The much-anticipated 2019 World Series of Poker is upon us with just under a week left before the festivities begin in the Sin City, Las Vegas. Between 28 May and 16 July 2019, there will be tens of thousands of players booking their tickets to Vegas to be a part of the 50th WSOP series. We’re expecting a record Indian participation there as well, with the numbers growing tremendously each year.
Players like Aditya Sushant and Nikita Luther winning a bracelet each in the last couple of years has inspired hundreds of Indian players and this year, a record number of 89 gold bracelets will be given away, beating the 78 that were awarded in 2018. These include 80 live events and 9 online bracelet events. Playing every tournament with one entry each, you would need a total of $493k.
As the poker world descends upon Vegas this summer, we take a look at a few tournaments which could provide good value to Indian players especially. This covers the best value tournaments at the Rio All Suite Casino, as well as other high-value tournaments and series taking place outside WSOP. Helping us with this are Kunal Patni, Dhaval Mudgal and Abhinav Iyer, three pros who have seen the Vegas life in the past.
Macau may have overtaken Vegas as the gambling capital of the world, but Vegas is still the undisputed poker capital of the world. Thousands will descend upon this desert oasis for the World Series from next week onwards, but other casino resorts are also running their own series catering to the extra surge of poker lovers during this time. Take a look at our selection:
1) Venetian Las Vegas: The Venetian happens to be one of the most popular casino resorts in Vegas and across the world. The MSPT (Mid-Stakes Poker Tour) offers a good chance to Indian players as the Mid Championships Main Event between 3-8 June has a buy-in of just $1,100 (~INR 76,000) while the MSPT Main Event between 17-21 June has a buy-in of $1,600 (~INR 1.11 Lakh), boasting tournament guarantees of $3 million each. Last year, India’s Kalyan Chakravarthy played here in the DeepStack Championship Poker Series and ended up shipping Event #99 MonsterStack for a massive prize of $147,233.
2) Wynn Summer Classic: Wynn Las Vegas also hosts a variety of tournaments with varying buy-ins. Starting 11th June is the $1.5 million GTD tournament of the Wynn Summer Classic 2019 with a buy-in of just $1,100. The Championship Event follows from 11th July with a buy-in of $1,600 and a massive advertised prize pool of $2 million. Last year, Mayank Jaggi scored a massive $56,379 (~INR 38.69 Lakh) for finishing 6th in the $1 million GTD, where Kalyan Chakravarthy and Kartik Ved also got paid. It was USA’s Athanasios Polychronopoulos who won the tournament for $231,507!
3) WPT500 Aria: Here’s another Indian favourite event. Two years ago, Nikita Luther made headlines by reaching the FT of the Main Event to win $65,000 for finishing 5th. This year’s WPT500 at ARIA will run June 21-27 with 8 starting flights and a modest buy-in of $570 and a prize pool that is yet to be decided. The pocket-friendly tournament will see a lot of Indian names buying in. The 2017 Event which saw Luther making a dream run also saw the likes of Nipun Java, Adda52 Pro Kunal Patni, Sumit Sapra, Dushyant Shekhawat, Vinod Megalmani, Rohan Dhawan, Rishabh Luthra and Varun Rishi cashing out, so this one is a must-play. Patni ran deep in this tournament in 2018 too!
4) Golden Nugget 250k: On East Fremont Street, the Golden Nugget Casino will host $250k GTD tournaments featuring nine starting flights and a buy-in of only $200. There’s a lot of value on offer and we may see a few Indian players participating this year. The Grand Poker Series 2019 will run from mid-May to 8 July and there are two $250k Events lined up, one between 6-9 June and the other from 20-23 June 2019.
5) Planet Hollywood: Also on the strip is Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino which has daily tournaments starting from just $100. This is good for lower stakes players with many tournaments scheduled this year like Goliath Quarter Milly ($250), Ultimate Goliath ($600) and more.
6) WSOP Main Event: Of course, this is the most prestigious poker tournament in the world and while it includes a huge buy-in of $10,000 (~6.96 Lakh), the prizes are also spectacular. Last year, two Indians made headlines for their deep runs in the ME, including Vivek Rughani who finished 88th for $77,695 (~INR 53.48 lakh) and then later Nishant Sharma who hit the rail in 34th place, recording the best-ever finish for an Indian player in the WSOP Main Event and winning a whopping $230,475 (~INR 1.58 crore). It was USA’s John Cynn who won the 2018 WSOP ME for a life-changing prize of $8,800,000 (~INR 61.5 Crore).
Kunal Patni: “You are like a kid in a candy store. There are good value tournaments happening by the hour in different casinos across the city. You will be spoilt for choices. Choose from the following series – WSOP, Venetian, Planet Hollywood, Wynn and don’t miss the WPT Aria 500.”
Dhaval Mudgal: “The Venetian MSPT has a few high-value tournaments while for smaller stakes players, the Golden Nugget 250k is a good option which awards a bonus for each time you bag.”
For similar articles on tips and tricks leading up to the 2019 World Series of Poker, keep following GutshotMagazine.com.
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