The summer schedule is almost here in Las Vegas, Nevada. The World Series of Poker is the main attraction, of course, but 2018 is the biggest year yet for events taking place outside of the Rio. Multi-million dollar guarantees are happening on a weekly basis at properties such as Wynn, Venetian, and ARIA. There are a whopping number of “must-play” tournaments this summer and below are the top-five not on the WSOP calendar with buy-ins ranging from $565 to $5,000.
1. $1,100 MSPT Venetian DeepStack Championship Poker Series (June 3-8)
The Venetian’s summer events feature major guarantees for relatively small buy-ins and this summer’s $3.5 million guaranteed should be one of the largest. The Mid-States Poker Tour (MSPT) is teaming up with The Venetian to put on five live-streamed final tables and the opener for the combo should be an exciting one.
The 2017 schedule at Venetian featured the same buy-in and a $2.5 million guarantee that finished with 3,273 runners. A whopping $3.2 million was deposited in the prize pool and Nadar Kakhmazov topped the field to win a reported $440,029.
Players can count on a great structure as well with four starting flights of unlimited re-entry, a starting stack of 20,000, and 40-minute levels until completion.
Expect to see close to $4 million up for grabs by the time is all said and done with the winner emerging with close to 500 times their original investment.
2. $1,600 Wynn Summer Classic Championship (July 9-13)
The Wynn is one of the most preferred venues in poker and their Summer Classic Championship features peak amenities along with major cash.
The Wynn Championship is a $1,600 buy-in with $1.5 million guaranteed and starts five days after the final starting flight of the WSOP Main Event, giving players the ultimate “second chance” to end their summer on a high note.
The structure features 45-, 60-, and 75-minute levels and a trio of starting days. The 2017 Wynn finale carried the same buy-in with a $1 million guarantee that resulted in a $2.9 million prize pool. The tournament ended in a five-way deal with Olivier Busquet a part of it. Ardavan Yazdi took home the top figure of $237,610.
3. $3,500 MSPT Venetian DeepStack Championship Poker Series (June 25-June 30)
If you’re looking for a massive guarantee ($3.5 million), a loaded field and big blind ante, look no further than these dates. The 2016 and 2017 version of this event featured a $3 million guarantee and the stakes are even higher this time around.
MSPT and The Venetian are partnering to live stream this final table and should have top-notch talent on display. In the past two summers, prior final tablists included winners Javier Zarco and Andjelko Andrejevic along with Darren Elias, Brian Yoon, Omar Zazay, and Jonathan Karamalikis.
Entry for this tournament is available until Level 12 on Day 2 and features 60-minute levels for the duration of the event.
4. $565 ARIA WPT 500 (June 25-July 3)
Small buy-in? Large prize pool? Elite venue? One of poker’s top brands?
The WPT 500 at ARIA features all of the above. The $1 million guarantee is just a starting number for how big this prize pool gets. Jon Borenstein emerged from a mammoth pack of 3,541 entrants to take home a career-high reported total of $230,000 last summer.
Past field sizes since the tournament premiered in 2014 are 3,599, 3,956, and 5,113.
Nine starting flights are available over the span of seven days before July’s Day 2. All Day 1s play into the money and give players the chance to cash re-enter at a later flight.
Bang for the buck is at a premium during the summer months and the ARIA is the king of this value beyond the WSOP.
5. $5,000 Card Player Poker Tour Venetian DeepStack Championship Poker Series (July 14-19)
The granddaddy of the WSOP Main Event post-lims is at Venetian once again. A $5,000 closer is the ultimate journey to the finish line to close out the summer for poker’s elite.
The Card Player Poker Tour brings a dynamite structure to The Venetian with 75-minute and 90-minute levels along with five days to reach a winner.
In previous years, the start of the event coincided with Day 5 of the Main Event and caught all traffic leaving the Rio. 2016 winner Jon Turner made back-to-back Day 5s on his way to a $536,858 score. In 2017, final tablists Ankush Mandavia and Renick Patterson both completed the feat.
This year’s Day 1A starts after nearly all other post-lims have completed and when the Main Event is at the final table which makes it interesting to see how big the 2018 field gets.