50K, with no increase in the buy-in. The starting stack remains 10K and the blinds are 30 minutes. There is an optional $10 add-on for an extra 2K chips.
STRATOSPHERE: At the north end of the Vegas Strip, the Stratosphere will host the Vegas Spring Classic of the Senior Poker Tour on April 8-13. The four-day $550 championship event starts April 10.
The Stratosphere poker room has a nice mix of locals and tourists and offers three popular daily tournaments at 11 a.m., 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. With the exception of Wednesdays, they are all $50 buy-ins for 4,500 chips and 20-minute levels. There’s an optional $20 add-on for 4K chips. All three Wednesday tournaments are $70 bounty affairs, with a 6K starting stack and a $20 bounty. The room regularly spreads $1-$2 NLHE and $2-$4 limit hold’em.
PLANET HOLLYWOOD: Phamous Poker Series IV is scheduled for April 16-19. All the events have guaranteed prize pools and guaranteed first-place money. The main event is April 18 at moon and has a $300 buy-in for 25K chips and 30-minute levels. The first-place finisher will take home at least $30K, and the total prize pool is guaranteed at $75K. The next evening at 7, the room will have a $160 tournament with a $10K guaranteed first-place prize and a prize pool of $25K.
Planet Hollywood is offering “Micromania” tournaments on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 9 p.m. The buy-in is only $10 for a 1K stack, but through the first four levels you can reload at the same price any time your stack is at or less than 4K. After the fourth 20-minute level, players can add 5K in chips for $20 no matter what stack size. This tournament has a $2K guaranteed prize pool and $1,200 is guaranteed to the winner. The room also offers a $65 PLO tournament Mondays at 9 p.m. that has a $1K guarantee.
VENETIAN: The main event of Deep Stack Extravaganza I, which ended Feb. 25, had 475 players, resulting in a $691K prize pool. That far exceeded the $500K guarantee. Jeremy Ausmus won the event, $148K and a watch. Scott Epstein earned $91K for second and Stephen Graner received $66K for third. All three hail from Las Vegas.
Next up is Deep Stack Extravaganza II, which runs March 27-April 23. The total in guaranteed prize pools is a cool $1 million. The $1,100 main event has three starting days beginning April 19 and offers a $300K guarantee.
The popular Survivor tournament has moved beyond the $200 NLHE events the series offers. Omaha/8, HORSE, PLO/8 and Omaha8-stud/8 each have survivor tournaments, too. These are tournaments that end when about 12 percent of the field remains, and the prize pool is split equally.
CAESARS PALACE: The World Series of Poker Circuit finished March 3. Christian Pham of Minnesota took down the $1,675 main event to earn $214K and an entry into the WSOP National Championship. Nearly 700 entrants resulted in a $1 million prize pool. Jonathan Gavier took second for $132K and Yu Sheng Lin claimed third ($97K).
WSOP: When the WSOP announced its schedule for this year, I couldn’t help notice there was no mention of an Open Face Chinese event. Last year, the WSOP featured a $5K non-bracelet tournament. Before the schedule was announced this year, the WSOP tweeted a question, asking followers if they should have an OFC tournament this year, and if so, should it be a bracelet event? Apparently, the answer came back “no.” Not even a non-bracelet event appears on the schedule. What happened? Is the OFC boom over? I’m sure you’ll still see those big money cash games at the WSOP this summer, and elsewhere around town. Some of the other series will no doubt feature an OFC tournament. The aforementioned Golden Nugget series has a $230 event. But you may have a long wait trying to win that WSOP bracelet in Open Face Chinese.
SUNSET STATION: After a yearlong attempt to revive its poker room, Sunset Station announced its closing in March.
— Email Rob at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @Robvegaspoker and read his blog at robvegaspoker.blogspot.com.