5. Heartland Poker Tour – Blackhawk, CO/Golden Gates Casino
The HPT holds a strong following and the trips to Blackhawk, Colorado have great turnouts on a regular basis. The second event on the HPT calendar for 2018 comes in February with another climb up the Rocky Mountains. On Wednesday, February 14, the first of four starting flights kicks off for the HPT Main Event.
When the HPT visited Golden Gates Casino for the first time last year, 787 entrants registered for the $1,650 buy-in Main Event and created the only prize pool of over $1 million on the tour. The gaudy total stands tall against the 781 players who competed in 2016. If the trend continues, 800 entries is an attainable goal.
4. Mid-States Poker Tour – Las Vegas, NV/The Venetian
The MSPT tour travels to their favorite Las Vegas destination in February for Super Bowl weekend at the Venetian. The property and tour have built a strong rapport and open their 2018 campaign as part of the Venetian DeepStack Extravaganza I series. The Venetian is already at work to add tables to prepare for the expected turnout.
Both MSPT and Venetian are upping the ante for 2018. Last year’s DSE I MSPT Main Event offered a $300,000 guarantee for a $1,100 buy-in. The tournament drew 695 entries and put almost $700,000 in the prize pool. The partners are trying to build on that figure with a $500,000 guarantee spread out over two starting flights. The event opens on Thursday, February 1 and wraps up on Saturday, February 3.
3. The Wynn Spring Classic – Las Vegas, NV
The theme of building on an already strong product extends down the strip to The Wynn. If you are looking for a $1 million prize pool, one of the best poker rooms in Nevada is offering it for a $1,600 buy-in. The 2018 Wynn Spring Classic Main Event opens on Thursday, March 1 and offers maximum value for the mid-major price range.
Eric Baldwin came out on top of the $750,000 guaranteed Main Event in March 2017 to take home the lion’s share of a prize pool that topped $1.19 million. The Wynn does not affiliate with any tour but manages to draw players in droves for all of their major events. The 818 entry total in the 2017 event is well within reach.
2. L.A. Poker Classic – Los Angeles, CA/Commerce Casino
The 25th Anniversary of one of poker’s premier series offers tournaments for literally every single player type. The $1,100 buy-in $1 million guaranteed Double Stack tournament takes place before the series wraps up with the $10,000 World Poker Tour Main Event at the end of February.
The Commerce offered up this same buy-in and guarantee in 2017 and 1,840 entrants joined the action. Day 1A falls on Wednesday, February 14 and there are four starting flights in total. When the dust settles at the end of February 19’s Day 2, at least three six-figure payouts are to be awarded along with the prestigious Remington Trophy.
1. WPTDeepStacks – Hollywood, FL/Seminole Hard Rock
The international mid-major powerhouse opens their 2018 U.S. season at Seminole Hard Rock in Hollywood, Florida. It’s tough to find a better value on the eastern half of the country than a $1,100 buy-in coupled with a $1 million guarantee. The event opens on Thursday, January 11 with three starting flights available.
WPTDeepStacks produced fields of over 1,500 entries in their last two trips to poker’s southern capital. There is little reason to think this year will be any different.
This event is also the only tournament on the East Coast with a buy-in of $1,100 or less to offer a seven-figure guarantee between now and the end of March.